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Can You Be Sued For Helping Clients Rip DVDs?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the ooh-jah-you-betcha-probly dept.

Data Storage 231

DRMer writes "CE Pro has a series of stories that tries to untangle the legalities of DVD ripping in light of the recent RealDVD announcement from RealNetworks. In one of the stories, EFF Attorney Fred von Lohmann discusses the potential liability of those who resell or install DVD-ripping machines (the courts have yet to rule). Another article provides a rather amusing look at how manufacturers justify the legality of their products. Here's one example: 'We are just like Microsoft Vista that does not have a CSS [Content Scramble System] license.'"

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Yes (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966671)

It's called aiding and abetting and it's a crime.

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966959)

It's called aiding and abetting and it's a crime.

Absent a court ruling to back that up, it isn't anything. It's a hypothetical because there is no case law to establish anything.

Note that copyright infringement is a civil matter. So, aiding and abetting doesn't apply.

Maybe if you did it on a commercial scale, for profit, you could make that point. Helping people to install software to perform what is considered to be fair use ... that has yet to be determined.

Would I want to make a business out of selling this kind of stuff without legal precedent? Nope. But, neither does your summary decision that it's a aiding and abetting a crime have anything to support it.

Cheers

Re:Yes (2, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967315)

Helping people to install software to perform what is considered to be fair use ... that has yet to be determined.

I'm fairly certain the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been tested in court, specifically in relation to backing up DVDs. Remember 321 Studios?

Re:Yes (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967407)

I'm fairly certain the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been tested in court, specifically in relation to backing up DVDs. Remember 321 Studios?

Well, that was a combination of running out of money and losing a lower court ruling.

At present, there isn't definitive case law to identify if this is legal or not. Unfortunately, the pecker heads at the MPAA have deep enough pockets to buy whatever ruling they want until someone pushes this far enough through the courts. The whole point of TFA is that this is a gray area that hasn't been finally determined by the courts.

Cheers

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967637)

copyright infringement is a civil matter

Generally it is dealt with as a civil matter, but the laws are written such that it could be criminal as well. Hence the police arresting bootlegers.

Re:Yes (1)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967143)

In the case of CDs, you're legally allowed to make one copy for backups.

I haven't check the law, but logic would follow that we have similar rights for DVDs. In such a case, DVD ripping software and hardware would be off the hook, as it has a legal purpose.

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967353)

There is no such law that allows for one backup. I can make 100 copies of CDs that I bought and go skeet shooting. I am only breaking the law when I distribute those copies to others.

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

deander2 (26173) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967845)

that is still illegal. skeet shooting is like bittorrent - distributing little chunks of files over a broad area, but never the whole file at once! =P

Re:Yes (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967941)

Actually, you can legally make a copy for a friend. This came up in the 80s with mix tapes.

Re:Yes (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967481)

There's the shitty catch.

You can very well likely make a backup copy of your DVD legally. The criminal aspect is the bypassing of the copy protection. So, if your DVD came without the protection you could make backups. If it didn't then, well, you're kind of screwed legally.

Re:Yes (2, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967617)

For the purpose of interoperability it is legal to circumvent technical measures. Getting it to work with your backup program is an interoperability situation.

Re:Yes (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967897)

So far as I know, as long as you don't have to *transcode* the data (for example, to fit a double-layer DVD onto a typical 4.1GB recordable DVD), there's no problem with copying bit-for-bit, and then burning that onto whatever medium you want, whether or not there's copy protection on there.

Re:Yes (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967207)

how is it illegal to take something you purchased, and rightfully own, and convert it to a format that better suits your purposes. if i want to rip all my DVDs and CDs onto my hard drive, that is my prerogative. as long as i'm not distributing them illegally, it falls completely within fair use.

just like, if i have a child who is blind, and i want to take all the books i've bought her and record myself reading them aloud so that she may listen to the books when i'm not around, that is not a crime--not yet, at least.

Re:Yes (1, Informative)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967301)

You don't own it.... you own a license to view what's on the disk. See how they get you there.

Re:Yes (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967459)

You don't own it.... you own a license to view what's on the disk. See how they get you there.

I retain right of first sale on DVDs, CDs, and books.

I own the disk, and while I'm limited in what I can do with its contents .... this "license to view what's one the disk" argument is fallacious. Don't buy into the unproven claims of the *AAs. This is more than just what they claim they've licensed you to do.

Cheers

Re:Yes (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967761)

You don't own it.... you own a license to view what's on the disk. See how they get you there.

