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Group Seeks to Remove Disc Copy Protection

21 Dec, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

The U.S. Copyright Office soon will consider a request that could effectively render content protection on DVD irrelevant.

Every three years the Copyright Office hears requests for exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and this time around the public digital advocacy group Public Knowledge is asking the government to legalize the ability for consumers to make copies of DVDs encrypted with copy protection software.

Should the request be approved, DVD owners would be allowed to make copies of their content and use those digital copies on mobile and other devices.

“As entertainment devices move away from containing DVD drives, many of those consumers have a legitimate desire to transfer their lawfully acquired motion picture from DVD into a format that is accessible on these newer devices,” Public Knowledge’s argument reads. “Currently, DVD access control mechanisms in the form of [Content Scrambling System] prevent that type of lawful transfer.”

RealDVD copying software and others like it would be legal under Public Knowledge’s request. RealNetworks had its RealDVD copying software declared illegal in court in 2009 and eventually agreed to pay Hollywood studios $4.5 million.

Public Knowledge argues that making such software legal would not have a meaningful impact on piracy.

“As such, granting this exemption would produce widespread public benefit for legitimate owners of motion pictures on DVD while creating no detrimental effects for copyright owners,” the argument reads.

No date has been set for hearing the argument.

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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