The next generation copy protections

Posted 22 August 2002 21:06 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff


Nowadays almost everyone that owns a computer has a CD-RW drive. Making copies of CDs and backing up software is populair and still not hard enough to stop people making pirated copies. At the start of the CD-RW technology you had only software that could copy a CD. It was designed to drag and drop the files and burn them. In those days you could pick a CD, and copy it without any hassle. The populairty of this has however caused that software developers have started to find methods to make it as difficult as possible to stop people from copying Cds.

A little history:
The first protection that was used were oversized Cds of 700 MB. These were CDs that exceeded the data capicaty of 650 MB which was the only size of CD-Rs available on the market in those days. It didn't take long before the CD-R industry was releasing 700 MB CD-Rs. After that, a new protection hit the scene, the fake TOC. The table of contents that describes the files that are on the CD was modified in such a way that Windows and the burning software reported that the CD contained several GBs of data. The burning software refused to write it because it could only write a maximum of 700 MB to the CD-R.

Also this was solved pretty easily and most software was updated with a 'fix TOC' option. After that the next generation protections appeared, they are the protections as we currently know them, altough they have been evolving in the past years. Most of these protections are based on errors that are pressed in the CD. These errors are made intentional in the fabrication process and were at the time the protections appeared not reproducable by the software. People needed cracks if they wanted backup.

Till now our hero:Then someone in Germany named Oliver Kastl found out that the instruction set of some writers could retrieve the errors and write them. What is now called RAW reading and writing is based on retrieving the data ,how it is put on the CD, and not correct all errors (what a CD(-ROM) player normally does '“ against fingerprints and scratches). As he once told me, he owned a Plextor drive and was comitted to backup a CD and could not find a way with the software that was at that time available. He also found out that not every CD-RW drive was able to read and write these errors as they were on the disc and this is unfortunately still the case.

But the software he developed, CloneCD, became a hit and is currently one of the most used burning software. Because the developers of the protection also kept an eye on what was going on and noticed that their protections were beaten they still updated their protections and that is why we now have protections that check the ATIP code to determine if you are playing from the original CD or from a backup. Also protections based on subchannels are populair. CloneCD was always able to beat it. Also other software appeared on the market, Blindwrite and CD-Mate are currently the best known competitors of CloneCD.

As it is currently possible to copy any CD, if you have the right combination of hardware and software the software developers had to find another way to protect their properties, as they believe making copies/backups hurts their industry. And of course the developers of copy protections are smart enough to find other ways to prevent the user from making backups. The next generation copy protections are not based on simple error correction, faking data or reading ATIP code. They found something different, what ? Read on to the next page.

CDFreaks Resident
Posted on: 22 Aug 02 21:50
This is the principe were protections with names as Tagès, CDCops, VOB ProtectCD 5 and Star-Force seems to be based on
Ah, but we've figured out Tages now, and it will now be a short time before it's copied. CD-Cops and Starforce have at least a theoretical work-around, using the Tages trick.
0 Agree

No longer with us
Posted on: 24 Aug 02 03:56
Look guys and girls, many of you would probably disagree with me. But but making the games and music etc un-copyable i think wont make a difference to profits. Because were i come from (NSW Australia)games are like about AUS$90 to AUS$80. And if the games are un-copyable we just dont buy them. So in fact they might loose profits. I would like to here what you guys have to say about this? Thanx Ogre
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 24 Aug 02 06:07
Re. Ogre's comments. If I see a game I really want, that I know is good and will be a worthwhile purchase, then I will buy it (assuming I can afford it). Unfortunetely, most games that are released are IMO not worth me shelling out $AU90 for, so I grab a copy of them. If I couldn't get a copy, then I wouldn't go buy it as I don't think it is worth it. Perhaps if more games were actually worth their prices more people would buy them (how many people have felt screwed after shelling out money for something that turns out to be crap?)
0 Agree

Loves Smartypants
Posted on: 24 Aug 02 16:23
(how many people have felt screwed after shelling out money for something that turns out to be crap?)
Me for one. I got a backup of Medal of Honor: Allied Assualt and it was a great game....until it ended. It was way too short for my tastes. i am glad I didn't buy it for $60 CAD. (I can't believe how short it was............)
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 27 Sep 02 09:40
this article was well constructed. The main thing to remember here is ANY protection ever invented can be broken with enough effort. We should not forget the people who spend god knows how long breaking this stuff.And I go along with the theory that only if software is a reasonable price and quality it can control piracy.
0 Agree

No longer with us
Posted on: 27 Feb 08 18:10
X( :S
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 21 Aug 08 20:58
hi.. i have the sims 2 double deluxe... n i cannot play it because it says conflict with emulation software detected.. n i have no idea what emulation software is and how to find it on my computer so i can play the game..i no this is the wrong section 2 ask. but it was the only way i culd comment srry lol.. so will someone plz!! help me!
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 16 May 09 02:42
:c they not support their product. i sent 3 emails with no response. do not waste you're money with this company. they really suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
0 Agree

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