Incorrect. It's true if you are renting it might be true (it IS true in that event) but when you BUY it you:

1. Are purchasing an off-the-shelf commodity good

2. Are doing the exact same as buying a book

3. Are agreeing to the transaction advertised: "Own $MOVIE on DVD today!" in every TV ad, store kiosk, marquee/poster, and radio ad they smother us with. Their marketing departments KNOW the law and that you OWN that copy, and yet their lawyers are trying to brainwash the courts otherwise.

You OWN the copy of the content; you simply do not have a license (or the right) to redistribute outside of Fair Use provisions.

Re:Yes (2, Funny)

JaiWing (469698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967917)

on that advertising bit...

say you are taken to court and the decision is that in fact you ARE only licensed to view. At that point you file a motion charging the *AA with literally MILLIONS of cases of false advertising. NICE!

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967535)

Ripping the DVD's for personal backup isn't illegal (fairly certain this is explicitly covered by fair use) bypassing the copy protection is illegal (depending on who you ask) under the DMCA. So we have an intereseting problem you have to break a law in order to do something you are legally allowed to do.

Re:Yes (2, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967777)

You are circumventing technical measures for the express purpose of interoperability (with your backup software). Perfectly legal.

Re:Yes (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967363)

No?

Unfair laws make criminals of everyone.

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967799)

Unfair laws make criminals of everyone.

If they make criminals of EVERYONE, then they ARE fair.

Re:Yes (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967923)

But I installed the application to help them rip and copy dvds of their own design and copyright. they lost the original data, and needed to make 10 copies, not enough to warrant them paying a 3rd party, so they ripped and copied them. perfectly legal in every way shape or form. And what happens after those 10 copies of their training video are copied isn't my concern any longer. but according to you, it's aiding and abetting... I guess the guy selling and showing another person how to load a gun is aiding and abetting too. intent has to proven in those cases, and installing software isn't enough to prove intent for copyright infringement Also copyright infringement isn't a "criminal" offense (yet). And there are perfectly legal reasons and uses for these software packages. not all copying is illegal. there's also that pesky fair use...

You can be sued for anything (5, Insightful)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966685)

You can be sued for anything, the question is can you be successfully sued

Re:You can be sued for anything (3, Informative)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966823)

You can be sued for anything

Not everywhere. In Spain there must be some merit to the claim... if it doesn't make sense at all they send you home (ie the court can reject your filling).

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967373)

I believe that's the case in the US too, just apparently highly paid corporate laywers are very very good at making senseless things sound like a good idea...

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967601)

Even if the claim you're being sued for has no merit, you have to pay a lawyer to go to court and explain that to a judge in order to get it dismissed. So even in the best case you're out of pocket for some amount of money. Other countries have "loser pays [wikipedia.org] " (aka English-rule) provisions -- which require the loser in a suit to pay both sides' attorneys' fees -- to prevent this, but that's not true in the U.S.

The absence of such a rule is the reason SLAPP suits [wikipedia.org] work -- corporations just threaten to bury their opponents under legal fees by launching a huge volume of lawsuits at them. They don't expect to win any of the suits, but their opponent goes bankrupt paying legal fees to knock them all down.

Re:You can be sued for anything (2, Informative)

Misch (158807) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967813)

"The purpose of a lawsuit is not to win, but to harass" - L. Ron Hubbard.

Ironically, the largest fine under SLAPP went against $cientology, I think the fine was in the range of $500,000

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967701)

Any court in any country can reject a filing. Nothing Spain does is any different. Do you think every meritless case in every other country is heard, no matter how foolish or a waste of the court's time it may be?

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967807)

Yes, everywhere. You can be sued (all that is necessary is for the other party to file), but the suit can then be rejected as meritless (or something else). It doesn't mean you weren't sued.

Re:You can be sued for anything (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966851)

If those suing are the same as those who successfully lobbied for the law, then the answer is almost certainly yes.

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

vehicle tracking (1357065) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966921)

You can't necessarily sue for anything. An attorney can even be liable for bringing a frivolous case to court.

In theory.... (3, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967025)

I suggest you check exactly how many barratry cases have been prosecuted in the US in the last decade. Even Jack Tompson hasn't been charged with that yet. Although one lawyer did have to cough up for his opponent's legal fees recently.

Re:In theory.... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967805)

He may not have been sued, but he is facing being permanently disbarred for this - which will probably ultimately cost him more in the long run. At least if you are sued, you can still use your trade to make more money. Poor old Jack won't be able to do that anymore (and with good reason).

