I Just bought a new Dell Dimension 8250 series computer. I ordered it with the DVD Burner. Why wont it let me copy DVD's I allready own, like Orange County, or John Q or something like that?
I won't even get into the whole legality thing but...
There are probably two reasons why your copy attempt is failing. The first is there is digital encoding on the disk to prevent exactly what your trying to do. Second, most commercial DVD's these days are dual-layer. In other words, two sides on one. Long ago we were required to flip the DVD over half way through the movie. Now days the player pauses momentarily part way through the movie and then accesses the 2nd layer on the disk. I suspect it will be a long long time, if ever, that we have dual-layer burning capabilities on our PC's. :-
In other words... no DVD copies for your friends. :-)
Commercial DVD's are encrypted using CSS and Macrovision. CSS prevents bit-for-bit copies from working, because the space for the CSS decryption data is already written over on a DVD-R for General DVD blank. A couple of years ago, a Norwegian teenager reverse engineered CSS, so he could play DVD's on his Linux box, and published the results on the net as DeCSS.
The Macrovision part is a signal that messes up the sync circuit on your VCR, so you can't dub directly from a DVD player to VHS.
The multitude of variations of DVD ripping software available on the net has literally exploded since DeCSS was published. Hollywood is understandably unhappy, although this hasn't slowed down the real pirates in the far east that are stamping multilayer copies out before Hollywood can get their versions released.
The ultimate problem is that 8 GB won't fit into 4.7. In order to truly copy a commercial DVD, you'd have to re-author it to fit on probably 2 DVD-R's. By the time you do all this and burn multiple DVD-R's, you could have just bought a previously viewed copy at your local video rental and spent less money.
As long as Hollywood keeps their pricing reasonable, the average hobbyist is not a threat. (Although I still don't understand why a DVD movie is priced higher than the VHS version, when the tape costs more to produce than the stamped DVD! I've seen ads for producing low quantity <500> stamped runs for $1 each. I assume Hollywood can get a quantity discount on that price.)
You'll never see dual layer DVD-R's. It's just not technically nor commercially feasible. The next big thing will be blue laser disks (20-27 GB), needed to handle HDTV.