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Public Knowledge requests DMCA exemption for format shifting DVD content

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Dec 2011 2:52 User comments (3)

Public Knowledge requests DMCA exemption for format shifting DVD content Every three years, when the US Copyright Office considers potential exemptions to the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision, the issue of DVD ripping is raised.
DVD ripping, or more accurately bypassing the CSS encryption used for DRM on most DVDs, is illegal under the DMCA. Not surprisingly, the MPAA has fought the effort to exempt bypassing CSS for fair use purposes on the grounds it would lead to more piracy.

So far the Librarian Of Congress, at the request of the Register of Copyrights, has generally rejected these requests, although limited exemptions for educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students, documentary filmmaking, and noncommercial videos were added last time around.

With another triennial rulemaking process underway, another request for such an exemption has been proposed. There's no particular reason to believe the result will be any different, but there are some important differences in the approach taken this time around by Public Knowledge.

In their filing to the Librarian Of Congress, Public Knowledge has framed the argument for the CSS exemption in terms of format shifting. Rather than arguing in favor of re-using content for purposes not intended by the copyright holder, they are concentrating on the simple act of watching the content, albeit on a device without a DVD drive or decryption capabilities.

At the same time, they point out the widespread availability and use of DVD rippers, with no adverse affects on the home video industry, proves this would have absolutely no impact on the reality of DVD ripping. Instead it would simply legalize what people already consider a normal activity.

Since the late 1990s, consumers have purchased billions of motion pictures on DVD. For most of that time, DVDs were the only widely available format on which motion pictures were available for purchase. As entertainment devices move away from containing DVD drives, many of those consumers have a legitimate desire to transfer their lawfully acquired motion picture from DVD into a format that is accessible on these newer devices. Currently, DVD access control mechanisms in the form of CSS prevent that type of lawful transfer. As the Register has noted, large copyright owners continue to make motion pictures available on DVD even in light of perceived widespread illegal copying. It is extremely unlikely that this exemption would have any meaningful impact on illegal copying, and even less likely that any impact would reduce the desire of copyright owners to make works available digitally. As such, granting this exemption would produce widespread public benefit for legitimate owners of motion pictures on DVD while creating no detrimental effects for copyright owners.

You can read the filing in its entirety below.

DMCA Rulemaking 2011 - Public Knowledge CSS Filing

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3 user comments

17.12.2011 03:06

the MPAA has fought the effort to exempt bypassing CSS for fair use purposes on the grounds it would lead to more piracy.
Worthless bastards...they know perfectly well that CSS doesn't do anything to prevent piracy. They just want to force people to buy digital copies of movies they already own.

All these lies on behalf of the DMCA should be grounds for removing it all together.

27.12.2011 05:02

It's not the methods that are used to prevent Copyright infringement that should be called into question. It's the unreasonable length of time Copyright privileges are granted to content owners that needs to be addressed.

When laws allow unlimited ownership of ideas, it is to a society as iron fusion is to the core of a star.

When verified realities lead us to anger, we must learn to reevaluate our beliefs.

38.12.2011 00:59

Regardless of copyrights, when you buy a movie, you should have the rights to use that movie in any private setting you shouldn't matter if you want to watch it on a laptop with a DVD drive or a netbook without a DVD drive.

Heck, you should even be able to get updated versions...if you have a movie on DVD then you should be able to get the bluray version because you have already paid for the rights to the movie.

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