Question 1: “Is it illegal to play back DVD discs I have purchased with the help of Libdvdcss on my Windows 10? Why did I always get unhelpful caution like ‘using libdvdcss to copy legally-purchased DVDs may be illegal in your country’ or some such? How can I know whether or not it’s legal to use Libdvdcss upon DVD discs I have purchased for personal use? Please help me with this.”

Question 2: “I'm a Linux user so in order to play back DVDs on my PC I require the use of 'libdvdcss'. I was wondering as to the legality of this in the UK, I am aware that the law was changed a couple of years ago to exempt the process of ripping content for personal use as a form of fair use (this same fair use right applies in the US as far as I am aware) In the US however using libdvdcss is technically illegal whether enforced or not, this seems clear but what doesn't seem clear is the legal status of this in the UK. I have read in various places that in most of Europe use of libdvdcss is legal as a result of competition laws but I am unaware as to whether this covers the UK so I was wondering if anyone can shed any light on this.”

For DVD movie fans, libdvdcss must be a familiar thing since it’s usually used as an assistance for people to play back and even rip DVD discs purchased online. However, there are regions and countries that regular using libdvdcss is illegal. How can we know whether it’s legal to use libdvdcss or not in our country? Well, in this guide, we would like to make some introduction to libdvdcss and its usage.

Part 1: What is Libdvdcss? Is Libdvdcss legal?

What is Libdvdcss?

First, what is libdvdcss? Libdvdcss (or libdvdcss2 in some repositories) is a free and open-source software library for accessing and unscrambling DVDs encrypted with the Content Scramble System (CSS). Libdvdcss is part of the VideoLAN project and is used by VLC media player and other DVD player software packages, such as Ogle, xine-based players, and MPlayer to play back CSS-DVD discs, even though you don’t own the DVD discs. Also, libdvdcss helps HandBrake and other DVD decoder and encoder tools that have no disc decryption to help you rip and convert CSS-DVD discs of your own.

Is Libdvdcss legal?

Then, the question comes out: is it legal to use libdvdcss for playing back copy-protected DVD discs or ripping copy-protected DVD discs? Actually, this depends on the local law. In some countries like USA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes unlocking cell phones, ripping DVDs, removing eBook DRM, and jailbreaking tablets illegal. And, there’s another surprise regulation: simply watching a DVD on Linux is also illegal. Therefore, if you are using libdvdcss on your Linux computer in the US, you might be considered as criminal for breaking copy-right protection regulations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

However, there are also countries and regions that make it legal for you to use libdvdcss for playing or ripping DVD discs as long as you have purchased and owned the copy-protected DVD discs for personal use only like the UK. Therefore, whether it is illegal to use libdvdcss on your computer highly depends on the local laws and regulations. Therefore, you need to consult the local law before you try to use libdvdcss on your computer for playing or ripping DVD discs on your computer.

Note:

    In this guide, we are only talking about how to use libdvdcss, no encouraging you to use it on your computer for playing or ripping DVD discs. You need to firstly consult the local laws before you download and install it on your computer.

Part 2: How to Install Libdvdcss on Windows 10/macOs Catalina?

Libdvdcss currently can be installed on Windows NT 4.0 SP4 (with IE 5.0) or later, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Haiku, Solaris, QNX, OS/2. Some platforms come with pre-installed libdvdcss include BackTrack, CrunchBang Linux, LinuxMCE, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, Puppy Linux 4.2.1, Slax, Super OS, Pardus, and XBMC Live.

How to install libdvdcss on Windows 10:

  • Step 1: Open the website https://download.videolan.org.
  • Step 2: Click "libdvdcss" and click the latest version of libdvdcss 1.4.2 or choose other versions according to your needs.
  • Step 3: Then double-click on the downloaded libdvdcss file and start installing libdvdcss on your computer.

Now, you have successfully downloaded and installed libdvdcss file on your computer. Then, you only need to move the downloaded and installed libdvdcss-2.dll file to VLC media player or any other media player installation folder to enable VLC media player or other media player tools to work with libdvdcss.

How to install libdvdcss on macOS Catalina (10.15) and other Macs:

  • Step 1: Download libdvdcss.pkg on Mac OS.
  • Step 2: Double click the downloaded file to install libdvdcss on Mac.

But note that there is one more step for installing libdvdcss on Mac El Capitan, because of its SIP (System Integrity Protection), which is said to remove libdvdcss by default. We found two workarounds: disable SIP and a more complicated but recommended way from a Reddit user (as below).

