You can RIP out the DRM, legally.


Jonathan Neal wrote on 2/20/2007, 2:36 AM
Sorry Germans:

"Besides decrypting DVDs the software is also able to bypass and rip copy-protected audio CDs. Unlike DVD Decrypter, AnyDVD does not require the user to store an image on the hard disk but allows copying on the fly.

AnyDVD is outlawed in Germany as it removes the copy protection from DVDs. The Heise news portal was sued by the record industry for linking to Slysoft's website in a news report."

Good post, Marco. I've also heard VERY mixed responses on the legality of AnyDVD HD since my post. Wikipedia suggests that it uses elements of PowerDVD and is therefore illegal in most jurisdictions. However, that was not their claim to fame when they released the product. We'll see how the dust settles. I would suggest, in the meantime, that if you're interested in purchasing AnyDVD HD, don't. As far as AnyDVD is concerned, sources safely say that unless you're German, you're all clear. We also don't know if Slysoft will be changing the method of decryption in any of their software, and they _would_ be the kind of company to change or 'upgrade' something, regardless of it's legal impact.

( potential repliers who are confused by this reply and my previous post, my previous post deals with my own ethics and philosophy, but the news and facts are what they are )
farss wrote on 2/20/2007, 2:43 AM
Which is better, the cabbage or the rose?
Jonathan Neal wrote on 2/20/2007, 3:30 AM
the rose :-)
vicmilt wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:10 AM
Whoa - Jonathan -
I thought you wanted to be famous...

Spot's arguement is right on, because it totally quantifies theft in an analogy we can all understand.

But what's being stolen and lost is not only PRODUCT -

We live in a capitalist society. You've GOT to get and have money to survive - to eat, live, travel and relax.

My last movie, "Light it Right" was a smash success - RELATIVELY SPEAKING - after all, how many video geeks are out there, anyway? But it took me three months to produce, and cost BUCKS out of pocket - lots of bucks for studio, crew, talent, equipment and pizza. Based on the hundred or more "You changed my life" letters I've received - I did good... but....

To break even on a low production project like that we've GOT to charge a premium price - further inviting theft. If I don't break even and make enough money in addition to survive (and even prosper), what is my incentive to produce another video?

Is it fair to steal it, just because it's so easy?
Is it right to say I should lose out on compensation, just because I love what I do?
And what right do YOU or ANYONE else have to subvert my media, message and delivery to your own use?

If in your personal quest to "fame" you have to sell shoes to make ends meet while you create your music - how much music will you make - once you've got a wife, kids, a mortgage and a capitalistic life?

I did the work - I have the talent - I want to do more.
Show me the money -
or I'll look for something else to do.

Jonathan Neal wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:28 AM
vicmilt, look what you've done. Do you realize it that if anyone came here and wanted to understand everything you're talking about now, they're going to have to read a few extra hours of boring, trite dialog? Let's keep this thread to _this_ thread. Actually, did you finish reading my post before you commented on it? I get the impression you didn't what-with-all the "got to get and have money to survive" talk.

The business is changing, which means there is a new market. To clarify, when I say market I wasn't talking about some hippy freebie show where you get down on your knees and ask the dirty pirates nicely if they'll spare you some change. This is the next assembly line! And in this assembly line the consumer gets the assembly, and you produce the product. I'm sorry that life is a little harder because things are different in the new digital medium. I'm sorry that since we gave the consumer a video cassette they figured out it was easy enough to copy it, and then we gave them the disc, and it was even easier, and now we give them the file. We're still figuring this market out, but I already know I'm on the right path. The first clue was when I started thinking differently and some of you guys started getting flustered. At some point we're all going to have to get onboard the new money train, or get left at the station. You can call me ridiculous and silly, and I'll laugh all the way to the bank. If you have anything, it can be sold.

