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Judge Opens Hearing On RealDVD Legal Battle

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the pondering-pirate-bay-precedent dept.

Movies 164

FP writes "On Friday morning, lawyers urged a federal judge to bar RealNetworks from selling software that allows consumers to copy their DVDs to computer hard drives, arguing that the Seattle-based company's product is an illegal pirating tool. RealNetworks' lawyers countered later in the morning that its RealDVD product is equipped with piracy protections that limits a DVD owner to making a single copy and is a legitimate way to back up copies of movies legally purchased. This legal battle began with a restraining order last October which stopped the sale of RealDVD. More coverage is available at NPR. The same judge who shut down Napster is presiding over the three-day trial." Reader IonOtter points out that later in the day, Judge Patel sealed the court after DVD Copy Control Association lawyers "argued that public testimony of aspects of the CSS copy-control technology would violate trade secrets."

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Buy my new DVD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708577)

'Slashdot: Real Stories of the Frost Piss'

Re:Buy my new DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708605)

I'll take OVER 9000!!!

Useless (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708581)

I really don't understand why they are still bothering.

It's a waste of their money and taxpayer's money

Re:Useless (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709763)

I really don't understand why they are still bothering.

Yes, especially when you consider how many FOSS programs there are out there to do exactly that.

Sounds familiar. (2, Informative)

madsci1016 (1111233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708593)

Sounds like a repeat of DVDXCopy. That tool only let you make one copy i believe; and it lost the legal battle.

Re:Sounds familiar. (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709063)

That tool only let you make one copy i believe; and it lost the legal battle.

Yes, but the DVDXCopy folks didn't have deep-pockets RealNetworks paying their legal bills. Real may be harder to take down.

Re:Sounds familiar. (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709101)

If they lose, I hope it shows normal people how wrong the law is and that it should be changed.

sign of the apocalypse... (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708607)

I can count how many times I've rooted for Real on a one-bit integer. Yesterday, I didn't even need that.

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (4, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708747)

"I can count how many times I've rooted for Real on a one-bit integer. "

Signed, or unsigned?

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708997)

A one-bit integer can't be signed. If it were, you'd be representing -0 and +0.

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709073)

A signed one-bit integer would represent -1 and 0. More generally a one-bit integer can represent any two integers (for example, -128 and 127. But that tends to confuse people).

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709095)

A one-bit integer can't be signed. If it were, you'd be representing -0 and +0.

What an elegant demonstration that knowledge is not equivalent to intelligence. In short, "whoosh".

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709449)

The woosh is on your moron, he is demonstrating how stupid a 1 bit signed integer would be, duh.

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710019)

The woosh is on your moron

See, this is one reason why I read Slashdot. :->

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (3, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709207)

I guess I should have known better to say that here. A one-bit unsigned, 2's complement integer as represented in Big Endian bit order.

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (2, Funny)

Azh Nazg (826118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709457)

Except that twos complement is meaningless with unsigned integers, and big endian and little endian are exactly the same. ;)

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709907)

ambiendianess?

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710247)

And if signed, two's complement or sign-magnitude?

Re:sign of the apocalypse... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710307)

I can count how many times I've rooted for Real on a one-bit integer. Yesterday, I didn't even need that.

What does this even mean? I guess it means you aren't rooting for Real.

Well, you damn fucking well should.

RealNetworks are the good guys here. They are trying to make DVDs more convenient and useful, and they fucking bent over backwards trying to make this thing be totally obviously not a piracy tool. If RealDVD cannot win this court case, that means no-one will be able to do anything, no matter how fair use it is, without the permission of the big movie studios and organisations like MPAA.

Why does RealDVD encrypt the saved DVD images? So it won't be a useful piracy tool. And because Kaleidescape [engadgethd.com] encrypt their saved DVD images, and that may have helped them to win their case [cepro.com] .

I've actually had a chance to see RealDVD and it's a good program [technologizer.com] . It's actually kind of Apple-like, in that it does one thing well and does it pretty. I'd buy it for my Grandmother to use.

So, I'm rooting for RealNetworks on this one and you should too.

If everybody knows it (3, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708609)

It is not a trade secret anymore.

Re:If everybody knows it (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709229)

I'm glad you pointed that out. This decision is legally indefensible and utterly inexcusable. One of the key requirements for something being a trade secret is that it must, in fact, still be a secret. Once knowledge enters into public knowledge through reverse engineering, it is no longer secret, and is no longer legally eligible for trade secret protection.

The disturbing thing is that this is a critical case as far as defining the boundaries for the DMCA and reverse engineering, fair use rights, etc., but because those devious lawyers from the DVD CCA got their way, a significant portion of this important case will be stricken from the public record. This is, of course, what they want. This has nothing to do with protecting any trade secrets and everything to do with hiding their smoke and mirrors from licensees in the hope that they'll keep buying the snake oil^W^WDRM.

Unfortunately, sealing a case like this also does a very serious disservice to the public in this case, and I hope that the EFF and other organizations are taking steps to get this case unsealed again. It is the American people's right to know what is going on behind closed doors in cases dealing with our fundamental fair use rights.

The trade secret is the STRATEGY of the lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710083)

The trade secret is the STRATEGY of the lawsuit.

