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Judge Rules Against RealDVD 407

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
mattOzan writes "Judge Marilyn Hall Patel was unswayed by RealNetworks' defense of their product under the Fair Use Doctrine, as she declared RealDVD illegal and barred its distribution. As she said in her ruling, 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.' She also said RealNetworks was aware of the conflict between their agreement and their plans for the software: 'Real did not elect to return (or destroy, with appropriate certification) the CSS General Specifications after it received them, as Real had a right to do under the agreement... This behavior indicates that Real understood it to be bound by the CSS General Specifications as well as the other technical specifications received after execution of the CSS License Agreement.'"
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Judge Rules Against RealDVD

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  • by old_skul (566766) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:43AM (#29037357) Journal
    While I hate RealNetworks and all it stands for, and will never forgive them for taking over online media with their crappy bloated players and codecs....I think I hate the movie industry just a little more. Especially Sony Pictures. I think the net effect (as usual) is that this sucks for consumers.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:49AM (#29037447) Journal

      While I hate RealNetworks and all it stands for, and will never forgive them for taking over online media with their crappy bloated players and codecs....I think I hate the movie industry just a little more. Especially Sony Pictures. I think the net effect (as usual) is that this sucks for consumers.

      No, the net effect is that there is no possible way to exercise your right to a single backup of a DVD for your personal use. Despite the 2007 DVD Jukebox ruling [slashdot.org], every DVD copying solution [slashdot.org] seems to be illegal. So what you do not realize when you're purchasing DVDs is that they are not only effectively DRM'd, they ignore your right to fair use.

      I'm interested in watching RealNetwork's antitrust claims against the industry [slashdot.org]. I could think of some very basic arguments to be used in that case. Hell, I think someone should take up the case of fair use violations against them.

      When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by halber_mensch (851834)

        When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media.

        If the film industry doesn't want to deal with viewers' pesky "fair use" rights, then really they should not distribute their films on any media and then they could have the fine grained control they want. After a few months of being in the red they will come back to their senses and realize that maybe their customers are important to their well-being after all.

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:01AM (#29037653) Homepage

        there is no possible way to exercise your right to a single backup of a DVD for your personal use

        You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

        Note carefully that I didn't say that makes any sense, but the letter of the law does allow each individual to create and use such a tool, purely for their own personal use.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Desler (1608317)

          You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

          The law doesn't make any provision against obtaining the tool. The DMCA criminalizes the production and distribution of the tool to bypass copyright protections. Practically, it means you can only obtain a tool from people breaking the law.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TejWC (758299)

          Then I guess this gallery [cmu.edu] should be useful for a lot of people.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Nope. Remember the DMCA prohibits both the distribution OR production of such tools. Now as a matter of practicality if you make your own nobody could possibly know about it, but still, it's technically illegal for you to produce such a tool, even for your own use.

        • by schon (31600) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:52AM (#29038379)

          You can write your own tool to do it, you just can't obtain one or give it to anyone else.

          As others have pointed out, this is incorrect. I thought I'd include the actual letter of the law here:

          TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 12 > 1201 [cornell.edu]
            1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems
          (a) Violations Regarding Circumvention of Technological Measures.--
          (1) (A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

          [...]

          (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--
          (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

          Writing one yourself would be considered "manufacturing".

        • The courts seem to be saying that simply because DVD movies are encrypted, the laws banning unauthorized decryption of said content trump one's "fair use" rights to copy the source material.

          (That's the only logical conclusion I can draw from their making the distinction to Real Networks that their unwillingness to "return or destroy" the CSS agreement constituted their loss of rights to market this product.)

          Ultimately, such an agreement is either legally binding, or it isn't -- and if "fair use" rights trum

      • by AtomicJake (795218) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:03AM (#29037683)

        When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

        I fully agree to your reasoning. But I think that the only real consequence is: Do not buy any movie, music, software that is distributed on DRM "protected" media.

        This behavior, btw, may over time maybe also change the offer.

        • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:17AM (#29037875)
          Sadly, it would take mass numbers of consumers boycotting the most popular movies in order for this to have any effect. Most people do not actually care about this issue -- they do not care about their right to make a backup copy because they do not make backup copies, and they do not see this as having broader implications. The MPAA knows this, and that is why they continue to bully people who do care.
          • The bad thing is that this doesn't just apply to copyright issues, but practically everything of substance. It's a sad fact that the majority just wants their bread and circuses while caring about little else, and either lacks or refuses to use their critical thought facilities to really analyze things instead of just accepting whatever the mass media, politicians, or anyone else with an agenda tell them.
        • And that's why, if I want to buy an old movie, I'll buy a laserdisc. No DRM whatsoever.

