DVD Makers Say That You Don't Really Own The DVDs You Bought… Thanks To Copyright

from the ownership-sure-is-a-funny-thing dept

So, we already wrote about some of the crazy filings from John Deere and GM claiming that when you buy a vehicle from them, you don’t really own it, thanks to the software inside, which those companies argue they still really own. This was part of the opposition to requests for exemption from Section 1201 of the DMCA. Once again, Section 1201 is the anti-circumvention clause, that says you can’t break DRM even if it’s for non-infringing purposes. But… every three years, the Librarian of Congress is allowed to “exempt” certain classes of items from Section 1201. the responses above concerned locking down automotive software, but there are some other crazy ones as well.

For example, the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) and the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA) are so worried about an exemption for certain kinds of DVDs that it ran to the Copyright Office to claim that you simply don’t own the DVDs you buy, and they’d really appreciate it if people stopped thinking they actually bought the DVD that, you know, they bought:

When consumers buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc, they are not purchasing the motion picture itself, rather they are purchasing access to the motion picture which affords only the right to access the work according to the format?s particular specifications (i.e., through the use of a DVD player), or the Blu-ray Disc format specifications (i.e., through the use of a Blu-ray format player). Consumers are able to purchase the copy at its retail price because it is distributed on a specific medium that will play back on only a licensed player.

Notice that even this statement is self-contradictory. The first sentence says they are not purchasing any content, but merely a “right to access.” And yet, the very next sentence talks about the “purchase [of] the copy.” So which is it? Are people purchasing a copy of the movie? Or are they merely licensing access to the content on the plastic?

This is a problem with Section 1201, showing how its expansive nature is fundamentally changing the concept of ownership in ways many people haven’t even begun to understand yet.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: aacs la, dvd cca

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “DVD Makers Say That You Don't Really Own The DVDs You Bought… Thanks To Copyright”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
181 Comments
Violynne (profile) says:

Consumers are able to purchase the copy at its retail price because it is distributed on a specific medium that will play back on only a licensed player.
This isn’t true, either.

The content that’s on the DVD isn’t restricted to the player at all. It’s MPEG and pretty much any video player can play the digital file.

The only damn reason the disk is used is to add the copy protection layer so that other MPEG players can’t access the digital file it can easily play.

Of course, this truth won’t be told. There’s no way the entertainment industry is going to release $30 movie prices because they have a monopoly on player restrictions.

This includes their idiotic product/services like UltraViolet.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The only damn reason the disk is used is to add the copy protection layer so that other MPEG players can’t access the digital file it can easily play.

If only it were that simple and reliable.

Blu-Ray includes High Definition Content Protection (HDCP) DRM. Your monitor or TV must also be HDCP compliant, because this is where the decryption is done. A lot of early – and not so early – HD monitors and TVs will never show Blu-Ray movies because they don’t support HDCP.

The same goes for satellite TV. Many HD TVs when dark when Star Choice / Shaw Direct in Canada started using HDCP. That included TVs that DID support HDCP, but didn’t talk well with other HDCP compliant equipment.

anony says:

Re: Re: Re:

One of the many reasons billions of people download and share content online, if a tv is capable of playing the content but their drm or whatever they want to call it prevents me from doing so then it is not only legal for me to get a copy that works but to help others do so too.

That is the power of money, purchase something and you own it, unless they are prepared to buy back every dvd and cd i have ever purchased at the price i paid for them they cannot stop me or others from circumventing their anti consumer technology where they attempt to sell content that is not playable.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is what Microsoft’s PlaysForSure DRM standard was supposed to fix. Twenty-three major hardware vendors and a variety of content providers – MTV, Yahoo, etc. – supported it. It would Play For Sure!!!

Naturally, Microsoft scrapped PlaysForSure a couple years later in favor of the Zune Marketplace.

Which was scrapped a few years after that for Xbox Music and Xbox Video brands on the XBox 360 and Windows Phone.

And of course the XBox One isn’t compatible with the 360.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Naturally, Microsoft scrapped PlaysForSure a couple years later in favor of the Zune Marketplace.”

It’s worth adding the rest of the story here. PlaysForSure was a joke. There were huge, widespread compatibility problems, I remember complaints at the time from retailers saying they had huge overheads due to the level of support calls surrounding the DRM.

When Microsoft realised that this scheme was the white elephant it was, they backed out and rebranded. The fallout was a mess. Zune owners couldn’t play music that they had purchased from MSN – Microsoft couldn’t even guarantee compatibility with itself! Once PlaysForSure’s infrastructure was shut down, nobody could play the music they had purchased, although they were given a grace period to get the music converted. Meanwhile, of course, those who simply decided to pirate their music instead of paying for it remained unaffected.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining – the utter catastrophe of this episode helped convince labels that DRM was hurting more than it helped and start to reconsider allowing retailers to just offer MP3s. Once they did this, new players in the space such as Amazon were able to enter and the market grew exponentially.

