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Judge Rules Against RealDVD

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

The Courts 407

mattOzan writes "Judge Marilyn Hall Patel was unswayed by RealNetworks' defense of their product under the Fair Use Doctrine, as she declared RealDVD illegal and barred its distribution. As she said in her ruling, 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.' She also said RealNetworks was aware of the conflict between their agreement and their plans for the software: 'Real did not elect to return (or destroy, with appropriate certification) the CSS General Specifications after it received them, as Real had a right to do under the agreement... This behavior indicates that Real understood it to be bound by the CSS General Specifications as well as the other technical specifications received after execution of the CSS License Agreement.'"

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This is your life, slashdot! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037333)

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Double edged sword on this one (4, Insightful)

old_skul (566766) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037357)

While I hate RealNetworks and all it stands for, and will never forgive them for taking over online media with their crappy bloated players and codecs....I think I hate the movie industry just a little more. Especially Sony Pictures. I think the net effect (as usual) is that this sucks for consumers.

Re:Double edged sword on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037431)

Ditto!

No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037447)

While I hate RealNetworks and all it stands for, and will never forgive them for taking over online media with their crappy bloated players and codecs....I think I hate the movie industry just a little more. Especially Sony Pictures. I think the net effect (as usual) is that this sucks for consumers.

No, the net effect is that there is no possible way to exercise your right to a single backup of a DVD for your personal use. Despite the 2007 DVD Jukebox ruling [slashdot.org] , every DVD copying solution [slashdot.org] seems to be illegal. So what you do not realize when you're purchasing DVDs is that they are not only effectively DRM'd, they ignore your right to fair use.

I'm interested in watching RealNetwork's antitrust claims against the industry [slashdot.org] . I could think of some very basic arguments to be used in that case. Hell, I think someone should take up the case of fair use violations against them.

When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037549)

When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

You mean something like Blu-ray's anti-scratch protective coating (which really works very very well)? But even then, you'll still say "but I want to make a copy". At least be honest with yourself and don't make claims that you won't want to make a copy if the media is more robust.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (5, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037929)

More robust media would actually mean that the media in question should come with it's own backup, in a burnable format so that a consumer could make a duplicate of the DVD/BlueRay/CD/etc *when* that physical media gets scratched or damaged in such a way as to make it non-playable on the intended media reader.

If consumers want to rent a movie or music there are options available. If they want to purchase a movie with a lifetime license to view said movie then they deserve either a) lifetime warranty on the physical media or b) a means to backup and duplicate the media to ensure continued viability of their purchase.

Anything less should be a violation of consumers rights and a violation of the law.

Yes it is a burden the media companies may not like. OTOH they do profit from the sale of the media on these portable yet fragile formats and therefore assume the risk themselves out of business interest.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037959)

I haven't made copies of DVDs for safekeeping, but this may change once I get kid(s). I've been told that I destroyed a few LPs while a kid myself, and no doubt they will someday find that this is caused by genes as well... So yes, I probably want to make copies of some DVDs / BluRay-discs in the future.

Currently I'm more interested in converting my stuff (in semi-optimal settings) for whatever portable mediaplayer I'm currently using, and watching stuff on the go. So it is not only matter of (physical) robustness.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (2, Insightful)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037607)

When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media.

If the film industry doesn't want to deal with viewers' pesky "fair use" rights, then really they should not distribute their films on any media and then they could have the fine grained control they want. After a few months of being in the red they will come back to their senses and realize that maybe their customers are important to their well-being after all.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037653)

there is no possible way to exercise your right to a single backup of a DVD for your personal use

You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

Note carefully that I didn't say that makes any sense, but the letter of the law does allow each individual to create and use such a tool, purely for their own personal use.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (2, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037897)

You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

The law doesn't make any provision against obtaining the tool. The DMCA criminalizes the production and distribution of the tool to bypass copyright protections. Practically, it means you can only obtain a tool from people breaking the law.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (5, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038003)

Or from another country where such programs are not illegal.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (3, Informative)

TejWC (758299) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038087)

Then I guess this gallery [cmu.edu] should be useful for a lot of people.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038099)

You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

That's not true. The DMCA explicitly makes this a criminal offense in the US. You are not allowed to circumvent DMCA protected devices/content, although there is a vague exception for cell phones.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038185)

Nope. Remember the DMCA prohibits both the distribution OR production of such tools. Now as a matter of practicality if you make your own nobody could possibly know about it, but still, it's technically illegal for you to produce such a tool, even for your own use.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (4, Insightful)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037683)

When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

I fully agree to your reasoning. But I think that the only real consequence is: Do not buy any movie, music, software that is distributed on DRM "protected" media.