          Too bad they stopped producing LDs in ~2000.

      • by mrbcs (737902) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:19AM (#29037889)

        When I buy a DVD, I want to be able to create a backup that I use and store the DVD in safe keeping. If they don't want me to do this, distribute your films on a more robust media. This ruling is down right horrible for consumers.

        I want to copy it on to my mediacenter pc so I can play it on any pc in my house. I also can't stand those ads at the beginning of the dvd. I don't need to see their damn warning for the thousandth time either.

      • From the decision:

        However, the reach of the DMCA is vast and it does not allow courts the discretion to make this assessment and render a value judgment untethered from the language of the statute. In the words of Justice Cardozo, âoe[l]aws are not to be sacrificed by courts on the assumption that legislation is the play of whim and fancy.â People ex rel. Alpha Portland Cement Co. v. Knapp, 230 N.Y. 48, 62 (1920).The court is bound by the DMCA provisions at issue, even if it determines the extent to which innovative technologies realize their future potential.

        Basically, she's saying that Congress wrote this law, and it's not unconstitutional, so she can't strike it down. If you want to change it, contact your legislator. Don't biatch at her.

      • by log0n (18224)

        It reminds me of those crazy old timey marijuana/narco laws (History Channel w/ their Hooked program).. along the lines of it being ok to grow and to sell, but was illegal to possess. Makes you feel like you have a right still, but effectively quashing any attempt to take advantage of the right.

        Double speak ftw!

    • by neowolf (173735) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:04AM (#29037697)
      Agreed. I hate RealNetworks too for the same reasons, but I was hoping they would win this. Consumers have lost a big one here...

      It's sad really- DRM and things like this make me think twice (or more) before going to the movie theater or buying a DVD. I don't want to support companies like Sony anymore. If I go on a business trip- I want to be able to watch movies I PAID for on my laptop, without having to use the costly (battery-wise) DVD drive or carry bulky DVDs. I also now want to watch movies on my netbook- which doesn't have a DVD drive at all. In any case- I am talking about DVDs that I PAID for!

      This really has nothing to do with piracy- it is pure greed on the part of a handful of media companies. They aren't content with you paying once or twice to watch a movie (in theater and on DVD). The want you to pay 3 or more times for the SAME movie, just to get it in different formats you should be able to do yourself- DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital, Online.

      Want another example of their greed in action- check out the recent news about how they are applying the screws to Red Box. At least I have to give Sony credit for negotiating with them, while the others refuse. I'm sure Red Box got screwed somehow in the deal anyway, but at least they can still rent out Sony's releases.
      • by schon (31600) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:59AM (#29038489)

        This really has nothing to do with piracy- it is pure greed on the part of a handful of media companies. They aren't content with you paying once or twice to watch a movie (in theater and on DVD). The want you to pay 3 or more times for the SAME movie

        It's more than that - the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA are expressly designed to eliminate fair use (as we see here) and "work around" the copyright expiration clause of the US Constitution.

        Think about it - barring any more copyright extension, all of your DVDs will become public domain in 100 years or so... so you would be free to copy them, except that you're prohibited from owning or creating anything that actually could copy them.

  • by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:43AM (#29037373)
    If it's legal to store backup copies of your discs, but you can't legally buy a tool to make them, it seems that the only way to exercise your fair use rights is to download backup copies from BitTorrent and similar services.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BeardedChimp (1416531)
      If it's a "DMCA violation to distribute products that enable consumers to override copyright owner preferences against unauthorized copying", then does that mean that repositries that distribute libcss2 are breaking the law?
      • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:02AM (#29037675)
        Yeah, but they wanted a test case against a private company with real money and little public support. As soon as a Linux distributor has enough money to be worth the bother, expect to see either:
        1. libcss2 to be removed from their repositories
        2. The company to reincorporate overseas to avoid DMCA (only possible for smaller companies)
        3. Lawsuits

        Of course, it doesn't help that RealDVD is more accessible to consumers, and takes the easy "wizard" approach of doing a single task well. libcss is not a special purpose ripping program, even if it enables that sort of functionality. RealDVD is.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          Didn't Debian used to have a server somewhere in Europe for distributing encryption stuff that wasn't allowed to be distributed in the USA?