Re:You can be sued for anything (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967057)

You can't necessarily sue for anything. An attorney can even be liable for bringing a frivolous case to court.

And, in fact, attorneys can and have been disbarred from bringing frivolous claims to court.

Re:You can be sued for anything (3, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966977)

You can be sued for anything, the question is can you be successfully sued

"Success" depends on objectives. As J. K. Rowling found out, "profit" doesn't follow from "winning." On the other hand, if the objective is to drain your opponent's bank account, then "success" is almost certain.

Re:You can be sued for anything (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967229)

He quite obviously meant "winning the lawsuit" by "success". Whether you get any significant amount of money from it is an entirely different matter.

Location, location, location (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967049)

And in both cases, a lot of this seems to depend on where you live.

In North America, Canada seems safer, but there's also a push to hit us with new laws that would be even more draconian than those in the US.

Personally, if person X wants to pay person Y $1.50 to copy his (bought and paid for) "Little Mermaid" DVD so that the kids don't ruin the original, why shouldn't he be able to?

Re:Location, location, location (2, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967427)

Personally, if person X wants to pay person Y $1.50 to copy his (bought and paid for) "Little Mermaid" DVD so that the kids don't ruin the original, why shouldn't he be able to?

Obviously because Company D(isney) doesn't get any of that $1.50. Company D would rather you purchase additional copies of "Little Mermaid" at full MSRP.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967779)

So don't buy the kids DVDs in the first place, or wait until they're older and can take care of them properly. If they break it, tough.

Re:Location, location, location (3, Funny)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967855)

Right. Why should I buy him anything at all? Clothes, well he just rips them and gets them dirty. Toys, nah, they break too. He can sleep as well on the floor as on a bed.

So I'll just let him wandering around naked and play with a stick, it'll build character, that's what Calvin's dad always says...

Or I could just copy the damn DVD...

Of course (2, Informative)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966729)

You can be sued for anything. It doesn't mean you'll lose.

But in this case, you just might.

Re:Of course (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966897)

With the current US system, you lose practically automatically as you're out a reasonably large amount of money in legal fees. Sure, you can counter-sue for your costs, but that could very well be several years down the road.

This is why the RIAA's sue-them-all-and-sort-it-out-later campaign has enjoyed such success. the cost of the settlement is significantly less than the cost of fighting it in court, regardless of the validity of their claims.

With Jews You Lose (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966745)

Yes, you can be sued for helping your customers exercise their fair use rights... because of Jews.

Why risk it. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966751)

I hand the client on my own time a un-labelled Cd with instructions to get anyDVD and the other software they need along with a basic guide. I tell them, you did not get this from me and will deny I have ever seen it or know about it.

I inform them that the MPAA thinks they are crooks and actually hates them and that is why you have to do this silly cloak and dagger crap to rip a DVD for their new expensive Media server system for the home so they can actually have 21st century entertainment.

they typically understand after the mess is explained to them. My sticker is they want to hire someone to do all the ripping for them.

Re:Why risk it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966979)

I hand the client on my own time a un-labelled Cd with instructions to get anyDVD and the other software they need along with a basic guide. I tell them, you did not get this from me and will deny I have ever seen it or know about it.

Yes, because when you say "I didn't give this to you", that in fact changes reality and they did in fact not get it from you. You should try saying this in court sometime. I'd be curious to learn how it turns out for you.

Re:Why risk it. (5, Funny)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967179)

You should tape the cd under the seat of a park bench and tell the client to find it there.

That way you cover yourself, and get a repeat customer. That Tom Clancy shit is fun - who wouldn't come back?

Re:Why risk it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967651)

Have you ever seen the movie Did you take note of how the kids purchased drugs in the movie? [imdb.com]

There's a reason why you'll hear the phrase "it fell off the back of a truck."

In this case, you tell the client what program can be used for copying DVD's, and then let the CD with the rippign software "fall" out of your case or bag of tools or whatnot as you're walking away. Obviously, this is a CYA tactic, and not really necessary, as the use of ripping software is still legal for the moment. It's a CYA tactic in that in case distributing ripping software becomes illegal itself. With a good enough lawyer, you can get away with claiming the software fell out of your bag on your way out. Without a good lawyer, YMMV of course.

right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966835)

It is not interesting if you can be sued (as mentioned by others, you always can be).

There are two questions that should be answerd:
1) is it right or wrong?
2) is it legal or illegal?

