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Thread: DVD copying & fair use

  1. #1
    FLAC migel628's Avatar
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    Question DVD copying & fair use

    I've heard the term fair use tossed around in regards to copying content such as DVDs, Video Tapes, Music CDs, and Software to name a few, however I can't seem to find anything solid in all my searching tonight. Is it legal to copy the content for personal use or not? I know that defeating the copy protection is illegal as per the DMCA, but are we allowed to copy the content to have as a backup as long as we own the original? If anyone has reputable links that could point me in the right direction, then that would be ideal.

    - Michael

    EDIT: For the curious, I'm working on my capping paper and my topic at the moment is DRM and fair use.
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    FLAC migel628's Avatar
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    So far I found this link from the EFF that states:

    "Do I have the right to make a copy of my CD for my own personal use?
    Yes. The fair use doctrine allows an individual to make a copy of their lawfully obtained copyrighted work for their own personal use. Allowing people to make a copy of copyrighted music for their personal use provides for enhanced consumer convenience through legitimate and lawful copying. It can also enlarge the exploitable market for the rights holders. The fair use privilege's personal use right is what allows an individual to make a backup copy of their computer software as an essential defense against future media failure."
    - http://www.eff.org/cafe/gross1.html

    It doesn't specifically state DVDs, but it's a start...
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    Variable Bitrate will1384's Avatar
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    Underachiever ACHIEVER's Avatar
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    Yeah,

  5. #5
    FLAC migel628's Avatar
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    Good stuff, thanks for the links

    I kept hitting the wikipedia Fair Use link, but didn't find anything that I thought I could use, so I figured the term was just being misused. Thanks for the push in the right direction...
    "I'm a dick!"
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  6. #6
    The Lavender Tie Just
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    MMMMM, DVDSHRINK....

    Peace,

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  7. #7
    Low Bitrate mbayers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by migel628
    I've heard the term fair use tossed around in regards to copying content such as DVDs, Video Tapes, Music CDs, and Software to name a few, however I can't seem to find anything solid in all my searching tonight. Is it legal to copy the content for personal use or not? I know that defeating the copy protection is illegal as per the DMCA, but are we allowed to copy the content to have as a backup as long as we own the original? If anyone has reputable links that could point me in the right direction, then that would be ideal.

    - Michael

    EDIT: For the curious, I'm working on my capping paper and my topic at the moment is DRM and fair use.

    The Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA, found at 17 USC 1001 et seq.) amended the copyright statutes to specifically permit coyping of audio (not video) content for your personal use only. There is no video equivalent of the AHRA.

    Fair Use is codified in Title 17 of the US Code at Section 107. It is a defense to a claim of copyright infringement. It allows for copying that would otherwise be infringement in situations that further such commendable First Amendment activities as "criticism, comment, news reporting or research." There are four criteria to help determine whether any particular copying is otherwise excused as a fair use. The criteria are not always real easy to apply, so there is some element of subjectivity in the whole analysis. It is important to note that whether the copying is done for a commercial purpose is only one of the criteria, and it is NOT dispositive.

    The Sony Betamax case 20 years ago interpreted 17 USC 107 to include VCR time-shifting as a fair use, saving the ability of device manufacturers to make VCRs that could record over-the-air broadcasts for viewing at a more convenient time. The Supreme Court specifically did not address the question of whether it was a fair use to keep that same recording in a home library. It's not clear that time shifting actually supports any of the high-minded activities noted above, so I tend to refer to the Sony Betamax case as having introduced the "no harm, no foul" standard for fair use.

    It is important to note that fair use is a DEFENSE to a claim of copyright infringement. It is NOT a "right", however much the EFF might like to claim it is. The EFF is not the most objective commentator in this space, so their analysis, while certainly thorough, is not unbiased. The EFF does not usually win on the substantive issues in court when it comes to copy protectoin issues.

