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Circuit City Ripping DVDs for Users

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the this-won't-last-long dept.

467

Grooves writes "Circuit City is offering a DVD transfer service that's sure to enrage the MPAA. For $10 for 1 DVD or $30 for 5, Circuit City will violate the DMCA and rip commercial DVDs for users to put on their mobile players. From the article: 'This should be a viable market. Software and services are losing out to draconian digital rights management philosophies and anti-consumer technologies aimed at increasing revenues stemming from double-dipping--what I call the industry's penchant for charging twice for the same thing.' They note that fair use backups of DVDs have not been tested in court because all of the attention is focused on the circumvention software itself." Update: 08/04 22:40 GMT by Z : Acererak writes "Red Herring reports that Circuit City isn't offering any DVD-to-DVD copying scheme. The Slashdotted sign was an isolated screwup."

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467 comments

Just finish the job... (0, Troll)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846848)

Circuit City already has one foot in the grave, so why not take a chance. They've been losing their @ss to Best Buy for years. I wish them the best of luck though!

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Circuit City has cash for the fight (5, Informative)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847019)

Check out Circuit City's balance sheet. [google.com] They have over $600 million in cash with only $50 million in long term debt. They have a lot of liquid assets available to finance the legal battle if that's what they choose to do.

Re:Circuit City has cash for the fight (5, Insightful)

ThisIsForReal (897233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847127)

As much as we all like to see companies and people stand up to the MPAA and RIAA, this may not be a good idea.

At its heart this is about a company profiting off of the removal of DRM and re-extending fair use to a product that really shouldn't have DRM on it (or so sayeth most slashdotters). What if this is discovered to be the next business model? Cripple things with DRM, and then for additional money they'll take them off?

Shutter...If only Circuit City were doing this for free.

Re:Circuit City has cash for the fight (4, Insightful)

PhoenixPath (895891) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847195)

If only Circuit City were doing this for free.

Therein lies the problem. If they were doing this for free, it *might* fall under fair use. They aren't. They are making a profit. This comes down to selling a copy in adifferent format without protections, and without any royalties.

Circuit City is going to lose their asses on this one.

If they did it for free, it would be a value-added service. No royalties to be paid. Instead, they've turned it into a money-making operation with no compensation to the copyright owners.

I agree 100% that *we* should be allowed to do this, and that CC should be allowed to do it as a value-added service, but they should *not* be able to charge for it.

Best Buy not the best anymore (3, Interesting)

raitchison (734047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847092)

Ahh but Best Buy isn't nearly as good as it used to be, higher prices, smaller selection, worse return policies. I gave up on Best Buy a few years ago anow now use Circuit City almost exclusively for my local (what I don't buy online) needs. Their order-online > store-pickup program is fantastic and their prices alsmost always match those of Best Buy exactly.

countdown (3, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846850)

And 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... *whistle and confetti!* congratulations Circuit City!!! You just got sued!

That is, unless Circuit City is giving a cut of the money to the MPAA. Thankfully Circuit City has deep pockets and good lawyers, it should be interesting to see the MPAA go up against them instead of picking on little kids.

good to see.. (2)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846852)

Its good to see someone that actually matters standing up. It would be even better to see them refuse to sell DVDs without being allowed to rip them for customers. I wonder if Circuit City actually sells enough DVDs for that to make a difference?

Re:good to see.. (3, Insightful)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846879)

I wouldn't make the mistake of assuming they are 'standing up' to anyone. Either they will get sued and desist/settle, strike an arrangement to kick back to the MPAA, or get totally ignored.

Re:good to see.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15846941)

Hm, it WOULD be interesting to see Circuit City say "ok, ok, we'll quit ripping your stupid DVDs" then replace their entire DVD/CD section with iPod-loading kiosks. Leftover floorspace would go to selling ipods and various accessories. (Ok, ok, they could even throw in a PlaysForSure store and a few players). You could even float this past the shareholders by talking about "embracing the future of electronic delivery of goods".

Re:good to see.. (1)

enigma9 (812497) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847164)

Its good to see someone that actually matters standing up.

I thought the article was about Circuit City.

Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (3, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846855)

Did some bean counter had a brain fart when performing the benefit analysis? Make gobs of money by ripping DVDS minus bigger gobs of money paying attorney fee equals a world of hurt.