If 1 and 2 give different answers than the law should be updated.
Lawsuits often don't answer any of the questions (which is actually a very bad thing).
Of course answering question 1 is the tough one.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (4, Interesting)

Lord_Frederick (642312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966869)

The issue is that different people will give different answers for both 1 and 2.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (3, Interesting)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967105)

Survey says! I'm sorry, looks like "wrong" is not up there and that's your third strike. Now over to the Morrison team.

This is why I don't believe in having "for the people by the people". In modern days, it should be, "by the people"... we have the technology... we can build it.

Imagine a system where every law gets voted yes or no by anyone who wants to vote on it. No attachments of crap underneath. If it is too complex, even have a 3rd option "too complex/ambiguous" to force a rewrite of the law. Tie it into a continuously voted law (where every 6 months, voting begins again). That way, those who voted against (example) nuclear power, and learned how safe it became can now vote for nuclear power.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (4, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967325)

Basically mob rule. Nothing will ever get done (esp. your nuclear power example) if the crowds are just going to change their minds that often and change their votes. And you thought bureaucracy was bad now...

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967329)

different people will give different answers for the question "how old is the earth" but that doesn't mean the matter is entirely subjective.

this particular issue may be controversial, but the argument for one side is much stronger than for the other. and on legal matters the court's interpretation of the law should be that which protects public interest and best serves public good.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967031)

(Note, I am very libertarian)

I would disagree with you on that.

Laws should only intervene when your actions directly harm another person. So, only a subset of "wrong" should be illegal.

When talking about psychological harm "wrong" gets very muddy. Does protecting people under 18 from any sexual information help or hurt [amazon.com] ?

Is it wrong to be rude to someone? Should that be illegal?

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967227)

I would say that in this case, #1 is subjective, #2 is not. The law is written down, if a judge has ruled that the law is legal then it's legal. For instance, the SCOTUS has said that when it comes to copyright, "limited" means whatever congress says it means, despite all logic and reason.

A movie studio would disagree with me on whether there is harm; I would say "no", he would say "yes" (althogh the MPAA said through its spokesthing that "the VCR is to the movies industry as Jack the Ripper was to women"; obviously Mr. Valenti was a shortsighted fool for saying that).

Legal != "right" and illegal != "wrong". Adultery causes great harm; nothing in my life ever came close to hurting me as much as my ex-wife's adultery. You will never convince me it isn't wrong. Yet adultery is perfectly legal, and the only bearing it has on a divorce is it is grounds for divorce. yet if I have a joint in my pocket it harms no one, yet having a joint in my pocket is illegal.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (3, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967041)

If 1 and 2 give different answers than the law should be updated.

They will always give different answers. (legal, illegal) doesn't match (right, wrong).

And, on a serious note, nor should they. The question of what is "right" or "wrong" differs between a lot of people. Things like the first amendment address the right to say things that others might consider wrong. Should the law be updated so people can't say "wrong" things? I didn't think so. This simple test may be pithy, but it's not sufficient.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967109)

If 1 and 2 give different answers than the law should be updated.

They will always give different answers. (legal, illegal) doesn't match (right, wrong).

And, on a serious note, nor should they. The question of what is "right" or "wrong" differs between a lot of people. Things like the first amendment address the right to say things that others might consider wrong. Should the law be updated so people can't say "wrong" things? I didn't think so. This simple test may be pithy, but it's not sufficient.

To me this is much simpler than what you're presenting. To me the First Amendment is a recognition that trying to determine what speech is right and wrong is, in itself, far more wrong (dangerous) than anything that anyone could say. Wherever possible the law should work this way since you are correct, morality and legality are two entirely separate issues. Handling things this way wherever possible recognizes not only that they are separate issues, but also that it is not the province of the State to declare what is moral.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (1)

allauthors (1064594) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967957)

"it is not the province of the State to declare what is moral"

You sir, are a moron. If one looks at the canon of US law and reduces it to just those things that a majority of the population agrees are good and just laws, you will find that almost all of them very much revolve around declaring what is moral.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967309)

1) is it right or wrong? 2) is it legal or illegal?

They will always give different answers. (legal, illegal) doesn't match (right, wrong).

You see, that's where you're wrong. The answer to both questions is always "yes".

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967047)

Who gets to decide #1? I don't want anyone deciding that for me.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967147)

is it right or wrong?

According to whose ethics? The classic example being abortion -- some feel that abortion is not wrong, others feel abortion is wrong. And please no one start a debate about abortion -- it's a very polarizing subject (and irrelevant to the topic at hand). But that's why it's such a good example.

