According to a blog on Fortune’s site, Real Networks (buffering…………..) has unveiled a new DVD ripping technology that doesn’t hack the encryption on DVDs. This, so it seems, makes copying DVDs “legal.” It must work somewhat similarly to VHS dubbing, but I don’t know. I’ll look into it.
I hesitate to say that all of a sudden, everything’s “legal.” Indeed, I’m not even sure that it doesn’t run afoul of 17 U.S.C. § 1201. Section 1201(a)(1)(A) states: “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” In turn, under section 1201(a)(3)(A) “circumvent a technological measure” means “to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner.” (Emphasis added.) I can certainly see the MPAA deciding that Real’s technology somehow avoids or bypasses the encryption process. And this doesn’t even begin to get into fair use or the whole time- or space-shifting argument.
Anyway, these thoughts are just based on a quick, cursory glance at a blog. I’m going to follow up on this story and see what else I find.