“Guaranteed not to turn pink in the can.”
blink3times wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:32 AM
I have ANYDVD… great program! Sure saved me a lot of money so far. I think I will upgrade to ANYHD-DVD. Of course when I do, I guess I’ll actually have to pay for it. The version I have now is 2 years old… it was the complete downloaded file. Today you download the setup only… the file stays with them. The complete file allows me to use the same 21 day trial over and over again (I install it when needed, then when I am finished I reinstall my old disk image before the 21 day trial runs out… I also have a firewall and I prevent it from phoning home. When I reload my previous disk image it’s like it was never there. Companies are starting to catch onto this…. Darn it!)

Am I dishonest… well I suppose in the mean sense of the term….

Do I feel guilty…. NNNNOPE

You think the Artist(s) in question on that cd/dvd are clean as the driven snow? Walmart preaches family values… then they turn around and tromp all over Human rights in order for profit (The actual company name has been used, since here in Canada, they have already been found guilty of H.R. violations in a court of law). Enron… well… enough of that one. Our City no longer has a Pro Hockey team. They moved on because the players refused to take a pay cut… seems they think they’re worth more than the multi-million a year they already get. Are you perfect? Before you answer that, check the pencil holder on your desk… how many of those pencils actually came from the office? You think the CEO of "You fill in the name" Studios is having to make a choice between the bus and walking on Monday morning? No… his choice is more along the lines of which Bentley to take. In fact, it would be interesting to know of the dollars that bought those Bentley’s, how many where actually honest ones as opposed to “loop hole” ones. CRAFTECH on the board here somewhere is complaining about sub-standard TV cable quality… why is he complaining in the first place? Because the cable company can get away with sub par service. For like the 5th or 6th time in a row, our Senators just voted themselves another raise. I work for Government… for the last 5 years, we’ve received nothing but cut-backs.

Now… do 2 wrongs make a right? No. Does someone else’s dishonesty make it all right for me? No. But just like anybody else, I will climb through what ever loop hole I can to advance myself and my family. Now… will I steal a candy bar from the store or from someone’s hand? Not now… but if I lose the job and run out of money, then all bets are off.

And for those that are preaching greatness, goodness and Snow White…. Well like I said, check your pencil holder, or last years taxes… or…. Well, you know what I mean.

(He he he he... let's see how long this post stays up... Most people just can't handle this kind of honest brashness)
farss wrote on 2/20/2007, 5:18 AM
Which kind of explains why we need laws and jails.
The saddest part of which is that those of us who have ethics have to pay taxes to pay for your incarceration. Of course if I was unethical I'd soon workout that I could reduce my tax burden if ALL offenses carried a mandatory death penalty.
blink3times wrote on 2/20/2007, 5:37 AM
Well, there is no death penalty here in Canada, and BTW... would you consider the thousands of seniour citizens that flood our borders for cheap perscription drugs... criminals.

How about the person with the post up that advertises how to convert a Canon printer to fit a cd/dvd printer tray on (In Canada Canon cd/dvd printers are legal, but in the US Epson holds the patent rights). Maybe not ilegal... but a bit shady none the less.

How about the Canadian that uses tax payers dollars to educate themselves and then moves to The US?

I guess what it comes down to is how well we "ALL" are at rationalizing our ethics.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 2/20/2007, 6:26 AM
Doe anyone else feel it's "right" for only Media companies to be able to have all these restrictions while no other industry does? I can buy a PS3, rig it to play X-Box 360 games & it's perfectly legal. I can take my Ford Tarus, put a new engine in it, change the axel, do whatever I want, it's still legal. I can wire up my own hot-water tank! But I can't modify a copy of "Braveheart" to my own liking.

I'm not going to say people should be breaking the law, but the media industry has a LOT of "special privileges" that no other industry has. Yes, it's their media, they designed it, customized it, etc. to their specifications, but so did Sony with the PS3 & Ford with the Tarus, but I can do whatever I want with those, even LEGALLY, modify their intended purpose. The only catch is it's not their problem anymore if something goes wrong & I can't re-sell it as origional. But even with those customizations, etc. people STILL buy them.

