Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Small company offers copying software for DVDs
Associated Press via The Houston Chronicle ^ | November 11, 2002 | Unknown

Posted on 11/11/2002 2:38:20 AM PST by Illbay

Small company offers copying software for DVDs

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- After two decades in computer consulting, Robert Moore pulled out his laptop and pulled his son aside, hoping to teach the young man a thing or two about dad's work.

What came of their brainstorming last year ultimately blossomed into 321 Studios, a developer and seller of DVD-copying software.

That put Moore -- an ex-Marine and college dropout -- on the front lines of one of the digital age's most volatile legal battles: the dispute between consumer rights and copyright protection.

Moore's adversary: Hollywood, which apparently believes products such as 321's flout a 1998 federal law that the movie industry contends bars the picking of electronic locks on copyright works.

"We're nothing compared to these guys; we realize that. We're a very, very tiny fish in a very large ocean," Moore, 42, said from his business in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, dismissing the David vs. Goliath analogy as unapplicable here. "We're not even David's big toe."

Since mid-2001, the company has sold more than 100,000 copies of DVD Copy Plus, which allows people to copy DVD movies onto CDs. It includes code that cracks the copy-protection scheme used for most commercial DVD movies.

New software released over the weekend by 321 Studios, called DVD X Copy, also unlocks the so-called Content Scramble System.

The company says the $100 product, which requires a DVD burner, will make perfect DVD copies in 60 to 90 minutes -- a far cry from the hours that DVD Copy Plus, which burns movies onto CDs, requires.

"People already are making DVD copies; we're just making it simpler with a couple of clicks of a button," said Rob Semaan, 321's chief executive. "It's not so earth-shattering from the technology environment because that stuff already exists. What we're doing is bringing it to the mass market."

Hollywood sees things differently.

Last year, in a case brought by the movie industry, a New York federal appeals court ruled that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act bars the dissemination of computer code that circumvents the Content Scramble System -- or any other mechanism designed to prevent digital duplication of copyright material.

Moore said he had never heard of the law until a March newspaper story implied that products such as DVD Copy Plus might violate it.

Moore had considered making backup copies of DVDs as harmless as duplicating VHS tapes. But after reading the article, he said, "we all kind of freaked out."

Moore, a pastor's son, said he considered shuttering 321, fearing he might go to prison. He worried he might lose his dream house he helped build on a woody, four-acre spread by a lake -- the same place he and son Brian, 22, joined forces and minds at a kitchen table to create a company.

So in April, 321 Studios pre-emptively sued nine major movie studios in San Francisco federal court, seeking the right to sell its software.

Moore wants a judge to rule that 321's products are legal and do not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He considers court interpretations of the law to date overly broad, and believes its anti-circumvention provision is unconstitutional -- a claim that federal courts have rejected in other cases.

"Whether we knew or didn't know we were breaking the law was irrelevant," Moore said, adding that consumers should have every right to make backup DVDs to protect their investments in the plastic. "We're not thumbing our nose at copyright; we're standing up for the rights of consumers."

The lawsuit is scheduled for another court appearance this month.

Motion Picture Association of America spokeswoman Marta Grutka declined to discuss 321, citing the litigation. But she said people behind products that circumvent a DVD's scrambling technology "are exposing themselves to criminal prosecution" under the DMCA.

Moore said he was hoping to reach common ground with Hollywood, "but we can't get anybody there to talk to us."

So 321 has moved to allay some of industry's concerns. DVD X Copy injects electronic barriers into the copies it makes to keep them from being duplicated further.

It also inserts digital watermarks and identifying information that Moore said can trace the source of any file that's transmitted over the Internet -- a feature studios are trying to include in the next generation of DVD recorders, players and discs.

Executives at 321 -- who say they pour all profits back into operations and won't publicly discuss the company's finances -- believe that Hollywood, thirsting for all-or-nothing control, has wrongly lumped their 28-employee business in with the Napsters of the world.

"We tend to think of ourselves as middle of the road, the voice of reason," added Semaan, a native Australian whose ventures also include co-ownership of St. Louis-based Internet service provider Access US.

Fred von Lohmann, an attorney for the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online based civil liberties group, agrees.

