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CDS is an Audio CD copy protection scheme developed by the Israeli company Midbar Tech (www.midbartech.com). CDS is already being used on several newly released CDs. So far there are two different types:

CDS100
This method works by inserting errors into the TOC, thus confusing CD-ROM drives, preventing them from playing the tracks and ripping them to the hard drive.

CD-ripping programs have already found a way around this, like EAC which manually analyses the whole CD without having to read the TOC. Also, Plextor drives seem to have no problems with this form of copy protection.

CDS200
Essentially the same as CDS100, CDS200 lets you play the CD on your computer by adding a data track to the CD which holds the tracks in MP3 format and opens them in an included software player which then plays them. Supposedly the files are copy-proof and can not be transferred to the hard drive.

There have been rumours of people sticking a piece of a Post-It over the data track, effectively disabling the protection.

lj tells me that there is also the method of drawing a line with a black marker across the data area. This is just as effective, the only problem is that your CD looks like crap afterwards.

Cactus Data Shield: CDS200


This one works by placing a fake TOC (Table of Contents) in the outer edge of the disc, so that audio CD players can read the correct TOC in the inner edge, while CD-ROM's can't.

As you may already know, standard audio players, like your regular DiscMan, reads the disc from the inner edge and outwards. CD-ROM players, often found in computers and car stereos, reads the disc from the outer edge and inwards. By placing a fake TOC at the outer edge, the CD player isn't given the correct layout of the disc. This complicates playback and disables the user from playing it correctly.

This writeup describes on how to copy the tracks to your hard drive, so that you can play it on your computer or burn a copy of it so that you can play it in your car stereo.

For this type of Cactus Data Shield protection, there is a way to extract the audio digitally. You will need:
  1. A CD-ROM drive capable of reading CDS protected discs (see below)
  2. CloneCD (http://www.elby.de)
  3. Daemon Tools (http://www.daemon-tools.com)
  4. CDex (http://cdexos.sourceforge.net), or another audio ripping utility
NOTE! These are Microsoft Windows utilities. Search for alternates when using another OS!

The process

First of all, you'll need a CD-ROM drive capable of reading Cactus Data Shield protected discs. Plextor are known to be capable of this, I have tried and succeeded (model#: PX-W4824A), but if you were successfully able to copy a disc with another model or manufacturer, /msg me and I will add the model to the list.

Now, having said that, insert the disc in the CD-ROM.

1. Copying the data to the hard drive


You will need CloneCD for this. Use these read options:

Data Read Settings
  • Read Speed Data: Max
  • Read SubChannel Data from Data Tracks: (unchecked)
  • Regenerate Data Sectors: (unchecked)

    Audio Read Settings
  • Read Speed Audio: Max
  • Audio Extraction Quality: Best (Slowest)
  • Read SubChannel Data from Audio Tracks: (checked)
  • Only read the first Session: (checked)

    Error Handling
  • Fast Error Skip Settings: Automatic
  • Abort on Read Error: (unchecked)
  • Don't report read errors: (unchecked)
  • Intelligent Bad Sector Scanner: (unchecked)

  • Now, onwards. Select a place for your CD image and leave 'Create "Cue-Sheet"' unchecked. Click OK to read the CD into an image.

    2. Mounting the image to a virtual drive


    Now, we use Daemon Tools to mount the image on a virtual CD-ROM drive. This enables us to extract the audio without burning the image on a CD-R.

    This is fairly simple, just create a new virtual drive from within Daemon Tools and mount your image into it. Success!

    3. Extracting the audio


    Fire up CDex or your favorite audio ripper, and rip the music from the virtual CD-ROM drive. Voila, you're done.

    You may burn the image on a CD-R, it will not be Cactus-protected. :)

    The list below is a little incomplete, but just /msg me and I'll have your model added.

    CD-ROM drives capable of reading CDS200-protected discs

    Plextor

  • PX-W4824A

  • iCoach says Not sure where you are located, but is there any cause for concern of a DMCA infraction for your WU on CDS200?
    ...I don't think so? Let me know if I should be concerned. My location is Norway.

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