How Do I Copy DVDs to My Computer?

by Larry Amon

DVDs offer great video quality but they are easily scratched, lost or otherwise broken. Naturally it would be nice to have a backup copy on your computer where you can make a new DVD in case of emergency. You might also want to watch your DVDs directly from your computer. While there are good reasons to copy DVDs to your computer they can in the same way be copied for illegal sale or distribution to others. Simple, easy-to-use programs allow you to copy your DVDs, but legality can be an issue.

Legal Issues

The legality of copying DVDs to your computer or making backup copies is somewhat gray. To follow to the complete letter of the law at the moment it is probably not legal. There have been lawsuits that have stopped legitimate companies from selling programs that can backup DVDs. The court battles are likely to go on for some time. Most people believe they have a right to back up their DVDs in case they get scratched or broken, which can happen very easily. Music CDs have had similar questions as to their legality and it seems they are legal to copy but there is no conclusive ruling or law. According to the legal rulings so far, copying a DVD for backup has not been ruled illegal but breaking the copyright protection to back up the DVD is illegal, according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Therefore you can make copies of DVD that don't have protection but almost all commercial DVD have copy protection.


In order to make a copy of a DVD you will need to find a software program such as DVD Shrink. Due to legal questions DVD Shrink is not hosted on its own home page and is distributed across the Internet. Once you download the DVD Shrink or another similar program it's quite easy to store them on your computer. Insert the DVD you wish to copy into your DVD drive. Run the program and point it to your DVD drive or it may find it automatically. Choose options for file size, location and other choices that the program offers that are related to quality. All you have to do is choose the location on your hard drive to save the program to your computer. It may take a while for the DVD to copy. Depending on your computer and DVD drive speed it could take a few minutes or up to an hour.

About the Author

Larry Amon has been working in the computer field for more than 10 years and has experience writing scripts, instructional articles and political commentary. He has been published online, as well as in "NRB Magazine" and "Delmarva Youth & Family." He started a nonprofit media organization in 2000.