MPAA Sues Over Ripping DVDs

Aron Schatz
November 29, 2006

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The MPAA has finally brought a lawsuit against a company that I hope goes to court. With this, the MPAA has said that ripping DVDs (that the company sells and places on iPods for customers, so the customer owns both), violates the DMCA and is illegal. The sad part is, this is totally true since the DMCA says that it is illegal to break encryption. The good thing is that fair use says a format shift is perfectly legal. With a case like this going to court, perhaps a court will have the smarts to do the right thing and invalidate that portion of the DMCA that disallows the fair use of content.


Let's take the studios' argument to its extreme. A buyer could be subject to legal liability for ripping purchased DVDs at home onto a purchased portable video player without either first seeking permission or purchasing the content again for specific use on the portable video player. One wonders whether a court would embrace such an argument. Load 'N Go Video likely will assert that it has engaged in "fair use" for copyright purposes, and that such fair use trumps the claims of the motion picture studios under the Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. While Load 'N Go Video under these facts does have a defense to assert, one must keep in mind that the motion picture studios, like the music industry, have been very successful to date in seeking to protect their copyright works. Stay tuned to see how this case plays out.


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