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (4, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846908)

Like a movies star, there is no such thing as bad press (yeah yeah the mel g thing). Sometimes there isn't a number that can be placed on things like attention and maybe a little PR. If CC spends say, 2 million on lawyer fees for this vs. 2 million in TV adds (which TIVO takes care of alraedy), then maybe that may have a better rate of return. I will hear about it like right now reading it on /. vs being skipped anyway.

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (5, Insightful)

uniqueUser (879166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847065)

If CC spends say, 2 million on lawyer fees for this vs. 2 million in TV adds (which TIVO takes care of alraedy), then maybe that may have a better rate of return.
Right on..
The first thing that I thought of when I read the blurb on the main /. page was "Wow, I should start shopping there more often b/c they get it."

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846929)

Nope.

Step 1: Rip DVDs, bring in lots of income
Step 2: Get sued by MPAA/Jack Valenti/Sony Pictures/Disney/somebody.
Step 3: Pay lawyers
Step 4: Get lots and lots of FREE publicity, building public empathy and support.
Step 5: ????
Step 6: Profit!

I Had to do it.... (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847198)

For a good laugh call (202) 456-1414

If the SS shows up I'm giving them your name.

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847044)

Make gobs of money by ripping DVDS minus bigger gobs of money paying attorney fee equals a world of hurt.

I think that's an exaggeration. First, you can be certain any corporation the size of Circuit City already has a sizable legal department. It's unlikely this action hasn't already been vetted. To the extent there are issues, and dealing with those issues gets beyond the abilities or capabilities of their legal department to handle (an unlikely scenario), they're already set up for using outside counsel when appropriate and such costs are typically budgetted well in advance.

The big question here is, given the possible legal issues, What Was Circuit City's reasoning? The article provides no real insight on that question, and the Circuit City website offers no press releases or information on the subject. In fact the article is a scoop from another website (which, in turn contains a photograph and similar speculation), so it's anybody's guess as to what's going on and why.

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (2, Insightful)

raitchison (734047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847050)

They will likely get a Cease & Desist letter before there is a lawsuit, if CC complies with this (they almost certianly will) there probably won't be a lawsuit.

The MPAA stands to lose a decent amount of their already declining public support if they try to lay the smackdown here to stop CC from doing something that practially every joe sixpack and their senator will think is a reasonable use. If they make a big deal of this now they may have a harder time fighting the inevitble tools that will come out to copy HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.

My prediction is that Circuit City will stop this practice by the middle of next week and it will be the last we hear of the issue.

Re:Benefit Analysis Is Flawed... (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847208)

Did some bean counter had a brain fart when performing the benefit analysis? Make gobs of money by ripping DVDS minus bigger gobs of money paying attorney fee equals a world of hurt.

I would say this is a stroke of genius for Circuit City. With their business being compromized by internet retailers and increasingly savvy consumers, this is a market that they could dominate.

You can't build an online business that requires sending fragile consumer electronics back and forth through the mail to put content onto it. And with draconian laws [wikipedia.org] , software won't be made available for people to do this themselves.

Sure, Circuit City is going to face a lawsuit, but it is one they have a good chance of winning. And meanwhile, they offer a desirable service that no other online retailer or box box store will offer. Best Buy using media as a loss leader [wikipedia.org] . This service could theorecially not even profit (after legal fees) and still benefit the company.

And while you are getting Pirates of the Caribbean transferred to your IPod, have you seen the new high definition TVs? They are awesome!

Good for them (4, Interesting)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846859)

I don't care much for Circuit City, but I'm glad they're taking this on. It's going to take companies like this to change the mindset (god knows no one wants to listen to "the little guys")

They charge that much for running "DVD Decrypter"? (4, Informative)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846861)

10 bucks per CD? Better option is to get the DVD Decrypter and donate a few bucks to the developers :)

S

Re:They charge that much for running... (1)

Not Anonymous Coward (993086) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846871)

Didn't DVD Decrypter get shut down by the British version of MPAA?

Re:They charge that much for running... (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846917)

No, it got bought out, and the new owners changed the licence to prevent further redistribution.

So now it takes 2 minutes of googling to find it, rather than 30 seconds...

Re:They charge that much for running... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15846973)

So use Mplayer/Mencoder...it's still easy.

Re:They charge that much for running... (4, Informative)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847166)

It wasn't bought out, and it wasn't shut down by the British version of the MPAA. Macrovision sent a C&D, and LUK went on to continue development of the burning engine from DVDDecrypter, as IMGBurn. DVDDecrypter is still the easiest way to exercise your fair use rights, but due to new corrupted formats like ArCoss, you sometimes need to include another party like DVDFabDecrypter or FixVTS and make an extra step.

