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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 @ 9:21am

    This all boils down to which view you take of copyright.
    Copyright is either:

    A. An inherent right of the content creator to their expressive labors, including those rights covered in copyright. This view generally includes people who think that copyright law is just the affirmation of what is the "right" thing to do in regards to intellectual property.

    B. A temporary measure to reward creators of expressive content, and incentivize their further innovation in the "useful arts and sciences". This view generally includes people who view copyright as an artificially constructed monopoly that serves a singular purpose; To offer content creators an incentive to keep creating.

    This is a debate that has existed since before the founding of this nation, and is unlikely to be resolved in any meaningful sense. The truth is that the people who profit from copyright generally fall into category A, and more often than not the creation of content or the protection of copyright is a significant portion of their livelihood. This means they generally spend more time and money to get legislators to see things their way than the people in group B, who are generally consumers.

    I'm not a lawyer, I'm just a guy who has read some books and some cases. I fall into category B, but I understand where people with the other point of view are coming from.

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