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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
    The infamous Joe, 17 Nov 2006 @ 4:11am

    Re:

    Although it looks great on paper, boycotting the music and video industry requires a substantial chuck of paying customers to stop paying, and the sad fact is that a majority of people don't care. The biggest tool the RIAA and MPAA have at their disposal is public apathy. Maybe if someone on the Real World got sued, The Public might notice and begin to think about attempting to realise there might be something wrong, but have you ever seen anything about this on the news? I haven't, though that's because I get my news from this box and not that other box probably.

    The point is, you The Public to act as one for a boycott to be effective, and that only happens during major acts of terrorism or when the underdog on American Idle comes from nowhere and wins.

    I feel the BEST way to fix this obvious problem is (dare I say it) the government. Change the laws, make it clear cut. There are so many grey areas that it's not clear who the law is trying to protect. Our laws don't appear to be built to deal with a digital world, and that's why you see lawsuit after lawsuit, even in cases like this, where it's clearly a big kid picking on a little kid because he can get away with it-- the rules allow it.

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