Is It Legal to Copy the DVD Movies That You Purchase?

Many people like to watch and own DVD movies. DVD movies are expensive to purchase. People like to watch their DVD movies on different types of devices. In these times of cell phones, computers, and tablet devices you can conveniently watch a digital movie no matter where you might be. So is it legal to copy that DVD movie to your computer?

Backing up your DVD movies requires that you use software that removes the copyright protection.  There are a lot of companies that offer this type of software.  If you are interested, a website called Top Ten Reviews has a comprehensive list of trusted providers.

The movie companies would like to see that absolutely no copying of their property take place.  Not for any reason.  They have added protection to their products which does not allow you to just copy the DVD directly to your computer.  If you attempt to copy a disk that has copy protection, you will not be able to do it unless you have software that removes the copy protection.

This type of software will also copy your DVD movie into an mp4 format allowing you to view the movie on your phone or tablet.  The legal questions on doing this are not clear.  Companies who develop software for the purpose of circumventing the copyright protection are definitely doing something that is illegal.  Should you as an individual who has legitimately purchased a product be allowed to make a personal copy of that product for backup purposes? 

The laws that govern copyrighted material are fuzzy at best.  Here is the message you will see on a DVD movie:

"The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.  Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in Federal Prison and a fine of $250,000."

Individual copying of a DVD movie for backup purposes, according to this statement, would be doing something wrong.  According to the U.S. Copyright Office, there is also something that is called fair use.  Which allows individuals and the law some latitude There are four factors that are used to determine what fair use is.  Number four states,  "The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work."  If you are protecting your investment, by backing it up, does not affect the value of the work. 

The general opinion is that you can copy your DVD movie as long as it is for archival purposes.  You can not lend the movie or reproduce it to give or allow anyone else to borrow it.  Would a movie company sue you if they found out?  Could the FBI arrest you and charge you with copyright infringement?    If you own the original DVD movie, you should be protected under fair use.  The FBI and movie companies are more interested in catching the real criminals who are involved in the blatent pirating of copyrighted materials. 

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Posted on Mar 22, 2012