As we all know it is ILLEGAL to copy commercial CDs and sell them…It is however NOT illegal to copy them for personal backup! That’s why it is useful to know that CDs can be protected in several ways. Just to make sure that you can not make any illegal copies. On this page we want to explain u a bit more about the various copy-protections that are on the market and what you can do to by-pass them.
Also some information on useful tools. If you want to use parts of this page on your page then make sure you’ve read our copyright information…
Most of the parts written by ZiSE, DoMiN8ToR and WaxWeazle.
An often used copy protection is the one where there is more data pressed on the then can be copied on regular 74 minutes CD-R’s. So companies create CD’s with 670 or 680 MB of data (and / or audio). With the wide availability of 80 minutes (700 MB) CD’s this protection is far from effective nowadays.
Use 80 minutes – 700 MB recordables.
With this protection an illegal TOC (table of contents) has been written to the cd. When check in Windows for the size of such a CD it seems that the cd is often larger then 1 GB (1.000 MB). Of course this is not true, just because a cd can not hold such an amount of data.
Use a cd-recording program that offers the option to ‘ignore illegal TOC’: NERO, CDRWin, Prassi, etc.
Games protected with Fake TOC:
- Monaco Grand Prix – Racing Simulation 2
- Nice 2
- Tomb Raider 3
How to detect:
Can be recognized by examining the cd tracks. Usually the cd contains a second data after several audio tracks which is in conflict with ISO standards.
Securom is one of the most known protection methods and is developed by Sony. They have a fabric in the middle of Europe where they have a machine that produces CD’s with data that cannot be copied by cd-r’s. On the CD’s this machine produces there a few files that contain data about the structure of this not copyable data. Every time you start the game the data of the uncopieable data, and the data that is on the cd are compared, if they are not equal the game will give an error and you will not be able to play.
More info can be found at: http://www.securom.com
Solution: The Securom cracks
Games protected with Securom (Among others):
- Alpha Centauri (Securom v4)
- Brain Lara Cricket (Securom V5)
- Decent FreeSpace (Securom V2)
- Fifa 99 (Securom V3)
- Forsaken (Securom V1)
- Frankreich 98 (Securom V1)
- Heart of Darkness (Securom V2)
- Hexplore (Securom V1)
- Incoming (Securom V1)
- Machines (Securom V5)
- Max II (Securom V2)
- Panzer Commander (Securom V2)
- Populous 3 (Securom V3)
- Revolt (not sure what version)
- S.A.G.A: Rage of the Vikings (Securom V5)
- Shadowman (not sure what version)
- Silver (Securom V4)
- SimCity 3000 – German (Securom V4)
- Southpark (Securom V4)
- Superbike (Securom V4)
- Team Apache (Securom V2)
- Trick style (No crack)
- Turok 2 (Securom V4)
- WarGasm (Securom V3)
- War of the Worlds (V3)
- Omnia 99 – Italian
- Omnia 99 Atlante – Italian
If One of the following files exists in the installed directory or in the root of the original CD: CMS16.DLL, CMS_95.DLL or CMS_NT.DLL then you have to do with a Securom protected CD. Also a picture with the text: DADC indicates that the CD is protected with Securom.
To kill Securom use the appropriate Generic Securom cracks which are available on the net… Try searching at http://astalavista.box.sk for Generic Securom
This is also a very much used protection. It probably uses bad blocks to disable you from backing up.
From the official Laser lock site:
“Laser lock uses a combination of encryption software and unique laser marking on the CD surface made during the special Laser Lock mastering procedure, in order to make copying practically impossible. Every CD-ROM application has a unique locking parameter that provides a complete protection against illegal re-mastering and reproduction. Laser Lock offers excellent protection for every application as each application package is characterized by a unique encryption parameter that is specified during Laser Locking procedure.”
Some of this information of Laser lock maybe a little exaggerated cause of course these guys want to sell their product.
You should try ‘Ignore read faults’ with your backup program like CDRWin, NERO or Prassi. An other option that works is copying the complete CD contents to a directory on your hard disk except for the Laser Lock dir. Load the files in this dir into a Hex editor (e.g. Hex32 or Hexworks) and save them unchanged into a dir of the same name on your hard disk. After completions burn a CD from your hard disk.