          (I don't remember the details, as I don't live in the USA so it didn't affect me.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IBBoard (1128019)

        Yes - in America. That's part of why Fedora doesn't include it but Suse does - Fedora is quite American-centric, while Suse has always been quite German-centric. Just because using libcss2 in the US is illegal to make use of "fair use" rights doesn't mean that it's illegal in the rest of the world ;)

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:45AM (#29037387)

    So it's perfectly legal for customers to make their own backup copies of media, just as long as it's impossible for them to do. God, I love modern IP law!

    Well, I guess everyone could go get a programming degree and write their own copying software. Or we could just break the law (since the law at this point has turned almost 100% of the citizens of the world into lawbreakers already, in one form or another).

    And before any of you jump in to point out that the DMCA is just a U.S. thing, you had better keep in mind that the DMCA is just the U.S. implementation of the WIPO COpyright Treaty [wikipedia.org], so these types of court cases are probably in the pipeline for your country soon too!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who says that any law has to be fair or just?

      All laws are the result of compromise among the concerned parties favoring the party that has the most influence - whether it's money (big corps) or a very vocal group (religious conservatives).

    • by wbren (682133)

      So it's perfectly legal for customers to make their own backup copies of media...

      That is not quite what the judge is saying. "it may well be legal" != "it is legal"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ciarang (967337)

      Well, I guess everyone could go get a programming degree and write their own copying software.

      It's much simpler than that. Just don't buy the pesky things in the first place.

  • Repeal the DMCA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:45AM (#29037399)

    It's an affront to fair use. The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner. The DMCA is very clear, and leaves no wiggle room. It was designed very carefully to ensure it would prevent people from using any unauthorized software with DVDs.

    Fortunately, this does not yet affect my ability to read DVDs under Linux.

    • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:56AM (#29037553) Homepage Journal

      The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner.

      As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

      Unfortunately, it sounds to me like the courts are siding with the MPAA, that protection of content is more important than fair use. It's a shame, really. I'm not sure that the judge understands that this is about more than just Real trying to sell a product, it's about upholding fair use laws that protect the "little guy" from an oppressive industry.

      Once fair use laws are precedented out of existence, what's next? Will copyright law (which, let's not kid ourselves, is what the DMCA is just a front for) override our right to make a parody of something? Our right to tell our buddies who won the football game last night? How long until the industry decides that the whole pesky free speech and freedom of expression things are encroaching upon their profits and must be overturned as well?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nomadic (141991)
        As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

        No, the courts don't have any discretion in deciding which law has priority; it is well settled that when two laws conflict, the later one controls.
      • by Desler (1608317)

        As I understand it, no, it's not so obvious. It seems to me that what we have are two laws that are coming into direct conflict with each other. One says that you can do something, and one says you can't. The issue at hand, the thing that these court cases are supposed to be settling, is which one has priority.

        No two laws are coming into conflict with each other. For anyone who isn't a moron it's quite clear that the latter law, the DMCA in this case, takes precedence over an older law, in this case the 1976 Copyright Act. This has always been the case.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Uh, DMCA has problems, but I highly doubt that a: congresscritters will repeal it or b: you want section 230 to be gone, so throwing DMCA out the door isn't going to help that as much as it would solve some problems.

      so let's think this through: the proper answer is, lets fix this thing up and get rid of the ridiculous anti-circumvention portions.

    • by mark-t (151149)

      Fortunately, this does not yet affect my ability to read DVDs under Linux.

      Wait.

      • by Desler (1608317)
        Wait for what? Unless they are going to start monitoring the software that every person runs on their computer there is no way they can prevent him or any other Linux user from using libcss2 to play their DVDs.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      The courts however, have acted in the obviously correct manner. The DMCA is very clear, and leaves no wiggle room.

      It is up to the courts to interpret the laws made by congress. And part of that interpretion includes the ability, nay, duty to strike down laws when two or more of them are in conflict. Either declare that the DMCA supersedes and (in US legal terminology) moots various property laws, first sale doctrines and earlier data laws, or strike down the DMCA.

  • Does a contract provision trump a Federal law?

  • Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:45AM (#29037405)
    It's nice to see laws that are encouraging innovation in the tech industry.

    Oh. Wait...
  • Yes, you're allowed to make backup copies of movies you own, but every tool that exists to allow you to exercise your right is illegal.
    • by Em Emalb (452530) <.ememalb. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:52AM (#29037487) Homepage Journal

      Actually, it was. It showed a fundamental understanding of the law and how it pertained to the ruling she made. She got it right. It sucks, and hard, but she got it 100% right.