This behavior, btw, may over time maybe also change the offer.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037875)

Sadly, it would take mass numbers of consumers boycotting the most popular movies in order for this to have any effect. Most people do not actually care about this issue -- they do not care about their right to make a backup copy because they do not make backup copies, and they do not see this as having broader implications. The MPAA knows this, and that is why they continue to bully people who do care.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038125)

And that's why, if I want to buy an old movie, I'll buy a laserdisc. No DRM whatsoever.

Too bad they stopped producing LDs in ~2000.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (4, Insightful)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037889)

When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

I want to copy it on to my mediacenter pc so I can play it on any pc in my house. I also can't stand those ads at the beginning of the dvd. I don't need to see their damn warning for the thousandth time either.

As opposed to an activist judge? (5, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037951)

From the decision:

However, the reach of the DMCA is vast and it does not allow courts the discretion to make this assessment and render a value judgment untethered from the language of the statute. In the words of Justice Cardozo, âoe[l]aws are not to be sacrificed by courts on the assumption that legislation is the play of whim and fancy.â People ex rel. Alpha Portland Cement Co. v. Knapp, 230 N.Y. 48, 62 (1920).The court is bound by the DMCA provisions at issue, even if it determines the extent to which innovative technologies realize their future potential.

Basically, she's saying that Congress wrote this law, and it's not unconstitutional, so she can't strike it down. If you want to change it, contact your legislator. Don't biatch at her.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037969)

And in lieu of litigation, you also have another option: don't buy DVDs. I have no problem with not being able to exercise fair use on DVDs because I simply don't purchase them. So rare is a movie anymore that is quality enough I actually want to watch it more than once - so what's the point of owning the DVD? While the MPAA will, of course, attribute that lost revenue to piracy instead of a consumers speaking with their wallets, it still hurts their bottom line and any further DRM legislation they try to impose affects me just as much as the last - not at all. They can keep wasting their money fighting a battle they won't win. In the meantime, I'm out enjoying the fresh air and friends, and spending that money on other things that give me more value.

Re:No, Clearly a Horrible Anti-Fair Use Ruling (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037999)

It reminds me of those crazy old timey marijuana/narco laws (History Channel w/ their Hooked program).. along the lines of it being ok to grow and to sell, but was illegal to possess. Makes you feel like you have a right still, but effectively quashing any attempt to take advantage of the right.

Double speak ftw!

Re:Double edged sword on this one (4, Insightful)

neowolf (173735) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037697)

Agreed. I hate RealNetworks too for the same reasons, but I was hoping they would win this. Consumers have lost a big one here...

It's sad really- DRM and things like this make me think twice (or more) before going to the movie theater or buying a DVD. I don't want to support companies like Sony anymore. If I go on a business trip- I want to be able to watch movies I PAID for on my laptop, without having to use the costly (battery-wise) DVD drive or carry bulky DVDs. I also now want to watch movies on my netbook- which doesn't have a DVD drive at all. In any case- I am talking about DVDs that I PAID for!

This really has nothing to do with piracy- it is pure greed on the part of a handful of media companies. They aren't content with you paying once or twice to watch a movie (in theater and on DVD). The want you to pay 3 or more times for the SAME movie, just to get it in different formats you should be able to do yourself- DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital, Online.

Want another example of their greed in action- check out the recent news about how they are applying the screws to Red Box. At least I have to give Sony credit for negotiating with them, while the others refuse. I'm sure Red Box got screwed somehow in the deal anyway, but at least they can still rent out Sony's releases.

Real has really bad management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037371)

I never understood the business rationale for this product, much less defending an expensive lawsuit. If we've learned anything over the last twenty years of the 'net, it's that "free" is a really hard price to compete with. It was one thing several years ago when ripping software was harder to find or use, but the market for DVD ripping software is now absolutely saturated with user-friendly programs that you can find and download in seconds for nothing. Why exactly did Real think they could compete with that?

Re:Real has really bad management (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038323)

If we've learned anything over the last twenty years of the 'net, it's that "free" is a really hard price to compete with.

The answer is to NOT compete with "free", to accept that like many times in the past, technology has obsoleted products and businesses and business practices. Cory Doctorow has no problem getting on the NYT best seller list despite the fact that you can download his books for free from his web site, and check them out for free at the library. In fact, the "free as in beer" aspect is what got him on that list in the first place! Rather than trying to compete with "free" and trying to stifle "free", he uses it to his advantage.

