How Do You Copy a DVD to a Computer?

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There are several methods to copy, or “rip,” a DVD to computer. If the disc is homemade, simply copying the contents of the DVD and then pasting them into the desired folder on the computer’s hard drive can work. If the DVD is protected by copyright, transferring it may require the use of a video transcoder.

Handbrake is one of the more popular video transcoding programs. It is a free app that is available for Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. As well as ripping simple DVDs to HDD, Handbrake is capable of converting .bin files to a variety of formats that are compatible with portable devices such as tablets and smartphones. By default, Handbrake can rip and convert unprotected DVDs, but requires the installation of libdvdcss.dll, an open-source library for CSS-encrypted DVDs, if the disc is copy-protected. The copied DVD can be viewed through a compatible player or by converting the ripped .bin files to a device-compatible format.

Most commercial DVDs are protected to prevent copyright infringement. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act stops people from duplicating a copyrighted work by banning circumventing of encryption. While the duplication and distribution of copyrighted material are illegal, the Library of Congress allows end-users to copy a small portion of any DVD for fair-use criticism and commentary.