by Timothy Lee
Mon, Sep 24th 2007 12:50pm
We've pointed out for a long time that the DMCA is bad for innovation and needlessly inconveniences users. It seems the point is becoming so obvious that even senior executives in the movie industry are beginning to tacitly acknowledge (via Ars Technica) that the DMCA is unreasonable. At a conference on DRM last week, Scott Smyers, VP of network and systems architecture for Sony Electronics, admitted that he makes backup copies of his kids' DVDs. For those keeping score at home, not only is copying DVDs illegal under the DMCA, but Sony itself participated in a lawsuit to shut down a company making precisely the sort of DVD-backup software Smyers is presumably using to copy his kids' movies. Meanwhile, Jim Helman, the chief technology officer of MovieLabs, a research organization funded by the major studios, says that one of the most promising new devices on the horizon is a video jukebox that will let you rip your DVD collection onto a hard drive and then stream your movies to all the devices around your house. That is, unless the studio-backed DVD-CCA uses the DMCA to prohibit the creation of DVD jukeboxes. Helman and Smyers are absolutely right. If only their bosses would listen to them. They should point out to their bosses at the major studios that allowing people to create useful hardware and software products could be good for their bottom line, because it would make the movies they sell more useful to consumers.
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