"There's no reason why regular folks should be unable to make copies of their own property," he said, arguing that Hollywood's broad interpretation of the DMCA is not what Congress intended.

"If people misuse and sell bootlegs on the street, by all means they should be stopped. But we shouldn't all be denied fair use because some misuse."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: dmca; dvd
"I'd like an argument, please."
1 posted on 11/11/2002 2:38:20 AM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Not an arguement, but an observation. If this software is USED AS INTENDED, then I see no harm, no foul...But, how does anyone know how it will be used by the consumer? I might set up a little operation to copy and sell "Star Wars" for $5.00. with none of the production costs, I should be able to reap a tidy profit when the costs of raw disks come down to $.30. Is that fair?

Now if I was only using it to backup my own purchased movie/software, I would say that it is fair.

The question, it seems to me, comes down to how it is used by the public.

You're the lawyer, what do you and the courts think?

2 posted on 11/11/2002 2:56:55 AM PST by Wingy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
arguement=argument
3 posted on 11/11/2002 2:57:39 AM PST by Wingy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Copying a DVD over the internet from someone who PURCHASED the original, is no different than making a copy of a vinyl record, cassette tape, or CD that you bought and giving it to a friend .
4 posted on 11/11/2002 3:42:07 AM PST by Renegade
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Renegade
Correct. They're both illegal.
5 posted on 11/11/2002 3:48:21 AM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
There is a product, DVD Backup, for OSX on the Macintosh ostensibly for making backup copies of purchased DVDs. I suppose that we can now look forward to the movie-copying-police joining the ranks of the drug police, alcohol police, seat-belt police, dirty picture police, gun trigger lock police and our own homegrown Loudoun County VA pie police.
6 posted on 11/11/2002 3:56:08 AM PST by drjoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
So 321 has moved to allay some of industry's concerns. DVD X Copy injects electronic barriers into the copies it makes to keep them from being duplicated further.

It looks as if 321 Studios is being quite reasonable. The movie industry should welcome them with open arms - because, frankly, one can find explicit instructions on the internet about how to do this anyway. And with the internet instructions I just mentioned, there are NO protections for copyright.

7 posted on 11/11/2002 4:17:58 AM PST by neutrino
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neutrino
I receive spam nearly every day telling me how to "unlock" DVDs.
8 posted on 11/11/2002 4:31:11 AM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Wingy; Illbay
look at your observation.

USED AS INTENDED.
How it is used by the public is really not the issue here.
It is still legal to buy a handgun in this country and how often are they not USED AS INTENDED?
Should we make the purchase of guns illegal because they _might_ by used to commit a crime?
9 posted on 11/11/2002 4:36:18 AM PST by anka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: anka
I agree with you. There is no reason to ban copying of DVDs or software/music CDs, etc., just because they MIGHT be misused.

I was addressing the statement that the other fellow made, that it's "okay" to make copies of intellectual property--whether LP, tape, CD, DVD, or whatever--and give it to a friend.

It's not. "Fair use" should be vigorously protected, but the casual attitude toward the law is causing the honest people a great deal of trouble.

10 posted on 11/11/2002 4:40:04 AM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
and with that, I completely agree.
i think copyrights do need to be protected (the length of copyright is debatable however).
it just seems that all the major studios (read: copyright holders) want to f*ck the consumers' ability to make _legal_ backups of their data because it _might_ and _could_ be used to pirate their copyright. i say go after those who are illegaly trading and selling copyrighted material. leave the law abiding citizens alone.
11 posted on 11/11/2002 4:49:58 AM PST by anka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Renegade
Actually, you can make copies and give them to a friend. The "Audio Home Recording Act" of 1992. Summary at http://www.hrrc.org/html/ahra_summary.html. There are other views of the act, but I've only heard the RIAA avoid it rather than debate it (but when really pushed, they admit that you can make non-commercial copies for friends).

