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

On Fri, 2 Aug 2002, Kroll, Dave wrote:

> Tim,
> I think you're buying into the "License" argument too much:
> This all makes sense if you accept that when you hand over a Jackson
> for a DVD, you are buying a "license to view the movie".  If that is the
> case, I agree that regardless of the condition of the disc, you still own
> your license.
> But (IM non-lawyer O) if you stick with the traditional understanding of
> "Own it on DVD,"  then I think Richard is right.  Once the disc stops
> working, it's your problem to buy a replacement.  (Although I'm hard
> pressed to rationally explain why there is a distinction between
> using a backup copy you made and d/ling a backup from someone else.
> Perhaps because the person you are downloading from is "distributing".)

Not necessarily.  As an example, you own "The Stand" on DVD, I do too.

So far everyone agrees that the DVD itself has the properties of real
property and follows the normal rules of commerce.  Buy a piece of
plastic, sell, etc.

So far everyone also agrees that the owner of a particular copy of a DVD
has a reasonably established fair use right to make a copy (at least, from
their own DVD).

With these two "legal" concepts, you can media-shift from one person's
copy to another.

Let's say, for example, I want to download a VCD of the stand.  Out of the
goodness of your heart, you want to help me.  We can "legally" get this
done through the following convoluted but equivilent process:

1.  We trade DVDs.
2.  You make a backup copy of your DVD in VCD format.
3.  We trade back.  Backup copies flow with the original.


The same thing could be done in the shorter but equivelent process:

1.  You make a copy of your DVD in VCD format.
2.  You give that copy to me.

Any possible media shifting between multiple owners of a work can be done
by trading and making backup copies.

So, do we have to do the trade/backup dance for our transfer to be legal?

> Nevertheless, I think it's a false path to accept.  It's much easier to
> explain and accept that "You own the DVD.  You can do what you want
> with it."  Than, "You don't own the DVD, but the DVD is a token for a
> license
> to watch the movie.  You can't do everything you want with it, but the
> licensor is obligated to ensure that you have a useful copy."

Easier to explain - YES, I would certainly agree.  However, if you claim
the legal scenario works any way other than an implied license, than how
do people that go to Wall-Mart and buy The Lord Of the Rings on DVD become
authorized to watch it?

How can you buy a movie and NOT the right to use it?

I'm not stating that the licensor is in any way obligated to ensure that I
have a useful copy.  I am saying that the licensor should not prevent me
from making a useful copy, if I own the license.  Kindof like how backups
work now.  In theory, anyway, IP companies can't prevent me from making a
copy of the IP (movie, software, music, etc) in case something should make
the originals unreadable.

The same should apply to regaining licensed content to replace bad media:
A retroactive backup, if you will.

______         _ __                          Military Intelligence
  /           ' )  )        -KC0LQL-         Honest Politician
 / o ______    /  / _  . .                   Intellectual Property
/ <_/ / / <   /  (_</_(_/_  -- tneu@visi.com / http://www.visi.com/~tneu --