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DVD copyright question

Old 07-26-05, 05:20 PM
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DVD copyright question

I tried searching but didn't really come up with anything.

We can make a backup copy of dvds we own. BUT, can you legally download a copy from p2p and call that your backup copy, or do you actually need to backup the physical disk you own.
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Old 07-26-05, 05:30 PM
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I have tried searching for this before, but this forum is seriously devoid of this type of discussion. I see no problem with your proposal.
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Old 07-26-05, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by superfula
I tried searching but didn't really come up with anything.

We can make a backup copy of dvds we own. BUT, can you legally download a copy from p2p and call that your backup copy, or do you actually need to backup the physical disk you own.
You can only backup dvds you own that doesn't have copy protection. If it has copy protection and you own it, you still aren't allowed to copy it.

As for downloading a movie you own that has no copy protection, I don't see the difference between that and going to a video store that makes backups for you.

Last edited by chemosh6969; 07-26-05 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 07-26-05, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by chemosh6969
You can only backup dvds you own that don't have copy protection. If it has copy protection and you own it, you still aren't allowed to copy it.
Correct.

Nor is anybody else allowed to copy it, so a copy from p2p would also be illegal.

We discourage discussions of copying copyrighted material because what's done with it often violates the copyright.
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Old 07-26-05, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by superfula
We can make a backup copy of dvds we own.
Says who? Seriously. People make this statement all the time with no support. As far as I'm aware, there is no statute that gives a blanket allowance for the backing up for DVDs. There is a statute that allows for backup copies of computer software, but this would not include movies contained on DVD. There is also a statute that provides immunity from copyright infringement suits for those who copy music in certain specific scenarios, but this would likewise not cover movies on DVD. I've also never seen a court ruling either giving a blanket allowance to make personal backups in general or with regard to movies in particular. It's possible to make a fair use argument in favor of backing up DVDs, but, even then, it's still a far too tenuous argument to be stated to forcefully.

On top of all of that, you've got the DMCA, which makes it illegal to circumvent CSS encryption, which covers most professional DVD releases. Further, there's no fair use exception to DMCA anti-circumvention, nor is there any statutory exception for people making backups.

Before wondering about the legality of copying from P2P networks, you're better off double-checking your assumptions about personal backups.

DJ

Last edited by djtoell; 07-26-05 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 07-26-05, 06:18 PM
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I'm just going by my understanding of the DMCA. Whether you are allowed to make a copy of a dvd that is protected is the only question in my mind.

Thanks for the opinions guys. I'm in a debate with a couple friends on this, so I'm also looking for laws or court cases that back the stance up.
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Old 07-26-05, 06:35 PM
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It's a catch-22, as one could state that fair use is still in effect, however, the DMCA made circumventing the CSS encyption in order to make said copy of a protected DVD illegal.
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Old 07-26-05, 06:47 PM
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Have they said what Fair Use means? IE...is it speaking about the content of the disc (the general move), or the actual physical disc you bought.
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Old 07-26-05, 07:37 PM
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I buy a lot of import CDs. I often will copy them to make a backup (and use the backups rather than the original) because 1) they are very hard to find, and 2) they are expensive. Is that wrong? Or rather, illegal?
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Old 07-26-05, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth
I buy a lot of import CDs. I often will copy them to make a backup (and use the backups rather than the original) because 1) they are very hard to find, and 2) they are expensive. Is that wrong? Or rather, illegal?
The Audio Home Recording Act explicitly gives consumers the right to copy audio CDs for personal use.
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Old 07-26-05, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by superfula
Have they said what Fair Use means? IE...is it speaking about the content of the disc (the general move), or the actual physical disc you bought.
This is what the US Copyright Act says that fair use means:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Courts apply these factors on a case-by-case basis. I'm unaware of any court decision applying these factors to the case of personal backups, of DVDs or otherwise. And, again, even if a court somewhere did find personal backups of DVDs to be fair use, it would not affect the DMCA. DMCA anti-circumvention makes it illegal to circumvent DVD copy protection (CSS), regardless of whether the copy you're making while doing it qualifies as a fair use.