Copyright holders get a royalty from every sale of a recording device or recordable media (audio tape, writable CD, DAT,etc) which is used to pay for their "loss" of sale that occurs when you make a copy for a friend.
12 posted on 11/11/2002 5:36:34 AM PST by LostPassword
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: anka
"Should we make the purchase of guns illegal because they _might_ by used to commit a crime? "

Same could be said about a BIC lighter... Are you suggesting we make BIC lighters legal?
13 posted on 11/11/2002 5:44:35 AM PST by babygene
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: babygene
i'm guessing you meant to say 'should we make BIC lighters illegal'
but therein lies the problem.
the argument shouldn't lie against the tool that could _potentially_ be used to commit a crime, but against the crime itself.
following the copyright holders' logic, guns/lighters/axes/software should be outlawed based _soley_ on their potential to be used in a crime.
you see the problem?
14 posted on 11/11/2002 6:07:04 AM PST by anka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
We moved all our home movies onto VHS tapes. Now we'd like to move them onto DVD. What's the best/cheapest way to do this.
15 posted on 11/11/2002 6:12:30 AM PST by wewillnotfail
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Renegade
Copying a DVD over the internet from someone who PURCHASED the original, is no different than making a copy of a vinyl record, cassette tape, or CD that you bought and giving it to a friend .


Well I think the music studios didn't have as much problem with that because in those examples you gave there was quite a quality difference between the original and the copy. There was still a good reason to go out and buy an original. In this case there is virtually no difference in quality and that's the big beef here.
16 posted on 11/11/2002 6:16:25 AM PST by Honcho
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: anka
"you see the problem?"

Of course I see the problem. A person can make illegal use of almost anything (including BIC lighters)you would find in your home.

I bought a pair of bolt cutters a few weeks ago. Not to break into my neighbors shed, but to cut the padlock off my outside fusebox, that the key had been misplaced years ago.

Banning things that MIGHT be used in an illegal fashon is stupid.

Until fairly reciently, I would have thought that perhaps no one would need a hipodermic needle. That is, until I bought a refill kit for my inkjet...

17 posted on 11/11/2002 6:31:02 AM PST by babygene
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Please note that this is not actually about "copy protection." You can copy a DVD to another DVD until the cows come home. What this is about is access control, which prevents someone from accessing the DVD in unapproved ways.

What this is really about is that Hollyweird was dissatisfied with Sony vs. Universal Studios and other court decisions that allowed consumers some Fair Use rights. They have sought to implement a technological barrier to Fair Use. That is what DMCA is all about. It seeks to outlaw the rights that courts have said consumers have, which would seem to me to be unconstitional on its face.

18 posted on 11/11/2002 6:35:48 AM PST by B Knotts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: anka
As my original post never stated that the SOFTWARE should be illegal, I wonder why you would think that I believe guns should be illegal? If you commit a crime with a gun or Bic lighter or bolt cutters, you have commited a crime. I would have no problem with you being judged in a court of law. But to own a gun, Bic lighter, or software for fair use, I said that would be "no harm, no foul".

Now I know that the article was about this software firm and it's troubles, but I thought I was clear that the crime would be in the USE of whatever object you buy, not the actions of this software firm.

19 posted on 11/11/2002 8:45:29 AM PST by Wingy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
wingy,
i'm with you on this, really.
simply pointing out the illogic of the copyright holders' arguments about making software illegal because it could be used to commit a crime.
i used the gun argument to point out the lack of logic in the copyright holders' (MPAA/RIAA) argument.
20 posted on 11/11/2002 8:51:39 AM PST by anka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Whether it is legal or not, or a good idea, if you are going to opt for the software, stay away from DVDtoCD.com. They tried ripping me off. When I paid for a download of the their software, they never sent me to a page or URL to download, just back to the order page.

iBill.com, the payment center, did refund the money on my Visa account after a few weeks of complaining.

21 posted on 11/11/2002 9:32:35 AM PST by SlightOfTongue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
"The question, it seems to me, comes down to how it is used by the public."

Exactly, and there is nothing that can not be used in criminal way. You can use your car to run people over, you can use your dinner napkin to wipe off fingerprints at a crime scene or use a Bible to burn down a house etc etc.

Software that has a legitimate use should not be made illeagal simply because of the possibility of criminal use.