    On top of this, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA, 17 USC 1201 et seq.) makes it illegal to traffic in tools which have as their primary purpose the circumventing of technical means for preventing the copying of or access to copyrighted works.

    So, here's the deal. If you want to rip your CDs to your hard drive as MP3s, the AHRA affirmatively permits this (though the RIAA has an argument that says that this does not apply in the case of computer-based ripping, but that's a deeper issue than I care to go into here). For movies, there is no equivalent of the AHRA, so you have to rely on fair use. The statute which permits backup copies of computer software is not really applicable, though it could serve as a useful example. However, most people copying their DVDs are not making true backup copies. They are doing other interesting things with the copies, like putting them on portable devices, etc. It is not at all clear that these activties are covered by fair use, though there are certainly good arguments to support this (and a few that are effecively used by the opposition).

    The catch-22 that exists for folks who want to copy DVD movies is that, while there may be a valid argument for why the copying would be a fair use, distributing a software tool which bypasses the CSS copy protectoin technology is a violation of the DMCA (as has been very clearly found by US Federal courts).

    I'm an attorney specializing in the licensing of copy protection technologies. I work in-house for Toshiba. I'd be happy to talk about your school project with you if you think that would be helpful. Shoot me a PM.

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  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate will1384's Avatar
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    Openlaw on Open DVD


    Patents and Copyright Laws Fair Use and Technology


    Judge: DVD-copying software is illegal


    I will do as I please with the stuff "I PAID MONEY FOR" -
    that for me includes Software,Hardware, Video, Audio - It my
    not be legal any more - SO WHAT!!! F(_)CK Hollywood
    - I am not saying trade all my stuff on p2p - just stuff for my
    personal use

    I buy a new game and find the CD patch so I dont have to play
    musical CDs - I never understood that any way - because you can
    just copy the cds and hand them away - its not protecting any thing,
    just wearing out my CD-ROMs drive tray - I hack all my software
    - But I also buy all my software,

    That macrovision is some lame $hit also - I often hack my DVD
    players and video cards - to remove - not because I want to copy stuff
    but I would like to use what I paid for in a manor I ses fit - what if I want
    to use a old TV, or out put video from computer to a TV when I watch
    a DVD on the computer - macrovision will stop you

    What If I want to run linux on my Xbox - ect ect ect

    I think Hollywood will DRM them selves out of busness -
    and non DRM content will be the new cool must have

    A lot like Linux

    Plus I think with computers getting faster and faster - you
    will be able to make movies at home that are just as good
    as Hollywood - in fact there is a lot out there now that is good

    Here is my use of Fair Use - my Xbox Media Center
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate mbayers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will1384
    . . . .

    I will do as I please with the stuff "I PAID MONEY FOR"
    . . . .

    I certainly sympathize with you, and I won't say that your opinion is invalid. However, it's important to keep in mind that a copyright holder is allowed to sell you something less than the entire set of rights he has in a particular work. He can sell you merely a license to view the work - if that's all he wants to sell, and that's what you're willing to buy. If you don't like the deal, walk away.

    If the copyright holder knew he was selling you not only the copyrighted work, but also the ability to make copies, he might charge you more for it.

    One of the biggest problems is that the movie studios are not often clear about what they are selling you. Heaven forbid a consumer be given clear notice about what the offer actually is, so he could then make an informed decision about whether to plunk down his money or not.

    MBA
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  10. #10
    Low Bitrate mbayers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by migel628
    So far I found this link from the EFF that states:

    "Do I have the right to make a copy of my CD for my own personal use?
    Yes. The fair use doctrine allows an individual to make a copy of their lawfully obtained copyrighted work for their own personal use.

    . . . .

    Actually, you don't need to rely on fair use for making a personal copy of an audio CD. The Audio Home Recording Act affirmatively permits that activity. Copyright holders are prohibited from bringing a copyright infringement action for such personal use copying of audio works.

    MBA
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