Fairmount: Convert Your DVD Collection


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.