Games protected with Laser lock (Among others):
- Metro Police
- Spec Ops
- Fall Out 2
How to detect:
Look for a hidden directory called LASERLOK on the cd…
Technology that seems to be based on the Securom method. This technology encrypts the CD with a digital signature which can’t be picked up by CD recorders and a multi- layered wrapper that secures the CD-ROM content. SafeDisc is currently being utilized by Eidos, TalonSoft, GT Interactive, Interplay, Microprose, Red Storm and Take Two Interactive.
From the Safedisc homepage (http://www.macrovision.com/scp.html):
“The SAFEDISC technology is comprised of three key features: (1) an authenticating digital signature, (2) encryption that protects the content, and (3) anti-hacking software. During pre mastering, the content is encrypted and carries with it authentication instructions. A unique SAFEDISC digital signature is subsequently added to the title during mastering. When a user plays an original disc, the authentication software reads the digital signature allowing the program to be decrypted and to play normally. This authentication process is transparent to the user. The original CD must be present in the CD-ROM drive to allow the authentication to occur. When attempting to make an unauthorized copy with a CD-R or with professional mastering equipment, the digital signature is not transferred to the copy. When an unauthorized copy is played back, the absence of the signature will prevent decryption of the program and the copy will not play.. SAFEDISC also includes anti-hacking technology that prevents the compromise of its security features. The anti-hacking technology is designed to not only deter casual copying, but also to provide strong resistance to destructive hackers and commercial pirates.”
More information: Cdilla SafeDisc and Macrovison SafeDisc
Games protected with SafeDisc (Among others):
- Armyman 2
- Atlas 2000 (MS)
- Beavis and Butthead: Bunghole in one
- Blood 2
- Carmageddon 2
- Commandos 2
- Championship Manager 3
- Combat Simulator (WWII Europe series)
- Command & Conquer 2 Tiberian Sun
- Dark Vengeance
- Diablo 2
- Discworld Noir
- Dungeon Keeper 2
- Encarta 2000
- Encarta Interactive English Learning
- European Air War
- Fleet Command
- Heavy Gear 2
- Hidden and Dangerous
- Jagged Alliance 2
- Klingon Honor Guard
- Lego Creator
- Lego Chess
- Mech Warrior 3
- Midtown Madness
- Might & Magic 7 Montezuma’s Return
- NFS 4
- Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus
- Railroad Tycoon II
- RollerCoaster Tycoon
- Redline Racer
- Rainbow Six
- Roller Coaster Tycoon
- Star Trek: BotF
- System Shock 2
- TA: Kingdoms
- Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
- Viva Football
- Warzone 2100
- Western Front
- Worms 2: Armageddon
- You Don’t Know Jack 2
Unknown (or new) SafeDisc version protected games:
- Age of Kings 2
- Cutthroats: Terror On The High Seas
- Demolition Racer
- Earth 2150
- FIFA 2000
- Legacy of Kain: Soulraver
- GP 500
- Flight Simulator 2000
- Gungan – Die Neue Welt
- Gulf War : Operation Desert Hammer
- Bundesliga Stars 2000
- Heroes of Might and Magic 3 : Armageddon’s Blade
- Madden NFL 2000
- Microsoft Pandora’s box
- NBA Live 2000
- NHL 2000
- Panzer General 3D Assault
- Prince of Persia (CD 2)
- Sinistar Pers
- Seven Kingdoms 2: The Frythan Wars
- Starsiege Universe
- The Operational Art of War II
- USAF: United States Air Force
- Warhammer 40.000 Rites of War
Copy the CD with CDRWin like this: As the cd has errors first make an image on your hard disk (this can take up to a couple of hours…!). Settings: Non-RAW copy, Data read speed: 1x, Audio read speed: whatever you like (no errors on audio tracks), Ignore errors (if you use raw copy, you’d probably better choose “repair errors” to get an error free copy). After completing the image u can burn the CD.
Now before you start the game from your copied CD you will have to start the Generic Safedisc Laxity crack. Note: keep the crack ‘running’ while you are playing the game!!!
There are a few CD-Readers which are capable in making a 1:1 CD-Copy and then don’t need any patch to play the game. The Teac CD-532S & Teac CD-R55S are the best drives to do this.
Also a new tool against SafeDisc is C.U.Dilla. This tool makes it possible to create your own patches. It simply removes the protection code of the game.exe
How to detect:
There are some files that are located on every cd:
Furthermore there is always a GAME.EXE and a GAME.ICD where the ICD file is the actually executable and the .EXE is part of the SafeDisc protection.
