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Backing up to DVD is easy with a backup program or a DVD burner. Copying a video DVD, however, requires a different tool, and may be illegal.

How do I backup to DVD? How can I copy video DVDs?

DVDs have become great backup media. With capacities of nearly 5 gigabytes on a single disk you can place a LOT of data on one. Doing so needn't be difficult but there are a few options.

Copying video DVDs on the other hand may not be that easy.

Chances are your DVD writer included software with it to be able to burn not only DVDs but CDs as well. That's always the best place to start. (If your drive did not include software, I've had good luck with Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator.) I use these types of packages to copy files I've selected onto CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R media.

Windows XP itself also has burning software included. With XP you can treat some types of media - most notably "RW" media - as if they were just another drive by simply copying files to it.

Important: While we're talking about formats, it's important to note that the "+" and "-" in the DVD media types are significant. DVD-R and DVD+R are two different standards. Most DVD writers will work with one or the other but not both. The same goes for DVD-RW and DVD+RW. Make sure you get the right kind of media for your drive.

Now then, about copying those video DVDs.

As much as I hate to say it, I've always viewed the claims of copying software very skeptically. The fact is that the movie industry has taken many steps to prevent piracy, and it wouldn't surprise me if the claims made for the ability to copy video DVDs weren't blown out of proportion. I'd be fairly shocked if there was a package that could legally copy a commercially produced DVD. I definitely understand that there are legitimate needs for making a personal, backup copy of a DVD you own, I'm just not currently aware of a working legal solution.

So my recommendation is this: get the backup scenario working. This will validate that your drive fundamentally works and that you have the correct type of media. Then you can try the DVD copying packages. I'd be interested in hearing which ones actually work, if any.

Article C1973 - June 1, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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30 Comments
Jay Stark
June 13, 2004 5:41 PM

DVDShrink is a good, FREE program that will copy and burn a commercial DVD.

John
August 3, 2004 2:51 PM

DVD-Decryptor, a free program, (check spelling of decryptor) works on everything, I have made back ups to many of my movies from Lord of the rings to Finding Nemo. It will strip the copyright protection, put it to a file, then you use DVD-Shrink to compress it to another file, then use a Dvd Disc to Disc copy program to burn it. It works better than Platinum Dvd X-Copy, which I also have. Use google to find the homepages. Both these programs are free (Not X-copy).

fuzzuy
April 11, 2005 11:34 AM

Hi,
Can I make a copy of my dvd which i orignaly created in DVD+RW to DVD-RW let me know as I have runied already 5 balnks of my dvd's thanks.

okbyme
August 1, 2005 3:16 PM

I am planning to purchase a dvd recorder to put years of vhs home movies onto dvd's. Is there an easy way to make multiple copies of the dvd's that I make? The recorders I've looked at can only do it in real time "takes as long to record as it takes to play" - - even expensive recorders with hard drives take 15 to 20 minutes to copy a dvd? Looking for fast and inexpensive solution so I can give copies to family memebers etc. Thanks for advice.

Joey
December 16, 2005 7:41 PM

I bought a IOMagic DVD burner that came with Nero software. It won't allow me to copy a 5 minute video from a DVD-R to DVD+R, insisting that I copy it onto a DVD-R. I call the tech support, they told me 4 different reasons, none of which helped.
Is there a way to do this?
Thanks,

asdf
February 11, 2006 2:05 AM

I have read your post on the forum about DVD, i need some help from you very urgent, thankz
I want to copy a copyrighted DVD, just for reviewing. I got a Nero 6 and Nero Express, and Pinoeer Dual Layer DVD Burner. So how do u burn a copyrighted DVD??

Help and suggestion will be appreciated.

Many Thankz

any help plz send to [email address removed]
James

Leo
February 11, 2006 11:01 AM

You don't. That would be illegal.

kevin tor
February 23, 2006 8:52 AM

hi leo, not sure if this is the right place to ask but, i have a dvd rom/cd rw combo drive and i need to save a few video files.can i use the cd rw to save the vid's on or do i need a dvd rw?if i can use the cd rw do i need a recordable dvd disk or a normal cd rw disk to save them on..kev

Charles
September 17, 2006 6:32 AM

Hi Leo i have two dvd recordeds and a dvd rom on my pc . im using clonedvd and anydvd to make backups but it does not suport multiple copies . do you know of any program that allows burning to two recorders at the same time. thanks

zer0
September 17, 2006 10:25 PM

I don't like backup sofware with built-in support of DVD or CD-RW. Usually soft is either perfect in backing up or in writing to DVD. Therefore I use two different programs: Nero for DVD writing and backup software http://www.backup-premium.com for backup.