      The judge's ruling is bound by the current law. It doesn't matter if she thinks it's stupid or accurate, she's bound by it and gave the ruling that she was bound to.

      • The judge's ruling is bound by the current law.

        If we wanted the laws to be followed to the letter, we would have coded up an Judge system in Lisp by now.

        But, we don't want that. We want Judges to make judgments based on both the letter and the spirit of the law. (This applies in sentencing as well as judgments by the way.) We want Judges to be able to spot discrepancies, loopholes and injustices in our current laws and rule against them where it is right to do so.

        If you tell me it's legal to rake my lawn, but you then say it's illegal for anyone to give me gardening tools, do you really think that your position is just and logical. It doesn't take a fool to see what is going on here. The law and the legal system are being strained to breaking point, and that's good for neither justice or respect for the rule of law.

        Why should anyone respect and uphold a legal system that twists itself into contradictions and connives to deny people the very rights its says they are entitled to? How can anyone go into a courtroom, expecting justice, when they know that the court has no interest in that. When they know the court only cares about an ironclad, rigid and dogmatic interpretation of any rag of a law our legislature see fit to pass; Or worse, only cares about a political interpretation of the law and their rulings within society at large?

        In such an environment, why should anyone petition the courts for justice instead of making their own? Our contemporary cinema hails a masked vigilante who goes about beating criminals in the dead of night. What does that say about our respect for the legal system? Judges need to stop being automatons that parse legalease, and start doing their jobs, i.e. delivering justice.

        • by MarkvW (1037596)

          Your post is completely foolish.

          You do not want judges who will overrule the law based on their own individual sense of justice--whatever that may be.

          You want judges who predictably follow the law--so that the rest of us CAN ORDER OUR LIVES SO THAT WE WILL STAY OUT OF COURT!!!!!

          If we can't predict what judges will do, we can't avoid litigation risk.

          Litigation risk is a COST. An unnecessary, socially unproductive, cost that should be minimized as much as possible.

          You may want unpredictability in the courtro

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DarkBlackFox (643814)
        So then the obvious solution is to take this to the people who do make the law- Congress. Write letters showing how blatantly contradictory the law is in this case. Ask them how it's possible to exercise fair use with a law preventing distribution of the tools allowing fair use, citing the RealDVD case. Ask for suggestions on how to legally time shift a DVD for watching on a netbook, or how to make a backup of a $30 DVD so you can still enjoy what you paid for when it gets dropped/scratched/eaten/rolled
      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:54AM (#29038419) Homepage

        Actually, it was. It showed a fundamental understanding of the law and how it pertained to the ruling she made. She got it right. It sucks, and hard, but she got it 100% right.

        There has to be a different answer than this. There must be a part of the government whose job it is to make sure law is rational. That seems like the sort of thing for the judicial to do. If she is not at fault then the entire judicial system is. This is not a rational law, and a system which does not correct irrational laws is broken.

        As to her culpability: Did she state in her opinion that the law is irrational and should be changed but cannot be because the system is broken? Did she identify any possible path for the irrational law to be changed? If not, she is complicit in the broken system and should be judged just as harshly as the system itself. When the gatekeepers of justice fail to seek justice in favor of blind obedience to the letter of an unjust law, they are failing in their sworn duty to the nation.

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeffshoaf (611794) * on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:46AM (#29037411)
    Its sort of like a lot of drugs - its not illegal to take 'em, but its illegal to buy, sell, possess, or be under their influence. With DVDs, its legal to make a copy for backup, but its illegal to create a means of making that backup.
  • Handbrake, damnit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:49AM (#29037445) Homepage

    Just use Handbrake. It's free, adds no DRM, and US law can't touch it because it's hosted outside the US.

    I don't even know why people bother with the DMCA. It's US-only. Notice how all the fun cracking and releasing and such happens outside the US.

    It only takes one person to rip the movie once. After that, copy protection is pointless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dlsmith (993896)

      Just use Handbrake. It's free, adds no DRM, and US law can't touch it because it's hosted outside the US

      Actually, Handbrake is distributed without any DMCA-violating software. I don't know where it's hosted, but I don't think there's any legal impediment to distributing it in the U.S.

      In order to read encrypted DVDs, Handbrake delegates to VNC, which users must download and install separately.