“And of course the XBox One isn’t compatible with the 360.”

This isn’t so problematic in my mind, however. Sure, backward compatibility would have been nice, but the internal architecture is different enough that allowing games to play wouldn’t have been a simple patch like the Xbox to 360 transition. The One has/ad a huge number of issues, this was way down the bottom of the list.

When you’re talking about differences in a new generation of hardware rather than people pissing around with what should be an open file format, I’m not so concerned.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

I once heard that a few years back, a certain political party in Britain managed to pick up a huge number of seats in an election by doing nothing more than publishing the official platform of their biggest rival and saying “this is what these guys stand for.” Seems to me that a similar strategy is called for here. Take these statements, collect them, and say “this is sheer insanity on the face of it, and these people are trying to enshrine it in law.”

It’s also worth pointing out that it’s called copy-right for a reason, and not access-right or usage-right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Copyright refers to the IP-owners exclusive right to copy. Thus has little to do with the eventual owner of a copy. Arguably the distinct lack of rights for the end-user is the real problem with the current system.

When you hear about the fights against any and all end-user rights from certain organisations, you see the true face of greed as a right (with the nasty: “If you tolerate this, then your children will be next”-legal uncertainty situation as a guarantee for extra gore).

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

I think the big story here is that by this logic I should get replacements for any lost, stolen or broken DVDs/Blue-Rays. Because its not the disc I am buying. Its access to that content in a specific format. And my access to that content shouldn’t be limited to the Temporal nature of the delivery mechanism.

More seriously, Music tried this very argument against format shifting (ripping and using an MP3 player), that we only bought the music in the cd format. It failed.

Wilhelm Arcturus (user link) says:

What day is it?

Copyright being used to undermine fair use, international law, and the longstanding fundamentals of private ownership? Is J. K. Rowling going to show up next and tell me my daughter doesn’t really own those Harry Potter books because… copyright?

I keep expecting the April Fools punchline to all of these stories, and then I look at the calendar and sigh heavily.

anony says:

Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

Wow you are grasping at straws in your personal attempt to attack mike, you are sounding like more and more of an absolute idiot every comment you make, of course you own the movie you purchase and can do anything you like with it, edit it and re-edit it if you want then release it as a parody as something that is covered by law as fair use.

Now i assume you work for the movie industry or the MPAA, so if you read the comments on here you know you are only one of the 1% that people love to hate and one of the very few uninformed that seem to like to lie your way through life and attack anyone that makes you look like the imbecile you obviously are. Get a life and stop trying to hate on someone like mike who has the public’s interest at heart more than you. If you want to suck up to your bosses in the mpaa do it on their website , here you are just laughed at and the butt of many jokes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

Well since you’ve thought it through, and the rest of us obviously haven’t, given our inabilities to understand big words, let’s for just a second assume that the studios DO own the content on the DVD, while we the consumer owns the physical medium.

If the studio says we can’t use the content anymore, for whatever reason, how exactly do they think they’re going to take it back?

Involuntarily having the consumer destroy the DVD?
Using the police to facilitate a mass confiscation?

I anxiously await your superior-worded solution to my poorly-worded problem.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

Don’t know, don’t care. I’m talking about what the laws are not how to implement or execute them. I don’t disagree with the author, I have a problem with the clueless commenters. I’ve only seen less than a handful of knowledgeable, intelligent responses.

Anonymous Coward says:

They’ve been trying this for years with music and arguing to have everything their way.

They want to say that you’re buying the disc, but not the media on the disc, only a license to view the media on the disc, but only the media on that disc, so you don’t get a free replacement if your disc gets worn out, damaged, or stolen. And you don’t get access to the media in any other format like digital copies or streaming from a server. And you can’t have more than a couple friends over to watch it. And you can’t lend it to a friend because they have to buy the license too. And you can’t make any copies, even for fair use purposes, because you’d have to circumvent copy protection, which we paid to make illegal.

No one, if actually presented with these terms, would agree to this, especially not at the prices that have been charged in the past for physical media.

BernardoVerda says:

Re: Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

I was going to “report” you.

But fortunately, I quickly realized that this would actually be, in fact, quite counter-productive, and that it would be both easier and more effective to leave your blathering unhindered, for all to see and to judge for themselves.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

just childish incomprehension of facts and law.
What moronic parallel universe did you come from, where buying something doesn’t mean you own it? It’s sad he has to say this all right, sad that Hollywood needs to be reminded of this.
Also, Mike is not trying to censor you just because your comment gets held for moderation, that’s just an automated anti-spam thing. The fact that your idiotic, insulting comment was published is proof of that.

alternatives() says:

Re: Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

What moronic parallel universe did you come from, where buying something doesn’t mean you own it?

