Legally Copy a Protected DVD – A How To Guide

Legalities with Copying DVDs

Copying protected DVDs can be a tricky process if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into initially. First off most commercial DVD movies contain some form of copy protection such as CSS or Content Scrambling System, which essentially is a process added during the Mastering stage of DVD creation and before the discs are burned to DVD’s. This is to keep casual home users from making duplicate copies and giving them to their friends or family members, just like we used to do with music CD’s.

Note: Some countries have allowed you to burn a single backup copy of a copy protected DVD for personal use, or for need as a backup provided that you are the original owner of the disc. Look at the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 which explains some guidelines on when copy protected DVD’s can be circumvented without penalty. Although it is illegal to make additional copies to sell (or give) to other people for free or for money. You have been warned, pirate.

Choose the Right Software for Copying Protected DVDs

Since there is potentially an issue with circumventing DVDs, software makers tend to stay away of including the protection removal code from their software. Mainly vendors within the USA, Canada, UK, Australia do not publish their software with the DeCSS code, or the code that can break copy protections on most movies. So by purchasing a software from one of these companies is not illegal in the lease bit and you can’t go to jail or be fined by owning it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting a backup application.

  • Stay away from “free” DVD-Copying programs because most sites offering the freeware software have a tendency to infect your computer with viruses, spyware, or other malware.
  • Make sure the software allows you to back up copy-protected DVDs. Even though most don’t come out and spell out this feature because of legalities most will still be able to with the help of a 3rd party plugin.
  • Make sure that the software is supported on your version of Windows or Mac. Some older backup apps have not been updated since Windows XP, make sure the one you choose is current.
  • Make sure you look at a few DVD Copy Software Review sites before deciding.

Quick Copy Protected DVD Tips:

For burning backup copies of copy-protected DVDs, your Windows box should be equipped with the following hardware: Note: if your computer is older than 10 years old then you may want to upgrade. But since 10 year old Windows machines don’t tend to work anymore this shouldn’t be an issue.:)

  • A 500 MHz processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 10 GB available hard-drive space
  • At least 1 DVD Burner.

Note that by adding a 2nd DVD burner can simplify burning DVD backups. Mainly because with one drive you must first copy the disc then add a blank once that process is done. By having a second DVD burner you can complete the entire backup unassisted, while one drive is reading the other drive is burning on the fly.

Caring for Your DVDs

Now that you know the legalities of copying a protected DVD movies and what software to use on what type of PC you can now begin the process of making those backups. No more worrying about the kids scratching them or losing them behind the couch. Just remember that once you have the right hardware and software the act of making copies is a painless event. Just don’t go selling those copy protected DVDs to anyone alright!