Beware DVD copying software

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Those in the headline-scribbling business know that their work should be short, to-the-point, and as accurate as possible. While the headline for this blog entry qualifies on the first two fronts, a more accurate—though far longer—headline would read:

Beware DVD copying software because unless you go with well-known applications (which are, for the most part, free), you’re likely to pay for something held together with spit and duct tape

And you can see how that might be a problem.

Regardless, this entry was prompted by reader Victor, who (mostly) wrote:

Do you know anything about [website name], makers of [DVD copying application for Macintosh]?

And while I’ve taken care to not name names, I can respond, in a very general way, that unless the software’s name is Handbrake or MacTheRipper and its intended purpose is to strip DVDs of their copy protection so that you can make a back-up copy or convert the DVD to a form playable on your iPod, iPhone, computer, or Apple TV, you would be well advised to avoid it. It’s like this:

People the world over want to archive their DVDs. The less technical among them are unaware of tools like Handbrake and MacTheRipper and so do what anyone wanting information on Subject X does. They hit Google and enter a search phrase such as “DVD copy Mac.”

And when they do, they find entry after entry for moderately priced tools that purport to copy DVDs. Invariably the website selling this stuff is fairly generic as is the software’s “box art.” Glance at the website and, dollars-to-doughnuts, you’ll discover a good half-dozen ripping/encrypting tools for sale. (You also find that none of these half-dozen applications are listed by such reputable software sites as VersionTracker and MacUpdate.) Dig a little deeper—read the contact info, for example—and you’ll encounter the finest phrases Chinglish has to offer.

I’ve taken the time to dash about the web collecting the feedback I can find on such software and the results are anything but encouraging. Applications are half-baked, support non-existent, and refunds? It is to laugh.

(And no, of course I’m not talking about tools from Roxio or Techspanion’s Visual Hub, which are designed to work with unprotected DVDs and other media.)

So yes, Victor, I do know something about [website name], makers of [DVD copying application for Macintosh].

Stay away.

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