Solved: What's the worst a "copy protected" compact disc can do?

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DocStrange

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This is a question posed to me by a friend that I did not have an answer to. He wants to know what an album he picked up that he thinks is copy protected (only evidence: no "Compact Disc" logo in the tray, one of those FBI Anti-Piracy Warning logos that's on the back of every record nowadays and that, when the CD is placed in the computer, an autorun comes up with an option to "Play Audio". No actual statement on the jewel case, tray booklet or compact disc that the CD is copy protected) will do to his computer or his media player of choice, even though he is not copying the record, just playing it with a later possibility that he might rip the record to his computer for his iPod. The album he's dealing with is not one of those rootkit-plagued CDs that Sony manufactured a couple years ago, but an album released in 2009 or 2010 by Universal Music.

This is a question i've kinda wondered about for a while, as well, but not enough to really ask. I've put in the same CD into my computer, but even though the autorun came up, it didn't seem playback-centric, didn't seem to install anything as far as I know and three tracks in I see no problems with playback in Winamp or problems with last.fm. But he seems to be worried about long term effects of just putting the CD in one's computer and playing it, I suppose?

In my opinion I think he read the Wikipedia page on Copy Protection and believes that the major labels are out to get him the legitimate music purchaser, but hey, i'd like to see if his delusion has any wheels. I went through a period last year where I went all paranoid about every little thing with my computer.

Basically whats the extent a copy protected (if this record even is one, as i've found no Google results for this record being copy protected and as i've mentioned before, I believe its mandatory that some statement that the CD is copy protected be somewhere on or in the CD) compact disc can do? Will the resultant stuff that is apart of the copy protection native to the compact disc or will it stick around on a computer and/or cause issues with music players or whatnot? And if it does leave some sort of semi-spyware behind, will Malwarebytes pick it up in a scan?

EDIT: I just did check of the CD in "My Computer" both during and after playing it in Winamp (but while Winamp was still open) and found nothing that screamed "copy protection" to me. I even turned on Hidden Folders and Files (again while Winamp was open, but not playing music, which is so minor I wonder why i'm mentioning it) and again I found nothing. That's a pretty decent sign right?
 

DocStrange

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by the way, the album he gave me, the autorun put something in my Prefetch folder, is it OK to delete it? I put it in my trash, hesitated, restored it to the prefetch folder, put it back in the trash and then deleted it...IIRC, its just something that involves programs to run faster, and I doubt I will be accessing that autoplay any time soon again, seeing as I don't own this record.
 

Cookiegal

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Most if not all commercial CDs/DVDs these days are copy protected. This is not considered malware. It's merely to protect the artists' intellectual property and rights as you are not allowed to copy their material and that includes ripping it to the computer or some other device.

But there is no problem with playing a copy protected CD/DVD as that's what you purchased it for.
 

DocStrange

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Yeah, I largely listen to independent label music, most of which don't really care about copy protection or DRM or anything. So my friend has no worries that this CD will like harm his music player or his computer and this copy protection stayed on the disc and didn't burrow into his computer? That's what I told him, but he wanted a second opinion, I suppose?
 

Cookiegal

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I can't really say because I don't know what CD we're talking about. But there are some that install DRM softwar of some sort. If it's a legitimately purchased CD then I don't see why he'd be concerned about it harming his computer.
 

DocStrange

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Yeah, that's more or less what I told him. Nothing like that Sony rootkit that they got sued millions over, but if anything DRM or copy protection like did install itself on his computer, it won't affect his computer or his ability to rip other albums, and it certainly would have shown up if he did a search for every file created or modified in the 24 hours after he put it in his computer, the only thing that did in the time the disc was in his computer was a prefetch for the autorun executable, which I deleted for him, despite the fact that a prefetch has bugger all to do with DRM.

The record he bought, for reference, was "Lungs" by Florence + The Machine, an album I also own (except I own it on vinyl, so my personal copy wouldn't have been much help) that was initially released on an independent label in the United Kingdom and only has distribution through Universal Music Group in the United States.
 

Cookiegal

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As I said, it shouldn't matter and we've gone about as far as we can with this issue.
 

calvin-c

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I'll add that I don't see any reason to use my $500 PC to do a job my $15 CD player can do just as well. (Okay, so it wasn't $15 when I bought it but that's about all I figure it's worth these days.)
 
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