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DVD Ripping Software - Really?
September 8, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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For those who haven't figured out how to use iTunes, YouTube, BitTorrent, DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter, Real Networks has introduced what it calls the first "mainstream" DVD saving tool. Of course it can't claim to be the first ripping tool, or DVD copying tool, as a litany of other products have come before Real's latest incarnation, called Real DVD.

The big difference between this product and DVD Decrypter is the DVD extraction process, and how it handles CSS - or Content Scrambling System. CSS is the DRM (Digital Rights Management) that’s designed to protect a DVD from its owner. DVD owners are often times looked upon with suspicion, as the owner might try to copy the product they own onto a portable device or their home computer.

People in general aren’t particularly satisfied with not being able to copy a product they rightfully purchased, and instead of looking towards the entertainment industry for answers, typically the only solution comes from underground development. The answer to the demand to copy DVDs came from a product called DeCSS, which stripped away the copy protection, and with it, the dignity of DRM advocates.

The problem with DeCSS is its legality. According to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), intentionally circumventing copyright protection carries the issue of liability. Earlier iterations of commercial DVD copying software removed the CSS protection, however this didn't fly with the entertainment industry, and any hopes this market once had died years ago with litigation.

Real DVD is hoping to avoid the pitfalls associated with CSS by not removing the protection software. How is this possible you ask? The CSS DRM remains on the copied image, and like an actual DVD, cannot be copied, transferred, uploaded, etc.

"RealDVD makes it easy to save DVDs to a PC or portable hard drive and watch them later without the physical discs. Unlike existing consumer applications on the market today, RealDVD is licensed DVD software that saves a secure copy of a DVD to the hard drive without removing or altering the CSS encryption."

Since Real DVD makes an exact image of the DVD file, the end user is stuck with a file that's between 4 and 9 gigabytes in size. Even in today's world of large hard drives, that's still a significant space. Unfortunately, in a world governed by DRM and the legality attached to it, the best the legitimate development world can muster still pales in comparison to the underground.

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Technology News :: Software

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