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I would be hesitant to call any video server that simply allows you to watch videos that you have purchased in your own home illegal. At this point, as I understand it, the courts decision is not a blanket condemnation of all DVD ripping software, and last time I checked, computers were still legal.

Save the money, and the heartache, and roll your own server and use it with a media streamer such as the popcorn hour or WD Live.
 

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I would like to see the law where it is clearly stated that I cannot make a copy for my own personal use, not to be distributed. Now maybe one exists, but I haven't seen it. Instead, I hear a lot of conjecture from both sides.

Now, the production and distribution of the software the I may have to use to make that copy could be illegal, but is my use of it illegal? I don't think that's been made clear.
 

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Here's the direct quote from the judge in the RealDVD case, from wired:

However, she stopped short of sanctioning personal use copies, and gave a conflicting message on whether it was legal. “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,” Patel said. She added, “fair use can never be an affirmative defense to the act of gaining unauthorized access” — a simple way of saying it was illegal to hack into the encryption to make a copy.

So it's probably legal to have a copy, just not to make one. How absurd. If an individual take one of my DVDs, makes a copy, and then give me back the original and copy, have I done anything illegal? I'm in possession of nothing illegal? Is the trafficking of my legal possessions illegal?

If not, someone should setup a network in a country where creating fair use backups is legal to distribute copies of DVDs which you own...oh wait, they already have.

I put the DMCA right up there with outdated laws against chewing gum and drinking on Sundays. Absurd.
 

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Well, I think the time-bomb analogy is a little FUD. You're telling me that the gov't is going to start kicking in the doors of everyone using a Kaleidescape and charge them with possession of copyright infringing software? Or, without trading in hyperbole, that anyone with a server full of their backed up movies for their own personal use is somehow at risk of legal action?

I don't think I'm going to start hording water and ammo, or deleting my backups quite yet.
 

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I agree totally, and I think it's going to take legions of home theater and technology lovers to stand up and say "we're not going to take it anymore". But most folks won't stick up for the technology because they have no idea what they're missing, or they don't want to fight. Most folks just hear "illegal" and don't think twice.

People should certainly be informed of the consequences, but they shouldn't be afraid. If the gov't prosecutes you for your files stored on your computer that you aren't sharing with anyone else, there is a bigger problem than copyright infringement (namely, how did they kick in your door and start going through your computer).

In my opinion, when it comes to making copies for your own use, there is nothing to fear. Once again, my opinion, but one shared by many.

I am well aware of the consequences and will personally make fair use copies of anything I see fit. making fair use commonplace is the only way this war is going to be won...informing judges and politicians isn't working, this is a war of public opinion.
 

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I'm a little lost at what the point is or where everyone stands. I think we should all wrap up our arguments into three sentences or less. Here's mine (though somehow still long winded).


Copyright protection is as necessary as fair-use, but the MPAA will tell you (and the politicians and judges whose campaigns they contribute to) that copyright is the only one at risk, when in reality, fair-use is the most under-fire. If the vast public wants copyright reform and fair-use provisions, it will happen, but the fear-mongering and extortionist tactics of the MPAA, RIAA, and sycophant courts and halls has made most people afraid to even try the various technologies that stand to advance the ways in which we consume media (to the eventual benefit of those who produce and sell media). Feel free to copy your own movies for your own use all day long (but do not distribute), and do not fear that the FBI will NOT kick in your door, because if they do, it won't be for your movies.
 

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Quality of video disqualifies VCR as a copy rights infringement...

DVD recording without menus (Thru S-Video or RCA) will record with less quality and will not be considered a violation...

Any of the above are OK as long as you don't pass them on (gift) or sell them...

DVD copy via ISO (electronic or hard copy) will retain identical quality, menus and features and is considered illegal
Whoa, hold on. Are you saying this is what you believe the laws say or what they should say?

Quality has nothing to do with whether something is considered copyright infringement. Case in point Sony/betamax vs. universal, youtube pull downs, video taping first run movies, distributing mp3s. All lesser quality, all considered illegal (currently or at one point) by the many courts.

To add to the debate, these folks are pretty much the best defense for sensible copyright law: http://w2.eff.org/legal/cases/betamax/
 

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Really, that's wrong. Look, I think we're both out of our element here as the laws and judgments are contradictory many times (fair-use is legal but the means by which to create a fair-use copy are not?), and this will be the last I say on the matter (as once again, I'm admitting that I'm quickly getting out of my depth), but an argument based on copy-quality is just wrong.