  • 1. Open a Finder window.
  • 2. Type "cmd+shift+G" or click "Go" and choose "Go to Folder", then copy and paste /Library/SystemMigration/History/
  • 3. Ppress button "GO" button.
  • 4. Open the folder "Migration-[random letters and numbers]" and find "QuarantineRoot"
  • 5. libdvdcss file should be in this folder.
  • 6. Again click "Go" on the taskbar to choose "Go to Folder".
  • 7. Then type "/usr/local/lib".
  • 8. Cut and paste your libdvdcss file to the folder "/usr/local/lib" option.
  • 9. Put in your admin password to finish the move and libdvdcss installation on Mac is done.

Part 3: How to Use Libdvdcss to Rip Encrypted DVD?

We know that HandBrake could rip and convert homemade DVD movie files to MP4 or MKV files. And with the help of libdvdcss, HandBrake could even rip and convert copy-protected DVD discs. The below steps would show you how to use libdvdcss to rip encrypted DVD with the help of HandBrake or other DVD decoders:

  1. Download and install libdvdcss file on your computer as mentioned above.
  2. Download and install HandBrake or any other DVD decoders on your computer.
  3. Move downloaded Windows libdvdcss-2.dll into HandBrake/VLC install directory.
  4. Not to bother renaming libdvdcss-2.dll to libdvdcss.dll.

Then, you just need to open HandBrake to rip your DVD discs on your computer to MP4 or MKV files.

Part 4: Rip Protected DVD without Libdvdcss - Leawo DVD Ripper

If you find ripping copy-protected DVD discs with libdvdcss and HandBrake is too complicated, try Leawo DVD Ripper, a highly recommended and professional DVD to video converter tool that could help you handle both homemade and commercial DVD discs for converting DVD movies to videos in over 180+ formats like DVD movie to MP4 video, DVD to AVI, DVD to MKV, DVD to MOV, DVD to MP3, etc. You could even convert DVD to YouTube, Facebook, Windows Media Player, iMovie, QuickTime player, Lightworks Pro and more. It requires no extra disc decryption plugins installed. The built-in advanced disc decrypting technologies could not only convert both commercial and non-commercial DVD discs, but also remove disc region restrictions upon DVD discs for converting. No matter your DVD discs are purchased or rent, Leawo DVD Ripper handles them.

The below guide would show you how to rip and convert DVD movies with the help of Leawo DVD Ripper. Firstly, you need to download and install Leawo DVD Ripper on your computer. Get source DVD movies ready for converting. If you want to convert DVD disc, insert your DVD disc into the disc recorder drive.

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Note: Leawo DVD Ripper is a module built into Leawo Prof. Media.

Step 1: Add source DVD movie

Launch Leawo Prof. Media and then open the “Convert” module to enter the “Convert” module. Then, click “Add Blu-ray/DVD” button to add DVD disc, folder or ISO image file as you like. To add DVD disc for converting, choose “Add from CD-RAM” option.

Note: Leawo DVD Ripper offers you 3 different DVD content loading modes. Full Movie mode enables you to load all content in source DVD for converting, while Main Movie mode enables you to select one title for loading and converting. In Custom Mode, you will be able to select multiple titles for loading and converting. Choose one according to your needs.

Step 2: Choose output format

Click the drop-down box (named “MP4 Video” by default) right before the big green “Convert” button, and choose “Change” option on the drop-down box to choose output format. You could choose output format from “Format” or “Device” group according to your own needs.

Step 3: Adjust output video parameters

You could adjust the output video and audio parameters to make the output files meet your devices exactly. Open the drop-down button right before the big green “Convert” again and then choose “Edit” option to enter the “Profile Settings” panel, where you could adjust video and audio parameters of output format, including: video codec, quality, bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, channel, audio codec, resolution, etc.

Step 4: Set output directory

After setting output format and adjusting the parameters, click the big green “Convert” button on the sub-menu bar and then set output directory in the “Save to” box.

Step 5: Start converting DVD

Hit the bottom “Convert” button then. Leawo DVD Ripper would then start converting DVD movies to video files immediately.  

When the conversion completes, you could then freely import converted DVD movies to your media players for playback, upload to YouTube for sharing, etc. Actually, compared to HandBrake, Leawo DVD Ripper also enables you to edit DVD movies in several ways, including: trimming video clip, cropping video size, adding image or text watermark, applying 3D movie effect, etc. You could also select subtitles and audio tracks, achieve movie-only ripping, etc.

Part 5: Conclusion

There is no clear answer to the question of whether it’s legal or illegal to use libdvdcss on your own DVD discs, since the policies differ from different countries. Therefore, you need to firstly learn the local law before you try to use libdvdcss on your computer for playing or ripping those DVD discs you have purchased already. Therefore, it is similar to using Leawo DVD Ripper. Make sure you haven’t broken any policy or law.