DVD Owners: Fight the Power

Opinion: Pushed through by the recording and film industries, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act stomps all over our fair use rights. ExtremeTech's Jim Lynch is mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.

In yet another stunning display of complete disregard for individual rights, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston has now ruled that DVD X Copy violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This software provides an easy way to back up your DVDs. We all knew this was going to happen eventually, didnt we?

No good deed goes unpunished and 321 Studios, the maker of DVD X Copy, is now being punished for providing software that legitimate DVD owners want to buy and use.

This decision is an outrageous infringement of fair use rights and a slap in the face of legitimate DVD consumers everywhere. How much longer are we going to allow the music and movie industries to run roughshod over our rights?

Why Back Up DVDs?

I own more than 200 DVD movies. Why would I need software like DVD X Copy? Simple: Im lazy and somewhat of a "coffee table slob." I have a six disc DVD player in my living room, so at any given moment I have a number of discs in my player. When I add new discs to the player, quite often I wont immediately put the previously-viewed discs back in their boxes. Most of the time, I just stick them on something on my coffee table and clean them up later.

Unfortunately, this sometimes means that they get knocked around on the table until I get around to putting them away. This wear and tear can cause scratches that prevent the DVD from screening properly. Its happened before, so being able to back up my favorite DVDs is important to me.

When I got my first DVD burner, I wanted some good backup software. I picked up a copy of DVD X Copy Express, and it worked fine. Now, unfortunately, it seems that I am retroactively a lawbreaker. Imagine that? I bought a legal product for use with DVDs that I had already purchased and now the government, with one court decision, labels me and every other person who bought the software "probable criminals." Ugh.

When is the DMCAs reign of terror going to end? Its gone on for far too long and, when the right case comes along, the Supreme Court should strike it down. Over and over again, special interest groups like the movie and recording industries have demonstrated that they will use the DMCA to trample the legitimate rights of the individual in an unholy attempt to keep their corporate coffers filled to the brim.

Where are our brave, honest, and courageous congressman and senators on this issue? Theyre on the take -- or at least it seems that way. Thats probably how the DMCA got passed in the first place. Lets face it, we have the best government that money can buy and the movie and recording industries pockets are deep indeed. How many of our elected officials even bothered to read the DMCA legislation before they voted on it? My guess is that they simply checked their donor list, figured out how much all the various special interests were giving them in campaign contributions, and voted accordingly.

What a disgrace.


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