Please explain copyright protection or DRM simply to me

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by taiwaned, Mar 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    I have a slingbox that I use to record TV from Canada and watch it at my convienence in China. My understanding is this is not in breach.
    I rip DVD's I have purchased in Canada and save it on my computer and watch it at my convienence in China. My understanding is this is not in breach. I have a copy of the original at home.
    If I download the exact same program using a torrent site, this is IN breach. Correct?
    If I purchase the exact same program on the streets of Shanghai, this is also IN breach. Correct?
    If my buddy lends me a DVD to watch, is this IN breach? (no money changes hands)
    What if I go to Blockbuster in Canada and I rip a copy of the DVD for later viewing? I did pay money to watch it, I just chose a time that was convient for me.
    It gets to be more and more complicated. Especially when the copy that I sling from my slingbox is exactly the same as I purchase.
    As a Canadian, are the rules different than in USA? in China?
    Not trying to be difficult, just want to understand clearly what is legit and what is not. It gets really blurred living in China.
     
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  2. bakedpatato
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    bakedpatato Gold Member

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    This is a little dicey and I'm going off US law here...
    The Slingbox is 100% legit....the content however...
    Ripping DVDs is not 100% legit(due to DeCSS, the decryption method for ripping the DVDs)...but otherwise merely having the DVD on your computer to watch isn't illegal. Again, its the process of getting that DVD onto your system that can cause problems. I doubt the law bogeyman will come for you if you in this case though.
    Torrenting is 100% illegal. Even if you have the same DVD at home...while I haven't seen this defense played out in court though; I Am Not A Lawyer.
    Buying on the streets is 100% illegal only because the Chinese government severely restricts the import of legit media into China(some sort of quota is placed on "Western media")....so legit DVDs and shows are hard to find, if not impossible(I live with 2 Chinese nationals, and they have confirmed this)
    According to US Copyright Law, lending out your DVD to a friend is legal.
    Personally I think that ripping a copy you got from blockbuster is stealing but I don't know about that in terms of legality.
     
  3. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    I'm not a lawyer either but I have some observations. I'm in the USA.

    It might not just be copyright you're dealing with. It can be licensing too. A movie (or TV show, or almost any other intellectual property) might be licensed for sale in one place but not in another. So in the example of China, any discs for sale have to be bootleg because the official version can't be sold there.

    Much of this revolves around fair-use too. You can share a DVD with a friend. You can keep a copy for yourself. When it comes to duplicating and then selling copies that's not fair-use.

    A friend who's a photographer has several photos of celebrities on her web site. Lately she's noticed the photos appearing on trinkets in China. She knows the manufacturers haven't paid to use the photos. It's difficult to enforce this stuff when it's thousands of miles away. At least the shots they stole were small and low resolution. They'll never be able to print posters from them.
     
  4. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    Just to clarify: bitTorrent itself is neither legal or illegal. It is a means of downloading. Torrenting copywritten material is illegal. There are plenty of legal torrents out there...Linux distributions, open source software, podcasts of Free Talk Live. There are people out there who want to ban ALL torrenting, but it's a way to share bandwidth so people can get their message/information out without paying for tons of bandwidth or using paid download sites with horribly slow free counterparts.

    I know you were talking about movies and TV shows and such, but I just had to get my 2 cents in that there are legal uses for bitTorrent as well.
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You can even charge your friend for the privilege. That's what Blockbuster, Netflix, RedBox do. You cannot, of course, make a bunch of copies of your one DVD and then rent those to friends.

    I suspect the entertainment industry will argue that ripping the DVD is a DMCA violation as it circumvents the CSS encryption (FWIW, it can be circumvented in seven lines of code that I have on a t-shirt somewhere).

    As for whether it is stealing, IANAL, but do you think there's anything morally wrong with renting the DVD, ripping it for one-time viewing on an iPad on a long flight, then deleting it? I'd say that's time-shifting and device-shifting, but I don't think anyone was harmed in this process.
     
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  6. bakedpatato
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    bakedpatato Gold Member

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    Yup, thanks for clarifying :)
    Ah the freedom shirt :D
    I misread his question as "rip to keep" instead of "rip to timeshift"...I guess i'm not against that.
     
  7. East_Yorker
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    East_Yorker Gold Member

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    That's not exactly true. Those companies don't pay based on the same model as you and I, and they have agreements in place with the rights holders.
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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  9. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    This also changed around the time DVDs hit the market. It use to be Blockbuster would buy a VCR tape at a huge markup because it was a special version that was for rentals. When the DVD came out the rental companies said enough of that, IIRC.
     
  10. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    Thank you all for trying to make this simple but it is still very complicated.
    Does location matter?
    IE: If in Sweden it is ok but not in USA? or does it matter that I am Canadian?
    Looking from perspective - An American perspective would be that this is in breach but in China it won't be.
    I am not talking about morality here, talking in terms of legality.
     
  11. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    I think you need to speak to someone who specializes in international copyright law.
     
  12. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    So I went to the local DVD store down the street here in China. Purchased seasons 1-6 of NCIS on DVD or 80 RMB (about $12 USD). It came with a collectors box and the DVD itself has copyright protection.

    I am sure that this is a copy of somesort. First of all it is too cheap, second the subtitles are really bad and third the gobal tv or cbs logo is on the bottom right corner of all the programs. But I can't buy any legit DVD's here. There isn't a one available. Did I do something wrong?
     
  13. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    Let's reverse the question. You made something in Taiwan which you only wanted sold in Taiwan. It cost you millions of dollars to make. You arrive in the states and see really bad copies of your thing, and the seller is making a lot of money from it. Would you be angry? Would you try to get them destroyed? If you had a friend in the government would you try to get a law passed against them? To me, the answer is that it's a bad thing to buy them, even if it might not be technically illegal. But the reality is that I see people buying fake DVDs on the street every day.
     