Computer software – the place where the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM purchase doesn’t mean you “own” the software.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

Also, computer software – the place where you have to agree to an EULA before you can use it, and often have it included for view before you open the disc case, allowing you to return the goods if you don’t agree.

Where is that agreement on a DVD, because I don’t ever recall seeing one?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 So you're stating that purchase of a DVD means you own "the movie", the "content"?

I’ll assume you mean back of the DVD case rather than the back of the DVD. But, even then, a great many do not have any terms listed at all. Rating, specs, plot synopsis, extras, case, sure. But no licence terms. Those that do list some terms simply reiterate general copyright and trademark information, not the things being claimed here.

Am then I to assume I can do whatever I want with the content, or do you accept that the two things are not comparable?

Anonymous Coward says:

The pro copyright brigade will have anyone in court for copying the media on the cd/dvd and call it copyright theft but the pro copyright brigade has not once taken anyone to court for destroying the copyrighted media when the cd/dvd gets destroyed. I thought destruction of copyrighted media was far more damaging than copying copyrighted media but how wrong was I.

gordwait (profile) says:

Simple. Don't buy them.

I’ve only watched the handful of live concert DVD’s I bought once, maybe showed a few friends some choice cuts.

Movie DVDs? Save your money. There are so many interesting sources of entertainment now, life is too short to watch the same movie twice. Just wait for the retread – you know – the one where they add a Spiderman role to it.

There’s a meme for someone, insert Spiderman into all sorts of unlikely retreads!

anony says:

Bullshit

When i buy something be it a car a dvd or a file i buy the right to own it in its entirety. No law can take that away from me and if they ever create a law that takes away my rights then i ignore it and refuse to purchase that object, especially a car or computer.

If the law does change for specific items then those laws must also ensure that if i am only licensing the content then when the disc fails for any reason they must supply me free of charge another copy. Especially games discs that are made to stop working within years of purchse.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Clickbait article

I really am starting to dislike this site. The initial premise of the article was possibly fine, but the idiotic comments afterwards are indicative of the fact that the copyright laws aren’t understood by people and the writer made no attempt to provide those statues. No doubt it’s because of all the pageviews these trolling topics garner.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Clickbait article

It’s been known for ages that a person “owns” the physical media but does not own the copyrighted content.

Not really. Traditionally one has had full property rights to the individual copy that they own. For example, with a dead-tree version of a book I can write on the pages or reorder the pages or destroy chapters I dislike or whatever. Section 1201 (which is what this article is about) changed that by restricting what I am allowed to do with my property in the privacy of my home.

Section 1201 also impedes Fair Use. Without Fair Use, copyright would run afoul of the First Amendment. I’m of the opinion that Section 1201 is fundamentally unconstitutional, even with the granting of the exceptions.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Clickbait article

However, the copyright holder has the rights to dictate how you consume the copyrighted content.

Incorrect. Copyright grants the copyright owner the rights enumerated in 17 U.S. Code § 106.

There is nothing in there about how the copyrighted work is “consumed” whatsoever. There is also nothing about the copyright owner being able to “dictate” anything.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Clickbait article

No, I’m correct. You’re the typical non-lawyer playing semantics and gotchas.

Read that section and try to absorb what the result is of having the sole right to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; and to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.

If I, as the copyright holder, have to sole ability to prepare derivative works, then guess what–I’m dictating how a non-copyright holder gets to use the work. And if that work is video content, I get to dictate how you consume that content.

Get it?

eye sea ewe says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Clickbait article

If I, as the copyright holder, have to sole ability to prepare derivative works, then guess what–I’m dictating how a non-copyright holder gets to use the work. And if that work is video content, I get to dictate how you consume that content.

You’ve indicated that you have an electrical engineering background. Hence you know that technically what you have said is incorrect.

You should well know (if you have the technical background) that irrespective of the medium in which the information is stored that there are many different ways that it can be extracted and used. Left as a homework example for you.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Clickbait article

Look up “Fair use.”

Parody is one example, as is news and commentary, etc.

So no, you don’t have the sole ability (or right) to make derivative works. I do, too.

Read that section and try to absorb what the result is of having the sole right to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; and to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work: it means ZERO fair use and you owe me a license fee if you copy any part of my posts and prepare and post a derivative work (post) based upon my work. Copyright is automatic, remember. You don’t have to register it to receive it.

Can you see what I did there?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Clickbait article

Read that section and try to absorb what the result is of having the sole right to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; and to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.

You are omitting the fact that those exclusive rights are also subject to the exceptions provided in Sections § 107 thru § 122. Which includes Fair Use. It has already been established that time-shifting and format-shifting are valid Fair Uses with digital products. Creating derivative works in the context of Fair Use is also not infringement. Those rights aren’t as exclusive as you are making them out to be. Section 1201 impedes my right of Fair Use by making the act of accessing the work illegal.