Perhaps the media industry should be forced to the same laws as other industries. The media industry is (basically) the ONLY industry where you don't NEED to keep working to bring in more profits as you can keep-reselling old product. Nearly all other industries can't do that due to competition trying to one-up them (would Microsoft keep coming out with "better" windows if they didn't have a threat from Linux & Apple? Would Ford come out with a new car design every year if they didn't have a thread from Chevy? Would Verizon come out with FIOS if it didn't have competition against Cable companies?). And yeah, you could say that it's hard to copy a PS3, but it's NOT hard to buy a used one that does everything a new one does & is already modified to your liking. So why don't people feel they should have to pay $20 for a movie but are more then happy to pay $60 for a PS3 game?
Former user wrote on 2/20/2007, 6:44 AM
Happyfriar, all industries have regulations. You can change out the engine on your Taurus but you can't bypass the emissions systems and you have to have a registration and a car tag and in most states insurance to be legal. And you cannot make your own car and call it a Ford Taurus.

Media is ALL the entertainment has to sell. They are not selling pieces of plastic, unlike a car manufacturer. They are only selling intellectual/creative ideas.

Dave T2
blink3times wrote on 2/20/2007, 7:08 AM

I'm in 110% agreement with you. I think this copyright stuff has gone WAYYYY overboard. I understand the need to protect the artist/producer/studio... they have to make a living too... they are entitled to their income... But how much is enough?

I think every one should be obliged to buy the first cd/dvd/hd dvd... but why the heck should you have to buy 2 because maybe you have a player in the car???

There is support... then there is out right greed at the consumer's expense... and I think the line was crossed some time ago

The same thing has happened with the software industry... Microsoft and their "one xp per machine rule"... and it appears that everybody has followed.

Epson and their sole patent rights in the USA on cd/dvd printers. They have taken away the American's rights to enjoy a canon printer. But do you think they stop there...NO... they install usage chips in the ink tanks... you can't even get all the ink out of the cartidges!!! And the price of those cartridges... here they're $23 each... how much ink do they hold... $1 maybe 2? Well... i suppose you can always buy the FAKE epson ink... but how ethical do you think an Epson official sees that as?

The whole thing has just become absolutely outragous! Well... you take things too far and you have to expect SOME kind of backlash.
Laurence wrote on 2/20/2007, 8:04 AM
In my home, I have one of those Bose stereos that will play mp3s burned on a CDR. I can't play DRM protected music on this. In my car I have a stereo that will also play back mp3 discs, but not DRM protected mp3s. Basically what this means is that if I buy DRM protected music, I can listen to it on my iPod, but not in my living room or in my car. How dumb is that?
ken c wrote on 2/20/2007, 8:41 AM
I believe that those of us who are content producers should of course have our IP rights protected.

But I also agree that the Way in which the RIAA/MPAA is going about it, is a burden to consumers and a major hassle.

Like not being able to play the music you bought, in whatever format, in multiple players...

I think that individuals should have license rights to the content they purchased, and should have lifetime individual usage rights once purchased.

For example, if I go buy "Pink Floyd--Dark Side of the Moon", or "Bob Marley's Best Hits", I should be able to buy the CD and have rights to use the music in *all* my playback devices, whether that be an ipod or my rio player or my car stereo or my home stereo... NOT to be hampered and hassled by DRM restrictions on what I can and cannot play it in - that's ridiculous.

And for example if I bought the original CD back in 1988 and it gets scratched, I should have my name in some central rights database so I can re-download the content, instead of having to pay for it multiple times. Right?

The RIAA and related industries are justifiably concerned about the "napster" phenomenon, which almost put them out of business. Nowadays, it's bittorrent streams that serve the same function. People who can't or won't afford to buy the media legitimately will still ALWAYS find a way to rip or share the content.

