Data embedded while ripping a cd

I have been converting our family’s whole CD collection to FLAC and mp3. I was wondering what kind of information gets embedded in the resulting file. How do I view/edit that information? Thanks in advance. (Not too sure if this is right BB to place this question, else mods are requested to move to appropriate BB)

Basically most ripping software, like EAC for example, allow to embed in files some tags retrieving these information from an internet database called “cddb”. The information include the artist, the album title, the track number, the song title, etc. More information can be added manually if desired :slight_smile:

Of course, for this system to be working, you need an internet connection :slight_smile:

Of course, this is built into an ID3 tag or similar tag but the thing that very much surprises me is, how the heck RIAA sponsored police finds out that the file is not from your machine or something like that. It has to have something more than ID3 tag to figure this out.

Since this is our family collection, I will be sharing these files with some of my relatives (as some of the CDs are their too) If any of their teenager puts them on P2P then we should not be in trouble.

Now, please don’t respond that we won’t be in trouble or anything. Of course, I would like to know that too but more curiosity/knowledge point of view, how someone can figure out that the audio file is not yours (or downloaded from P2P)

Thanks in advance.

this is NOT about “Circumventing the law” this is about choosing to not
intentionally create incriminating evidence if you DO choose to violate the law.

In the id3 tag is a “Comments” block.

If you BUY a file from a LEGAL download service that supplies
unprotected mp3s there is a long character string in that
comments block.

For example: {351ac17k-d451-41cf-896b-92833ab48c6c}
from a 256kBit/sec file is a LEGALLY PURCHASED mp3 bought
from WalMart Downloads(Characters altered to disguise the
real number)

That code string identifies the file, the source and probably a couple
of other things. it is a unique identifier

a File YOU create by ripping a CD to wav files and then compressing
to mp3’s will NOT have that information.

Nor will your drive computer “uniquely identify” a wav or mp3 file
unless you make specific efforts to do so intentionally

Many peer-to-peer files will contain because people shareing them
(the giving side) don’t know to remove them.

And how the RIAA catches people is by looking at the internet traffic,
and after they have identified you as a downloader they subpena
your computer to verify that you do infact posess possess the
"stolen" copyrighted material… (deleting the files in a sloppy
manner has gotten people in bigger trouble for “destruction of evidence”)

some people believe the RIAA is “out to get them”, but they are not "paranoid"
simply because the RIAA really IS "out to get them"
So technically and philosophically they are not “paranoid”

In the United States If you have a physical commercial copy of any musical work,
then you have a right to make copies or “Backups” for your own use… like the old
game of buying a vinyl LP then recording your own cassette (of a GOOD quality tape
rather than the crap media used for the prerecorded kind) that was ENTIRELY legal
Giving away one of those copies? No.

with digital media the files can use different encoding methods for various playback
devices and again making copies for your own personal use is legal, just don’t sell
the original after you’ve made your copies because that IS also illegal.

what’s on your harddrive can be incriminating, but to that my question is
"which one?" at the moment my Desktop has SEVEN
HDD’s and I have three or four others (internals) that get
swapped in or out as well as a USB drive (a WD “passport”)

Copying your OWN CD in north america is a risk free thing.

Copying a friends CD’s while illegal isn’t going to get you
a nastygram from the RIAA, though it could increase the
temprature of the hot water you’d be in if they caught
you sharing files via a P2P service…

Giving a copy to a friend or family member is illegal, but NOBODY gets
caught doing it, there is simply no way for the RIAA to catch you unless
they have already caught you filesharing on P2P and are examining your
computer contents.

If you “SneakerNet” share files (walking to someone and HANDING them a disc)
there is obviously no net traffic record (I suppose the (RIAA could sobpena your
shoes, but…)

It’s possible, even likely that some ripping or compression program
can apply “invisible” tags to an mp3 file that you cannot see with a
tag editor, infact I’ll almost bet that WMP does and I’m pretty sure VLC does

I have more than a sneaking suspicion that WMP tags any computer file you
use it to PLAY.

