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Information for all your media duplication and replication needs

The Fight Against Illegal Pirate Videos and Music

August 16th, 2017

Pirate CDs - bad for business!

In today’s society everything is done by internet: Emails whizz from company to client, children do their homework via the web, people illegally download music and video from the internet… This last, the pirating of music and film, is becoming an ever-growing problem in our technological world. But it doesn’t just occur on the internet: Pirated discs can be bought as well! But what effect is this having on our music and film industries and is it such a big problem that we need to worry about its effect on the CD and DVD manufacturing world?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes! We do need to worry about it: The music and film industry is an expensive business to run: With hiring actors and musicians, studio fees, pre- and post-production costs, disc duplication, advertising and distribution of the product there is a lot of money being sunk into making the product in the first place. There is a delicate balance between the money being sunk into films and music and the money being made from these to produce more films and music and if we as the public begin to pirate the products, there will not be enough money going into the cycle to make CD and DVD manufacturing continue.

Of course occasionally you get a film such as Lord of the Rings or Titanic which makes an absolute mint but for the most part films just about make back what was spent on them in the first place, if not even making a loss. The same can be said about music: Michael Jackson and Madonna may be incredibly wealthy but there are literally thousands of bands who every year scrape by. Is it really fair to pirate the work of these people?

Piracy has become a serious offence in many countries now, with the media recording cases of suing up to and over £60,000 pounds – a lot of money in anyone’s books! And yet it is still happening: Loop-holes are being found or people are simply taking the risk so that they can save money in the short term. But the effect this is having on our music and film industries is palpable and soon the cycle of money going in and out could get so broken that both industries will collapse entirely and there will be no more CD or DVD manufacturing!

So what can we do to help? Well, the answer is simple: Don’t use pirated goods! Don’t download illegally off the internet! Whether you use pirated goods or simply buy them, you are still enjoying the same product (nearly always at a higher quality if you buy it, as well!) So why not support the industries so that they can produce more music and film while you’re at it? Get a higher quality product and keep film and music alive by buying legitimately rather than pirating!

The environmental impacts of CD and DVD duplication and replication

August 9th, 2017

What are the effects of duplicating CDs on the environment?

Reports on the state of the environment are all around us, becoming one of the main concerns of the public.  And within this there is no denying that CD and DVD duplication and replication, like every business, has its role in being able to make the environment better or worse.  However there are things that can be done to help – and you yourself can do your part!

But first, consider this:  For each CD made, one kilogram of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere.  Now, that may not sound like much but when you throw into the equation that In the year 2000, 2.455 billion CDs were sold worldwide it makes 2,455,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in one year, plus the 3 and a half metric tonnes of toxic waste that comes with it!  And that, scarily enough, is for just the mass CD duplication of the music industry alone.  That doesn’t count computer games, promotional DVDs, DVD films, any software sales or the blank CDs just sold in shops!

And what happens to all of these CDs once nobody wants them anymore?  That’s right, they end up in landfill.  Because of the complex nature of their make up (CD’s contain many layers of mined minerals such as aluminium, gold, silver and nickel mixed in layers with non-biodegradable petroleum-derived plastics and lacquers) they cannot be recycled in the tradition sense, either.  In fact, if they are accidentally put in plastic recycling, they have been known to ruin the recycling equipment itself!  This is because the plastic used for CDs, polycarbonate plastic (derived from BPA) is almost impossible to recycle and has been linked to human and animal health problems and polluted groundwater.

But there is an alternative to this notorious plastic:  Polylactic acid (PLA) is an entirely biodegradable plastic substitute derived from corn – not only biodegradable but sustainable, too!  Here, then, the environmental impact of mass CD duplication could be lessened greatly.

In a similar vein, jewel CD cases are also clogging up landfill sites.  These, too, could be replaced in the mass CD duplication industry with the PLA cases or could be made out of paper out of recycled paper, a practice some individual CD producers have started to do follow.  This last idea has its problems, however, as the paper and cardboard cases are simply not as durable as the plastic ones and this, more than anything else, has been keeping them off the market.

But enough about what big business could be doing:  What can you do?  Well, you could send your old CDs off to a handful of private companies who have come up with some innovative ways to recycle them.  They can, for a small processing fee, be transformed into all manner of things, ranging from street lamps and car parts to, rather ironically, new jewel cases for the CDs themselves!  A good UK disc recycling company is Polymer Recycling Ltd.  You can also choose an environmentally responsible company for your CD and DVD duplication and replication needs, for instance Duplication Centre UK or Replication Centre UK who do all they can for the environment, for instance by recycling their packaging materials they reduce the amount of their waste that goes into landfill!