The specific PATENTS (not trade secrets) that they use to litigate, and how a product COULD be easily written BEFORE hand to not use those specific patents as written in their main claims.

I know. I defended the largest DVD CCA lawsuit attack in history with over 100 million in settlement.

If you knew the rather weak patents they have left, and the order they use them in suits, you could TRIVIALLY and LEGALLY make an untainted an legal DVD replicator. I ALMOST feel like listing them here, but my soul was burned out from the process and I am neutral.

Re:The trade secret is the STRATEGY of the lawsuit (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710877)

I ALMOST feel like listing them here, but my soul was burned out from the process and I am neutral.

Hmm... you also seem to have lost all sense of when you need to use the caps lock. I didn't know that was a function of the soul.

Anyway, I am not a lawyer (sidenote: neither is Jack Thompson anymore) so I don't understand the distinction you're pointing out. How do trade secrets enter into it if they're claiming patent infringement?

Re:If everybody knows it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710125)

This trade secret?

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/index.html

Betamax Redux (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708611)

Had the VCR been invented in a copyright climate like today's, would it ever have survived the legal attack [slashdot.org] against it?

I'm trying to figure out what's different, other than the fact we now have the DMCA.

Re:Betamax Redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708669)

Um..the internet?

Re:Betamax Redux (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708719)

Had the VCR been invented in a copyright climate like today's, would it ever have survived the legal attack [slashdot.org] against it?

I'm trying to figure out what's different, other than the fact we now have the DMCA.

The same could be said of the automobile, the airplane, and the internet. Imagine carriage, railroad, and telephone industries with today's level of lobbying and corruption opposing these industry-wrecking technologies.

Re:Betamax Redux (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709083)

The same could be said of the automobile, the airplane, and the internet. Imagine carriage, railroad, and telephone industries with today's level of lobbying and corruption opposing these industry-wrecking technologies.

Let's not forget that book publishers (whom we all revere, right?) long ago lobbied against the idea of public libraries because "pirates" would read their wares without paying for them. Even Ben Franklin, deemed the father of the American public library system, established a "subscription library" where you had to pay something to play.

Then there's the famous Jack "The Asshole" Valenti, who, when the idea of movies on TV was first proposed, shrieked, "But ... but ... but what if a television set owner invites a neighbor over to view the movie for free !?!?!?!"

Re:Betamax Redux (4, Insightful)

Gonarat (177568) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710209)

But for the wisdom of a few Supremes back in the 1980's, the VCR could have been made illegal. Fortunately, fair use prevailed that time.

This is so stupid, it is time for the Entertainment Industry to grow up and accept that people want equipment like this. Make Real's implementation illegal, and the "illegal" versions will get that much more popular. They already are easier to use and have more (and better) functionality. The MPAA (and RIAA) want total control, but end up losing more control every time they win one of these cases.

Re:Betamax Redux (2, Informative)

OnlyHalfEvil (1112299) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708753)

The other day I was thinking the same thing about radio. "They can listen to our songs for free!?!"
Of course the way the RIAA is talking now, radio isn't getting a pass for much longer.

Re:Betamax Redux (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708771)

While the RIAA member corporations still keep trying new ways around the payola laws...

Re:Betamax Redux (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709355)

Under the DMCA couldn't musical instruments be considered circumvention tools? I mean...people could actually play their own music! What a disaster. Imagine street musicians stealing money from the mouths of the poor corporate exec's children.

Re:Betamax Redux (2, Informative)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709815)

Research how radio works. Unless you are talking about someone broadcasting on their own, any radio station that wants to broadcast music has to pay royalties to the owner of the songs (Generally paid through a PRO or Performance Rights Organization such as BMI). Many factors are taken into account when they determine how much is paid, but yeah, this establishment has been around for a while and makes the RIAA member companies a good chunk of change.

Re:Betamax Redux (3, Funny)

Jerry (6400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708765)

Nothing is different. The corporations own the courts which enforce the laws they bribed Congress to get passed.

Re:Betamax Redux (2, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708865)

Had the VCR been invented in a copyright climate like today's, would it ever have survived the legal attack against it? I'm trying to figure out what's different, other than the fact we now have the DMCA.

The VCR didn't have any copy protection built in, so there would be no "circumvention" to trip the DMCA. Of course, if they were inventing the VCR today they'd include copy protection, so the answer becomes no, no recording technology would survive.

It's unfortunate that no defendant has the balls/money to push this thing up the ladder, because circumventing copy protection is supposedly legal when necessary for interoperability. I'd like to see if a higher court would consider the effect upon fair use as well, since the DMCA basically makes fair use illegal if they use any protection at all.

Re:Betamax Redux (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709443)

You're forgetting about Macrovision. They had a copy protection system for VHS that messed with the automatic gain control, so that if you tried to copy between two VCRs the picture would fluctuate and make the copy unwatchable.

Re:Betamax Redux (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709729)

That wasn't added for quite a while. I remember duplicating VHS tapes that way during the 80s, I don't recall ever having had problems with the quality beyond the natural degradation of the technology. And even that was pretty minor, just a little bit of fuzz, certainly less than on most channels at that time.

