You can RIP out the DRM, legally.


Spot|DSE wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:40 PM
Not so, Kelly, but we both know you're taking the discussion to an extreme viewpoint.
The DVD player has licensing that allows the DVD manufacturer to decrypt the data on the disc. It's not circumvented, it's not hacked, it's not destroyed, or eliminated. The DVD player has a key to fit the lock. The key is given to the DVD manufacturer as part of their license to manufacture DVD playback devices.
ken c wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:53 PM
I wonder then about legality of the DVD storage units that basically rip 300+ DVDs onto hard drives; maybe they're licensed? Forgot the name of it, looked like a good entertainment system, though pricey.

rstein wrote on 2/20/2007, 4:59 PM

Simplistically, one can contract to do (or to abstain from) anything, subject to it not being an inalienable personal or property right (for example, you can't agree to servitude, and you can't agree to a deed that proscribes your selling or otherwise conveying land).

If you were to enter a license agreement that affirmatively denies you the right to make a backup or archival copy, you're outside the purview of copyright law or DMCA. But why would one agree to that? I don't believe the shrinkwrap of a typical commercial DVD has any limitations like this, because the producers rely on the DMCA and Copyright Act as their enforceable rights.

farss wrote on 2/20/2007, 5:13 PM
Well copyright law is a funny thing, not quite the same as a grant of licence though. You can write anything you like into a licence or contract although the courts may throw it out if it met certain unfair criteria, would be unlikely I'd guess in this circumstance.

The interesting and hard to comprehend part of copyright law is that you cannot deny others a right that you do not have. Doesn't that sound great?

So I as a copyright holder I cannot rent, lease or loan the copyright. I own it or I don't, period. That means that I cannot prevent others from renting, leasing or loaning the work if legally obtained. That's how libraries etc function.

rstein wrote on 2/20/2007, 5:37 PM
Except for CDs. In the US, you cannot rent out a CD or digital audio recording. The music industry in the US was pretty strong in the early 90s. :-)


PS: It's funny that farss and I both put a period on our tagline. I thought I was the only one who did that. farss, could you assign me Northern Hemisphere rights? :-)
johnmeyer wrote on 2/20/2007, 5:53 PM
I wonder then about legality of the DVD storage units that basically rip 300+ DVDs onto hard drives; maybe they're licensed?

My nephew works for one of these companies and yes, they do get licenses for the several terabytes they put on media servers installed in ultra-high-end homes.
CClub wrote on 2/20/2007, 6:49 PM
We all know deep down what's going to happen, don't we? If the major media companies make it: 1) reasonably priced with reasonable backup rules, and 2) give the average customer a simple process, the average person will 1) pay and 2) download. Until they do, people will find ways to get around DRM.

There will ALWAYS be a certain percentage of people that copy music (I remember being broke in high school copying AC/DC songs onto cassette from my buddy's record player). They'll NEVER get that bottom group of people to pay... NEVER, NEVER. The more DRM, the more those people will risk going to virus-laden sites to get free music, video, key generators, etc.

But if companies can offer the average joe an easy, reasonably priced method to get music/films, most of us will do it. Until that happens, all the scare tactics, legalities, arguments back and forth, NO ONE CARES. We just want easy, reasonably priced music/video. It's the 21st century. Stop with the lame "Macrovision" attempts trying to make us all feel like bad boys/girls getting caught stealing Dad's beer. EASY, REASONABLE MEDIA. EASY, REASONABLE MEDIA. ANYTHING ELSE WON'T WORK.

OdieInAz wrote on 2/20/2007, 8:28 PM
Ken C: I bought DSotM on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, and CD (at least I think I did -- maybe a semi-true story, but it seems real to me). I would buy it on DVD if available -- so how many times am I buying this IPR? Guess I'd have to buy it again in .m4a from Stevie J. if I couldn't put the CD tunes on my i*od

So, It is not clear to me what I am buying when I purchase a work... Seems I'm not really buying a disc that I own, but simply a right to use, maybe only a right to use in my home, but not in my car... How about over the internet via slingbox hooked up to a DVD player? Is that legal? Do I own rights to the 1s and 0s in the digital media, or do I a right to the sound that is produced? What if the media is damaged, what happens to the IPR I purchased a right to use? I like Sony Media Software's policy. If my copy of the media I'm licensed gets damaged, then I have instance accesss to the replacement. If someone steals my collection of >1000 CDs, have I been ripped of to the tune $100 or so worth of plastic and aluminum? Maybe my insurance company will stiff over me for $20K because I purchased a right to use IPR and and nothing that is intangible can be stolen...