What's useful, is apple's business model lesson learned, with huge success at the $1 a song model, which many people liked. Now the key is making the content non-DRM protected.

Example: word has it that several adult sites started encoding their xxx downloads with DRM protection, and found themselves almost out of business, so they stopped that in a hurry, because competitive sites didn't do that, eg 3-month renewed licensed for downloadable wmvs etc.

Point is, make it accessible to the consumer, not a hassle, or people will create keys to the locks, like and others, to handily defeat DRM protection.

Current approaches do not strike an agreeable balance between producers and consumers' rights, especially the current HD DRM/blu-ray etc situation.

It reminds me of the macrovision on VHS tapes, which spawned a huge "anti-copyguard box" industry, where for $99 you could buy a hardware box that would take out the blackout/sync line signal from commercial VHS tapes, making them copyable. And that was 30 years ago.

Laurence wrote on 2/20/2007, 8:45 AM
If I could buy non-DRM protected content online I would. Why go into the virus infected pirate sites to save $1? It's not like there is that much music that I actually like.
BrianStanding wrote on 2/20/2007, 8:45 AM
The problem with DRM is that it is an attempt to use a deeply flawed and intrusive technological solution to correct a deeply flawed policy and legal framework.

Like much of current law, copyright law (and especially the DCMA!) has been cobbled together at the behest of various powerful lobbies that have enormous financial resources, much money at stake, and in cooperation with legislators who are only too willing to compromise the public interest in exchange for campaign contributions.

Given that environment, it's no wonder the copyright law is a complete shambles. I would argue that as it stands now, copyright law does a completely inadequate job of:

a. protecting the rights of artists, authors, writers, musicians, software engineers, video producers, and all other creators, AND

b. protecting the rights of the public to freely exchange ideas in the public domain without fear of retribution.

It seems like a decent balance could be struck between these two that would:
1. Guarantee a reasonable return on intellectual property for a limited period of time;

2. Better define what intellectual property rights are and who can own them to prevent obvious abuses such as "copyrighting" a city skyline that does not have a single "author," or Michael Jackson buying the copyright to John Lennon's works.

3. Adopt a stratified, standardized copyright system similar to the Creative Commons concept that allows authors to select which rights they choose to convey, without forcing the public to hire a lawyer to interpret the terms of hundreds of individual licenses. For example: a simple "copy for own use" license for musical recordings.

4. codify what is and what is not "fair use," to allow for unfettered criticism, discussion, inspiration and education involving copyrighted works

5. establish an absolute timeframe after which all copyrighted works enter the public domain (with no exceptions for political friends with deep pockets) to encourage the enlargement of culture

It wouldn't be hard to draft legislation that would do all this.

