Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DVD software? What do you think this is, a free country?

To the delight of our corporate overlords, our courts are continuing to just make law up as they go along.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel has barred the sale of RealDVD - software that MPAA mucketymucks claim allows folks to illegally copy DVD's.

What is the legal basis for this ruling? There is none. While making and distributing unauthorized copies of copyrighted DVD's is illegal, there is no basis for outlawing software that could theoretically be used to make these copies (especially when the software has legal purposes). That's like banning photocopy machines.

Because of the ban on RealDVD, it's now effectively illegal to sell the Facet DVD player than can store DVD copies.

Some imported DVD's actually require RealDVD to watch on an American DVD player. Now viewers of imports are out of luck.

If the name Marilyn Patel sounds familiar, she's the same judge who effectively shut down the original incarnation of Napster - another activist ruling. See a pattern here? Patel's court has shown a pattern of disgust for new technology that could foster the free flow of ideas.

One wonders what this ruling even accomplishes for the MPAA and major studios. RealDVD probably would have had so little use among movie pirates that the studios couldn't have lost much money if the software hadn't been banned. So I think this entire case was about the MPAA being able to bully people into not developing other technologies.


No comments:

Post a Comment