Removing DRM from iTunes Video

Legal disclaimer: Although the following information could be viewed as encouragement for the purpose of distribution of copy-protected video assets to family, friends, colleagues and strangers, that is certainly not the intent, nor does Allgaier Consulting condone or endorse such illegal activities. More information here.

With that out of the way, let's have some fun!

I think it's safe to say that most of us at some point have downloaded video content (TV shows, movies, music videos, etc) from the iTunes store. And why not?! The collection is fairly vast, especially when it comes to newer content. I dread to think of how much I have spent on such content over the last few years alone. Needless to say, our iTunes video library is pretty extensive. Unlike music that is purchased and downloaded from the same store, video content is still copy-protected using DRM (Digital Rights Management). In other words, it's tied to your specific Apple ID account. This makes it difficult to share with friends and family. That is, of course, the purpose of DRM.

Ordinarily, I'm completely fine with DRM, at least in concept. The problem I have with it, however, is it does completely lock you in to iTunes and Apple. I don't see that as an issue right now, but as you know, technology changes quickly and frequently. I can't guarantee that I will be as happy with that lock-in 2 years from now as I am now. To manage that risk, there's a utility that allows you to remove the DRM protection from this video content (allowing you to view the same purchased content on non-Apple hardware and software). It's called NoteBurner ($39, available for Mac and PC).

It's really easy to use. First, you need to Quit iTunes (not just close/hide, but Quit). When you launch NoteBurner, it will automatically re-launch iTunes (which is part of its processing for reading your iTunes library). Once NoteBurner opens, you will click on the "Add Files" button at the bottom to choose the video (or videos) to de-DRM. When ready, click "Convert" then "Start" to begin the process.

Below is a step-by-step video showing you how.

As you can see, beginning the process is very quick and painless. The actual DRM removal process can take up to an hour or so, depending on system resources and movie length. Most titles on my MacBook Pro with Retina (which uses SSD) will take around 45 minutes or so to complete.

The basic version of NoteBurner will remove DRM protection from titles that you have purchased. If you want to remove DRM from titles that you have rented, you will need to spend an extra $10 for the Plus version.

Posted on May 22, 2013 and filed under How To, Mac.