Another Scalp for the DMCA


321Studios is dead, long live fair use. The software maker ran afoul of Hollywood by building a software decoder, DVD X Copy, which allowed users to make copies of their own DVDs. As the Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not recognize fair use copying by end-users—gee, why would anyone with toddlers in the house want to make a copy of a $20 Disney disc?—321Studios was pretty much doomed once the studios trained their legal guns on them.

Still, 321Studios tried to fight back, encouraging users to contact Congress and ask that fair use not be allowed to perish with the wax cylinder. Some did. But evidently their checks were a little light.

NEXT: The Drugs-Terror Nexus

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  1. The courts used the “fair use” doctrine to uphold the right of Sony to sell Betamax recorders. Film studios fought against it, but then ultimately benefited from the huge video market created by the VCR.

    Today, the fair use doctrine is being largely ignored by the courts as the RIAA and other short-sighted special interests use the same arguments that they used against the VCR against newer copy technologies. They act as if copying technology was just invented yesterday and ignore the fact that photocopiers, tape recorders, etc have existed for decades. Cassette tape recorders failed to put the record companies out of existence and dvd copy software won’t put the film industry out of business.

    The demise of DVD Xcopy won’t hurt the pirates because they have been able to copy DVD’s forever. Heck, they don’t even bother with digital copies. They just turn on the camcorder and record directly from the screen. How will the demise of DVD Xcopy prevent that type of piracy!

  2. Damn, now I’m going to have to go back to super-8ing the video frame by frame and then syncing that by hand to my fair-use cassette copy of the soundtrack. What a bitch, man.

  3. I would hate to be the one who gave the movie studios this idea, but they could stop that kind of unauthorized copying by only releasing their movies to venues which institute invasive search or forfeiture policies. No bags, purses, backpacks, or clothing which could conceal a camera would be allowed in the theater. Oh, heck, just have everyone change into speedos and bikinis. Also, you have have any thing you’re carrying in, like your keys, checked into some other room. Just raise prices a few dollars to cover the costs associated with managing this regime, and finally, the risk of having your movie appear on the internet in the first few days after its release is GREATLY diminished. Well, also because far fewer people are seeing it in the first place.


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