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Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal 213

Posted by Zonk
from the only-when-you-own-it-netflixers dept.
Jim Buzbee writes "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV? Up until now, manufacturers have been wary of building a device to allow this type of usage because they've been afraid a lawsuit. The DVD Copy Control Association had claimed this was contractually forbidden, but now a judge says otherwise stating, 'nothing in the agreement prevents you from making copies of DVDs. Nothing requires that a DVD be present during playback.' Kaleidescape has finally won their long-standing lawsuit, a case we first talked about early in 2005."
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Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal

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  • by fatduck (961824) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:18PM (#18920763)
    Doesn't this mean they'll just change the contract on new DVDs?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Doesn't this mean they'll just change the contract on new DVDs?

      Contract? What contract? I don't remember signing a contract. I put my $20 on the counter, the cashier put the DVD in a bag and said, "Have a nice day."
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *
        Oh, I'm sure they can make the clerk say: "By agreeing this sale, you may not space-shift this DVD to other media. Have a nice day." ;-)
      • by LarsG (31008) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:31PM (#18920879) Journal
        Contract? What contract?

        The contract that DVD player manufacturers enter with the DVDCCA. RTFA?

    • by Andy_R (114137) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:29PM (#18920859) Homepage Journal
      It's not the contract on DVDs that's being discussed, it's the contract between the owners of CSS and manufacturers who buy into CSS. Kaleidescape signed the contract that gives them the right to make legitimate machines that unscramble CSS, the CSS cartel claim that contract includes a 'thou shalt not make dvd servers' clause, the judge agreed with Kaleidescape that the contract does not say that, since Kaleidescape didn't get to see that particular rule until after they joined the cartel.
      • by crt (44106) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:40PM (#18920945)
        Right - this was just a contract dispute between Kaleidoscope and the DVDCCA. Other DVD player manufacturers may have similar contracts, and could now build in DVD-ripping/storage, but you can be sure that the DVDCCA will be changing their contracts moving forward to eliminate this behavior in the future.
        • by Marnhinn (310256) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:14PM (#18922837) Homepage Journal
          From DVDCCA [dvdcca.org]

          February 7th 2007 Announcement:
          An updated version of the CSS Procedural Specifications is available now. A downloadable copy is available by completing the on-line inquiry form.

          That is the document that they submitted to the court as part of the "contract". It is the first update to it since 2005. My guess is they realized they were going to lose and hence the update to the license.
        • by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:33PM (#18922939)

          Right - this was just a contract dispute between Kaleidoscope and the DVDCCA. Other DVD player manufacturers may have similar contracts, and could now build in DVD-ripping/storage, but you can be sure that the DVDCCA will be changing their contracts moving forward to eliminate this behavior in the future.
          I'm sure Kaleidoscope hopes they do change the license to prevent storage in the future. They already have the machines developed and their agreement is already in place. It sounds like they may be one of the only licensee to not agree to the DVD backup clause. If the DVDCCA decides to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future they would just be placing a barrier to entry to future Kaleidoscope competitors.
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      Ummm, this contract is entered into between the CSS Group (whatever their name is) and device manufacturers or software player distributors, NOT between users and the CSS Group. I've never seen a license agreement on a DVD before.
  • by jafo (11982) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:18PM (#18920765) Homepage
    "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server [...]"

    No, I want a butt-load of DVD jewel boxes occupying cabinet after cabinet in my living-room so they'll be convenient in the event I might want to watch one. This is much better than being stored in boxes in the basement, and streaming the content off a sever, also in the basement.

    I have literally avoided buying DVDs in the past because I didn't want to increase the clutter of storage.

    Sean
    • by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:46PM (#18920991)

      "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server [...]"
      No, I want a butt-load of DVD jewel boxes occupying cabinet after cabinet in my living-room so they'll be convenient in the event I might want to watch one. This is much better than being stored in boxes in the basement, and streaming the content off a sever, also in the basement.

      Well, this is slashdot. You would think accessing boxes or a server in the basement was as simple as rolling out of bed... <rimshot />

    • by Sique (173459)

      This is much better than being stored in boxes in the basement, and streaming the content off a sever, also in the basement.


