How to Dub a Copyrighted VHS to a DVD

by Maya Austen

While federal law strictly prohibits the copying of copyright-protected material for commercial use, the "fair use" clause of the law does permit you to produce copies of copyrighted material for personal use. Dubbing a copyrighted VHS tape (that you own) to a DVD that will be added to your private library is an example of "fair use." That being said, if you run the video signal coming from a VCR through a device known as a digital video enhancer, before sending it to a DVD recorder, you should be able to dub even a copyrighted VHS tape to DVD.

Hook Up VCR to DVD Recorder

Step 1

Use a set of A/V cables to connect the A/V output from the DVD recorder to the TV set's A/V input. A/V plugs and jacks are colored red, white and yellow. Each A/V plug is color coded to correspond to the jack it connects to.

Step 2

Take the red and white A/V cables from the remaining set of A/V cables. Plug one end of each cable into the red and white (respectively) A/V Out jacks on the back of the VCR. Plug the other end of each cable into the DVD recorder's red and white A/V In jacks. (You should only have two yellow A/V cables left.)

Step 3

Insert one end of one of the yellow A/V cables into the VCR's yellow A/V Out jack. Connect the other end of the cable into the yellow A/V in jack on the digital video enhancer.

Step 4

Use the remaining yellow A/V cable to connect the digital video enhancer's yellow A/V Out jack to the DVD recorder's yellow A/V In jack.

Step 5

Make sure all the devices (the TV, VCR and DVD recorder) are connected to a power source, then turn them all on.

Press the "Input" button on the TV remote control to change the TV's video input channel to the A/V source. Press the "Input" or "Source" button on the DVD recorder remote to change its video input channel to the A/V source.

Dub Video

Step 1

Insert the copyright protected VHS tape into the VCR. Cue the tape to the spot where you want to begin dubbing.

Step 2

Place a blank DVD-R disc into the DVD recorder.

Step 3

Use the "Mode" or "Speed" button on the DVD recorder remote to set your preferred recording speed.

Step 4

Press "Record" on the DVD recorder, immediately followed by "Play" on the VCR, to begin dubbing the video.

Push "Stop" on the DVD recorder, then "Stop" on the VCR, when dubbing is complete.


  • Finalize the DVD-R disc if you don't plan to record any more material onto it. Open the DVD recorder's main menu options, then find and select the "Finalize" option.

Items you will need

  • VCR
  • DVD recorder
  • Digital Video Enhancer
  • Blank DVD-R disc
  • 2 sets of A/V cables
  • Composite video cable (the yellow A/V cable)

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