Bypass DVD copy protection: copy film despite protection - is that legal?

Bypassing DVD copy protection is not difficult with the right software; however, the question remains whether that Ripping the DVD is legal despite copy protection. Because for no reason, the conversion from DVD film to digital video, an image or the film burned on a blank disc is not made difficult. I would like to briefly show here whether it is legal to copy DVDs despite copy protection or to save them as video. As always, the article does not constitute legal advice, but only shows facts that have been researched to the best of our knowledge.

Bypass the DVD copy protection? With the right software, this is possible, but not legal.

DVD copy protection: how does the blockade work?

Why do you need certain software to copy some DVDs and why can other films be burned directly onto a blank disc without any detours? This is due to the so-called copy protection, a digital modification of the film tracks on digital data carriers. This protection can exist for a CD and a DVD as well as for a Blu-Ray disc. The manufacturer / film rental company uses the modifications in the film track (or audio track) to make copying more difficult for both Apple Mac computers and Windows PCs.

DVD players and players for Blu-rays are structured more simply and are not disturbed by the change in the digital track during normal playback. Computers, however, get puzzled. However, it usually only takes about a week for resourceful programmers to write updates for burning programs or rippers so that they Apps circumvent the new DVD copy protection. A veritable cat-and-mouse game between the film industry and software tinkerers.

Can I use software to bypass DVD copy protection?

No. In Germany private copies are allowed, but no copy protection may be bypassed for their production. German software companies are also not allowed to manufacture or distribute programs that enable the user to switch off the protection of a disc so that it can be copied. The download and use of software against copy protection are possible due to software companies in Asia and other parts of the world. However, I would advise against such a download. After all, by using the software you are violating applicable law. Even if you just want to make a private copy for home use.

What are you allowed to do with regard to private copying?

Basically only two things: First, copy a DVD (or CD, or Blu-Ray) if it is not copy-protected. Second, you can only use the copy of the DVD yourself or only let the family use it in your own household. Because even the private, non-paid rental of a DVD copy is no longer legal. You can only keep the copy and borrow the original - it sounds like splitting hairs, but it is legally relevant. If the DVD in question is not copy-protected, you can also save the film or series digitally as a video on your film hard drive (for your own use).

Legal digital films: video on demand as an alternative

Before you get annoyed that you are not allowed to copy DVDs if they are provided with copy protection, you should just take a look at the alternatives. Whether Apple Mac, MacBook or Windows PC - you can use iTunes, the Google Play Store, Netflix, Amazon and other providers legally use downloads of films and series. The only important thing here is: only these services (and those with other names) that are chargeable are also legal. All free streams via, and Co are officially illegal! With iTunes, however, you can download films, save them on a hard drive or a mobile player or iPod, iPad or iPhone and enjoy them flexibly, digitally and legally.

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2 Responses to “Bypassing DVD copy protection: copying a film despite protection – is that legal?”

  1. Correct: I can download digital content from iTunes (etc.) and watch it on the (certified) devices (iPad, Apple TV) approved by the provider. But only on this one. I used to be able to take a DVD (or even a VHS cassette) to my buddy and watch it there.
    On top of that, it must not be concealed that the rental fee for the film is higher than the rental fee for a DVD in the video store used to be. And the purchase price for the 'software film' is often also more expensive than the DVD once it has arrived at the discount store. And then there is the ugly story that I paid for the film, but if the VOD provider goes bankrupt or the rights holder is in a dispute with the VOD shop, my locally saved film is usually unusable because they contacted me DMS server no longer responds or even the remote copy is deleted. M$ Zune owners can sing a song about it...

    Half a year ago I was desperately looking for a VOD provider without digital rights management because I wanted to play films on an mp4 player in the car. Of course, there is no such provider, but when I asked Google I was bombarded with illegal conversion programs that wanted to free content from Amazon, iTunes, Google Playstore, etc. from the digital shackles ... for a handsome price, of course.
    Beautiful new world :-/

    1. Johannes Domke

      There are advantages and disadvantages to every offer. For example, you can still borrow DVDs from video stores or libraries. These can be played on the go with mobile DVD players or a laptop (the newer MacBook, MacBook Air, netbooks, etc. require an external drive). The perfect offer that leaves nothing to be desired will probably not be available anytime soon.

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