The rich fat cats are stupid, like the monkey who puts his hand in a jar for a treat and gets trapped, because he's unwilling to unclench his fist.

What's going to happen when real, hard goods like washing machines and toasters can be duplicated effortlessly? It could be a golden age, but the fat cats will fight it for all it's worth.

BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup copies (5, Interesting)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037373)

If it's legal to store backup copies of your discs, but you can't legally buy a tool to make them, it seems that the only way to exercise your fair use rights is to download backup copies from BitTorrent and similar services.

Re:BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup cop (3, Interesting)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037535)

If it's a "DMCA violation to distribute products that enable consumers to override copyright owner preferences against unauthorized copying", then does that mean that repositries that distribute libcss2 are breaking the law?

Re:BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup cop (3, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037675)

Yeah, but they wanted a test case against a private company with real money and little public support. As soon as a Linux distributor has enough money to be worth the bother, expect to see either:
  1. libcss2 to be removed from their repositories
  2. The company to reincorporate overseas to avoid DMCA (only possible for smaller companies)
  3. Lawsuits

Of course, it doesn't help that RealDVD is more accessible to consumers, and takes the easy "wizard" approach of doing a single task well. libcss is not a special purpose ripping program, even if it enables that sort of functionality. RealDVD is.

Re:BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup cop (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038069)

Didn't Debian used to have a server somewhere in Europe for distributing encryption stuff that wasn't allowed to be distributed in the USA?

(I don't remember the details, as I don't live in the USA so it didn't affect me.)

Re:BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup cop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038139)

i think already libcss2 is stored in third party repos, though I guess even Ubuntu ships with these repos available just by clicking through an ok/cancel dialog

Re:BitTorrent, the legal way of getting backup cop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037965)

VHS?

Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037387)

So it's perfectly legal for customers to make their own backup copies of media, just as long as it's impossible for them to do. God, I love modern IP law!

Well, I guess everyone could go get a programming degree and write their own copying software. Or we could just break the law (since the law at this point has turned almost 100% of the citizens of the world into lawbreakers already, in one form or another).

And before any of you jump in to point out that the DMCA is just a U.S. thing, you had better keep in mind that the DMCA is just the U.S. implementation of the WIPO COpyright Treaty [wikipedia.org] , so these types of court cases are probably in the pipeline for your country soon too!

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037517)

Who says that any law has to be fair or just?

All laws are the result of compromise among the concerned parties favoring the party that has the most influence - whether it's money (big corps) or a very vocal group (religious conservatives).

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038313)

The declaration of independence says so: What happened to "people" in "We the People". Has that turned into "We the Corporation" ???

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (1)

wbren (682133) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037557)

So it's perfectly legal for customers to make their own backup copies of media...

That is not quite what the judge is saying. "it may well be legal" != "it is legal"

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (2, Insightful)

Ciarang (967337) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037619)

Well, I guess everyone could go get a programming degree and write their own copying software.

It's much simpler than that. Just don't buy the pesky things in the first place.

Another reason Canada SHOULD say no to Wipo (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037787)

Another reason Canada SHOULD say no to Wipo , this whole IP thing is getting so stupid as i predicted that in time NO One will be able to do a damn hying and you will be even more broke as things will cost 5$ for a pencil and 1000$ for a pen.
WHY cause they too are copying devices that now with a ruling like this some nuter writer could ask to be banned cause they too can be used ot copy there works. OMG hows that for eat shit and die.

SEEING yet how Extreme abuse IP law starts to go wrong for YOU the consumer?
What does 95+ life of the actor DO for you the citizen?

I guess having the most expensive internet or almost isnt so bad ocnsidering we can actually do a few things yet.....

Next up life in prison for using a pencil....

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037941)

"And before any of you jump in to point out that the DMCA is just a U.S. thing, you had better keep in mind that the DMCA is just the U.S. implementation of the WIPO COpyright Treaty [wikipedia.org], so these types of court cases are probably in the pipeline for your country soon too!"

Your prediction is 100% correct.

At the last attempt at copyright reform in Canada (Bill C-60 last year [wikipedia.org] ), the government proposed specifically giving consumers the right to make backups of DVDs or transfer video or audio to other media devices (format conversion), while simultaneously bringing in WIPO-compliant DMCA-like provisions that would have made circumvention of CSS copy protection on those DVDs illegal, and made development or sale of any tools to do so illegal. When reporters and others brought up the pointlessness of bringing in "new rights" that were impossible to legally exercise, the minister of the day had a tough time offering a rational explanation.

