Wired: How to Put Your DVDs on Your Video iPod

Why is it that I can buy a CD and legally listen to its content on my iPod, but the DVD I legally purchase cannot be watched on my video iPod?

Does that make any sense?

You can physically (or virtually) do that, but you are — believe it or not — actually breaking the law. That’s right, transferring your store bought DVD to your own iPod is a violation of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act  (you are permitted to make a back up copy of a DVD).

The content industry is doing all they can to destroy their own business, and drag down the technology industry with it. 

For you "scofflaws" who think there is nothing inappropriate about viewing your legally acquired content on your legally acquired hardware, (i.e., watching movies on a your iPod), here’s how its done, according to Wired Magazine:


1. Decrypt the DISC
Software like DVDFab Decrypter (www.dvdidle.com/free.htm) removes a DVD’s copy protection. Remember, this is the illegal part, which is why DVD decrypting software is always a moving target. Should DVDFab disappear, a replacement is just a Google search away.

2. Combine the Video files
Ripping a DVD produces a bunch of cryptically named .VOB files. VOBMerge 2.5 (medlem.spray.se/evilmastr/mainmenu.php) will string them together. To find the movie, look for a series of very large files named something like VTS_07_1.VOB, VTS_07_2.VOB, and so on.

3. Convert the Movie
Use an app like 3GP_Converter (www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=3GP_Converter) to turn your movie into an iPod-compatible MPEG-4 file. Select "Model: MP4, for iPod" as the conversion mode (there is also an option for the PSP). The resulting file is ready for iTunes.

The Mac version comes from Macteens web site:


1. Download Handbrake

Download HandBrake for Mac OS X (http://handbrake.m0k.org/download.php). HandBrake is an open source app and doesn’t require any installation

2. Rip DVD

After doing so, HandBrake should have selected for you (if not, select the DVD manually by choosing “DVD Folder/image) and clicking “Browse"). Hit Enter and the HandBrake window should become available. Give the file the appropriate name and destination.

3. Applying these settings:

File Format: MP4 file
Codecs: AVC/H.264 / AAC Audio

Framerate (fps): 15
Encoder: x264 (Baseline profile)

Average bitrate (kbps): 192

Sample Rate (Hz): 44100
Bitrate (kbps): 80


Its pretty absurd that you cannot watch what you want on whatever device you own . . .



Putting Your DVDs on a Video iPod
Issue 14.03 – March 2006

Putting DVDs onto your iPod
Sam Rothenberg
12/31/2005 at 09:08 PM                                                  http://macteens.com/index.php/features/fullstory/putting_dvds_onto_your_ipod/

See also:
Coming Attraction:  Downloadable Movies  From Amazon
WSJ, March 10, 2006; Page B1                                       

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Paul commented on Mar 28

    If it is illegal to rip a DVD onto an iPod, then your instructions may also constitue a crime. If not, then at least a potential breach of the typepad terms of service

    Of course the US has a long history of criminals as heroes (Jesse James, mobsters, etc). The present case is less extreme, but does raise an interesting question about the status of breaking an irrational law foisted on the majority by a powerful minority special interest.

    My guess is you’ll ride safely off into the sunset on this one. The content industry prefers to pick on college students, poor parents and others who are less able to fight back – an articulate hedge fund manager would be too close to a fair fight.

  2. Barry Ritholtz commented on Mar 28

    I am reporting precisely what appreared in Wired Magazine — both print and online:

    Putting Your DVDs on a Video iPod
    Issue 14.03 – March 2006

    I added the Mac version from a 2nd site.

    If it is against the law to discuss this, then we no longer have a viable 1st Amendment, and free speech is history . . .

  3. Eli Jaeger commented on Mar 28

    Better yet, for Mac use Handbrake Lite which is a port of Handbrake by the maker of iSquint. (one step process)

  4. David Silb commented on Mar 28

    Because you purchased a unlimited or permanent rental when you plopped down your, insert currency of choice, on that unrated version of the “Saw II.”

    If you break it or lose it they are happy to replace it. Just pay the new unlimited or permanent rental fee.

    Full price ofcourse.

  5. David Silb commented on Mar 28

    Discussing how to rip a DVD is not the same as doing.

    Afterall I can discuss the distillation of various grains into whiskey, but i am in no way breaking the law.

    And if I or Barry post the Recipe online does that mean we are breaking any laws?

  6. Mike commented on Mar 28

    Thanks Barry. My KIDS read this blog and now you’ve told them to break the law.

    Did you ever STOP to think about the children before you blog?

    There are Hollywood Execs losing their beach homes in Carmel because of this blog post!!!!


  7. Bob A commented on Mar 28

    Just as absurd is hearing politicos say fines wont work to stop hiring of illegal workers.

    Fines have worked just fine to shut down napster types and throttle illegal downloads.

    The only difference is someone is actually trying to enforce the law in that case.

  8. Chris commented on Mar 28

    “If it is illegal to rip a DVD onto an iPod, then your instructions may also constitue a crime.” – Paul

    “Discussing how to rip a DVD is not the same as doing.” – David Slib


    Note the issues of whether presenting on de-encryption at a conference is illegal or not and whether the DMCA being binding in the jurisdiction that is Russia.

  9. sw commented on Mar 28


    You mention that you are legally allowed to make a backup copy of a DVD, but I believe this is incorrect. In order to make the copy you have to make use of a program that cracks the encryption on the disc, which is also a violation of the DMCA.


  10. Paul commented on Mar 29

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the post violated the law, and I agree with you completely about free speech. As a crim prof, I get the talking v doing distinction – BUT I wanted to note the inevitable interest in criminalizing the software you link to and the advocacy of using it.

    Remember the 2004 Inducing Infringement of Copyright Act? (Hatch, Leahy, Frist, Boxer)
    Think we’ve seen the last of that?

  11. Anon Y. Mouse commented on Mar 29


    Making a backup copy of a DVD does *not* require breaking
    the encryption (CSS). One merely makes a bit-for-bit copy,
    and whatever encryption was on the original will be on the
    duplicate. If I gave you an encrypted file, you could make
    copies of it all day without ever knowing how to decrypt its

    Decoding a DVD in order to play it, or ripping the content to
    transfer it to another medium, *does* require decrypting the

    re: talking about it

    In addition to the Sklyarov case, researchers like Ed Felton
    (freedom-to-tinker.org) have been threatened with prosecution
    under the DMCA for revealing flaws in security software. And
    the magazine 2600 was forbidden to post links on its web site
    to any sites that had the code or algorithm for DeCSS.

  12. Tman commented on Mar 30

    which file do you drag into the 3G converter?

  13. Can I Get A What What commented on Apr 10

    Put Your DVDs on Your Video iPod

    This is sweet info for those of you who have a video iPod. It doesn’t make sense to me that it’s illegal to download a video for your own personal use. Is it also illegal to let someone else view

  14. iPodBoss21 commented on Oct 4

    it is illegal to put music form CDs onto your iPod! i have a Wired magazine and one of the articles on it says that it is illegal. the issue is September 2005 and its on page 094, right next to a DOOM Speacial Advance Film Special ad.

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