22 posted on 11/11/2002 9:39:05 AM PST by Grig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
The end of Hollywood. There are allready DVD Rippers on the net and every DVD you copy denies the Hollywood left money to support the Democrats.
23 posted on 11/11/2002 9:50:11 AM PST by Jimbaugh
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
CSS is NOT a copy protection technology. DVD standards and technology were created by a group of companies, and every manufacturer of DVD players has to pay them money for a license to make DVD players. CSS is how they enforce their fee, the manufactuerers have to conform to their specs and pay the fee to get the decryption key for CSS to make playing the DVD possible. It also has the side effect of not allowing a person to copy the .vob files to a hard drive and playing the movie from the hard drive (the player software realizes it's from a hard drive and refuses to play it)

Because NOBODY was making dvd player software for Linux systems, CSS was cracked by some guys who decided to make their own Linux DVD playing software. deCSS was the first crack and since then others have been made.

There is no need to remove or crack CSS if making a duplicate of a DVD, because the CSS is duplicated by the same process and in the end you have a perfect copy that will still play on any dvd player that was properly licensed. Macrovision prevents DVD to VHS taping (but there are ways around that) and Region Coding stops people in Europe from getting a playable DVD from the USA of movies that haven't yet opened over there (and there are ways around that too)

If a person wants to make a VCD copy of a DVD, they can do that if they have large hard drive and a regular CD burner and the right software (which is free), but VCD's are similar in quality to VHS.

I tend to back up everything I can since my kids are very, very good at abusing my CD's.
24 posted on 11/11/2002 9:56:16 AM PST by Grig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wewillnotfail
"We moved all our home movies onto VHS tapes. Now we'd like to move them onto DVD. What's the best/cheapest way to do this."

First of all, moving them onto DVD will not improve the picture quality, so you might want to think about converting them to video CD's (VCD) instead as it can be done cheaper, and most DVD players will play VCDs as well.

If you want to do that, there are two ways to go. The easy expensive way is to use a video disk recorder that copies from VHS to VCD ( http://www.mp3extreme.net/purchase_description.asp?ID=38&Type=homeunits).

The less expensive way, and longer way would be to get a TV-in card for your computer and record from the VCR to a file on you hard drive. Then edit if you want and burn the file to a VCD using a standard CD-R drive and the right software.

If you must have it on DVD, then you need the TV-in card still, record it to a file, then use a DVD-R drive and DVD authoring software to create your DVD.
25 posted on 11/11/2002 10:05:04 AM PST by Grig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
The question, it seems to me, comes down to how it is used by the public.

I've always regarded such arguments as fallacious. If a product has a reasonable, verifiable legal use, then it should be allowed. These sorts of arguments are what they use against guns, VCRs (in the old days), and numerous other products. It could also be made against cars (used by criminals to flee crimes!), bricks (used to break windows!), televisions (used to show Madonna movies!), etc. etc.

26 posted on 11/11/2002 10:06:15 AM PST by WileyC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: anka
...it just seems that all the major studios (read: copyright holders) want to f*ck the consumers' ability to make _legal_ backups of their data...

Exactly right, and that is what is wrong about this "strong" interpretation of the DMCA.

27 posted on 11/11/2002 12:08:08 PM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: B Knotts
You bring up some things I hadn't thought of, but in general that is my understanding. DMCA in and of itself isn't the problem, but there is strong lobbying on the part of the "copyright holders" to make a strict interpretation of it that limits "fair use." IMO, that is wrong.
28 posted on 11/11/2002 12:10:14 PM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Jimbaugh
This is tempting, but I don't believe in breaking the law just to stymie my political foes.

If I did, I'd be a Democrat.

29 posted on 11/11/2002 12:11:30 PM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Phillips has a new product that they advertise on TV all the time. It is called a DVD Recorder. From what I can ascertain you can make DVDs from VHS tapes. What is to stop anyone from copying a DVD onto a tape then using this machine to re-reord it onto a DVD blank?
30 posted on 11/11/2002 12:21:07 PM PST by scouse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WileyC
If a product has a reasonable, verifiable legal use, then it should be allowed.

I agree, WITHIN LIMITS. For instance, I think that it is ridiculous to press this issue of "medical marijuana," because marijuana is not the only, nor even the best, remedy for pain, nausea, etc., associated with cancer treatment (the most often used excuse).

Therefore, since no one is being harmed by pot being illegal, no harm/no foul.