Fortunately, the combination of that level of stupidity, the resulting public outrage, and the minority government situation led to the bill dying a quiet death. And, now that the minister in question has been replaced, there are ongoing public consultations [econsultation.ca] to help prepare a new bill (last time there no real consultation). It seems to have finally sunk in that they made fools of themselves and that the the public isn't going to let the government get away with only listening to the media lobby. Maybe they'll propose something sane this time.

Canada is lucky that the U.S. took the lead on this stuff. I really appreciate the crap that people in the U.S. have to go through. It means Canada and other countries benefit from being able to cite many U.S. examples of the problems the DMCA created (my favorite are the lawsuits over 3rd-party printer cartridges [eff.org] and garage door openers [wired.com] ). These laws have terrible implications for both consumer rights and for maintaining competition in industry. What the U.S. needs to do is amend the law so that you don't have the stupidity of having fair use rights, but not being able to (legally) exercise them the moment someone applies some copy protection. The DMCA puts *way* too much power in the hands of copyright holders. The court case in the article makes that clear -- perhaps the ruling is legally correct, but if so, it shows that the law needs to change.

Re:Thanks DMCA and WIPO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038109)

the law at this point has turned almost 100% of the citizens of the world into lawbreakers

Not in the entire world, just in the U.S.
It's still legal to use such products in E.U.

Repeal the DMCA! (5, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037399)

It's an affront to fair use. The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner. The DMCA is very clear, and leaves no wiggle room. It was designed very carefully to ensure it would prevent people from using any unauthorized software with DVDs.

Fortunately, this does not yet affect my ability to read DVDs under Linux.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037553)

The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner.

As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

Unfortunately, it sounds to me like the courts are siding with the MPAA, that protection of content is more important than fair use. It's a shame, really. I'm not sure that the judge understands that this is about more than just Real trying to sell a product, it's about upholding fair use laws that protect the "little guy" from an oppressive industry.

Once fair use laws are precedented out of existence, what's next? Will copyright law (which, let's not kid ourselves, is what the DMCA is just a front for) override our right to make a parody of something? Our right to tell our buddies who won the football game last night? How long until the industry decides that the whole pesky free speech and freedom of expression things are encroaching upon their profits and must be overturned as well?

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037731)

Err... no.

Fair use does not exist as a "right" which must be protected (speaking "is", not "ought" - I'd love to see this changed). Copyright law says that using it these ways without a license does not constitute a violation of copyright. This has no bearing whatsoever on whether the actions of other individuals violate other parts of the statute. The judge's ruling was correct.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (2, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037823)

As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

No, the courts don't have any discretion in deciding which law has priority; it is well settled that when two laws conflict, the later one controls.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037963)

As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

No two laws are coming into conflict with each other. For anyone who isn't a moron it's quite clear that the latter law, the DMCA in this case, takes precedence over an older law, in this case the 1976 Copyright Act. This has always been the case.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037613)

Uh, DMCA has problems, but I highly doubt that a: congresscritters will repeal it or b: you want section 230 to be gone, so throwing DMCA out the door isn't going to help that as much as it would solve some problems.

so let's think this through: the proper answer is, lets fix this thing up and get rid of the ridiculous anti-circumvention portions.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037949)

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act [wikipedia.org] is a safe harbor provision for providers of an interactive computer service. The DMCA [loc.gov] does not even contain a Section 230.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037797)

Fortunately, this does not yet affect my ability to read DVDs under Linux.

Wait.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037991)

Wait for what? Unless they are going to start monitoring the software that every person runs on their computer there is no way they can prevent him or any other Linux user from using libcss2 to play their DVDs.

Re:Repeal the DMCA! (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037805)

The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner. The DMCA is very clear, and leaves no wiggle room.

It is up to the courts to interpret the laws made by congress. And part of that interpretion includes the ability, nay, duty to strike down laws when two or more of them are in conflict. Either declare that the DMCA supersedes and (in US legal terminology) moots various property laws, first sale doctrines and earlier data laws, or strike down the DMCA.

Since when (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037401)

Does a contract provision trump a Federal law?

Re:Since when (2, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037911)

Does a contract provision trump a Federal law?

Since the ones writing the contracts were allowed to contribute to the campaigns of the justices who later rule on them.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/us/01judges.html [nytimes.com]

Innovation (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037405)

It's nice to see laws that are encouraging innovation in the tech industry.

Oh. Wait...

Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (1, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037407)

Yes, you're allowed to make backup copies of movies you own, but every tool that exists to allow you to exercise your right is illegal.

