Originally Posted by squeeqer
Those of you who are claiming that it is illegal to back up movies you own for your own personal use are completely wrong about the DMCA and the recent copyright office "ruling" (not really a ruling but a denial of a request for an exemption).
People like you have been promulgating falsehoods about the actual state of law for years and have created unnecessary fear, uncertainty and doubt about a legal issue that is albeit unsettled but still true:
The DMCA ONLY SAYS IT IS ILLEGAL TO MAKE, SELL OR PROVIDE DECRYPTION TOOLS OR SERVICES -- IT HAS NOT YET BEEN SETTLED IN ANY COURT OF LAW IN THE USA (and I don't believe any other Country) WHETHER IT IS LEGAL OR ILLEGAL TO BUY OR USE A DECRYPTION TOOLS FOR FAIR USE PURPOSES (IE: BACKUP MOVIES THAT YOU OWN FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL PURPOSES -- PERIOD.).
I came into this thread to see if anyone else said this already, and to say it if they hadn't. I'm glad someone did.
Also--I'm not sure this is even the "U.S. copyright office" everyone is talking about? I'm not aware of anyone in the USPTO having jurisdiction to blanketly issue rulings on what is and isn't fair use. The Librarian of Congress
does; Congress built into the DMCA the authority for the Librarian of Congress to issue specific exemptions to the DMCA every three years. On 10/28/12 (three days before this thread was started) the Librarian of Congress issued a statement saying that they
declined to create a fair-use exception for DVD "space shifting", saying that no court
had found "space shifting" to be fair use under the law.
This is a chicken-and-egg problem. The Librarian of Congress isn't acting on their own, they're excusing themselves from the fight until the courts decide. That makes sense, since fair use doctrine is a judicially-created exception to copyright law
. The doctrine has since been codified into the Copyright Act, but rather than Congress trying to clearly define what is and isn't fair use, they kept the courts' four-factor test, which basically leaves discretion to the courts to decide what is and isn't fair use.
And, here is the most important part: No appellate court in the United States has ruled that personal DVD copying is or isn't fair use.
The major cases that could've decided this issue were never appealed. RealNetworks settled with studios instead of appealing the RealDVD case; UCLA won on a technicality, which saved them from having to appeal. But since no appeals court has ever actually said this is
fair use, it's still an unresolved legal issue.
The studios and the companies that make DVD rippers do a little dance and go around in circles. The studios actually don't
want such a case to go to the Supreme Court, because of the risk that the Court would find "space shifting" fair use and make that nationwide law. So instead they pour money into the cases and try to bankrupt the other side, or at least convince them it's cheaper to settle, before it gets that far. And then the other side settles because they're a corporation, and corporate executives have obligations to not bankrupt themselves if it's avoidable.
This is one reason I suspect the studios will never, ever go against an individual. An individual has nothing to lose and everything to gain by appealing, and the ACLU or EFF would likely step in and represent them for free. An individual facing a $500K copyright fine and the EFF both would have every incentive to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which could decide against the studios once and for all. So they'll probably just keep forcing corporations or organizations to settle, which usually involves making the corporation/organization remove the software to avoid spending millions on defending a lawsuit, and leave individuals alone for now.