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MPAA Sues Firm For Loading Legally Owned DVDs Onto iPods

from the come-again? dept

It really was just a few days ago that the entertainment industry folks were claiming that it was the consumer electronics industry that was trying to pervert "fair use," right? Somehow, it seems like it's the entertainment industry that's the one pushing the boundaries. Almost exactly a year ago, we had a post about a new service that would sell you a video iPod and DVDs... and would load the video from the DVDs onto the iPod (and then ship you both the iPod and the DVD). This should be perfectly legal. After all, the owner has legally purchased both the iPod and the DVD, and the company is simply making the process easier by transferring the video to the iPod as well -- and it's well established that you can make a personal backup of content you have legally purchased. However, knowing how the industry views fair use, Carlo titled his post "Sue Me, I Dare You" and noted in the text: "the clock's ticking on the first lawsuit." Well, it turns out the clock ticked a little longer than we expected, but it did happen eventually. The EFF is noting that the MPAA has sued a company for doing exactly this. They are, of course, claiming that ripping the DVDs is a DMCA violation, because the DVDs have copy protection, and circumventing that is against the DMCA -- even though physically copying content you own to another format is legal fair use.

As the EFF notes in the post, while the MPAA is focusing on this company that does the ripping for you, the meaning is clear: they do not believe that making a personal copy of a DVD is legal -- despite all of the historical precedent set with CDs and software. The only "difference" here is that the DVD has some weak copy protection, and therefore the DMCA applies. In other words, they're not saying that it's illegal to make a copy -- because it's not. They're saying it's illegal to get around the copy protection. And, of course, they're doing this because they want to force you to buy the same content over and over and over again. And, yet, they still claim that it's folks like us who are changing the meaning of "fair use."

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2006 @ 8:46am

    Fair Use...

    I do not think that phrase means what you think it means...

    Copyright Act:

    Under the Act, four factors are to be considered in order to determine whether a specific action is to be considered a "fair use." These factors are as follows:

    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.


    There is no mention of backups, or commercial transfer services, or even personal use. As a matter of fact, it states only 2 uses: Commercial, or non-profit educational.

    I fail to see how either applies to "Load N' Go'.

    I have no love for the MPAA, the DMCA, or any law who's sole purpose is the support of an outdated and flawed business model, but this misconception that fair-use *grants* any rights to anyone is getting absurd. Fair use implies limited exception only. It grants no rights, whatsoever....to anyone.

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