What it all boils down to is the breaking of copy protection as described in the DMCA. VCR is legal because of fair use statues described in the link I provided in post 22. Those statutes were effectively thrown out the door with the introduction of the DMCA and digital encryption. As I understand, it was still illegal to create devices to macrovision copy protection in VHS, despite the quality degradation.

DVD recording through the analog hole is legal not because of quality, but because it does not break any copy protection. And even then, "legal" is fuzzy depending upon who you ask, where you got the original source material, and what you do with it.

Not distributing is a primary tenant of not getting caught, but not of legality. The RIAA had been hard at work as early as last year trying to make it illegal to copy a CD/DVD you own for your own personal use (Atlantic vs. Howell) irregardless of distribution. Fortunately, though the case was found in favor of the plaintiffs, it was on the basis of default judgment for Howells destruction of evidence as opposed to affirmation of Atlantic's claims. Moral of the story, though Howell got caught because he copied and distributed, those copies were not at the core of the charges, the making available/distributing was. (Edited for clarity)



You can make ISO copies of non CSS dvds for your own use, not post or distribute, and they will be legal. Cracking CSS is what get's you into trouble, and everything I've read makes it unclear of the use of tools to crack CSS is illegal, or simply the creation of those tools. I would love to see a court case that shows a judgment against the simple use of CSS cracking tools.

Would following all 3 of your tenant constitute creating a legal copy: Recording a DVD via s-video to a VHS recorder and not distributing it to anyone? I'd have to read the DMCA more closely but yes, I think it would. However, that has everything to do with digital copy-protection and nothing to do with the quality of the copy. I could capture video via component, reauthor that video into a DVD menu structure, and have a copy with negligible quality loss that would be no more legal/illegal than the s-video VHS example.

The moral of the story is that, depending on who you ask and what the courts do in the coming years, any copy of any copyrighted work for any use could potentially be illegal under the current laws. Informing yourself in the hopes of finding "legal" ways to create copies is an exercise in futility.

Once again, IMHO, if you really want copyright reform, educate everyone around you at the benefits of fair use copies, show them the application in media servers and portable entertainment, show them the cost savings of not having to replace damaged discs, and get the majority of people on board. Then, when a fair-use throttling case make illegal what a vast majority of the poeple are doing, you will see a ground swell that creates meaningful change, copyright reform, and the demise of the DMCA.

BTW, for any RIAA/MPAA snoops, feel free to email me. I will literally have you over for a beer, you can look through my collection, and we can talk about this like civil adults.
 

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Some links that support all said in this thread about making fair copies, these links demonstrate that legal actions and lawsuits taken by the movie industry and AACS are very serious and not "Stupid lawsuits" as someone stated in this thread:

"MPAA Says Making Even “One Copy” of a DVD is Illegal"
http://www.zeropaid.com/news/86356/mpaa-says-making-even-one-copy-of-a-dvd-is-illegal/


"DVD Copying Case Focuses on ‘Fair Use’"
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/dvd-copying-cas/


"US NEWS Is It Legal to Copy a DVD?"
http://www.usnews.com/money/business-economy/technology/articles/2009/09/30/is-it-legal-to-copy-a-dvd.html#read_more


"RealNetworks court loss a reminder about limits of "fair use""
http://www.arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/08/realdvd-barred-from-market-while-judge-opines-about-fair-use.ars
Could only find one usage of the term "stupid" in this thread (besides yours) and it came from me. Here's the actual quote:

I like many other law abiding citizens in this country are not willing to break the law by principle no matter how dumb or how stupid the law may be...By the same token, I and many other people will like to participate in getting organized for making conscience among the community and for changing the laws that are threating [sic] to infringe [sic again] our rights and freedom.

Though I did unnecessarily use two adjectives with virtually the same meaning.

EDIT (attribution): Whoops, that was your quote, not mine. Sorry.

But, I'll say it here: Just because the lawsuits are real, it doesn't mean that they are not stupid lawsuits.

Here's the problem I'm having with your argument: while you claim to be simply motivated to educate, your posts have a tone of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt...the same currency that the MPAA trades in to enforce the unenforceable: an overreaching interpretation of the DMCA.

Case in point: The first link you provided is in regards to the MPAA vs. Real. While the judgment affirmed that RealDVD software broke it's license agreement with CSS and violated the DMCA by circumventing technological measures used to limit access to copyrighted content, the judge did not affirm the MPAA's assertion that making one copy of a DVD was illegal (similar to the claim that making one copy of a CD is illegal as I previously noted when I brought up Atlantic vs Howell). In fact, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel acknowledged that consumers have a right to make "Fair Use" copies, but not at the expense of breaking CSS in violation of the current interpretation of the DMCA.