I'm sorry, but the law cannot be about 'right' and 'wrong'. These are relative terms that mean different things to different people.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (2, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967367)

According to whose ethics? The classic example being abortion -- some feel that abortion is not wrong, others feel abortion is wrong. And please no one start a debate about abortion -- it's a very polarizing subject (and irrelevant to the topic at hand). But that's why it's such a good example.

Our system of government already proscribes a solution: take a vote. And take another one periodically to make sure it reflects what people want.

Not everyone will be happy with the result, and they can work to educate others on their point of view, and if they manage to convince enough people to agree with them, when its time to take the next vote they'll win.

For an issue that's really contentious, polarizing, and has approaching a 50/50 split, arbitrators should suggest compromises, and the people will vote on those. Nobody outright 'wins', but everybody gets at least something. And odds are we'll find a compromise that consistently wins, and it works on a philosophical level too.

(Hell, this is how presidential elections should be run... when 51% vote one guy and 49% vote the other, there is no way it should be be winner take all, where 49% of the population can just stuff it.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967821)

Our system of government already proscribes a solution: take a vote. And take another one periodically to make sure it reflects what people want.

First, nitpick (or, being charitable to my intentions, "opportunity for education"): you mean prescribes, not proscribes.

Second and more substantially, in addition to the various citizen votes (and more relevant to the creation of laws, votes by representatives on behalf of the citizens), there is also what should be a strict set of rules as to what sorts of laws can be created. This is (supposed to be) especially strict at the federal level. Laws should not 1:1 map to anyone's ethical code. It's not a matter of molding the laws to reflect the morals of the majority. IMO, it's irrelevant whether the majority of US citizens feels that abortion should or should not be performed. That is simply not a question that should be legislated federally.

Finally, wrt your comment about presidential elections... I'm not quite sure what you're suggesting, but I don't see any effective way to have 51% of candidate A and 49% of candidate B performing a single executive role. Remember that the president is just a single member of the government, albeit probably the single most powerful one. Still, those 49% who voted against the winner will be substantially represented in the more numerous legislative branch so their influence will not be tossed out. I think there are plenty of problems with our electoral system, but I don't see any effective way to implement fractional representation in a singular office.

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (2)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967249)

No this is not accurate. Morality of an action has absolutely no correlation to legality of an action. For example: It is wrong to cheat on your wife. But it is not and should not be illegal. Sex between men (broadly termed sodomy) was until very recently illegal in my state. However whether or not said action is Moral is a matter of debate. I know people who believe Eating meat is immoral. Should it be illegal????

The test of legality is best determined by whether or not said action requires any other individual to forfeit liberty or property in order for you to engage in your activities.

Thomas Jefferson said it best: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others

Re:right vs wrong and legal vs illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967425)

right != legal
right != illegal
wrong != legal
wrong != illegal

1 and 2 will always have different answers! Or did you mean:

Is it right or wrong: Yes
Is it legal or illegal: No

Is it right or wrong: Yes
Is it legal or illegal: Yes

Is it right or wrong: No
Is it legal or illegal: No

Is it right or wrong: No
Is it legal or illegal: Yes

If so, well, I can't extract much meaning from that...

In other news (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966865)

Maybe we should sue Craftsman for making hammers and chainsaws, since those might be used as murder weapons. Or perhaps Raid for making bug spray, since it could conceivably be used to poison someone. Or architects for designing tall buildings since a suicidal person might jump off of them. How about manufacturers of ropes or chains, since those might be used to hang somebody?

Why do we collectively accept this madness when it's copyright that we don't accept otherwise? There are legitimate reasons to rip a DVD, and there are also uses of a DVD ripper that violate copyright. A hammer can help to build a house to shelter a family, or it can be used by a criminal to bludgeon someone to death. In principle, I see no fundamental difference here.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966907)

The hammer lobby in DC isn't big enough.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966997)

The hammer lobby in DC isn't big enough.

Haha that's a good answer. But still. That only explains the source of this madness. It does not explain why we (collectively) would ever put up with it for one minute. The cynic in me thinks that the average American doesn't have a single thought in their head that the media didn't put there, and you can rest assured that such messages are bought and paid for. I really think that many years from now, this will be considered a Dark Age because it represents the near-death of critical thinking and independent inquiry and the importance of those two things cannot be overstated. Still, I don't see this situation as inevitable or immutable in any way.

Re:In other news (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967157)

I agree with you about the media thing. The "infinity+" copyrights are a horrible abomination on the public.

