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RE: [dvd-discuss] Movie Downloads, automatically illegal?

As a matter of objective reality, I'm not disagreeing with you.
Bits is bits.

From a legal perspective, though, I'm not sure the two
discs are equal.  The provenance(s) of the two discs
are not the same.  You bought one, and your confederate
bought the other.  That being the case, the copies are 
not equal, either.  One copy you have the right to
download, and the other your friend does.

Is this a distinction without a difference?  Maybe.
Without marking the discs, or recording the serial numbers,
is it impossible to tell the difference, or just really difficult?

Going back to provenance, though, what if you had a
copy made of a valuable painting, so that you could
safely display one in your home and in a risky fashion 
at work?  Though  it might be indistinguishable from 
the original, it wouldn't have the same value.  It sounds 
quite illogical to say, but even though they were identical, 
they are not the same.

Assuming for a moment that there were two originals, 
you would have the same outcome if your "work" copy is taken
from your friend's original.  Two identical paintings with
different values.  Just the "information" about who created 
the original and who created the copy makes one 
valuable and the other much less so.  

It reminds me of a scene from author Jack Chalker,
where scientists create an exact duplicate of a clay 
ashtray from "flux".  At first, they carefully identified
the original and copy.  After weeks of testing with
no way to tell the difference, however, the
post-it note falls off and nobody cares.  Why should they?
The ashtrays are the same.

On the other hand, if you lost the provenance of your
painting, neither one would be worth as much as the
original.  I'm no art expert, but I assume that if you 
couldn't prove which one was the original, the combined
value could get would be less than the combined
value with the proof.

One more example:  Chain of custody.  In a regulated
lab, some samples must have a chain of custody report
filled out for the sample to be valid.  No one is challenging
that the sample is different, but if you can't _prove_ that
it _hasn't_ been tampered with, it's presumed to be no good.
Is the sample physically the same before and after the chain of 
custody is broken?  Sure.  Is the sample different, in terms of
its meaning or value?  Absolutely.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you, that the copies
are functionally identical.  But I think it is possible to see
how a judge could logically conclude that they aren't.

David Kroll

-----Original Message-----
From: 	Tim Neu [mailto:tim@tneu.visi.com] 
Sent:	Thursday, August 01, 2002 11:53 AM
To:	'dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu'
Subject:	RE: [dvd-discuss] Movie Downloads, automatically illegal?

On Thu, 1 Aug 2002, Richard Hartman wrote:

> Well, that's different.   Your DVD, your laptop.  That's
> standard space-shifting & has been previously acknowledged
> as a fair use for other media (e.g. CD->cassette).
> Downloading over the internet, you're probably _not_ copying
> from your own DVD.

So if I give someone two identical DVDs (one from a friend, one that is my
own) to convert to VCD for me, and they pick the source DVD at random,
you would argue that the legality of the copy would depend on which they

What is the difference?  In either case, you're using the collection of
bits which you were authorized to use.  Why should where I get the bits

My source DVD is x, yours is y.  At the lowest level they are identical
collections of a long string of binary digits, which in either case I am
authorized to use because I purchased a copy.

Given that x=y,

Is not:

2x = 2y?
2y = 2y?
2x = 2x?

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