Not even clear to me how the encryption factors into that right to use - oh wait, none of the DSotM is encrypted!

Finally the whole concept of copyright and IPR theft exists only in the concept of a national legal structure. No legal grant of IPR via copyright restrictions? Then no laws broken, as in Saudia Arabia - no copyright laws I believe, so no theft. If you don't own it, then how can it be theft? Apparently little legal protection in Antigua ether. My point is that copyright law grants one ownership of IPR, so one can allege theft of this intangible property. In countries where there are no laws like this there is no legal IPR ownership, so no theft possible.

When Ben Franklin insisted on copyright law embedded in the constitution, it was clearly to prevent competiton from copying published works and reselling it. Clearly technology has outrun the legal system.
DrLumen wrote on 2/20/2007, 11:13 PM
If DRM were perfect, I wouldn't have a problem with it. It would allow me to make copies, play anywhere and be renewable. Renewable in that if I lose a copy, I can get (download) another copy for a reasonable (not new) cost.

Now, given this perfect scenario, the media would be cheaper because there would be less loss to piracy. However, do you think RIAA and the MPAA would pass the cost savings on to the consumers? Or, would they give us a yet another lame excuse to keep prices inflated? Even with a perfect DRM, the 'industry' would still provide incentive to pirates. Herein, lies the rub! The perfect DRM and DMCA violations would still be at risk because of nothing more than greed. Greed by the industry and greed of the users. The problem is the cost of content.

Which is better? 100,000 copies @ $20 each with 900,000 pirated or 900,000 DRM-free @ $3.50 each and 100,000 pirated?

intel i-4790k / Asus Z97 Pro / 32GB Crucial RAM / Nvidia GTX 560Ti / 500GB Samsung SSD / 256 GB Samsung SSD / 2-WDC 4TB Black HDD's / 2-WDC 1TB HDD's / 2-HP 23" Monitors / Various MIDI gear, controllers and audio interfaces

Serena wrote on 2/21/2007, 3:05 AM
It's interesting that most here have responded as "clients" rather than as "producers". Sure people who want a product want it to be cheap (free being optimum) and with no restrictions on their use. People who are trying to make a living as producers do need to paid for the product. We've heard a lot about it's OK to steal because the producers are rich and the clients are poor, which suggests to me that not many are relying on the production side for food on the table. We're told that there is a "new market paradigm" that doesn't involve being paid for the product, but how this puts food on the table is yet to be revealed.
blink3times wrote on 2/21/2007, 5:17 AM
"We've heard a lot about it's OK to steal because the producers are rich and the clients are poor, "


This is NOT what's being said!!

There is a difference between protecting one's work from piracy... and pure 100% greed, along with failure of the existing system at the consumers expense. In one of the many posts above someone said that when we buy one of these disks, we are not so much buying the plastic that the disk is made of, but rather the right to listen to (or watch) someone else's ideas/views/creations.

So if this is the case, why the heck should I have to buy 2 disks because I have a player in the car and one in the house (for example). I have already bought the right to listen to/watch the material in question when I purchased the first disk.... so why do I need to buy the right a second time over???? This is just plain WRONG, and it's a HUGE expense on the consumer.

And Producers... my guess is that you won't hear too much from them.... they're laughing all the way to the bank.
Ecquillii wrote on 2/21/2007, 6:35 AM
Money is a human invention. It does not exist independently. Democracy is a human invention. It does not exist independently. Copyright is a human invention. It does not exist independently.

Money, democracy and copyright are concepts, not facts, relational agreements between people that govern our interactions. If these concepts are used to exclude or subjugate then they are a form of tyranny. Human inventions require refinement when they don't work for people but against them (the people being all the people, not just the few who benefit from the institution itself).

Copyright as currently instituted is a fear-based, crude method of monetary accrual, and it is contrary to a living, breathing, democratically-informed artistic spirit.

Tim Robertson
Jonathan Neal wrote on 2/21/2007, 6:37 AM
Sure, we've all dabbled in both directions, but I think we're looking at this mainly from the point of the consumer for two reasons.

