In a well-documented "Guide to Copying Copy-Protected Music CDs" by Mads Haahr at Trinity College Dublin, music lovers can work around the corrupt content being flogged by some artists.
Yes, some record labels have corrupted the "red book" CD International Standards Organization (ISO) format by changing the way those CDs play on various devices. I tested this ISO work-around with a three-year old CD burner attached to a Windows XP laptop. It worked with music CDs but not with games CDs. It produced high quality MP3 tracks. Because it is not owned by the music industry, MP3 is the one format most likely to be fully functional in the years ahead.
As Steve Redmond, communications director of the British Phonographic Industry trade association is keen to emphasize, when you buy a CD, you buy access to music on the understanding that certain things are prohibited—like playing the music you purchased on the devices of your choosing.
How legal is it to rip content you purchased from commercial CDs? The recording industry does not share my belief that consumers should be able to play whatever they buy in whatever device they own. Furthermore, the US Congress implemented the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that basically makes it illegal to circumvent copyright controls. However, I am not a lawyer so I only know this technology works. It ensured that tracks I purchased now work on all flavours of my CD players, on my mobile phones, on my car stereo and on my home hi-fi system. Follow these simple steps.
Step 1. Download IsoBuster. IsoBuster can salvage data from damaged CDs and DVDs. Although it is a commercial program, you can use limited functionality in its freeware mode.>/p>
Step 2. Create a folder on your computer for the audio tracks. IsoBuster will extract the hidden audio tracks from the protected CD and burn them to a normal CD. The folder stores the audio tracks before you burn the CD.
Step 3. Open the copy-protected CD with IsoBuster. Simply launch IsoBuster and insert your copy-protected CD into your computer. IsoBuster will show two or more sessions on the CD, unlike a normal audio CD, which only has one. The actual audio tracks are stored in session 1. Session 2 contains files, which are used when you insert the CD into most computers.
Use IsoBuster to get the audio tracks. Click on session 1 on the left in the IsoBuster window. You should now see the audio tracks displayed on the right pane of the software window.
Step 4: Extract the Audio Tracks. Use your mouse to mark all the audio tracks in the right part of the window, then right click and choose “Extract Objects” from the menu. When IsoBuster asks for a destination directory, choose the one you created previously. Then wait for the files to copy.
Step 5: Burn the Audio Tracks onto a Blank CD. You will need software that burns audio CDs. Drag the tracks from the folder where IsoBuster placed them into your Audio CD project. Check that they appear in the proper order. Then burn the CD. When you are finished, the resulting CD will contain all the tracks from the original copy-protected CD, but in a non-protected format. This means it will play on all players and can be encoded as MP3 music tracks as well.
Some readers will argue that publishing how to make copies of music CDs is unethical. Turning the page in the ethics handbook, the issue actually is whether the music industry can rely on restrictions to paid content. When you buy a CD, don’t you expect to be able to play it on all of your hardware? >/p>
If you expect to be able to listen to your music years from now, learn how to rip your collection into MP3 format. Then only buy music devices that can play MP3 tracks. That way you will ensure your music plays for as long as you want it.
Written by Bernie Goldbach and published in the Irish Examiner, March 25, 2005.