Rep. Darrell Issa Wants To Make It Clear That You're Allowed To Rip Your DVDs

from the good-for-him dept

Back in October, we noted that in the latest triennial DMCA exemption review, the Copyright Office/Librarian of Congress refused to say it was legal for you to rip your own legally purchased DVDs so that you could watch them on a computer or tablet. That seems fairly ridiculous, especially given that similarly ripping your CDs is recognized as legal. Rep. Darrell Issa has apparently recognized how silly this and is planning a bill to fix the Copyright Office’s mistake.

“We think we can write at least some clarifying language that would instruct the Copyright Office to more accurately define what is, in fact, fair use,” Issa said in an interview [with Roll Call]. “People who make copies on their iPod for jogging are not the problem.”

We won’t see anything until the next session, but given that at least some of Issa’s colleagues appear to agree that it’s time to broaden fair use in copyright law, hopefully we can finally see some movement in Congress on bills that actually will allow greater creativity to flourish while also not making most of the nation lawbreakers for simply wanting to watch legally purchased DVDs without having to carry around the plastic discs.

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Comments on “Rep. Darrell Issa Wants To Make It Clear That You're Allowed To Rip Your DVDs”

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fogbugzd (profile) says:

One problem with expanding fair use by statute is that it is still relatively cheap to put a real cost on fair use by fining a bogus copyright suit or sending out a bogus DCMA notice. Or you can just let ContentID do the dirty work for free.

If it is to have any impact, any expansion of fair use should also include a provision making copyfraud illegal and putting some real teeth in it. It should also put the burden of proof for copyright violation on the rights holder.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

Watching while jogging???

… if someone on the jogging path happens to catch a glimpse of the movie, doesn’t that make it a public performance, subject to LOTS of charges/fees ??? And since I have to think of the poor corn farmers, do I now have to carry a bucket of popcorn with me while I jog and watch my movie? c’mon… let’s see if we can come up with something more stupid than what is about to come out of the mafiaa spin doctors…

Anonymous Coward says:


Actually any laws about a topic more recent than 10 years after its “invention” is likely to be completely worthless at best.

The internet in particular is an area where politicians and judges truely lack the technological knowledge to come up with reasonable compromises. A lot of it has to lean on “experts” and with the bias we see in this war of lobbying the ones shouting the loudest and helping most economically will be the ones able to turn bad suggestions into bad laws.

Mike Robbins (user link) says:

Movie and Music Industry Abuses Stifle Innovation

Thank you Congressman Darrell Issa for actively protecting liberty and consumer rights. Although the software exists to RIP (copy) movies from DVD disks to a hard disk drive for their ow use, consumers must have solid proof it is legal and they will not be sued or prosecuted.

The movie and music industry abuses stifle innovation and competition, and have abused the customers.

The continual “Mickey Mouse” copyright protection period extensions, reportedly to cater to Disney to protect their Mickey Mouse character, have gone too far and stifle innovation and competition. Although I wonder whether a trademark for the Mickey Mouse character would be sufficient to protect it.

The purpose of copyright and patent laws is to provide a period of exclusive ownership rights to create a financial incentive for invention, creation, and innovation. But the protection was not supposed to be so long as to remove the incentive to continually invent, create, and innovate new things.

Entertainment industry abuse of customers includes the following.

Lobbying for laws to criminalize legal and legitimate consumer use of their legally purchased products.

Selling one or a few good audio tracks on a CD padded with filler junk quality tracks.

DVDs that force viewers to watch advertisements such as movie trailers, and disable the ability to skip the ad.

Copy protection that prevents users from making legitimate backup copies of legally purchased movies without special software.

Inserting gratitous violence and sex, and inappropriate political propaganda and social conditioning scenes into movies that often spoils the movies, such as the unnecessary and awkwardly inserted homosexual bed scene in “Burlesque” that ruined the movie.

Mike Robbins

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Movie and Music Industry Abuses Stifle Innovation

“Inserting gratitous violence and sex, and inappropriate political propaganda and social conditioning scenes into movies that often spoils the movies, such as the unnecessary and awkwardly inserted homosexual bed scene in “Burlesque” that ruined the movie.”

I’ve not seen Burlesque but I guarantee you there’s someone out there who thought that scene was the high point of the movie. In fact there’s probably some who only watched the movie because they heard it contained such a scene and/or thought it improved the movie.

As the others above me said, you have some good points, but trying to force your own morals on content ain’t going to fly. Don’t try to force your prudish sensibilities on my entertainment just because you’re too lazy to use the resources available to you to pre-vet the content in case something offends you.

