DVD DRM copy protection can still be broken

February 8, 2008

DVD DRM copy protection can still be broken The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is losing the DRM (digital rights management) war.  It would like you to believe that DVD media is fool-proof and cannot be copied.  Only it can.  Based upon all the bittorrents and ripped copies of movies that can be found online but its also possible to rip them yourself.

DVD boxes made today say something to the effect of “copy proof” or “copy protected” or something like that.  Maybe this is done to keep people from trying.  Whatever is being used, doesn’t work very well.

There are a number of software packages out there (some free, some not) that can be used to rip the files off the DVD and burn them directly to a DVD format of your choice.  Sometimes a paid package has to be combined with a freeware package to make the files come out correctly.

One famous package that offered direct-to-DVD copying was DVDXCOPY made by 321 Studios.  It was in business for a couple years before it was finally forced to shut down due to lawsuits from several movie studios.  The software it made, however, was excellent and easy to use.  DVDXCOPY software can no longer be purchased and existing installations have been invalidated.

Copying DVDs today isn’t as easy as that.  A utility to copy the DVD files to your hard drive will be necessary as well as a utility that can burn files to a DVD.  The DVD files may have to be compressed as well to fit on a single layer DVDR/RW disc but not for a dual layer disc.

Just to see if it worked, I tested the easiest of several methods on a Region 1 DVD and it went off without a hitch.  This was a recent movie which claimed to have “copy protection” on it.  The software I used, didn’t seem to care or was able to easily break the encryption and create the decrypted files necessary for burning.

I doubt very much that this same method would work for Blu-Ray or HD-DVD media but I’m sure the shady types that created the method I used are sitting somewhere in a basement working on it.

DVDs can still be copied and burned despite whatever “copy protection” may be included on the disc.  As for the utilities to do so, you’re on your own.  Remember that copying DVDs for any reason is illegal and comes with several unpleasant options which can include, fines, jail time or both.

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