Today I had my first experience of a seriously copy-protected CD, Radiohead's Hail to the Thief, released by EMI. I didn't have much luck ripping it onto my Mac - I ended up having to force quit out of iTunes. Apparently there are a number of different copy-protection methods. One method can be circumvented with a magic marker. I didn't think that this method would work on this particular CD, so I looked for other methods. Then I saw this reference to hold down the shift key on a Windows computer for 5 seconds after inserting the CD. This stopped the CD from automatically launching the program which would interfere with the copy protection. I then copied the CD with iTunes, and soon I'll have it in my iPod.
As I've written before, I believe that creators should be fairly compensated for their work, but that copy-protection technology goes way too far, and I have no moral qualms about circumventing it. I've never been interested in downloading music from file-sharing sites. The only thing which would tempt me would be if I wasn't able to rip a CD which I had lawfully purchased. Then I would feel entitled to download an illicit copy.
When will the record companies realize that people like to listen to music on their computers and mp3 players, and it is manifestly unfair to prevent this from happening? It is simply such a stupid thing to do - piss off your paying customers and drive them into supporting your real target, the file-traders.
I'm about to really start ranting, so instead I'll link this detailed explanation of how the shift method works.