31 posted on 11/11/2002 12:49:14 PM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: scouse
One of the things that the recording industry doesn't like in the new digital age, is that the "bootleg" recordings that are made are "perfect". That is, unlike analog recording methods, you don't lose a bit of the recording quality.

If you go DVD -> VHS -> DVD, there will be such a loss, occurring at both arrows.

32 posted on 11/11/2002 12:51:13 PM PST by Illbay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
Software like this has been out for some time I used some a year ago.One I got converts to a regular 650 mb cd that will play in a DVD player. Problem is it takes a day for the process to complete. Just get a DVD burner and a DVD ripper program.
33 posted on 11/11/2002 12:59:08 PM PST by John Lenin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: WileyC
Do we look a things men make for the good uses made of them or the bad uses made of them? There are people who myopically look for the worst -- the gun-grabber's, the petty over-regulators, many of the drug warriors, and even here the idea monopolists. That stingy "Midas Touch" turns once-creative artists into a dead golden idols.

Thankfully we are blessed with an inheritance of looking for the good in things -- at least in the "presumption of innocence". The Constitution recognizes it too: "the pursuit of happiness." Notice it doesn't say "protection from bad things" or specify some "right to be free of fear", or to "rescue from evil", etc. Instead we have charteed a government that will enable and allow us to "pursue happiness". That is, our Government, by its very charter must look for how a thing a man makes may be used for happiness! By charter, ir MAY NOT overweigh considerations of how a thing may by wrongfully or dangerously used. The aspect of happy usage -- use for the good -- should be considered primary, and weighedly.

34 posted on 11/11/2002 12:59:29 PM PST by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Grig
CSS is NOT a copy protection technology.

In fact, the purpose of CSS is to enable the studios to enforce cartelization (e.g. the use of region coding to allow the fixing of prices at different levels in different markets without being undercut be grey-market imports) and to control use of lawfully purchased products (e.g. the fast-forward lockout to force the viewer to wait through the ads on some DVDs).

If they can lock up the media completely, the next step will be to convert purchased media to pay-per-view (on top of the original purchase price).

35 posted on 11/11/2002 1:01:47 PM PST by steve-b
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
DMCA in and of itself isn't the problem, but there is strong lobbying on the part of the "copyright holders" to make a strict interpretation of it that limits "fair use." IMO, that is wrong.

Actually, yes, DMCA in and of itself is the problem. The sort of bootlegging that ought to be illegal already was illegal before DMCA; the new law served no purpose except to enable the various price-fixing and access-control features described above.

36 posted on 11/11/2002 1:03:42 PM PST by steve-b
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
I just checked 321 Studio's website http://www.copymydvd.com/index.htm?a=30427 and clearly this is a program to copy a DVD to a VCD. There is freeware that can do that.
37 posted on 11/11/2002 1:22:03 PM PST by Grig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
Thank you for the info'
38 posted on 11/11/2002 2:16:37 PM PST by scouse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: WileyC
The question, it seems to me, comes down to how it is used by the public.

I've always regarded such arguments as fallacious. If a product has a reasonable, verifiable legal use, then it should be allowed.

Then we agree. Once again, if you use a product for a criminal purpose then you are libel for that crime. The maker of the software need take no blame. As I said, if the product has a legitimate use, the manufacture of that product should have nothing to worry about.

39 posted on 11/11/2002 6:07:14 PM PST by Wingy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Wingy
Once again, if you use a product for a criminal purpose then you are libel for that crime.

Exactly! Don't blame the software maker for someone illegally copying. Don't blame the gun manufacturer if a user kills someone. Don't blame the bartender if a drunk driver crash their car. Put fault where it properly lies: with the user of the tool, not the maker of the tool.

40 posted on 11/12/2002 8:43:50 AM PST by WileyC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: scouse
Macrovision

It fuzzes up the output in such a way that displaying it doesn't change the signal, but attempting to record it produces a nearly unwatchable signal.

Unless you buy a hacked DVD player that has Macrovision turned off. Mine has this hack and also has the region coding turned off.

41 posted on 11/12/2002 8:52:23 AM PST by Knitebane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Illbay
You play by the rules, I will fight my enemy any way I can.
42 posted on 11/13/2002 9:24:27 PM PST by Jimbaugh
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson