Does the law allow me to make DVD backups of my own DVD movies?

There are software packages available for sale via standard retail outlets to make backup DVD copies of DVD movies (purchased and owned by a person) onto burnable DVD discs with DVD burners. Is this fully legal or not under current laws?

I dub tracks from CDs all the time, for my own personal use, and I can’t see how DVDs would be any different, especially since you purchased the original.

You are usually permitted to make an “archival” copy of any media you purchase. If it is not expressly prohibited, then it is allowed. Any dubbing activity, however, would generally be subject to relevant copyright and intellectual property laws.

It is illegal.

The deal is that while making an archival copy might be legal (questionable though) it is definitely illegal to circumvent copy-protection software or encryption…period. DVD’s are encrypted with CSS so therefore you’d have to defeat the encryption to make copies…clearly illegal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

CSS has been defeated (Norwegian guy did it with a program called DeCSS) and IIRC the industry went bonkers trying to stop him. Not sure what all came of it when the dust settled.

I’m not so sure about this. I just went a few rounds on this with Chronos in another thread and he stated flatly that only libraries and archives are legally permitted to make copies of copyrighted materials. Turns out, if you look at the copyright laws (sections 106-108 IIRC) Chronos is correct. However there is some ambiguity in that the law stipulates market damage be considered when determining copyright infringement so, if you make an archival copy and stick it in a drawer, it is hard to see how you damaged the market value of the property.

Further on in the copyright law it does explicitly state that software may be legally copied for archival purposes. However, it is still illegal to defeat copy protection schemes and encryption even to make your legal copy.

If making a copy of a DVD is illegal, can you tape movies shown on television for your own use?

Copying television programs for later personal use – called time-shifting – is legal. See Sony v Universal Studios 464 U.S. 417 (1984)

As stated above, the DMCA makes the copying of DVDs illegal.

DVD encryption does not stop you from making a bit-for-bit copy of the DVD to another DVD that can played on any player just like the original DVD.

I think (not 100% positive) the one of the problems with doing a bit for bit copy is that an entire DVD movie can be a good bit larger than the 4.7 gig limit imposed on the standard blank DVD recordable media that can be sold, and that to fit a movie on a standard 4.7 disc the menu structure, and secondary languages etc are stripped out. When a DVD movie is copied with these programs onto a 4.7 gig blank what you get is the movie and the chapter breaks period. It’s essentially equivalent to a digital videotape (but randomly accessible of course).

“Is this fully legal or not under current laws?”

I tried one & it asked if I rented the dvd & I said ‘yes’ & then the program closed :slight_smile: I tried it again saying I owned it & the program stayed open. Shrug.