Re:They charge that much for running... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847085)

They are ripping to mobile players, which requires encoding. It doesn't take the 10 mins DVD Decrypter does, it takes a few hours to encode down to a viable size...

Re:They charge that much for running "DVD Decrypte (2, Insightful)

SolarCanine (892620) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846909)

Actually, this seems to be aimed more at the true "consumer" - your thirty-something gagdet freak with his Crackberry and his video iPod who probably isn't inclined to go out and find "illegal" software to get content on his mobile devices. Remember, there are plenty of people out there who pay for VHS-to-DVD transfers.

Re:They charge that much for running "DVD Decrypte (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847057)

Agreed, but Average Joe is not going to want to bother keeping up in the DRM arms race for casual pir^H^H^HFair Use purposes, and will happily pay a smart techie to do this for him, saving himself from (A) having to learn to do it himself and (B) being directly liable for breaking the DMCA.

Re:They charge that much for running "DVD Decrypte (5, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847108)

10 bucks per CD? Better option is to get the DVD Decrypter and donate a few bucks to the developers :)

Wow, you are more than 1 year behind the times with this post. DVD Decrypter has been dead since early 2005 when Macrovision gave a cease and desist letter to the creator of DVD Decrypter. The reason? DVD Decrypter can be used to remove Macrovision, which is a violation of the DCMA. The creator was forced to stop developing DVD Decrypter and give all source code to Macrovision. I don't know if he was forced to pay a fine to them or not, but he was threatened with legal action and facing the prospect of jail time and/or fines, he accepted their "offer" and gave them the code and removed the software from his website. In fact, the formerly official website now goes straight to Macromedia.

I have read that certain video forums are regularly monitored by Macromedia to see if the developer ever posts anything that in any way can be said to talk about decrypting DVDs or removing Macrovision and if they ever find him saying anything on those topics, they are going to take him to court and try to get him convicted for breaking the DCMA. Given the legal rulings on the subject to date, this is a very realistic possibility. I think he does still participate to a limited extent in video forums, but only on topics that have nothing to do with decrypting DVDs.
   

Re:They charge that much for running "DVD Decrypte (1)

OldSpiceAP (888386) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847220)

Which is why we now use dvd shrink

How Circuit City and MPAA make $$$$ from this (1)

serodores (526546) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847199)

Better yet, setup a few of these, record lots of names/evidence of those who use them, feed that list to the MPAA for a cut of the settlement costs. Brilliant.

It will be interesting (2, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846862)

As the content pushers (Circuit City, Best Buy, Walmart) try to go into these new arenas to sell content. What happens if WalMart goes to the RIAA and MPAA and says "we want to be able to sell the content however we want." Will /. cheer then as they push their weight around to shake up the *IAA monopolies?

Yes we will (2, Interesting)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846911)

Because two 10,000 lb gorillas fighting is entertainment at the very least.
If they kill each other all the better.

Re:It will be interesting (1)

William_Lee (834197) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846914)

Will /. cheer then as they push their weight around to shake up the *IAA monopolies?

In a word, YES!

HUH!? (1)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847180)

...well, I wouldnt.
Circuit city saying, 'Hey, backup is fair use, and we're gonna create ourselves a market where before there was only individuals engaging in illegal sharing,' is WAAAAY different than Walmart saying 'Hey, backup is fair use, but instead of just doing backup, we're gonna edit out all the violence, sex, profanity, and fun, because We're a bunch of puritanical fucks.'

dont compare the two, its bad argument.

You go guys. Kudos to Circuit City. (3, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846868)

I know they're just looking for another revenue stream, but its great to see big companies (even inadvertently) fighting the system on behalf of individuals rights.

Re:You go guys. Kudos to Circuit City. (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847167)

I know they're just looking for another revenue stream, but its great to see big companies (even inadvertently) fighting the system on behalf of individuals rights.

Er, this is the same Circuit City that tried to get you to buy into the original "pay to play" DVD format DivX concept? (Not to be confused with the XviD/DivX;) codec.) Anyone who thinks Circuit City just decided, out of the blue, to come up with this service without the knowledge and blessing of their retail channel sources (nee, RIAA/MPAA) is seriously missing some brain cells.

WOW (3, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846872)

They must have thought this through. You don't do something risky like this if you're a massive business. They must have talked to a lawyer and have A) a loophole, or B) a license to do this (sharing profits with MPAA?). I mean, million or billion dollar companies are careful to avoid these sorts of lawsuit-risking moves, simply because they're a huge target.

