Hollywood Forced SlySoft DVD Ripping Software Out Of Business, Only To Have It Return As RedFox

from the back-again dept

It never made much sense that ripping CDs in the US is considered legal, while ripping DVDs is somehow horrible piracy. If anything, it seemed to be an artifact of history. Either way, it was much more difficult for people to rip DVDs. However, whenever the issue would come up, most people would point to SlySoft’s AnyDVD product, which was a clunky, but functional bit of software for getting around DRM and ripping DVDs. The company was based in Antigua and had been around for years. So it took some people by surprise when it announced it was shutting down due to regulatory changes earlier this year. It looked like Hollywood had done what it normally does and scared an innovative company it didn’t like out of business. But, as reader Derek points out to us, it looks like it only took a week or so before former SlySoft employees resurfaced in Belize with a new offering called RedFox, using a somewhat similar logo.

As the RedFox folks explain things:

The RedFox team consists of former SlySoft developers and staff members who were left without a job after the company was forced to close down for good on February 22nd, 2016.

It looked like the fox would be gone for good as its burrow ceased to exist with SlySoft.

Being left without any infrastructure and nothing but our forum still running, we were about to give up. After the shock wore off we considered our options and the overwhelming support of our community convinced us to pick up the pieces and continue the development.

It kind of makes you wonder what the hell is the point of trying to shut down a tool like SlySoft in the first place, doesn’t it?

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Companies: redfox, slysoft

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Comments on “Hollywood Forced SlySoft DVD Ripping Software Out Of Business, Only To Have It Return As RedFox”

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65 Comments
Dark Aster says:

Re: Re:

I want to be able to rip my DVD’s so I can watch them on a media centre. If I can’t, then I don’t buy the movie, and don’t watch it – look what happenned to The Last Jedi, an example of hollywood enforcing political correctness, and they paid the price to tune of 1 billion in lost revenue – People will just loose interest in watching movies, which is far more damaging to their industry, with viewers, there is no industry, full stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

it makes me wonder why no one in government has the balls to ask why it needs to be in existence in the first place! there has to be millions of people using it who, if the ridiculous self containing rules the entertainment industries get put in place by ‘encouraging’ those in government and the security forces weren’t there!

ida says:

Re: Re: slyfox

Most DVDs are NOT ENCRYPTED. Almost any of them can be ripped with dvd shrink and made into a duplicate dvd with simple burning software in a pc hard drive. Audiences are getting tinier for quality boomer movies, so studios are trying to minimize financial loss by making the harder to duplicate, the newest wrinkle being dividing the chapters into 30 or more separate tiny dvd vob file groups ordinary dvd shrink cannot handle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The very fact that DMCA says YOU cannot rip a DVD that YOU legally purchased is an arbitrary distinction that renders the property rights of the purchaser null and void.

And since the DMCA was enacted AFTER the DVD was created (1998 vs 1995) it is a wholly arbitrary distinction, not a technical requirement, that serves to make the legal purchaser a criminal if they try to rip the DVD to use the information in a way of their choosing.

Hollywood – making criminals out of people who actually purchase their products.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I never understood this though; I’ve always abided by the DMCA and let the authorized software decrypt the movies… after which I re-encoded them in whatever format I wanted and stored the DVD away somewhere safe.

You can’t tell me that it’s illegal to record the video and audio coming out of my own computer can you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The thing is – it does not matter, if there is “some kind of copy protection”, or nothing at all. CSS is badly designed and has been “broken” by a teenager. Since then it does not work.

I can come up with other “kinds of copy protection”. Say – ROT13. Or better yet – just xor everything with 0x5a. Or even better – xor it with 0. And then you’re not allowed to “break” it. So – the “copy protection” is irrelevant (as I can just xor with 0), only the “we do not want you to copy” is.

And then the difference between CDs and DVDs seems more bizarre yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“right to make a personal copy”

Sadly this doesn’t exist. It’s a great idea though. You should definitely write your legislator to amend the Constitution.

But a more reasonable course of action would be to be to repeal the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA or simply stop buying products with DRM. The only reason DRM exists is because people are willing to continually give money to these large powerful corporations that do it.

Luckily that’s beginning to change with the success of DRM-free media. https://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20111222/12435717172/louis-ck-over-1-million-sales-just-12-days-drm-free-download.shtml

br0adband (profile) says:

From all the reports I’ve read on this situation, this was more a money-grab than anything else – it’s the same company, same people working for them, doing the same old same old but one thing they’re not doing is honoring the “lifetime” licenses that so many people purchased for AnyDVD and AnyDVD HD and expecting people to repurchase them all over again.

While that’s not going to happen, I can’t help but think that this was not the right solution to the problem of Hollywood targeting them for some kind of legal action.

Their software is very popular in terms of piracy, this particular action of stiffing all the people that sank money into the product will just cause those people to now resort to pirating the newer versions of the software to get what they paid for.

