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Would Studios Rather We Buy DVD Ripping Products Offshore?

As studios work to quash legitimate products like RealDVD, offshore providers of DVD ripping software -- like AnyDVD developer SlySoft -- are reaping the rewards.


Would you rather wait for Real DVD from Real Networks—a U.S. taxpayer and DVD licensee that respects copyright protection—or would you just as soon buy AnyDVD from SlySoft, which doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t license decryption software from the DVD CCA?

The DVD CCA (Copy Control Association) is scaring off U.S. makers of DVD ripping products, including Kaleidescape and Real Networks, whose RealDVD software is currently being challenged in the courts. (Read: DVD CCA Is an Innovation-Stifling Cartel.)

Without them, U.S. movie collectors have no choice but to turn to offshore companies that don't give a hoot about copyright protection.

Real and Kaleidescape are licensed by the DVD CCA to decrypt DVDs that are protected by the Content Scramble System (CSS).

As such, they take every precaution to ensure that the CSS copy-protection "wrapper" follows ripped DVDs to a consumer's hard drive, reducing and/or eliminating the ability for users to share the content illegally.

The DVD CCA and the studios should thank their lucky stars for companies like Real and Kaleidescape.

Instead, they try to quash these companies who work so hard to protect the studios' intellectual property.

Who wins? Certainly not the studios.

The winners are the offshore providers of DVD ripping software, who can't be touched by the DVD CCA or the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

I'd Rather Buy RealDVD

Without access to RealDVD (or the budget for Kaleidescape, Axonix, AMX and others), I forked out $80 for a two-year license for AnyDVD from Sly Soft, a company based in Antigua – far far away from the DVD CCA and DMCA.

And, yes, I've used the software to copy DVDs that I own to create a wonderful gallery in the My Movies section of my S1Digital Windows Media Center machine. It is a wonderful product.

(Disclaimer: Integrators, don't try this at your customer's home! EFF attorney Fred Von Lohmann cautions CE pros to err on the conservative side.)

I never was much into music until I got a music server several years ago. Having such easy access to my music collection encouraged me to listen more, and buy more – through iTunes, subscription services and other providers.

And now that I can truly enjoy my movie collection (tiny as it is), I have rediscovered the medium and regularly pay for titles from Vudu, Apple TV and Netflix.

I'd sure prefer to buy my DVD archiving software from Real.

DVD Ripping: The Whole Picture
Kaleidescape vs. DVD CCA: Judge Rules Against Movie Servers
Tentative ruling in landmark DVD-copying case says Kaleidescape knew its movie servers might be in violation of DVD CCA licensing agreement that prohibits copying of DVDs.
DVD Ripping: The Latest on the Legal Front
This compilation of articles on the legality of DVD ripping, and related fair-use cases, will be updated continuously.
Understanding the Kaleidescape, RealDVD Cases
What have the courts really decided on DVD copying, and what are the implications for the future? We debunk the myths about the the two lawsuits and clarify the current legal state of DVD ripping.
Is DVD 'Ripping' the Same as 'Archiving?'
Is the term "ripping" generally understood as the "illegal" form of copying a disk? Likewise, is "archiving" known as the bit-for-bit "legal" way of doing it?
Can You Be Sued for Helping Clients Rip DVDs?
EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann explains some of the legal issues involved in selling and installing products that enable users to copy DVDs.
Is Your DVD Server Legal? Manufacturers Say Yes!
Developers of movie-ripping products insist their products are legal. Here's how the manufacturers justify their solutions.
Copy Protection Group Sues Kaleidescape (2005)
Kaleidescape has a license from the DVD CCA to employ CSS decoding in its media servers, which it does. Now, DVD CCA is suing Kaleidescape for breach of contract.
Would Studios Rather We Buy DVD Ripping Products Offshore?
As studios work to quash legitimate products like RealDVD, offshore providers of DVD ripping software -- like AnyDVD developer SlySoft -- are reaping the rewards.
Industry Insider: DVD CCA Is an Innovation-Stifling Cartel (2005)
The DVD Copyright Control Association (DVD CCA) is a bunch of bullies. The organization manages to coerce all manufacturers of DVD players to sign away their rights to innovation.

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Article Topics

News · Blogs · Legal · Legal · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

5 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Joe Lucania  on  04/29  at  03:25 PM

Forgive my french, but I cannot believe this is an issue.  I cannot believe Integrators are so fucking lazy that they cannot do this themselves.  We charge for every CD and DVD we rip for our clients.  I have my staff in the office do it while they are there and it takes no time at all and we make the money instead of paying someone else to do it.  It is no wonder why there are so many dealers going out of business, it’s becasue they don’t know how to run one…

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  04/29  at  03:30 PM

Perhaps because it is illegal?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  04/29  at  03:32 PM
Posted by Dave  on  04/29  at  04:04 PM

So Julie, it appears you are an attorney now.

What you are admitting, if you believe it is illegal, is you broke the law when you loaded anydvd onto your S1 Digital device and loaded movies.  Should we call out the FBI and alert the MPAA.

Just because an attorney that you quote thinks it may be illegal the courts have not determined it to be the case.  This is why the Real case is important.

Posted by Joel DeGray  on  07/28  at  02:25 PM

@ Joe, Are you serious- No time at all?? I guess you wire and hanga plasma in 1/2 hr., just like the clients say it should… And, it’s hardly a case of lazy- unless of course you leave the job 1/2 done. Ripping is only 20% of the efforts needed to properly output aquality that matches the rest of your install efforts, again unless you leave things 1/2 done. As far as illegal- I don’t think you have done your homework, and youstand to putthe whole industry in jeapordy by your actions.

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