Re:WOW (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15846988)

They must have talked to a lawyer and have A) a loophole

Fair use is not "a loophole". It's an intended part of copyright. As customers have bought a DVD, part of their fair use rights include space-shifting - moving the film from the DVD to another device. Circuit City are employed by the customer to do this on their behalf.

It's not like Circuit City are simply giving people illegal copies, they are doing something perfectly legal on behalf of the owner of that property.

WOW-Blowing the man. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847009)

Agreed. All the other posts thinking it's some kind of blow against the man, are just engaging in wishful thinking. They had their chance to strike a blow against the man by not buying or downloading, but gave that up, and now wish someone else (in this case, circuit city) would do what they had not the courage to do.

Re:WOW-Blowing the man. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847184)

Funny blow, man and circuit city came up in the same sentence. A relative of mine used to work at a circuit city in Michigan. She gave "blow" jobs to men all the time.. her bosses for incentives and to customers who wanted to return products so she wouldn't lose the commision. She worked there over 5 years...

The disturbing part is that she takes "blow" literally... You may have seen her picture in pirated copies of Microsoft Office 2000. (i'm sorry if you did)

violate the DMCA? In what way? (3, Insightful)

egarland (120202) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846877)

In what way would this violate the DMCA?

Since Circuit City has the software and tools to do the copy and would presumably not be handing them out to customers the standard "providing tools to circumvent copyright" issue wouldn't apply. Since backups for play on another device are fair use and legal I don't see the issue.

Obviously, since companies don't like getting sued into non-existence I suspect Circuit City feels they are on sold legal ground as well.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (3, Informative)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846918)

In what way would this violate the DMCA?

"No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A).

Legally, a corporation is a 'person,' and movies on DVD are almost all protected by copyright.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (5, Interesting)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846977)

I may be wrong on this one, but perhaps Circuit City has purchased a license to the CSS keys, that would allow them to decrypt and re-encrypt DVD's without "circumventing" the copy protection...just a possibility.

The average consumer can't afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to get one of those licenses, but Circuit City could...

Oh, and yay for DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink!!!

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847067)

There's 2 reasons that is wrong.

First, they aren't saying 'certain DVDs' ... As in 'only the DVDs we've paid for the rights to this'.

Second, the law doesn't allow circumvention exception for specific reasons. Even if the copyright holder says it's okay to copy the movie, you still cannot legally break the encryption. They'd have to be provided masters without encryption for this to be legal.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847140)

Are you referring to the CSS key license or a copyright license? It would be impossible to purchase all the licenses for the media...unless Circuit City keeps a closet full of unopened new copies of movies they burned for customers...

A CSS license is provided, normally to disc manufacturers, for producing the media, and has nothing to do with copyright. Furthermore, all litigatio to this day regarding copying of DVD's hasn't centered around copyright, but rather the DMCA's clasue against circumventing protection mechanisms. Probably because the plaintiff's legal team realizes it's a shaky position to litigate from based on all the precedent set in in the 80's with VHS that is beneficial for the end-user/consumer.

However, if Circuit city had a license to the CSS keys, (the very encrypting software itself), then they wouldn't be circumventing anything...and as other's said, they are not distributing anything either, merely performing a service.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

truedfx (802492) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847172)

Suzumushi:
that would allow them to decrypt and re-encrypt DVD's without "circumventing" the copy protection...
Aladrin:
the law doesn't allow circumvention

Did you read the post you replied to? If so, did you understand it?

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847221)

Estoppal would make breaking the encryption OK I suspect - if the copyright holder gave you permission to make a copy. As least if the copyright holder (or an agent thereof) brought the court action.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847034)

Ahh well, that's fine then.

CSS encryption isn't remotely effective at controlling access to films.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (2, Informative)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847083)

CSS encryption isn't remotely effective at controlling access to films.

Spurious argument, legally. It's already been tried and defeated. See, e.g., Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

philipmather (864521) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847106)

Circumvent? The OED has defined as "to get around or escape from (a requirement) through means that are unusual but defensible", using the decryption keys and hardware that are readily sold to you and are perfectly legal is hardly "getting around", "avoiding", "escaping" or "unusual", if it were the act of merely watching the movie on a computer would also be in breach (where computer may also constitute a DVD player).
Your next whinge will be that the encryption is there to stop copying and hence violation of the copyright, copying something does not specifically breach copyright, not in my country anyway.
I could take a cheap shot at "effectively", I mean it doesn't appear to be particularly effective does it? What with all these people getting around it.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847190)

"No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A).

Legally, a corporation is a 'person,' and movies on DVD are almost all protected by copyright.


But in reality, corporations are rarely punished like a person would.

Sony's rootkit fiasco? If a person did it, they'd have gotten the book thrown at them, jailed, computer rights revoked for years after, life thrown in chaos. Sony? "Oh, you can just give out more CDs as punishment," despite the threats from government departments even. Barely even a wrist slap.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847202)

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A).


Well, if I can trivially circumvent the technological measure, wouldn't that mean it doesn't effectively control access?

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847206)

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

Clearly, CSS doesn't meet this criteria, so it's fine to circumvent. Really, with this wording, the DMCA can only be used to prevent circumvention of DRM technology that can't be circumvented.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (4, Informative)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846930)

In what way would this violate the DMCA?

They're defeating encryption without permission. Same as if you or I use deCSS to do the same thing. It's illegal whether or not we commit infringement. Dumb Law, needs to go.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (2, Insightful)

technococcus (990913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847014)

Now, what I've never understood is, if *IAA can sue a guy who rips one of their CD/DVDs for breaking their encryption, why people can't sue the NSA over breaking their encryptions on their emails without permission?

The DMCA is an unenforcible, ridiculous law that serves no purpose other than to make most honest Americans into lawbreakers.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

David_W (35680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847120)

why people can't sue the NSA over breaking their encryptions on their emails without permission?

Oh, you can. It's just very likely to be thrown out "in the interest of national security."

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847188)

Because it's the government and the golden rule applies.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (3, Interesting)

smashr (307484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846950)

In what way would this violate the DMCA?

Since Circuit City has the software and tools to do the copy and would presumably not be handing them out to customers the standard "providing tools to circumvent copyright" issue wouldn't apply. Since backups for play on another device are fair use and legal I don't see the issue.

This is an interesting point. Does the DMCA specifically disallow the sale or distribution of tools that provide for a circumvention, or does it disallow the circumvention itself? If it is the former, then Circuit City is just providing a service that enables the fair use rights of the consumer.

Now, if the act of circumvention itself is illegal, then CC is up a creek without a legal paddle.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (0, Redundant)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846958)

Took a while to find it, but here it is:

http://www.tuxers.net/dmca/dmca-guide.html

Subparagraph (a)(1)(A) forbids circumvention of "a technological measure that effectively controls access to [copyrighted works]."

Since they are circumventing the DVD's copy protection... Tada.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847134)

I'm No Lawyer, but it seems to me there is a logical contridiction here.

If the circumvention exists, then the technology no longer "effectively" controls access.
It's linguistic nonsense of the same order as, "What happens when an irresitable force meets an unmovable object?"

But I'm sure the DRM lawyers aren't really interested in whether the law is logical...

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846960)

mp3.com... They got sued for transcoding user's CD's into MP3's for them, while making a little money off of it.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847217)

Yep, and that was only a copyright violation. CC is adding on to that a DMCA violation. I can't imagine MPAA would sign a contract allowing them to do this unless they get a Real Big Cut. I think CC will come to regret this.

Re:violate the DMCA? In what way? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847105)

Since backups for play on another device are fair use and legal I don't see the issue.

It's generally held as legal for YOU, the consumer/taxpayer/citizen, to format-shift a copyrighted work you have purchased onto another medium for private use.

It's less clear whether you can pay a for-profit third party to perform the format shift on your behalf. I will be interested to see how the courts rule in the lawsuit that will inevitably come of this service.

Reversal of Fortune (5, Insightful)

fragmentate (908035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846880)

It's a shame that only Circuit City is challenging the MPAA. Their offering is commercially viable. But I don't think Circuit City has the financial wherewithall to take this to its conclusion.

I would love it if some large corporations would gang up against the MPAA and RIAA. Power without challenge is a dangerous thing -- evidenced by DRM, and the litigious nature of these two agencies.

Many years ago Circuit City bravely (but foolishly) pursued the DivX versus DVD issue (the betamax vs. VHS of its time). That battle, which, if it had gone Circuit City's way, would have hurt the consumer. It's ironic now, because DivX was a kind of DRM back then. You bought a movie at a lower price but had to renew via a special player that connected to a site over a phoneline to renew your ability to watch that movie. Or, you could spend more and get "unlimited viewing" -- assuming, of course, the movie studio even offered it. From the initial releases there were only a handful of movies that could be had for "unlimited viewing."

