Are there any DVD copy protection utilities out there?
July 2, 2007 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Is there a consumer software (preferably free) that copy protects dvds?

This goes against much of what I stand for, but is there an application that will convert a home video DVD like a commercial DVD? Something that will still play in consumer DVD players even after encryption? I already make movies in NTSC format, but i sell my movies (I'm somewhat of an amateur movie maker) and I'd love a copy guard. Is there something out there?
posted by Apo11o to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
The people who would pirate it and distribute it won't be slowed down by your scheme.

Legitimate uses (once your copyright has expired, or by fair use) by normal Joes will be harmed.

So sure, you'll annoy some customers, but at least it won't do anything useful.
posted by cmiller at 6:23 AM on July 2, 2007

If it goes against what you stand for I guess I don't see why you would bother. Hopefully the folks who would buy your indie/amateur films will want to contribute to the cause. Those that won't buy it without copy protection are the ones that won't buy it with copy protection, so there wouldn't be any real loss of revenue either way.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:35 AM on July 2, 2007

I looked around the internets and I didn't see any tools to add css "copy protection" to home-produced DVD discs.

I am not surprised: nobody could get legal permission from the copyright cartel to sell such software to end users, and nobody who is interested in having the right to use the DVDs they bought would be interested in writing what might be called "recss".
posted by jepler at 7:01 AM on July 2, 2007

A half dozen responses so far and not one answers the question. Please read the text below the comment box.

The industry solution is CSS, but that is very expensive to license. I think Apple's DVD software has this feature, but it isn't free. Nevertheless, it is supposed to be great software and worth the price.
posted by caddis at 7:02 AM on July 2, 2007

Mod note: A few comments removed; take general debate of the pointfulness/morality of copy protection elsewhere, please.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:17 AM on July 2, 2007

No. There is not. The DVD Specification maintains macrovision and CSS as copy protection/DRM. You have to go through the manufacturing process (and pay fees) to use these technologies. Apple's DVD Software (I assume you mean DVDSP), has the ability (like Sonic's high end software) to turn on the bits for copy protection during mastering, but has no intrinsic method of copy protection on it's own.

Again, I'm going to mention it's part of the Specification for DVDs. Anything else you'd do, would render the DVD unplayable on a DVD player (even if you could use something else to play it in.)

There are methods of copy protecting (to some degree) digital files. But these don't work in DVD players.

The DVD FAQ goes over this a bit.
posted by filmgeek at 7:30 AM on July 2, 2007

You have to go through the manufacturing process (and pay fees) to use these technologies.

If I remember correctly, part of the decss key is manufactured as part of the disc. I think that portion can't be burned with store blanks and consumer equipment. I may be wrong; maybe someone can clarify.
posted by hodyoaten at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2007

I'll reiterate the point in case it's lost: anyone who can figure out how to copy an unprotected DVD can copy a standard encrypted DVD.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:58 AM on July 2, 2007

DVD industryite here.

If you're selling DVD-Rs you're burning yourself (duplicates), you cannot add CSS protection. You can try to add region coding or Macrovision, but some players will just ignore those settings on burned discs.

If you're selling stamped DVDs (replicas), then your options are better (but not free). Your replication facility will have a premastering department or an authoring department that can add CSS to your VIDEO_TS folder for a nominal fee.

If they don't offer the service at a price to your liking, you can purchase DVDAfterEdit or Ulead DVD Workshop, add CSS yourself, and output to DLT, hard drive, or DVD-R.

CSS licensing is not free, which is why these programs cost about $500. They also can seriously F up your project if you don't know what you're doing. It's up to you to decide if the ROI is worth it.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:20 AM on July 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

As far as I know, the spot on the physical disk that contains the CSS information (key and such) cannot be burned by dvd burners, or perhaps it was just not a burnable section on the blanks. Either way, you can't burn the CSS info on the correct spot on the disk for it to work in dvd players.
posted by cschneid at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2007

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