[mythtv-users] "Excellent" transcode isn't so excellent

Richard Freeman r-mythtv at thefreemanclan.net
Sat Oct 28 13:58:40 UTC 2006


Michael T. Dean wrote:
> On 10/27/06 15:07, David Brodbeck wrote:
>> While it may be technically illegal, I see no
>> *moral* issue with ripping a movie you own.  
>>
> 
> You /own/ the movie?  You paid the millions of dollars to create the 
> movie?  Wow.
> 
> I simply buy discs that contain a copy of the movie which I am licensed 
> to view through a licensed DVD player.  

Actually, copyright law is generally interpreted in terms of ownership.
 If you buy a movie at Walmart you OWN it.  You do NOT have the right to
distribute copies of it, but you otherwise have all the rights
associated with the ownership of a physical object, such as the right to
sell it to somebody else and the right to call the police if somebody
steals it.  The same has applied to books for centuries - you do not own
the copyright on the book, but you do in fact own the book itself if you
bought it.

In any case, you're trivializing the issue.  The previous poster could
just have easily said "While it may be technically illegal, I see no
*moral* issue with ripping a movie you are licensed to view through a
licensed DVD player." - and he'd be just as right in my view.

The whole idea that you don't actually own a copy of something that is
copyrighted started out with software EULAs, and it is a bit of a legal
fiction.  Just because something is written in a contract doesn't make
it a legal fact - Microsoft could claim ownership of your next of kin in
an EULA, and no court in the US would recognize this as being legal.

In fact, until recently fair use was not mentioned at all in copyright
law, and yet courts allowed such use in the interpretation of the law.
The reason is in part that courts recognized that when you buy a book or
other copyrighted work you are in fact obtaining ownership of the copy
of the book, and there are many things that it just makes sense for
owners to be able to do.  Modern copyright law sets out specific
guidelines for fair use, and they're generally in line with prior court
decisions.  In fact, ripping a DVD for personal use would probably fall
under these guidelines, making it perfectly legal (the copying is for
personal use, and does not substantially affect the market for the work).

Sure, the MPAA may not like it, but the fact is that this does not
really matter - it only matters whether the court likes it.


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