Sacd copy protection

Copy protection
SACD has copy prevention features at the physical level, which for the moment appear to make this format nearly impossible to perfectly copy. These include 80 bit encryption of the audio data, with a key encoded on a special area of the disk that is only readable by a licensed SACD device. SACD can't be played on a computer, nor can SACDs be created except by a licensed disc replication facility. Copying the music may still be done via an analogue stage (for example, line-out of the SACD player to the line-in of a CD recorder), but doing so is imperfect since the conversion to and from analogue is lossy.

There has been speculation it may be possible to capture the digital signal after the decryption stage but before the digital to analog conversion stage of an SACD player, which would make it possible to create a bit perfect copy of the SACD. Also, since a number of new SACD players have IEEE 1394 (also called FireWire or i.Link) DSD digital outputs, it may be possible to get the raw DSD data from the link. The protection mechanism used is Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP), which can be used in "Copy Once" or "Copy Never" modes. It is unlikely, however, that the SACD license agreement rules permit anything but the "Copy Never" mode to be used.

The problem mostly lies in less-than-perfect disclosure of the SACD and DSD specifications, and lack of software/hardware to work with DSD audio format in the consumer price range.