[mythtv-users] Ripped DVD recordings have skips

Johnny jarpublic at gmail.com
Tue Apr 7 21:27:17 UTC 2009

On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 4:41 PM, Allen Edwards <allen.p.edwards at gmail.com> wrote:
> In the US it is legal to make a backup copy for personal use under "fair
> use".  It is illegal to defeat copy protection.  This is the source of the
> ambiguity that is quoted.  However, simply decoding something that is copy
> protected cannot be illegal or every DVD player on the market would be
> illegal.  So it has to go to the end use.  If you decode something that is
> copy protected for the purpose of selling it, that is clearly illegal.  If
> you decode copy protected material for a legal use, like watching a movie or
> making a backup copy for your own use, that cannot be illegal.  I am not
> a lawyer although I did take a law class at Stanford a long time ago.  This
> is not a legal opinion, it is my opinion.
> Allen

This is not how the law is currently interpreted. The digital
millinneum copyright act forbids the circumvention of an encryption
without the authorization of the copyright holder. Commercial DVD
player have authorization to circumvent the CSS encryption used on
DVDs and there are certain exemptions for hardware manufacturers. The
software used in Linux to decrypt DVDs does not have this
authorization and thus is illegal to use to decrypt a DVD. That is why
deCSS is not included with mythtv and not distributed with most Linux
distributions in the US. There is an allowance for exceptions to this
law that are decided upon by the library of congress every three
years, however, as of yet I don't believe there have been exceptions
made for DVDs.

So as bazaar as it sounds, it is perfectly legal to backup your DVD
but it is not legal to circumvent the encryption. So if that is
necessary to backup your DVD then you have no legal way to do it.
However, it is not a crime unless you are doing it for commercial
purposes. If it is for personal use then the rights holder has to
resort to civil litigation. It seems highly unlikely that anybody is
going to come after joe sixpack for backing up or watching their own
DVDs on a Linux machine. But they certainly may come after somebody
who is distributing software to do such. Hence Slysoft is located "on
the beautiful island Antigua."

All of this seems obviously absurd to us lay people, and much of it
hasn't been tested in court. It sure would be interesting to see if
someone fought this in court. There are definitely some gray areas
where fair use allows certain acts but the only way of actually doing
that act violates the DMCA.

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