Real DVD Copying Case Gets Off To An Inauspicious Start
from the not-a-good-sign dept
However, it seems like Hollywood's argument is based on the claim that Real somehow is using "hacker" technology in its product that violates the DMCA. It's not clear why using hacker technology should make the situation any different than having built your own. The MPAA is also claiming that there is no fair use defense to backing up a DVD, which is difficult to believe, given that fair use covers backups of music and software. What makes a movie so different? Well, the MPAA, of course, will claim (as it did in a previous case, against 321 Studios) that the encryption makes it illegal.
And that's where the problems come in. Thanks to the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA, an action that is clearly fair use (backing up a movie) becomes illegal not because of the backup, but because of the circumvention of the DRM. That should go against all common sense: if the action itself is legal fair use, why should it matter how it's done (or who made the software)? Unfortunately, we don't often see common sense win out in these cases... and the early reports from the court room suggest that the judge is siding with the MPAA. Perhaps this isn't a surprise. Marilyn Hall Patel is the same judge who declared Napster illegal as well, despite a strong safe harbor defense. In this case, she told RealNetworks:
"They have the copyright. That's the issue here right? They have the copyright. They have the right to exclude."That's actually a somewhat scary quote from the judge who should know better. Copyright does give them a right to exclude, but a limited right, which is supposed to be weighed against the rights of consumers, including their rights to fair use for things like (drum roll....) making a backup.