[linux-elitists] regarding DVD's

Emanuel Pirker epirker@cthulhu.engr.sgi.com
Wed Jan 26 20:23:02 PST 2000

On Wed, 26 Jan 2000, Seth David Schoen wrote:

> It should be noted that you probably have a legal right to convert a
> DVD you own to VCD for personal use, if you don't distribute it, under
> US copyright law.  The strange paradox is that you may or may not have a
> legal right to take all of the individual steps necessary to accomplish
> this. :-)

See, this is similar to software licences. In my opinion, when I buy
something I should be able to do with it what I want. Look at it from
above and below, open it, modify it, in case of video data I want to watch
it once, twice, millions of times without a) getting illegal, b) having
somebody record when I do that or how often.

This IS MY RIGHT, MY PRIVACY, it deals with MY STUFF, stuff I've spent MY
MONEY on it, inside MY HOUSE.

That's one of the reasons why I dislike proprietory software - They don't
sell you the software, they only sell you the LICENCE to use it (and not
reverse engineer, etc.)

I'm not talking about DISTRIBUTION. Distribution is something different,
it's outside of my house, if it was material I could give it to someone
else but would have to buy a replacement for me. 

It's particularly nice that the GPL actually encourages distribution for
software - I don't need that feature for movies and DVDs and so on.

a) ANY restrictions on my ability to tamper with things I buy
   (thus decoding, encoding, crypting, decrypting, whatever)
b) ANY restrictions on my usage pattern of things I buy
   (e.g. view-it-once-DVDs)
c) ANY attempts to have somebody log my activity (pay-per-view)

are IMHO kinda "immoral". They may be possible by law, simply because
those people who make money out of a) to c) are powerful enough to
influence politics more than consumer groups do.

I think free software people should communicate more about these ethical
matters to the outside. I mean, constructions like "I only sell you the
right to do bla" are somehow awkward don't you think? On one hand THEY
claim that software should be treated like material goods (If you own a
chair that you haven't bought or gotten as a gift, you have stolen it),
but on the other hand they use such crappy things. If it's my chair (I
bought it), I can do with it what I want - paint it, burn it, put a
cushion on it, descramble it :-), reencode it (a chair? :-), whatever...

Any comments on my 2E-2 cents? :-)


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