Re:Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (4, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037487)

Actually, it was. It showed a fundamental understanding of the law and how it pertained to the ruling she made. She got it right. It sucks, and hard, but she got it 100% right.

The judge's ruling is bound by the current law. It doesn't matter if she thinks it's stupid or accurate, she's bound by it and gave the ruling that she was bound to.

Stop making sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037663)

You should know by now that the content of the actual law is not relevant--only how much or how little /. posters like it!

You're obviously correct, by the way. The law may be an ass, but it's not a judge's job to kick that particular ass. If you don't like the law (and this one is supremely stupid), go change your lawmakers.

Re:Stop making sense (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037909)

>>If you don't like the law (and this one is supremely stupid), go change your lawmakers.

I thought we just did. Change we can believe in, right?

I'm sure any moment now the dems will vote to repeal the DMCA. Right?

Any... second... now....

Re:Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038281)

The judge's ruling is bound by the current law.

If we wanted the laws to be followed to the letter, we would have coded up an Judge system in Lisp by now.

But, we don't want that. We want Judges to make judgments based on both the letter and the spirit of the law. (This applies in sentencing as well as judgments by the way.) We want Judges to be able to spot discrepancies, loopholes and injustices in our current laws and rule against them where it is right to do so.

If you tell me it's legal to rake my lawn, but you then say it's illegal for anyone to give me gardening tools, do you really think that your position is just and logical. It doesn't take a fool to see what is going on here. The law and the legal system are being strained to breaking point, and that's good for neither justice or respect for the rule of law.

Why should anyone respect and uphold a legal system that twists itself into contradictions and connives to deny people the very rights its says they are entitled to? How can anyone go into a courtroom, expecting justice, when they know that the court has no interest in that. When they know the court only cares about an ironclad, rigid and dogmatic interpretation of any rag of a law our legislature see fit to pass; Or worse, only cares about a political interpretation of the law and their rulings within society at large?

In such an environment, why should anyone petition the courts for justice instead of making their own? Our contemporary cinema hails a masked vigilante who goes about beating criminals in the dead of night. What does that say about our respect for the legal system? Judges need to stop being automatons that parse legalease, and start doing their jobs, i.e. delivering justice.

Re:Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (2, Interesting)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038289)

So then the obvious solution is to take this to the people who do make the law- Congress. Write letters showing how blatantly contradictory the law is in this case. Ask them how it's possible to exercise fair use with a law preventing distribution of the tools allowing fair use, citing the RealDVD case. Ask for suggestions on how to legally time shift a DVD for watching on a netbook, or how to make a backup of a $30 DVD so you can still enjoy what you paid for when it gets dropped/scratched/eaten/rolled over by an office chair.

Re:Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037935)

Patel was also the judge for A&M Records v Napster. Her history has been to interpret towards copyright owners wherever there was conflict in interpretation of existing statutes, and she similarly displayed a lack of understanding for technical systems during that case as well.

So... (4, Insightful)

jeffshoaf (611794) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037411)

Its sort of like a lot of drugs - its not illegal to take 'em, but its illegal to buy, sell, possess, or be under their influence. With DVDs, its legal to make a copy for backup, but its illegal to create a means of making that backup.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037795)

I propose a double standard:

Judge Deuchebag's ruling stands in the case of RealNetworks vs. whoever;
Legit software manufacturers are exempt from such jibber-jabber.

Re:So... (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037847)

Its sort of like a lot of drugs - its not illegal to take 'em, but its illegal to buy, sell, possess, or be under their influence. With DVDs, its legal to make a copy for backup, but its illegal to create a means of making that backup.

Doesn't taking them mean you both both possess them and are under their influence?

Handbrake, damnit. (4, Informative)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037445)

Just use Handbrake. It's free, adds no DRM, and US law can't touch it because it's hosted outside the US.

I don't even know why people bother with the DMCA. It's US-only. Notice how all the fun cracking and releasing and such happens outside the US.

It only takes one person to rip the movie once. After that, copy protection is pointless.

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (3, Informative)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037621)

Just use Handbrake. It's free, adds no DRM, and US law can't touch it because it's hosted outside the US

Actually, Handbrake is distributed without any DMCA-violating software. I don't know where it's hosted, but I don't think there's any legal impediment to distributing it in the U.S.

In order to read encrypted DVDs, Handbrake delegates to VNC, which users must download and install separately.

(I wonder if such an arrangement would really fly if it were tested by somebody like Real or Apple. It's probably too user-unfriendly and unsafe -- requiring your users to download a third-party piece of software which can't be legally distributed in the U.S. -- for anyone like that to try.)