      I fullheartedly agree. I wouldn't be too interested in any stream coming out of a sever in the basement. Actually I would call a plumber immediately to have him plug the hole and stop the stream.
  • iTunes ripping? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mh101 (620659) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:22PM (#18920795)
    Does this mean Apple will be able to legally add DVD ripping to iTunes? If so, that could help sell more AppleTV units, especially in all the countries that can't buy movies from iTS.

    • Re:iTunes ripping? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by r3m0t (626466) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:39PM (#18920941)
      No. Firstly, the lawsuit was not about "legally writing ripping software" - it was specifically about whether the companies who had gained a license for Content Scrambling System can write those programs. It doesn't mean anybody can use DVD Shrink to break "protection".

      There are a few problems that would face Apple if they wanted to add that functionality:
      1) DVD CCA is appealing the decision.
      2) Apple would need to get a license for CSS, and DVD CCA will probably change the terms of the license to disallow such programs.
      3) Apple risks pissing off the movie studios that offer video on iTunes stores. (AFAIK, only Disney so far.) People expect to be able to rip CDs, so that's OK. But if people aren't expecting to rip DVDs, why let them? It would cannibalise sales from iTunes Video Store.
      4) The Kaleidoscope system maintained the copy protection, whereas iTunes would need to downscale and crop/letterbox the video in order to make the feature useful to smaller iPods - and in the process, re-protect it somehow.
      • Re:iTunes ripping? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:48PM (#18921003) Homepage
        Apple already has a CSS license for their "DVD Player" app, but your other points stand.
        • by r3m0t (626466)
          Actually, they would probably need a license for the iPod if they wanted that functionality.
      • Re:iTunes ripping? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:40PM (#18921387) Homepage
        Which is why we only sell mpeg/Divx content playback servers. Sorry sir this will NOT rip DVD's.

        WE then leave a unlabeled CD with them with copies of DVD shrink and DVD decryptor and the web address to buy anyDVD and Fair Use Wizard.

        What the customer does on their own is not or problem, we simply sold them a video playback server.

        They want to make it easy for joe-blow to rip his own dvd's into the system. it aint gonna happen. Sony already screws with everything and the best kaladiescope server made cant cope with it, you still haveto rip to a PC with special software to get past some of the protections.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        3) Apple risks pissing off the movie studios that offer video on iTunes stores. (AFAIK, only Disney so far.) People expect to be able to rip CDs, so that's OK. But if people aren't expecting to rip DVDs, why let them? It would cannibalise sales from iTunes Video Store.

        Actually, the key for Apple is to create a market where people have an incentive to put movies into iTunes in the first place. Once people put in movies they already own, they have a library and future purchases are more likely to be made onl

        • by rm69990 (885744)
          Apple could care less where people get their media, as long as they buy their hardware. Apple breaks even on the iTunes store....it's simply there to push iPods and AppleTVs (and iPhones soon).
        • by Evets (629327)
          I tivo pay-per-view movies all the time - which is effectively the same thing that you guys are talking about. I rent a movie once and then I can watch it as many times as I want in the future.

          The issue for DVD sales is much different than CD sales. Very rarely do people buy a DVD and then watch it 100 times. Even with one of these devices, I would expect that most people would watch a movie less than a total of 10 times.

          You would think that a "backup copy" would fall under fair use - the same as having
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NotmyNick (1089709)
        1) The decision was handed down today. How did they manage to file an appeal so quickly. /snark TFA has a discussion about this very subject. I suggest you read it or invest in some reading comprehension lessons.
        2)I don't have any knowledge on the former, but the latter is also addressed in TFA
        3)Jobs will piss himself off. Uhuh. Guess who is on Disney's board as largest individual stockholder. I'll give you two guesses. People expect to be able to use things that they purchase in a way that is most co
        • by r3m0t (626466)
          1) They haven't filed the appeal yet, but they have made a press release saying that they will appeal. If Apple published the feature, they would immediately (in a legal timescale ;-)) file lawsuit and Apple would not have precedent. Better for Apple to wait until this case is decided.

          2) I know that the article said DVDCCA would have trouble pulling themselves together, but it seems that, in fact, they already have. (See other posts about an updated publication.) They could even just refuse to license Apple
      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:26PM (#18922183) Journal
        Anybody can use DVD shrink to rip (okay, you can't - you need a deccrypter like dvd decrypter, but play along) discs you own for personal use. It's right in the DMCA - your fair use rights have never technically been diminished.