  14. Tivoboy
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    Just a quick warning. I've heard that customs has targeted people coming back from China and other markets for items that violate copyright in he usa. So, be careful bringing COUNTERFEIT goods INTO the country.

    People already commented on the big items, errors in your assumptions. Ripping COPYWRITED and ENCRYPTED DVD's is illegal in the USA, but if there is NO encryption it is NOT illegal.

    To my knowledge, nobody has even been arrested or fined for ripping a DVD. Back in the early 00's it was the companies which made software to do this, and sold it at retail which were targeted.

    P2P file sharing and bit torrent are not illegal by nature, but the sharing, transmitting and downloading of COPYRIGHTED CONTENT IS ILLEGAL. Again, the majority of the offenders have been the SHARERS and not the downloaders. YMMV, I have stayed away pretty much since the mid-90's. :)

    At some point in the not too distant future we'll say a fair use policy apply to digital media. It makes total sense that one can BUY a DVD and then re-purpose the content or other devices. This is already happening to some extent with some studios in that they provide a digital copy for use on a pc, ipad, zune, etc. More of this should come.
     
  15. wiredboy
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    In this case, the judge lowered the fine by 90%, but it might be only temporary. $22,500 per song is a lot of $$.

    http://mp3.about.com/b/2010/01/06/student-to-challenge-675000-illegal-music-download-fine.htm
     
  16. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    This has never been an ethics question. This is a legality question.

    Let take NCIS DVDs I purchased in China. I now have programed my tivo in Canada to save the program then I sling it to my computer in China. This is perfectly legal in Canada and in China. I take the same program, I can buy it at a brick and mortar store here in China. It is completely LEGAL here in China. I get a receipt just like I would get one if I purchased at Best Buy in Canada. I purchased these DVD's here in China in good faith however I am pretty positive that the DVD's are ripped copies.

    The question is, did I do something illegal? In China (Vietnam, Indonesia etc) it is not illegal . In Canada, first such stores would not exist. Secondly, if such were available, they are prohibited by law and thus illegal.

    Just like casinos are illegal in Japan, many Japanese people go to USA, Macao, Canada and other countries to do something they are prohibitted in doing in their own countries. Did they do something wrong in the country they were visiting? No. Can they participate in such activies in Japan, no - for it would be illegal but can they go to another country to participate in such activities, yes - as long as it is legal in the country they are visiting.
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    As I understand it, Chinese law considers what you purchased an illegal copy. It's just that the law is rarely enforced.
     
  18. techauthor
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    There are a few separate (legally separate) issues here.

    One is copyright. Another is US DMCA.

    DMCA makes it illegal to break copy protection or use (or distribute) tools that assist in that. As a Canadian, you are breaking a US law, but if Canada has a similar rule, then you are at risk. If not, then you DMCA risk arises when you visit or transit the US. (Low risk, but this is a technical answer).

    As for copyright, you do have the right via US Supreme court to time shift (Betamax case). You also have the right to lend your CD/DVD to another, but not a copy of it. You have the right to make a backup copy unless copy protection schemes block it (in which case you'd be running afoul of DMCA). The rules don't change if you bought your copy on physical media or electronically.

    One of the big international issues today is the license the copyright holder gives to the distributor. It might be anything from a single country to a region (e.g., North America) or worldwide. It might or might not include derivative works (an audiobook make from a novel, for example). It might or might not include e-book formats (Kindle, Nook, etc) and those derivative rights might or might not apply nationally, regionally, etc.

    That would account for why some media, formats and content is or is not available in one place or another.

    When you consider cloud services, such as Amazon's new launch, it gets to be an even more complicated mess. The problem is that many author/publisher/distributor contracts never envisioned today's media and distribution formats.

    All this is, of course, subject to international copy protection treaties, too.

    Finally, there's the LEGAL DEFENSE, NOT RIGHT of Fair Use. Not all countries have such language. Where it applies, it is a function of protected areas (news, parody, commentary) and depends on quantity and market effect.

    Hope this helps

    Techauthor (retired IP-law attorney)
     
  19. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    So ethics really doesn't matter to you?
     
  20. KENNECTED
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    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    Bottom line. Don't do it! You take money away from people like me! :mad: :mad:

    I work for a very large international media company and pirating is huge. People dont understand how pirating (boot legs) affects all involved. If its music, you take money away from the person who wrote the music, the lyricist, the production and manufacturing teams. If it's movie/theatrical you take a way money from producers, actors, etc.

    People think their one little purchase doesn't affect anyone but the movie or TV/Movie studio who is distribution the product. But pirating/ripping is huge. Would you like me to come to your job and steal from your company or steal your company's product?
     
  21. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    I understand the difference between ethics, morals and legality.
    Morally, I think piracy is wrong. Ethically I do not knowingly participate in it. However many things are morally/ethically wrong and legally able to do. IE: my gambling senario.
    If anybody checks my media, everything is purchased the old fashion way. I have stacks of dvds, cds to prove it. That is why I went and purchased a box set of DVD's from a store and got a receipt. The problem I feel is the product that the store sold me is counterfeit. (Maybe my DVD's I just purchased are legit, just bad quality (I don't think so, see previous post))

    This is a legal question because living here in China. No way this is even considered illegal. Previous poster said it is considered illegal but not enforced. If that is the case, why are the multinationals (Walmart affiliate) also sell DVD's that really look suspicious?

    So legally, I don't think I did anything wrong in purchasing a dvd in China. The retailer here in China is doing something illegal - correct?
     

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