Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Do I Have to Stop Buying DVD's Too?

I have a few wonderfully amazing things to tell you all this morning. The first being that a cup of coffee, on average, only contains about six calories. If you add cream or sugar or other additive the calorie count goes up in leaps and bounds, but you average, black, no-additive cup of coffee only has 6 calories. This is an amazing piece of knowledge for me simply because I drain coffee by the pot here at work to keep me “motivated” enough to keep going throughout the day. If there were as many calories in a glass of coffee as there was in, say, a can of pop (about 100 or more depending on what you drink), I would be one overweight dude.

The only downfall from drinking so much coffee during the morning and early afternoon at work is that if I don’t get very much one day and don’t have any caffeinated drinks at home that night, I’ll wake up with a mondo caffeine withdrawal headache in the morning (like I did today). Let me tell you, it’s no fun crawling out of bed feeling like your head was used for a kickball at recess at one of those “alternative” schools. Once I start pouring my morning’s fuel down my throat it all goes away, however, but this only reinforces my addiction. I never in my life thought I’d be addicted to any substances, but I now realize I am. Yay! The first step to curbing my addiction is admitting I have a problem. Unfortunately, this is all the further I’m going to get in my rehab because I just so happen to love my addiction.

The other piece of information that I have involves a court ruling against 321Studios. They make a piece of software called DVDXCOPY, which I use. This software let’s you make backup copies of your dvd’s onto dvd-r’s or +r’s or rw’s or +rw’s or –ram or what the hell ever format of dvd recordable you use. Quick side note, they really need to get one unified format for writeable dvd’s. Anyhow, back to what I was saying. They were sued saying their program violated the copyrights of the dvd’s that would be copied. 321Studios argued that it was fair use for people to back up copies of their movies. 321Studios lost.

You can read an article about the case here [update: the article has been removed]. I can see where the movie studios are coming from because they don’t want people just borrowing dvd’s from their friends and then copying them. I can also see 321Studios side of the argument in that it is fair use to backup your movies. I have to side with 321Studios, but on one condition—once the dvd makers will replace a scratched or broken dvd at no cost to the buyer, 321Studios should stop selling their software. Until then, people should be able to back up their discs.

See, I made copies of my transformers box sets because I didn’t want to constantly be opening the huge case it came in and possibly scratching the discs. If I somehow scratched a disc or broke one, I’d have to go buy a brand new $50 box set. Now with DVDXCOPY, I can quickly make a “player” copy of the disc. This copy is what I use to watch while my box set sits nicely in my room displayed. However, I wouldn’t be so worried about accidentally scratching my discs up if the dvd maker (Rhino in this case) would opt to replace discs that get broken for no cost. This way I wouldn’t have to make player copies of the discs.

From the court case, making copies of discs for backup and purposes such as I described is not illegal. You have every right to do it, just not in as good of a format. Quote the article: “She said blocking people from making perfect digital copies of their DVDs did not unconstitutionally hamper free speech or fair-use rights. People were free to make copies of movies in other, nondigital ways that would give them access to the same content, even if not in the same, pristine form”

Ok, so I’m supposed to do what? Record it onto a VHS in my VCR? Ok……oh wait, I CAN’T do that because of the CSS encryption on a dvd. It won’t let you record onto a vhs. All you will get is crappy picture and muddled sound (I know because I’ve tried). So that option is out. What other options do we have? Ummm……I really don’t know. I suppose we could break out an old betamax recorder and see if that works. Why do we have to record a dvd onto a format that takes away from presentation of a dvd?

It’s so frustrating to know that judges are trampling all over people’s fair right use without any regard for what they’re doing. Most people aren’t in favor of this program because they’re pirates. There’s been over a million copies of this piece of software sold. Are there really that many pirates out there? Wow, if there are then we really are in trouble, but my guess is a lot of people but the program for the same reason I did or maybe because they have little kids and they don’t want them messing with the $20 dvd they just bought their kid so they make a copy for them. That way the kid can wreck the copy if he/she wants and the parents don’t have to go buy a new copy.

I’ve already vowed to stop buying cds that are associated with the RIAA and I’m almost to the point of not buying dvds either because of crap like this. I’ll just stick to netflix or something else instead of giving my money up for something I can’t “fairly” use anyways. Maybe Orwell made a mistake when he titled his novel “1984”. I think he should have called it “2014” or something like that because it looks like we’re heading in that direction a little bit each day.

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