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037953)

In order to read encrypted DVDs, Handbrake delegates to VNC,

No. Handbrake will use libdvdcss, if it is available [handbrake.fr] , on any platform but Windows. VLC is mentioned because libdvdcss comes with VLC 0.9x.

IOW, while Handbrake itself doesn't violate the DMCA, it can be used to violate the DMCA by adding a library that actively violates the DMCA.

Also, for GP: DMCA is most certainly not US only. Other countries have laws similar to the DMCA on the books.

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038119)

that would fail the "substantial noninfringing use" legal analysis...

this pseudo-software (missing the actual DMCA-violative module) would have no substantial noninfringing use on its own -- in fact, it may have ZERO use on its own if it entirely relies upon the DMCA violative module to do its work.

as such, the software will be found to be a contributory infringer, and is illegal under the DMCA

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038243)

In order to read encrypted DVDs, Handbrake delegates to VNC, which users must download and install separately.

VNC? What does a remote desktop utility have to do with viewing DVDs?

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (5, Insightful)

the_macman (874383) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037745)

I don't even know why people bother with the DMCA. It's US-only

 
For the time being. Come back to me in 1-5 years. I guarantee other countries will have their own DMCA. Canada is next. Mark my words. You seriously underestimate the global influence the RIAA/MPAA have. Just look at Sweden. They were able to pressure the local authorities to raid TPB and bring them to court and pass wiretapping laws which allow authorities to pursue file sharers. Insane!
 
The MPAA/RIAA will only lose influence when the American dollar finally takes a dump.

Re:Handbrake, damnit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037779)

But Handbrake doesn't even have any DeCSS routines in it. They make you go get VLC to handle the "dirty" stuff.

And no building your own printing press, either! (0)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037463)

So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.

Nice doublespeak there, Marilyn, but a right that you have no way to exercise does not exist.

Now, saying that Real violated the terms of the CSS license, I have no problem with. But extending your ruling to the more general case, I find both absurd and insulting.

Consider yourself in contempt of rational humanity - I sentence you to arguing with an Intelligent Design proponent for 30 days or until you realize the problem with calling something definitionally (rather than factually) true (or il/legal).

Re:And no building your own printing press, either (2, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038027)

Nice doublespeak there, Marilyn, but a right that you have no way to exercise does not exist.

But Fair Use isn't a right. Fair Use only exists because Congress codified exceptions in the 1976 Copyright Act to allow people to do certain things without them being a violation of copyright. Congress can revoke such fair use at any time they want since they created such exemptions in the first place.

Kaleidoscope anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037471)

Still legal... but what make it different from Real Networks RealDVD? (Beside the fact it costs about 8K USD)

decss (2, Funny)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037473)

Real did not elect to return (or destroy, with appropriate certification) the CSS General Specifications

maybe they used DVD Jon's version?

Purchase AnyDVD HD before it's illegal (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037475)

This is exactly why I purchased my own copy of AnyDVD HD with a lifetime license (does not expire). Slysoft update's the ripping program at least once every two weeks, so you know many bugs are being worked out with ripping DVDs and BD disks.

I would highly suggest purchasing this program before it becomes illegal to do so. If not by Slysoft, by some other company.

http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html [slysoft.com]

Re:Purchase AnyDVD HD before it's illegal (1)

just fiddling around (636818) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037673)

Well, it is already illegal, and has been so since the DMCA. FTFA: "a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.' "

At least, you can still possess it, for now.

Re:Purchase AnyDVD HD before it's illegal (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037755)

At least, you can still possess it, for now.

Heh, ya. Just like my guns...

Re:Purchase AnyDVD HD before it's illegal (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037747)

Interestingly enough, your direct link to AnyDVD is illegal in Germany. Will we see STOP signs? Or will Gemany close /.?

Welcome to Idiocracy (5, Insightful)

Evardsson (959228) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037483)

FTA: 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.'

Yes, the law says you can make and keep a backup copy of your DVD. But since the law also says that making or delivering a tool to do that is illegal, what are consumers expected to do?* Not everyone can afford to hire Superman to come over for the evening to burn backup DVDs with his laser vision. (Not to mention, he gets bored and starts flipping bits for the hell of it.)

*BTW: consumers are expected to buy the same DVDs multiple times as they get scratched up, left on a windowsill to warp by your nephew or chewed up by your dog, That's what consumers are expected to do.

The problem is... (2, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037505)

Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.

Re:The problem is... (3, Insightful)

Emerssso (865009) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037741)

Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.

