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MPAA Countersues 321 Studios 315

Squash writes "321 Studios, makers of DVD X-Copy, is being Counter-sued by the MPAA. You may remember them filing suit to allow thier software to be produced and sold. Interesting point: the MPAA wants to claim all profits from sales of the software, which is now being bundled with some DVD burners."
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MPAA Countersues 321 Studios

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  • that the MPAA was suing three-hundred and twenty one different studios?
    • I did think that.
      It was only while reading through the actual article that I understood it as the name of a company. How freaky!
      • Gee, I just thought the writer/editor was an idiot or typo-ist ... but yeah, I skipped that clause, too. We just have different prejudices.

        Another dumb tech-era company name. Good thing they go out of business so fast. :) (Although I do kind of like Yahoo!.)
    • by PunchMonkey ( 261983 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:59AM (#4934843) Homepage
      that the MPAA was suing three-hundred and twenty one different studios?

      No... technically there were only 136 studios, but some of them were using 4x dvd burners. The post should read "MPAA Countersues the equivalent of 321 studios".
  • HUH?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by giel ( 554962 )

    Isn't the US the country where you can legally purchase a gun but where killing people is illigal? I mean that's actually somehow (not totally) the same. You have got a tool, you use a tool...
    You confuse me...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:35PM (#4934536)
    The Motion Picture Association of America is countersuing Missouri software firm 321 Studios, alleging that the company's DVD-copying software violates anti-copying laws.

    so i cant copy dvds i have authored myself? especially since this is being bundled with burners
    • by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:07AM (#4934659) Journal
      well I dont know how true this is *now* but back when dvd burners first came out ot the mass market I read that either the software or the hardware was incapable of doing the kind of content locking that the bigboys (MPAA) can put on thier content. Thus basically you make your own content, you cant (even tacitly) keep it from being pirated. I found this repugnant, the mpaa will spend tothe ends of the earth to destroy fair use, but (for whatever reason) what you do isnt important.
      • by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:15AM (#4934890)
        MrLint wrote:

        > I found this repugnant, the mpaa will spend tothe
        > ends of the earth to destroy fair use, but (for
        > whatever reason) what you do isnt important.

        Oh, it isn't that it is not important to them, it's that you are not a member of the MPAA. Worse, you are in competition with MPAA members if you are producing content (as a non-member) and "wasting people's time with it when their time and money would be better spent on a MPAA member product".

        Competition in distribution of their content (so called "piracy") and competition in content creation are their public enemies number one and two. Conveniently they can use copyright law to deal with competition in distribution of their content.

        The other kind they have to deal with on the sly, because if they were ever too vocal about competing content creators, the government may see fit to bust their little anti-competitive cartel. That doesn't mean they (and their music industry counterparts) wouldn't love to rid the world of indie studios and musicians. At the moment, subtle little things like keeping CSS to themselves is all they can do.

        Of course this is all evil, but what does one expect from a bunch of greedy sharks?

        "They bind our hearts: 'Let's sell them again and again!'
        Our plan understands the sea; we can wait for her coming."
        From the song "Infanto no Musume" in the Japanese version of Mothra (1961).
    • Of course you can copy DVD's you've authored yourself. The only thing you can't already do is copy DVD's that are CSS scrambeled. Sheesh.
    • by pVoid ( 607584 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:35AM (#4934780)
      Let's not kid ourselves... we all know 99% of the people will use this to copy DVDs. I will.

      If as a defense, we're naively turning the blind eye to this fact, then we will be like deer caught in headlights when they charge us with copy protection stuff...

      Banning this software is just like stripping out the weeds in your lawn, and leaving the roots in the ground.

      The battle really should be about first amendment rights, and basically it being unconstitutional to have a law like the Sony Bono act. Also there should be some sort of reaction to hollywood: decades of complacency have led to actors like Mel Gibson making 20 million off a single movie... That's just *not* right.

      So long as we stay in this pasture of yellow grass, we aren't making any headway. It's no use acting coy and pretending that we're not doing something that isn't currently illegal... It is illegal. It's more important to tell the law makers that the law doesn't represent the best interest of the majority of the public.

      Or something...