        What you can't do is rip for someone else, or help anyone to rip. The distribution of DVDdecrypter is illegal (per the DMCA), but it's okay to write the software, posess the software, and use the software to decrypt for personal reasons. That's the fucked-up catch - you can do anything you want, but you can't help anybody else do it.

        I know that this is hard to understand, but I figured I'd post it anyway.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rm69990 (885744)
          Ummm, as far as I'm aware you're completely and utterly wrong. Could you please point out the section in the DMCA you speak of.

          Oh, and DVD Shrink is perfectly capable of decrypting CSS on its own. Have you ever actually used DVD Shrink?
          • by stinerman (812158)
            No, its always been the case that you can break encryption for fair use reasons. You just can't tell anyone how you did it or distribute the software you used to do it.

            So it is legal to use DVD Shrink, etc. It is just not legal to distribute it or (probably) tell anyone it exists.
        • by Joce640k (829181)
          "Anybody can use DVD shrink to rip (okay, you can't - you need a deccrypter like dvd decrypter, but play along) "



          I could have sworn I used DVD shrink to rip a DVD directly last week...no decrypter needed.

      • by frdmfghtr (603968)

        3) Apple risks pissing off the movie studios that offer video on iTunes stores. (AFAIK, only Disney so far.) People expect to be able to rip CDs, so that's OK. But if people aren't expecting to rip DVDs, why let them? It would cannibalise sales from iTunes Video Store.

        How would this hurt iTunes sales? If I already own a movie on DVD, I'm not about to buy it again so I can stream it from my server to my living room. I'll bet there are more than a few others who share that sentiment. If they can't rip th

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Karlt1 (231423)
        "3) Apple risks pissing off the movie studios that offer video on iTunes stores. (AFAIK, only Disney so far.)"

        Apple has movies from Disney (and its subsidiaries), Paramount, MGM. and Lions Gate
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      There's always handbrake. Not exactly legal per se, but if the MPAA really wants to drive away customers, they'll sue people for ripping legally purchased media for the sole purpose of convenience.
  • Misleading Title (Score:5, Informative)

    by sangreal66 (740295) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:30PM (#18920865)
    As usual, the title Zonk has chosen for this post ("Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal") directly contradicts the actual article:

    Because of this ruling, the Judge did not have to get into copyright issues, so the Kaleidescape ruling has no copyright implications. It is not a statement on the legality of ripping DVDs.
    • by cybereal (621599)
      If only Google Reader would add filtering so I don't have to accidentally click on Zonked Slashdot posts!
    • Re:Misleading Title (Score:5, Informative)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:03PM (#18921563) Journal

      As usual, the title Zonk has chosen for this post ("Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal") directly contradicts the actual article:
      All Zonk had to do was read the article that CowboyNeal posted some 31 days ago. [slashdot.org]

      Yup, it's a dupe, but my/CowboyNeal's version had a non-misleading summary.
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      Why oh why can't Slashdot just fire Zonk? He makes reading Slashdot on the weekends painful. I've seen plenty of messed up summaries, but Zonk's screwups are so blatant that you almost feel like tracking him down just to smack him in the head. Ugh....
  • by unassimilatible (225662) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:30PM (#18920873) Journal
    This case has exactly *zero* precedential value, unless you live in Santa Clara, CA, and then only if your case comes in front of the same judge. And you can bet this case will be appealed to a court that actually can create binding authority.

    For a group of people so obsessed with IP law, most of you /.-ers have no idea how the American legal system works: Trial court cases are not precedent for future cases. Only published appellate cases constitute precedent, and then only in their own jurisdiction.

    IAALBNYL (I Am A Lawyer But Not Your Lawyer). This is not legal advice. Do not rely on it as such. This is merely a layman's discussion of general issues. YMMV.

    • This case has exactly *zero* precedential value, unless you live in Santa Clara, CA

      I guess that's me, then.

      and knowing that its the silicon valley, probably a quarter of slash is also here, too.

      • considering 75% of the tech headquarters are in southern California it has precedent for a good chunk of the tech industry!
        • Santa Clara isn't in southern California...

          This is also a trial court case. It sets no precedent, period.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:24PM (#18921273)
      For a group of people so obsessed with IP law, most of you /.-ers have no idea how the American legal system works:

      That is why you who are lawyers need to speak up and explain it to us. /. is full of people from all type of backgrounds. Most of these people have a great insight into their speciality. They need to speak up when something is wrong, so that the rest of us can be educated.

