AfterDawn Guides & Finnish Copyright Law
You are here for an explanation for why AfterDawn.com no longer offers software capable of circumventing copy protection mechanisms on DVDs and other retail media and why guides no longer have detailed instructions on using these specific tools. New users should definitely read this page.
Why can't my DVD copy software from AfterDawn copy my purchased DVDs?
The answer is quite simple; most DVD-Video discs you buy are copy protected. The very basic protection you can find on a DVD is Content Scrambling System (CSS). This scrambles the contents of a DVD (not very strongly) so that the actual DVD-Video content cannot be accessed by unauthorized (or unlicensed is a better choice of wording) software. So in effect, you cannot play a DVD on Linux or make a backup copy of a DVD without somehow circumventing (or bypassing) CSS.
How do people bypass CSS to make backups?
DeCSS, written by Jon Lech Johansen (DVD Jon) and others, made it possible for consumers to copy the contents of a DVD unprotected to a Hard Disk Drive where they could then use proper software to compress the content or simply burn it to a blank DVD disc. The intention of DeCSS was to make it possible to play DVDs on Linux, but of course, it also made backups and piracy possible so what resulted was an ugly legal battle between the MPAA and Johansen (which Johansen won). The work done on DeCSS led to several software DVD Ripping Titles like DVD Decrypter (info) and AnyDVD (info) being produced
AfterDawn used to carry many DVD ripping tools, and was probably one of the (if not the..) biggest resources for tools to bypass DVD copy protection on the net. However, copyright laws that went into effect in Finland on 1 January, 2006 forced the AfterDawn administration to remove a huge list of tools and censor guides in order to avoid litigation (which wasn't a case of 'if' - it was a case of 'when').
Why didn't AfterDawn take a risk?
The law is dangerously vague in many areas, but one thing that is clearly stated is the site's administration could have faced up to 1 year in prison if it didn't comply with the new law.
Are there more specific details on what was removed?
Yes, right here -> http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/7179.cfm
What was censored in the guides?
Any parts of guides at AfterDawn that showed details on circumventing copy protection were removed. This means that if many of our guides are followed word for word by new users, the majority of the time the user will have no success. This brief Q&A exists to explain that. You will have to track down tools elsewhere to assist you in making backups. Some forum posts at our forums might help, as there was really no need to censor the forums.
Why weren't the forums censored?
The law states that "organized discussion about breaking copy protections" are illegal, but as nobody on our forums is planning to develop tools that break copy protections, we don't think it applies. Additionally, as everybody knows, our forums aren't exactly very organized and moderators aren't our staff members, our admins don't participate in threads discussing about how to break copy protection methods, ever.
What to do next?
If you were directed to this page from a guide you were following at AfterDawn, then when you locate the appropriate tools to assist you in creating backups, return to the guide and the process should now go smoothly. Again, I urge users to read the first news post about the censorship that was written by dRD on 26 December, 2005 - http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/7179.cfm
Written by: James Delahunty