Will we get it? No way: see the first paragraph in this post.
volzjr wrote on 2/20/2007, 10:09 AM
The biggest flaw in the candy bar analogy is that media content is created to be distributed in return for money. Putting it into a bag and keeping it to yourself does not accomplish this. The trick is finding a pricepoint and a convenient enough delivery method to create the maximum revenue stream. The movie studios used to be vehemently against selling VHS tapes of their movies. They feared the loss of control. A few studios tested the waters, but with tapes priced at or above $69. Research showed that one person was buying the tape and making copies for all their friends, and the studios said "See! you can't trust people." It wasn't until a few studios got wise and priced their tapes <$20 that a new business model was born, and there isn't a studio out there today that could afford to do without the revenue from tape & DVD sales. Some movies even make more money from sales than they did in the theaters.
On the flip side of this... the original "Napster" method of distributing music was a horror show for the record companies, and they clearly had to take steps to stop that practice. This episode proved that if you make the free distribution of content TOO easy, the floodgates would indeed fly open. Thus the content creators discovered that there is clearly a need to stem the flow of content in some method that, again, strikes a balance between cost & convenience, and yes, creates the maximum revenue stream.
Which brings us to our current situation with DRM. I sit here with a Blu-ray drive in my PC, a 56" LCoS display at 1080p, and an OS that says I can't take advantage of all this expensive hardware to view a Blu-ray disc in Hi-def. Again, the content providers are "holding their bag of candy bars" too tightly. Yes, they are maintaining control, but they are also restricting their potential revenue stream. By restricting the playback of HD content to only the standalone players, the sub-set of enthusiasts that only have HD PC drives have no incentive to purchase any HD content.
There will always be those who hack into content they don't own, no matter how complex the content providers make it. That will never stop. The trick is in devising a method that makes it too inconvenient for the average joe to deal with, while allowing the actual purchasers of the content the freedom to use the media as they see fit, at a good pricepoint. Doing this would minimize the number of sales lost to hacks, while maximizing the number of people who view that particular media as a good value for their money. Common sense tells you that any system that dumbs-down the resolution of a disc simply because the equipment is PC based is not going to sell as many HD discs. And remember, selling content is the whole reason for creating content! Frankly, I don't view DRM as it exists today as that solution. Just my 0.02.
rstein wrote on 2/20/2007, 10:23 AM
I've mentioned (as well as Spot) that DVD content is subject to fair use, but that, paradoxically, the end-user cannot legally make a back up copy because they then run afoul of the DMCA proscription against defeating copy protection mechanisms.

Here's another fun copyright/IP law tidbit: Did you know that it's against federal law in the US to rent CDs? Yep, it's true, and has been this way since the early 1990s (way before DMCA). Obviously, it's not illegal to rent DVDs.

The consumer is faced with multiple, confusing layers of what's fair use and what's not. Obviously, there's the moral issue of not stealing someone else's work. Yet the laws are schizophrenic about the fair use of product, purchased by the consumer legally. Clearly, the technological constraints are not going to work - they are all ultimately circumventable. The irony is that makes the consumer a "criminal" when they take advantage of what (otherwise) is a legal right to a fair use backup copy for their own archival purposes.

A knotty problem, to be sure. As many here observe, the market and business models for creative media will have to evolve to allow the balance between fair use and deterrence against piracy to reach equilibrium.

johnmeyer wrote on 2/20/2007, 11:41 AM
The undercurrents in these threads about copyright always bothers me.

1. Righteous indignation. When I ran software companies, I knew darn well how easy it was to copy my product and rip off my work. I didn't like the lost revenue, but rather than going around bitching and moaning, and blaming and kvetching, I figured out ways to sell as much as I could to people who WERE willing to pay, and to offer them as many incentives as possible to buy as much as possible, and to stick with my company when it came time to upgrade. The point is, every business has problems with illegal activity, and you learn to deal with it, and you certainly don't get outraged about something you knew was part of the deal. Some of the responses remind me of a neophyte retailer who sets up shop, then finds out that people shoplift, and then goes to the state legislature to have shoplifting declared a capital crime so the shoplifters can be shot.

2. Extended definition of criminal behavior. This is the part that really gets to me. Many of the analogies to crime in other areas (including my own analogy above) break down, because much of what DRM is addressing, is not the act of stealing the work in order to profit, but instead using the work -- in the privacy of ones home -- in a manner that conflicts with the author's original intent. For instance, if Ravel had been alive in 1980, I can imagine, under the DRM scenario, that he might have objected to people making love to "Bolero" after seeing Bo Derek and Dudley Moore in the movie "10."

"That is not an intended use of my creation! You can't do that!!!"

Then again, he was French and probably would have understood ...
nolonemo wrote on 2/20/2007, 12:59 PM
OK, I'm a little confused. If the DMCA did not exist, would it be a violation of the typical commerical DVD license for me to rip and make a backup copy (to be kept in the drawer)? (I assume this license is entered into somewhat similarly to the shrinkwrap/clickwrap license associated with computer program software, i.e. by opening the package or watching the video I'm agreeing to the terms of the license).