Re:Betamax Redux (1)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709079)

I'm trying to figure out what's different, other than the fact we now have the DMCA.

In the 80s, the media distribution industry was thriving.

In the meantime, they missed the opportunity to use the Internet as a distribution medium, and they're still trying to get us to go to shops and buy packaged disks of transparent plastic.

They're a dying industry, trying to survive by any means.

Real Networks (0, Flamebait)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708613)

Real Networks should definitely be banned from distributing this software, but then again they should be banned from distributing any software of any kind - everything that comes from Real Networks appears to be utter and irredeemable shit.

Re:Real Networks (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708785)

I'm shocked that you got "flamebait" for that. With the possible exception of Helix on linux, which is merely redundant, everything Real does has justified their reputation as the perpetually-stuck-in-the-mid-90s whipping boy of the internet.

Is CSS even a secret any more? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708633)

Yeah, it would really be terrible if de-CSS code were included in court filings [wwcn.org] , now, wouldn't it? I just have to wonder: doesn't a trade secret have to be secret? Or are they hiding something else these days?

Re:Is CSS even a secret any more? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710269)

It may be that they want to disclose things related to CSS that are not in the existing public information.

Why? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708673)

I honestly don't understand. What do they hope to gain by stopping Real?

CSS is broken, in the face, with extreme prejudice. Game over, no victory possible. Free ripping tools are everywhere, if you know(or have that geek guy who knows) where to look. Pirate rips are similarly common. Real's software, by contrast, is insanely restrictive. It is probably harder to pirate a rip made with it than it is to just re-rip the DVD with something civilized. Why would they attack it?

No actual pirate would use it, so taking it off the market is wholly irrelevant to that. Further, by virtue of existing, being under the brand of a company with significant brand awareness, pagerank, etc. it is likely to be the first thing a n00b who wants to put some DVDs on his laptop is going to find. In that respect, it likely serves as a damper to further piracy. If the first thing that comes up when you google "transfer DVD computer" is Real's easy to use, legitimate(to the n00b) looking, and highly restrictive program, the unskilled will probably stop there. This will keep them, in at least some cases, from digging further and coming up with proper techniques.

So that is why I don't understand. This software is of zero use to pirates, who already have better, and might well actually stop n00bs from becoming pirates, by virtue of being easier and almost good enough. Is this just stupidity? A matter of principle? A concern over precedent? Are they trying to maintain the illusion among the public that DVDs cannot be ripped?

Re:Why? (1)

grenthar (1488647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708703)

I honestly don't understand. What do they hope to gain by stopping Real?

They get to take more money from suckers who don't know better. Sure anyone here knows there is ripping software on the interwebs, but Joe Blow doesn't. If it was sold on shelves then Joe might figure it out.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708843)

No actual pirate would use it...

Piracy?
Maybe what they want is to stop people from being able to play their DVDs without restrictions.
In other words, it's about controlling what you watch, and how you watch it.

Re:Why? (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710329)

You mean they try to make Cable Ready HD[1], Bly-Ray, HDCP, etc. look almost bearable (compared to the ease of DVD)?

[1] In Finland this means that the TV can decipher HD content. The smart card is "paired" with the TV's serial number so you cannot look the content in another TV set (with the card).

Re:Why? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710745)

Yeah, I used MacTheRipper to make region-free copies of my region 1 DVDs, since at a point I did not use a region-free player. Now that I do have one I have stopped ripping them.

(I have also stopped buying them, but that is just because I have a stack of 200 DVDs that have accumulated as I have been too busy with World of Warcraft. Now that is a culprit if the industry is looking for a reason for lower sales.)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708851)

I believe the judge's granting the gag order answers the question of technological laypersons not having a clue of the DVD's content protection demise. Someone send her a deCSS t-shirt a pray for us all because this is exactly how they'll succeed in dismantling the internet.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708873)

Right now, most 'regular' people [that is, people who have never heard of slashdot], still believe DVD's are one-shot deals. If they are lost, scratched, broken, whatever, they believe their only remedy is to purchase another disc. They believe that the only legitimate way to view a DVD is to have the physical disk available and inserted into a hardware device that will read it and output the contents on a display. That if the display they want to view a movie they have on DVD can't be connected to a DVD player, they need to purchase another copy of the movie, in a format that is locked to a small range of devices that includes the desired display.

This makes the big media companies lots of profit through repurchase of DVD's (due to loss or damage) and people repurchasing the same movie in new formats (vhs&dvd, now dvd&blu-ray&a whole variety of DRM'ed formats over the internet, UMD, etc).

If Real wins, then they get to advertise widely that consumers don't have to keep repurchasing the same movie over and over again, just because Sally happened to scratch the DVD, or because you want to watch the movie during a airline flight on your iPhone.

And consumers will expect to be able to do the same thing with their new, more expensive BluRay discs as well.

Right now, most consumers aren't asking "why can't we do all these things with the discs we purchased".
If Real can crack the dam, the big media companies know that it won't be too long before consumers do, because it will become plain to consumers that they have the right to do these things, but that the big media companies are contractually preventing them from being able to exercise that right (the contracts being between the format/movie licensing company's owned by the big media companies and the format-playing hardware and software companies licensing the formats/movies.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709339)

They believe that the only legitimate way to view a DVD is to have the physical disk available and inserted into a hardware device that will read it and output the contents on a display.

