Print 55 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Feb 22 at 6:35 PM

  (Source: Erin/Sunny Side Up)
Big media petitions Library of Congress to refuse ripping allowance

"Let them eat cake!"
-- traditional French "spoiled princess" tale

The above quote was often misattributed in the French Revolution to Marie Antoinette, whom the French revolutionaries sought to villainize as cruel and aloof.  Today, amidst a sweeping digital revolution, seemingly equally cavalier quotes are flying around, attributed to big media.  But this time around, they're the real deal -- big media literally wants you to repay for content you already own.  

The Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America's homage to "let them eat cake" began with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) [PDF], which modified Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

The law was an uneasy compromise by the Clinton administration between big media who was clamoring about how rampant copyright abuses were ruining their bottom line, and by internet service providers, who feared big media's well heeled lobbyists would install financially ruinous legal responsibilities on them.  In the end big media received stiff copyright protections on creative works, while ISPs gained a level of immunity from their users' actions (piracy).

But it also installed some Orwellian provisions, making it a crime to remove copyright protection software on content you legally own -- even if that software caused harm to your computer (which in some cases it, in fact, did).

Between 1998 and 2006, the prohibition on burning CDs stood.  Of course a bootleg industry flourished, but makers of burning software had to watch their backs for fear of prosecution and/or imprisonment.

But in 2006 the U.S. Library of Congress added a key exemption, that allowed the practice, including circumventing copy protection schemes for personal use on CDs you legally owned.  The public actually has Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) to thank for that.  Sony BMG's dangerously defective rootkits convinced the LoC that maybe it shouldn't be illegal to allow people to remove unwanted copy protection on content they legal own.

DVD Burning
The MPAA has fought hard to make DVD burning illegal. [Image Source: MiNDFOOD]

However, making backup copies of DVDs and Blu-Ray movies protected by copyright protection software (virtually all of them are) remains illegal.  To be clear, it's the act of breaking the digital rights management (DRM) that's illegal, not the physical act of writing optical media.  But since virtually all movies carry DRM, essentially all creation of backup copies is illegal.  

That premise is a key topic of debate as the LoC mulls a proposal by consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, to allow DVD/Blu-Ray ripping for personal use of content you own.

The proposal is ardently opposed by the MPAA.  They write [PDF] to the LoC:

Copyright owners include with many DVD and Blu- Ray disc purchases digital copies of motion pictures that may be reproduced to mobile devices and computers pursuant to licenses. Blu-Ray disc purchasers can also take advantage of "Managed Copy" services that are scheduled to launch in the U.S. later this year. Movie distributors and technology companies are also making available services such as UltraViolet, which enables consumers to access motion pictures on a variety of devices through streaming and downloading. Many movies and television shows are also available online through services such as Comcast Xfinity, Hulu and Netflix, or websites operated by broadcasters or cable channels, which consumers can enjoy from any U.S. location with internet access. With all of these marketplace solutions to the alleged problem PK points to, it is unlikely that the presence of CSS on DVDs is going to have a substantial adverse impact on the ability of consumers to space shift in the coming three years.

In other words, they're essentially saying that you should repay for content and/or accept inferior versions of the content that already own (UltraViolet and their ilk often lack the "extras" of a full-fledged ripped DVD) -- if you're lucky.  Of course, if they choose not to support your platform of choice with their locked down content, you're simply out of luck; too bad.

Public Knowledge lambasted the MPAA's claims, stating:

The MPAA had two specific suggestions. First, consumers could re-purchase access to a subscription service such as Netflix of Hulu. They did not dwell on the fact that 1) this would require you to pay again to access a movie you already own; 2) these services require a high speed internet connection in order to work; 3) There is a reasonable chance that the movie you own is not available on any of those services at any given time; and 4) MPAA member studios regularly pull videos that were once available on those services off of those same services.

The MPAA’s second suggestion was even less helpful. In their comments, they pointed to Warner Brothers’ DVD2Blu program. This program allows people to use their existing DVDs as a coupon towards the purchase of a handful of Warner Blu-Ray disks. They did not dwell on the fact that 1) this program is limited to Warner Brothers films; 2) the program is limited to 25 exchanges per household; 3) while some Blu-Ray disks include digital copies that can be moved to other devices, it is unclear how many of the disks in the DVD2Blu program include that option; 4) only 100 movies are included in the entire program; and 5) each exchange costs at least $4.95 plus shipping (which, for the record, is about as much as it would cost to buy the digital file from Amazon.).

The Association of Research Libraries has also back the request for exemption, stating that it would help them replace damaged works. [Ed. - You KNOW how evil libraries are.]

But wait, in MPAA-speak banning customers from fully using their content they legally own "increased customers' options".  They write:

In fact, granting PK’s proposed exemption would be directly counter to the purpose of this rulemaking. It would undermine emerging business models that increase access to creative works in precisely the manner Congress intended the DMCA to promote.

It is clear that access controls have increased consumers' options with respect to motion pictures in digital formats. The Register should not interfere with that progress. Instead, she should endorse it.

Well, they may be half truthful here as it does increase customers options -- their options to pay twice for the same content.  Although, perhaps that useage is a bit disingeneous too, as option typically implies a voluntary choice, not having digital rights management shoved down your throat.