The other thing is that the US isn't a democracy, especially at the federal level, so it really doesn't matter what "the people" want. Just look at the War on Drugs.

Re:In other news (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967521)

I agree with you about the media thing. The "infinity+" copyrights are a horrible abomination on the public.

The other thing is that the US isn't a democracy, especially at the federal level, so it really doesn't matter what "the people" want. Just look at the War on Drugs.

The form of government isn't really at issue here. There are many non-governmental ways to solve this problem, a widespread boycott being one idea. If enough people got pissed off enough, this is not outside the realm of possibility -- my question relates more to why people are laying down and accepting this instead of getting pissed off and doing something about it. I think we forget sometimes that we are the *aa's customers, that they are nothing without us, that they will go bankrupt and disappear in a hurry except that we purchase their products. The law is just one way to resist them.

Also you don't really need a democracy; a constitutional republic is just fine for there to be such a thing as the will of the people, assuming that such people are principled and not easily dissuaded. It's when such people only care about immediate convenience and short-term gain (like the "pseudoadults" i.e. overgrown children that they are) that they gradually become powerless, which is what's happening now.

You also mentioned the War on (some) Drugs. This is largely a propaganda effort. There actually (sadly) are plenty of people who think that drugs should be illegal. This is for two major reasons. One, they see it as a question of whether drugs should be legal or illegal and not a question of whether it's the government's role to dictate what you may or may not do with your own body. Two, they've been told over and over again, from a very young age (D.A.R.E. and other programs), that inanimate objects are the root of our problems and that an arms race between economic forces and governmental police power is the only solution. I don't think I have ever met anyone who believes in the War on (some) Drugs who independently arrived at that conclusion by means of careful critical analysis of all available alternatives.

I have met lots of people who support the War on (some) Drugs because they have been indoctrinated by the likes of D.A.R.E. I've met people who support it for irrational emotional reasons, like they have known someone who died of a drug overdose and they want to blame that person's poor decision-making on a chemical inanimate object (denial, as they say, is not just a river in Egypt). Probably worst of all are the people who appear to be quite reasonable except that they come from the assumption that all adults should be treated like children by a Big Daddy government that knows what's good for them, and so they will talk quite calmly about which drugs should be legalized (like marijuana) and which drugs should remain illegal because they're too dangerous (like heroin). In so doing they entirely miss the point that no healthy adult person needs anyone to decide what's good for them, that the insistence on doing so by those who desire power means that almost no one can both follow the law and be a complete adult human being who is something more than a victim of circumstance.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967075)

Why did I just think of MC Hammer lobbying to bring back parachute pants?

Re:In other news (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967369)

It has happened. Several gun makers have had to defend themselves...

However, since they lost, I think that families of folks killed by drunk drivers shoudl be able to sue Ford, etc. (whoever made the DD's car)

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967739)

It is simple, it is a question of how they are actually used not how they can be used. If 99% of everyone who used DVD rippers were actually just making backups of their DVDs, this would be a non-issue. Similarly, if 99% of people who bought hammers actually killed someone with them-- I think you would quickly see hammers become illegal.

DCMA (3, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966867)

I though assisting one in bypassing DRM to copy media was very direct and clear in the DCMA, which is why people are wary of including libdvdcss in Linux distros, even if it is used for playback and not copying.

Re:DCMA (2, Informative)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967683)

CSS isn't really a copy protections scheme though, in fact it provides no protection at all against copying the DVD. I could easily distribute a .iso file over the internet that could then be burned to a DVD and played in a regular DVD player. I don't know of any precedent that says if DRM can legally be used to prevent space shifting but not copying though. So its definately a shakey argument.

If you are going to set up DVD ripping for a client, it might be very wise to

A) refuse to work for or sell ripping software to anyone who mentions using it for piracy, 'sharing' or probably the most common abuse, ripping rentals. Shouldn't be hard, most people actually *do* want to backup movies they really own.

B) If possible, find, or modify existing software, so that it will only work on DVDs from the region the customer is in.

Of course, you're still screwed if they try to sue you based on CSS being patented, so you may want to have a file prepared which covers the type of encryption CSS uses, when it was actually invented and who by, as well as any and all precedent that says math and non physical processes aren't patentable.

This will pretty much cover your ass, until you realize the judge your standing in front of could give a rats ass what the law says, and is more interested in punishing you for being a pirate, whether you are or not.