If I, as the copyright holder, have to sole ability to prepare derivative works, then guess what–I’m dictating how a non-copyright holder gets to use the work.

Like I said above, that right isn’t exclusive as you are thinking. I can cut all the words from your dead-tree book, rearrange them and create a collage and it could be considered Fair Use. I cannot do similar things with a DVD because I would have to circumvent the DRM to do so. See the difference?

And if that work is video content, I get to dictate how you consume that content.

Repeating something doesn’t make it true. Copyright holders have never had the “right to dictate how a work is consumed”. Section 1201 doesn’t give you that right at all, it only removes my right to circumvent the DRM.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Clickbait article

You own the media. Do what you want with it.

Ok. You don’t seem to be getting my point. Section 1201 specifically restricts me from “doing what I want” with my individual copy. For example, playing a DVD on a Linux box is technically breaking the law. GeoHot was sued for modding his PlayStation 3. That is not really “doing what I want with it”.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Clickbait article

I get your point, but you don’t get the laws. You get to do whatever you want with the physical media. You do not get to do what you want with the copyrighted material.

You do not get to make derivative works and publish those. You do not get to use the DVD on a non-allowed device because that non-allowed device necessary has to make derivative works or copies.

Guess who has the right to make copies and derivative works? That’s right, the copyright owner only.

I’m done with this discussion. You clearly don’t understand copyright laws and derivative works. Study up a bit on those.

At the end of the day, I don’t like the DMCA and I think copyright laws are out of whack, but the arguments and discussions here are asinine.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Clickbait article

Here’s the problem:

“You do not get to make derivative works and publish those”

This is fine, although there’s an argument that non-commercial and other non-profit uses should be allowed.

“You do not get to use the DVD on a non-allowed device because that non-allowed device necessary has to make derivative works or copies.”

This, however, is bullshit. If I want to watch the movie on a phone, a device that wasn’t invented when the DVD was released, an open source device that’s not been “officially” licenced, make a private copy that edits out that one annoying character or use the disc as a frisbee, that should be my right. As long as I’m not publishing or otherwise distributing the content, it’s none of their business what I do with it. This is also a new thing – nobody cared what I did with my VHS collection after I bought it, as long as I wasn’t selling pirated copies of it.

Publishers don’t get to control whether I read a paperback novel normally, skip through and read the end first, edit it with a pen or rip out the pages to turn into a paper mache sculpture or line a bird cage with it. They have no control, nor should they. Ditto for the media I’ve purchased.

You’re not exactly telling people why they’re “wrong” about copyright law, but the above is the reason people find this objectionable, and it’s also why it will never work. If you’re trying to block private use of something that a person has bought, they will find a way around those blocks. If the restrictions only applied to commercial use, people would understand. When you try attacking what people consider their property (and why wouldn’t they, since they were told they had bought it?), that’s where it becomes a major problem.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Clickbait article

I’m done with this discussion. You clearly don’t understand copyright laws and derivative works. Study up a bit on those.

I believe you are the one who needs to study up a bit since there is quite a bit you seem to be getting wrong.

I have been studying this stuff and discussing it with actual copyright lawyers right here in Techdirt for years now.

But anyways, this has been a mostly cordial discussion and I appreciate that fact. Take care.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Clickbait article

First of all content is not consumed. No peristalsis takes place and it does not turn into poop at any point. Content is experienced.

The copyright holder does not have any right in any way, shape, or form to dictate whether I merely listen to the commentary while working on something else, nor can (s)he tell me which of my devices I can experience the content on. If you are right you ought to be able to cite a law or link to an article proving your point.

It’s not my job to prove your point.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Clickbait article

The copyright holder does not have any right in any way, shape, or form to dictate whether I merely listen to the commentary while working on something else, nor can (s)he tell me which of my devices I can experience the content on. If you are right you ought to be able to cite a law or link to an article proving your point.

I would also like to read an argument like that myself, if one exists. I think it would prove to be pretty humorous. I’ve done some cursory Google searches and can’t find anyone making an argument like that all.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Clickbait article

Ripping and/or reencoding video is a derivative work. Only copyright holders have the statutory right to do that.

Not true. It’s already been determined that I have a Fair Use right to do such things.

From RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999:

In fact, the Rio’s operation is entirely consistent with the Act’s main purpose – the facilitation of personal use. As the Senate Report explains, “[t]he purpose of [the Act] is to ensure the right of consumers to make analog or digital audio recordings of copyrighted music for their private, noncommercial use.” S. Rep. 102-294, at *86 (emphasis added). The Act does so through its home taping exemption, see 17 U.S.C. § 1008, which “protects all noncommercial copying by consumers of digital and analog musical recordings,” H.R. Rep. 102-873(I), at *59. The Rio merely makes copies in order to render portable, or “space-shift,” those files that already reside on a user’s hard drive. Cf. Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417, 455 (1984) (holding that “time-shifting” of copyrighted television shows with VCR’s constitutes fair use under the Copyright Act, and thus is not an infringement). Such copying is paradigmatic noncommercial personal use entirely consistent with the purposes of the Act.
Emphasis mine.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Clickbait article

Anyway, I’m finished responding to your silly posts.