Margaret Franks
January 6, 2007 12:17 AM

I would like to burn my video tapes to dvd's as the video tapes take up a lot of room and are at risk to get damaged. Can you tell me how to do it.
I have been using a computer for 3 years noe and am 80 years old so would appreciate simple directions

scartooth
February 5, 2007 6:55 AM

don't ask leo.... he says backing up a copyrighted dvd is illegal. If he REALLY knew.. he'd know it's only illegal if you don't own a copy first

Leo Notenboom
February 5, 2007 8:57 AM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

It is illegal. It's stupid that it's illegal, but it is illegal.

According to the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), decrypting
protected, encrypted content is illegal. It doesn't mater the purpose,
the act itself is illegal. (It may be that even owning software that can
perform that act is illegal, but I could be wrong on that count.)

Copy protected DVD's are actually encrypted, and thus subject to this
law.

This is in the U.S., by the way, so other parts of the planet may
differ. By and large they are the same, though.

- - -Leo
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFFx2G5CMEe9B/8oqERAoWBAJ488SLfpRpgx6+hOmmpf8SSofV7OACfWkeQ
obqyQbkjDl30yl818SfYGfI=
=OJ2L
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Gary
March 18, 2007 7:00 PM

Try using one of the top programs listed at www.dvdxcopyreviews.com

Jim S.
March 22, 2007 2:04 PM

Leo;
I have been using DVD burning software package call CloneDVD and AnyDVD (there used in conjunction) and have not had a DVD that I couldn't copy perfectly. You can download them from the website www.slysoft.com. There is a free 21 day trial version and after that I think it cost me $40.00 for the full version. All security is stripped from the DVD automatically before burning. Haven't had a failure in over a year. Try it out.

Chris Connors
May 13, 2007 10:23 AM

First off ANYONE using OR STILL USING the DVDx OR DVDneXtCopy are getting TOTALLY ripped off! You EASILY NEED TWO programs as mentioned by a user above.
1: SlySoft AnyDVD (Newest Version) - And if you CANNOT get it, "Patched" pay the MEASLY $40.00, WELL wrth it since DVD Decryptor NO LONGER Exists/Works. This program COMPLETLY get's rid of the Copywrite protection on whatever DVD that you are "Ripping". And as for the second program that you MUST download is called...

2: CloneDVD.

You're ALL GOOD To Go!

Lara
May 14, 2007 11:55 AM

Hi, my wedding video will be on a DVD and I'm wondering if it'll be easy for me to make additional copies of the DVD, or if I should just let my videographer make the copies for me (he wants to charge me $35 for each copy) - does this sound like a reasonable charge, or should I go elsewhere or do it on my own?

Jeff
January 2, 2008 11:46 AM

Just as an FYI - to get CloneDVD and AnyDVD is 101.60USD from SlySoft. I might have considered 40.00, but more than a bennie is too much.

Seasonal
April 14, 2008 2:54 PM

Hi folks,
Just a reminder, as leo has said and we will restate- .. any dvd or video that is done by a 3rd party that has either paid cash monies of anytype .. for services.. such as recording parties,weddings.. so on is also copyrighted via the Company or parties that performed the video at time of engagment. This is even if you paid for copies. You paid for a specific amount or defined type of copies. Making any type of copy of this type of item would violate a contract and allow the buyer to be sued for breech of contract and copyright violations... anytype of movie dvd would fall under the same standards of copyright violations.. just not from services rendered

Mystery2
August 21, 2008 12:46 PM

in regard to this comment be Seasonal:
"any dvd or video that is done by a 3rd party .... is also copyrighted via the Company or parties that performed the video.....Making any type of copy of this type of item would violate a contract and allow the buyer to be sued for breech of contract and copyright violations... "

that may all be well and true, but i guarantee you this, if some dude videotaped my wedding, and then sold me the DVD, and then sued me after I made a copy, that dude would get his ass kicked so hard, and so often that he would never think of being such an ass again.
Sue me for making a copy of my own wedding video?
I dont think so...
otherwise you are getting a serious beat-down, thats for sure.

Aside from the charge for assaulting him, you would also lose the copyright case. As silly as it sounds, the wedding videographer does indeed have copyright on the materials he produces, and could sue you for making a copy. This has been true for still wedding photography as well. Whether it's bad form or "right" or not is kinda beside the point. Copyright is copyright.

