Is it legal to convert rental/library DVDs into a portable format?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by sc98007, Mar 2, 2008.

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  1. sc98007

    sc98007 New Member

    I'd assume it should be legal for US residents to convert their purchased copy-protected DVDs into a portable format for their own use.

    But how about converting rented/borrowed from the library copy-protected DVDs into a portable format for on-the-go convenience of watching it on a ipod, zune etc.. while commuting, or other downtime. As long as the person still posesses the original rented DVD there shouldn't be legal problems, since after all he paid for it either directly for renting or through property taxes to the library. However he has to delete the file after returning the orginal DVD to avoid legal problems.

    What do you think ?
  2. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator


    If you don't own the original disc then converting/copying isn't Fair Use. It's stealing.
  3. rkr1958

    rkr1958 Member

    In the U.S. it's illegal to break DeCSS encryption even to backup your own legally owned DVDs. However, most reasonable people (not the MPAA though) considered that fair use, when backing up DVDs that YOU OWN, trump this draconian law.
  4. Actually, I would disagree with the two poster above me. I would say that if you did convert it to a portable format while you were still in possession of the rented movie, then subsequently deleted it upon retuning the dvd then you should be fine. To me you are renting the right to watch the movie. Durring that period you should be free to watch it on whatever device you want. Like rkr1958 said, not matter what you aren't legally allowed to do it. It's really more of an issue of ethics. Is it legal, no. Is it ethical, I say yes.
  5. sc98007

    sc98007 New Member

    Besides the industry doesn't give much choice for portable media. My library offers free DRM-protected video downloads that auto-expire in 21 days but neither Apple's ipods nor Microsoft (that originated DRM) Zune supports it. (Why ? Greed ? )

    So it is unethical to make something illegal and in the same time not give a easy legal option for consumers, when it comes to usage of legally obtained digital media on ones portable devices.
  6. sc98007

    sc98007 New Member

    Actually the way I understand the law, it is illegal to distribute the decrypted software but not own decrypted disks originated from the owned originals
  7. Actually, I can't remember if it is legal or not to make an backup copy for your own personal use. Isn't there something like its legal to make one copy for backup but you aren't allowed to break the encryption, totally contradicting itself. I don't know, DMCA is so messed up.
  8. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos Well-Known Member

    By law, it is illegal for you to crack the DRM in the US. That issue aside, legally you CAN create a mobile copy of a rented (including library borrowed) DVDs for the duration of the rental time. You must delete the copy when you return the film.
  9. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator

    I should amend my prior reply...

    The DMCA and other ridiculously contradictory laws that leave grey areas cause headaches. I view the situation from a moral one.

    What is OK to do with a rental or borrowed disc (SD DVD, BD, HD-DVD):

    (1) Watch it in your own DVD player
    (2) Watch it on your HTPC with with AnyDVD running in the background

    What is not OK to do with a rental or borrowed disc (SD DVD, BD, HD-DVD):

    (1) Copy it to your HDD
    (2) Copy it to a blank disc to view in a standalone
    (3) Copy and convert to another format to view on a portable player

    The second you copy the original content that you do not own from the source to somewhere else I see it as morally wrong.

    Now, alright, in the cause of converting and putting it on a portable player such as an iPod, PSP, etc some say, "I'll delete it after I watch it." Some will. Some won't.

    Anyway, copying anything you don't legally own is morally wrong IMHO. If you cannot directly get the media content in the correct format that you need then I sympathize but don't feel that it's right to rip & convert.

    What I said above are my own personal opinions. That said, asking for help in copying rentals is against forum rules and that statement is not aimed at anyone in particular.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  10. deaacs

    deaacs Well-Known Member

    Well, you can assume whatever you want, but the US law is perfectly clear: fair use no longer applies if you circumvent copy protection. Circumventing copy protection is against US law.
    Considering it's not legal to begin with in the USA even if you do own the disc, it's certainly not going to be legal if you don't own the disc. Furthermore, if you are that interested in the content that you would actually rip the disc - shouldn't it be time to think about purchasing it? :agree:
    That's just an unreferenced opinion - most people on this forum would think that way, yes, but many perfectly reasonable people would not, and that's fine too. It's like an ATM card - it is illegal to use someone else's ATM card, even with their permission to withdraw funds; but many people don't consider doing so any real crime; and you are unlikely to be arrested for doing so.
    Well, most of the DMCA to me makes perfect sense - the sections regarding copy-protection I think go too far; but I'm no expert on USA law - and as you are probably aware all signatories to the WIPO Copyright Treaty are required to make breaking copy protection an illegal act. Doesn't mean I agree with it - just saying that it isn't the DMCA that's the problem, it's the WIPO treaties.
    Can you give me a reference? As far as I'm aware that wouldn't come under what the USA considers "fair use"... but I suppose you could be right so long as you can prove in court that the licensed copyrighted work was under your "ownership" at the time (and technically not under the ownership of the video library) - but regardless it's still illegal to break CSS or AACS encryption, region coding or any other copy protection found on the disc in the USA. What probably isn't illegal in the USA is converting your DVD-drive to RPC1, and then deleting the region-counter in power-dvd or win-dvd or whatever program you're using - only because that's not actually breaking copy protection while no disc is in the drive.
  11. Chris Gonzales

    Chris Gonzales not Pierre Plantard

    Hi there,

    I agree with deaacs, though I'm no US law expert. The situation is similar in Europe and Australia. Don't know about the Middle East, East Asia and Africa.
  12. Charlie

    Charlie Well-Known Member

    Ha Ha Ha can't believe this thread is still going. Wouldn't renting from the library be basically thew same as renting from Blockbuster and such? Either way the person renting out the videos had to purchase it as well.
  13. jvc

    jvc Well-Known Member

    It's been said before, in this thread...........
    Bypassing/breaking copy protection, to make a copy of a dvd, is very much illegal in the US. It doesn't matter if you own the dvd. Since you have to break copy protection, to make a copy on a portable device, it is illegal. Just because you think or want it to be "fair use", doesn't change the law! Period!
    If you're not selling copies, chances are, you won't be bothered by the law about it.