That’s cool with me. I’m kind of tired of correcting your obvious mistakes myself.

Gotcha games are not interesting to me.

I’m not playing any sort of game here. Just simply correcting your incorrect notions concerning copyright laws. If I get something wrong, I fully expect a copyright lawyer or somebody else who is knowledgeable in this area to jump in and correct me.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Clickbait article

I’ve already corrected you.

Sorry. That didn’t happen. Your corrections were incorrect.

You fundamentally don’t understand copyright law.

Whatever. You are free to your own opinions. I still disagree with that though, In my opinion, you are the one with some trouble understanding copyright law.

That’s okay. Not many non-lawyers do.

That’s just a silly type of a “no true Scotsman” argument. You can do better than that.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Law that non-lawyers can't / don't understand...

Your notion that copyright law cannot be understood outside the legal system raises an interesting thought.

If laws exist that cannot be understood by the laity (or that can only be understood by legal experts) how is this different than an intrinsic corruption of the DoJ?

I would argue that laws have to be comprehensible by us 100IQ idiots to be valid, otherwise ignorance of the law becomes the norm.

Worse yet, ignorance of the law becomes (is) the norm for law enforcement officers, who have to guess at whether something someone is doing is illegal. Or rather, assumes it is / isn’t based on the cuts of their respective jibs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Clickbait article

Are you saying that the DVD CCA and the AACS LA did not say

“When consumers buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc, they are not purchasing the motion picture itself, rather they are purchasing access to the motion picture which affords only the right to access the work according to the format’s particular specifications (i.e., through the use of a DVD player), or the Blu-ray Disc format specifications (i.e., through the use of a Blu-ray format player). Consumers are able to purchase the copy at its retail price because it is distributed on a specific medium that will play back on only a licensed player.”

and I wonder what they mean by ‘retail price.’

RD says:

Re: Re: Clickbait article

“and I wonder what they mean by ‘retail price.'”

What THEY mean by “retail price” is “full price” regardless of what that means legally.

If something has a “retail price” then it is a product FOR SALE and falls under the first sale doctrine, and is therefore a PRODUCT that is purchased.

They can’t keep using ALL the terminology from all the different sides of sales (retail, wholesale, licensing, etc) and then equating them all as being the same.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Clickbait article

So what you’re saying is that you have a vested interest in the promotion of stupid, over-broad, excessively long copyright restrictions that are so complicated and devoid of common sense that high-priced ‘specialist’ lawyers are required for practically all interactions between producers and consumers of content. Basically the exact opposite of what the public needs or wants. Good for you…

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Clickbait article

So that the commenters understand the law and attempt to make intelligent responses. Read the comments and keep in mind what the copyright statutes really say. You’ll see that the vast majority of the comments are spoken by people that have no idea of the laws.

The author should have put a couple of sentences out there explaining the laws. But of course it would lessen the clicks.

Anonymous Coward says:

response

When consumers buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc, they are not purchasing the motion picture itself, rather they are purchasing access to the motion picture which affords only the right to access the work according to the format’s particular specifications (i.e., through the use of a DVD player), or the Blu-ray Disc format specifications (i.e., through the use of a Blu-ray format player). Consumers are able to purchase the copy at its retail price because it is distributed on a specific medium that will play back on only a licensed player.

go stoke it small balls.

Anonmylous says:

It doesn't work

“When consumers buy a book, they are not purchasing the story itself, rather they are purchasing access to the story which affords only the right to access the work according to the format’s particular specifications (i.e., through the use of a one’s eyes). Consumers are able to purchase the copy at its retail price because it is distributed on a specific medium that will communicate information only to someone who has been trained to read.”

So by their interpretation of physical media versus content, reading to your children would become copyright infringement. It really is about making a stupider consumer society, you see.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: It doesn't work

“the public as a public performance would be”

Define “public performance”. Does it depend on venue? Number of people? Does reading to a group of kids at a library count, or does it only apply in a commercial setting? What if the person reading at the library is being paid? Did Ted Cruz infringe copyright for his ridiculous Dr. Seuss reading, or did that venue not count?

Where these lines are drawn define how much support and respect the rules actually get. If the lines are so tight that educating children suddenly requires a fee to a publisher, the rules become unenforceable because nobody will respect or support that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not self-contradictory.

“Notice that even this statement is self-contradictory. The first sentence says they are not purchasing any content, but merely a “right to access.” And yet, the very next sentence talks about the “purchase [of] the copy.” So which is it? Are people purchasing a copy of the movie? Or are they merely licensing access to the content on the plastic? “

It’s not that hard Mike, come on. Copy has more meanings than the one you use at Techdirt (Copy: If i’ve copied it I haven’t stolen it.).

