Copy controlled CDs

I’m wondering if anyone else has stumbled across these “copy controlled CDs”. If you haven’t, they’re basically CDs where they put a player on the disc so that when you put it in your computer, the program loads up and you’re forced to listen to the songs on the player provided rather than a program like windows media. The past month, I’ve bought five CDs, and two of them have the copy controlled thing on them.

I find them a bother. The player keeps having seizures if I’m trying to do something else, like browse online and switch from window to window. Also, when I want to jump for songs to songs, it takes a long time. It’s really inconvient to use my computer to play the two CDs.

What I want to ask people here is, do you think having CDs like this will curb people ripping the songs? Or do you think the smarter ones will find a way around it? Do you think they even have a point in doing this?




Yes. You don’t even have to be very smart. IIRC the way around the protection scheme you have discribed is either disabling the “autorun” feature or holding down the shift key while the disc loads. That’s off the top of my head and may not be correct (I’ve never had the opportunity to try it), but I’d imagine that less than a minutes worth of Googling would yield even better methods.


Well their point is obvious isn’t it? They are willing to cripple their product in order to ensure a greater degree of control over its distribution. Can’t blame them for trying. They may even have some success in deterring the “casual copiers” out there. Well relative success anyway, all it takes is one dedicated pirate who has circumvented the scheme and made the music available online to bring the music industry back to square one.

There are several kinds of copy protected CDs. I accidentally bought one some time ago (Sarah Brightman’s Harem) which would refuse to play in my computer’s CD drive and in my car, making it pretty much worthless to me.

Except that I could rip it to .WAV files just fine, without having to do anything special. Meaning I could have made a thousand copies of that CD, or converted it to MP3 and distributed it around the world, had I been so inclined.

In other words, what we have here is a CD which is “play protected” but not copy protected. And to be able to play it in a car player or on a PC, you actually have to make a copy of the CD you just legally purchased – the very action they presumably want to discourage. I have to admit I fail to see the logic here…

Even more amusing was the one that debuted in either Europe or Japan that could be defeated by writing on it by a Sharpie.

the most amusing one IMO was the one that would crash your comp the moment you put it in.

Only problem was Mac users then couldn’t ever get it out (or so I heard) without taking it into the shop and having them take your computer apart just to get out that CD.

I googled before I posted this, but my results don’t seem to match my situation. The stuff I googled talked about CDs you can’t put into the computer, but mine works fine in the computer. It’s just that a built in player loads and I can’t use another player to listen.

The first time you put in one of those protected CDs they put a driver around your CD driver the prevents you from playing it on anything else. Remove it then hold down shift the next time you put in the CD.

  1. No. I have no doubt that every song from a copy-protected album is already available for illegal download on P2P networks.

  2. Yes. If worse comes to worst, you can make an analog copy, evading even the craftiest copy protection with a $5 cable from Radio Shack.

  3. They think they do, but they really don’t. Copy protection, like most forms of DRM, is a challenge to the pirates and an inconvenience to the consumers.

You might remember the copy protection on PC games from the 80’s, where every time you started the game, it would ask you to enter the 6th word from the 2nd paragraph on page 31 of the manual, or look up a code using some plastic decoder ring, or some nonsense like that.

There were various other forms, but they all had one thing in common: they challenged the pirates and inconvenienced the consumers. They were never successful at preventing copies–pirates love a challenge–but they did frustrate consumers, and eventually the industry gave up. (Most games now are copy protected again, but the copy protection is less inconvenient, though it isn’t any more effective.)

Copy protection on music CDs is no different in that respect, and hopefully the music industry will come to the same realization as the video game industry did.