What is Copy Protection
It's a message from the music industry to us. It says "Even though you paid money to buy this CD, we're going to assume you are going to try to copy it." Yup, we're all thieves.
The idea is by making the CD copy protected, they are preventing people from copying it, which is fine. The recording is their intellectual property after all. In theory there should be nothing wrong with this. In practice, it doesn't really stop anyone copying the CDs, since it's not that difficult to get around the copy protection. What it does do is introduce a random factor in what equipment the CD will play on.
A copy protected CD should play on a plain old CD player, theoretically. You may run into problems if you try to play it on a PC or something fancy. The problems I've run into so far have included: erratic ticks or clicks in the music, skipping, failure to recognise the CD as a music CD. It pays to check when you're buying a CD whether it has a copy protection logo on it because, really, your milage will vary as far as whether you'll be able to listen to it.
Note that a CD featuring copy protection should also not have the Compact Disc logo on it, since it no longer complies with the Audio CD Standard (Red Book)
Note also that there is also the possibility that copy protected CDs can damage any device you try to play it on.
The typical method of copy protecting a CD is to add errors into the audio portion, that a standard CD player won't pick up, but which your computer will choke on. These manifest as loud clicks in the music when I play the CDs on my DVD player (the most non-computery CD player I have). Unfortunately this may also mean that with a few minor scratches, the CDs become unplayable.
In this Collection
An X indicates my copy of this CD no longer plays properly.
Massive Attack, 100th Window X
Ace of Base, Da Capo
Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells 2003
Enigma, Voyageur X
Lazy Sunday 3
Kraftwerk, Minimum - Maximum
And not appearing in this database: Hughes De Courson's Lux Obscura (I bought this and had to send it back, because the copy-protection measures filled the music with clicks and ticks, making it unlistenable), Moby's Hotel (I bought the delux version, and no player I have will even recognise the bonus disk as playable),
I was going to provide a bunch of links here to various sites regarding copy protection but I'll let the web speak for itself.
Moby says: "if i release a cd and it has copy-protection on it, it's not by my choice." (As mentioned above, Hotel was released with copy protection on it)