In an unfortunate turn, a federal judge has ruled that DVD-copying software is illegal. As I understand it, the notion of Fair Use (which is what allows us to legally make copies of things for our own personal use) is based in legal tradition and not codified directly in law. I guess that means that the DMCA, which outlaws software that circumvents copy protection, trumps Fair Use. The article contains this odd statement:
Hollywood critics have long said CSS simply controls access to DVDs and that it’s not a direct copy protection mechanism.
I don’t understand this argument. Copy protection is all about controlling access. DVDs are encrypted, and there’s really no reason to encrypt if you’re not looking to keep unauthorized uses at bay.
In all honesty, DVD X Copy has significant, non-infringing uses. It’s perfectly reasonable to be able to back up a DVD, particularly as fragile as they are (compared to video tapes). There’s still DVD Shrink available, but I do hope that 321 Studios wins on appeal. I also hope that somewhere along the way, Congress will figure out what a bad law the DMCA is.