Note: Sorry for my week-long absence. Life got busy and I didn’t get a chance to write any posts ahead of time. They should continue on schedule from here on out.
If you are anything like me, you prefer to own your most beloved movies on DVD or BluRay and everything else as a digital copy (on iTunes in my case). I like to have my complete Marvel Cinematic Universe on display for the world to see my nerdiness, and up until this point, my materialism hasn’t posed any problems. I think it would suffice to say that choosing to bring my collection of movies with me to Germany in favor of necessities like toiletries or clothes would be ridiculous. Not only that, but DVD’s are country coded and would likely not even play on a German DVD player. (My laptop doesn’t have a CD drive either).
Clearly I can’t just bring the actual DVD, and if you have ever tried to rip a DVD like you would a CD, you would know that the copyright results in a garbled-up copy. I don’t have hundreds of dollars to purchase each DVD again on iTunes to get a digital copy, so what other options did I have?
Note: I’m not being compensated for any products mentioned or linked to in this post.
A quick Google search turned up the program, HandBrake. This free software has rave reviews for converting copyrighted material into the mp4 format you need to be able to play movies on iTunes or Macbook. I went ahead and downloaded it only to find that newer Disney DVDs apparently have additional copyrights that HandBrake cannot override. With that knowledge, I was back to square one.
Additional research turned up another program, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum. This program specifically claimed to be able to circumvent the Disney copyrights and worked perfectly for me. After about a day and a half of work, all 19 movies and 22 TV show episodes were safely on my Macbook. The only negative is that it cost roughly $40 and a small foreign transaction fee (apparently they are based in Amsterdam). The program was very professional and I have yet to notice any fraudulent bank activity or spam from the transaction after having the software for about a month.
So now that you know how and why I went about this project, I’m guessing you want to know if it was legal. The answer is that there is a grey area in the copyright laws. When you purchase the DVD, you are allowed to use it for personal use. This means that you can’t make copies and sell it or rent it for profit, etc. It is basically meant for your eyes only. The copyright on the DVD is meant to inhibit people from pirating the DVDs for profit. However, there is nothing that says one cannot make a digital copy for their own personal use.
Long story short, are we supposed to make digital copies of DVDs? Not really, but there’s nothing illegal about the activity so long as your eyes are the only that see it. I took my chances and I’ll leave it up to your own discretion as to whether or not you will take yours. Either way, I now have my beloved Marvel collection to comfort and entertain me during my studies abroad and to me, that’s totally worth the effort and risk.