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CloneCD - An Elaborate Hoax
"Elaborate Claims"

It all starts with the elaborate claims. The author of CloneCD, who goes by the nick Olli, claims that his program is "The perfect CD Replicator" and that it makes "real 1:1 copies of your CDs". In what follows I am going to prove to you that is is completely false. I am going to give you my personal, biased opinion on CloneCD and why I consider it to be an elaborate hoax. Furthermore, I am going to reveal its secrets:)

Perhaps this editorial should have been written a long time ago. CloneCD, its outrageous claims and the cloud of misinformation surrounding it have caused myself and many other people big headaches. After its release, suddenly many people (not knowing any better) were swamping myself and other technical support lines with questions like:

  • "Does your product support 1:1 copying?"
  • "Does my CD-R support RAW burning?"
  • "Does your progam copy CD's perfectly like CloneCD?"
  • "Why doesn't my CD-R work with CloneCD?"
  • "Will you fix that bug in my CD-R firmware?
...the list goes on and on.

 
"Understanding Copy Protection"

To understand the hoax, let me first give you a little necessary background information. A CD is composed of many tracks. Each track is composed of many sectors. Each sector contains the data. This is obvious to most people. What is not obvious is that a sector contains much more than just data. Most CD sectors contain information other than the "data" such as error checksum information.

While your CD is whirring away retrieving information, behind the scenes it is carefully checking to make sure that the error checksum information contained in each sector matches an error checksum that is calculated from the data read from the drive. If the calculated checksum does not match the checksum read from the CD, the drive knows that there is a problem and returns an error. Think about this for a second. This error checksum stuff is important. If you had important financial data on your CD, you would want to know if it was corrupted.

One strategy that can be used to "copy protect" a program is to make a a CD that contains a bunch of bad sectors at known locations. The programmer codes a few "bad sector checks" into the excutable. When a user runs the EXE file, the program tries to read the places where the bad sectors are supposed to be. If the drive does not return errors at the places it should, the program knows that something is wrong, assumes that the user is using an illegal copy and then refuses to run. The reason why the "bad sector" method of copy protection works is because most CD-R devices will not allow the user to write bad sectors.

 
"Perfectly Imperfect?"

Below is a snapshot of CloneCD in action. Each line represents a READ CD command. This is the command that is used to return data from the CD. The programmer tells the CD reading device which sector to begin at (LBA), how many sectors of data to return (xl) and then finally what parts of the sector to return.

For all you techies who are interested, S stands for SYNC, UD stands for USER DATA, EE stands for EDC & ECC, EF stands for ERROR FIELDS while SCSB stands for SUBCHANNEL SELECTION BITS. Note how CloneCD does NOT return any subchannel information from each sector.

Look below and let me explain to you what is going on. CloneCD starts at sector 705 and reads 16 sectors at a time asking the drive to return all parts of the sector except for the subchannel. Notice that the reading operation at sector 801 returns an error.

CloneCD then starts back at sector 801 and starts reading a single sector at a time. See how it goes from 801, 802 all the way up to 814 and then it hits an error. What does CloneCD do this time? Nothing. CloneCD just ignores the error and proceeds with the next sector. I don't know about you but would you call ignoring errors a perfect copy? Where is that "special operation" that allows CloneCD to read what no other program can read?

r LBA:705 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:721 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:737 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:753 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:769 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:785 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:801 xl:16 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:--- UNRECOVERED READ ERROR ($03/$11/$00)
r LBA:801 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:802 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:803 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:804 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:805 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:806 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:807 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:808 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:809 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:810 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:811 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:812 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:813 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---
r LBA:814 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:--- UNRECOVERED READ ERROR ($03/$11/$00)
r LBA:815 xl:1 S:+ HC:++ UD:+ EE:+ EF:-- SCSB:---

As you can clearly see, CloneCD is not actually making a perfect copy of your CD as it seems you are lead to believe. CloneCD is unable to read the sectors with errors...

 
"The Perfect Secret"

Since only digital silence is returned from a failed READ CD operation, what is exactly is CloneCD putting inside the sector? That is really the big secret here.

CloneCD has two output files. One file stores subchannel information that the program generates by itself. (CloneCD must be generating this subchannel information since it does not actually read the subchannel information from the CD!). The other file stores the sector user data. During a burn operation, CloneCD simply takes the sector and subchannel data from each file, combines them and then streams this to the CD-R.

Look below to see the actual sector data that CloneCD generated for sector 814 from the above snapshot:

Sync
0000: 00 FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF 00 ; ..

Header
0012: 00 12 64 01 ; ..d.