Standard disclaimers apply, IANAL, or a paralegal, I've not actually researched case law on this, and as I said above, the judge mat not give a shit what the law is, no matter how much on your side it is.

Story Repackaged (3, Interesting)

Thundermace (951553) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966887)

Selling products that archive DVDs

The MPAA is likely to argue that (1) selling anything that makes copies of movies if you have reason to know that the customer is going to use it to infringe is, itself, an act of contributory infringement and (2) while the "archiving" may not violate the DMCA's [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] prohibition on unauthorized decryption, any device that includes any unlicensed "decrypter" or "player" is a circumvention device prohibited by the DMCA.

I think the gist of the story is broken down into those two questions and based on the response from von Lohmann, I would say is the profit worth the risk. I wont argue anything that allows you to backup the legally purchased DVD's you own (or is it lease...might have to re-read the license)is and should be 100% legal, however, if I am just an installer putting these devices in play, I would think long and hard when the customer who begins his "dvd-reselling" business points the finger back at you..

Re:Story Repackaged (2, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967579)

Then that customer has broken the law and you haven't. It's no different from the bank-robbery getaway car and the auto dealer, or the counterfeiter and the printing-press manufacturer.

MPAA/RIAA (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966891)

They keep telling us we're buying a license to listen/view the content they are selling to us.

But then they try to lock it down to the actual media.

If I pay for the content, let me rip it so I can use it on my own hardware, the way I see fit (MPAA/RIAA calm down, that doesn't include giving away nor selling copies to others). Also, why do I have to pay full price to get a replacement CD/DVD, my content license has already been paid.

Re:MPAA/RIAA (1)

hostguy2004 (818334) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967001)

If the "we're selling a license" argument was realistic, When was the last time someone got replacement media for the Music they'd purchased on a Music CD from the store? I've never heard of Anyone getting their Music CD replaced for the cost of the CD itself, by a record company or store.

Re:MPAA/RIAA (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967063)

You just repeated my last sentence. :P

I've never heard of such a thing ever happening either. In fact, if I remember correctly, I can't even re-download a song I paid for on iTunes (i.e. I can't use the iTunes Store as a personal, last-hope emergency backup, even though they keep a list of what I have already bought).

It's not as bad as you think (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967323)

Re:It's not as bad as you think (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967543)

I was able to re-download episodes of a show I had a season pass to after my hard drive committed suicide. And I merely emailed their customer service department. Since my computer doesn't have a dvd burner (only a cd burner) I hadn't gotten around to backing up those episodes.

Re:MPAA/RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967429)

Choose a better Legal MP3 service then, many DO provide you with the ability to download them more than once.

How to speed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966909)

1. Take note of the posted speed limit. On many major highways it is generally 55 or 65 MPH, but this varies from region to region. Better to check first.

2. Press down on the accelerator of your vehicle until your speedometer indicates that you are traveling at a speed higher than the posted speed limit.

3. Maintain a rate of travel above this speed by keeping the accelerator depressed and by not hitting your break pedal.

Now I guess I can be sued if you ever get a speeding ticket.

 

Re:How to speed (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967371)

The question wasn't "can you be sued for telling someone how to rip DVDs", it was "Can You Be Sued For Helping Clients Rip DVDs".

Big difference. If I tell you how to rob a bank and you rob a bank, I can't be arrested for bank robbery unless I know that you actually went ahead and did it. Note that if I know you did it and didn't tell you how I can still get in trouble. But if I help you rob a bank, I can go to prison.

Note that this is just an example; I do NOT consider ripping DVDs as "stealing".

ho8o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966915)

DOG THAT IT IS. IT - Netcraft has time wholesome and Visions going continues in a creek, abysmal exactly what you've Fact: *BSD IS A

Dear Fake Legal Advice Seeker: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966929)

You'd help the intertube readers and writers much more if you had asked the question about the status of habeus corpus in the U.S.S.A.

Cordially,
Kilgore Trout [exiledonline.com]

Yeah,sure. (1)

nicks,nicks,nicks! (1312041) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966933)

Next thing they will come up with is that you can be sued for watching the stuff,because you have probably recorded the DRM crippled,encrypted stream into one of those cyborg devices you have lying around[proof?Who needs proof?He's next in line] and you will probably spread the story,thus acting as spoiler.You should be in jail now,because you read this comment.

This is the United States, you insensitive clod (0, Redundant)

overshoot (39700) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966937)

You can be sued for anything. After that, you're going to lose a boatload of money to the landsharks even if you end up "winning" in court.