1. The consumer point of view seems, at best, selfish, greedy, and ignorant. The producer point of view seems, at best, selfish, greedy, ignorant, grossly exaggerated, constantly hostile, and dangerously misinformed.

2. The producer can tickle our eyes and ears, but it is the consumer, ironically, who puts the food on our table.

Therefore, when the buyer speaks, the seller listens.
Spot|DSE wrote on 2/21/2007, 6:43 AM
The right to own something such as a house, or the right of a humanto fly is a human invention; it does not exist independently.
The concept of ownership is significantly older and more ingrained in humanity than copyright is, and the right to relieve others of that which they own was the impetus for the creation of copyright.
You walk through an opening in my wall; I build a door.
You open my door, I build a lock.
You break my lock, I build a weapon.
You use a weapon, I build a group of like-minded people to protect society from your weapon and intent to relieve me of my property.
The DRM issue is not at all different than the locks of medieval times, it's simply a more technical means of putting locks on property.

As both an artist and producer, I'm *not* laughing my way to the bank, but merely making a living in the craft of my choice. When my product is stolen, my name is stolen or hijacked, my trademark abused, I feel it.
If this conversation was limited exclusively to those that have ever filed for copyright, and have content available to the general public, then this thread would read much, much differently.
By show of hands, how many people in this thread have created media that has gone to broadcast, world wide distribution on DVD or broadcast, or general retail through recognized distribution channels?
Jonathan Neal wrote on 2/21/2007, 6:58 AM
I have filed copyright, and I think everyone's insight, career success, copyright filings, or not, has been valuable. These posts are long and rich. I dangle between the ethics and philosophy myself, and at 60+ posts I think it shows in all of us. It's particularly interesting to see how different minded we are on this one. I see a huge polarity between those for and against DRM, or at least how we post our thoughts and or opinions.

blink3times wrote on 2/21/2007, 7:12 AM
"As both an artist and producer, I'm *not* laughing my way to the bank, but merely making a living in the craft of my choice. When my product is stolen, my name is stolen or hijacked, my trademark abused, I feel it."

I don't doubt you feel it for a minute... and when this happens... you've been wronged.

But let's face it.. encryption is placed on a disk for reasons of control, and you as a producer have the right to control your production. But let's say you produce a disk for a client, complete with encryption, and sell it to your client for $25. That client then comes back to you a month later and says he needs another disk for his car. Are you going to charge hime another $25 or are you going to charge him the price of the plastic and a few minutes of your time in running off another disk?

If you charge him nothing more than the plastic, then you would be ONE OF THE VERY FEW producers to do so! Why is the producer allowed to profit (to the extent that they do) for the same piece of work on a different piece of plastic? How many times does a client have to pay the SAME price for the SAME piece of work before it all becomes a total scam? If the work has changed then that's a differnt story, but in this case it hasn't... only the plastic

You charge ANYTHING more than the price of the disk and a few minutes of your time... then what you are doing is USING encryption as a method of profiit.... NOT control.... That in my book is abuse... and it's wrong
Serena wrote on 2/21/2007, 2:18 PM
It is erroneous to claim that buying a DVD is buying the right to view the film/video/whatever. If that were the case, then you would not own the DVD but pay for each viewing (as in going to the theatre). Buying the DVD gives you rights to play the DVD under specific conditions, to which you agree when purchasing. Should you wish to go outside the permissions agreed (e.g. show the film to a larger audience such as a film society) then you need to discuss with the distributor and pay an appropriate fee (which you may or may not think reasonable).
Should I damage a purchased DVD then, very oddly (I gather), I go and buy another copy. This does mean that I treat them carefully, don't lend them to friends, and don't make copies to lend to friends.
It greatly surprises me that anyone here attempts to justify stealing on the basis that producers are ripping them off. These arguments are based on the premise that Bill Gates is a billionaire and therefore all software creators are rich. That Peter Jackson is doing well (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, etc) means neither that it is fair to ignore his copyrights or that Spot is wondering how to spend the fortune he's obviously gained producing sky-diving wedding videos (and more).
Consumer ethics, which are being promoted in this thread, are not honourable.