      (I wonder if such an arrangement would really fly if it were tested by somebody like Real or Apple. It's probably too user-unfriendly and unsafe -- requiring your users to download a third-party piece of software which

    • by the_macman (874383) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:08AM (#29037745)

      I don't even know why people bother with the DMCA. It's US-only

       
      For the time being. Come back to me in 1-5 years. I guarantee other countries will have their own DMCA. Canada is next. Mark my words. You seriously underestimate the global influence the RIAA/MPAA have. Just look at Sweden. They were able to pressure the local authorities to raid TPB and bring them to court and pass wiretapping laws which allow authorities to pursue file sharers. Insane!
       
      The MPAA/RIAA will only lose influence when the American dollar finally takes a dump.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mjwx (966435)

        The MPAA/RIAA will only lose influence when the American dollar finally takes a dump.

        That happened. Last year, the US economy will not recover for a few years and probably never 100%.

        You are also vastly overestimating how much influence an American organisation has over the rest of the world. When it comes down to it protectionism will trump any international treaties. Despite how subversive the RIAA/MPIAA is other content industry organisations are moving away from them at the risk of becoming irrelev

  • decss (Score:3, Funny)

    by MancunianMaskMan (701642) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:51AM (#29037473)

    Real did not elect to return (or destroy, with appropriate certification) the CSS General Specifications

    maybe they used DVD Jon's version?

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:51AM (#29037475) Homepage

    This is exactly why I purchased my own copy of AnyDVD HD with a lifetime license (does not expire). Slysoft update's the ripping program at least once every two weeks, so you know many bugs are being worked out with ripping DVDs and BD disks.

    I would highly suggest purchasing this program before it becomes illegal to do so. If not by Slysoft, by some other company.

    http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html [slysoft.com]

    • Well, it is already illegal, and has been so since the DMCA. FTFA: "a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.' "

      At least, you can still possess it, for now.

    • Interestingly enough, your direct link to AnyDVD is illegal in Germany. Will we see STOP signs? Or will Gemany close /.?

  • by Evardsson (959228) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @09:52AM (#29037483) Homepage
    FTA: 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.'

    Yes, the law says you can make and keep a backup copy of your DVD. But since the law also says that making or delivering a tool to do that is illegal, what are consumers expected to do?* Not everyone can afford to hire Superman to come over for the evening to burn backup DVDs with his laser vision. (Not to mention, he gets bored and starts flipping bits for the hell of it.)

    *BTW: consumers are expected to buy the same DVDs multiple times as they get scratched up, left on a windowsill to warp by your nephew or chewed up by your dog, That's what consumers are expected to do.
    • by NormalVisual (565491) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:05AM (#29038591)
      consumers are expected to buy the same DVDs multiple times as they get scratched up, left on a windowsill to warp by your nephew or chewed up by your dog, That's what consumers are expected to do.

      And that's because they're consumers and not citizens. Citizens take an interest in what goes on in their society beyond the sound bite du jour, and the DMCA and absurd copyright extension laws would never have survived in the face of an active citizenry.
  • The problem is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dbet (1607261)
    Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Emerssso (865009)

      Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.

      What? As I understand it, a judge's purpose is to decide whether or not an individual (corporate or otherwise) has broken a law, not to legislate from the bench. Your statement makes no sense. This judge stated that her decision was based on the *laws* put in place by the legislature. Take your bitterness to your *elected* local Congressman, not the judge who has to muck around in the horseshit they spew and figure out what to do with it.

    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:13AM (#29037825)
      You can't really fault the judge for this. It's bad law, but explicit legislation trumps common law. Fair use is common law, created by the judiciary. The DMCA is legislative, passed by Congress and signed by the President. Common law is law of the gaps; the DMCA closed most of the gap, and the judge has no choice but to abide by it. If the case ever makes it to the Supreme Court, they have some leeway in striking or reinterpreting parts of the law, but a low level judge has to follow precedent and adhere closely to the letter of the law.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Khelder (34398)

        I agree that the judge made only decision possible under current law.

        However, I'd like to point out that fair use is statutory law:

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html [cornell.edu]

        It's true that it has/leaves more room for interpretation by the courts than some statutes, but it's still based on statute.

    • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:25AM (#29037971)

      Judges are not held accountable for their own bullshit. We just have to collectively hope they are fair, similar to dictators or kings. If they ruin lives, oh well.

      This is wrong, wrong, wrong. The purpose of judges is to uphold the law. This is true even citizens think the law sucks. Personally I think it sucks that the law prevents me from walking into Wal-Mart and grabbing all the money I can from the cash registers, but even if the judge agrees with me, I'm going to be prosecuted.

      Whether you agree with the it or not, the DMCA is extremely clear that RealDVD is illegal. There is no ambiguity in this case. As a result, the judge really had no choice but to enforce this ruling.

