Can one legally copy DVDs?

I will point out that I am not asking for any information which is illegal!

I was a big fan of the series La Femme Nikita when it was around. Several years ago the series was released on DVD but only for zone 1. I live in Europe which is zone 2 and my DVD player will not play zone 1 stuff. Warner have stated several times that they don’t want to release it in other formats which is understandable for something which was culty and only minimally popular.

Aside from going to the expense of buying a zone-neutral DVD player is there any way that I could buy the original DVDs and have them transferred to a zone 2 format. (Obviously without breaching any copyright laws!).

Technically not. If it were legal, there wouldn’t be any point in zones.

But it’s up to the copyright holder to both find out and decide to sue you.

So if I hypothetially bought the originals I could ask somebody with the equipment to put them on compatible DVDs?

Remember, the laws in Europe are quite different than the laws in the US. That said, I doubt that there would be a prosecutable case if YOU bought the DVD, and had it transferred to a different region, and you still had the original.

Anyway, who’s going to stop you?

The exact answer will depend on where you are. I don’t know UK copyright laws but, in the US, there would be a fair-use for backup or perhaps format-shifting argument if you did not have to circumvent CSS. That is enough to trigger the DMCA provisions. Whether or not anyone would actually care, of course, is another consideration. RealityChuck, as far as I know, the region coding doesn’t count as a DRM mechanism for the DMCA.

Anyway, ripping the DVD (need to have plenty of hard drive space for this), then reburning to a DVD will have removed both the CSS and the format coding.

The region thing is the wild card in this question. If it weren’t for that, the answer would be ‘no problem at all.’

I can’t tell you that it would be illegal, but I can’t see them coming down on you so long as you keep the originals. Just not worth their time. IMHO

Is it legal (in the USA) to make an analog copy of a digital video (a DVD for example)? I know that there is software called Tunebite that allows you to legally make copies of digital music by doing the actual transferring in the analog realm even though the song starts and ends up digital (as an mp3 for example).

A program like this would be especially nice for paying for a music subscription service (like Yahoo! Music) for a month or two, copying a whole bunch of songs and then canceling the service.

If it’s legal for audio copying, why wouldn’t it be legal for video copying?

Oh sure, I intend to buy it and copy my own version just for me if it’s possible. I’m not into stealing something. And thinking about it, I’ve heard of the idea of backup copies being permitted in the UK. Need to find out more about that but I’m pretty sure it’s OK.

asterion, it’s really just as simple as ripping it to my computer (got lotsa space!) and burning a new DVD? Somehow I imagined the process as more complicated than that.

The Tunebite thing is a joke, right? You’re using a full-duplex soundcard to record the playback of a song you already have. All BS aside, this is no different from copying the file.

Where does the “analog” conversion take place? It’s a computer program, right, not a cable running from your speaker out slot to your mic in slot? How is analog duplication any more or less legal than digital? Because you can tape something off the radio, a record, or a CD? AFAIK the courts still haven’t nailed down what’s fair use and what’s not, and this software is straight up snake oil.

You need to use special software that can break the CSS copy protection on the DVD.

I don’t know if DVD-ROMs enforce region encoding when reading data (and not actually playing the DVD). Of course, a new DVD-ROM for your computer (which you can set to any region to begin with) is $40 or less and a little googling will give you a list of drives you can buy that can be made regionless by flashing the firmware. (I did it myself several years ago when I was still using my computer for most of my DVD needs during college.)

Consumer blank DVDs are both regionless and have the area of the disc where the CSS data would go unwritable (this is what keeps you from making a perfect bit-for-bit copy.) Basically, it really is that simple.

Since DVD regions is a business practice and doesn’t carry any legal status, why go through all the trouble of ripping, copying ASF. All DVD players can be converted to playing all regions, by fiddling with the remote for less than a minute.

Google is your friend.

That’s not going to help him if his television can’t process an NTSC signal. If it can though, I suggest checking to see if your DVD player can be made region free. Go here. If your TV is strictly PAL, you’re going to have to convert the NTSC DVDs from 23.97 fps to 25 fps. The site I referenced has some tutorials on how to do it.

Tunebite is not a joke. You just know the RIAA lawyers would have smacked it down good by now if it’s copying process wasn’t completely legal. I think it’s been around for maybe 5 years or so. That’s plenty of time for the RIAA to make a case. Read Tunebite’s site to see why it is legal.

As far as I can tell, the idea is that just as it is legal to record songs off of the radio, it is legal to make analog copies of songs because it is not an exact copy (as a digital copy is) and therefore, it is not piracy. Remember-- before digital copying was practical or commonplace (pre-Napster) you never really heard any complaints out of the RIAA concerning people making cassette copies of their friend’s CD’s.

Tunebite works by the same principle. Somewhere along the line the signal is converted D/A and then a little further along the line, it is converted A/D. Voila! Legal copies.

But I don’t understand all the legal and technological details of it. See their website for more info.

P.S.-- I see that Tunebite now copies video files too, but I can’t tell is that includes DVDs. It seems to be just things like YouTube, etc.

Jeez, if you’re not going to sell it (or otherwise make a profit from it), copy away.

If you can’t afford a 20 pound region free player off of amazon.co.uk (where I got mine when I moved here from the US) how can you afford a DVD set? Heck buying blank Dual Layer DVDs to burn to (that or a compression program to burn DVD9s to DVD5s) and a third party program to crack the region and css encoding would cost you about the same if not more. That aside do the searches to see if you can’t reprogram your DVD player as suggested in this thread.

Because I assume I’d need to buy a TV to go with one!

I watch DVDs on a mini player or on the computer occasionally. Otherwise I watch them on the TV at work if I’m there at night. Have absolutely no desire to have a TV at home so a DVD player on it’s own is no use.

Well, if you’re already watching on the computer, just look to see if your current DVD-ROM drive can be flashed to be regionless (this will tell you the model number and current status of your drive) by looking up the model number. If so, then it’s not a problem because computer monitors (CRTs at least, though I believe it’s true for LCDs as well) are not affected by the difference between NTSC and PAL and will properly display any input. I’ve done it myself with Region 2 DVDs from Europe.

Ahh ok. Well then you’re going to have to deactivate the region encoding on the DVD player other then that you’re getting into some difficult burning issues. Finding a cheap Dual Layer burner isn’t that hard but then you’ll need to fork out more for DVD-9s which are fairly expensive (cheapest I found was $2 a disk in the states for a reliable brand no idea in the UK) or a compression program like 1-Click Copy DVD (which is a legal program) plus another program that’ll strip the region encoding (which I have no idea on the legal status of though I do use one on my computer occasionally to watch my wife’s UK movies).