An alternative marketing model is that you pay for services provided. When I contract for a corporate video the arrangement can be for a certain number of DVDs at a certain unit price,where the total received covers expenses plus something extra so I can live till the next job pays off plus a contribution to superannuation. Should they ask for extra DVDs, then the price for those is negotiable but I see no reason for them to be free. Alternatively the contract can be "costs plus" (in effect they employ me), they own the copyright and can produce as many DVDs as they wish. Same as the session musician is paid for time and skill and the end of the recording session is the end of his/her involvement.

The methodologies developed to protect copyright have many disadvantages, such as corrupting fidelity or making legitimate play more difficult; I'm not in favour of those clumsy devices and nor do I want DVDs to start with tedious warnings about the FBI. Why are they there? Too many consumers have a funny concept about ethics.

The general problem for artists is that people don't want to pay for the time and skill (probably because they have little concept of what's involved). Too many people think that the cost ought to be limited to a small margin over the cost of canvass and paint. Except, of course, when the artist is famous. In making unique jewelery I have people ask the cost of the materials, as if their investment is in a gold ingot and the unique arrangement of the gold, while attractive, is insignificant to the value.

You might conclude that I'm most sceptical about the honesty of consumer intent argued in this thread.
blink3times wrote on 2/21/2007, 3:35 PM
The problem with your argument is that copyrights are constructed not to protect the DVD but rather the CONTENTS of that dvd.... 2 different things. The other thing is that I do not agree to ANYTHING when I buy a DVD. I did not sign papers, I was not made aware of anything specific, The warning on DVD's is so small that I can't even read it without straining the eyes, and the HD DVD's (I'm staring at one right now) have absolutely no detailed copyright warning whatso ever in any visible place on the entire casing. INSIDE, where I can't see (when wrapped in the store) there is a label on the disk that says: Copyright, For home viewing only.

ONLY at the start of the movie does a detailed warning come up.... by that time, it's all unwrapped and open and I can not return it. Pardon me.... Who's stealing???

What I'm trying to get at here is that the general public has not agreed to ANYTHING when they purchase these disks. They are FORCED to agree after everything is opened and out of the box. Although I must admit that AT LEAST the software industry is getting pretty good at doing their best in ensuring people read BEFORE they buy. But cd's, dvd's, hd dvd's.... I don't think they could possibly come up with a font any smaller than the ones they presently use. This may not be illegal, but it's pretty dam shady at best.

You question the honesty of the average consumer... that right is yours. But I question the honesty and integrity of the producer.... and I have that right.

BTW: If you re read my previous statement, I think you will find that I NEVER said ANYTHING about extra DVD's being "free".

Let me just add a little bit more to this (I'm a little ticked!)

Here in Manitoba when buying a house, there is thing called a bridging loan. It's a loan that your Lawyer gives to you at a set intrest rate so you can afford to buy the new house while the old one is still being sold. When the old one is sold, the bridging loan (plus interest) is paid back to the Lawyer. It does not matter if you have the money in the bank to pay for the new house yourself in the intrim... you still must apply for and receive a bridging loan. Guess who got this rule made into law.... YUP...... LAWYERS. Pretty sweet deal eh!

Copyright laws today have become just as shady
rstein wrote on 2/21/2007, 4:08 PM
And actually, there are several separate and distinct copyrights involved in a major motion picture:

* Performance rights (DVDs and other direct-to-consumer media implicitly provide for private, noncommercial playing of the DVD. Thus under copyright law, you cannot fire it up in a theatre for 300 people)
* Rights to the teleplay/screenplay
* Rights to the original written work (where teleplay/screenplay are not original)

I think some folks on this thread are confusing the legal effects of copyright (where the concept of fair use eminates) and licensing agreements (what the parties agree to) with the morality of using someone else's intellectual property without compensation. Blink is right that any license terms that you cannot ascertain at the time of purchase are likely to be held invalid, especially, as with DVDs, once opened, you cannot return them to the retailer. Spot and the other content producers here are also absolutely right that, notwithstanding the license agreement (which may or may not be enforceable), copyright law protects their intellectual property.

It just gets knottier with the DRM layer on top of the pure copyright issues. But how many Vegas content producers generate media with DRM built in? I bet very few, if any.