Tedious (4, Insightful)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967181)

There is an inherent stupidity to much of what goes on in the new frontier of digital media. Tivos don't allow 30 second skipping to mollify the networks, but I can install MythTV and skip as much or as little as I want. Ipods are built to be crippled with DRM and the inability to move files from one player to the other, but anyone can go out and legally purchase an MP3 player from a different manufacturer that allows you to move files onto it or off of it without restriction. Anyone with minimal savvy can use the publicly-available DeCSS code to rip as many DVDs as they want onto their home media server and have been able to do that for years, but now the Copyright Patrol has its panties in a bunch over boxes that are dedicated to this function. The discourse is fundamentally stupid.

Tivo 30 sec skip (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967433)

Tivos don't allow 30 second skipping ...

Actually, you just have to enable it. See http://bigmarv.net/how/tivo30secondskip.html [bigmarv.net] . They don't enable it by default or advertise the feature in order to mollify the networks, but it's still there.

The rest of your post I basically agree with, but I thought I should pass that tip along.

Re:Tedious (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967447)

How exactly are iPods crippled by DRM?

You mean the fact that they won't play non-Apple DRMed files, right? If so then they're crippled by DRM like EVERY OTHER MP3 PLAYER IN THE MARKET.

Okay, so iPods don't squirt songs at each other. But with a handy-dandy computer(they're quite cheap these days, you should try to get one) of some sort you can transfer music, or *gasp* any old type of data from the iPod to, brace yourself, ANYTHING! Now Apple tries to keep this a secret, but the iPod is basically just a harddrive and with the right secret words, you too can access it just like a real hard drive.

Really now, you don't have to become an Apple fan boy but the mindless and baseless bashing is getting passe.

Re:Tedious (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967689)

The Copyright Cartel knows that the technology to thwart them already exists, and that they'll never get that toothpaste back into the tube.

Their big fight now is to keep that technology from appearing friendly and safe to the general public. If they can make it look to Joe Average like there's a Copyright War going on, and he might get hurt, then they can bully the general public into another few years' compliance before the technical know-how becomes ubiquitous.

me 2? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967217)

So does that mean that I installed dvdshrink on my friends computer for him, that I can be sued for having given him the tools to do this?

If not, then why is it that if he could easily have created a tool to allow him to rip a dvd on his own (as I have) then it is not illegal, but if he uses one I created installed on HIS machien, then it is illegal???

Re:me 2? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967581)

Can DVDShrink be legally hosted in the USA? Or are they (the dvdshrink people) just choosing not to because they want to avoid legal problems?

As to your second paragraph, I am pretty sure that the MPAA/RIAA want to outlaw you programming your own tools to rip things... which is wrong.

CSS license (3, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967237)

They could get a CSS licence from somebody else other than the DVD-CCA. The DVD-CCA has no special authority to license the use of a CSS descrambler than any content producer.

Since CSS isn't a trade secret anymore (it is PD knowledge now) nobody is prohibited from implementing it on trade secret grounds.

Since CSS was never patented, nobody is prohibited from implementing it on patent grounds.

Since each CSS implementation is an independent work rather than derived, nobody is prohibited from implementing it on copyright grounds.

I'll give them a licence for free. Here you go. I hereby license you all, each and every one.

Re:CSS license (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967619)

Counter Strike Source hasn't been a trade secret since they released the game. Since it (CSS) is a game, I am pretty sure they cannot patent it--you can implement your own CSS, but maybe no one will play it. [/joke]

Myth TV? (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967685)

This issue interests me regarding MythTV setups. There's already a feature to backup DVDs (rip option when you load a dvd), but I was pondering adding an option to "time-shift" rentals. In other words say you get some movies out of order from Netflix, you could simply have it automatically backup the dvd and hold it for a maximum of x days (then delete it after being viewed or when the time is up).

Currently you can do this manually, but adding a feature that does this explicitly would run afoul of some companies (though many would argue there's no real harm done). But will adding (ease of use) features to a product that violates the DMCA also put you in further liability? What if instead of a rental time shifting feature you just add a system to streamline ripping to xvid or h264 (with presets for movies, tv shows, animation, etc)?

Re:Myth TV? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24967883)

I think you and the 5 other people using MythTV are safe.

You can be sued for anything. (1)

lembree (53531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967787)

You can be sued for anything. The question is whether or not you can afford to try to prevail.

Re:You can be sued for anything. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#24967915)

Take a good look at your End User License Agreement. That's contract law, and often restricts you from duplicating the media except for 'backup purposes'.
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