What CD or DVD case is right for you?

August 27th, 2013

It doesn’t matter what type of DVD or CD case you use, right?

Wrong.

In most cases, the DVD or CD case is more important than the actual CD label itself, particularly in the consumer markets. So which CD or DVD case is best for your company? There are several different options and we will cover all of them to make sure you are using the right type.

CD cases

CD cases tend to be smaller than DVD cases. They are almost the same size as the CD inside.

What types of CD cases are there?

Jewel case

These cases are said to pick up light like jewels, as they are transparent plastic, fitted with two arms that support the lid. They are the most common types of CD cases and allow for a small leaflet to be inserted in the front and back.

Pros: Strong protection, aesthetically pleasing, allows inserts and offers different variations that hold more CDs

Cons: Teeth and arms are prone to breaking, which render the holder useless. They are not environmentally friendly and they are bulkier than other case options.

The sleeve

A simple sleeve saves the most space out of any CD storage option. They are made from a thin plastic called ‘tyvek’ or paper.

Pros: The tyvek sleeves protect from water and spills, while the paper sleeves are environmentally friendly.

Cons: The paper sleeves don’t protect from condensation or spills. Both the paper and tyvek sleeves do not protect the CDs from getting snapped or crushed.

Eco-friendly options

  • Soft or Green case – most eco-friendly option, made from recycled discs and known for opaque quality
  • Digipack – only one component of plastic
  • Jake case – origami-like
  • WowWallet – FCC approved paper and cardboard

DVD cases

DVD cases are typically the size of a thin, A5 book in order to fit small booklets and extra information inside the case.

Keep cases

Most DVDs are encased in book-sized plastic boxes called Keep Cases. The front allows for a small cover to be inserted and the plastic is usually made from black plastic.

Pros: Strong, durable, allows for booklets and information to be slid into teeth and plastic covering.

Cons: They are not environmentally friendly and are expensive.

Bulk packaging

When it comes to bulk packaging, CDs and DVDs are both packed in Cake Boxes. A Cake Box piles discs on a spindle, with one large cylindrical plastic cover to protect them all.

However some of the cheaper CDs can also come in Blister Packs. Only blank discs are sold in this manner and it is advisable to at least buy sleeves to protect discs with information on them.

Hopefully this article proved useful for choosing your CD and DVD case needs. If you have any questions feel free to ask us!

Which disc label printing method is right for you?

August 5th, 2013

You should always have labels on your CDs.

Why?

For professionalism and so people know which way the disc should be facing when putting it in a CD player.

However, there are four methods for printing labels on your CDs. Which one is best for you?

Let’s review the four options and decide:


Lithographic (offset) printing

Lithographic printing is where your artwork is placed on a processing plate using a chemical treatment. The plate is then ‘offset’, or imposed onto a rubber blanket cylinder. This is then pressed onto the surface of the CD to create the print.

  • Pros: It looks great, provides high-quality photographic printing and sharp text.
  • Cons: It is only possible when replicating discs, not while duplicating.

Overall, this process is great if you need more than 1000 discs, however it typically isn’t the cheapest option.

Thermal transfer printing

Thermal transfer printing is when each colour is set onto a transfer ribbon and then applied beneath a heated print head. This creates a seal, making the disc waterproof and smudge free.

  • Pros: Taken directly from the computer, fast, cost-effective in small runs and it looks great.
  • Cons: You can’t print right up to the edge of the disc and you may need a white base to print other colours on it.

Silkscreen printing

This process passes ink through a monofilament screen, where each colour is applied separately.

  • Pros: It is the cheapest option for large batches and great for simple designs with minimal colours.
  • Cons: Grainy effects often occur around the colour gradients and text. Also, the more colours you use, the lower quality it will look.

Inkjet printing

Inkjet printing entails printing directly onto a specially prepared disc. After that, the disc is covered with a UV-resistant lacquer to prevent fading and scratches.

  • Pros: Very high-quality finish.
  • Cons: Pricier for large batches (since the price is fixed).

Overall, each one of these four CD label printing techniques is a viable option, but hopefully with the guidance above you can narrow down which printing option works best for your project. We understand that price and quality are usually the determining factors for printing on CDs so we tried to focus primarily on that.

How CDs and DVDs Can Impact the Environment

June 28th, 2013

The environment is a hot topic now-a-days.

