How to copy a dvd movie

Guide to copying dvd movies for your personal backup including copy protection issues you may run into.


Guide to Copying DVD Movies

Only use these techniques to make copies or backups of your personal dvds and home movies that are free of copyright protection, or those you have copy-protected yourself. Never copy commercial dvd movies, it is illegal.

What this article covers.

  • We're going to show you how to copy a dvd movie using free, easy to use software. The techniques will allow you to reduce the filesize with little loss in quality so that a full movie will fit onto one CDRW, a flash drive, or memory card. Never use these techniques to duplicate copy-protected commercial content, as it is illegal to do so.

Is it legal to copy a dvd?

  • It is illegal to make copies of commercial, copy-protected disks. But what if you just want a backup (in case your original disk gets damaged)? Or, what if you just want to copy a movie to your hardrive to enjoy on a flight or in your hotel room (it would be more convenient than carrying the disks, and a lot of netbooks for example don't have dvd drives)? This is probably illegal too, as explained in this article on CNET.

What we recommend:

  • Do not copy any commercial, copy-protected disks. The instructions in this article are only for the purpose of making copies of your own dvds (for example, home movies that you want to shrink in size and that you may have inadvertantly added copy protection to).

Step by step guide to copying a dvd movie.

Copy without shrinking the file size.

If you're just going to copy the movie to your hardrive, this technique will remove copy protection without loss of quality. A typical movie is 8GB, so if you're going to burn it to a DVDRW or flash memory you might need to shrink the file size, which is covered in the next article (below).

1. Download Free DVD (download site). This is a free, easy to use program that requires no installation. It can be used to copy a dvd to your harddrive, removing copy-protection.

2. Next, using File Explorer, copy the VIDEO_TS folder to your hardrive.

3. Now, run Free DVD. It will look like the screenshot below. Just click the Video_TS Folder button to specify the location on your harddrive that you copied the movie to.

freedvd screenshot

4. The program will then alert you to the copy-protection that will be removed.

5. After that, your movie will be watchable from your drive. If you wish to copy it to another disk or to a memory card, then you can use another program, called DVDshrink (see step-by-step guide below), which will reduce the file size significantly.

Copying a DVD and shrinking the file size.

A typical movie is 8GB, so if you're going to burn it to a standard dvd-r disk or flash memory you might need to shrink the file size. DVDShrink is a free program that allows you make your movies fit on a standard DVD-R disk or even a usb drive or memory card. It's also helpful in removing some copy-protection mechanisms (the program has not been updated in a few years, so you might need to use Free DVD, as explained above, to remove the latest protections).

1. Download and install DVDShrink (download site). This is a free, easy to use program. It can be used to reduce the size of a dvd movie and removes some copy-protection mechanisms.

2. Next, run DVDShrink and click the Open Disk button.

3. The program will look like the following screenshot:

dvdshrink screenshot

4. Just select the disk you want to work on and the program steps you through the process. You can easily reduce an 8GB movie to 4GB with little loss in quality.

5. If DVDShrink cannot remove the copy protection from a disk, then start with Free DVD (article above) and then use DVDShrink to shrink the new unprotected folder on your hardrive.

6. You can then use any program to burn the VIDEO_TS folder to a dvd-r or copy it to a usb drive or flash memory card.

Copyright 2009

The SG!

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