Pragmatic says:

Re: Not self-contradictory.

copy
ˈkɒpi/Submit
noun
1.
a thing made to be similar or identical to another.
“the problem is telling which is the original document and which the copy”
synonyms: duplicate, duplication, reprint, facsimile, photocopy, carbon copy, carbon, mimeograph, mimeo; More
2.
a single specimen of a particular book, record, or other publication or issue.
“the record has sold more than a million copies”
synonyms: edition, version, impression, imprint, issue; More
3.
matter to be printed.
“copy for the next issue must be submitted by the beginning of the month”
material for a newspaper or magazine article.
“it is an unfortunate truth of today’s media that bad news makes good copy”
synonyms: material; More
the text of an advertisement.
“‘No more stubble—no more trouble,’ trumpeted their ad copy”
verb
verb: copy; 3rd person present: copies; past tense: copied; past participle: copied; gerund or present participle: copying
1.
make a similar or identical version of; reproduce.
“each form had to be copied and sent to a different department”
synonyms: duplicate, photocopy, xerox, photostat, mimeograph, make a photocopy of, take a photocopy of, run off; More
COMPUTING
reproduce (data stored in one location) in another location.
“the command will copy a file from one disc to another”
write out information that one has read or heard.
“he copied the details into his notebook”
send a copy of a letter or an email to (a third party).
“I thought I’d copy to you this letter sent to the PR representative”
send someone a copy of an email that is addressed to a third party.
“I attached the document and copied him in so he’d know it had been sent”
2.
imitate the style or behaviour of.
“lifestyles that were copied from Miami and Fifth Avenue”
synonyms: imitate, mimic, ape, emulate, follow, echo, mirror, simulate, parrot, reproduce;

I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Are people purchasing a copy of the movie? Or are they merely licensing access to the content on the plastic?

They’ve been told they can “Own it now on DVD” but the truth is just being admitted now: they are merely licensing access to the content.

People don’t understand that.

kP (profile) says:

For Years now the phase "Own It" has been used...

… to sell DVDs for years, so how exactly does this whole ownership thing suddenly go out the window?

http://www.hugomovie.com/registration/index.html
http://www.lucymovie.com/
http://intothestormmovie.com/
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=771148839565347
http://www.highlander-thesource.com/

(I can find this phrase all day – you get the idea)

Anonymous Coward says:

‘This is a problem with Section 1201, showing how its expansive nature is fundamentally changing the concept of ownership in ways many people haven’t even begun to understand yet’

and it will continue to get worse until there is someone with some necessaries who comes up with a sensible change to the law that others in the same position dont do the stupid thing and block it. then you have to educate the people who deal with this sort of thing the most, the judges in copyright type cases and get them to stop siding with the industries that give them ‘encouragement’ to do so. had the judge in the Sony/Other O/S case and the Sony/Geohot case had used some common sense, the situation probably wouldn’t be here now!

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Halfway? Well, then what does one say to their grocery vendor when they ask one to regurgitate the last couple of years of meals that they ‘rented’ from them? Or, should that be the farmers?

The test will be whether the first sale doctrine or copyright is stronger, and copyright is purchasing all the laws they can to make it the winner (though whiner might be more appropriate).

eye sea ewe says:

A clarification on terms being used

by all and sundry.

In terms of the discussion above, there is information encoded and there is a physical storage device. More technically correct is that the media is the physical storage device.

The information is stored by altering some characteristic of the media for the purposes of long term retention of the information.

What is forgotten is that a specific performance has been recorded for presentation to the public. This recording of information has been achieved by various techniques over a long period of time.

The current common technique uses an encoding of a number to store the performance information. Now the interesting feature about using encoding of numbers to store information is that any particular number can be used to store quite different sets of information. It all depends on the specific encoding/decoding process. A number is just a number and not copyrightable.

If you really want to get into a full (very detailed) discussion of this go to the archives for Groklaw and look up the discussion papers by PoIR on this matter. He goes into the technical details in a manner suitable for lawyers, judges and politicians.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Does this mean we get to watch in any format?

No. It’s a derivative work then and you would need the copyright owner’s permission. In reality, what are the damages and who will know if you do it in private? That is, if you rip it to Xvid or put it in an MKV container, etc. Clearly buying a DVD copy doesn’t give you the right to download a BR copy from the internet.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Does this mean we get to watch in any format?

“In reality, what are the damages and who will know if you do it in private?”

This, to my mind, is ultimately the crux of this entire issue. People have been infringing copyright in all sorts of ways for decades, and nobody cared. There were various attempts to crack down on commercial piracy and some ridiculous propaganda campaigns, but you couldn’t realistically prevent people making personal copies for friends, making mixtapes, recording and sharing TV shows on VHS, etc.

