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ripping_justiceNowadays, debates between consumer and music record industry on whether it is legal to rip DVDs heats up, and it will take a long time to reach an agreement. I’m not a lawyer, any personal opinion in this article might be one-side, but I will try my best to make it objective, so please forgive me of any of these comments are off the mark. And please feel free to correct me by comment on this article.

Legal Perspectives

Thanks to the iPods and other portable media players, as well as the availability of commercial audio and video titles in electronic formats, people today can watch videos and listen to music in the car, on the train or on a flight. However, when it comes to the legality of making copies of DVD movies a consumer has legally purchased, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as well as the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) are two fronts from which companies and organizations have challenged the legality of copying, archiving, and compressing DVDs.

Just as described in Wikipedia: “It is legal for an individual in the United States to make a copy of media he/she owns for his/her own personal use. For instance, making a copy of a personally-owned audio CD for transfer to an MP3 player for that person’s personal use would be legal.”

In the case Real Networks v. DVD CCA, the final injunction reads, “while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual’s computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.” We can learn from this case that non-fair use of those tools is illegal, but as long as you’re not selling your rips, giving them away publicly, etc., you shouldn’t have to worry about it. However, because of narrowly-defined fair use distributions, it is often the case that musical works and videos are not ripped solely for personal use, but are distributed to others without infringing on copyright law.

On July 23, 2010, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) issued an update to this ruling. “Noncommercial videos are a powerful art form online, and many use short clips from popular movies. Finally the creative people that make those videos won’t have to worry that they are breaking the law in the process, even though their works are clearly fair uses. That benefits everyone — from the artists themselves to those of us who enjoy watching the amazing works they create.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping

125896Legality Difference around the World

In Spain, Canada and China, people are allowed to backup their DVDs for personal use, but are forbidden if done for profit.

In Sweden and Poland and most European countries, making copies for other people is forbidden, and if done for profit can lead to a jail sentence.

In Australia and New Zealand, as long as it is not distributed to others and its use remains personal, a copy of any legally purchased music may be made by its owner.

In the United Kingdom, making a private copy of copyrighted media without the copyright owner’s consent is illegal: this includes ripping music from a CD to a computer or digital music player.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping

Can We Actually Rip DVDs We Own?

The entertainment industry would prefer it if we bought a separate copy of their film every time we want to watch it on a new device. One for iPod, one for iPad, one for Mobile phones, etc.etc. Anyways, the DVD police can’t really arrest us or anything, you know what I mean. None cares and so many people do it. Because we purchased it, we are entitled to protect our investment. A recorded CD/DVD all sounds and looks the same so people can’t tell if you are playing a backup copy. The only time the law busts people is if they are selling it for their own profit. None can even prove that we copied it unless they spied on us in our own home and caught us on video, it’s safe to backup DVD copies for our personal use, just don’t sell.

Best Recommended DVD Ripping Programs

Hand brake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows, allows users to rip any DVD or Bluray-like source and some .VOB, .TS and M2TS files to MP4 (M4V) and MKV file formats, which makes it much easier for users to playback their DVD movies on iPods, iPhone and with the Apple QuickTime Player.

Handbrake is great, but some DVD movie creators have become more sophisticated in their use of “Content Scramble System” methods in encoding DVDs so Handbrake cannot properly rip them. To remedy this, I recommend you to use another professional DVD Ripper (developed by Enolsoft Corporation) to create a full-resolution backup of our purchased DVDs.

Enolsoft DVD Ripper is all-in-one DVD ripping program, available for both windows and Mac OS users. It has the ability to rip and convert encrypted or home-made DVDs to any popular video and audio formats on Mac, such as MP4, AVI, FLV, WMV, MOV, 3GP, M4V, MPG, MP3, AIFF, M4A, WAV, OGG etc., gives an easy and fast solution for all the users to backup their DVD collections for playback on many portable devices like iPad,iPad 2iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, HP Touchpad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Xbox 360, PSP, PS3 etc. Moreover, users can also use this DVD Ripper to rip DVDs for editing in Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express and Reel Director Etc.


This is a very superficial look based on my limited understanding of the legalities in the area, and I’m not intending to break the laws that Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has issued. As one of the vast number of consumers, my article only expresses a voice from myself. And you are very welcomed to tell your point of view on legality of ripping DVDs by commenting below.

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One Response to Is It Legal to Rip DVDs?

  1. [...] Of course we might own a couple of commercial DVDs (Toy Story 3, etc.) and it would be nice to have them in iTunes in a format that works for the iPad/iPod/iPhone (We’d rather not buy them all over again on iTunes). But we are not sure how to go about doing this? What are some of the better DVD ripping programs out there? What video format do we choose to rip into? And whether it is legal to rip DVDs? [...]

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