For example if I have an mp3 file on my F HDD and I play it with WMP
and then CLOSE WMP, copy the file to another HDD, then delete the file
on F, open WMP and attempt to play that song again WMP finds it
(instantly) on whatever HDD I have moved it to And displays the NEW

I can play this shell game all day long and WMP always finds the “pea”

And it does this even if I intentionally set the file property to "Hidden"
with a seperate file management program.

VLC also adds it’s own “tags” to any file it finds.

So do some programs uniquely identify those files and perhaps the computer
they were created on? Oh yeah.

Is this going to cause you legal trouble? probably not, but it IS illegal, both
under the spirit and letter of the law.

Travel at your own risk…

But at the risk of further annoying the powers that be about discussions of "illegal"
if any files you “give away” are in CDDA format (as burned audio CD’s) the likelyhood
that there are traceable indentifiers imbedded in the files is greatly diminished as
compared to doing the same thing with mp3 files.

But if you are going to “test” the mp3 files on your media player program of choice
make any mp3 copies to another HDD before you let VLC or WMP play them, or
you’ll just be adding potentially compromising identifiers to your copies as well…

But, IMO this is NOT about “Circumventing the law” this is about choosing to not
intentionally create incriminating evidence if you DO subsequently choose to violate
the law.

Personally I think the only thing dumber than downloading files and getting caught
is uploading files you legally purchased…

I suspect that most people caught by the RIAA sharing music by UPLOADING
uploaded files purchased online, NOT “Ripped” from discs

I honestly think this has a great deal to do with HOW people get caught, because
legally downloaded files DO contain unique identifiers,

People uploading those “flagged” files? yeah, on average people ARE that stupid
and probably deserve the trouble they get into, but the penalties are entirely out
of proportion to the crime.

I thing if judges and juries awarded the equivelent of twice the current retail price
of each CD (not MSRP) for each illegally dowloaded track plus a $500 fine that would be fair

However of two or more tracks are all downloaded from the same album
then the additional tracks shouldn’t count.

If judges started awarding judgements like the lawsuits would end abrubtly.


Wow that pretty big informative reply.
Understanding the legal language is a pain in the a** so have to ask about it.

Frankly, I am not into downloading music unless they sell it in FLAC format.

You mentioned about WMP finding media, would you not call it as indexing rather than tagging? I would consider tagging as something that would change the file (please correct me if I am wrong) whereas indexing is for it to be able to find it quickly.

Anyways, thanks again for a very informative reply. Since I am not from the north part of american continent, I need to check how much law on our side are different than yours.

Indexing or “Tagging” not sure how to determine

I’m just wondering how it “finds” files that I haven’t told it to search for. On drives that I have never associated (to WMP) as drives that contain media files.

Copying a file that it knows about then deleting the original then “boot time” defragging the drive it was on should hide ANYTHING, but it knows where to find it…

I’m not that much of a geek to understand it.

as for VLC it tags EVERYTHING my original installation of VLC
(with WMP already installed and the media already on the computer)
resulted in ALL of my media suddently having a “VLC” logo for each and every file, including those in my recycling bin.

I have VLC on my computer and it does work, but I needed to very carefully install everyhing in the “proper order” so it wouldn’t FUBAR my entire system.
VLC first, Media second, WMP LAST

VLC wanted to be the default media player and assigned itself as such even though I selected it NOT to be.
WMP doesn’t even offer the choice, but since I DO want it to be the default player I just install it LAST and there it is…

In your situation, I really doubt it’ll ever be an issue, unless your thought police carry computers and examine the content of every disc you have.

But I have noted that making copies for friends or relatives definatly isn’t legal here. depending on your nations laws it may be wherever you are.

As the saying goes here in the US "YMMV"
which stands for "Your Mileage May Vary"
which is a legal disclaimer on Television advertisements for automobiles because they always quote vehicle fuel economy in advertisements as doing so is required by law.