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[dvd-discuss] Media server issue

As the price of mass storage continues its steady descent, one of the 
killer apps that seems likely to emerge is the home media server that 
among other things could include all your DVD's conveniently available 
throughout your home network. A company described at 
http://www.kaleidescape.com/ is making such a product available as a 
turnkey system at a premium price. A base configuration that holds 
about 30 DVD's is $20,000 but is expandable at prices that might be 
less onerous. However, I think we can assume that people buying this 
specific product are not really price sensitive.

The relevance to this list is that whatever price is being paid, the 
DVD's are ripped to a hard drive. In a discussion on the AVS Forum the 
legal issue is explained away by the claim that the DVD is stored on 
the hard drive in its original encrypted form and only decrypted at 
play time at the media client machine. Of course people have already 
implemented this sort of capability on their own at today's storage 
prices because it is awfully cool. But they have been using forbidden 
software to accomplish the task of capturing the DVD's to their monster 
hard drives.

Of course an important question is whether the MPAA agrees with this 
company that what it has done is going to pass muster. Even if that is 
the case, DMCA is criminal law and if its illegal for a regular citizen 
to have a product of this type why should it be legal if you have money 
to burn (yes, I know the cynical response)? The crucial issue is that a 
system like this does not require you to physically have the disc in 
order to play its content.  The details of how this is accomplished 
resemble arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I suppose if one has patience the mass market is incredibly more vast 
than the niche this product represents. So if this sort of pirouette 
around the consequences of DMCA is available to the rich today, then it 
will be repeated for the rest later.