What? As I understand it, a judge's purpose is to decide whether or not an individual (corporate or otherwise) has broken a law, not to legislate from the bench. Your statement makes no sense. This judge stated that her decision was based on the *laws* put in place by the legislature. Take your bitterness to your *elected* local Congressman, not the judge who has to muck around in the horseshit they spew and figure out what to do with it.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038245)

I thought the point of our *3* branches of government was check and balance.

Last time I looked the Legislative branch of the government wasn't the stop and start of the law.

"Federal courts enjoy the sole power to interpret the law, determine the constitutionality of the law, and apply it to individual cases. The courts, like Congress, can compel the production of evidence and testimony through the use of a subpoena. The inferior courts are constrained by the decisions of the Supreme Court â" once the Supreme Court interprets a law, inferior courts must apply the Supreme Court's interpretation to the facts of a particular case." (from http://www.whitehouse.gov/our_government/judicial_branch/)

Seems to me you need to take a course in understanding how our government works - as Judges do have the power to interpret - and always have - as it is written into the constitution.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037825)

You can't really fault the judge for this. It's bad law, but explicit legislation trumps common law. Fair use is common law, created by the judiciary. The DMCA is legislative, passed by Congress and signed by the President. Common law is law of the gaps; the DMCA closed most of the gap, and the judge has no choice but to abide by it. If the case ever makes it to the Supreme Court, they have some leeway in striking or reinterpreting parts of the law, but a low level judge has to follow precedent and adhere closely to the letter of the law.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037971)

Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong. The purpose of judges is to uphold the law. This is true even citizens think the law sucks. Personally I think it sucks that the law prevents me from walking into Wal-Mart and grabbing all the money I can from the cash registers, but even if the judge agrees with me, I'm going to be prosecuted.

Whether you agree with the it or not, the DMCA is extremely clear that RealDVD is illegal. There is no ambiguity in this case. As a result, the judge really had no choice but to enforce this ruling.

Yes, the DMCA is retarded. Yes, the ruling implies that we have the right to make backups of our DVDs but not the means to make those backups, which makes no fucking sense. But decisions like that are not the domain of judges, nor should they be, unless the law is unconstitutional, which the DMCA, despite its many flaws, is not. Judges exist to enforce the laws that Congress passes. If you think the laws suck, your legislators are the ones you should be griping about. The judge made the right call here.

Re:The problem is... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038271)

I thought the purpose of judges was to toss you in jail for 6 months without a trial for contempt of court for a little disruptive yawning [nbcnewyork.com] .

Re:The problem is... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038021)

Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit.

From the decision:

However, the reach of the DMCA is vast and it does not allow courts the discretion to make this assessment and render a value judgment untethered from the language of the statute. In the words of Justice Cardozo, âoe[l]aws are not to be sacrificed by courts on the assumption that legislation is the play of whim and fancy.â People ex rel. Alpha Portland Cement Co. v. Knapp, 230 N.Y. 48, 62 (1920).The court is bound by the DMCA provisions at issue, even if it determines the extent to which innovative technologies realize their future potential.

You'd rather have an activist judge overturning statutes left and right even though they're clearly not unconstitutional?

The REAL problem is... (1)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038043)

The law contradicts itself, and judges are not allowed to rewrite the law as they see fit. Only the first part of that is actually a problem. The second half is intentional to prevent judges from "ruining lives" on a whim, since many judges are appointed for indefinite terms of office, and the supreme court judges are appointed for life.

I would be very surprised if the Judge wouldn't have prefered ruling the other way. However, the law is what it is. Condemning the judge for something they cannot control is myopic. Real is free to appeal the ruling to a higher court, where one of the laws can be struck down, but the court this case was decided in does not have that authority.

This case was never going to end in this court room. Too much is at stake for all involved.

What about bittorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037511)

How will I ever back up my dvds!!?!?!?!?!

Oh wait. I don't have any because they are overpriced, I'm not legally allowed to back them up anyways, and I hate the movie industry fat cats that they fund. Maybe if they made them:

1) way cheaper (arn't they like 5 cents to make or something like that, being generous maybe even a whole dollar with the case)
2) non-encrypted
3) non-existant (non-encrypted and distributed online?)

It's not really surprising that real got screwed here. We all know that we arn't actually allowed to make fair use copies. And that's why we all use linux to make fair use copies. (or just cut out the middleman and get it for free since the other option sucks.)

Re:What about bittorrent (2, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037867)

1) way cheaper (arn't they like 5 cents to make or something like that, being generous maybe even a whole dollar with the case)

You appear to be confusing the cost to produce the disk, and the cost to produce it's contents, and what you're in fact being asked to pay for.

