Backup copy of DVD

I would like to back up some of my son’s DVDs. He is three, and for some reason doesn’t seem to grasp the importance of preventing the discs from becoming horribly scratched and smudgy. Can anybody recommend (preferably free) software for a Mac for copying DVDs? Or is it built into the OS? I have recently switched from Windows so I haven’t figured out all the ins and outs of OS X yet.

I assume this isn’t against the law since I just want to make a backup for archival purposes. Is that correct? I’m in Canada, if that matters.

There are 4 things that you need to consider when making DVD copies
[li]Hardware. You need to have a DVD burner installed in your computer. Many/most newer computers will have this, but you should check to make sure. If your drive says DVD-ROM it is read-only. If it says something like DVD +/- RW then it will burn DVDs.[/li][li]Media. There are multiple DVD recording formats, including DVD +R, DVD -R, DVD +RW and DVD -RW. Make sure the media you purchase is compatible with your burner. Some burners will only work with the + media, some with the - media, some with both. Of course the difference between R and RW is whether or not you want to erase and re-use the discs. For archive media you would use the R media.[/li][li]Software. You will need software which can make copies of the DVDs. Not sure if this is part of Mac OS or not, but it probably is. In any event, the burner should come with software if you purchased it separately.[/li][li]Copy protection. Some DVDs are copy-protected and cannot be reprodued (by legitimate methods). This may have to be discovered by trial and error, since the packaging usually does not indicate this.[/li][/ol]

Good luck.

It would matter, since in the US, you don’t have the right to make backups unless you are a library (and that’s strictly defined). Canadian law may be different.

I guess I should have mentioned that I do have a DVD writer, and some blank DVDs of both +R and -R formats. I have googled this, but mostly what I get are links to a whole bunch of shareware, and I have no idea what’s good and what’s junk. Also, I figured there’s probably a free, open-source solution out there, but adding “free” to my search REALLY doesn’t help.

So, any recommendations?

On preview, thanks, RealityChuck, I didn’t realize that it’s illegal in the U.S. I have a feeling our copyright laws are a little more reasonable (I paid for it, didn’t I?), but I wonder if this thread will be shut down. Back to Google for me, maybe.

Best place to look is on the doom9 site - just google it.

You paid for a license and are obligated to use it according to the license. If the license does not allow you to make a backup, you are SOL.

While you may own own the physical disk, you do not own its contents.

Yeah, you’re right, that makes perfect sense. I take it back. I didn’t really think about it that way.

It just kind of sucks that if it gets scratched, I’d have to buy a new copy. However, I guess I don’t complain about not being able to make a backup copy of my car in case I get in an accident. I’m pretty sure that’s physically impossible with current technology (although 3D printers are getting pretty sophisticated), so I don’t complain about it. Just because I have the technology to make a copy of “my” DVD, doesn’t mean I’m being oppressed if the original creator says I’m not allowed to.

So where is the license agreement for a DVD? Is it one of those inserts that I threw out when I opened the box? Or is it that FBI warning that my DVD player won’t let me skip past but I never read anyway?

In the US, the license agreement for a DVD is on the disc at the start, when it says “this disc is intended for personal home use, and my not be rebroadcast, etc…” However, that license is also based on what copyright allows it to say. My vague understanding is that in Canada, since you have to pay a royalty on blank media, you do have the right to make a backup copy. But I wouldn’t trust me on that.

The other thing that gets in the way in the US is the DMCA, which makes it illegal to circumvent a protection mechanism, regardless of whether the action taken with the unprotected content is a copyright violation. I believe that Canada does not have an analogous law, but according to a story I saw on slashdot a few days ago, it’s only a matter of time.

Yes, it will be, since the Chicago Reader is in the US. Sorry.

samclem GQ moderator