      My point is we don't have an advantageous point here, and really, all we can do is fend off offensives by corporate giants, one after another.

      • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:50AM (#4934812)
        Also there should be some sort of reaction to hollywood: decades of complacency have led to actors like Mel Gibson making 20 million off a single movie... That's just *not* right.
        Who is anyone to decide what is "right"? Everytime people fork over $8 or $20 for a DVD with Mel Gibson they are voting him a payraise.

        Its a rough situation in ways. A lot of people will rail against MPAA - or anyone - McDonalds, Starbucks, Exxon, whoever - but then be #1 in line for Lord of the Rings (AOLTW), pick up a Latte on the way back from Starbucks, stop at the gas station for a quick fill of their 20 mpg car, and then get home in time to catch The Sopranos.

        The only thing we can really do is to kill the corporations that we each think are "bad". That is going to take some serious leadership on a massive scale. And right now there is not that leader.
        • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug@@@opengeek...org> on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:26AM (#4934923) Homepage Journal
          You are dead on about people wanting change, but not being willing to actually do anything to make it happen.

          You know, you can get LOTR used, or steep discount new on DVD and loan it to friends.

          Make your own damn Latte.

          Sort of stuck with the gas station, but there is always www.gasbuddy.com for the lowest price.

          Don't pay HBO, get the Soparanos used or steep discount on DVD as well.

          I do this often. For me, it happened when the family got active. We decided to cut our entertainment budget in favor of school sports, outdoor activities and other things.

          The first year is hard because you can't get anything new. After that it is a lot easier.

          So we are a little behind. You know what? It really does not matter as much as people would think. The hard part is that making choices is harder than just going with the flow --until you actually start making them.

        • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:58AM (#4934998)
          You are dead on here at the end. It isn't a problem of kill all corporations. Corporations are a good thing in some ways. So this isn't so much a problem with the system (though it could use some tweaking) but a *SOCIAL* problem. What we need is social change and to try to root out some of the greed in corporations. We need to find a way for corporations to exist but that the little guys get taken care of.

          What we have lost is a sense of honor and selflessness in corporate culture. It has become about money and nothing more, and that is why we have this situation we have today. A corporation founded only on making money is likely to be a bad one. A corporation which is started to work toward a dream or a goal (other than simply making money) is likely to be a good company that people like. Take Jobs and Wozniak for example, they had a dream of a computer in every home. But eventually a company ends up in the hands of the greedy, or those who start it end up that way. What we need is to build into our social norms a way to recognize this and replace such individuals with those who again are aiming as much at a goal or dream as they are at simply squeezing every last dime out of consumers. More progress will be made that way at less human cost.
        • Oh yeah? Well *I* waited until day two (please hold your applause), drive a car made by a no-longer-existent British manufacturer that gets 35mpg, only drink Safeway(tm) Brand Columbian-Esque Koffi Substitute, and don't get cable so I can only watch fuzzy reruns of "Andromeda" when I get home. So you do you like that!....oh.
      • pVoid wrote:

        > Let's not kid ourselves... we all know 99% of the
        > people will use this to copy DVDs. I will.

        So copy DVDs. You can make as many copies of a DVD you produced yourself (home movies, iMovie film festival entry, 3D demo reel, etc.) as you want, as you own the copyright to it. You can make a backup copy of most things, that is supposed to be legal under fair use laws and court rulings.

        The only illegal use is mass production of somebody else's DVDs (without permission) and distributing them yourself (usually with some money changing hands). But then the name of the program is "DVD X-Copy", not "Home DVD Piracy Ring Startup Pack". ;)

        We've already gotten one court case to show that if there are legitimate reasons for a product, and no wilful intent to make a tool for breaking the law, the product should be legal under the DMCA (IANAL). The more cases from different angles, the better chance we have to shoot the DMCA down in flames (in a court proceeding kind of way). The DMCA is a bad law that is discouraging foreign scientists from coming over to our conferences, makes permanent markers illegal, and allows for the harassment of coupon clubs. It is evil and must be stopped (in a court proceeding kind of way)!

        "Really, gentlemen, if that's the case, let's see the power of attorney given to you by Mothra."
        Torahata "Mothra vs. Godzilla"
        • We've already gotten one court case to show that if there are legitimate reasons for a product, and no wilful intent to make a tool for breaking the law, the product should be legal under the DMCA (IANAL).