Unless the DVD you buy is completely blank, it cost more then 5 cents to produce.

Re:What about bittorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038121)

the funny part is that for every blank dvd sold in Italy riaa equivalent get some money out (more than 50% of the price) as to offset the piracy losses from blank dvd used from the bad guys (no really!)

side question: we paid a blanket licence to copyright holders for every dvd, so are we entitled of a rip of any other dvd?
a: no

Re:What about bittorrent (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038149)

You don't have kids do you?

When/If you do you'll get to know the joy of children handling their Dora, Diego, Strawberry Shortcake, Wiggles, Weebles, Big Red Dog, Elmo, Baby/Young Einstein, the list goes on - DVDs with peanut butter encrusted fingers. These titles aren't cheap and even if you get them used at garage sales for $1 a piece, replacing them could be $20 - $30 or your child getting pissed randomly because their favorite episode is no longer available (no it's not the end of the world but they act like it is).

Burning to disk and putting them in a media center for quick easy access is a godsend on cranky days when nothing else will work... no more having to wait 10 minutes while the non-skippable commercials and anti-copy notices play through - just straight to the episode you've set as a favorite and peaceful tranquility in your home.

 

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037569)

Another judge payed for by the Industry.

You treat us a criminal - so we seek our own way.. its called freedom .. look it up some time industry you may be shocked to know it helped created your business. It can also end it. Its your choice...

()

I wouldn't say this delays the distro of RealDVD (4, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037615)

More of a buffering really.

Re:I wouldn't say this delays the distro of RealDV (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037925)

lulz. Nicely done sir.

I would say more, but my typing is buffering.

Problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037827)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding but how is this a problem for U.S consumers? You can still buy foreign applications to do the job as that is neither trafficing nor manufacturing anything in the U.S. Trafficing would be reselling or similar or is trafficin synonymous with buying now?

You are free to shovel on your property, but... (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037851)

...all shovels are illegal.

That's my interpretation, but IANAL. Any thoughts from those how know something about law?

Simple Solution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037927)

Stop buying movies that have anything to do with the MPAA. Stop going to movies at the theatres too...unless it's an independent film. While I'm ranting, stop buying anything musicwise associated with the RIAA. This site [boycott-riaa.com] can help you find out who to boycott.

Furthermore, reject the purchase of any media (music, movies, games) that utilize DRM. Don't even check-out these materials from your local library--for those lucky enough to have a library that offers music, movies, and software. While you are at it, if you have cable, shut it off othewise you're still giving money to these quasi-criminals.

Don't even go to network television websites (or Hulu, etc.) to watch programs. They are getting ad revenue from advertisers everytime you go. This includes watching movie trailers anywhere that posts adverts. Yahoo! Movies comes to mind.

Stop downloading ringtones from (insert your favorite band here) as if they are associated with the RIAA, they're likely getting royalties.

Bottom line: vote with your damn wallet. I can't stress that enough. VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET. Support indepedent artists. Support independent film. Support your local public radio and television stations. Let's make the dinosaurs of big media the extinct creatures they should be.

Just Ask? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038067)

Has anyone ever mailed the content owner and asked if they could make a backup copy? If they replied with a yes, could you then legally use libcss2 or whatever to copy the DVD?

What DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038103)

My perspective is different. I have no problem buying any glitzy DVDs I want, and then ripping them to my hard drive for quieter hours. But I cannot even think of a current DVD I really want. There are some classic movies I'd like, but it seems they are not on DVD in any language, except from most mysterious sources. I will pay, happily, but not if the 'industry' delivers only jejeune junk.

There is one solution... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038137)

Boycott.

Every time we buy their product, we give them the power to fuck us in the ass. That's exactly where our money is going. If that is acceptable, then don't complain.

No illusions. This is the only thing that frightens them and it is the only thing that will stop their abuse.

The opposite of a Bong (3, Interesting)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038207)

This is a really strange reversal of the laws that govern Marijuana:
In many countries it's illegal to smoke marijuana, but legal to sell the tools to do so (Head Shops).
In America, it's legal to make copies of your DVDs, but illegal to sell tools to do so..

Kind of makes a mockery of the law, doesn't it?

Good ruling, bad law (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038255)

It seems to me that the judge applied the law correctly as it is written; however, the law is bad. It'd be nice if the law could be struck down in a court case, but that's only going to happen if the law violates the constitution, not simply because the law is stupid. Write your congressman, or run for congress yourself. This is why things like the (stupidly named) Pirate Party need to be supported.

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