DVD Movie to iPod Ripping Not Allowed Says Congress
November 27, 2006 4:05 PM
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But if you're a teacher, you can rip DVDs
There's no doubt in the world that Apple's iPod is leading the race in terms of sales, popularity, and social status. Apple has done an incredible job at keeping its multimedia pocket-wizard at the top of people's wish lists. Out of the three available flavors of the iPod, the video iPod is Apple's flagship; able to play not only music but also games and full length movies. Despite its features however, movie playback is where controversy has stirred.
This week, the US Library of Congress rejected a petition that would allow US iPod owners from copying movies that they own, onto their iPods. This does not mean that users can't copy movies over -- they would have to purchase licensed iPod versions from Apple's iTunes store. According to the rejection, users are not allowed to rip DVDs that they own for use on their iPods. Ripping DVDs by nature is against a number of legal rules and regulations and is definitely frowned upon by the MPAA.
The original petition submitted to Congress was written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is responsible for defending the rights of many media publications and independent organizations. The
petition argued that DVD ripping software was now mainstream
, and should be accepted as part of business as well as personal use. The EFF also indicated that if the user owned an original copy of a movie, they should be able to watch it on their iPod.
Despite the MPAA's stance that DVD copying and ripping hurts the industry, the EFF argued the following:
The empirical evidence proves just the opposite. During the previous exemption period,
DVD sales and profitability continued to grow at an astonishing pace.29 In fact, DVD sales have proven to be more profitable for motion picture studios in recent years than the formats they replaced, even at a time when DVD ripping software has been popular.30 In addition, major motion picture studios have continued to release new DVD titles in ever-increasing numbers.
The EFF also noted the following about CSS encryption:
Whatever the contribution of CSS to the availability of content on DVD may have been in the past, today the motion picture industry’s willingness to release material on DVD is plainly not correlated to any security provided by CSS.
iPod owners will have to purchase and download legal movies from Apple's online store, which in many cases means that they will have duplicate copies of movies they already own. Despite the ongoing restriction on DVD ripping and copying, the Library of Congress has allowed limited ripping for use in an educational environment only. Professors and instructors in the video industry are allowed to rip DVDs to create clips and instructional materials for teaching.
Movie studios argued that the education industry should be using lower quality VHS rips instead of using DVDs -- even with Congress's blessing.
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Not a Fair Use issue
11/28/2006 5:23:46 PM
The problem with the DVD ripping issue here is not about Fair Use, as was mentioned in previous posts. A lot of the examples above would constitute fair use (copying a book, for example) as I interpret it (my interpretation is just mine, and not from a legal standpoint).
The problem, is that all DVD's are protected by the CSS encryption scheme, and under the DMCA, it is illegal to circumvent such digital protection measures. That is what makes it illegal to rip a DVD. If they were shipped with no protection scheme, ripping them to an iPod would (in my opinion) be 100% legal under fair use. In other words, copying the content is not illegal, but breaking the protection system is.
This doesn't mean I like it or think it's the way it should be, just my interpretation of what is legal under current US law and what is not.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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