          You just don't get it, do you? The fact that a slashdot reader is so clueless, goes to show that public is a long way from being informed. Have you READ that article??

          THE PRODUCT IS NOT FSCKING LEGAL BY JURY'S DECISION!. The product of ElcomSoft was CLEARLY illegal to the jury. The issue at hand was whether ElcomSoft intended to violate the law and they were not guilty BECAUSE they DID NOT INTEND to break the DMCA with that product.

          Let me repeat it again: ElcomSoft was not guilty of breaking DMCA, BUT THEIR PRODUCT IS CLEARLY ILLEGAL

      • decades of complacency have led to actors like Mel Gibson making 20 million off a single movie... That's just *not* right.

        You were making good points up until now. Keep Mel Gibson and his salary out of this. His salary nothing to do with issue of fair use copying or even the copyright extension! I think most of people here are jealous or something...

        This sounds like Robin Hood -- take from the rich, give to the poor. US is operating under capitalism and this is a logical and fair result.

        Fair use loss is bad. Unchecked copyright extension is bad. Actors making a lot from the movies is ok, since this is a salary dictated by the market. That is how much he IS WORTH. Now, things like jacked up movie prices (9 bucks!) and high rental fees might be bad. but not the high salary that results for some good actors!

      • " Let's not kid ourselves... we all know 99% of the people will use this to copy DVDs. I will."

        Well thats the point of the DVD-Copy software, isn't it?

        I will presume that you mean to say 99% of the people will use ths to make illegal copies of DVDs, and I will address that.

        you fall into a fallacy, you think just because you will comit copyright infringment, then "everybody" does it.
        That is wrong, I will not use it in that manners, I can't think of any of my friends who would.
        Personally I would use it to copy all my childrens DVD's so they can use them with out destroying them.
        Thanks to this article, I may buy a copy of this sofware this weekend. I know I've spent more then that on replacements.
    • No. You can't copy your own DVDs. Your name has to have four letter in it! No more, no less! And it must end with "AA". Now go back to your room and try it again!

    • I proviide my content on DVD. I searched the MPAA website and I don't see where I need to apply to get my cut of the proffiits collected for every sale of DVD-copying software that MIGHT be used to copy my DVD content.

      If the MPAA is allowed to collect these funds, then under this theory, anyone who ever records original content on a DVD for distribution, should be allowed membership to the MPAA. If enough of us join the MPAA, we could elect board members more in tune with reality. This would be far more difficult within the RIAA, since -while anyone can join the organization- only those who recieve payments (based on radio airplay of their music) can actually vote to elect board members. They have a vary incestuous system as compared to the MPAA, but with regard to the MPAA, everyone should produce a short film, perhaps a flash animation, and distribute it on DVD, selling it on their own website or whatever, then join the MPAA. If we generate enough new membership, we should be able to install board members as we se fit. :)

  • by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:36PM (#4934541) Journal

    IMO, they made a mistake with the name. DVD-X-Copy is, obviously, intended to make illegal copies. DVD-X-Backup, on the other hand, would obviously be intended to make legal, fair-use, backups.

    Darwin works for companies & products as well ... 321 deserve to lose.
    • by diaphanous ( 1806 ) <`pgarland' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:51AM (#4934819)

      IMO, they made a mistake with the name. DVD-X-Copy is, obviously, intended to make illegal copies. DVD-X-Backup, on the other hand, would obviously be intended to make legal, fair-use, backups.

      If we took this line of reasoning seriously then every computer program that has data-copying functions needs to be changed. The C library function "strcpy" would need to be be switched to "strbkup", all our unix shell scripts would need to be scanned to replace "cp" with "bkup". No longer can our kernels use "copy-on-write" pages; new processes will do "backup-on-write".

      "Copy" is a perfectly neutral term.We can't let the MPAA dictate our language.


      • "Copy" is a perfectly neutral term.We can't let the MPAA dictate our language.

        Likewise naming backup wouldn't provide a shred of protection. It's what it does, not its name, that governs legality. (Lawyers aren't quite that stupid.)