Some companies/people just never learn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Their software is very popular in terms of piracy”

Their software is very popular in terms of preventing to render an investment mute because it got scratches after using it. Some DVD players don’t want to play a DVD if it has even the slightest scratches which are common after playing and removing it a few times from said DVD player.

Also, still waiting for an example where someone used a gun in said piracy charges. Which if you stick to the law is necessary to count as piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“this was more a money-grab than anything else – it’s the same company, same people working for them, doing the same old same old but one thing they’re not doing is honoring the “lifetime” licenses that so many people purchased for AnyDVD and AnyDVD HD and expecting people to repurchase them all over again.”

There’s your “innovation” lol

supersaiyaman says:

Re: Re:

they need cash in order to maintain doing their work.a lifetime license means as long as they don’t get shut down the old slysoft got shut down and they had to move. so you have to pay again makes sense to me. as long as i can rip[ the disks that i bought and keep the disc in a safe place i will gladly pay every few years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Screw DMCA

They should lobby to make any software illegal that makes DRM useless. Then they don’t have to worry about things like this because even if a new company pops up it is by default illegal to posses the software.

If you doubt that this can be done then take a look at Germany. Having a copy of AnyDVD or any software that circumvents DRM or any kind of protection (i.e. to check if a website is safe) will lead to 2 years in prison or a fine (iirc §202c StGB).

Anonymous Coward says:

I have four kids under 10 and I am a slysoft lifetime customer

Thank goodness for Slysoft. They allow me to I need to do with the media I have purchased. For example, we have seen amazing results teaching ours kids baby sign language. I have purchased at least 20+ DVD’s from signingtime.com because they are the best. To protect my investment I use slysoft to rip my DVD’s and put the rip up on my personal Plex media server. From there, my wife and I use our Roku box to play whatever show we want to play when we want to play it without fear of messing up a “master” DVD.

Notice the deliberate use of the word “my”? It is because that is exactly what they are. Mine.

I could go on but I am just very grateful that slysoft gives me ability to do what I want with the media I own.

cj47 says:

Pure greed. Hurts the economy my ass!

1. I resent being harassed, intimidated, threatened and basically accused of a crime when I sit down and try to watch a BluRay disc that I either rented or actually bought.

2. Who’s “economy” is it supposedly “hurting?? Surely can’t be the studio drones and actors considering the mansions these people live in.

3. This is nothing but pure Republican capitalist greed. Period. They never have enough!

buddha mouse says:

Pure Greed

Of course this is pure greed… on the part of Slysoft. Need more cash? Just close the company and open it under a new name. That way you don’t have to honor any of the previous lifetime licenses and you can sell all new ones. This is not the first software that I have purchased with a life time data subscription where the company came up with a “new version” or “Different program ” that amazingly wouldn’t work with your old data unless you bought another subscription. greed, greed, greed!

Anonymous Coward says:

DMCA has no legal teeth. Its essentially a scare tactic of the film industry that many folks on this forum are reacting to as if its true when it isn’t. Here’s something neither techdirt nor anyone else explained. How did Guiana get forced into putting slysoft out of business. Why is that such a mystery? I’d appreciate an answer and noone is providing it.

DMCA is a sham. The Sony Supreme Court ruling allowed the making of vhs copies of films. The studios still tried to stop copying but didn’t succeed. The Studios tried to get laws through Congress years later to prevent copying, but silicon valley’s lobbyists stopped it in its tracks.

DMCA is just a big scare. The studios employ outsource people to attempt to shake down those who the studios can INTIMIDATE into paying them a fee for making a copy from a torrent. The warnings on DVD menus are crap. They sometimes mis-state the truth of the law, sometimes state it truthfully, but in either case, they are not actionable crimes, they are merely civil matters. Outsourcers can try to shake down torrent users if they can find out who they are, but there’s no legal machinery behind them. The cases don’t got to court.

Most Internet companies comply in part with the DMCA notices, but withhold the shakedown language from the emails because they righteously refuse to take part in a shakedown. At bottom, most of the big internet operations support their customers in these matters, and only comply with DMCA by sending the edited notice. A few of the smaller companies include the complete DMCA and shakedown. But most don’t. I’ve heard of no one being taken to court, but it is possible. Because of the Sony rule which the studios have never contested because they’re afraid they’d lose again, that is where the matter stands.

Why haven’t journalists learned why Antigua shut Slysoft down?

DatKat (user link) says:

I'd like to weigh in.

I have an optical drive that allows me to play the copy protected media/discs. I also have software that allows me to view what the optical drive is playing. With this being said, do I now have the right to record my own desktop or take screenshots of my own desktop? How far can legalese go in terms of this example. I am clearly not breaking any copy protection, nor am I using any software that does so. Can "they" actually argue and or tell me that I cannot record video of my own personal computers desktop just because I just so happen to be watching a movie? I just think that, this is valid. It scares me to think about such things, but we must!!!

DatKat (user link) says:

I'd like to weigh in.