There was a grass-roots effort to thwart this nonsense (DRM over the phone) and DVD as we know it now won the battle; only to be replaced by another DRM years later. A much more pervasive and restrictive DRM. The irony of Circuit City's current stand is thick.

This time, however, I'd back 'em up... Is someone up to the cause? Does the grass even have roots anymore? In spite of all of the podders out there, I don't think most of them have the mental fortitude to stand against the MPAA/RIAA. Are they even aware?

(objectively speaking: this could be a bad idea because you can bring in any number of iPods and copy a single movie to each of them. This, I believe, it's ethically reprehensible; it's also a major flaw behind this service.)

Re:Reversal of Fortune (4, Informative)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846997)

Mod me troll (and grammar nazi), but DivX is a MPEG4-based codec that was named after the DIVX you-re talking about. That's why the first versions of DivX was named DivX 3.11 :-) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Reversal of Fortune (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847013)

Dammit - my mod points just expired.

You hit the nail on the head. The Circuit City/DivX fiasco should be the textbook business case that we push to the public and Congress whenever the **AA's start trotting out the "piracy is killing us" line.

There is nothing like pain as a negative reinforcement, and Circuit City took it up the ass (no lube, either) directly due to the overly restrictive controls on their product. They KNOW how much it hurt business, and can point straight to the balance sheet. So I'm not surprised they are looking in the other direction.

As for pissing off the **AA's, I seem to recall that Disney was their partner in the DivX fiasco, and once things started going sour, Disney hung them out to dry. Maybe that's why Disney never learned from it - they never experiencede teh pain, and so are still in love with DRM. I can't see any love lost between Circuit City and the content producers.

Re:Reversal of Fortune (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847215)

I had a Divx player and I really liked it. The movies were very cheap ... and it sure beat paying late fees to the rental joint. To me, it was the same as renting a DVD, except with Divx, I didn't have to return the media. However, I can see how the watch-n-toss use of the disks would be bad for the environment.

Bastards!!! (1, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846882)

The situation is especially frustrating because challenging the status quo in court has been difficult.

Just you leave those FINE PURVEYORS of three-chord British blues rock out of this, will you???

What's are you going to do next???

Slap a curfew on Jethro Tull??? Handcuff Emerson Lake And Palmer??? Or how about you just dig up Led Zeppelin's deceased drummer, John Bonham, and slap a speeding ticket on him???

Re:Bastards!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15846897)

You know you're a geek when your jokes are too esoteric for slashdot.

It's ok tho, nobody laughs at my jokes either.

Re:Bastards!!! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846944)

Esoteric doesn't describe it. I'm a long time Tull, ELP and Zep fan, and *I* didn't get it. Clearly I missed a memo.

Re:Bastards!!! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847071)

Status Quo, whilst being a very popular band in the UK, have never really achieved any international status (if you'll pardon the pun) although they are from the same era as Tull, ELP and Zeppelin.

Had you wanted *really esoteric*, I could have chosen equally internationally obscure British bands from the same period - like Mungo Jerry, Mott The Hoople, The Pink Fairies, The Enid or Atomic Rooster. But had I done that then my joke would have fallen really flat... oh... never mind.

They could make a fortune doing this... (4, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846885)

Not every joe sixpack is savvy enough to have backed up his DVD collection. Some of my old original disks are already failing on commercial players. (Stargate season 1, bought when it first came out, is now unplayable.)

As people find more and more of their disks failing, these services could become seriously mainstream. And at 10bucks a pop, a lucrative source of cash.

Re:They could make a fortune doing this... (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847011)

I wonder if they DRM the DVD before burning the ripped copy or leave it unprotected?

Joe 50-pack (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847056)

"Not every joe sixpack is savvy enough to have backed up his DVD collection"

Time to retire the guy with the beer this time. In this example, it's Joe 50pack with a fresh spindle of Maxell DVD-R's he bought next door at Staples.

Unexpected edginess (2, Insightful)

SolarCanine (892620) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846889)

I'm quite surprised to see this coming from a major retail chain - a mom and pop computer store (yes, one of the three still in existence) I could see having a helpful staff member who was willing to "stick it to the man" and do this for people, but a major corporation making the decision to do this definitely seems to show that the lawmakers of the U.S. need to wake up and stop legislating to keep business models alive past their prime.

