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How to (Legally) Digitally Preserve Your Favorite Movies

How to (Legally) Digitally Preserve Your Favorite Movies

Who doesn’t love watching a classic movie?  Casablanca, Scarface, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, Some Like It Hot, Titanic, Rocky…the list goes on.  On a slow Saturday afternoon, we sometimes find ourselves watching these on TV. A multitude of catchphrases and pop culture images can be traced back to a classic movie. Some of us have sought out a particular movie so we can finally understand what people mean when they say “Say hello to my little friend!”

A select number of people have been lucky enough to see them in theaters.  We remember them from our childhood and would like to pass them on to future generations as well.  We could explain the movie and all the cool stuff that made it cool, but movies are for watching.

The Power of Nostalgia

VHSWhen they came out on VHS (yes, it was a real thing) we bought VCRs so we could watch them again and again, only taking a break to wait for the VCR to rewind. Then came the DVDs, and we were powerless against the force of nostalgia to keep us from paying for them again.  And once more with Blu-Rays.  But, there are newer formats coming out- 4K and digital download.

Try as we might, the power of nostalgia still pulls at our heart.

Looking through the old entertainment center, on the other hand, forces us to realize we’ve already paid for these movies three, four, and five times over. Once in the theater, once for VHS, once for DVD, and if the production company thought they could make a profit off us again, then we’d buy the special-commemorative-anniversary edition on Blu-Ray.  To make matters worse we find the newest, latest, hippest TVs are lacking in connections. The little plug-ins in the back, once copious and fear-inducing, are now fewer. It doesn’t help that what connections remain are more alien than ever.

The logical option?  Buy it on digital download.  With a digital copy, we can take our favorite movies and television programs with us wherever we go. That sentiment is nice, but really, all we want is to be able to push a button to watch a classic movie and not have to pay for it- again!

You Could Be a Pirate…

One option is to buy a DVD ripping program.  As in the early days of the 21st Century, CDs could be burned. The term “burning” came about from the literal burning of a CD; the hardware used to rewrite the data on a CD, used mainly for pirating music, would literally burn the CD to transfer the data.

There is a similar process for DVDs, called ripping.  The data on a DVD is ripped from the disc and turned into digital data to be stored on your computer. There are a lot of programs available that will allow you to do this. You can find them online or in a store.  Given the nature of a lot of DVD ripping software, it might be a better idea to buy the software from a licensed retailer.  On top of paying for another software program to watch something you already own, you will also be breaking copyright law.

Here’s the basic gist; to rip content from a DVD, you need to get around the copyright protections on the disc itself. Most software will let you convert your DVDs without much of an issue when it comes to copyright protection. When you do this you are, in the truest sense, removing the copyright protection.

Not convinced?  Pop in a DVD and pause when you see the FBI warning.  This warning makes it clear that doing that, for any reason, is breaking the law.  Fair warning.

…But the Legal Way

DVDThanks to Vudu, there is a way to enjoy up to 8,000 classic movies without running the risk of incurring the wrath of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Yet, it still requires a small fee to make the conversion. In the long run, however, converting your favorite movies to digital for a fraction of a digital download is worth the price. And you save room on your shelves too!

Start by downloading Vudu onto your smartphone.  You’ll have to allow the app to use your devices GPS. If not, the app may have problems registering your location to make the conversion work.  When that is done, open the app and scan the barcode of any DVD in your library. While there are 8,000 titles available for conversion, this may mean that some of the more unique movie titles may not be available yet.

Once you’ve scanned the barcode, you’ll receive a confirmation email to complete the purchase.  After that, you’ll be able to download and enjoy a digital copy of your movie anywhere that you can connect to your Vudu account!

Nostalgia On-Demand

Putting a perennial favorite, like Gone With the Wind, on digital download, you will have access to it forever!

Now, when you feel that need to watch Scarlet O’Hara plead with Rhett to stay or to hear Vizzini shout “Inconceivable!”, you can simply open your app and access the movie itself.  While the VCR may have gone the way of the dinosaur, the movies they allowed us to watch will forever stay in our hearts.