We get asked on a daily basis how to go about making a copy of a movie using a home PC. As this is something not yet covered in Click I thought this week I would write a definitive answer as to hopefully decrease the frequency that this question pops up.
I will of course point out where the law stands on this; you are legally allowed to make a single backup of any copyrighted video that you own for personal purposes only as long as that backup is then kept for your sole use and not rented, lent of given to a third party. To copy a movie for any purpose other than this is very much illegal and something that neither myself nor the Herald Express could condone.
To backup a movie DVD you will need essentially two pieces of software – one to unscramble the movie and then one to actually copy and compress the data on to a blank DVD. The first piece of software removes the encryption that prevents regular utilities from Nero and DVD Creator making the copy and then the second actually does the business of moving the data from disc to disc.
A good application I’ve found for removing the encryption goes by the name of AnyDVD and this can be downloaded by heading to www.slysoft.com. The program is free to try out although if you do like it then you will have to purchase the full version after a period of 21 days. Installation is simple and then the program just sits quietly in the taskbar, removing the copy protection from whatever disk is present in the DVD drive of your machine. AnyDVD also has the additional advantage of being able to remove region protection so that you can watch DVD’s from all around the world on your region locked DVD player.
To actually copy the DVD itself a program such as CloneDVD does the job perfectly. This is available from the same address and like AnyDVD, whilst it is free to download you will have to pay for the full version should you wish to use it outside of the 21 day evaluation period.
Whilst one would assume that once the encryption was removed that copying a DVD is an easy process which any software could accomplish there is one major stumbling block; most pre-recorded DVD’s you buy are Dual Layer and hence twice the capacity of standard Single Layer recordable discs. To get around this CloneDVD is able to strip out any special features of the DVD (such as actor interviews, foreign subtitles and directors’ commentary) and then compress the remaining data so it fits perfectly on to one disc. Like AnyDVD the software is easy to install and since it includes a couple of step by step copying wizards it literally couldn’t be any easier to use.
Whilst I do usually recommend free software in Click I haven’t been able to locate any free utilities that accomplish the above however if anyone out there knows differently then please do let me know. Once again I feel obliged to say that copying a movie for any purpose than making a single backup for your own use is illegal so please don’t even think about it!
Chris Holgate writes a weekly article of all things tech related. He is a director and copyrighter of the online computer consumables business Refresh Cartridges who sell cheap ink cartridges, toner cartridges, computer hardware and other computer consumables online. An archive of his work can be found at www.computerarticles.co.uk.