      Like many /. readers, I come here to be educated as well as entertained. This is due to the quality of people that /. attracts. (Granted some /.'ers have no clue about anything)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by zeroyuugi (709239)

        (Granted some /.'ers have no clue about anything)
        Yes, and we call them editors =D
      • That is why you who are lawyers need to speak up and explain it to us.

        Points:

        1. We usually do comment. NewYorkCountryLawyer comments often about copyright issues (but typically only the RIAA issues since that is what he is involved in), and I (although only a law student at this point) tend to offer my knowledge as well. There are a few others whose names I don't remember, but comment here often. Holy hell, NYCL has 18 comments posted on /. just today!
        2. The issue here is that people on /. don't seem to underst
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rm69990 (885744)
        The problem is when you get the majority spouting nonsense while acting like they know what they are talking about. I've seen that happen numerous times, and I don't even bother correcting at that point because it seems like a lost cause. One culprit is people who post on SCO articles. I still see Slashdot posters who think it's a patent case, or who don't know the difference between Caldera and SCO.

        That's the example that came to mind right away. I could name some more if I thought about it for a minute.
    • by burris (122191)
      Uh, even if this was a supreme court decision, the precedent wouldn't be useful for slashdotters because slashdotters aren't CSS licensees. This was a breach of contract case and only "legit" companies with deep pockets get to make a deal with the DVD-CCA. About the only impact this may have on slashdot readers is existing CSS licensees might start making devices like Kaleidascape. If the DVD-CCA doesn't like this behavior, expect the language of the CSS license to change.

      For your client's sake, I hope y
      • Uh, even if this was a supreme court decision, the precedent wouldn't be useful for slashdotters because slashdotters aren't CSS licensees.

        Assuming for argument that you know this for certain, this is exactly why I included the disclaimer (YMMV and IIALBNYL) - telling /.-ers that I am not, in fact, their lawyer. I purposely limited my input to a single issue, precedent. Of course I would analyze the entire case were I retained by a client. But I was not, so I chimed in on the precedent issue only, since

    • by MaceyHW (832021)
      IANAL but I am a law student taking his Civpro II exam tomorrow and this is significant unless it's overturned on appeal. The issue isn't the precedential value in terms of copyright, which is of course nil (even if the court had reached those issues) but it's value in future suits brought by DVD CAA. California permits "non-mutual defensive issue preclusion", so if DVD CCA sues anyone else who's signed an identical or very similar contract (which I assume would most if not all of the other manufacturers)
      • Yes, your issue preclusion argument is somewhat correct, but of course the trial judge is still wide open to appeal. My point ("this is not precedent") was made as a response to the lead in the article:

        "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV?"

        The implication from the submission is that now everyone can go run DVD jukebox servers with impunity. So in a sense, you preclusion point argues in my favor; that is, if, as you argue, only

    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Thanks for the explanation. As the other reply says, most of us here aren't lawyers, and have no more legal grok than the average non-geek. Consider yourself the lawyer equivalent of a programmer explaining a function in a compiler. :)

      That said, and reasonably assuming your info is exact and correct, ISTM that "precedent" must have been stretched a bit, since I've occasionally heard of some local judge relying on a previous local decision to guide his own actions in a similar case, *as if* he had no other c
    • Oh, I don't know. First, trial court opinions can be used as precedents, they're just not binding on anyone. They can still have influential value, however. Second, the opinions needn't be published, at least not anymore, not in the federal courts. States may vary. And after all, in this age of Westlaw and Lexis, who cares about whether an opinion was formally published so long as it can be gotten to? The publication requirement really does need to be killed off as it no longer serves a useful purpose.
  • Does this mean that Kaleidescape can rip dvds to a server, sell us products that do the same or that we ourselves can? This paragraph:

    Because of this ruling, the Judge did not have to get into copyright issues, so the Kaleidescape ruling has no copyright implications. It is not a statement on the legality of ripping DVDs.

    suggests that it applies only to them. Or have I missed (or missread) something?
    ---
    How exactly did the butcher baker and the candlestick maker end up in a tub together?
    ---

