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I sometimes want to use my computer as a DVD-player. Unfortunately I know that I will often have to cope with encrypted DVDs, for example with CSS.

Therefore I installed the libdvdcss2 library from Medibuntu. But from now on, how can I be sure I will be able to read any DVD whatever its encryption, may it be CSS or another protection?

By the way, I precise that passing through such protective measures is allowed in my country, "for interoperability purposes".

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can't be sure that you will be able to read every DVD.

libdvdcss2 will allow you to play, copy and rip DVDs encrypted with CSS (Content Scramble System). This is by far the most commonly used DRM on DVDs.

However there are other methods which are much more nasty. The ones I have come across were where some sectors of the DVD were deliberately corrupted so that they couldn't be copied. For these I used ddrescue install ddrescue which is a command line app similar to dd.

This program was designed for rescuing data from failing drives where there are accidental bad sectors. They can also be applied to get rid or the DVD DRM. If I remember rightly, this is the command:

ddrescue -d /dev/dvd ~/dvd_backup.iso ~/dvd_backup.log

You can then mount or burn the ISO file.

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Actually, gddrescue is an alternative implementation ("GNU ddrescue"), not a GUI. – JanC Nov 13 '10 at 22:54
I used this approach successfully for years, but it no longer works with some newer DVDs. The ddrescue images made from discs with certain read errors cannot be played back. – HDave Jul 20 '12 at 13:28

For legal reasons, DVD decryption is not provided by a standard Ubuntu installation

However, you can install libdvdread4 which has a script that allows to install DVD decryption

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/


Add the medibuntu apt repository

sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

And directly install libdvdcss

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

Both methods may not be legal in every country (as far as I know, it's not legal in USA, but it's legal in Germany)

For a completely legal way buy the Fluendo DVD Player as posted in fluteflutes answer

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Agmenor has already installed libdvdcss2. – dv3500ea Nov 13 '10 at 22:08
I believe it is legal in the US:… – NoBugs Apr 5 '12 at 2:37

One way to do this is using the Fluendo DVD Player available (for $24.95) in the Ubuntu Software Centre. This would ensure you can always play all DVDs as it is software supported by a company.

NB: Purchasing this also has the side effect of protecting you from any legal issues.

NB2: I'm sure someone else with more knowledge than me will be able to give you a 'free' solution.

Ubuntu Software Centre

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Doesn't show up in 12.04... – NoBugs Apr 5 '12 at 2:33
Who can promise that DVD will work after purchasing? I wish there was a trial version to test the app – Maksim Dmitriev Feb 22 '14 at 11:58

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