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How to Remove Write Protection From CDs to MP3 Player

Updated April 17, 2017

Certain CDs come with an integrated protection scheme that makes it all but impossible to make a personal copy of them, or to convert to an MP3. With nearly everyone owning a personal music player of some sort, this copy controlling makes for a very limited-use CD that won't even play in some CD and DVD players. Fortunately, there are a few software programs available to take on the task, and there is a tried-and-true workaround for less-stubborn discs.

Insert the protected CD into the CD drive. Activate the copy-protection bypassing software on the computer (see Resources section). Allow the CD's contents to be ripped to the hard drive.

Insert a blank CD into the CD drive. The copy-protection software should have isolated the music files, ignoring the false table of contents and misleading data from the copy-protection scheme. If the software does not automatically initiate the burn, copy and paste these files to the CD drive, and burn to a blank CD. The new disc will then be free of other files, and will be accepted by MP3-converting programs and computer drives.

With a black marker, draw a thin line around the outermost edge of the copy-protected CD. Copy protection works by assuming that the CD drive on a computer will read the outer edge of the disc first (opposite of what a conventional CD player does), and that populating that area of the disc with false information will cause the player to ignore the disc. The ink from the marker causes the drive to consider this false data as unrecoverable, and the player moves to the next packet, usually the music file.

Tip

Keep the file from the CD rip in a folder for future use. This way, you need not repeat the copy-protection stripping process every time. For some weakly protected discs, holding down the "Shift" key bypasses the autorun feature on a PC. This prevents the copy protection program from running upon CD insertion.

Warning

Only circumvent copy protection on discs that are unplayable on CD drives, and those that you own. Anything else violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy-protection removal software
  • CD burning software
  • CD-R/RW drive
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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.