If the RIAA had their way, CD rippers could be sued and fined, and the authors of burning software shipped off to prison.  Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG -- the same company that installed those malicious rootkits on users computers -- stated in the 2007 RIAA lawsuit against working mom Jammie Thomas, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

RIAA police
Stop citizen! Drop the backup copy, you are under arrest. [Image Source: Sodahead]

In the RIAA and MPAA's world everything would have rock-solid DRM, and if you tried to break it you would be sent to prison.  In this world, you would only rent the rights to see the content for the short time.  Then you would have to repurchase it again, and again.  And if you sang in public, or invited your friends over to watch/listen?  Well, that would mean more fees of course.

Meanwhile the RIAA and MPAA merrily exploit a series of laws in the U.S. and abroad that allow them to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in independent artists' work, by calling the work "unclaimed" and then (legally) pirating it for profit.

Last time the LoC register didn't buy the RIAA's argument to prohibit user rights.  The LoC also sided against big media in allowing YouTube montages and other "fair use" works, consisting of short clips of copyrighted materials.  It should be interesting how things play out this time around, in the very similar debate regarding DVDs/Blu-Rays.

The LoC is also contemplating a proposal by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to allow jailbreaking of consoles, smartphones, and other devices.  Surprise, surprise Sony is among the prominent members of a big media coalition opposing this idea.  The company has legally harassed PS3 jailbreakers, in some cases even looking to send them to prison.  Their harassment attempts, however, have been met by defiance from the tech community.  

States one prominent PS3 jailbreaker to Sony, "If you want me to stop then you should just kill me because I cannot live without programming, HV and Linux kernel hacking You know who am I and where I live, so come and get me !!!"

Sources: MPAA, Public Knowledge [1], [2], Association of Research Libraries

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Can we just...
By ClownPuncher on 2/16/2012 6:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
Music, movies, media - all part of culture. Thinking everyone could ever go a couple years without is insane.

RE: Can we just...
By GotThumbs on 2/16/2012 7:41:37 PM , Rating: 4
Ever heard of a book? How about board games....deck of cards?

This is how families used to entertain themselves...and share quality family time. Now families are in the same room, but don't acknowledge each others presence.

It make be impossible for weak minded people like you...but its not impossible for people with character and a resolve to NOT be bullied.

RE: Can we just...
By StevoLincolnite on 2/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: Can we just...
By tastyratz on 2/17/2012 10:25:25 AM , Rating: 1
Cute, you should be a politician.
A complete ban would not ever work,. Hell I bet a lot of people already are banning them. Those same people are lumped into the lawsuits as "lost revenue" I am sure. It's almost counter intuitive at this point, screwed either way.

Now what about people who have the "character and a resolve" to not insult others and say they are weak minded. Do you not see the painful irony in calling someone both weak minded and crying bully in the same paragraph?

Maybe you want to be Amish, but I don't... and the rose colored glasses you have thinking it is even a possible solution really are distracting to realistic solutions to the cause. We likely have a better shot at dissolving the monopoly alliance than a worldwide band on modern entertainment. The chance is not strong, but it sure as hell is better.

RE: Can we just...
By ClownPuncher on 2/17/2012 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
Pardon me? All I said was that expecting everyone to be able to quit cold turkey just because you can is a fucking retarded notion.

Lay off the personal insults while you're at it.

RE: Can we just...
By NellyFromMA on 2/17/2012 2:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny,because after reading your comment, you sound like you could be bullied quite easily... maybe stop trying to bully this guy for having a different opinion than yours?

RE: Can we just...
By Motoman on 2/17/2012 1:13:06 AM , Rating: 3
It'd be pretty easy for me, actually. I used to buy lots of CDs back in the day - the past 10 years or so though I've probably bought about 3-4 CDs. And I don't buy anything digitally either.

I buy movies on occasion on disk - usually when they're in the $5 bin. But again, I could easily go a year or two without buying any.

Radio is free. TV is free. You can get all the music and TV/movies you want (albeit not necessarily on your schedule) without directly buying anything.

RE: Can we just...
By acer905 on 2/17/2012 11:59:43 AM , Rating: 2
Also, anyone know where DVR's play in. Last thing i knew was you can record any broadcast for your own personal use. Essentially, anything broadcast is free for your use whenever you want it. But that could be out of date now...

But, computer with a good video input, recording software, and a mass array of multi-terabyte hard drives can catch you a large amount of TV and Movies

RE: Can we just...
By The Raven on 2/17/2012 12:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
This really wouldn't be that hard to do given that people already have sizable collections of entertainment (especially when you count dogs wearing hats or something on Youtube). Plus you can crack into the public domain for a few years no problem. Hell people might just start writing/producing their own music/movies/both. (Though most of it will probably remain commercial I'd imagine this would give a needed boost to the opensource entertainment community. That would be sweet. Like a global jam session!)

Also, you I and whoever have a good chance of seeming more funny/smart/attractive to the ladies around you because you are no longer competing with Will Ferrell/Watson/Brad Pitt.

You wouldn't be able to listen/watch advertisement sponsored programming because that is a form of payment to them. And you probably shouldn't talk at the watercooler about the movies in your collection for fear that it would encourage someone to buy them. lol

It is funny that we had an opportunity for a complete overhaul like this in the blink of an eye with the auto industry...but them we bailed them out. :-(

(And this is coming from someone in the auto industry BTW)

RE: Can we just...
By The Raven on 2/17/2012 12:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and I know this isn't that hard because I have given up on the MAFIAA for a few years now and don't care much to go back to the old ways.

RE: Can we just...
By ClownPuncher on 2/17/2012 1:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
It would be easy for me, too. But what bearing does that have on expecting an entire world full of people to follow your lead is naive and unrealistic.

RE: Can we just...
By ClownPuncher on 2/17/2012 1:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that was a butchered post.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki