Copy-protected CDs

Q: I have a few CDs which I cannot import into iTunes.  These CDs, such as Zero 7’s second album, will only play on my PC through their own players. Is there anyway I can load the songs from those CDs onto iTunes and then onto my iPod?

– Karen

A: It sounds like you have some of the dreaded “copy-protected” CDs, designed to prevent you from doing anything other than listen to them in a home stereo. (You may find that some of these CDs won’t work in a car stereo either.) There’s no way to get around this, other than paying attention when you buy CDs to make sure that they are not copy-protected… or hunting on Google for the tricks that people have used to extract the tracks, such as using magic markers on the discs.

Unfortunately, disc copy protection is generally only indicated in very small print, so it’s an unpleasant surprise for many people, and incompatible with the way iPod owners are legally enjoying the music they’ve purchased.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage.

His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.