How are you helping or hurting the environment with your duplication or replication of CDs?

Working with CDs and DVDs has an impact on the environment and it is important to understand how you are impacting the world around you. Not only that, but you must realise the various ways you can counteract the damage that you put on the environment due to your use of CDs or DVDs.

How are you impacting the environment?

Whenever you create a CD you build one kilogram of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.

Unfortunately most people don’t think that this will affect much. However, since the world’s population is so large, 2,455,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide are created every year from the combination of people’s CD creation.

This statistic is just from the music industry alone. With the addition of promotional CDs, DVD movies, computer games and everything else that is used on CDs the numbers most likely double.

The aftermath

What happens to a CD after you dispose of it?

They typically end up in a landfill. Due to their makeup, they cannot be recycled. In fact, if they are accidentally recycled they can damage the equipment that is used to recycle materials.

An alternative

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a great alternative to the plastic used in CDs. It is biodegradable and can reduce the effect of typical plastics used in CDs.

The material used in CD cases is also a great burden on the environment. In order to counteract the effects of CD cases, you can use PLA cases. You can also use cases that are made out of paper that many music producers have used to create CDs. The only problem with using paper cases is that they are not as durable as the usual plastic cases.

What can you do?

Every small act helps. If you would like to prevent the problems of CD pollution you can send your CDs to private companies who recycle them. A great CD recycling company in the UK is Polymer Recycling Ltd.

You can also choose to work with environmentally friendly companies when choosing your CD duplication and replication options. There are many options out there, but don’t forget that Duplication Centre recycles its packaging materials, so it is an environmentally responsible choice for CDs.

A History of the Compact Disc

June 10th, 2013

The compact disc, or CD, was developed as a result of the evolution of LaserDisc technology. Both Philips and Sony scurried to develop prototypes during the 1970s and they later worked together to produce a standard format and player which was eventually made available to the public in 1982.

The Dawn

The origin of the CD has many stories and several trailblazers to thank for experimenting and figuring out ways to make a disk like the CD available to the public. Although many people claim different inventors of the CD, the early credit should go to three men: Emil Berliner for his proving that flat discs work better for transmitting sounds than the round phonograph, Thomas Edison for his invention of the gramophone record and Antonio Rubbianifor his experimentation with digital video.

However the actual CD was not produced until L.Ottens constructed a team of seven people to create an audio disc that produced a better sound quality than the vinyl record. They set out in 1974 and eventually developed a lab that allowed for more testing and prototypes than ever expected.

The original thought was to develop a CD that had a diameter of 20cm, however this was later changed to 11.5cm to match the diagonal length of a cassette tape.

During that time, Sony joined the race by displaying an optical audio disc in the fall of 1976.

Joining forces

In 1976, Philips and Sony created a joint task force of experts and engineers to create a brand new disc. The task force was headed by ToshitadaDoi and KeesSchouhamerImmink, and after a year of testing, they released the Red Book CD-DA standard which was released in 1980 and later recognised as the international standard in 1987.

The small team was split by representatives from each company and each person was there for their own area of expertise. Representatives from Sony focused on error-correction and Philips representatives focused primarily on the manufacturing process.

The first CDs and players

Langenhagen, Germany was the sight of where the first CD was pressed. The Poydor Pressing Operations plant created the CD with a recording of Richard Strauss’s EineAlpensisfonie. Mass production began in 1982. The first musical album to be release on CD was Billy Joel’s 52nd street, which was sold beside Sony’s brand new CD player CDP-101. This release occurred on October 1, 1982 and led to an explosion of sales in CDs and CD players.

Choosing a Way to Back Up Your Computer

May 21st, 2013

When you need to backup your computer (or at least some of the files on it) there are more than a few options available. Some of the most popular backup methods currently are RAID mirrors, external hard drives, network drives, USB flash drives, tape drives, cloud storage, and DVDs. Choosing the right medium for you is a matter of weighing the pros and cons:

  • RAID mirroring requires a second hard disk drive (with closely matched specifications) for each drive you wish to have backed up. It can be an excellent solution as it keeps files perfectly in sync, even while they are running, and is thus an up-to-the-second backup. On the downside it is somewhat costly.
  • External hard drives can be of any size you choose, and can serve as a solid backup option. Like the RAID setup the up front cost can be relatively high, but it does allow you to take your files with you.
  • Network drives are a good option if you have multiple computers to backup files from. They’re more expensive than RAID or external drives because they require a housing which is bootable (usually running a linux distribution) but they can be very useful in multi-system households.
  • USB flash drives are generally only a good backup solution for small jobs or when you need to have ultimate (physical) portability, as their maximum sizes are quite tiny unless you begin to spend an extreme amount of money.
  • Tape drives are an old standard but are are often expensive as they have been phased out by other solutions. The tapes themselves can be a better deal than hard drives, and are portable.
  • Cloud storage has become increasingly exciting in the last couple of years, but as a backup solution it remains very slow. For small projects where you want portability such as working directories and music libraries the cloud is a great solution, but leave the big jobs out until internet speeds improve dramatically.
  • DVDs (generally the re-writable kind, though it’s also possible to use write-once discs) are a good, cheap solution for backing up your system if you are in a position to swap discs out as you go. DVDs offer the least expensive backup costs, and remain faster than cloud storage even with the need to swap discs in an out. Since backing up to DVD is a good, well-rounded and scalable solution that does not require a huge outlay of money, many people rely on it.

Choosing how much to backup is a very personal decision as well. Some people make whole system backups. Others may find that they are only concerned about things like photos, documents, and the like. In some cases a single DVD may be all a person needs to back their vital data up, but in others a great many gigabytes of data will be involved.

Once you know how much space you need you should make arrangements to secure adequate supplies. In the case of DVDs it is usually very cost effective to buy a spindle of discs and a storage case.

Your next step has to be to find a good piece of software. Fortunately you have a wide variety to choose from. Wikipedia has a list of free and paid backup solutions which, while not comprehensive, is a great start. Also be sure to check around on the search engines if you haven’t yet found something that suits your needs.

One good free program from the list is called Cobian Backup. Using this program it is possible to backup just part of your system or the whole thing, and store it on a variety of backups, including the cost-effective DVDs. It offers you a fairly easy to use interface so you can get started quickly. It can serve as a good first program while you are getting used to backups, and while you are looking around at other options.

Finally, when you make a backup the best storage place for it is away from your PC. If you happen to own a fire safe, placing your backups (such as DVDs) in that safe is a good way to ensure you can recover should anything unfortunate befall your computer.

Recovering Data Contained on Damaged Discs

April 29th, 2013

If you have a collection of discs it is almost invariable that some of them will become damaged over time. If your discs do suffer from defects such as scratches, chips, cracks, spotting, or degradation, it may be possible to rescue the data contained on them.

Your first attempts to recover your data should involve a personal attempt to solve the problem. You may spend a little time, but it’s much more affordable to give recovery a shot yourself before paying someone else to do it.

broken-cd

A number of programs have been created over the years which help users of different operating systems to attempt to restore data lost on optical discs. These each work in different ways, but it is very common for very slow low level passes over difficult to read sections of a disc to be used to piece together the data puzzle. When using discs with physical damage (such as cracks or chips), make sure to pay close attention to the recovery process at all times as damage to your drive may result if a disc shatters under the rotational force of the process.

A couple of commonly used Windows programs are CD Recovery Toolbox and Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier. For linux operating systems ddrescue is a solid option that uses a command line interface. For a variety of Oses (including MacOS) dvdisaster is available, and the bonus for this program is that it can be used as an advanced recovery method, generating data profiles on your media to allow you to have an easier time recovering if anything does happen to a disc after it has been profiled.

Many other options can be found at Wikipedia (some of the programs on this page only deal with non-optical media, so read carefully) or by searching the internet. When using any program, be sure to read the manual carefully in order to give yourself the best possible chance of recovering lost data, and to ensure that you are not attempting to do something the program is not designed to handle.

Professional services can restore from damage of a much more severe nature. Discs that have literally been snapped in half or otherwise shattered can be read by specialized labs. These companies are also your go-to solution when personal computer based solutions fail. Many major cities have businesses that specialize in data recovery. Your search for further assistance should start close to home to save on shipping fees and to minimize potential further damage which can be incurred when mailing discs. If you do not have a good local business, check online for options.

Actual data recovery fees vary widely by the amount of damage, the volume of discs you need restored, and the business you choose. Reputable businesses will offer you a consultation before you pay them. If the company you get in touch with does not, look further.

What Is Digital Rights Management?

March 19th, 2013

Digital Rights Management, or DRM, is a set of user access control technologies used to protect
the intellectual property contained in copyrighted materials from unauthorized use or theft.
Although DRM is widely used today, its history has been fraught with controversy. Although
record companies, publishers and other content providers claim it is necessary to protect
themselves against bankruptcy due to online piracy, its critics contend that it stifles innovation
and inconveniences users, while failing to actually protect against piracy.