        So I can call it a kid's novelty, but if it's actually a joint, I haven't changed anything. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If Slashdot was elected president in 2000, we wouldn't have the two problems we have today: A MPAA and more lawyers than doctors.
  • lord, not again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:38PM (#4934562) Journal
    another Lawsuit for loss of potential profits instead of figuring out what is wrong with their production, marketing, distribution system.


  • If the MPAA is going after the company because it wants profits, and not because it wants to prevent the software from being available on a potential mass-market, could this mean the MPAA may be accepting the potential for movies to be burned to DVD-R? Maybe they'll let up if they can get a chunk of the profit? Probably not, but one can dream...
    • This was kinda what I was thinking with my "Honour System" post the other day.

      I think it will shortly get to the stage where music and video producers accept that unauthorised digital distribution / copying of their material CANNOT be stopped.

      The industry could then move to an "Honour System" of payment, whereby a viewer could make payment for digital content _however_ they received it.

      Multimedia file formats should contain meta-data information about an Internet location from where payment for the material can be made should one so wish to do so.
  • I'm not a big video editing guy, but I'd like to be able to copy my DVDs. Is there any Linux program that will what DVD X-Copy does?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:41PM (#4934566)
    But by the time the MPAA were done counting, there were 426 studios....

    • But by the time the MPAA were done counting, there were 426 studios...

      Bugger... coffee sprayed all over my monitor when I read that.

      I haven't laughed as hard for ages. Thanks mate -- that was absolutely brilliant!
  • by dagg ( 153577 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:41PM (#4934569) Journal
    But I'm definitely not willing to spend $99 for software that just copies bits from one DVD to another. On top of that, I have to buy the blank DVD's. Those are what... 5 bucks a piece? Come on... who would buy this software just so they can make personal use backups ?
    • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:05AM (#4934653) Homepage
      About 1-2 bucks apiece for DVD-R media, if my memory from this morning serves. CD-R's used to cost much more.

      Come on... who would buy this software just so they can make personal use backups ?

      I would. A 1337 wizard might be able to coax software to make a copy of a DVD, with much agony, but I can't.

      I do recall these exact same arguments being made against floppy disk copying. Then, God No! -- VHS tape copying. Then the horror of horrors, CD copying.

      And you know what? Hollywood makes more bucks on VHS and DVDs than they do on ticket sales. Software companies are not out of business.Hollywood is not out of business. Microsoft's stuff was infinitely copyable, for instance, yet they stashed 40 billion in the piggy bank.

      DVD copying will do nothing to "intellectual property owners". This is a red herring, and an excuse to steal legally ALL the money from all sources possible. This is about greed and marketing a "crime wave" that nobody seemed to notice until the RIAA and MPAA and the SPA bought newpeople and legislators to make one.

      Yeah, I want to copy a DVD. Someday, I may even copy a rental DVD, too, But I have to rent it first, and I wouldn't have bought it anyway. There will be no "theft" involved. I won't break into their office and steal their movies. I'd destroy the copy, or just toss it after watching, but after watching these pirates try to steal 123's profits, I think I'll hang onto any copies I make. If the MPAA acts like thieving bastards, then I'll be damned if I'll contribute to their profits in the DVD arena. Being a bastard can cost you profit$, too.

      And doesn't Hollwood get an extorted cut of all DVD media sold anyway? They get paid for the blanks, then sue for the use of the blanks... are we so stupid we swallow their utterly dishonest presentation of "theft"? I guess so.
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:06AM (#4934654) Homepage Journal
      I'm definitely not willing to spend $99 for software that just copies bits from one DVD to another. Come on... who would buy this software just so they can make personal use backups ?

      You should read the article and expand your brain a little. First, the software does a little more than move bits. According to CNN, it intercepts the decoded stream from the DVD player and saves unecrypted files that can be played anywhere. Second, the software comes bundled with some DVD burners so you don't have to spend $100. Third, the company website notes that copies are very nice to have for travel and other abuse. Don't you already do this with your music CDs? It kinda sucks to scrach an original, but who cares about ruining a copy?