I think you're still right here, but only just - the tipping point is not that far out. I'm surprised by how many Just Plain Folks ask me, or people around me, about watching television on-line, or about 'DVD' players that will let them play 'computer movies' (e.g. avi's), and other questions about getting/watching movies outside the mainstream 'Buy it at Blockbuster' approach.

An individual - who has heretofore, to the best of my knowledge, just used her home desktop for surfing, webmail, and playing some mp3's- asked me this week how she could use her big-ass LCD TV as a computer monitor. When I asked why she thought they wanted to do that, she said that she'd been watching movies on her computer, but wanted to be able to sit on the couch w/ her husband/boyfriend and watch it from there instead of sitting in front of her 19" LCD monitor.

This next part, I *swear* is the truth ... absolutely no BS or writer's embellishment. My mother - in her 70's, friends - has been given a few burned DVD's with avi's on them (it started with An Inconvenient Truth). I'm guessing that someone's grandson or granddaughter is hooking someone up, and now mine has got me burning Oprah stuff for her friends without broadband. I tell you that once my Mom and her cronies start trading media outside the Hollywood model, it's *got* to be the beginning of the end.

I suppose that some actuary has figured out that it is still worthwhile to litigate against DVD copying, but I think it is a fast-shrinking piece of the pie. Or the denial just runs way too deep.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710887)

Right now, most 'regular' people [that is, people who have never heard of slashdot], still believe DVD's are one-shot deals. If they are lost, scratched, broken, whatever, they believe their only remedy is to purchase another disc....

Even worse is purchased media manufactured and sold with purposeful defects in attempt to thwart copying that result in media that is unplayable in whole or in part. The normal user thinks that the disk is bad (which it technically is) or the player is defective. Since Movies typically cannot be returned, only exchanged for the same title, the purchaser is denied straightforward relief and has been essentially robbed. Alternately the user is lead to believe their player is defective and replace it with new only to find the movie still doesn't play without problems if at all. In this latter scenario the customer loses twice and it all adds up to significant sums.

I know this happens because it happened to me. The wife buys a DVD at the store and it plays intermittently until the half way point where it simply froze. Repeatedly. I put the disk in my computer and found several formatting errors in the file system. Using commonly available (and presumably illegal) tools, reproduced the disk ignoring those errors that could not be corrected. The resultant copy played without problems.

A week later I purchased the newest player available to match my recently acquired wide screen LCD (I'm a bit anal about aesthetics) and found the original movie would not play properly on the new machine either. As before the copy however, did.

Incredibly we have had a similar experience with Audio CD's as well. Having bought my son a rather expensive stereo was amazed to find it scattered in disarray a year later and him listening to his CD collection using a cheap Walkman type portable. When I inquired about this his response was most newer CD's not playing in the expensive system and therefore it was 'junk.' True enough, many of his newer CD's would not play in the year old system and in similar vein was caused by overzealous attempts at copy protection.

In summary I'll say kowtowing to media conglomerates has become tiresome and expensive beyond reason with the yoke of copyright criminality placed around the neck of every consumer with the wherewithal to properly utilize media lawfully purchased yet unattainable otherwise. Worse is the corrupting and corrosive influence these media amalgams have had within the greater body of elective representation in their reprocessing of governing statutes for profit, and to the detriment of an under represented if not wholly ignored populace but for their inclusions to courtroom proceedings.

Media Moguls in their Conglomerations and Monopoly have become the New Kings of a Tyrannical Empire complete with Corrupted Courts and Governorships -- Consumers the Molested, Abused, Exploited and Over Taxed Colonists of an Emerging New World.

Re:Why? (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709117)

WHY? because it is apparently against the law. If you don't like it, then maybe the law should be changed.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709753)

No, the law's just fine it just needs to be properly interpreted. DVDs do not contain copyprotection, end of story. CSS does not in any way shape or form deter people from copying.

What DVDs do contain is technology that prevents them from being run on devices that are not authorized to do so. That is _not_ copy protection unless the authorization is on a per device basis.

Removing CSS is not a violation of law anyways, because it isn't effective and one has the right to circumvent copyprotection under the DMCA.

iTunes (4, Insightful)

patternmatch (951637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708721)

If RealDVD is a piracy tool, then so is iTunes (or anything else that allows you to rip CDs).

Re:iTunes (0, Redundant)

torvik (1518775) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708731)

A god damn video camera or a microphone could be a piracy tool, too. This is getting ridiculous. I'm sick of people in charge that don't know anything.

Re:iTunes (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708737)

CDs aren't encrypted, which changes the legal meaning significantly.

It doesn't matter if that encryption is pathetic, it just matters that it exists.

Agreed (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709021)

Their probably worried that this might signify the mainstreaming of DVD (media) ripping. Which, if it was to be considered common place, could wreck all sorts of havoc on their game-plan as people began to take interest in their right to media they (presumably) own.