Data
0016: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0032: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0048: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0064: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0080: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0096: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0112: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0128: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0144: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0160: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0176: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0192: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0208: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0224: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0240: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0256: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0272: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0288: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0304: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0320: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0336: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0352: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0368: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0384: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0400: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0416: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0432: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0448: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0464: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0480: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0496: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0512: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0528: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0544: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0560: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0576: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0592: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0608: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0624: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0640: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0656: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0672: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0688: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0704: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0720: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0736: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0752: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0768: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0784: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0800: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0816: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0832: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0848: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0864: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0880: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0896: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0912: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0928: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0944: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0960: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0976: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
0992: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1008: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1024: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1040: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1056: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1072: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1088: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1104: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1120: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1136: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1152: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1168: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1184: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1200: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1216: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1232: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1248: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1264: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1280: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1296: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1312: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1328: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1344: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1360: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1376: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1392: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1408: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1424: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1440: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1456: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1472: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1488: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1504: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1520: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1536: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1552: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1568: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1584: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1600: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1616: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1632: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1648: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1664: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1680: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1696: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1712: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1728: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1744: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1760: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1776: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1792: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1808: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1824: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1840: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1856: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1872: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1888: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1904: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1920: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1936: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1952: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1968: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1984: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2000: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2016: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2032: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2048: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

EDC
2064: 55 55 55 55 ; UUUU

Zero
2068: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUU

ECC
2076: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2092: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2108: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2124: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2140: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2156: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2172: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2188: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2204: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2220: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2236: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2252: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2268: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2284: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2300: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2316: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2332: 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 ; UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
2348: 55 55 55 55 ; UUUU

As you can see, CloneCD simply ignored the read error and filled the sector with digital nonsense. See how the EDC and ECC fields are filled with digital nonsense!

 
"What's RAW got to do with it?"

First let me give you a few more pieces of background information. There are basically three standards for burning. These are Track-at-once (TAO), Disc-at-once (DAO) and Session-at-once (SAO). DAO often goes by the name "RAW" while SAO is sometimes called "SEND CUE SHEET". If you want more information on the writing methods, I will be elaborating on the difference between these three methods of writing in another editorial soon.

Recall that I said a sector contains more than just data... Most importantly for this discussion it contains the error checksum which you now know is called EDC and ECC. The sum of the sector data and all its other parts is called the "RAW" sector.

During a burning operation, the software streams RAW sectors to the CD-R. The reason why CloneCD works is that certain RAW drives will write nonsensical data to a sector with no questions asked. This results in a bad sector being produced because the EDC/ECC data does not match the user data stored in the sector. The reason why this does not work on most drives is because most CD-R's auto-correct the EDC/ECC error checksum information so they match the sector's user data during the burning process. This makes it impossible to write a bad sector!

Contrary to popular belief, DAO writing is not the only way in which RAW sectors can be streamed to the CD-R. RAW sectors can be streamed to the CD-R using SAO! Unfortunately for the purposes of writing bad sectors, it seems all SAO drives are progammed to auto-correct errors.

So there you have it. The hoax is exposed. Do not be mislead into thinking CloneCD is performing some "special operation" that allows it to read data in a way that no other program can. In fact other programs have been reading in this exact same way for a long time. It doesn't read the subchannel. It doesn't make perfect copies. All it does is ignore errors and fill the sectors with nonsensical data.

 
"The purpose of this editorial..."

I wrote this editorial for several reasons. Mainly, I just got frustrated with the mass amounts of e-mail and other forms of electronic messaging queries I have been receiving on this subject. I wanted to set the record straight and help other people understand exactly how the technology works. I wanted to dispell the cloud of misinformation that surrounds CloneCD. (Note to friends: Do you remember the guy who kept claiming that CloneCD bypassed his recorders firmware to perform magical feats?)

Finally, I'm irritated by what I consider to be outrageous claims that the author of CloneCD has made about his software. Recall "Perfect copies", "real 1:1 copies of your CDs", and "special operation". Hopefully I have succeeded in proving to you that these are false.

Another important note here... For those of you who know me, you know that FireBurner is all about enabling users to master their own CD's from their own personal data. You know I respect property rights. FireBurner isn't about circumventing copy protection and it was not designed to be a tool for pirates.

 
"How can I make my drive write sector errors?"

I better respond to this question otherwise my mail box will be really full tommorow!

If you really want this feature, the best thing you can do is to e-mail your drive manufacturer and politely ask them to release a firmware update for your drive that disables EDC/ECC autocorrection especially in SAO writing.

Why hasn't this been done already? Who knows? I know some of the the engineers who stand behind their drives and they are good people who are overworked:)

Is there some kind of industry conspiracy here? I have never seen any evidence to suspect this.




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