-Leo

Shamus
September 14, 2008 9:47 AM

There are three principles of law enforceability that apply to all laws including those on copyright.

1. Laws are more enforcible when they have broad public support (are popular). Personally, I would do my damnedest to help identify and arrest a hit and run driver. I would not ever consider reporting adult pot smoker out of doors.
2. Laws are more enforcible when their are few offenders. If there is one prostitution agency in a city, the police would regulate it efficiently. If there are 3,000 individual hooker-entrepreneurs, then enforceability is nearly impossible.
3. Laws are more enforcible when applied in celebrated settings. Pee in a parking lot and you will get away with it. Announce on television that you are going to pee on a particular parking meter at 10:00 am on May 22nd, and you will likely get a citation.

Making a copy of a copyrighted wedding video strikes out on all three counts, provided you have not informed your photographer of these postings! Several billion people would support your right to copy, there are many offenders already, and hopefully you are not Brittany Spears announcing the violation on CNN.

Where I work I have been asked to enforce copyright. When a friend asks me if I will copy an illegal amount of a copyright document for him, I say, "No, I won't, and I'm telling you its illegal. However there is a photocopier over there, and the rules are posted beside it. You are asked to read these rules, but enforcing them is left up to you."

So...done with discretion the decision to enforce or violate the photographers copyright on your wedding video, is up to you.

BigEd
February 9, 2009 12:39 AM

For your wedding: DO NOT HIRE the videographer unless s/he agrees, in writing, to sign over to you the rights to copy or do whatever you want with your wedding videos.

Hal Wolverton
July 1, 2009 3:31 PM

I have hundreds of video tape of family events. Most are on 8mm or Hi8 or Digital8. I'm transferring them to DVD on a stand alone DVD recorder. But I have 4 children to whom I'd like to give a "set" each. So I need to make three copies of each. I'd like to do it on a PC so that I don't have to run each tape thru the camera 4 times. The camera would probably not last long enough to do that. I've tried several pieces of software to do it but none of the resulting DVD seem to be readable be DVD players. Suggestions ?
( Copyright is not a issue here because the kids and I originated all this material. )

Emme
August 3, 2009 10:48 PM

AnyDVD is the way to go. You can find the trial version here: [link removed] slysoft.com I've used other apps but AnyDVD seems to be the most consistent/reliable.

ajna
September 9, 2009 11:42 AM

Google for "how to rip DVDs" for many tutorials. Used to use Clone DVD, have been happy with DVDFab for some time. DVD shrink and DVD2One still work on many discs.

Tina
November 12, 2009 4:39 PM

Hello I am trying to copy a DVD-R to my computer to put in an end of season video for my daughters cheering and I can't seem to burn it. I really need this to work. Can you help.
I would also like to make copies of it. It is my own personal taping of there pep ralley for high school.

T J Sawyer
November 21, 2009 8:47 AM

"For your wedding: DO NOT HIRE the videographer unless s/he agrees, in writing, to sign over to you the rights to copy or do whatever you want with your wedding videos."

Absolutely correct! The reason horrific license agreements for software exist and burdensome copyright protection exists is because too many people aren't willing to take this kind of action. If only ten percent of the people buying wedding photography took this step, the standard arrangement would change!

I had to train many software sales people back in the 1970s to understand what their standard contracts actually meant via my own Fortune 500 company's lawyer - whom I also had to train, of course.

Anonymous
April 21, 2010 9:50 PM

HD Campcorders record in big AVCHD files.
Blu-ray burners and disks are expensive and many devices are combo, it means they just play blu-ray not record.
How one can backup all the files in the PRIVATE directory tree in several DVDs?
This is not to duplicate comertial Blu-ray or DVDs, but SDHC menories recorded by the camera.

Most backup programs support spanning or splitting backups across multiple CDs or DVDs.
Leo
23-Apr-2010

Vili
May 30, 2010 5:03 AM

i dont want to spam or anything but i use this thingie http://www.gamecopywizard.com/?hop=76777 it doesnt copy only dvds to my computer i use it to copy music CDs and video games :D epic win! :D

Jacika
June 2, 2010 8:48 AM

If you have a Mac, I would recommend you Daniusoft DVD Creator for Mac.
Here is a guide on how to burn AVCHD videos to DVD for your reference.
http://www.daniusoft.com/convert-avchd/avchd-to-dvd-on-mac.html#139

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