DVD Ripping Should be Legal for Personal Use

Wired’s Thread Lev­el has a blog on the like­ly out­come of the Real Net­works DVD rip­ping case. The pro­vide a lit­tle back­ground on the odd­i­ty of DVDs (& Blu-Ray discs, too):

It’s OK to copy music from CDs, for exam­ple, and place it in an iPod. Yet, it’s ille­gal to do the same with a DVD. When it comes to the DVD, there’s not even a ques­tion of fair use.

How can the DVD and CD be treat­ed so dif­fer­ent­ly? Answer: The Dig­i­tal Mil­len­ni­um Copy­right Act, which pro­tects the DVD but not the CD.

I’ve yet to hear from any­one who dis­agrees with this. Frankly, when it comes to being able to rip DVDs to save from our tod­dler’s destruc­tive hands (she’s bro­ken more than one) or to save bat­tery life for watch­ing a movie on a flight, I find that valid fair use. How this part of the DMCA is remote­ly legal is total­ly beyond me.

Anoth­er rea­son this has come to light for fair use, is that the MPAA recent­ly rec­om­mend­ed a con­vo­lut­ed method for teach­ers wish­ing to show por­tions of a DVD in class: record­ed the screen with a cam­corder in a dark room. This Rube Gold­berg con­trap­tion of a solu­tion is only slight­ly worse than hold­ing my mini tape deck up to the radio when I was a kid. That is, pret­ty much worth­less.

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