CD Burners
Proposed Solutions

One interesting solution to the problem of illegal CD duplication has been developed and is now employed by Sony in their PlayStation. It involved a series of checks executed when the PlayStation boots a disk. The first check verifies that the game being loaded was produced in the same part of the world as the PlayStation being used (by checking the country code stored on the disk). The second (and more interesting) check verifies that the disk is an original, purchased disk, as opposed to a copied disk by checking for errored blocks on the disk put there as part of the disk manufacturing process, which can't be duplicated with normal CD burners. This process would effectively make a CD that was burned useless.

The problematic reaction is that as fast as these technologies are invented and enacted, new technologies that circumvent them are also developed. In order to combat this particular set of checks by Sony, the Mod Chip was developed. The Mod Chip is designed to fool the PlayStation into thinking both checks had passed even when they haven't, which means users can happily continue using the copied or imported versions of games. The site on the web we found that informed us of the Mod Chip was actually so helpful as to define it, give references as to where one could be ordered, and provided instructions on how to develop a Mod Chip of your own should you enjoy the challenge - complete with references to the reverse engineering institute for the necessary code.

Clearly, placing regions on the disk that are non-reproducible by a CD-burner will be an ineffective long term solution as those determined to violate copyrights will simply come up with patches like the Mod Chip.

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MPEG Layer 3   |   Emulation
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Ted LeVan   |   Huat Chye Lim   |   Marissa Mayer   |   Ann Rose Van

Computer Science 201 Final Project
Stanford University, March 1999