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Question

I thought this was illegal

I was surfing the CNET news site and found an add for a DVD ripper that promised to break the encryption on DVDs and allow you to make copies or ISO file. I thought that was illegal. Has there been a change in DRM laws or has CNET slipped up. I do not want to submit the link here for fear of violatition of forum rules but if a moderator ask for it I will be glad to furnish the CNET link and the link to the DVD ripper.

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All Answers

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Answer
It's Complicated, But Yes, It's Against the Laws Of ....

In reply to: I thought this was illegal

...most countries to break the encryption on a DVD.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Answer
Gray area for sure.

In reply to: I thought this was illegal

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It's Been Discussed Many Times On These Forums

In reply to: Gray area for sure.

Fair Use Doesn't Cover Breaking Copyright...As I said above, it's complicated.. Although "Fair Use" comes into play, it's still comes down to a violation of copyright law to break the encryption..

Do a search on these forums for "Fair Use", "DRM", "RIAA", and you'll see the issues behind the question.

And yes, CNET Download has posted some of these rippers on their download site. It's still against forum policies to discuss violations of copyright utilities on these forums.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Complicated? No kidding.

In reply to: It's Been Discussed Many Times On These Forums

The link were placed without prejudice.

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I thought so

In reply to: It's Been Discussed Many Times On These Forums

I am glad now that I did not post the link to them. I think it shows the difference between the forums and the business side of CNET. Thanks for the replies.

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Even more than that

In reply to: It's Been Discussed Many Times On These Forums

Even more than that, because you could easily argue that the DRM is preventing you from exercising your fair use rights (which is precisely the point as far as the entertainment industry is concerned). Generally speaking, fair use rights should trump all later laws being far older and more established law, but first someone has to take a case all the way up the chain as far as appellate courts go, and with some of the nutters sitting on the US supreme court currently, who knows where it might go. You have people who think the US Constitution is some kind of almost divinely inspired document, and that the authors were somehow infallible. Then you get these "legislate from the bench" morons who use that as code for "made some ruling we don't agree with", but I digress.

GENERALLY speaking, and with the obvious disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer, I would wager that you'd win any lawsuit brought against you for using said software if you could show that you were using it strictly within the bounds of fair use provisions. Basically it was for your own private use, you weren't uploading them on some file sharing network, giving out copies to friends, etc. The second you do any of those things, all bets are off.

Also, in regards to CNet distributing the software... The software itself isn't illegal, nor is distributing it. USING the software for its intended purpose... THAT has the POTENTIAL to be illegal. But in the US at least, the legal precedent has been pretty clear. Not too many people are aware that the movie industry tried to have the VCR made illegal in the US because it made it possible to record TV shows as well as make copies of anything recorded. However, the supreme court ruled that since there are some perfectly legal uses of the VCR, that the movie industry would just have to suck it up. Which they did, and ended up making billions upon billions of dollars in VHS movie sales. Far from destroying the industry, it opened up a quite lucrative secondary market for movies, and even created the whole direct to video industry. But again, I digress. Point is, so long as there are at least some legal uses for software, the software itself is legal. It's up to the person using the software to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law while using it.

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