MPAA Shows How Teachers Should Record Movies By Camcording Their TVs

from the ok-then... dept

As you probably know, every three years, the Librarian of Congress gets to review requests for special “exemptions” to the DMCA. It’s a ritual every three years, and every three years most people hoping to get rid of some of the worst abuses of the DMCA are disappointed. Back in 2003 very few exemptions were issued, and in 2006 it basically extended the exemptions and added a few very, very narrowly defined and specific exemptions — and did nothing for consumers. This year, the process is going on again with a variety of requests for exemptions.

But, of course, the process also has some requests in the other direction as well… The entertainment industry, for example, would like fewer examples. Kevin alerts us to some video of a recent hearing, where the MPAA actually (you have to see it to believe it) demonstrates how to use a camcorder to videotape a movie off a TV:

Why would the MPAA show this? Because it wants to remove the (very narrow) exemptions that were granted in 2006 to media professors who wanted to copy clips of movies from DVDs for the purpose of education. But the MPAA wants the Library of Congress to take away that exemption, and is using this demonstration to show that a media professor shouldn’t need to break DRM on DVDs, when they can go through the cumbersome process of recording the DVD via the “analog hole” of playing it on a TV and capturing it with a video camera.

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Comments on “MPAA Shows How Teachers Should Record Movies By Camcording Their TVs”

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Luís Carvalho (profile) says:

So, basicaly, digitalizing a movie isn’t what is wrong, what is wrong is the method.

Instead of breaking encryption, we must start using screen capture software, or cameras.


That was actualy a GREAT laughter session.

Can you just imagine? Hi quality projectors and screens, hi quality cameras, and no one can touch that “VERSION” of the movie, because you didn’t touch the DRM. You are now free to share it. Really?

johnsonjb (profile) says:

cool, so the mpaa has given “teachers” a way of getting the cam films onto torrent sites legally, after all, a movie screen is just a very large projection tv. And, well I teach movie critic style journalism, and the downloaders for the movie are my students. I grade my students based on how well then critique the cams based on audio and video quality. Roll call and class discussion is done through the comments section of said torrent. Woohoo, no more jail time for us poor, underpaid teachers.

Aaron Martin-Colby (profile) says:


Stunned. I’m stunned. That’s the only word for it. This exceeds all bounds of abject stupidity that I thought the industry capable.

Any industry that would espouse something like this is so, SO far behind the times that the only option is death. Death. Kill it. Drag the whole thing out back and shoot it. There is no hope. The disease is terminal. Just put the fucking thing out of its misery.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stunned

The MPAA has demonstrated over and over again how little value it adds. When they desire to suspend academic usage, it’s difficult to see that their work has little value to the culture of a society.

On the farm, if an animal or dog goes limping around for weeks, euthanasia is usually a good answer. This creature has been limping around for several decades. By pretending the business can be perpetually sustained via the legal system (like the six million dollar man), only prolongs it’s inevitable demise.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

When you see it, you'll $#!t bricks

I think my head would have exploded watching this, if I was there, just from the shear stupidity of the argument.

They have absolutely no problem with recording the clip itself nor recording the audio direct from the DVD, just that you don’t brake the DRM on the video. They suggest that a professor, as in college, display a recording that is obviously in inferior quality and doesn’t show all the details of the images. And we can all see how bad this can get from the guy recording the recording. And somehow the recording of the DVD is better than the DVD?

Please god, tell me no one is actually stupid enough to fall for this.

Chris @ Terrible Twos (user link) says:


I agree that this is getting stupid. The purpose of the rule is what matters, and showing how there is some way to circumvent the rule for “good” purposes (like education) means nothing. Does this mean it would be OK for everyone out there to use this analog hole and copy movies? Ok to show up to a theater and record a movie? This is really dumb.

Anonymous Coward says:

“cool, so the mpaa has given “teachers” a way of getting the cam films onto torrent sites legally”

There’s a difference between “teachers” and teachers. Teachers (without quotes) can prove that they actually teach a class. “Teachers” (with quotes) are still basically illegally sharing films and videos.

mark Rosedale (profile) says:

presumes you have a camcorder

This presumes that you have a camcorder. So rather than likely having everything you need within your computer they want you to go out and buy a camcorder just so you don’t circumvent drm? Actually isn’t this technically circumventing? Besides that they get all up and arms about camcorders in any other situation this is a double standard. How absurd!

