Boing Boing reports that the most recent Coldplay CD comes with a couple little restrictions:
This CD cannot be burnt onto a CD or hard disc, nor can it be converted to an MP3.
This CD...might not play in...some DVD players...car stereos...portable CD players, Game Players....Although you can use your PC's Windows program to listen to certain tracks, this does not mean that the CD can be played in all PCs....This CD does not support Macintosh PC software.
After all that, the insert helpfully informs you that they won't refund or exchange the album. And this "special technology" is to help you "enjoy high quality music."
Now, depending where you get it, the store might well be willing to accept the disc back and offer a refund. But in light of the way increasing numbers of people consume music these days, I wonder whether this isn't a fraudulent (at the least deceptive) practice. I buy most of my music online for download these days, though once or twice a year I'll end up buying a physical CD. I pretty much never listen to music on the CD though—I keep my music on my hard drive and iPod and the physical CD filed away in a book in a closet somewhere. I'm not even sure anyone in my house owns a functional CD player not installed in a computer of some sort. Practically speaking, given the way I (and most people I know) consume music now, a CD I can't rip to a hard drive is no use to me. You might as well sell me a DVD region-coded for play only in Southeast Asia, with no notice until its home and unwrapped that I can't use it in the fashion or with the equipment I customarily do—and (reasonably, I think) took it for granted at the time of purchase that I'd be able to.
Now, looking at the rear cover, I do see some very tiny print hinting at a fraction of the limitations suggested on the insert. Though contra what's printed there, the rear cover seems to suggest that the disc will work with Macs, and never really says in so many words that you can't use the thing with your iPod at all. Any lawyers out there think a class-action suit against Virgin for manufacturing what many would consider a defective product without adequate notice would stand a chance? And if so, want to go halvsies on what's left of the settlement after the vast majority of buyers neglect to collect their $1.50 share of it?