I'm not talking about copyright law here, just the unilateral contract of adhesion I enter into when I purchase a DVD.
johnmeyer wrote on 2/20/2007, 3:07 PM
If the DMCA did not exist, would it be a violation of the typical commerical DVD license for me to rip and make a backup copy (to be kept in the drawer)?

Yes. The anti-circumvention provision of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a criminal offense to decrypt a disc, no matter what your intent, and no matter your ownership status. The act of decrypting is itself illegal. I realize that to some (like me) it seems as though it would be the same as getting arrested for breaking the lock to your own house after you left your keys inside, but apparently this is how the law reads.
rstein wrote on 2/20/2007, 3:10 PM
Not a contract of adhesion, but the law - if the content owner/author places any protection mechanism on the medium (i.e., CSS, Macrovision), you violate the law by defeating it. The act of breaking the code is the violation of law (not contract). Technically, once you've decoded the content, it's subject to fair use and you could legally have ONE backup copy SOLELY for personal archival purposes. But to get that unencrypted content you've broken the law...

The corollary is that if the content owner/author doesn't place any encryption or protection schemes on the DVD, then it's straightforward fair use. One archival copy is completely legal.

And nothing prevents you from storing the original as the "archive" and using the "backup" in every day usage (think CDs with teenagers), as long as at any given time there's only one copy and it's under your control.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer (yet) so none of this is offered, nor should be construed as, legal advice. :-)
nolonemo wrote on 2/20/2007, 3:40 PM
rstein & johnmeyer,

Thanks, but you misunderstood my question, which was *assuming the DMCA did not exist, so that circumventing the copy protection mechanism is not illegal in itself*

is there anything in the typical DVD license agreement that would prevent me from making a copy, i.e., if, for example, Brokeback Mountain was released to DVD without CSS, is there anything in the license agreement that I presumably enter when I purchase the DVD that would prevent me from making a backup copy.

(BTW, I assume that, the Fair Use doctrine aside, a content owner can create a license the prevents the licensee from making even fair use of the licensed content - not as a matter of copyright law, but as a matter of contract. For example, as a content owner, in theory I could grant you a license that would allow you, and only you, only to view the software once, on a specific date on a specific time, on a designated player, and that would require you to destroy the media containing the software within x minutes after viewing, etc, etc, because the license is simply a contract between the content owner and the licensee, and should not be trumped by general principles of copyright law. The irony is that under such a license, someone who had not licensed the content (if they got ahold of it) might have greater rights to use it under the fair use doctrine than the licensee, who would be contractually limited by the terms of the license. But I digress...
Spot|DSE wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:01 PM
Yes. The anti-circumvention provision of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a criminal offense to decrypt a disc, no matter what your intent, and no matter your ownership status. The act of decrypting is itself illegal.
As of this year, educational institutions and certain uses within the industry are now permitted to rip DVDs/portions thereof, for educational, testing, investigation, and certain archival uses. This was one of six amendments to copyright law in 2006.

it puts to rest all the arguments relating to software of "What happens when I buy XXX software and they go out of business" as making copies/circumventing registration/protection is now legal in this particular event.
Chienworks wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:25 PM
"makes it a criminal offense to decrypt a disc, no matter what your intent"

Hmmmmm. I'm in BIG trouble then!!! I decrypt discs daily, sometimes 3 or 4 a day, and have been doing so for years! I suppose it doesn't matter that my method for doing so is to put the disc in my "off the shelf, purchased at Wal*Mart" DVD player and watch the movie on my 22 year old RCA TV purchased from Sears, or that my intent is to enjoy the movie. I'm still obviously decrypting it or i wouldn't be able to watch the movie.

See, it's the nitpicky arguments like this that make DMCA and DRM so pointless and stupid. By a strict interpretation of DCMA none of us would even be able to watch encrypted DVDs at all!