Watching DVDs

DVD movie discs are protected by a form of DRM called CSS. This forces anyone who would like to create DVD playback software or hardware to pay a fee to the DVD Copy Control Association, an industry organization set up to protect DVD movie technology.

Some open source advocates reverse-engineered DVD protection and came up with the DeCSS software. This bypasses the CSS system and allows the playback of DVD movies under practically any operating system. Sadly, DeCSS is caught in a legal quagmire. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has attempted to stop its distribution within the United States, but has so far failed. Some experts suggest that distributing DeCSS breaks copyright laws, but there has yet to be a case anywhere in
the world that proves this. Nor has there been a case proving or even suggesting that using DeCSS is in any way illegal.

Ubuntu doesn’t come with DeCSS installed by default, but you can download and install the software by issuing a simple command if it hasn’t been installed on your computer yet, following the installation of a software package. Here is the procedure:
1. Open Ubuntu Software Center.
2. In the search bar, type libdvdread4. In the list of results, click the check box alongside the package and click Mark for Installation. Click Apply on the main toolbar. Close Ubuntu Software Center.
3. Open a terminal window (Applications > Accessories > Terminal). Type the following in the terminal window to download and install the DeCSS component: sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/
4. After the command has completed, you can close the terminal window.

If the movie doesn’t start playing automatically, double-click the disc’s icon on the desktop. In the Nautilus file browser window, click the Open Movie Player button.