Have you ever wanted to copy or convert your personal collection of DVDs for backup or easy viewing on your Apple TV, only to be thwarted by CSS encryption? I feel your pain, and so do the good folks at Metakine. Lucky for us, Fairmount is […]


Have you ever wanted to copy or convert your personal collection of DVDs for backup or easy viewing on your Apple TV, only to be thwarted by CSS encryption? I feel your pain, and so do the good folks at Metakine. Lucky for us, Fairmount is here to help, and it’s free!

CSS, or Content Scramble System, is an approach used by most DVD manufacturers as a way to prevent unauthorized copies and unlicensed playback of DVD content. Unfortunately for consumers, this kind of digital rights management can be cumbersome for those who want to take advantage of their fair use rights. Fairmount makes setting aside this type of DRM extremely easy.

Fairmount works together with the VLC Media Player to decrypt your mounted DVD and replace it with a unencrypted disk image. It’s really simple to do. With a DVD mounted, just launch the Fairmount application and it will automatically and transparently hand off the decryption to VLC and then begin mounting a new decrypted image of the disk.

Screenshot of FairMount in action

Once the DVD is decrypted, and the new disk image is mounted, you can then save the video files on to your network, convert them for playback on other devices, or burn the image back to a disk. The decryption is very fast and the exchange with VLC happens completely in the background. You even get a nice animation as the mounted DVD is smeared over with cream cheese, “Bagels are good!”


If you’re planning on burning the image to DVD, the Fairmount download comes bundled with another application from Metakine called DVDRemaster which will let you do just that. If you’re just interested in converting files for viewing on your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPod, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend an excellent and free application called HandBrake.

Fairmount, VLC, and HandBrake are all free applications released under a General Public License. DVDRemaster is available in both standard and pro versions for $39.99 and $49.99, respectively.

  1. Hey, I’m all for fair use rights, and it doesn’t bother me to circumvent CSS for backing up or transcoding my own DVDs. But the inclusion of the last sentence, “Netflix subscriptions now start as low as $4.99 a month,” is an implicit call to simply pirate every DVD you rent from Netflix.

    $4.99 only pays for rental viewing, not owning a permanent copy. Suggesting otherwise is just plain wrong.

    1. I agree – the statement about Nexflix at $4.99/month is not appropriate.

  2. I guess St. Viateur isn’t a catchy name for an app…


  3. What you are suggesting is a felony in the United States. Aren’t there any guidelines for the Apple Blog in terms of ensuring their contributors write responsibly? Or ethically?

    1. @Matt: The world is much bigger than US.

      For me and my wife, as big supporters of the music and film industry (1500 CD´s & 1200 DVD´s), the possibility to store our music and films on hard disc is a real treat. We had to stop buying new films for a while since we simple had grown out space. Now we can move all the DVD´s in the basement together with the cd´s.
      Which actually means – by doing what the record industry probably do not want us to do, we are now able to buy even more films.

      To buy something that would do the same thing perfectly legal (in US), like the Kaleidescape systems, would cost something close to $40.000.

  4. Sorry folks, missed that bit at the end. Article updated.

  5. Bryan Schuetz Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    @foresmac @matt Well, I certainly don’t endorse piracy. I think on the whole the article focused on the fair use aspects of the application. The last bit about Netflix was just a bad joke meant to inject a bit of humor. As Josh indicates we’ve updated the article to remove my bit of bad judgement.

    @Ben That’s pretty funny, Metakine is based in Montreal so that must be where they got the name.

  6. I’ve played a bit with older versions of Fairmount, and it has worked pretty well. Though I still have issues with some DVDs, especially Disney discs, both with Fairmount and other mac ripper software. Of course, the whole point of copying the discs is so I can put my kids’ Disney DVDs on the AppleTV (for convenience and to spare the back-in-the-vault discs from the inevitable destruction). bSo, it’s a little frustrating. Maybe time to give Fairmount another shot….

    I can, however, wholeheartedly recommend Handbrake. (though I’ve run into an odd bug there, too, worth mentioning here: http://tntluoma.com/technology/atomicparsley-handbrake-appletv-bug )

  7. [...] Fairmount: Convert Your DVD Collection (tagged: software freeware DVD movies todo ) [...]

  8. I’ve been using Handbrake to (gradually) convert my entire DVD collection to video files stored on an external drive. I’m now using Rivet to allow me to browse and play these through my Xbox 360 in my living room…works great.

    Just wondering if Fairmount offers anything that Handbrake doesn’t here?

  9. This one is simply great.
    I apprieciate it !

  10. Torbjørn Vik Lunde Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    I found Handbrake to be very complicated and hard to use (I was never able to get a usable rip). I’m using DVDRemaster now and I’m very happy with it. It doesn’t have as much advanced features as Handbrake(I think that’s a good thing!), but it’s really easy to use.

    If you like Handbrake that’s fine, but if you’re looking for someting simpler I’d very much recommend DVDRemaster.


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