Ripping Copy Control CDs using EAC

Recently I bought 2 dated music CDs at a discount store (these are brand new CDs but sold at a discount) and was planning to rip them into MP3 for my music collection.

To my horror, when I tore off the packaging, I realized that they were Copy Control CDs. I either overlooked (for 1 of them) or it was definitely not clear that it was a Copy Control CD in another one as there were no signs of it being one at all.

Copy Control CD, according to Wikipedia, are “copy-protecting compact discs. The system is intended to prevent digital audio extraction (“ripping”) from the protected discs, and thus limit the file sharing of ripped music.”

One of the CDs had a copy control sticker at the back (obviously I was blind to it):
copy control sticker at the back of a CD

For the other one, there was an instruction sheet attached to the CD that is oh-so-friendly
copy control instruction sheet

So I was wondering how to rip them ? I researched the internet and found a lot of instructions with some suggesting downloading different softwares such as ISO Buster, some suggesting methods to burn to a audio CD and finally some even suggested methods of playing it in a normal CD player and then recording it manually via a wired connection.

Then I read in a particular blog that you just could potentially use EAC (that’s the ripping software I normally use). Nothing else is needed. Interesting and since I do use EAC all the time, it was just a simple test then.

So I went ahead to insert the CD into the PC (making very sure that the Windows AUTOPLAY functionality is switched OFF (deactivated via using Windows XP Tweak UI) for my CD ROM drive so that the naughty copy control CDs will not attempt to install any software which is a known issue. Then I launched my EAC (the version of EAC I am using is version 0.95 beta 4 from 21st Feb 2006) and behold, it was as per normal. EAC showed all the tracks on the CD (including a data track). It looks like what I see normally when I inserted a Redhook CD (i.e. normal CD) into the drive.

Okay.. so I decided to try my luck and hence, I went ahead and ripped the CD into MP3as per normal…..

I then play back the MP3 tracks and ho and behold, it worked. Just like a normal CD !

Why ? I am confused ! What’s the copy control ? Did EAC easily break the copy control ? I would spend time to research the internet to find out more but if you have an idea, just drop me a comment !

  1. Copy Control protection is so ineffective that it’s quite common for any software to be able to “circumvent” it, even if it was not specifically designed to do so. The main thing Copy Control did was provide a fake ToC (Table of Contents) that did not mention the audio tracks, and led the computer to believe that the DRM-protected files on the data track were all there was.

    This might have fooled some of the drives from the first generation of CD-ROM, but was definitely long past by Copy Control’s introduction in 2001, when CD-R and CD-RW were already wide-spread. These drives have no trouble understanding multiple sessions on one disc, and hence seeing, playing, and ripping the audio tracks.

    And they couldn’t have done anything beyond that, since anything more sophisticated would have meant that no audio CD players would have been able to read them anymore either. It’s the fundamental lesson of DRM that publishers in other media businesses have STILL not learned: that the only way to protect your digital content from being copied is to not offer it. Or in other words: if you can watch/use/listen to it, you can copy it. Always. Which is why it’s so funny that millions, if not billions, were and still are being spent on the futile tasks of trying to control the people who don’t pay for their products, and pissing off those that (still) do, instead of investing it in making a better product. DRM didn’t die, it was a stillbirth.

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