      Is this a copyright violation? No way. It's clearly intended for personal, non comercial use and it simply uses your own hardware to acomplish it's task. Content "piracy" is the kind of thing found on the streets of Shanghi, wholesale publishing of exact copies for sale. I'm amazed that they are having to spend all sorts of money in court and hope the best for them. Does this violate the DMCA? We shall see.

      If they lose, you can forget your ablity to make any kind of DVD copy ever. That's why it's important.

      • "It kinda sucks to scrach an original"
        • That's what Blockbuster is for...
        • "It kinda sucks to scrach an original" That's what Blockbuster is for...

          Like there going to have anything you want to own! In the future, this may be true, or they might just not rent DVDs, which cost less than a buck to make. In the present, I hardly feel the need to copy anything I rent from them. Currently, that's what the VCR is for but I never use it. Something I feel compelled to own, however, is different story. I want a copy of that the kids in the back seat can ruin on that long drive. It's a principle thing today, mostly. Tomorrow, you will feel it as viewers become more compact and prevalent.

    • If you are paying more than three dollars a piece for DVD-R media, you are paying too much. Five bucks is still a pretty reasonable price for rewritable DVD media. You should be able to get both for half of that if you search and use the cheap stuff. Using cheap media is pretty save in CDR/CDRW land these days, I dunno about DVD-R/DVD(+/-)RW.

      Anyway there's no point in buying any commercial software for this sort of thing, all you have to do is wait a while.

      For those who have children and are wanting to copy DVDs to give to the kids, allow me to suggest using DVD2SVCD (at least on windows) to make SVCDs for them. You do have to pay for an mpeg2 encoder but it's relatively one-click (you do have to fiddle with bitrate values to make the best use of the CD capacity but this is not a necessary step) and it lets you use cheap-as-heck CDR media, or for the kids who are slightly more with it about respecting media, CDRW.

      DVD2SVCD (my personal choice of software for this purpose) can be found at http://www.doom9.net [doom9.net].

    • DVD-R's start at around 60 cents.

      As for "just copying bits", DVD's use messy storage format and drive interface. See this link [uni-goettingen.de] for more information.

      And, as usual, some little utility like that does require you to shell out $50-$100 on Windows.

    • For many months, DVD-R's have been avail for under a dollar each... check here: http://www.allmediaoutlet.com/Princospecial.html
    • who would buy this software just so they can make personal use backups ?

      I suppose I would if I used Windows. I've had two DVDs crap out on me so far. They were both under VERY light use and handled excptionally well. One of which was 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' BTW.

      I haven't been in the DVD game that long. I don't even want to think of how many I may have had go bad when my DVD collection is as old as my VHS collection currently is.

      Now if DVD studios are going to exchange defective ones for new DVDs anytime one breaks within the next 25 years (and they will be in business that long) I wouldn't have to copy my DVDs.

      $5 a piece is better than $15+ for a new DVD, if I could even still buy them years later (and the price of blank DVDs continues to fall).
      • There is a known problem of 'DVD-ROT' (though it's most common on some older Warner Brothers titles). Supposedly it only happens on dual-layer discs, and only on the second layer. I've had one DVD disc die on me from it, and I wonder if WB will offer a free replacement since I didn't buy the media, just a licence.
        • I've tried to do the same with an EA Playstation game. Their price for the disc alone was more than it would cost for a new game, now that the PSX is out of production. An EA likes to tell you how wonderful their warranty is.

          I doubt you'll have any better luck with WB. (Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a Columbia/Tristar DVD. not WB).

    • who would buy this software just so they can make personal use backups ?

      You don't have kids, do you?
    • > who would buy this software just so they can make > personal use backups

      You would be surprised at how little damage can destroy a DVD. They are a *lot* more sensitive to scratches then CDs. The cost of the media to back them up is far less then the cost of a new DVD.
    • 1X DVD-R in quantity 100 are 58 cents each
      2X DVD-R in quantity 100 are $1 each

      So if you don't mind 1 hour to burn a single DVD-R, 58 cents per disc (many movies require to two DVD-R discs to backup).

  • Dual Layer DVDs (Score:2, Interesting)

    The article says the software asks you for a second blank DVD as most films come on dual layered discs, holding twice as much content as your average blank dvd. anyone know if its possible to buy blank dual layer dvds and a combatible burner?
    • anyone know if its possible to buy blank dual layer dvds and a combatible burner?