Cheese McBeese says:


This is the method used for a ton of the pirated DVDs you can buy in places like China. Some dude sits in a movie theatre with his camcorder. It’s always a laugh when the person in front moves their head in front of the camera.

The best part is the subtitles that are all made up by the pirate. It turns any movie into a top-notch comedy.

dishwatercider says:

Not long after Sony introduced one of the earliest VCRs, in 1976, two Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against the company, contending that the device was illegal because its ability to record TV programs enabled consumers to illegally copy the studios’ copyrighted property. After wending its way through a variety of lower courts, the lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983. The following year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the VCR, declaring it legal and ruling that home video recording of broadcasts did not infringe upon the studios’ copyrights; such recording fell under the “fair use” exception in copyright law, the Supreme Court decided.

Everyone should pick up one of these VCR things. Apparently they record in analog and everything. And the Supreme Court says its legal to do so. So, just broadcast (stream) video (DVD, etc) to your TV, and record onto VHS. Easy as pie and perfectly legal.

Besides, with modern camcorders (if they don’t already have a hard drive, or record to DVD), its called a Digital Videotape for a reason. So technically aren’t they still breaking the law?

…unless its a VHS camcorder! Woo!

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re:

Actually, the movie industry thrived because of the VCR. It opened a whole new revenue stream. But back then they had control. Today, control is shifting to the consumer. And that scares the MPAA, RIAA and all the other associations that supposedly represent various ‘artists’.

Anonymous Coward says:

OK this is getting ridiculous. So you can rent a DVD and camcorder it to a HDD camera. Transfer it onto your PC and upload it to youtube or wherever and its legal. But if you use a VCR its illegal. That makes sense.

So if I put on the radio and a microphone right next to it and record hour after hour, then later edit out the speech parts and label each clip by the name of the song being played, it should be legal. Since I didnt download the mp3 version, I now have a .wav file, which can be played just like an mp3.

There is a big difference between a family recording a tv show or movie for thier personal use, than some lowlife recording and copying DVDs for resale on the street. Its about time the government steps in and does something about this. Its really bull. If I really like a song, I pay iTunes .99 cents to get it on my computer and iPod. Then I gotta pay like 5 bucks to get a 15 second clip onto my phone for a ringtone. I cant burn CDs so I have to take my iPod everywhere with me. If I lose it im out another 200 bucks. If I do find a way to burn the music onto a disc and I get caught, I get sued for a whole lot of money, and they take my computer and iPod away. Sounds fair to me no?

Hollywood needs to produce more stuff and stop complaining about people saving movies and music. Its understandable if I download all the movies and music I can find and sell them at say .25 cents each for profit. No one is trying to make profit off you rich mofos. I guess 50 million a weekend for a hit movie isnt enough they gotta sue you for 100,000 too.

intelceleron11 says:

The real reason they want academia to do this

Simply put, they want to ban all deCSS in all its forms so that nobody posessing deCSS type technology has an excuse for posessing it. No servers in the US will be able to host it. Basically they’re just trying to limit ability to use such software, and limit its commercial viability of such programs that can back up or “back up” your digital media. Still a stupid plan. First they try to ban bandwidth (why not just ban the entire internet) by asking ISP’s to charge more for “overages”… now they’re trying to ban software that can enable pirates (even ones who may be in academia), from using the software or having access to it.

It’s still a retarded idea. Can’t blame ’em for trying though, but seriously enough is enough. Time for everyone to pirate just so they don’t have the money to bully anyone they choose any longer.

Bettawrekonize (profile) says:

“There is a big difference between a family recording a tv show or movie for thier personal use, than some lowlife recording and copying DVDs for resale on the street.”

This is exactly why I stopped buying music and movies (I used to). If I buy something it’s mine, I should be allowed to do whatever I want with it for my purposes and, unless I have to buy something for some reason, I will ONLY buy music and movies under MY terms. If the MPAA and RIAA don’t want to sell me something under MY terms then that’s tough because they lost me as a customer.

Bettawrekonize (profile) says:

CD’s break, DVD’s go bad, this stuff deteriorates over time and especially with use. I want to be able to buy something and make copies of it and keep the original safe in some place where no one touches it. Then if the copies get scratched up I will destroy them and make new copies of the original. If the MPAA and RIAA don’t want to give me that freedom then I will NOT give them my business.

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