Pay? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708761)

Do they really think people who pirate DVDs are going to pay for ripping software? I am guessing most people who would buy this software would not be that savvy and only use it to back up the Dora the Explorer DVDs that their kids somehow keep breaking. I'm pretty sure these aren't the people they should be focusing on. With a teeny bit of research on the internet you can find lots of free rippers with none of the restrictions this Real one has.

Re:Pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709107)

except that's EXACTLY why they are being sued. pirates are the excuse. they want people to buy new copies instead of making backups for these occasions. just look at how they hate sales of used copies. they don't want a legal product for the every day consumer to use that will reduce their sales.

That was a close one! (4, Informative)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708799)

Judge Patel sealed the court after DVD Copy Control Association lawyers "argued that public testimony of aspects of the CSS copy-control technology would violate trade secrets."

They almost let the cat out of the bag! [cmu.edu]

Not a piracy tool? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708837)

Step 1 rent DVD. Step 2 save movie to hard drive. There is nothing to restrict you to movies you own. If you have an unlimited Blockbuster or Netflicks account you could "back up" dozens of movies a month for less than a $1 a piece. The potential is a massive loss to the filmmakers, not all filmmakers are big studios. I'm an independent filmmaker and I have a last film coming out this Fall. Due to the current climate I've decided to retire rather than make more films. I have 20 or 30 good years left in me but it's too much of a battle between fighting studios and backers to keep a cut for myself and now everyone wants films without paying for them. Ultimately the viewers loose out because the studios will mostly do remakes and people like me that do original work are being driven out of the business. It's already very hard to lock down distribution as an indy. I'd love to keep making films but I don't see the point. I get tired of hearing from everyone, the studios to the viewers, that I shouldn't have control of my own work. The simplest solution is to not release anymore films. Anything I do from here on out is for my own amusement. I've been encouraging friends to do the same. Copyright laws should be stronger for the artists and weaker for the corporations. Until artists control their own work I think it's time for artists to take a break.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27708875)

The fact that you're posting as AC tips me off that you're the subtlest of trolls. +1... or not.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709233)

Actually, the potential loss is to the rental industry. There is no profit sharing system between blockbuster and hollywood. Rental places buy copies of the movie, rent them till they reach a certain usage level, and then sell them as previously viewed.

Technically, you could rip every movie in blockbuster and not have any effect on hollywood what so ever.

In the long run you'll put the rental industry on the ropes, but then, it already is. Netflix, on demand and web based services like HULU have put a HUGE dent in blockbuster and the other major chains. If those fools hadn't wasted all their effort battling each other, they might have been on top of the changing world.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (2, Insightful)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709351)

Retiring means you have enough money already. Sorry I have no pity.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (1)

Mnemennth (607438) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709633)

So... I'm guessing you suck, and all the big studios laughed you out of their office after watching 30 seconds of your work?

Seriously... you don't understand the law; as much as it sucks to you, the person who rents a DVD from Netflix or RedBox ALSO legally has the right to make an archive copy, as they did, in fact, PAY for the right to view said performance.

Suck it up... unless you really expect the Video Rental providers to STOP renting videos, or cable companies to stop showing them on TV, or companies like iTunes to stop selling them on the internet, (thereby losing all that precious revenue stream for those who distribute your work, and ultimately YOU) you're NEVER going to have the "point of creation to point of viewing" control over your product you and the DMCA / MPAA seem to think you and they have the right to demand.

The days of the pay for play business model are over... it is a dinosaur, a dead relic whose time was really over with the advent of cassette tape and VCRs, but still hasn't sense enough to fall down.

You want to make money from your intellectual property? Find a DIFFERENT business model from the one that has been screwing you and every other performer out there for the last 100 years...

mnem Food for thought, thought from food.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709791)

Seriously... you don't understand the law; as much as it sucks to you, the person who rents a DVD from Netflix or RedBox ALSO legally has the right to make an archive copy, as they did, in fact, PAY for the right to view said performance.

Citation necessary. I don't believe that to be the case, and I don't believe that line of reasoning would hold up in court. Furthermore that would run counter to the point of copyright law in the first place. That's no different than ripping a friend's DVD.

What you're paying is compensation to the rental outlet for the period of time when they don't get to use the copy they've paid for; as well as the cost of doing business.

Think of it this way, have you ever heard of a rental outlet that provided a refund if you took the disc home and chose not to watch it? I'd be interested to learn how long a business like that would last.

Re:Not a piracy tool? (2, Interesting)

Mnemennth (607438) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710073)

It's the same part of fair use that permits you to videotape a TV show which is copyrighted material; you paid for the right by allowing them to inflict you with commercials.

In your scenario you didn't PAY for the right to rip your friend's DVD; furthermore, he's actually NOT entitled under Fair Use to SHARE that DVD with you, for free or otherwise - it's simply a law they have no means of enforcing.

As for not holding up in court - it has held up in court many times; people who've brought recording devices to live performances have been ejected or arrested and tried and let go. The show operators DO still have the "Right to refuse service" to anyone; based on that, they are allowed to eject you from a performance if you are caught trying to record it and they've informed you that recording is prohibited. However, there have been cases where such recordings were not confiscated as there was no evidence of any intent to distribute.

You are still thinking in terms of Pay for Play; the rental company can't limit how many times you play that rented DVD in the time you have it rented either - Be it one time or twelve, you are only limited by the physical media and time available.