      No, it is not possible and it will not be possible. Dual layer discs are pressed as 2 discs and glued together.

    • It's impossible to burn your own dual layered disks since such disks are, in essence, two thin single layered disk glued together. They can only be created at the factory.

      There's no way a burner could "burn" the second layer of a disk without disturbing the top layer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:53PM (#4934611)
    All they have done [zeropaid.com] is bundle applications that are free and from what I can tell the only programing that they have done themselfs is adding a front end.

    The stolen software is as follows:
    Smart Ripper
    VCD Easy/CD-Maker
    • by pc486 ( 86611 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @02:42AM (#4935114) Homepage
      What's wrong with trying to make a profit from free programs? It's like screaming bloody murder over the fact that RedHat profits from selling free software. If the licenses of Smart Ripper, DVDx and others say that selling them is not allowed then so be it. Otherwise go ahead as packing software with an easy to use GUI is a service, and a valuable service as many DVD drive companies think it is worth paying money for.
  • Curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cluge ( 114877 ) on Friday December 20, 2002 @11:56PM (#4934618) Homepage
    Fair use has a lot of reasons to be in existance. The least of which was media degradation.

    In the bad old days, merely playing any recorded material degraded the quality of it. A record, tape or VHS tape would eventually wear out. Thus making "copies" from a master was a necessity if you wanted to listen/view it over a long period of time. With todays digital media that is no longer the case, or much less so. Look for the "MPAA" supporters to try and use this fact to ban ALL fair use. Think revisionist history here (an mpaa lawyers will be!), fair use was needed because of the failure of that times recording technology. It (fair use) has no other reason to be in existance they will argue. It's outmoded and needs to be gotten rid of they will say. Reverse engineering, fair use, personal use will all be attacked (and are being attacked).

    I find it ironic that a record company that can't even pay it's own employees/sub contractor (the artists) correctly is worried about a piece of DVD copying software. I guess if your accounting is THAT BAD then any percieved potential loss must be made up for. Thus the industry that can't even keep track of it's own sales accurately swings into action with a cadre of lawyers. Eventually musicians will seel directly to the people, and they will cut out the middle man. Eventually people will listen to music because they want to, not because they are told to. I can't wait for that day.
    • Re:Curious (Score:2, Insightful)

      With todays digital media that is no longer the case

      I used to think this until I had movies and games that failed to play because of a single minor scratch. A scratch that came from removing it from the case of all things.

      Of course, they LIKE this. They LOVE it even. They rub their hands together at the mere thought of doctoring the laws so that we're criminals unless we pay them a week's wages everytime we even REMEMBER a line from a movie or a song.

      The original DivX format. The new self-destructive disks. DRM. Thought pollution. They really will never stop until they've won, until we stop buying their crap, or until we raid their business offices and shoot every single fucking executive coming up with this shit.
      • Just a minitangent: Plastic polishes such as Novus 1-2-3 can take out superficial scratches and contamination pretty reliably.

        I wish whoever broadcasts Enterprise here would get some. Theie (evidently digital) broadcasts go blocky all the time, like 4-5 times per episode. I can practically see the tech's fingerprints.
    • Yeah, because the MPAA and RIAA know that CDs/DVDs never get scratched, dirty, or broken. They're all invincible!
      • Well, CD readers are pretty mature and the format can actually play pretty decently considering how badly people treat the discs. It is definitely possible to irreparably damage them, sometimes it takes a good deal of scratching and fingerprinting.

        Somehow, DVDs aren't so forgiving yet. In this case, scratches hurt more but fingerprints and other oils really throw players for a loop. I often use a clean-wipe on discs I am renting before I even try to play them.

        As for the DVD-X-Copy or whatever, I was surprised they even managed to sell some copies due to cartel interference. All I knew was that I wasn't going to buy one because of the obnoxious banner ads they had.
  • by exhilaration ( 587191 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:10AM (#4934673)
    *IF* they choose fight the MPAA, we will FINALLY find out whether the DMCA has stripped us of our fair use rights. I think this is far more meaningful than the ElcomSoft trial.