In essence, DRM attempts to limit how a consumer can use a product after purchasing it. This
limitation can take the form of controlling access or preventing the user from copying the
material. This is typically achieved by encryption or tag embedding within the copyrighted
material to prevent it from being freely reproduced. Although this keeps users from copying
material and uploading it to file sharing services, it also prevents them from making personal
backup copies for their own archives, an activity which does not explicitly violate the law.

DRM can encompass many different technologies, from CableCard access limitation on cable
television to copy protection on music CDs. One of the earliest widespread uses of DRM
technology was the content scrambling system used in early DVD movies. It essentially rendered
all DVDs unplayable, except on players made by companies that had licensed the content
scrambling technology on their machines.

Within a few years, hackers had found their way to compromise the process and it was no
longer feasible. Although new DRM technologies have also come along, hackers are continually
working to crack them. Part of the limitation on media encryption is also due to legal limitations:
materials exported from the United States cannot contain advanced cryptography at the
level used by the government, because it would present a national security risk were it to be
compromised and fall into the wrong hands.

The main problem with DRM in its application is that it is not immune to hacking. Although
DRM prevents users from copying files to spread, hackers have sidestepped DRM technologies
time and time again. For example, the copy protection technology that was once commonplace
on music CDs not only prevented users from burning the discs to their own personal hard drives,
but even from playing the discs on their computers or in their cars in many cases.

Many consumers were understandably angry over not being able to legitimately use materials
they had paid for without any prior warning of its limitations, and hackers quickly found their
way around the technologies – which in some cases was as simple as marking the “protected”
discs with a black Sharpie. In the end, only the law-abiding users were inconvenienced, and the
law-breakers still found a way to pirate material. And in the world of peer-to-peer file sharing,
all it takes is one single user cracking a DRM technology to spread the material to millions of
others.

Although DRM shows no sign of disappearing since its introduction in the late 90s, it will never
be perfect or beyond controversy. In essence, it bears the same limitations of measures designed
to control the smuggling of guns, drugs or any other restricted material – only those who abide

by the law will be restricted, and outlaws will continue to defy it. As long as there is money to
be made in pirated intellectual property, tech companies and publishers will always be racing to
keep up with the pirates.

How to Safely Clean Your Discs

March 11th, 2013

With proper care and maintenance, rewritable compact discs will remain readable for 50-200
years. However, much of their longevity depends upon how well they are cared for. Following a
few simple steps, it is possible to maximize the lifespans of your discs.

Although it is important to keep your CD-Rs clean, it is very easy to damage them during
cleaning if you do not use the proper methods. Remove dust particles with a soft, clean piece
of cloth. Hold the disc by placing your index finger in the middle hole and pressing your thumb
against the outer edge. Slowly wipe directly outward from the center. Do not swirl the cloth
around the disc or wipe diagonally.

If the disc is sticky or greasy, do not use standard household cleaners as these may abrade or
corrode the disc. Instead, you’ll want to use purpose-built CD/DVD quick-cleaning wipes,
available from a number of manufacturers. You may also want to consider investing in a disc
cleaning kit. Several good models are available from companies such as Maxell and Allsop. Bear
in mind that even if you exercise caution while cleaning your CDs, frequently subjecting the
discs to this routine will still cause damage over time.

While compact discs may be considered highly durable when compared to records and cassettes,
scratches will occur over time during the course of normal handling. Removing scratches with
normal home equipment is difficult because CD resurfacing requires the removal of part of
the outer layer of a CD. This can be accomplished by purchasing a CD resurfacing kit. These
accessories are produced by companies like Scotch and 3M and cost around $20-$30.

Obviously, there is a limit to how many times you can peel off the outer layer of a disc to fix it
before incurring further damage to the disc’s contents as well. If your disc is scratched but still
playable, you may want to consider re-burning its contents onto a new disc and starting fresh
rather than risking the loss of data integrity which can occur while resurfacing.

When considering options for the long term storage of vital data, it is wise to take the fragility of
CD media into account. While at present optical drives continue to support the CD standard, the
third generation (Blu-ray) discs are now in heavy use, making CDs very much a legacy solution
for data storage. As time progresses and the price of solid state media continues to drop it is
likely that solutions based on this technology will become preferred over discs for important files
due to the technology’s lack of reliance on moving parts. In addition, cloud storage is becoming a
better option every day for handling the archival of data important enough to keep of-site.

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