The renter of that DVD paid for the right to view it and the DVD producer got some portion of that payment; whether they like the amount they got paid or not, they have been paid. They want to prevent that, they can stop selling discs to rental companies. Remember; most copyright laws out there were written by MPAA/RIAA lawyers (or equivalent) and seek to circumvent Fair Use. The EXISTENCE of laws prohibiting the circumvention of anti-copy processes are actually a violation of the Fair Use Act in themselves; they've been fighting that one since the days of MacroVision.

I for one tend to want to err on the side of everyday users in interpreting those laws & how they play out against each other; for all the squealing those Big Piggies make about the "loss of revenue for the poor, starving performers" they've shown time and again that all they're really interested in is preserving the system whereby they get to make 99% of the profit for mostly being leeches.

mnem

I'm NOT a grunion!

"backing up" rentals is seriously stupid. (3, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709733)

If you really did have an unlimited blockbuster or netflix account, you'd have long since realized that even at $1 apiece, it's just not worth it to "back up" your rentals.

$17 per month, (which fluctuates, but the deal keeps getting better so far), you can watch 3 films at a time, and reasonably expect to get 3 per week. If you're super diligent, you could watch more, but let's just go with about 14 films per month for the sake of argument.

Are you really going to watch all 14 multiple times?

Further, keep in mind that your media costs would be almost as much as your monthly netflix cost. Every month of "backups" could be spent instead on nearly an additional month of netflix service. And it would be more than an month when you factor in opportunity cost over the long-term.

An additional month where you could re-watch any of the films you've already watched, or any of the films offered that you haven't yet watched. Or the same films, but in a more advanced format than you had the first time around.

Re:"backing up" rentals is seriously stupid. (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710253)

"Further, keep in mind that your media costs would be almost as much as your monthly netflix cost."

Micro Center. WinData DVD-R/DVD+R.

Spindle of 50 4.7GB blank DVDs, US$9.95. Box of 50 Slimline Jewel Cases, US$9.95.

50 divided by 14 = 3.57.

So, for that US$20.00 spent on DVDs and storage, you get 3 and a half months of Netflix DVDs ripped.

More if you use Handbrake to rip just the movie to something like 800-900MB avi files.

But you didn't hear this from me, understand?

Who stands to gain what? (1)

re_organeyes (1170849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708859)

I think the lawyers are the only ones making out on this whole mess. You might as well take away cameras, any kind of audio recording device (answering machines, voice mail included), don't allow artists to paint. The list goes on....

Why do you care? (0, Flamebait)

bill_four_oh (1540655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708937)

What do people here believe about intellectual property? Do you think someone should benefit from their creative work?

Re:Why do you care? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710875)

Yes, and after they have profited for a while it should enter into the public domain and become part of culture.

However, the entertainment industries have warped that into something that protects the profits of corporations and benefit the NON-CREATIVE executives, marketers etc. who spihon off most of the money the customer wants to pay to the artist.

Backup? (2, Interesting)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708971)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it is the legal right of an individual to create a single (i.e. at most one) backup copy of a DVD once purchased. If not, then I'm going to be in shit for using handbrake to save my own movies to my own hard drive, with no intention of sharing a single one of them.

Re:Backup? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709279)

As far as copyright goes, you are correct. It is legal to copy a DVD.

What is NOT legal is to circumvent the copy protection on said DVD, thanks to the DMCA. It's a catch-22. You have the legal right to copy it for a personal backup (no distribution), but in order to make that copy you have to break the law.

Cheers.

Re:Backup? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709523)

But if it's my right to make a backup, is it that my rights are being infringed upon by copy protection, or is it that the rights of the manufacturers to copy protect their material being infringed upon by my use of programs such as Handbrake?

Re:Backup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710115)

And thanks to the DVD consortium, you CAN'T create a bit-for-bit copy of your DVDs with DVD-Rs. Real, 'pressed' DVDs have a spot on them used by CSS that is NOT present on DVD-Rs.

So to make unprotected DVDs with a DVD decrypter to save to DVD-Rs, you HAVE to break the DMCA law the USA.

But at this point in the DVD game, who cares?

People in general will do whatever they want to do to get what they want if they think they can get away with it.

Re:Backup? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710495)

It's not a legal right, so much as a possible fair use defence. Copyright law without fair use would prevent it. Fair use provides exceptions and courts would probably rule that this was acceptable (you're not making anything from it, the studios would be hard pressed to demonstrate a lost sale).

Real have a little more difficulty. Firstly, they would have to show that this behaviour is virtually always fair use, and then they'd need to show that their software has the primary purpose of legitimate copies rather than piracy.

On the face of it they seem to have an okay case. The MPAA can pay for very good lawyers though.

