By James Cooley - January 18 2007 tags: free software drm

A reasonable bit of advice from Bill Gates about music downloads and the "huge problems" with DRM is

"People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then".
My problem is with DVDs that no longer play - I have lots of DVDs for the kids that get watched over and over. Unfortunately our €23.49 Shrek DVD among others is a coaster. [Sorry, I exaggerate you can get Shreck for €11.28 at the moment].

In most countries there are laws preventing ripping CSS encoded DVDs (which is most of them) to a compressed video format like XviD - I guess you can back it up to disk in it's uncompressed form but who would do the equivalent of that for CDs. Useful windows dvd decrypter options get shut down . That's a Windows limitation in DRM enforcing countries but decrypting 40-bit CSS in other countries shouldn't be a problem on Linux or any OS with DeCSS support.

Suppose I where to get over the CSS decoding issue and I want to save the movie to XviD - Gordian Knot (GK) is a good option. It's described as an integrated package or tool for the entire process of DivX/XviD encoding. The installation process runs installers for the sub-projects of GK so there's a lot of interaction needed. GK includes a graphical video editor called VirtualDubMod if you need to remove some less interesting bits.

The ripping process is something like

  1. Started GK and selected the .IFO file.
  2. Preview may not work but I rip anyway.
  3. 2 hours 11 minutes you have a 1.4G XviD encoded version that looks great.
With good old DRM I'll have a growing supply of expensive themed (perfectly legal) coasters for years to come. User-generated content and video sharing with Democracy: Internet TV will hopefully make this whole DRM nonsense irrelevant for legitimate users.