I bought a blu-ray movie that includes the blu-ray disc, DVD disc, and a Digital Copy disc. I used the digital copy to download the movie in iTunes on OS X, which works fine. However, the movie in iTunes, like many others, does not have subtitles or closed captions. I'm hearing impaired and I rely on these to be able to understand the movie.

From what I've read, the iTunes movie has DRM protection on it. I can find the needed subtitles (SRT file) for the movie, but I wouldn't know where to begin to try to encode it into the movie without messing up the DRM. I want to stay as legal as possible. Is there a way I can do this?

  • 1
    Anything on copyrighted DVD cannot be legally copied, whether to hard drive or a DVD-R... But sometimes you have to break the rules. – amphetamachine Jul 15 '10 at 0:47

I think there's no single-step solution for this problem.

However, I believe you could google for a "dvd ripper" application for macintosh and rip the DVD disc to a local VIDEO_TS folder. Then you could use Handbrake to create a .mp4 file version of the movie that combines your .srt subtitles with the video. iTunes accepts .mp4 video files, so after that you should be able to add it to your library.

However, there are a number of if's to this process, besides the fact that it's rather awkward:

  • Will the .srt sync properly with the video from your DVD (it might be synced to another version)
  • What's the legality of the entire process? Personally, I think making a copy for your own purposes of a movie you actually bought should qualify as fair use. But then, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) and I don't know all that much U.S copyright laws.

Actually, this can be done directly on the m4v file without totally reencoding the movie with a soft called Subler. I have done it with rentals, and it doesn't affect the DRM protection of the file, so I doubt there is any legal issue with this method.

  • open the iTunes original m4v file in Subler
  • after the file has loaded, click the + to add the srt file, this will create a subtitle track
  • choose the corresponding language for the track
  • save the file

Still, you may have problems with the sync of the srt file if it hasn't been properly made. There may also be issues with some font tags in the srt that will not be supported (the 'i' tag for italics seems to work though).

Srt files delays an duration can be fixed with another software called Jubler.

The annoying thing with this, is that though anyone can do it in 2 minutes, apple still doesn't seem to bother taking the time (I am french, and almost everyone complains about the lack of subtitled movies in original version in our iTunes store...)

  • Using Subler worked great for me. – DK_ Jun 27 '12 at 12:43
  • That's awesome. Works like a charm. Great! – vrybas May 17 '13 at 17:04
  • This did not work forme. I followed the above instructions carefully. Maybe things have changed. – Tony M Jul 3 '19 at 14:32

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