The same judge who shut down Napster is presiding (4, Interesting)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708987)

This may be good. By now, this judge should realize he made a big mistake in the Napster case. When "Statutory Damages in Copyright Law: A Remedy in Need of Reform" by Pamela Samuelson and Tara Wheatland came out, the Napster case was featured as one of the examples of how justice has gone wrong. Courts have strayed far from the intentions of Congress who wrote the laws governing compensation to copyright holders who's IP have been infringed. There is, for example, absolutely no basis in the law for the practise of awarding huge settlements for the purpose of "setting an example to deter other potential infringers". Congress intended for statutory damages to be mainly compensatory in nature and its wishes have not been respected in the case law. "The application of statutory damages has too often strayed from the compensatory impulse underlying statutory damages ... and has focused too heavily on deterrence and punishment, especially given that too many ordinary infringements are treated as willful infringements" concludes the authors of this paper. I first freely accessed this paper via a temporary link on Recording Industry vs People [blogspot.com] . Unfortunately, that link has been replaced by a link to where you can buy the paper, but is it no longer available for free, so I will not supply that link.

You think the judge read that book? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709071)

I doubt he even knows it exists. It's even more doubtful that he has any misgivings about his ruling in the Napster case other than telling his golf buddies recently, "Fuck it, I shoulda added 'Throw dirty little pirate punk in overseas prison for terrorists if we ever build one!" to the sentence."

Just because we have an orgasm about every obscure paper published that attacks current copyright law, it doesn't mean anybody else ever notices those papers. Even if they did notice, they couldn't care less about them.

Re:You think the judge read that book? (2, Interesting)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709171)

This paper wasn't that obscure. "Among other things, the paper concludes that the State Farm/Gore due process test is applicable to statutory damage awards under the Copyright Act, a position which is consistent with the position taken in the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, and inconsistent with the positions taken by the Department of Justice in Tenenbaum and in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud"

However, I believe I may be in error about what the point of view of those authors was on the Napster case. Perhaps I confused that with the Mp3DotCom case. There you go - they withdrew their paper from free public access and now I can't read it to check my facts! The Mp3DotCom case was sited as an example of a grossly excessive award against defendants in the name of protecting copyrights, a (potentially) $118 million award was made against mp3.com, even though there was no discussion or proof of damages to the copyright owner and no evidense of profit derived from the use of the copyrighted goods on the part of Mp3.com. (The judge was prepared to impose over $118 million but Mp3.com was able to reach a settlement with UMG Recordings for $53.4 million)

Re:You think the judge read that book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710235)

you missed the point of his response: obscure or not, it is highly unlikely the judge cares what some academic thinks of his opinion.

Re:You think the judge read that book? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710557)

It's obscure enough that most of us have never heard of it. Many of us have memory neurons twitch at "Napster vs ..." and the like, but it could very easily be that the judge has never heard of the paper.

(You could consider filing an amicus curiae sharing the paper and why it's important, though.. not that I think it would help.)

Re:The same judge who shut down Napster is presidi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709901)

When "Statutory Damages in Copyright Law: A Remedy in Need of Reform" by Pamela Samuelson and Tara Wheatland came out, the Napster case was featured as one of the examples of how justice has gone wrong.

...

I first freely accessed this paper via a temporary link on Recording Industry vs People. Unfortunately, that link has been replaced by a link to where you can buy the paper, but is it no longer available for free, so I will not supply that link.

Now ain't that fuckin' ironic.

The author of a paper arguing against the DMCA must have either issued a DMCA nastygram against someone for hosting the paper.

Or for double irony points, the author of a paper arguing against the DMCA must have had it published in a journal which itself DMCA'd someone, with or without the author's consent, for hosting a copy of a paper arguing against the DMCA.

Re:The same judge who shut down Napster is presidi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710229)

Google is STILL your friend.

I found this paper online elsewhere for free via Google.

Like I said in an earlier AC post, non-3D IP is worth $0.00 thanks to the 'copy it to the four winds' distribution model of the Internet. :P

DVDs are obsolete (5, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27708991)

Recently I was looking at purchasing DVDs of a long-running TV series. I realized that the DVDs with all of their cases would take up a HUGE amount of space! I always watch DVDs via my computer, I don't even own a regular DVD player. Then I realized I actually DON'T WANT physical DVDs! I have enough storage space I could put this huge pile of DVDs on a single hard drive - without even compressing them further.

* All I want is a file I can double click on, sit back, and watch. *

Where can I pay for a licensed download of this kind of stuff? Oh, pretty much nowhere? And, no to work for me it can't be DRMed and must be in a relatively standard codec.

Now, if I could buy a plain DVD with such a file that I could drag-and-drop to my hard drive, and then dispose of the DVD or toss the plain DVD on to a spool somewhere that would be fine too. That might save me from tying up my internet connection for a while. I don't want to have to search through a pile of DVDs to find the one I want.

Technically it is possible to copy DVDs to a hard drive but as everyone here knows that is forbidden by a truckload of laws!!! W... T... F...?!!!!! Not to mention most DVDs are encrypted and many DVDs are damaged in creative ways to try to prevent people from copying them.

If they are so freaking afraid of piracy, they should drop the price enough and make it so it was actually more convenient and desirable to purchase a DVD, then the MPAA could just sit back and watch the torrents dry up!

Oh, and should I mention how painful dealing with most regular DVDs are? Put in the DVD and be forced to watch a dozen commercials for crap? Every time I buy a DVD I feel like I am begin fucked up the ass by Micky Mouse!

So why do I even want a physical MPAA-pressed DVD again? Just sell me what I want dammit!