      Yes, the DMCA is retarded. Yes, the ruling implies that we have the right to make backups of our DVDs but not the means to make those backups, which makes no fucking sense. But decisions like that are not the domain of judges, nor should they be, unless the law is unconstitutional, which the DMCA, despite its many flaws, is not. Judges exist to enforce the laws that Congress passes. If you think the laws suck, your legislators are the ones you should be griping about. The judge made the right call here.

    • The law contradicts itself, and judges are not allowed to rewrite the law as they see fit. Only the first part of that is actually a problem. The second half is intentional to prevent judges from "ruining lives" on a whim, since many judges are appointed for indefinite terms of office, and the supreme court judges are appointed for life.

      I would be very surprised if the Judge wouldn't have prefered ruling the other way. However, the law is what it is. Condemning the judge for something they cannot contr
  • More of a buffering really.

  • ...all shovels are illegal.

    That's my interpretation, but IANAL. Any thoughts from those how know something about law?

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      In this case, (the shovel analogy) shoveling is legal, and ownership of a shovel is also legal. Even making a shovel is legal. What is illegal is the distribution of shovels, free or not, to other people. You are also not permitted to use your shovel to shovel someone else's pile of dirt. You may only shovel dirt that you own already.

      Since most people are not in the possession of a forge to create a shovel blade, this usually means that only the people who can make shovels are the only ones who can actu

  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Stop buying movies that have anything to do with the MPAA. Stop going to movies at the theatres too...unless it's an independent film. While I'm ranting, stop buying anything musicwise associated with the RIAA. This site [boycott-riaa.com] can help you find out who to boycott.

    Furthermore, reject the purchase of any media (music, movies, games) that utilize DRM. Don't even check-out these materials from your local library--for those lucky enough to have a library that offers music, movies, and software. While you are at it, if

  • by blackfrancis75 (911664) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @10:42AM (#29038207)
    This is a really strange reversal of the laws that govern Marijuana:
    In many countries it's illegal to smoke marijuana, but legal to sell the tools to do so (Head Shops).
    In America, it's legal to make copies of your DVDs, but illegal to sell tools to do so..

    Kind of makes a mockery of the law, doesn't it?
  • It seems to me that the judge applied the law correctly as it is written; however, the law is bad. It'd be nice if the law could be struck down in a court case, but that's only going to happen if the law violates the constitution, not simply because the law is stupid. Write your congressman, or run for congress yourself. This is why things like the (stupidly named) Pirate Party need to be supported.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ivan256 (17499)

      After a ruling like this, congress should be proactive and fix the law. But they won't. Why? 'cause they could give two shits about making things right. They're busy trying to make themselves look good. So they're going to be 100% focused on "fixing" health care.

  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:03AM (#29038541) Homepage

    a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies

    My computer can copy bits from a CD, making it a device or tool that permits me (a customer) to copy copyrighted stuff. Does that make my computer illegal as well (if I ever hauled it to America)?

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:27AM (#29038879)

    The judge said it all. We are entitled to Fair Use but any attempt to exercise that right is illegal. There are two ways that this can change: Congress or the Supreme Court. I have little faith in either.

  • It's a democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wilder_card (774631) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:29AM (#29038913)
    It's said that in a democracy people get the government they deserve. Until we start voting these issues, the lobbyists will own the law.
  • by MagicMerlin (576324) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:38AM (#29039057)
    so...it's legal and acceptable to have copies, you just can't make them...
  • WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:52AM (#29039279) Homepage Journal

    I find the ruling really missing the point. When you sell the dvd copying software, it allows a user to make a backup copy of their dvd, which they already own. The problem is when THAT copy is given or sold to someone else other then the owner.

    I think they should effectively come up with a better way to watermark the copy of the dvds and send a bot to monitor torrents and such, then the watermark (of the original dvd) could then be used to track down the owner, and say if 20,000 copies showed up on the net or on the black market, you could easily know who was responsible.

    However, it is easier for every one, including this useless judge, to just point the finger at the person allowing legit copying to not happen. Smoking pot is legal, selling pot is illegal, so the only way to ge your pot is through the gov.
    Copying a dvd is legal, selling the dvd copying software is illegal, so does that mean owning the dvd copying software is also illegal or using it...I am interested in seeing how it pans out, and what sort of precedent this case sets!

  • Outlaws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @11:54AM (#29039317)
    If you outlaw copyright-protected-media backup software, only outlaws will have copyright-protected-media backup software.

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