    As we've all read a thousand times, this is no different than the movie studio's rabid reaction to the introduction of VCR's - a product that can duplicate video media and *might* be used for piracy.

    This is the fight we've been waiting for: Fair Use vs. the DMCA. Only one will be left standing.

    (So I'm being a little dramatic, sue me, I realize that the DMCA has a crapload of other stuff that will remain even if parts of it are struck down.)

    • Fair use is not God-given, it's just a regular law added to the copyright statutes (before that a judicial construction). The DMCA, despite its protestations to the contrary, appears to screen out part of fair use. There is a core fair use that is First Amendment and can't be overridden, but I don't think the amendment goes to making backup copies.

      So I assume a judge would say, yeah, the DMCA is badly written (there's a first) but it is clear what it proscribes and they'll just have to rewrite it rather than have me guess at the correct wording.

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:10AM (#4934679)
    is what completely escapes me. The software captures the stream after it has been decoded by a valid player. There is no encryption that is being broken...? It is almost like suing someone for using a video camera to record a rented movie on TV

    Since when does DMCA make it illegal to make copies in general? I believe it only applies to breaking copyright protection...? I am hoping this will be tossed quickly or am I missing something?

  • Doesn't the fact that the menus and special features are being copied mean that the DCSS is being broken, and thus the DMCA? Or is it only the movie that is encrypted?

    I need to know since I'm going to get a 8x DVD burner, but call it 50,000 .00016x burners and open up a Third World Everquest Pirate Cafe!

    Moderators: I'm just kidding about the first part. Thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:22AM (#4934734)
    MPAA actually only sued 57 studios, but a few of them were unusually big.
  • If the laws that you've bought and paid for don't actually work like they're supposed to, does that mean you can get your money back?

    "say no to feeping creaturism"
  • by borg ( 95568 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @12:38AM (#4934786)
    You know, someone just asked me if there was software that would let you copy DVDs. They wanted to...(wait for it...) use a copy for the DVD player in their Honda odyssey so they could keep the orignals at home and undamaged (kids, minivans and optical discs don't play well together).

    I told them there was no such software.

    Now I know differently. Thanks, MPAA, I guess you do add value, after all!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Piracy is Communism. Private property is Capitalism. You don't want to live in a Communist state, do you?

    You know what happens in communist countries? The government controls everything you do. If you try and start your own business and invent new products, the government knocks down your door and takes your computers. If you make any profits, you have to hand them over to a third party, and they label you an enemy of the state.

    In communist countries, powerful entities take money from the working class and use it to line their pockets and buy influence. The government is so interwoven with corruption, almost every law passed exists simply to keep to the bureaucratic machinery running, rather than encouraging efficient innovation (which can be dangerously disruptive).

    You wouldn't want to live in country like that, would you??
  • Keep it up.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xchino ( 591175 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:04AM (#4934854)
    This is good for us. They need to keep on slapping the DMCA in everyone's face. That way the general public will realize what a completely ridiculous law it truly is. You don't see these DMCA cases on the 6 o'clock news and that needs to change.
    • EUCD in the news (Score:2, Informative)

      by basic70 ( 154807 )
      The beer-free morning newspaper Metro [metro.se] in Sweden had an article [metro.se] (pdf, on page 16) yesterday about Denmark introducing EUCD, the EU version of DMCA.

      It was described as a law that makes it illegal to make mp3s of your own CDs. Since it is an EU directive, I doubt any of the member countries have much choice but to add some law of this kind.

  • Review of DVDXCopy (Score:4, Informative)

    by AllynM ( 600515 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:07AM (#4934871) Journal
    review of DVDXCopy is here [cdrinfo.com].

    its an interesting read. they are actually enforcing fair use to some extent. it doesnt allow copying a copy (as long as its attempted with DVDXCopy), and inserts disclaimer warning screens at the start of each backup. sure teh die-hard hacker is going to copy it by a different means anyhow, but this program is tailored to joe-user that just wants a backup of his dvd and could care less about a warning screen at the start of his movie. it seems they made the program as restrictive as possible, covering the necessary fair use bases without overly-annoying the end user in the process.

    This may even make the MPAA look bad should 321s lawyers bring up these facts in court.

