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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?
Julie Jacobson · April 28, 2009

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.

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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