Monday, January 25, 2010

Blu-ray Ripping For Mac Hits The Net

For a couple years now there have been tools on the Windows side of the computer community for ripping Blu-ray discs to your computer, then turning them into whatever you like for whatever purpose you like. As of this month, those tools have begun arriving for Macintosh. I am most pleased.

Here is a starter (IOW incomplete) article over at MacWorld:

Blu-ray ripping on the Mac

If you have a Blu-ray writer, it is CRITICAL to be aware of Sony's Blu-ray DRM schemes. Here's why:

On Blu-ray burners that both read and write Blu-ray movie discs, Sony, who invented Blu-ray, have perpetrated 3 (THREE) forms of DRM, aka Digital Rights Manglement. One of the three requires an Internet connection to Sony whereby Sony perpetrates surveillance on your Blu-ray movie burner/player. If at any time Sony deem that you are performing anything questionable with your Blu-ray movie burner/player, Sony will BRICK your burner. It will NEVER work again. Sony will NEVER unbrick it. At least that is the consistent story I read on the net.

Then add to that the fact that Sony are terrible software writers, resulting in Sony's brick-job more than occasionally bricking YOUR ENTIRE COMPUTER! I wish this was an urban legend, but it's not. Sony can brick an entire Windows PC, by accident of course. Big oops. I have no idea what you do to solve this idiotic catastrophe, apart from reinstall your system and restore the rest from backup. As for your Blu-ray movie burner/player, toss it in the garbage, get another one, be smarter next time.

Remember that I am talking Windows here. Bricking has never yet happened on a Mac because there has not been, up until now, any way to use a Blu-ray movie burner/reader on a Mac. Also let me reiterate that this problem does NOT apply to just burners that are incapable of also reading Blu-ray movie discs. I hope that is entirely clear. Blu-ray burners that do NOT have Blu-ray movie disc reading ability do NOT have any DRM at all. None. Let me know if I am being too vague here. Get the distinction?

THEREFORE! Whenever you are dealing with Blu-ray movie burner/reader drives, you must at all times cover your butt against DRM killing your device forever.

Why I despise DRM and champion hacking around it and eventually destroying it all together:

Because DRM, certainly in this case, prevents you from making a backup of your media.

For me that is the sum total of the problem. What is the #1 Rule of Computing. If you read my stuff you know. So repeat after me: Make A Backup.

Therefore, DRM in the case of DVDs and Blu-ray is EVIL and IMHO illegal. If you are prevented from backing up your computer media, and that's what Blu-Ray movie discs are, then your rights to use your media are being broken. Needless to say, never share commercial media you own with anyone else. That's piracy, which is illegal as well. Follow the license that comes with your media, except when it comes to making a backup. IMHO no one ever has the right to prevent you from making a backup. Hopefully this fact will be proven in a court of law very soon.

(Well, except of course I expect the current democracy-dementing US Supreme Court will kiss the ass of media corporations and provide them with yet-another, anti-constitutional, anti-citizen, special right to hurt their customers. Such is the corrupt political/marketing-moron era we live in).

Now get out there and backup your Blu-ray movies! And don't pirate. It's very naughty.

[***BTW: All Mac user group members are able to receive a discount on MacWorld magazine. Talk to your MUG leaders about how to obtain this discount from IDG. I'm also happy to report that you no longer have to receive a tree version of MacWorld! Hurray! You can download it and read it in Zinio Reader instead. I've been doing it for months and love it. MacWorld is my very favorite Mac magazine, very useful for both novice and professional users.]

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