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Old 07-26-05, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by superfula
Thanks for the opinions guys. I'm in a debate with a couple friends on this, so I'm also looking for laws or court cases that back the stance up.
We've had discussions of this in the Feedback and Tech Talk fourms. I suggest a search for "DMCA" in the Tech Talk forum for at least one thread that will have legal citations.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:22 PM
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On the original question, I would say its a grey area, but personally with all the things going on with p2p's right now, Its not worth it for me.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:26 PM
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While talking to a friend of mine who is a lowly law student (I call him Dracula...he he he) we discussed a scenario where someone was busted with personal backups of DVDs. He said that the person may not even be taken to court for copyright infringement. They might instead be prosecuted for circumventing the CSS and breaking the DMCA. That would take the "fair use" argument out of the discussion.

I wonder how much $$ the movie studios spent in lobbying the powers that be to get this catch-22 (aka DMCA) passed as law.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:41 PM
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It could be said that "the jury is still out" on this issue...except it hasn't gone to court yet. Which it will need to do before it is resolved.

"Fair use" is meaningless without the ability to copy. But, not as some would believe, the ability to copy something in it's entirety. Although, it could be argued that the Supreme Court did recognize such a "fair use right" with it's decision in the Sony case.

It is quite clear that the DMCA is intended to eliminate this concept of "fair use" (and any concepts of "fair use" as may apply to music, tv, movies and anything in any form of electronic media), because the DMCA and encryption are intended to eliminate the ability of anyone to copy anything.

With the way DRM is being implemented, I wouldn't even count on retaining the right to time shift TV shows in the not too distant future.
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Old 07-26-05, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
"Fair use" is meaningless without the ability to copy.
So how did people exercise fair use before direct copying was even a technological possibility? Surely the people of the 19th century did not think that fair use was meaningless.

But, not as some would believe, the ability to copy something in it's entirety. Although, it could be argued that the Supreme Court did recognize such a "fair use right" with it's decision in the Sony case.
First, there's no such thing as a "fair use right," but that's a story for another day. Anyway, Universal v. Sony recognized no such thing. Instead, it found that time-shifting caused no perceptable damage to the rights of copyright holders who have their material broadcast on television. It relates specifically to that situation, and no other. No broad "right" to make wholesale copies of any old copyrighted work was recognized. And, of course, this was in the home recording world of 1984, when broadcast material often had little value except as broadcast material; one wonders what arguments Universal could put forth in the same case now, in the world of ever-increasing TV-on-DVD releases.

I think the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals got it right in Universal v. Corley:

"[W]e note that the Supreme Court has never held that fair use is constitutionally required, although some isolated statements in its opinions might arguably be enlisted for such a requirement." 273 F.3d 429, 458 (2d Cir. 2001), citations omitted. "We know of no authority for the proposition that fair use, as protected by the Copyright Act, much less the Constitution, guarantees copying by the optimum method or in the identical format of the original.... [T]he DMCA does not impose even an arguable limitation on the opportunity to make a variety of traditional fair uses of DVD movies, such as commenting on their content, quoting excerpts from their screenplays, and even recording portions of the video images and sounds on film or tape by pointing a camera, a camcorder, or a microphone at a monitor as it displays the DVD movie. The fact that the resulting copy will not be as perfect or as manipulable as a digital copy obtained by having direct access to the DVD movie in its digital form, provides no basis for a claim of unconstitutional limitation of fair use. A film critic making fair use of a movie by quoting selected lines of dialogue has no constitutionally valid claim that the review (in print or on television) would be technologically superior if the reviewer had not been prevented from using a movie camera in the theater, nor has an art student a valid constitutional claim to fair use of a painting by photographing it in a museum. Fair use has never been held to be a guarantee of access to copyrighted material in order to copy it by the fair user's preferred technique or in the format of the original." Id. at 459.

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