Macrovision Forces Consumer Electronics Shop To Stop Selling Copy Tech

from the lot-of-good-that-will-do dept

In yet another move that will do little to actually stop people from copying, Macrovision (makers of anti-copying technology) have convinced (you have to assume via legal threats) a UK consumer electronics to remove offerings for three "video enhancers", which apparently could be used to get around Macrovision's copy protection. I don't know much about video enhancers, but they appear to be tools that let you make backup copies of movies that you have. Macrovision points out that, under a new EU law, such products are now illegal. Note that the actual products are considered illegal - and not the misuse of these products. Once again, we seem to be criminalizing a technology that has legitimate uses, rather than focusing on illegal actions done via the technology. Meanwhile, the folks who actually make large runs of copied movies to sell on the street won't be effected by this at all, as you can be sure they're not using off-the-shelf "video enhancers" to run their operations.
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  1. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 4 Feb 2004 @ 7:24am

    OK in the USA?

    I bought one of these several years ago, back before the DMCA, and I thought they were still available.

    They are a signal booster that allows you to duplicate tapes with minimal loss of quality.

    Macrovision works by intentionally messing with a part of the signal that doesn't affect playback on the original, but when you try to copy the signal on a different VCR, mandatory "quality enhancement" electronics try to chase the bogus signal on the original tape resulting in a copy that is horribly degraded.

    You'll see the same if you try to run your DVD player through your VCR (as happens to many people who have older model TVs without RCA input jacks, my sister, for example). The brightness will go up and down and up and down and the image will distort and discolor.

    The Video Enhancer systems, which sell for $50 and up, stabilize the signal and allow you to copy Macrovision protected tapes. Their intended use is to stablize video signals and produce high quality copy - which makes them legal, not defeating copy protection, just a pleasant bonus feature, which could make them illegal.

    They are intended for use with VCRs which are analog systems, which should make them exempt from the DMCA - unless someone got the crazy idea to hook it up between their DVD player and {gasp} VCR and copied a DVD movie to VHS (ugh, who would want that?).

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