I have been trying to read about fair use but do not understand the language used.
I have tons of DVDs that I want to rip and convert to put on my Archos player. Is this legal?
I didn't know where to post this so I am posting it here.
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It depends on your location. Laws for making personal backups vary from country to country. Since your location says you are from the US, you do have what are called fair use rights to backup material that you own, and even change formats. The problem for US citizens is the DMCA, which says that you cannot break encryption in order to make such backups. Since the vast majority of commercially made dvds and blu ray are encrypted, this creates a problem as we are caught in a Catch-22 in regard to the law.
The movie studios have never tested the DMCA in regard to backups made by an individual for his own personal use. Fair use of your dvds would have to be determined in a court, and the MPAA has shied away from forcing the issue. I doubt that they want to set a precedent where they might lose such a court case. Some say that the fair use argument would never come up, since breaking encryption in the first place would cause the court to rule against the individual before fair use could even be considered. I'm not a lawyer, but I think fair use could be argued successfully in court. We may never see it happen however.
In practical terms, most people break encryption and use their purchased material as they see fit. It has become the norm, despite the ambiguity of laws in the US. It is highly unlikely that you will ever face a lawsuit from doing this.
And there is an inferior method of backing up dvds that you could use. This does not break encryption, but as I said, it won't be quite as good picture quality. There are programs that can capture what is played on your computer screen. You simply play the dvd, and capture as it is played. I know of a couple of these programs offhand, Action! and Tunebite.
Last edited by Kerry56; 20th Mar 2013 at 14:41.
Technically, probably illegal. In practice, as long as you aren't distributing the copies, or playing them in public, then it doesn't matter. Same as copying LPs onto cassette tapes 30 years ago.
Technically, I think its unlawful (infringement of copyright=property rights).
I don't think personal use has ever been challenged, so it has never been illegal.
It is illegal to distribute copies in any format, even for free, because you technically don't even own the original disc you bought. If you examine the small print all you actually paid for was a licence to 'view' your copy, preferably on your own with the curtains drawn.
Last edited by transporterfan; 20th Mar 2013 at 13:18.
You do actually own the physical disc that the movie is on. You have the right to use that as you will...burn it, break it, sell it, give it away. Those who sell you this physical disc have no say in what you do with that disc due to right of first sale.
The content on that disc is copyright protected. That means there are certain limitations on what you can do with the content. But making backups of copyright protected material has certainly been upheld in the past for US citizens under fair use rights.
The only issue is the anti-decryption section of the DMCA. There are currently exemptions in place for breaking encryption on dvds in order to make non-commercial movies, documentaries and for educational purposes.
And there is a line in the DMCA that isn't cited often, and is from the same section that prohibits decryption:
Section 1201 states: (c) Other Rights, Etc., Not Affected.—
(1) Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title
Which I believe is the basis of a fair rights argument for individuals making backups of their own, legally purchased media, even when decrypting discs.
Last edited by Kerry56; 20th Mar 2013 at 23:05.
Fair Use is a nebulous doctrine that the courts are unwilling to codify. They prefer that each case be decided on its own merits rather than drawing lines in the sand that say "If you do this it's OK, but it's not OK to do that". It's kind of like pornography where a Supreme Court judge famously said that he didn't want to define it, but he knew what it was when he saw it.
As Kerry56 points out, NOBODY wants to take an individual user to court as a court might set a precedent like the (in)famous Sony Betamax case that Hollywood and the RIAA would be very unhappy about. Technically speaking the DCMA makes it illegal for you to backup your DVDs and BluRays. That is fact. Again, nobody has been taken to court over doing this for personal use.
But as I get tired of saying, if you want somebody to tell you "Yes, you can for 100% certainty rip your DVDs legally", well, that is NOT going to happen in the USA. The laws of other countries are likely different. If you have some sort of moral or religious objection to doing this unless you are certain it is "legal", I am sorry but the overreaching DMCA makes it theoretically illegal to do so.
