So where do we stand on DVD Ripping & CD Ripping these days? | DigiRAW | Blog | News

So where do we stand on DVD Ripping & CD Ripping these days?

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Is DVD ripping legal?

Mark Wycislik-Wilson over at Techrader quoted "As with CDs, there are no international copyright laws that cover ripping DVDs".

It's an intriguing consideration but probably only because ripping your DVDs (unlike CDs) is new... or is it? Not really no, since bootleg DVD copies have been peddled for over 20 years. What is new though is how we consume our media, and most of us will not entertain spending big bucks starting over, first VHS, then DVD, now Digital download buying. Assuming, of course, that all your titles are available to purchase in digital form anyway.


In theory, the process of ripping DVDs to your hard drive is similar to ripping CDs, yet considered more controversial. But why?



A general perception is that one ripped movie if shared/given away carries a higher loss compared to an album. Hmmm! Really? No, yet that crazy comparison is hardly surprising! After all, we’ve been given the ability to rip CDs by many of the world’s largest, most profitable companies for decades, and for free! So it comes as no surprise that the term “implied license” pops up regularly during a conversation! So how is ripping a CD any different to ripping a DVD? Why is it considered more controversial?

Well, a few countries within the EU made ripping CDs and DVDs legal under various guises. The UK even did in 2014, but less than a year later, the music industry overturned this ruling in the High Courts. An account referenced very well by James Titcomb over at The Telegraph.

The principal differences between CD Ripping and DVD Ripping are copy protection. And you’d be hard pushed to find copy protected CDs these days, many DVDs and Blu-ray discs carry them. But this presents yet another puzzle. Which ones?

All the software we have tested never confirms if protection is present and circumvented. Now, given the Music industry overturned the governments ripping policy, making all ripping activity illegal again, does it make any difference now?

Furthermore, confusion surrounds whether ripping a disc is a criminal offence or civil offence. One obvious point we can clear up is that ripping and circulating copies, whether on a disc or digital form, free or paid for, without the copyright holders consent is more likely to be deemed criminal, it’s called Piracy!

But ripping for personal use, and, given how difficult it would be for rights owners to identify who is ripping, remains a taboo area. The challenges are, proving damages, the cost to bring such a claim, and the sheer number of people who rip, this probably explains why so many reporters confirm no such consumer based action has ever taken place to our knowledge.

Something else we find spins us out. There are laws, old laws that permit you to record television programmes, remember the VCR (videocassette recorder)? Well, these same laws protect us in the modern world too, with the term DVR (digital video recorder).

So, it would seem you can record broadcasted movies and TV Shows and retain the digital files on your hard drive, and continue enjoying them! But purchase the same titles on DVD, and you are not permitted to rip to mp4 for your hard? What an overcomplicated world we live in!


Ripping creates profit for rights owners too!


Naturally, we can agree that rights owners are merely trying to protect their incomes, and where piracy is concerned, they must.

DigiRAW has many customers still buying CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs and they continue to hire us to format shift them so they can maintain their media servers, playing their content freely on all their screens. We also have customers who wish to continue ripping themselves, and just need help to convert the existing collection more quickly.

For some of our clients, it's all about selective viewing, and for others, cutting the cord. The broader consensus though is flexibility. Enjoying titles on any brand, any screen, anywhere. And never fear the content they bought will be dropped sometime soon because the seller could not agree to ongoing streaming terms/rights!


Today's confusion and hasty concerns compare to a fictional yesteryear. Just imagine if we could only buy DVDs specific to the brand of DVD player we owned? It's doubtful the DVD player would have ever taken off had it been that way, but it is like that now!




Furthermore, our clients also afford themselves a level of financial protection. The feeling of being conned or tied into a particular brand is not a savoury one. It happens too, people spend a lot of money with digital sellers, only to find that they can’t swap the iPhone for a Galaxy Edge, or an Apple TV for a Roku because the content they bought is not transferable.


Ripping also creates profit and employment for many horizontal markets too!


Buying discs to maintain your media server, and you pay rights owners. You also need to buy ripping software, own a reasonable spec computer, a disc drive like a Blu-ray player, media players, maybe a NAS, hard drives, media streamers and more. It’s all money generating and consumerism.


Let's face it, would the mobile device market have taken off so quickly if we couldn't rip our music and carry it with us? Maybe it would have, but it would likely have been a lot slower. Thanks, Apple iPod.



So, if the studios are concerned about ripping for personal consumption, undoubtedly they should create a solution that allows us to buy digital formats, playable on any of our branded devices. Hmmm, sounds like a crowdsourcing opportunity! But that aside, the fact this kind of solution is non-existent, loosely suggests again that consumer ripping is ok providing it does not cause harm. In other words, no claim for damages.

What we can agree on is no good can come from ripping and gifting, or indeed ripping and selling digital copies. It's a pretty obvious consideration that if people cross those lines, they move from paying and supporting copyright holders to robbing them. No room for Piracy guys!

When all said and done, if this area did get out of hand, we would all suffer as new shows go into decline which is why for the third time we say Piracy is terrible news.

Perhaps the moral of our little story thus far, is cause no harm to others. If you rip, make sure it’s for personal use only, and everyone should be okay, fun for us viewers and fun for the makers too. As we have been doing for almost three decades now.


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Disclaimer: Under no circumstances are we encouraging you to break the law, but at least you may now have a better understanding why the rights owners are protective and prohibitive, even though the majority of people have been CD ripping for personal use for several decades. We believe one day the laws will be up-dated to reflect what the masses already do, and next time, not be overturned!

While DigiRAW provides a disc-to-digital service, we do so with the understanding that our customers hire us for their 'personal' consumption only which we deem as "fair use". In other words, don't engage us if you intend to share, give away or sell your digital files, and we always advise our clients to retain their discs.

We provide our service to many commercial organisations too, and only a couple gave us cause for concern. Naturally, and politely their enquiry was met with "Please move away, nothing to see here!"

DigiRAW loves making your media much more fun to enjoy and assist you to carry on enjoying your disc collection for years to come. We relish ongoing disc purchasing for rights owners, along with the knowledge that a multimedia server owner needs to own additional products to maximise their experience. A typical DigiRAW client looks like this...

800 DVDs, 300 CDs, conversion service. Buy a NAS, buy a media server application, buy multiple Apple TVs and often hire us to install everything. It can be a sizeable investment but a rewarding and fun one.




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