DVD Copy Software – The Rise, Fall and Replacement of Movie Burning Software

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What ever happened DVDXCopy? DVD X Copy was the DVD copy software that started it all and was eventually banned for sale by the Hollywood studios. This infamous product line, created by 321 Studios, was the first mainstream movie burning software program that enabled novice computer users to copy any DVD movie. If you run a Google search on “DVD X Copy” or “321 Studios”, you will find dozens of articles from USA Today, PC World, PC Magazine, Newsweek, etc. that chronicled the rise and fall of 321 Studios. Many of these articles are still posted at the DVDXCopy website. Prior to the creation of this product line, DVD copying was a relatively difficult process and outside of the reach of the average consumer. This difficulty was related to the fact that most commercial DVD movies include Content Scrambling System (CSS), a copy-protection technology designed to prevent movies from being copied. These products included the technology required to decrypt the CSS copy protection mechanism on movie discs. Additionally, the company was able to create a product that handled the complex processes of ripping, copying, transcoding, compressing and burning to a blank Digital Video Disc in one easy point-and-click program. These products were highly popular and sold in all major global retail channels and online via the company’s website and to this day DVD X Copy Platinum remains one of the best selling software titles of all time.

The company was established in 1999 in St. Charles, Mo. and almost since its inception, the company was hampered by controversy. Although these video burning products were highly popular with consumers, the major Hollywood studios claimed that DVDXCopy violated copyright rights. Anticipating a lawsuit by the Hollywood studios, the company filed a pre-emptive complaint in April of 2002 against eight Hollywood studios. 321 Studios contended that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”, a law that prohibits the circumvention of CSS copy protection technology) violates consumer’s Fair Use rights as described in Copyright Act of 1976 under the doctrine of “Fair Use”. Specifically, the Fair Use provision gives individuals limited rights to copy certain types of copyrighted material. The lawsuit included MGM Studios, Tristar Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner Entertainment, Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios, The Saul Zaentz Company and Pixar Corporation as defendants.

In May of 2003, seven of the Hollywood studios (MGM Studios, Tristar Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Time Warner Entertainment, Disney, Universal City Studios and The Saul Zaentz Company) counter-sued 321 Studios, claiming that these DVD backup products violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

In the end (on February 23, 2004) Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District Federal Court for California ruled that these products violated the DMCA and ordered an injunction that stopped the sale of DVD X Copy products in the United States. The company proceeded to remove all products from the US retail stores and from the company’s official www.DVDXCopy.com website. The ruling caused the company to shut down with the company finally shutting its doors in August of 2004.

Similar to the way the legal “death” of music downloading website Napster spawned the creation of dozens of new file sharing sites, the death of DVD X Copy has spawned the creation of dozens of new ripping and burning programs. There are several mainstream software products that claim to copy copy-protected movies – namely from companies like Nero, Roxio (Creator, Toast) and Corel (DVD Copy 6). These products, however, are more for burning data and music to blank DVD and CD discs and are not recommended for copying commercial movies. They are not pure DVD and video burning products and do not have an integrated ripper for users to bypass or circumvent CSS. In terms of pure one-click software products, literally dozens of programs have emerged as potential replacements for DVD X Copy. Some of these software programs include DVD next Copy, 1 Click DVD Copy, DVD Cloner, DVD Fab Platinum, ICopyDVDs2, CloneDVD and many more. Of these products, only two have emerged as true successors to DVDXCopy: DVD next Copy and 1Click DVD Copy.

One thing is for certain: DVD X Copy is gone forever. As per the DVDXCopy.com website, there are no authentic copies of this software product in the market. Because of its popularity and continued brand recognition (even 5 years after the company closed), some consumers are still being tricked into buying old and/or cracked versions of these software products. Per 321 Studios, these programs are cracks, are not supported and will not work with Microsoft Vista no matter what claims or guarantees are provided by the sellers. If you are looking for an alternative to DVD X Copy Platinum, try DVD next Copy or 1 Click DVD copy, or even one of the more inferior products listed above before you consider buying an old version of DVD X Copy.

write by Zi Wu

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