Quote from clerks... (3, Interesting)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846898)

"This is one of the ballsiest moves I've ever been privy to"

Does anyone have the numbers on whether or not circuit city can afford to stand its legal ground against the MPAA? I imagine they'll probally settle out of court such that Circuit City can make the copies, provided that they include the same copy-protection stuff on the copied DVD as was on the original. The stakes that Circuit City and the MPAA are gambling are frighteningly high, as they risk setting a legal precident that says that you can't bypass copy protection for your own fair-use rights. On the other hand, a precident the other way would be a deathknell to a lot of the provision of the DMCA.

Odd, this from the outfit behind DIVX... (3, Insightful)

bbernard (930130) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846899)

This is pretty interesting, especially coming from the company who was one of the original partners in DIVX...you remember, the "pay-per-view" DVD's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIVX [wikipedia.org] . Even if they are only driven by profit, it's nice to see them take a more "consumer friendly" position.

Re:Odd, this from the outfit behind DIVX... (2, Funny)

imadork (226897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847133)

It's cosmic Karma, this is Circuit City's pennance for coming up with the crappy DIVX idea to begin with.

Pushing the envelope (1)

xorowo (733585) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846946)

Good for Circuit City for taking this route. It may be driven by the need to compete with bigger competitors (aka Best Buy), but it is exactly this kind of thing that is needed to bring attention to the larger issues. Now when Circuit City is sued, it will be national news, and the discussion regarding fair use will be held at a much more visible level. It may take years, but I'm optimistic that something like this is needed to get Joe Average interested.

What's in it for Circuit City? (2, Insightful)

DSW-128 (959567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15846971)

Increased DVD sales is the only thing I can think of here... $10/movie doesn't strike me as a major profit center - you've got the cost of the equipment to offset, the customer service rep's time, and then, as others have pointed out, either lawyers or the MPAA payoff. Doesn't seem to me there's much (if any) profit for Circuit City in this. As such, I feel a need to say "Way to go!", and plan a trip to support my local Circuit City.

Re:What's in it for Circuit City? (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847086)

That depends on whether they "cache" movies. It would seem a bit pointless to actually re-rip each copy of say Pirates of the Carribean that someone brings in, when you can store it the first time, and just give a copy to subsequent customers. So long as the customer actually brings in a genuine DVD disc, that should be just as legal, but cut down the time, and thus the cost, drastically. Then it should be pretty profitable.

DMCA is irrelevant here (0)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847001)

The DMCA is irrelevant in this case. Unless Circuit City has authorization from the copyright holders, they are engaging in good old fashioned copyright infringement. This is even worse than file sharing because they are profiting off of the service, thereby increasing the economic damages to the copyright holders who may want to pursue their own means of selling their product for different media formats.

Re:DMCA is irrelevant here (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847029)

Circuit City is providing a valuable service that the copyright holders are too lazy to bother with. That shouldn't be held against them.

Re:DMCA is irrelevant here (2, Insightful)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847079)

Unless CC is using their own DVDs, it should be fine. Users can still have their 1 legal copy can't they? You bring a DVD to me, I copy it for you to YOUR mobile device, and you leave with both DVD and mobile device. What's MPAA going to do? Try to settle for $3,500? I think CC has a bit of bargaining power. I don't see MPAA pulling all DVDs from the CC shelves to 'prove a point'. I hope CC fights this, should be good times.

Re:DMCA is irrelevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847158)

I dont see how you can even compare this to file sharing. Fair use says you don't need explicit permission. To own one, legal, copy and use it on multiple devices is within your rights.

My understanding of the situation:
Customer: I have this DvD "WiredLogic on DMCA" and I'd like it on my iPod.
Circuit City: Okay, lets verify this is a legal copy. Yep it is, okay, come back in a while.
(some time later)
Customer: Thanks man, here's the $10.
Circuit City: See you next week.
(Circuit City guy hands over origional, legal movie, and the iPod to which a copy is stored)

All this service is, if I'm looking at it right, is making it so the consumer doesn't need the software at home, or a DVD burner to accomplish "fair use" of their DVD. I would be more concerned with the license for the software they're using as they're profiting from its use and I don't know the status of the license/royalties with the software creator. In this situation, I think the MPAA is kind of on a sit and spin position - that or pay CC's court costs when they lose a lawsuit (if the judge has any common sense, IMO).

Ummm (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847205)

By that logic every Kinko's would also by infringing copyrights by letting you copy pages out of books you own. DMCA has everything to do with it.

