Hollywood Kills More Innovation; Judge Overturns DVD Jukebox Ruling

from the *sigh* dept

Well, there goes that one. Just a few hours ago, we were writing about how Judge Patel's district court ruling barring Real Networks RealDVD system seemed to conflict with a California state court ruling for Kaleidescape. It's true that there were some differences in the details behind the ruling, but it might not matter either way, as a state appeals court has reversed the lower court ruling and has basically said that Kaleidescape's DVD backup system likely violates the DRM found on DVDs.

Once again, we're seeing a fearful Hollywood, unwilling to innovate itself, using the courts and the law to stomp out anyone who innovates. The Kaleidescape product is clearly not for "piracy" purposes. It's a server that costs around $10,000, and is designed for high-end movie fans, who want to store all of their legally purchased movies on a server so they can watch it. It didn't serve any sort of "piracy" purpose whatsoever. But, thanks to Hollywood freaking out over the fact that anyone might make a copy of a movie, even for perfectly legal backup purposes, that device may now be dead.

Time and time again, we hear folks in the entertainment industry insist that they want to support technological innovation, but their actions show otherwise. They tried (and failed) to outlaw the VCR. They tried (and failed) to outlaw the MP3 player. But lately they've been succeeding in outlawing products just because they don't like them. Doesn't that seem like a massive problem?
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Filed Under: copying, dvd
Companies: kaleidescape

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  1. icon
    PT (profile), 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:43pm

    You might well blame the studios for bringing the case, but the court made it clear where the responsibility lies. The judgment is dripping with regret.

    "Whether the public interest would best be served by continuing to enjoin Real from making its products available to consumers, and protect the Studios’ rights at the expense of the consumers’ rights, to engage in legal downstream use of the Studios’ copyrighted material is an excellent question. It is also one the court does not and will not reach, because the statutory structure of the DMCA leaves no room for ambiguity. By making it a DMCA violation to distribute products that enable consumers to override copyright owner preferences against unauthorized copying, Congress determined that the public interest is best served by outlawing such products. ... the reach of the DMCA is vast and it does not allow courts the discretion to ... render a value judgment untethered from the language of the statute. In the words of Justice Cardozo, “[l]aws are not to be sacrificed by courts on the assumption that legislation is the play of whim and fancy.” People ex rel. Alpha Portland Cement Co. v. Knapp, 230 N.Y. 48, 62 (1920). The court is bound by the DMCA provisions at issue, even if it determines the extent to which innovative technologies realize their future potential." (emphasis added)

    It might feel good to rage against the movie industry, but it won't get anyone anywhere. The only way to change anything is to make Congress feel the pain.

    The really odd thing is that anyone gives a damn about Real and their DRM-encumbered bloatware anyway. For about $200, anyone can get a terabyte (oops, better not name it) media drive and fill it with all the content they like using one of the many free DVD rippers available on the net. This judgment has only succeeded in protecting the studios from people who would have bought their DVDs anyway.

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