Safe (Legal?) Way to Have Service/Person Rip DVDs Into Movie Files?
October 3, 2012 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Is there a person or company that one could safely hire (i.e., safeguards against theft) to rip DVDs they own into digital video files?

I am lucky enough to have all five seasons of “Angel” and all seven seasons of “Buffy” thanks to a long-ago purchase during good times. However, I no longer have a television or standalone DVD; nearly all my television and movies have been ripped to movie files on my computer.

I have a spare hard drive on which they could all go, and I’d like to have them in digital form. I just don’t have the time or inclination to spend the necessary hours ripping these DVDs, plus I’m more than a little concerned about wearing out my laptop’s DVD player with such extended use.

I know you can hire entities like RipDigital and its competitors to rip your CD collection. But unlike CDs and MP3s, I’m pretty sure that ripping DVDs for this purpose is technically illegal since it involves breaking the encryption. (If I'm wrong, I'd appreciate being corrected, but in advance I hope that subject doesn't derail the thread.)

So, my question is this … ARE there any services out there that will rip your (legally owned) DVDs to movie files?

If not, do you have advice on, or what’s my best bet for, finding someone that’ll do it, without getting my stuff stolen – and what would be a fair price for the job?
posted by WCityMike to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you already own all of the seasons, I see no moral reason why you couldn't just download digital copies from the various places on the internet where such things are available. You'll probably get better-than-dvd quality out of it too.
posted by Oktober at 8:50 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it's technically illegal.

A friend of mine used TaskRabbit to hire someone to re-rip all his CDs in a lossless format; I don't know how or how extensively he vetted the person but it worked out really well for him. But TaskRabbit might flag the job as illegal or something, I don't know how it works.
posted by mskyle at 9:00 AM on October 3, 2012

It is illegal, which is why you probably haven't found such a service provider on your own.

If you don't have the time to do it, find a friend who does. But, it really does not take up one's time. Insert the disc, load ripping program and commence ripping, and go about your business for the next twenty minutes. It's been a while, but I can usually do a season of a hour-per-episode show in about an hour and a half when I would have been at home anyway.

I understand your concern about wearing out the DVD drive, but regardless of how well-founded that belief might be, a replacement drive costs about $50. I can't imagine that is more than you were planning to pay for the ripping service.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:13 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go someplace like doom9 or for a software reccommendation (Or just download, DVDFab HD decrypter) and a guide for backing up a DVD to folders on your hard disk. Download the software, try using it. If you find that is easy as pie, but you are still worried about wearing out your internal drive (I wouldn't be for that relatively small number of discs) go buy an external USB DVD drive for less than $30.

Optionally, use handbrake to transcode the files into h.264 to save disk space.
posted by Good Brain at 9:28 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have you looked at Wal-Mart?
posted by Hanuman1960 at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Task Rabbit or high school student.
posted by alms at 9:49 AM on October 3, 2012

Do you have any friends who could use a little extra cash? I'm paying a semi-starving artist friend to do something similar -- I figure he'll probably spend half a day here at my place doing this and other things so $100 plus dinner seems reasonable. (He'd probably do it for less but I have the cash and he's pretty broke so ... might as well spread it around!)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:52 AM on October 3, 2012

Response by poster:
But unlike CDs and MP3s, I’m pretty sure that ripping DVDs for this purpose is technically illegal since it involves breaking the encryption.
As a side note, it was very recently reiterated as being illegal by the United States Copyright Office.

Thanks for your help, everyone.
posted by WCityMike at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2012

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