The only difference now is that the sharing is done in public. All the infringement is out there for everyone to see, and it’s possible to do easier and quicker than ever. But, in the minds of most people, they’re still just sharing the stuff they would have done on CD, tape, VHS or whatever else.

Attempts to crack down on piracy are failing largely because people are just doing what they’ve always done. The technology’s changed, but the fundamental idea and reasons haven’t. When you don’t have the commercial motive, things become far more difficult – especially when so many early attempts at cracking down were to treat people sharing a song the same way as they’d treat a commercial enterprise mass producing bootleg copies.

“Clearly buying a DVD copy doesn’t give you the right to download a BR copy from the internet.”

But, an interesting idea that I sometimes think about – is it (and/or should it) be legal to download the DVD copy? If it’s legal for me to make a backup copy privately, it would logically be legal for me to ask a friend to do it for me. Now, if that friend is not able to do this in my home, he could rip the disc for me elsewhere and then send me that file. Now, let’s say I don’t have a friend who can do this for me, but someone else has a copy they made of another DVD, and they send me that copy (which is identical to the copy that would have resulted from ripping my disc). Assuming I legally own a copy of the DVD, at which point does the otherwise legal activity suddenly become illegal? The guy sending the copy might be infringing by sending me the file, but where am I infringing if having a backup copy of my disc is legal?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

Most of us in this community are not lawyers, we’re consumers. Consumers who are terribly frustrated with how things are, and to really understand us you are gonna need to read a whole lot more than just this one article.

I would like to ask you what you think IP law should be. Not what it is, but what it should be. For this hypothetical, let us assume it is 1950. Most of the contributors and commenters here have not been born yet. Neither has Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs. Sony and Cher are around, but they probably haven’t met yet. There isn’t much software being written as the IBM 360 is still a couple of years away. And the IOC won’t air an Olympic game for another 6 years, and their first true telecast won’t be for another 10. The MPAA exists, but it has mostly been about censorship to this point.

Remember, this is not about what the law is currently, it is about what the law should be. And let us remember what the basis for IP is in this country:

Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;


OK, now we are set, here are the questions:

1. What sense does it make to reward an author/artist/creator/director etc. after they are dead.?

2. Should software be patentable or copyright-able?

3. Should business methods receive protection of any kind?

4. Why should the IOC be able to force any restaurant named Olympic Pizza to change their name?

5. Should any country even attempt to force their vision of IP on any other country?

6. Should there be any control over any product after a sale when copying for resale is already illegal?

7. Should a publisher/producer etc. be able to retrieve something they sold (and got paid) without reimbursing the purchaser?

8. Should format shifting be wrong if there is no money made from it?

9. Should libraries and therefore sharing (as in lending a book to a friend, not selling) be illegal?

What do you say?

eye sea ewe says:

Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

You actually expect him to answer?

One has to remember that there is currently a complete logical disconnect between IP law (of any form) and the real world. Lawyers rarely understand anything about the real world. They are locked in a mindset that revolves around their specific expertise in the legal domain. I find it also disingenuous of any lawyer who says he comes from a technical background and understands the real world.

As a matter of course, all lawyers are trained to understand the complexity of the illogical nature of the law and not about whether the law actually make sense in the real world.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

Well, we know he made a response at 6:25 am above, so we know he has seen it. If he does not respond, then is it just one more nail in his ‘I am not here to be serious, but to protect the business model in IP law that I have chosen’ coffin.

Along the lines you point out attorney’s and some other professionals have a way of creating an unnecessary lexicon that is designed to make them necessary. I don’t blame GooberdUp for this, it started long long ago. I will blame GooberedUp for participating for personal economic purposes in a profession that is corrupt and an attack and fraud on the common folk.

He will answer if he has any integrity, so your right, he won’t answer.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

These are my personal views, so I don’t know whether there is much worth here. Like anyone else, my opinions may sometimes be the same or differ from someone else’s and won’t necessarily follow the laws.

1. What sense does it make to reward an author/artist/creator/director etc. after they are dead.?

I think a limited amount of time should be provided. If I am an author and I drop dead the day after I’ve spent 20 years writing a book, shouldn’t there be some type of compensation? I think the duration specified in the original 1790 law was fine. 14 years and renewable for another 14 (if the author was still alive). The Mickey Mouse copyright extensions are way over the top.

2. Should software be patentable or copyright-able?

I’m not a huge of software/business method patents. I’ve done them over the years, but maybe it’s my hardware engineer side that nags me about this saying that flow charts and functional boxes really shouldn’t be patentable. Copyrights I’m okay with. I think CONTU was right.

3. Should business methods receive protection of any kind?

Not a fan. I wouldn’t have any issues with that going away.