Re:DVDs are obsolete (2)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709415)

There are maybe 3 or 4 movies a year that I find worth watching. Over 90 percent of what comes out of Hollywood isn't even worth the bandwidth necessary to pirate it from a torrent, much less pay 20 bucks for a DVD.

Re:DVDs are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709703)

Going to have to agree with you. Of the screener's I've downloaded, I've only watched about 25% of them.

Re:DVDs are obsolete (2, Interesting)

biobogonics (513416) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709661)

For me, the point is moot. I'm barely interested in watching TV as it is. By the time this issue is settled, there will not be any content on TV worth watching, let alone recording.

I don't own any DVDs. I have not bought a music CD in at least 8 years.

BFD.

Re:DVDs are obsolete (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709801)

Not to mention most DVDs are encrypted and many DVDs are damaged in creative ways to try to prevent people from copying them.

Never had a problem with DVD Decrypter [wikipedia.org] (you can download [filehippo.com] from FileHippo). Just take care to turn off 'check for program update' in the settings on DVD Decrypter (MacroVision owns the original domains now so there won't be any more updates anyway). Also, check out Handbrake [wikipedia.org] for your format conversion and shrinking needs. You may also find the guides over on Doom9 [doom9.org] to be useful. Good luck and cheers mate.

Re:DVDs are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710435)

I swear, if I *EVER* have to present to people with MPAA connections I will lock the doors, then take out a megaphone and subject them to copyright laws on my presentation for a good 5 minutes, point out emergency exits (locked at the time, of course), tell them where the toilets are and maybe advertise some stuff. And God help anyone trying to leave.

Only after that I'll start - just to give them a feeling what it's like to have to plough through this stuff for every single movie (no, I don't anticipate to work for them, ever, other than to help them dismantle this sort of cr*p). I found out, however, that selecting Arab is OK - I can't read it but it looks beautiful :-) There is no law that forces me to choose English for the pre-menu rubbish - yet.

The worst is movies for children, the bastards have worked hard on their pester power but forgot one thing - if a child wants to see a specific movie it wants to see a specific movie so the delay is not helping. And mine will grow up knowing who's responsible for the delay.

The most stupid thing they have come up with is region encoding. Tourists spend money when they travel, but by now, everyone knows that a legal movie bought abroad is GUARANTEED not to play on a legal player at home. Result: this idiocy actually STIMULATES the sale of Region 0 players and no-region pirated DVDs - people that travel are bored and want to spend some money. I mean, just how f*cking stupid can you get? I once bought both the legal version and the pirated version of the same movie, just as an experiment. Official version: region locked. Pirated version: cheaper, and worked. So what exactly is the message I should read there? As far as I can tell it's: "we want your money, but f*ck you".

By default, I don't do anything illegal (OK, I may accidentally exceed the speed limit or don't get back to my parked car in time but that's about it). I find it fascinating that these people try to sell a world image where everyone is by default a pirating criminal - in my experience the real world is the opposite. And they know full well what allows pirates to exist: their too high prices. They have done that experiment already, in one country (forgot where, sorry) they sank the prices. Piracy disappeared more or less overnight. Lesson learned? Nope. I guess they can't see the circular loop of having to spend money on campaigns and lawyers which could be spent dropping prices - better results, less hassle. And a lot less lawyers earning a living. /rant ..

Karmic Fortune (1)

XonMus (630535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709489)

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson I just think it's awesome that that was the fortune for this story (at least when I read it).

OSS (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709505)

Are there any good open-source progs with the same functionality as RealDVD? Let's spread that around and watch the MPAA try to play whack-a-mole.

Re:OSS (4, Informative)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709629)

Handbrake is the best tool that I know of.

Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X versions: http://handbrake.fr/ [handbrake.fr]

Re:OSS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709697)

yes

HandBrake is FOSS and cross-platform.

Linux will cat them together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710155)

On Linux you can just cat the vobs together which will give you a single mpg file that only contains the content that you want. Something like this:

cat VTS_02_1.VOB VTS_02_2.VOB VTS_02_4.VOB VTS_02_5.VOB > file.mpg

This works on everything I've tried. It results in a fairly big file but it retains the quality and you can simply not add that annoying copyright file that warns you that you should buy the dvd that you obviously did buy because you are seeing the message. i assume that you need libdvdcss2 installed but I can't be sure because like most people that's one of the first things I install after I install the OS.

Re:OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710935)

There is dd. It also allows multiple copies, is easy to use and doesn't need as much disk space.

First Sale (3, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710153)

I'd love to see Real point out the First Sale. The customer bought it, they can fold, spindle or mutilate it.

If the studios claim it's licensed, point out the ads that say "Buy it today!" or "Own it today!"

Re:First Sale (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710527)

I'd love to see Real point out the First Sale. The customer bought it, they can fold, spindle or mutilate it.

They sure can. They can't copy it though.

US Economy = Lawyers (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710599)

US economy == Lawyers.

Last one off the sinking ship is a dodo. Sell.

sealed the court? (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710919)

css has been an ineffective copy restriction for some time.
you can de-css stuff easily at home.
You could copy discs 1:1 (i.e.: verbatim) without issue as well.
so does the judge know?
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