  • I would submit this as its own story, but it'd probably just get rejected, so I might as well interject it here while it's timely. According to this EFF press release [eff.org], the film studios that the ReplayTV users have been suing for clarification of their fair use rights tried to get the EFF disqualified from providing the ReplayTV users' lawyers--claiming that the EFF's stance on copyright made them a competitor to Hollywood! Fortunately, this attempt has been rebuffed, twice.
  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @01:57AM (#4934992)
    Hell, some people (no names :-) have been ripping DVDs to DVDR and CDR disks for ages using freely available shareware.

    There are even some bloody excellent websites like VCDHelp.com [vcdhelp.com] and Doom9.net [doom9.net] which explain the whole process in simple to follow steps and provide discussion forms for those who have questions or problems.

    What's the MPAA going to do now? Force these sites to charge a subscription and demand that all the revenues be handed over to them?

    Hey, maybe the MPAA *have* found a new business model -- let people help others make backup copies of your wares and then sue them for huge sums.

    Probably sounds pretty damned good from a movie exec's perspective -- let others do all the work then just raid their wallets at your leisure.
  • define profit. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by junky ( 22650 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @03:47AM (#4935245)
    "the MPAA wants to claim all profits"

    fine, but only if the definition of profit is the one the movie studios use.
  • On DVD Renting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Saturday December 21, 2002 @04:58AM (#4935335) Homepage
    I have read through slashdot that when you buy a DVD, you arent really buying the Digital Media, but license to view that Digital Media. This brings up the question of that basic right to re-sell something which you have purchased, or so I'm told.

    Anyway, the idea comes from that ROM-trading system mentioned a month or two ago. The idea behind that was: people have actual media, and in order to trade it, they send people the files, during which time their media can't be used- just like trading with someone who lives by you, only without the lives by you part.
    So I figure if what I own when buying a DVD isnt media, but a license, why not rent out that license instead?
    So here's the proposal: Buy a DVD, put it on a shelf, keep track of how long you spend Not watching the movie.
    Then rent out the license for the time you arent using it.

    If a DVD is a license, not media, you don't have to worry about where the physical media is in order to use the license. If I buy a DVD, go on a trip out of state, and download a rip of the DVD to watch while I'm gone, it's just as legal as making a copy of a movie on VHS and taking that with you on a trip- everything's fine as long as no one is watching that other copy at the same time. Rights are intangable, so your Rights stay with you wherever you go. Rights also dont need to stay in touch with the rest of the world's time. If I'm licensed to see 30 minutes of a slug beating a mormon to death with a petrified woodpecker, I can watch 10 minutes now, 10 minutes later, and save that extra 10 minutes for a friend of mine whom I wish to torment.
    DVD's, though, have no time limit. You could put one in your drive now and keep the thing spinning until the drive wears out or the disc disintegrates beyond readability. Fortunatly though, if either of those happen, you're still allowed to watch the movie: a DVD is a license, not a media.

    So, there's no time limit, Rights stay with you wherever you go, and rights dont have to follow time in a straight line.
    Plenty of people have DVDs which have been sitting on their shelves unwatched for months. That could have been 720 showings of the movie, all of which remain unseen. What happens to those showings? Well, you're licensed to have viewed them whether you did or not, why not sell them?
    License Rental can enable thousands of otherwise ilegal viewings to become legit, all at an affordable price. And there's really no drawbacks.

    Before commenting on anything I just said, please note that I am aware that I am not familiar with the subject matter I am typing about. I really couldnt give a shit whether anything I said was true or not. The post was meant only to get people thinking. Whether those thoughts are intelligent or not is up to the person doing the thinking. I dont care if they are, the real point is for someone to look at this and go "That's completely wrong. ... ... however, if instead..." and bring about a total intellectual anarchy and new age of perversion.
    You may have noticed the actual topic of this post ended abruptly. I wish to assure you that this was because I stopped typing on the subject.
    • Re:On DVD Renting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      I have read through slashdot that when you buy a DVD, you arent really buying the Digital Media, but license to view that Digital Media.

      if that is true... why do all the AD's on tv say "Own it Today"?

      Sounds like false advertising to me... Who want's to sue?

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