Jan 19, 2008

Copying DVDs Is As Easy As Pie

Often, dvds are expensive and need to be backed up. However, a lot of people misuse this and using software technology, rip off and copy dvds to share among friends. The worst part is that people do not stop there either. Some even go and put it up on the Internet for others to download and copy. This is against the law. The biggest concern today is how to stop piracy. Although no foolproof method has emerged, companies are trying their best to copy protect as much of their media as possible. This makes it hard for the serious consumers to copy and backup their dvds.

DVD disks are encrypted with something called the Content Scrambling System (CSS). The DVD player decrypts the data on the fly as it's reading the disk. People who want to make a DVD player have to get an expensive license to this secret encryption algorithm from the DVD Copy Control Authority (simply "Copy Control"). Each applicant gets his or her own secret key with which to unscramble the DVD so it can be played. And if one of those keys were to fall into the "wrong hands," then future DVD disks could be made so that key wouldn't work on them anymore.

Even with all of these precautions there is still tons of DVD copying going on today. How? When the DVD first came out, no unscrambler or player was built for linux so the Linux community made their own program to descramble the code. This made Copy Control go mad. They took the programmer and lots of people to task but this did not help. The cat was out of the bag and there it would stay.

Why should people copy in the first place? If people got good and low cost services from the Internet, then they wouldn't copy dvds for reselling and copying. Making pirated home dvds is not very cheap and hence a possible solution to the problem could be that movies should be put online at a low cost and old episodes should be stored for viewing at a yearly cost.

Instead of thinking about this, the DVD copy control has declared a war on all its users. This simply makes people more and more irritated by which they bring out copied dvds. For example, before even DVD uncoding software was made by linux programmers, pirated dvds were shipped from Hong Kong at a very low price.

Now an important question has come up. How safe is it to link to information in cyberspace really? The DVD copy control association has gone ahead and sued 72 people in the US for posting the keys to descrambling. As I said earlier, this is the code the linux community developed to unscramble and read dvds. Is it right? Who can say? Is it fair to blame everybody who links to it? Time will tell. It is however not fair to use old laws to judge cases involving new technology and even newer products.

By: Sandra Stammberger

S. Stammberger was the editor of Copy Software Tools (http://www.copysoftwaretools.info) which doesn't appear to be online anymore. To find out how to copy dvds, vhs, and cds the easy way, read my post on RipIt4Me free DVD Ripper.

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