Rikuo (profile) says:


Honest question here: Copyright says that the holder alone is allowed to make copies of his/her work and those whom he authorizes.
Let’s say I have a file I’ve downloaded, and I, for lack of something better to do, copy it between many devices that I own. Several hard drives, several computers, etc. Does each copy I make mean I’m liable for separate $150,000 fines for each copy, or would I only be fined that amount once, for the initial download? What about when I play the file, would the copying into RAM count?

crade (profile) says:


Depends on the law where you are, but more likely it is something like:

Each copy probably *violates* the copyright (unless it is covered by fair use / exception laws, etc)
but as to what each copy is liable for in fines and such, I believe that would be up to the copyright holder to show how much hypothetical damages they incurred from your copying..

So basically it depends how good the copyright holder is at their bullshit / smoke and mirror show.. How much hypothetical damages can they claim and get away with? Depends on the judge and how good your lawyer is (ie: they can claim whatever they want)

Anonymous Coward says:


“I believe that would be up to the copyright holder to show how much hypothetical damages they incurred from your copying..”

Nope. These are STATUTORY damages which have nothing to do with actual damages. But if they went the full $150000 for personal use copies, that would almost certainly get lowered on appeal.

“would the copying into RAM count”

Pretty sure there’s an exception for that… although, depending on the wording, the exception might only apply if the copy was legal in the first place. So, I’m actually not sure.

Ophelia Millais says:


In the U.S., for civil copyright suits, statutory damages are usually an option instead of actual damages. In that situation, there doesn’t have to be any showing of actual damages; a vague and unsupported claim of “irreparable harm” is normally taken prima facie. Naturally, when given the option, the copyright owners almost always seek statutory damages…

Ophelia Millais says:

Movie and Music Industry Abuses Stifle Innovation

Your letter reads as an insincere thank-you because you use it as a springboard for a lengthy gripe session that you publicly post in forums.

Also, are you suggesting that Congress should do something about gratuitous violence, sex, political POV, and homosexual “social conditioning” in movies, which you consider “abuse” of consumers? Rein it in or GTFO.

MrWilson says:

Movie and Music Industry Abuses Stifle Innovation

“Inserting gratitous violence and sex, and inappropriate political propaganda and social conditioning scenes into movies that often spoils the movies, such as the unnecessary and awkwardly inserted homosexual bed scene in “Burlesque” that ruined the movie.”

Yeah, ditto what Ophelia said. You had me until you went on a tirade against what other freedom-loving people might describe as freedom of speech and artistic license.

If you don’t like the content of the movies, as a consumer you’re free to not support them by not watching them. There are websites that will tell you about what kinds of content are in a movie without spoiling the plot points too much. I suggest you use them and let the rest of the viewing populace that consists of adults who can make their own decisions about what they choose to watch and financially support do what they want to do as well.

Alpheus says:

Re: Movie and Music Industry Abuses Stifle Innovation

Mike Robbins has a point: once we obtain a copy of the movie, we ought to be free to do what we darn well please with it, up to and including paying someone to remove the objectionable scenes.

The funny thing is, though, the movie industry likes to sue these companies that provide this service, using copyright law as the foundation for their dubious claims.

Many of these movies are produced in versions that can be shown in public places–particularly, airplanes–and while I agree that we can’t force anyone to make these versions public, at the very least, altering these movies to our liking should be as much fair use as anything else.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Cue screams of "legalizing piracy" in 3... 2... 1...

um, gnudist, you ARE a private according to the MAFIAA: you listen to/watch media; therefore, you are a pirate and a criminal, and should pay. And pay big. Really big. Just empty your pockets right here, while we empty your accounts. No, you get no lube, either.

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

Really? They Still Rip DVDs?

All the usual fake argumentations of the copyleftists.

What’s the modern hipster jogger doing manually ripping DVDs anyway? He, what, bought a DVD and didn’t get a service online? He didn’t stream from Spotify or GetGlue or something? This isn’t even the modern delivery system for content.

And as such, the notion that “I should get to do it because these are my gadgets” is only edge-casing and whining, because in reality, you know full well you won’t keep just to your own gadgets, and you are merely looking for yet another way to undermine copyright.If you really believed in “freedom only among my own gadgets” you would subscribe to the idea of licensing or hash-registration of hardware for all the devices, but of course we can’t imagine you’d do that, ever.

Give it up, people have to make a living, paws off.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Really? They Still Rip DVDs?

You know when the idiocy spouted here by the trolls is getting silly when you see a post like this and I can’t tell if it’s another moron or a spoof of said morons. If the latter, bravo. If the former – you’re a waste of space and need to listen to the real arguments being used rather than the fictions you make up to attack paying customers of the industry you “defend”.

“He didn’t stream from Spotify or GetGlue or something?”

Yes, because every portable device can do this… Do you people even think?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Really? They Still Rip DVDs?

I didn’t bother clicking links in case he was serious, and was indeed that ill-informed and illogical rather than merely parodying a troll. Looks like I was right.

What a shame there’s never any actual reasoning on the other side of this argument, just attacks on customers who don’t want to pay multiple times for content they’ve already paying for. He’s not even arguing about “stealing” and “pirates” – he’s directly complaining that it’s difficult to charge people multiple times for the same product. No wonder these assholes are losing business.

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