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Why Isn’t Copying DVDs Easier?

Curious GeorgeI want to be clear: I’m talking about regular DVDs, not Blueray or HD. I’m also not talking about making copies for my friends, or other people on the Internet. I’m talking about making a copy for backup purposes.

One simple reason I want to do this: the kids aren’t exactly “gentle” with the DVDs. For example, this Curious George DVD is insanely scratched and “stops” after a certain point in the movie in both our home and car DVD player.

Prior to trying to make a copy of the DVD, I wanted to make sure the DVD was going to work. I used a program called Handbrake on my Mac to turn Curious George into something I could watch on the computer. I figured if it could go through that process and result in a functioning movie, a copy of the DVD could likely be made. Sure enough, I got about a 1 gigabyte mp4 file that plays perfectly fine.

I have a Linux machine running Xubuntu 7.10 with dual DVD burners and a small supply of dual-layer DVD blanks. Should be easy to make a copy of a DVD on this gear, right?

It actually is fairly easy, except for one small step: installing the CSS libraries. Because the CSS libraries are restricted due to reasons I don’t claim to understand or support, they are not included in the default Ubuntu distributions.

Once that was loaded, k3b was able to utilize the libdvdcss2 libraries and allow me to make a legal, backup copy of my DVD. I can’t remember if it’s included in Xubuntu or if I loaded it previously, but it was about as easy as it gets on Linux.

I can’t help but feel like I am doing something “wrong” in order to do something I am legally entitled to do: make a backup copy of something I purchased. Why can’t this be easier? Any insights are welcome here.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.