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Thursday, December 1, 2011

PK to Copyright Office: Let People Rip Their Own DVDs | Public Knowledge

By Michael Weinberg | December 01, 2011

Today Public Knowledge asked the Copyright Office to make it legal for people to crack DVD encryption in order to copy movies and TV shows they own on DVDs onto other devices they own. The Copyright Office can do this by granting a 3-year exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, better known as the DMCA.

Why is This Exception Necessary?

Most people are fairly comfortable with the idea of copying copyrighted works they own from one medium to another. This is sometimes called “space shifting” or “format shifting.” For example, this is what you do when you rip a CD in order to create .mp3 files to transfer to your iPod.

Another example of this is when you transfer a movie from a DVD onto a laptop or a tablet device, like an iPad. However, there is one important difference between a movie on DVD and a song on a CD: unlike the CD, DVDs are encrypted. That means that while copying a song from a CD is a one step process (copy the file), copying a movie from a DVD is a two-step process (decrypt the file, copy the file).

Users are authorized to decrypt the movie in order to watch it, but are not authorized to decrypt the movie in order to copy it. As a result, that extra DVD step (decrypting) is illegal under the DMCA. That makes it impossible to copy DVDs the same way you copy CDs.


PK to Copyright Office: Let People Rip Their Own DVDs | Public Knowledge

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