First off all welcome , and don’t let the info overwhelm you too much. Most is done by testing , trying and research.
The thing is that with different cups of tea , different saucers are needed ; To speak in CD-ROM terms : You will need different hard- and software for different copyprotections.
Usually there are some software packages and hardware that can deal with most of the copyprotections known as of today , but some are still uncopyable. StarForce is one of them.
There are lots of different schematics around , such as SecuRom , SafeDisc , LaserLok and Cactus Data Shield. Each having its own way of handling copyprotections.
The best thing to do is to take it step by step. You already mentioned ClonyXXL , so there’s a good start to begin with.
This nifty little freeware program will tell you what kind of copyprotection is on the cd-rom. From there on you will need to make a selection of software , and - if possible - hardware.
Nero will not be a good software package to beat copyprotections. It’s good for making VideoCd’s , DVD’s and normal cd-roms , but it hardly can copy with bad sectors and all the other forms of copyprotections. The use of CloneCD or Alcohol 120% is recommended.
After knowing what kind of protection is on the cd-rom , it’s best to analyze this. Get as much info as you can about the protection used and how it works. It gives great insight on how the various reading profiles in software systems work.
From there on you need to choose your hardware , such as a Plextor or Asus or LiteOn writer ,and select a writing profile (if possible).
For some copy protections there is even an even more important step , which is to correct the sectors in an image.
An image is a big file which represents the entire contents of a cd , but now stored on an harddisk. There are several tools to analyse this image and there are some who can even "correct’ the image. Think of BWA and TwinPeaks. You will find much info in the CloneCD section.
Image file names can be known different under different pieces of software. .CCD is CloneCd’s , .NRG is Nero , .ISO is a general structure.
Happy researching ,