The Problem of Copyright Violations
The entertainment industry spends millions of dollars to create the movies and television shows we enjoy. Actors, producers, directors, filming crews, set designers, stunt people, and other contributors get paid. Through theater ticket sales, rentals, and DVD sales, the cost of producing movies is recovered.
When people illegally obtain, copy, and re-distribute videos, it harms the entertainment industry. The costs that might otherwise be spread across many consumers becomes a burden shifted onto those who obey the law. Some pay nothing, and the rest of us make up the difference. It’s simply not fair.
We All Pay the Price for Copyright Violations
Those who skirt the law, console themselves with the notion that they are ‘sticking it to the man’ by not letting their money go to the big corporations and millionaires at the top of the entertainment industry pyramid. It’s certainly disconcerting in any industry to see such large discrepancies between the super rich, and the working poor who’s backs their wealth is made on. However, stealing isn’t the answer.
Fair Use of Movies and Other Media
The remainder of this document is intended to provide information about technologies intended for the fair use of copyrighted movies and other media. Please do not use this guide for illegally copying and distributing media.
Federal law provides for the fair use of media described as follows:
In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test:
- Purpose. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
- Nature. The nature of the copyrighted work.
- Amount. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
- Impact. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
An example of fair use might be the playing of a short video clip from a longer movie in class. More information is available in the Wikipedia article on Fair Use.
Technological Barriers to Copyright Violations
Because people will inevitably seek out ways to break the law, those in the entertainment industry have sought out ways to make it more difficult to break the law. It would be like the automotive industry making cars that won’t go faster than 80 miles per hour to prevent people speeding beyond the maximum allowable highway speed. So, in the same way technological barriers are put in place to make illegal copying of media very difficult. Unfortunately, this inhibits the legally protected fair use of media.
Technologies are available for those willing to comply with the fair use guidelines above. Keep in mind that a gray area is point #4 regarding the financial impact. For example, it’s conceivable that the production costs of a movie might be recuperated through theaters, DVD sales, television ad revenue, and services like Netflix. Prices are set accordingly, and the various delivery methods are protected.
Personal Viewing of Purchased DVDs on Alternate Media
One of the more common uses of copied media, that isn’t directly addressed in the fair use guidelines is the copying of purchased media for personal use in another form. No profit is being made and presumably it’s not impacting sales.
Here’s the possible argument against making alternate forms of purchased media. If you purchase a DVD and then copy it to your computer to be played on your iPad, you might think you’ve not impacted the financial revenue of the movie. However, the income from streaming delivery sales through services like Netflix produces revenue. Having an alternate viewing experience (on the iPad rather than using a DVD player) is something that the production company may have planned on making money from. So, by not watching a movie on Netflix, and instead copying your DVD to your iPad, you may be impacting revenue.
The counter argument to the above is this… Copying your DVD to your iPad certainly does not have the same financial impact as someone who is copying videos and redistributing them on a massive scale. Given that streaming data speeds are limited, and data plans are very costly, it’s unlikely that anyone would watch a full-length feature movie very far from WiFi. In other words, making one’s own movies for use on an iPad while mobile is not cutting into Netflix or other online streaming video revenue. So, it could be argued that it’s within someone’s right to make an alternate form of a purchased video. Indeed, some DVDs come with free access to a streaming version of the movie — perhaps a copy you can download on the Google Play store or in your Amazon account.
Software for Working with Copy-protected DRM DVD Videos
Give the context and legalities described above, here is a software solution for working with copyrighted media.
- Purchase Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate.
- Visit the ProtectDVD.com website to obtain the free DRM and DVD copy protection plugin.
* Warning: Inappropriate use of this software could result in prison time and thousands of dollars in fines.