The easiest way to copy SafeDisc protected games is Perfect Copy. This is a front-end for CloneCD. Perfect Copy passes the right settings to CloneCD. All you have to do is download CloneCD and Perfect Copy and if your burner is supported by CloneCD, you will be able to copy almost every game !
This copy protection works like this: CDCOPS reads the CD and measures what the read speed is. This value is a number (the code) that is the CD KEY. If inserted cd has a different read speed (compared with the stored number) the cd won’t work as the key is different. Using CDCOPS.DLL it is possible to regenerate the key.
Info by Waxweazle [Laxity] – Seems to be part of the manual of CD Cops.
“You produce a series of CDs in the normal way, protecting the main application with a utility that we supply. When you receive the shipment of CDs, which have all been produced from the same glass master and are therefore identical, you run a second utility, which measures one of the CDs and extracts an access code. This code, which is entirely public, is then included with the CD when it is sold, either as a label, enclosed in the package.
During installation of the software, the user enters the access code. This is done only once. From then on, the software runs only when an original CD is inserted in the CD-ROM drive. The data itself can reside either on the CD or on the hard disk, but the original CD must be present. If a pirate CD is inserted into the drive, the software will refuse to run. Each time a new batch of CDs is produced, a new code must be extracted…”
Programs protected with CD Cops (Among others):
- Interactive English / De Agostini – Italian
- Nationalencyklopedin [Swedish]
- Agostini Atlas 99 [Italian]
- Agostini Basetera [Italian]
- BMM [German]
- DK Kort [Danish]
- Lademanns’99 [Danish]
- Traitor’s Gate
How to detect:
When executing the program a window pops up with the words CD and COPS in the title…
In the installation directory the file CDCOPS.DLL can be found.
For more information about CD-Cops read here and here for more information on possible cracks.
DiscGuard™ is an anti-piracy technology for optical media that works by putting a “signature” onto a glass master during mastering, using a specially enhanced mastering machine, or onto a CD-R via DG-Author™, a forthcoming product (Q3 ’99) consisting of a specially enhanced CD-R recorder with proprietary software.
Addressing both problems of illicit mass-reproduction of software or other electronic content (counterfeiting) and copying by a casual user using the low-cost CD recorders available on the market today (disc burning), the Company’s innovative solution for CD replication protection is integrated into the laser optics system of CD mastering machines. This technology enables the detection of unauthorized reproduction of the CD itself, without reference or change to the data contained on it.
The unique DiscGuard™ signature is not reproducible by pressed disc counterfeiting nor by CD-R burning. Thus, a pirate who attempts to replicate a DiscGuard™ disc will be able to only copy its content but not the embedded signature.
When the DiscGuard™ verification software detects that the application is being run from a unauthorized copy CD, a demo version of the application or other alternate program can be run at the software developer’s choice.
Games protected with DiscGuard:
- Collin McRae Rally
StarForce is an innovative CD/DVD copy protection system, developed by Protection Technology Co. The system consists of two components:
- Unique recognition system, which distinguishes an original compact disc from its copy. It doesn’t matter where the copy was made -at home, or at a CD manufacturing plant.
- Encryption system of Executable files
- Special Anti-debug system
The StarForce copy protection does not hamper to make copies from original discs, but makes it impossible to start the software from the copy. Even from the copy made by such famous coping programs as CloneCD, CDRWin, Disk Juggler etc. Also CD copies don’t work under CD emulators.
Recognition of compact discs
StarForce uses unique system of disc recognition. The system can identify whether the disk in CD-ROM is original. When identifying the CD originality, it deciphers and starts the exe. file. If the disk is recognized as a copy, this information will be immediately displayed and the program start-up will be blocked.
Solution and Identification not known yet.
BlindRead is really a nice program if u want to create backup copies. It allows you to copy CDs that use the copy-protection of ‘unreadable files’. This protection is used in games like Settlers 3, StarWars Rogue Squadron and StarWars Encyclopedia. The program is in French but is easy to understand. Read the enclosed ‘howto.txt’ file for info in English. U can probably find it somewhere on the net by doing a search in any of the search engines or at Astalavista
Duplicator is a burning program that supports only a few types of burners but if it works on your burner you will be able to burn almost every game !
If you can supply us with info on more copy-protections or info how to by-pass them then mail us at: [mail]firstname.lastname@example.org@cdfreaks.com[/mail]
Contributions to this page by: WaxWeazle [Laxity 99], Pedro [Laxity 99], Animalo [Laxity 99] and Mr. Joiz.
Special reporter: _SE_
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