    I've said it before..............if you think you are legally copying a dvd, for any purpose, call the FBI and tell them what you're doing. If you're right, they won't show up at your house. When they do show up at your house, maybe then, you folks will finally believe. :)
  14. Charlie

    Charlie Well-Known Member

    Actually I am all for copying or better yet making an archival copy to retain the condition to the original that you own. But Renting from the blockbuster or local library is in the same lines you don't own the title period. You may rent it and saying that you are borrowing the title so then you don't hold that right to do what so ever. Just my thoughts.
  15. oldjoe

    oldjoe Well-Known Member

    Libraries acquire their DVD's free of charge and they "loan" them out with no fees but it would still be illegal to circumvent the copy protection.
  16. deaacs

    deaacs Well-Known Member

    A "Video Library" can mean a public library, free to borrow from, or a regular rental shop - or your own private collection. In any case, you can lend a movie from the "library" and charge others for the privilege of doing so.
    Not as similar as you may think - for instance Mod Chips are legal under a decision by the High Court of Australia due to the fact that Sony failed to demonstrate in court that the PS2's hardware incorporates what is legally defined as a "technological protection measure". That has set a legal precedent in the highest court for any medium now - meaning that the copy protection found on CDs and on VHS may also now fail to be classified as a legally-binding T.P.M. and possibly the only technology on a DVD that qualifies is CSS - however region coding does not qualify, and as it is a part of the CSS patent that means you have legal grounds to argue in court that CSS is not a technological protection measure under Australian law. AACS possibly would qualify - however, as I've discussed, it may very well not qualify either - especially if it is required to break AACS encryption to also break the "geographic market restrictions".


    1. The ACCC website clearly states modchipping is legal: here, following the initial 2002 verdict (which was overturned on appeal, and then overturned again by the High Court).
    2. Definition of TPM under the Copyright Act: here.
    3. Full conclusion from the High Court in 2005: here. This spells in detail, the problems with declaring any "copy protection" technology a legally binding T.P.M. and as such raises real doubts as to whether any current form of consumer copy protection is fully "protected" under the 2006 copyright legislation amendment act.

    Thus, I believe, it is highly unlikely that it could be proven in court that decrypting either CSS or AACS is illegal; based on the legal precedent set by the "Playstation Case". I'm not an expert in law, I'm just going off what I've read. In any case, there is legal precedent that says you can circumvent copy protection in Australia.
  17. plano

    plano Active Member

    Sorry, this is not really fully correct. At least not in the US. You are talking about an assertion based on an interpretation. Without case law there is no more validity to your point than the opposing view that it is ok to copy DVD's you own.
    Why is there no case law? Simple. There is a fear that taking a case to court (civil or criminal) on the basis of an individual copying a DVD for personal backup would result in a successful challenge of the over broad assertion you made.

    By the way your comment on the FBI shows that the FBI doesnt agree with you. You can be certain the FBI in the course of its hundres fo thosuands of searches and arrests on various criminal activities has found hundreds of cases of individuals with copied DVD they owned. There are many cases of individuals prosecuted for selling DVDs. Not one case of a person ever being brought up on any kind of civil or criminal charge for having a personal use backup of an owned dvd.
  18. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos Well-Known Member

    I was making reference in regards to Video Rental, ala Blockbuster or NetFlix online. It falls into the same restrictions of "first ownership" of copyright regulation. When you "rent" a video you are paying for temporary ownership rights and there-to-for usage rights to that video and all rights that are attributed to that ownership. And while it will take a few more days after this post for me to track down case-law to back that, I am aware from various linked posts (of verified cases) on AVS and Digital Digest among others that in California, Missouri, and Illinois (and if I remember correctly New York as well) have set precedent for such a "temporary transfer of ownership ....) Under that guise, as mentioned in my earlier post, aside from cracking DRM all is fair game as to copying a video to portable media, as that is exactly the regulation and legal precedent that is used by internet video streaming services wholly within the United States. And the same rule that lest Blockbuster rent a video to you to take home, or play a full movie in a store, or broadcast a film online for a fee, and NetFlix "watch now" free streaming features allow you to "broadcast" your rental video to a portable device, and then broadcast your rental on that portable device.

    If that helps ;)
  19. jvc

    jvc Well-Known Member

    Prove me wrong!
    Contact the FBI and tell them you are copying dvds you own. Let's see what happens............That is the simplest and best solution. Prove your point. :)
    Instead of telling me I'm wrong.............prove it!
  20. jvc

    jvc Well-Known Member

    On the new dvd movie "Hitman", there's an ad for a new thing they're doing, called "Digital Copy". There is an extra disc in the case, with the movie on it, that you can copy to your computer, and put it on portable devices. Since the studios are doing this, it looks like they're going to allow a copy on portable devices. These will be legal. The example movie they showed was Live Fee or Die Hard. You have to buy the ones with the extra disc, instead of the regular dvd. I'm sure they're going to cost more...........
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