San Francisco (CA) – Yet another court has ruled that, although it is completely legal for people to back up a copy of a DVD they have purchased, it’s illegal for anyone to write software enabling them to do it.
Yesterday, the Motion Picture Association of America won a ruling against Real Networks’ RealDVD as being a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Now a San Francisco judge has ruled in favour of the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) against Kaleidescape, finding that the company was in violation of its contract.
Kaleidescape produces an $8,000 home server that allows people to store movies that can then be played on different systems around the house.
According to Judge JP Rushing, Kaleidescape ‘produces an expensive product that is designed to facilitate ease of use for consumers and not harm the copyright holder’. Unlike RealDVD, the Kaleidescape server only allows a customer to store a single copy of a disc, which cannot then be replicated.
Back in 2004, Kaleidescape was accused by the DVD CCA of failing to abide by the terms of the Content Scramble System (CSS) license, which forbids the copying of DVDs.
Kaleidescape argued there was nothing in the license that banned copying and the Judge agreed in a ruling issued in 2007. Now that ruling has been overturned.
“We’re obviously disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Kaleidescape’s CEO Michael Malcolm. “Our plan is to go to the Supreme Court of California. We’re confident that we’re not in breach of our contract with the DVD CCA and until then our products remain fully legal and licensed.”
“This is yet another example of the way the DMCA harms innovation without doing anything to stop what the studios call piracy,” added Fred von Lohmann, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“This enables the studios to take consumers’ fair use rights and sell them back to them one DVD at a time. And if you’re an innovator, where DVDs are concerned, it’s very dangerous to innovate without asking the studios’ permission first.”