Clipping results from analogue input signals that equate to numbers too big to be held in the 16/24 bit words - the "trimming" is done by the ADC, which simply passes the biggest it can. This is damage indeed, but it is not irreparable; it is possible to restore the waveform at least partially by means of some fancy interpolation techniques. It's a remedy, but only inasmuch as the remedy is less bad than the original clipped audio!
In both cases, results can be improved by converting the original waveform to 32-bit floating point before applying remedial action, then converting the resulting waveform back to 16/32 bit integer.
All of which, I'm sure we agree, would be entirely unnecessary if the offending recording companies did their jobs properly in the first place!
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