Big Deal (4, Funny)

scottennis (225462) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847058)

Street vendors in China have been doing this same thing for years at a much lower price.

Circuit City double-dipping too? (2, Interesting)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847063)

Is it just me, or does it sound like CC is doing exactly that, double-dipping? If someone buys the DVD at CC and then pays *again* to rip the DVD...

Now wait just a minute (5, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847070)

The article we are discussing is based on ONE photograph of ONE cheesily printed DVD Copy flyer. This could be nothing more than a prank; it could be one store or department manager trying to increase sales; it could be the real thing (but I doubt it).

Has anyone checked with Circuit City to see if the speculation is grounded in reality?

I thought not.

Watch THIS happen... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847077)

It'll soon be "When you do it, it's breaking the law. When a company does it, it's just making lawful money."

I'll bet you $20.

This is the plan (4, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847099)

* Start DVD copy service

* Cash in on DVD copy service for all it's worth while waiting for the inevitable lawsuit

* Use lawyers already on retainer to string out the suit against DVD copy service as long as possible.

* Pay 10% of DVD copy earnings in settlement, promise never to do a DVD copy service ever again.

* Start unrelated DVD duplication service using equipment already conveniently at hand.()

() Remember to trademark "DVD Duplication service", "DVD Backup service", "Disc copy service", "Disc Duplication service", "Disk Kopy DudeZ", "Dupe It Man!" ...

 

Re:This is the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847174)

So if Circuit City has the equipment, and a user walks up to the equipment, inserts a DVD, press the copy button. Pays for the copy - isn't that EXACTLY the same thing as Kinko's and every other photocopy joint? Seems to me, that if you empower the user to do the infringing - and you put reasonable notices speaking about copyright, then you're probably going to sooner or later go after Kinko's too. IANAL, but if CC keeps their hands clean like Kinko's - they could get away with this.

(I have to say, however, that as a consumer who regularly buys DVDs from blockbuster on the bargain shelf - $10 is more money than I pay for that bargain disk at blockbuster - I wouldn't use the service. )

Do they actually break the DMCA ? (2, Interesting)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847137)

In fact, I am not sure I clearly understand the DMCA. If you play a DVD and shoot the tv with a camera, is that violating the DMCA ? If they legally have a CSS key to read dvds and just transfer them to another support, is that against the DMCA ? What does the DMCA precisely states ?

Re:Do they actually break the DMCA ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847182)

I'm fairly certain if they could erase your memories of the movie right after you watched it they would, that would be a biological copy after all.

Thank you (1)

rhyre417 (919946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847225)

Thanks Circuit City. You saved me from having to replicate my "Star Wars holiday special" bootleg. The thought of Lumpy and Leia singing gives me a headache every time I put the master copy in my DVD-ROM drive ;-(

I think you guys have it wrong (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847138)

I see this as a sales tool. Buy a new DVD at full price, and get a backup copy for your portable player burnt for 10 bucks. Circuit city wins, and the MPAA wins through increased sales. Have I got this wrong?

Re:I think you guys have it wrong (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847192)

and the MPAA wins through increased sales
I think the MPAA is much more touchy on this. They're not concerned with the fact that you own they've been paid already for your DVD (which is really just a license to watch the material encoded on it, blah blah) They want to sell it to you again on different media. The idea of some upstart retailer pocketing the money they could be making from your forced purchase of a UMD or an iTunes purchase or something else "legit" for your fancy gadgets doesn't terribly appeal to them.

The only way I can imagine this being allowed to continue legally is if they work out a way to give the MPAA (or the particular copyright holder of whatever DVD is being ripped) a cut of each purchase of the service.

Best course of action (3, Insightful)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847144)

The best thing we, as consumers, can do at this point is to take Circuit City up on their offer. Use the service they're providing. If the market gets lucrative enough, the other electronics giants (Best Buy, Fryes, etc.) will want a piece of the action. At that point, none of them will want to listen to the MPAA's whining and will do everything in their power to maintain their hold on this new market.

You want a bunch of bigwig companies to gang up on the MPAA? I think this is the best way to accomplish that.

Way to go, Circuit City! (2, Funny)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847149)

Now, will you also rip my DIVX disks?

I'd be curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15847200)

to know what 'portable player' formats they support, and wether said formats were able to be re-transferred to PC and subsequently 'shared'. Not for me personally, since de-css works just fine here, but this makes the ability to do this a bot more available to the masses.
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