Last edited on: 2002-12-01
Available audio cd protections:
[li] Cactus Data Shield 100 Availability: -
[/li][li] Cactus Data Shield 200 Availability: ++
[/li][li] Cactus Data Shield 300 Availability: –
[/li][li] Key2Audio Availability: ++
[/li][li] Doc.loc Availability: -
[/li][li] MediaCloq Availability: –
[/li][li] SafeAudio Availability: –
Note: this list is not complete, more protections are available. Availability is mainly targeted at Europe.
How to recognize a protected audio cd:
[li] use Clony XXl (German version, homepage might be down. English version can be found here.)
[/li][li] use Tccd Scout (German version. English version unavailable ?)
[/li][li] visual inspection
Note: Clony XXL/Tccd Scout will not always properly recognize the protection because audio protections are hardware dependant protections, dependant on your reader. Your reader might not properly report/read the content of the disc in which case Clony XXL can’t determine the protection. Another factor: audio protections are still evolving and newer versions are silently released.
Cactus Data Shield 200 (Example: Natalie Imbruglia - White lillies island)
A CDS200 protected audio cd can be recognized by visual inspection as follows:
[li] Copyright statement refering to Midbar Tech, Tel-Aviv, Israel somewhere on the front/back cover or inlay.
[/li][li] Availability of the Cactusplayer (= proprietary mp3-player) when cd is inserted in a cd-rom player.
[/li][li] Availability of the hidden textfile ‘versions.txt’ in the datatrack. In this file the used version of CDS200 is mentioned. Note: older versions of CDS200 may not have this file.
Key2Audio (Example: Shakira - Laundry service)
A Key2Audio protected audio cd can be recognized by visual inspection as follows:
[li] Warning stating ‘will not play on pc/mac’ on the front/back cover and labelside of cd.
[/li][li] Textstring ‘Sony Music’ or ‘Sony dadc’ on the innerring on the data-side of the cd.
Doc.Loc (Example: Hitzone 21 - various artists, released in the Netherlands)
A Doc.loc protected audio cd can be recognized by visual inspection as follows:
[li] Textstring ‘DocData’ on the innerring on the data-side of the cd.
Note: DocData not only develops audio copy protections, it has also normal cd replication/manufacturing plants. It has been reported that non-protected cds also may have the textstring ‘DocData’ on the innerring on the data-side of the cd.
The record industry nowadays uses special logo’s so customers can recognize cds which contain copy protections. The following logo’s are used:
This logo is a general logo stating the cd has a copy protection.
This logo states the cd can be played on most cd/dvd players but not on a personal computer.
This logo states the cd can be played on a personal computer but cannot be copied.
Note: A lot of modern dvd players are also able to play mp3 cds. In order to achieve this a cdrom is used. This means you can encounter the same problems as when trying to play this cd on your personal computer.
A user-contributed list of protected cds around the world can be found here. Note: be aware that wrong information might be displayed! For the Netherlands an official site with list can be found here.
How to copy/rip a protected audio cd:
Audio protections are hardware dependant protections, based on your reader. This means that when you have the ‘right’ reader, audio protections will give (almost) no trouble copying/ripping. But it could also mean that when you have the ‘wrong’ reader you won’t be able to copy/rip the cd at all… The writing part is not interesting because all available writers are able to write protected audio cds.
Tricks used by audio protections: illegal Table Of Content entries, multi-session tricks. A normal audio cd-player is a single-session device, it just reads the first session where the audio tracks are, it isn’t bothered by the extra sessions because it can’t read the extra sessions. Also, an audio cd-player expects only audio-tracks so can’t be confused by illegal TOC entries which claim that the audio-tracks are data-tracks. A Cdrom-player (or dvd-player, cd-writer) is a multi-session device, it tries to read all sessions. But these (illegal) extra sessions are purposely added to the cd to fool the cdrom-player. Also, a cdrom-player can read audio as well as data, so it can be confused by illegal TOC entries which claim that audio-tracks are data-tracks.
Because the protection is hardware dependant we can classify 3 categories:
[li] reader is (almost) not affected by protection and just reads the cd.
[/li][li] reader is affected by protection, but is still able to read the cd using tricks.
[/li][li] reader is affected by protection and can’t even read the cd using tricks.
1.) You are lucky, you can copy/rip the protected cd relatively easy with programs like CloneCD, Feurio or ExactAudioCopy or Isobuster. You might need to tweak the advanced settings of these programs.
2.) You are still able to copy/rip the protected cd with the marker-trick.
3.) You are not able to read the protected cd, whatever you try, you won’t succeed. Only option: try another firmware which might make your reader able to read the protected cds. LiteOn is a good example for this, since november 2002 recent models can suddenly read most audio protections, while before they couldn’t read almost any…
[li] Yamaha CRW F1 (appears to read all copy protections and all versions of the copy protections, also the older and more harder versions)
[/li][li] Plextor - all models
[/li][li] LiteOn - starting from models 40sp and higher with the latest firmware
General tips regarding the used software:
CloneCD v4 is the easiest way to backup your audio protected cd. Just use the audio-profile which reads only the first session so your backup is not protected anymore.
Feurio can be used to rip the tracks. Of course your backup, when writing the ripped tracks, isn’t protected anymore. Feurio is able to detect illegal TOC entries and gives you the option to ignore the further sessions and illegal entries. If you succeed in reading the protected audio cd with CloneCD you should also be able to rip it with Feurio. You might need to tweak the advanced settings of Feurio first.
Exact Audio Copy can be used to rip the tracks. Of course the protection is gone after ripping. In some cases you might need the option ‘manually detect TOC’ in order to be able to rip the tracks. The advantage of EAC is its secure reading method (which has nothing to do with the protection).
Always try to let your application to close the cd-tray with the protected audio cd in it. Do not insert the protected audio cd earlier because Windows might interfere with it and ‘activate’ the protection. Programs like CloneCD lock the drive so Windows can’t mess up things. Again: don’t insert the disk to early!
In order to prevent Windows (or the firmware of your drive) to access the protected cd too early, you also need to make sure that you have disabled ‘auto insert notification’ and ‘auto play’. These options can be disabled through the device manager or the registry, depending on your Windows version. CloneCD also has a special entry in its settings for disabling these settings.
How to copy/rip a protected audio cd if the above mentioned methods don’t work:
[li] make a digital copy using your audio cd-player and a soundcard.
[/li][li] make an analog copy using your audio cd-player and a soundcard.
If your audio cd-player has a digital-out and your soundcard has a digital-in, you could connect the two and use the ‘record audio data’-option from Feurio. Total Recorder is also able to record from line-in.
If your audio cd-player has no digital-out or your soundcard has no digital-in, you could still connect the 2 the analog way. Just connect the line-out cinch-plug with the line-in minijack-plug of your soundcard. Again use Feurio or Total Recorder to record incoming audio data. The disadvantage of this method is you are copying in the analog domain, your digital data is converted twice which might degrade the resulting copy. In practice an analog copy can be very good, but we CDFreakers prefer the best, so we go for the digital copy!