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ardyer (816606)
      No, you understand it right. The ruling only applies to the Contract signed between the two parties. Other contracts may be different, or heck, the appeals court may overrule anyways. However, Kaleidescape could still be liable for copyright violations. That will have to go to a federal court to be determined.
    • by c_forq (924234)
      As I understand it the case means Kaleidescape can sell machines that store and re-transmit DVD data you give it. As I understand it the thought isn't you are ripping the DVD, the thought is you are using the Kaleidescape server (which happens to rip the DVD, which Kaleidescape's contract allows it to do).
  • RTFA... (Score:5, Informative)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@@@danielthompson...net> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:36PM (#18920903) Homepage
    From the article:

    Because of this ruling, the Judge did not have to get into copyright issues, so the Kaleidescape ruling has no copyright implications. It is not a statement on the legality of ripping DVDs.


    In other words, the case was about whether or not a single, specific contract was breached (which is fairly common type of case in civil courts) - it is not some sweeping endorsement of DVD ripping, as the headline would have you believe. The ruling merely states that the contract Kaleidescape signed with the DVD CCA doesn't preclude ripping DVDs, aka a question of contract law, not copyright law.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wesley Felter (138342)
      Yes, but all the other vendors signed the same contract, so presumably they can all rip DVDs now. Also, the CSS contract was the only thing preventing legal personal DVD ripping tools, so it is important to have the last roadblock taken down.
      • by igotmybfg (525391)
        My guess would be that the MPAA will still put up a fight based on copyright/fair use (or lack thereof).
  • Just the thing to start the week off right. With 40 DVDs already ripped and sitting on a 320 gb HD, I can get to work on the next few dozen, dozen and work in peace for a change :)
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      Read the article...the title is blatantly false. No surprise there, considering Zonk posted this. Of all people, you would think he would read the article.

      Seriously, I would love to work for Slashdot. He apparently hates his job, considering the mediocre work he does.
  • The FEC reports receiving massive numbers of declarations of campaign contributions. They all suspiciously appear to have come from MPAA members...
  • Everyone is just going to playback HD content from a fixed server .. just like mp3s rendered the physical storage medium obsolete. Only a matter of time.. sooner, now, with the AppleTV box.
    • by Khyber (864651)
      Isn't a hard drive a physical storage medium? Wouldn't anything holding data be physical in the first place?
    • Only a matter of time.. sooner, now, with the AppleTV box.


      or Linux MCE. I have the media server up. I am still building the PC on an E6700 Core 2 Dueo chip as funds come in. Memory and a hot video card are next.
  • Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV?

    Uh, yes, actually. Not that it's particularly difficult to do anymore.

    The only hurdle left now is the legacy of Jack Valenti.
  • I don't remember the details about this particular case, but could DVD X Copy be legal now?
    • A DVD-ripping utility would be legal if it preserves CSS on any rips that it makes and the vendor signed the CSS license. Most rippers do neither, so they're still illegal.
  • Anything that says I can copy a DVD and play it without the original DVD being involved means I can distribute. I copy it to my server and then pass the physical DVD to a friend, who then copies it to some other hard drive. And so on and so forth. This is distribution, period.

    However, this is probably just a small step along the way. Where we are going is clearly if it digitial it is going to be redistributed across the planet. This means that for someone to go to the expense of making a DVD and puttin
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      RTFA, or else TFS.
    • The fact that you can buy a gun in VA does NOT mean you can go around firing at will.
      Get your as$ correct first.
      The ruling only states that IF i have bought a DVD (first or second sale), i can watch the contents of it WITHOUT needing the DVD in the same place where i watch.
      Meaning i can rip DS9 , and watch it on my iBook in a flight between LAX and NYC. I don;t need the DVD to be present in-flight.
      What the ruling does NOT mean is distributing it delibrately to others to induce them to watch without having
  • Doesn't this make adding copy protection to the disks in the first place illegal?
    My thinking is that this is obstructing a legal activity (i.e. making legal backups of DVDs) and must therefore be illegal in itself.
  • Oh the Irony!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by popo (107611) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @10:34PM (#18923323) Homepage

    This actually makes me want to go and buy DVD's ... and the industry is opposed to it.

  • It is interesting that this case will continue considering the article a few days ago entitiled MPAA Committed To Fair Use and DRM. The MPAA nows seems somewhat willing to give into fair use for DVDs. IF they want to show us they are committed to fair use then this should now not be an issue for them and they can call off their partners DVD Copy Control Association. Just my thought!!!

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