Copy protection for data CD or DVD

As a compact disc replicator we have been asked many times if there is a way to copy protect data CD or DVD.  By data CD or data DVD we mean the disc contains only computer files in their basic form.  Audio CDs or DVD-VIDEO also contain files but their file structures are somewhat different than the Plain Jane CD-ROM or DVD-ROM structure.  Computer softeare, MP3/MP4 files, and PDF files are good examples of content to be found on data discs.

Historically there is no copy protection for data disc.  There are various so-called copy protection schemes intentionally trying to make a disc defective also cause a lot of problems in reading reliability.  CSS copy protection on DVD only applies to DVD-VIDEO.  In this article I will present a somewhat tricky, or sneaky way if you want to call it, to add copy protection to data CD or DVD.

Disclaimer:
The method described here can only prevent from disc to disc copying.  It does not prevent the dragging of files to desktop and then using disc burning software to create a new disc from the copied files on desktop.  This method can only deter no so computer savvy people from doing a disc to disc copy on duplicator tower or disc burning software such as NERO.

Disc to Disc Copy Protection for CD-ROM
No, there is not such thing.  But ask yourself, why do I have to use CD-ROM?  DVD-ROM functions exactly the same and if your optical disc drive is still CD only then you don’t deserve to be reading this. Please don’t feel guilty by wasting the extra disc capacity on a DVD even you only have one line of text. Optical disc storage is so cheap now so there is no point to limit your media just on CD.  If you agree to put your data on a DVD then move on to the next section.

Disc to Disc Copy Protection for DVD-ROM
There is really no copy protection for DVD-ROM per se.  But CSS copy protection is available for DVD-VIDEO; a special format of DVD that also allows the adding of ROM data on top of the DVD-VIDEO structure.  It is this last fact that makes the disc to disc copy protection possible.  All we need to do is to create a DVD-VIDEO instead a DVD-ROM.  You can make the video as a dummy video with one second blink or you can put the more meaningful instructions on how to access the ROM data on the disc.  Typically on Windows it will be right clicking on the optical disc drive icon and then choose “Open” instead of double-clicking on the icon.  On Mac two drives icon will show up on the Desktop; one as the DVD-VIDEO and one as the DVD-ROM.

Conclusion
In a nut shell, by artificially adding a short video and making the DVD as DVD-VIDEO then CSS can be added to prevent the less computer savvy users from doing the disc to disc copying.

New Cyberian has been the primary disc replicator that can efficiently add CSS to DVD-VIDEO since 2000.

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