Performers and IP holders should be able to rely on copyright laws for adequate protection against piracy without resorting to expensive, Draconian constraints (like DRM schemes) that in the end are only are effective against the least sophisticated casual copiers. And, of course, in a perfect world, if people don't make off with copies of works for purposes of selling, giving away, renting, trading, there should be no situation where one needs to enforce via copyright. That's the moral issue (in Europe, intellectual property is based more on this "moral" basis than in the US, where it's more a property basis).


Hey Blink: In the US, it's a violation of an attorney's professional responsibility to require a client to accept a loan like you describe. And, just for the record, there are attorneys who aren't slimeballs. They apologize for the other 99%. :-)
nolonemo wrote on 2/21/2007, 4:15 PM
>>any license terms that you cannot ascertain at the time of purchase are likely to be held invalid, especially, as with DVDs, once opened, you cannot return them to the retailer<<

This statement is probably not be true. It is a common feature of software shrinkwrap licenses that you cannot ascertain the terms of the agreement before you open the box. I just got a copy of XP, and there's no EULA anywhere on the box or in the packaging, so I assume that the EULA is the blue screen of gibberish you're supposed to scoll through and read before you press F8 to continue with the install.

See this recent California federal case:
(note however that the court noted that the purchaser had the right to return the product if they did not agree with the EULA ) As long as we're on legal issues here, the Seventh Cicuit, CDPro, which I understand to be one of the seminal shrinkwrap cases, held that the shrinkwrap EULA was an enforceable contract under article 2 of the UCC since the user had the opportunity to review and reject the contract (even though this happened at installation). But, as has been pointed out, no retalier is going to refund your money for opened software. Does that mean that mean that if I decide I don't like the XP EULA MS has to give me my money back (because if it won't none of the XP EULAs are enforceable?) But UCC Article 2 concerns sales contracts, and there is no sale from MS to me, at least not a direct sale. The mental gears start stripping....

Anyway, as I said in an earlier post, this discussion of the effect of a DVD license agreement or EULA is meaninless unless we know what the license agreement actually says, or, for that matter, whether there even is a license agreement or EULA associated with commercial DVDs, and, (except for the applicability of the DMCA to content-protected DVDs), they are just like CDs, and no one has established that yet.
rstein wrote on 2/21/2007, 5:03 PM
And it gets even more murky. While the majority of courts hold software to be "goods" under UCC Article 2, that's far from universally held. And where software distribution becomes more Internet based, where no tangible item is exchanged, it's hard to square that within UCC Art. 2.

The line of cases you mentioned (by the way, it's ProCD, not CDPro) all involved situations where the buyer could reject the sale (i.e., return the goods with no penalty); not returning was likened to an assent to the shinkwrap terms. But, other cases that involve hardware and software with additional terms "in the box" have gone the other way - mere silence on the buyer's part does not bind the buyer to the additional terms.

So I'll stand by my prediction that where, as with DVDs and CDs, a buyer cannot return the product, any license terms not clearly stated on the face of the package will likely be held unenforceable. I don't think we have any cases on this subject, but the recovery theory for the producer of the DVD/CD would most successfully be based on Copyright rather than contract/license (especially shrinkwrap).

Thanks for the fun diversion from my Bar study (UCC and contracts are covered, IP is not)! But I should probably get back to the boring Civil Procedure and Community Property stuff now. :-)

blink3times wrote on 2/21/2007, 5:14 PM
"Hey Blink: In the US, it's a violation of an attorney's professional responsibility to require a client to accept a loan like you describe. And, just for the record, there are attorneys who aren't slimeballs. They apologize for the other 99%. :-)"

Well... In all honesty... they are required to advise you that the bridge loan can be received from a bank as well

"but hey... since you're here in my office and I just happen to have all the paperwork on my desk, filled out, and ready to go...."
Serena wrote on 2/21/2007, 11:23 PM
It might be fair to say that when you buy your first DVD that you are probably ignorant of the 'contract'. However to argue that you approach each new purchase in the same state of ignorance is rather stretching credulity.
john-beale wrote on 2/21/2007, 11:49 PM
I do event videography and photography full time. Practically, the existing DVD DRM system is not relevant to me because none of my stuff sells in quantities of 1000 discs or more, which is the threshold at which replicated discs and CSS starts to become possible. Even if some perfect DRM technology existed for me to use, I don't think it would have much impact on my sales in my particular market niche (weddings, dance events etc.)