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How to copy encrypted DVDs

How to copy encrypted DVDs
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At first glance, learning how to copy encrypted DVDs may seem like a step towards copyright breach. However, you are legally entitled to make two copies of any copyrighted media you have purchased, which includes encrypted DVDs. Encrypted DVDs are usually the ones you buy to watch movies and TV shows, but they also include things like computer software programs, games, and privately copyrighted materials like professional wedding DVDs. It's worth noting here that all copies must be for personal use only, and not for commercial or business use. 

Content Scrambling Systems (CSS) are sets of digital keys that protect copyrighted material on commercial DVDs. You are allowed two copies of any copyrighted media, and making backup copies of your movies and games on DVD is legal, but making actual copies is very difficult. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 rendered any software designed to foil these protective keys illegal. Thanks to the internet, however, software applications called DVD decrypters are still obtainable, and they give you the ability to copy encrypted DVDs. Again, we should stress, that these are only allowed to be back-ups for your own personal use. Selling copied DVD content is illegal.

What you need to copy a CSS-protected DVD

The tools you'll need to copy a DVD protected by CSS keys begin with a computer that has a DVD drive that can burn files to a disc. Many of the best home computers no longer have DVD drives, so you may need to get an external one instead. External drives will also connect to the best laptops.

Secondly, you'll need a source disc, which is the DVD you want to copy. Next, you'll need to find and download a DVD decrypter. There are many options, and we'll get to them in a minute. You'll also need software that gives you the ability to convert the format of the decrypted information and burn the files to a blank DVD. 

Lastly, you'll need a high-quality recordable DVD disc. Be aware that a brand name disc is not necessarily a high-quality disc. There are a significant number of blank DVD media varieties. The type you need will depend on the type of material you are copying, which devices you intend to use to play the copied files, and how much space you need to store them.

When it comes to selecting a DVD decrypter, you need to choose with care. There is great software out there, but there are also many junk applications loaded with spyware and adware, and also software sites that are outright scams. Two popular DVD copy software applications are DVD43 and DVD Decrypter, which you can access easily via a Google search.

One great thing about so many of these software options is that they are free. Shopping for DVD copy software, on the other hand, is relatively safe because of the leading products' proven track records. Depending on the software, you can find a broad range of tools for DVD copying within a single application, and we have a number of options in our guide to the best DVD ripper software.

How to copy encrypted DVDs

(Image credit: Getty images)

How to copy an encrypted DVD

DVDs are not a durable storage medium, which is why it is important to make backup copies. The completely justified need to protect intellectual property rights needs to be offset by individuals' fair use rights. You can copy all the DVDs you own, as long as you don't give away, or sell, decrypted copies.

The technical aspects of the process depend on the software you use. Some DVD copy software is so technical that even a geek will develop headaches. Others are as simple as popping in a disc to copy and clicking a few buttons. Some DVD copy software combines all the necessary functions into one application. DVDFab Platinum is one example of multifunctional DVD copying software that decrypts a source disc as it burns the copy. A good application should be able to copy a dual-layer disc in less than hour with the click of a button. In order to copy a DVD protected by encryption, you need the right software, a DVD burner and high-quality DVD discs to store your copied DVD movie files.