by Mike Masnick

DVD Jukeboxes Found Legal; DVD Group Whines About How It Will Slow Down High Def DVDs

from the yeah,-right dept

Two years ago, we wrote about how the DVD-CCA group, the group that defines the CSS security standard for DVDs, had sued the maker of a DVD jukebox. It didn't make much sense. The jukebox cost $27,000 -- so this wasn't exactly a consumer device. It would let users rip and store DVDs on a hard drive, but also included tons of additional copy protection so you couldn't get it off the machine. It was pretty clear that this wasn't a device to be used for piracy, but rather a luxury item for someone who wanted easier access to all the content they had on DVDs. Boing Boing is pointing out that a judge has now ruled that the DVD jukeboxes are legal and did not violate the contract the company had signed with DVD-CCA. Of course, it sounds like the ruling hinged on something of a technicality, where the wording of the contract wasn't entirely clear over what was and was not covered in the contract -- so it may not be possible to use this as a precedent in other cases. At the same time, however, movie studios and folks at the DVD-CCA are already whining that this decision will delay the rollout of new security specs for high definition DVDs -- though it's not at all clear why. There's simply no reason why a small contractual dispute should delay the security standard -- and the EE Times article above that makes this claim certainly doesn't bother to back it up with any actual details. Of course, considering that the HD-DVDs have been delayed over and over again, and people are at the point where they don't much seem to care about next generation DVDs any more, does it really matter?

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  • identicon
    Michael Long, 2 Apr 2007 @ 10:36pm


    I, for one, hope this precedent opens the door for Apple's iTunes to be able to rip DVDs for playback on Mac notebooks, video iPods, and the AppleTV.

    Technically it's a no-brainer, as it's the local copy of iTunes that applies the DRM to the music files downloaded from the Apple store. As such, it should to be able to apply the same account-specific encoding to "protect" DVDs ripped to the HD, fullfilling the conditions of the loophole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), 3 Apr 2007 @ 4:35am

    Do you mean the CSS security standard for DVDs that is easily cracked? Does the DVD-CSS group honestly believe they have any relevance?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 3 Apr 2007 @ 5:30am

    Thats a reach

    "Those specs include a new capability for letting consumers make copies of movies on a controlled basis. Discussions for adding similar features to existing DVDs may also get shoved to the back burner."

    Translation: They were looking for a reason to postpone the managed consumer copy functions of HD-DVDs and DVDs. This is an incredible stretch, but it's all they could find.

    "In testimony at the non-jury trial, DVD CCA members revealed that since 2005 they have held two votes on a comprehensive amendment to their spec which would have added managed copy features. Both times the vote failed."

    And there's my proof. They had debated adding the functions twice before and both times it was voted down.

    Both quotes taken directly from the EETimes article linked above at "already whining."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CharlieHorse, 3 Apr 2007 @ 6:54am

    silly rabbit

    net effect of such idiotic lawsuits:

    all they may eventually be able to accomplish is prevent a useful item like the above mentioned dvd-jukebox from being produced legally.

    my favorite part:
    "...this decision will delay the rollout of new security specs for high definition DVDs..."

    I actually laughed out loud at that! Thanks, Mike for a good laugh in the morning!

    as has been stated and written about ad nauseum there is little evidence demonstrating financial loss due to a consumer making a backup, or other fair uses of material they have purchased. And you can bet the farm that any such predicted losses are already calculated into the cost and thus passed on to you and me in the price.

    this is just another in the string of useless lawsuits that serve only as an excuse to further drive up the costs and thus further encourage otherwise legitimate buyers to turn to "other" methods of acquiring and using content in a manner that they desire and is convenient for them.

    It seems that what all these lawsuit happy groups have completely forgotten is that it is the consumer that they should be aiming to please and accomodate, not their lawyers and accountants.

    Happy consumer --> more consumers buying your product --> more revenue --> happy accountants

    (yes, I deliberately left out lawyers - not sure that they are ever really happy ... ;-> )

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hoeppner, 3 Apr 2007 @ 8:39am

    hmmm with all this protectionism it's like they're forgetting that everything eventually gets turned into a conventional and well documented standard so it can be used to be seen/heard on devices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Teilo, 3 Apr 2007 @ 9:27am

    It delays HD, because they want complete control

    Here is their reasoning as I see it:

    If device manufacturers are allowing the consumer to do what the consumer desires with his legally purchased content, and the courts as much as tell the content producers, "Sorry guys, but you can't tell people what they may and may not do with their legally purchased content (short of piracy and copyright infringement of course)," then this means that the courts can potentially tell the content producers, "Yes, you may indeed have this fancy copy protections scheme, but the existence of such a scheme does not equate to the right to control the fair use of said content."

    In other words, every court ruling which gives the consumer more control over the content they purchase means that the producer gets less control over it. Thus, for example, if someone releases a device circumventing said protection, and the device is designed to be used with legally purchased content, the court may well point to rulings such as this one and tell the producers that they have no right to ban the device. Thus - HD could be delayed for purely legal reasons.

    It's the old FUD/falacy once more that no one will produce content if they cannot control said content on the granular level.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Steve R. (profile), 3 Apr 2007 @ 10:40am

    It is unfortunate the the delay mantra is not actively being refuted in the public forums. Think of it this way, had the HD content crowd foregone "copy protection" they could have been selling HD content at least eight years ago!!!! The HD content providers could have been making money now for over eight years. It's their fault that they aren't.

    The delay in introducing HD content was caused by the egos of the HD content crowd bickering amongst themselves over how to introduce copy protection. They caused the delay themselves but try to make it appear that this was simply a "technical hurdle" that had to be overcome. The fact that a lot of off-the-shelf hardware could play HD content (as is) was irrelevant to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Angryoaf, 9 Apr 2007 @ 3:40pm

    I assume that the new "security protection" would have something to do with stopping the data from being coppied from media at all.
    If the DVD-CCA was contractually bound to allow this dvd jukebox to allow this dvd jukebox device to rip data from HD-DVD media then they wouldn't be able to release it.

    Naturally I'm just speculating but it seems like the only possible answer if what they are saying is true.
    Even if this is the case, though, I wonder when media corporations will realize there is no absolute way of securing data other than locking it up and throwing away the key. Entertainment media has always been copied and shared in one way or another and that's not going to change, no matter what they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Angryoaf, 9 Apr 2007 @ 3:45pm

    I wish I could edit my bad spelling and punctuation :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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