Here is the actual judgement if you would like to read all 58 pages (I have): http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/08/patel.pdf

Section 115 onward should be quite interesting, and prove the inherent contradiction of content protection and fair use that is the DMCA.

Also note the 2nd paragraph of section 116 that stops far short of your previous assertion that: The use of illegal software breaks the law by definition...There is no way that you could use something illegal or banned for producing something legal.

In fact, section 117 seems to instead support my supposition that: Now, the production and distribution of the software the I may have to use to make that copy could be illegal, but is my use of it illegal? I don't think that's been made clear.

The other 3 links you provide are all similar articles dealing with the same case, so we're talking a single lawsuit, not multiple lawsuits (not that there won't be more, perhaps with a different outcome).

Maybe I am also guilty of seeing only what I would like to see, because what I see is ZERO lawsuits brought against individuals using software to backup DVDs and CDs that they own and do not distribute. Additionally, legality and morality are not as closely intertwined as many believe. There are many actions taken around the world that are/were legal that were not moral. Conversely, many actions taken that are/were moral are not legal. It is fallacious to use the terms interchangeably or synonymously, and a discussion into the relationship of the two has not adequately occurred in this thread, nor are either of us equipped to have that discussion in general terms, only on the terms related to copying DVDs and CDs for Fair Use.

Promoting fear, not understanding, is exactly the intent of these lawsuits and the MPAA/RIAA's long-term plan for preserving an antiquated business model in a digital age, while stifling innovation and fair use. I would encourage everyone to look beyond that fear in protection of Fair Use, and to understand their real rights. As of now, I haven't found any judgments against individuals using any software to crack copyright protections for the purpose of fair use. If one exists, please inform me.

NOTE: The legality/morality section was not directed at anyone in particular, just an illumination on many RIAA/MPAA "wrong to copy" statements.
 

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I think I'm coming off harsh here. I apologize. I'm not trying to attack you, I just don't like fear over understanding. You seem like someone who's really interested in taking this video server thing to the next level, so if you read up on some of these judgments, I think you'll find that as long as you're copying your own DVDs, not distributing the copies or selling the originals, you'll be within the law, within your rights according to fair use, and won't have to lose any sleep at night about wronging the copyright holders.
 

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If there is unreasonable success in the courts rejecting fair use, you can be sure that there will be legislation to reel it back in.
That's the part I'm actually NOT sure about because so much fear mongering has been going on that the vast public hasn't dared to explore how fair use copies can enrich their experience (much less consider the ability to make a copy the "right" that it is). I think our crowd gets it, but we're far from the majority of the public, and that public interest is the only thing that will make me sure (nothing like good ol' public outcry to provide checks and balances).
 

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Why not do what other media servers such as the popcorn hour have done: focus on serving files irrespective of their type and not worry about ripping DVDs. Consumers will find a way to rip their own DVDs without you doing it for them.

Really, if you make a popcorn hour with a better indexing service and more attractive GUI, you'll have a winner.
 

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I hope it's more like netflix at home than blockbuster at home, the last place I would want Blockbuster is in my home.

As for netflix, "HD" is already in home with Xbox. As for 1080p, I don't image it's too far behind once the DVD model starts to dry up (Reed Hastings is predicting a peak in 5 years).

As for convenience of having a "smart tv", I personally don't want it. Sure it's an extra box, but I would rather have ultimate choice in the display that I choose without having to based on what media connection functionality is built in. Especially for Front Projection systems, which are quite unlikely to get Netflix built in (nor would you want it).

If both built-in and boxes were options, no skin off my nose.

The ISO player you mention is the popcorn hour and has been on the market for over a year (no legal difficulties that I heard of). It's the current horse to beat, though the new WDs will be giving it a run for the money given their lower price point.
 

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Wow, okay. I'm sorry that my input isn't the one that you're looking for. However, I won't refrain from correcting misinformation by citing specific examples, or offering my opinion as a user (this forum would be pretty worthless if I and others did). Rather, I supported my understanding of the law with specific case examples, my input on technology with specific rationale, and my input on product development with specific products to model.

I'd say I'm pretty easy to please. I'm pleased that fair use is still protected even if the means by which to practice that fair use are not. I'm please with connected media options in separate boxes so that I don't have to recycle my TV to get new features or services (which pop up every couple months, and often aren't supported by firmware updates because firmware updates don't sell new TVs and AVRs), and I'm mostly please by the Popcorn Hour which has been on the market for over a year with nary a legal problem, and includes blu-ray file playback, though with a sub-par interface.

I'm sorry if these facts don't bode well for your business proposition, but I find that, if you're looking for input, it's important to listen more than you talk, and don't get upset when the input offered isn't what you want to hear.
 
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