I suppose these days it doesn’t matter as much as it once did. CDs are almost extinct and soon, I believe DVDs and the like will also be gone. Companies pay for using the digital data and we pay only to view/listen and never will we own it. I figure that this is the solution to their issues. This upsets me because I really enjoy ripping CDs and other media. Mainly for the fact that I prefer different qualities some of which I cannot find from certain companies. Also, can you purchase an MP4/H.264/AAC movie to play on your mboile devices as quickly as you could purchase a regualr DVD or Blue Ray movie? Or how about purchasing nice CDs in flac? not as easy as buying that regular CD and ripping it to flac OR mp3 yourself? finally, I notice that when I rip my CDs to mp3, the quality of my rips are better than what i hear coming from itunes. That’s just sad 😀

Archie Fatcacky says:

RedFox Have Control Issues

I questioned the links between Slysoft and RedFox on the RedFox forum and suggested that a better policy would be to be more honest about them, I have subsequently had my IP address blocked so I can now no longer access the forum (actually they blocked the IP address at my local coffee shop but that’s by the by).
If you wish to enter into a financial relationship with a company who have such a dictatorial approach to the people who pay their salaries then that’s down to you but these people now have my personal details and have (theoretically) blocked me from contacting them. Just remember the same thing could happen to you if you sign up and have a problem.

There is a debate about whether they have exploited people financially with regard to having to re-purchase the software. They claim not as ‘there is no connection with Slysoft’ (see below). Think about this – if it wasn’t to do with finances then they could have just carried on with the exact same model, with the exact same customers, with the exact same licences as with Slysoft and they would have continued with the exact same revenue stream. The fact that they have torn up the old Slysoft lifetime licence agreement to ask those customers to pay again is proof that it is financial. They needed the money to continue despite there being virtually no set up costs to continue trading. Did they do this deliberately? They won’t tell you so make up your own mind based on the evidence.

Redfox claim there is ABSOLUTELY NO connection between them and Slysoft. There are two moderators on their forum – RedFox1 and Ch3vr0n who will point this out to you if you try to claim differently – try it, you’ll get a response within a minute and the thread will be closed. The thread that I originally added to was ‘tidied up’ and closed and then I got a PM from RedFox1 warning me about what I was writing and he then put an automatic follow on any future posts I made. These people have serious control issues.
I pointed out that the logo is the same with the addition of a Zorro mask, THEY have stated that The RedFox team consists of former SlySoft developers and staff members, the website was identical (just find and replace Slysoft with RedFox), the program is the same just re-badged, they still run the old Slysoft OPD database, old Slysoft software still points to upgrading to RedFox software – the list is endless but they state that because it is a different CEO and Slysoft was a company but RedFox is a ‘closed project’ then there is NO connection. They will not concede any connection and this is my beef and what is really riling a lot of people. It’s as though if they do they will have to honour Slysoft’s lifetime licence or something. This is the attitude of the people you will be dealing with if you give them your money.

My last point is this – if you are contemplating a lifetime licence go to speak to some of those who bought a Slysoft lifetime licence shortly before they closed and see if it is a good idea. It is an atrocious business model – think of it as an everlasting lightbulb. Once everyone has got one there is no more money coming in – and sooner or later the revenue stream will again collapse and the company will close and rise again like a greedy phoenix somewhere else…

ida tarbell (profile) says:

There’s no law against ripping DVDs in the states if you can manage encrypting, in the event there is any. There mostly isn’t. Once in awhile, some dvds will encrypt, mostly not. That $250,000 fine loudly stated at the beginning of some dvds is a farce. The law only applies to folks who re-sell dvd copies in bulk. The producers are attempting to scare people out of using software to make copies. In fact, the Sony decision regarding videotape recorders, now ancient history, still applies. The Supremes said one could record. The MPAA and its members chose not to appeal again when they moved to the DVD for fear they would lose as they did in the Sony decision. Later, a new MPAA head replacing Jack Valenti, tried to get Congress to pass SOFA laws that would have prevented DVD ripping. Lobbyists for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others killed the bill dead in Congress, which refused to consider the MPAA’s pet bill. The result is the Sony decision, lacking any other on the subject, still stands. I suspect the point of streaming is really the regaining of control of the video in the home marketplace once DVDs are no longer distributed. I don’t think DVD blanks will ever disappear, however, even if the commercial DVD does, and I don’t believe the commercial dvd will disappear either. Its just far better than the quality one gets from streaming. Streaming simply isn’t first rate. Even if streaming was the only way for home distribution, I believe the canny outside folks who make freeware, would create some that works anyhow and distribute it for nothing as they have in the past. That’s one of the reasons the industry is generally moving toward reducing software ON COMPUTERS, shifting nearly everything to the cloud, leaving computer owners unable to use freeware to perform miracles on computer hard drives. If they could the video industry and others would simply eliminate the canny and useful freeware that has been the hallmark of the net from its first moment. The net is changing, however. The future workarounds aren’t always immediately visible.

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