I thought I should point out this line in the DMCA though. An argument for fair use can be made using this section, which undoubtedly makes the studios a bit nervous about trying to bring this issue to the courts. And that makes it all the more unlikely for this to ever wind up in court.
I don't believe so. Every disc jacket I can lay my hands on says (to the effect) 'The copyright proprietor has licensed...for private home use'. All facets of the content on said disc belongs exclusively to the copyright holder. That would inevitably include the copy-protection mechanism. Reverse-engineering of even that mechanism is forbidden. By breaking or by-passing it, copying it and/or the content, you entitle the copyright owner to take back 'their' property and invite litigation. It is much the same as buying a theatre ticket. The movie can be watched but it is forbidden to record it.
In the real world, kids exist. So I will continue to back mine up at every opportunity.
No, you are quite wrong on that point tranporterfan. Used dvd sales would have been prohibited otherwise. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_first_sale
The Supreme Court of the US just strengthened right of first sale this week, extending that right to foreign made goods.
Just this week? I see. Thank you for that. I wasn't aware the right had changed.
Actually reading that Wiki, I think I'm about 8 months behind.
Books also usually contain wide prohibitions of use with all the legal bumpf on the copyright page. But again, just because the publisher doesn't want you to do something, doesn't oblige you. It isn't the law and you haven't signed a contract with them.
But to prove the point against a large media corporation would be expensive, so you have to keep your head down.
All I am trying to do is have some movies for my media player. I am not ripping anyone off. And I think that it would be pretty crappy for some studio to sue me even though I own the DVD from which I made the portable version, and I am not distributing it.
Just to add to the discussion I find it interesting that dvds/blurays have recently started adding the "including infringement without monetary gains" as warning notices to those trying to copy movies.
Of course I"m with everyone else here that believes if you just use the backups personally and don't distribute to friends/family (other than those living in the same household, in my mind) or online you should be ok.
Again like everyone here you are not guarenteed that nothing couldn't happen to you. But chances are remote. I guess its similar to not stopping at a stop sign. You only get caught if a cop is there waiting for you. If nobody knows its not wrong, sort of..... Well it won't hold up in court of course but you can kind of justify it that way
If you want to clear your guilt and empty your pocket book a bit you could sign up for netflix and stream most of the content you'd want legally. Assuming your device is wifi capable and netflix certified, don't know if your archos model can or can't.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
I'm surprised Archos is still around.
Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
In fact DVD Fab which allows you to backup your movies from disc to disc states like all other DVD copying software that they are not reponsible for illegal copies being made or if you get caught breaking the law by copying disc to disc. They clearly state that if you get caught then its your responsiblity not theirs. Also as you don't try to sell the backups you should be fine. Unless you own your own video business then I advise you to be very careful not to say that you are backing up your DVDs because some people might take this the wrong way and turn you in to the police or report you to the police.
My post #7 above covers the legal aspects for Americans as well as you're going to get without talking to a lawyer.
We get posts like the original one from time to time and I would like to know what the motivation is. If someone is afraid that the cops are going to bust down their door and arrest them for making personal backups, I've already explained why this is unlikely to happen. I cannot swear to you that you won't get arrested, but it seems incredibly unlikely as the last thing the studios want to do is have this go to court and have a court legalize the making of backups. The studios learned about overreaching in the Sony Betamax case. I can assure you that they do NOT want a repeat.
The DMCA is a truly terrible law, but it was written by lawyers who lack an understanding of technology. It won't be repealed. The reality is that we Americans will continue to live in a society where it will technically be illegal to make backups of your own movies for your own use but nobody really wants to test this in court. If someone can't deal with that, then they don't need to make backups. If you feel that any risk, no matter how small, is too great, then it sucks, but you can't make backups. The only reason that the backups are illegal is because DVDs and BluRays are encrypted. The DMCA is written so that breaking encryption at all violates it. It was written with the intention of using it to punish people who rip and share or rip, copy and sell but it's written so that just breaking decryption itself violates the law. And the studios have to assert the position that you can't legally make a backup at all, even if it's an empty gesture to make that assertion, for legal reasons so they can go after pirates who are the real target of the law.