4. Why should the IOC be able to force any restaurant named Olympic Pizza to change their name?

They shouldn’t, as long as the restaurant isn’t using any IOC trademarks in a way that could cause customers to be confused about affiliation.

5. Should any country even attempt to force their vision of IP on any other country?

Only if a unified vision is good for IP generally. And I think the WIPO patent filing system was very good for patents. OHIM was good for trademarks in the EU. Not quite sure about the Berne Convention.

6. Should there be any control over any product after a sale when copying for resale is already illegal?

I think the copyright holder gets to decide how to handle its content. Let them succeed or fail on their own.

7. Should a publisher/producer etc. be able to retrieve something they sold (and got paid) without reimbursing the purchaser?

No.

8. Should format shifting be wrong if there is no money made from it?

No, if you are talking about taking your content and making it viewable on numerous devices for your household use.

9. Should libraries and therefore sharing (as in lending a book to a friend, not selling) be illegal?

No. It’s only a single copy being moved.

————–

Again, these are only my opinions. I’m sure the xxAA orgs would disagree with some of them.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

Thank you for answering. One more question…why do you deny fair use?

Oh, and I take back the comment I made about integrity in a post that was held for moderation and I expect to show up some time in the future.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

I’m not denying fair use. Fair use is what’s termed an “affirmative defense”. In other words, the defendant bears the burden of raising the defense and proving that the use was fair and not an infringement.

I think fair use is great and I believe it does outweigh the DMCA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

Fair use is what’s termed an “affirmative defense”

Fair use should be considered by the copyright holder before bringing action, that they don’t is having a chilling effect. Direct claims of infringement and use of the DMCA is allowing censorship, because most people cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

“Only if a unified vision is good for IP generally.”

I would have been happier if this answer was “only if a unified vision is good for people generally”. IP is not (or shouldn’t be) an end unto itself. It is a trade-off, and the entire rationale for the tradeoff is that it benefits society in general, not that it benefits the creators of IP.

GooberedUp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

When I say good for IP generally, I really mean in terms of the ease of filing and reduction of cost. So for inventors (large and small) and the population in general, WIPO filings have been good. Higher IP costs likely would lead to higher product costs.

Nick says:

Re: Re: To GooberdUp...OK Mr. IP attorney...Let's Talk Turkey...What should IP law be?

GooberdUp,

In response to “I think that CONTU was right” I am wondering what your opinion of the Altai decision is.

From what I can tell, the CONTU report was (sort of) in favor of allowing the copyrighting of “non-literal” elements of software code. The Altai decision, while not explicitly saying so, basically eliminates this kind of protection for software.

Do you think that that is a mistake? Or do you think that the CONTU report was didn’t really support or understand that aspect of software copyrighting?

Nick (profile) says:

The DMCA makes it unlawful to circumvent digital protection measures, so there are certain things that you can be sued for doing with a DVD that you own.

The DVD-CA is arguing that the fact that a purchaser of a DVD or Blu-Ray is restricted in the uses that they are allowed to make of their purchased item is equivalent to a license.

As far as I can tell, their logic is this: there are restrictions on a purchaser’s right to use DVDs that they buy (from the DMCA). Licenses are a thing that restrict the uses that purchasers make with the things that they buy. Therefore, people that buy DVDs are entering a license agreement. This is obviously illogical.

This is part of a broader effort on the part of content producers to attempt to trick courts into allowing the DMCA to bleed back into copyright ownership. The reason it is a problem is that the issue is complex, and judges frequently don’t really understand copyright law. I hope that the copyright office makes significant efforts to push back against this trend.

DKWagner (user link) says:

Mechanical & Unique Embedded Licenses are a good thing.

‘At ~dis©US~ we love Blu-ray©’
When I buy a book, an audio cassette, a CD, a DVD, a Blu-Ray disc, I presume that I am buying a mechanical license for a physical object.
If the material is coded to cease being readable with restrictions listed, then the disc would still be mine, even though it stopped playing after ‘X’ number of plays or on a future date; but I still own the disc. If I don’t own the disc, then I’m simply renting the product and the product should be returned by a certain date or it ceases to play after ‘X’ plays or a certain date. i.e. if one buys a vinyl album or CD, uniquely numbered or not – it is still your MECHANICAL LICENSE. You may and can resell it to someone else just like your ’57Chevy. The copyright law has always allowed the purchaser to make a backup copy (if possible) in case the original is lost or damaged; but not if resold!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Last word: you own the media, kids, you do not own "the movie itself", the content. So long as on the DVD, you own it. Once off, it's dicey.

What a classic this one is, with the massive dog-pile and more aggressively wrong assertions than I can count. (I’m up to a hundred twenty-four, just to forestall the inevitable “up to ten” responses.)

Poor “GooberedUp”! You did succeed in running him off, so big WIN. Congrats. I just wish other reasonable people knew of this thread, would save them much time.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...