Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Oct 2011 13:31 UTC
Legal A few days ago, several countries signed ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. As you are probably aware, ACTA was drafted up in secret, and is basically Obama/Biden's attempt to impose the US' draconian pro-big business/big content protection laws on the rest of the world ('sign it, or else'). The European Parliament still has to vote on it, and as such, Douwe Korff, professor of international law at the London Metropolitan University, and Ian Brown senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, performed a 90-page study, with a harsh conclusion: ACTA violates fundamental human rights.
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RE[2]: Call me contrarian...
by lemur2 on Tue 4th Oct 2011 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Call me contrarian..."
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

It is laws like these that, for example, makes it technically illegal to even watch DVDs on Linux using VLC.


Arguably, it isn't illegal to watch DVDs on Linux using VLC. One has paid for the optical DVD drive, one has paid for the DVD, and one has a license to run the VLC software. When one buys a DVD player and a DVD, one expects to be able to play it. "Playing" is what DVDs are meant for, afetr all, so the right to play them is implicit in the sale transaction.

The VLC software itself is not a copy of any other software, and it does not employ "stolen" keys nor any other information other than what is on the DVD itself. The decoding library (called libdvdcss) written and used by VLC has never been challenged in court. The VLC software does not have a "copy DVD" function, it is a player not a copier. The encoding used by DVDs is very weak, it is neither novel nor original, so it shouldn't have any patents applicable to it.

Why should it be illegal to watch a DVD on Linux using VLC?

No one who suggests it is illegal is ever able to explain what law has allegedly been breached by such an act.

Edited 2011-10-04 22:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Call me contrarian...
by M.Onty on Tue 4th Oct 2011 22:09 in reply to "RE[2]: Call me contrarian..."
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23


No one who suggests it is is ever able to explain what law has allegedly been breached by such an act.


No, but its well within the Law of Straw Man Examples.

Reply Parent Score: 1

howitzer86 Member since:
2008-02-27

Arguably, it isn't illegal to watch DVDs on Linux using VLC. One has paid for the optical DVD drive, one has paid for the DVD, and one has a license to run the VLC software. When one buys a DVD player and a DVD, one expects to be able to play it. "Playing" is what DVDs are meant for, afetr all, so the right to play them is implicit in the sale transaction.

The VLC software itself is not a copy of any other software, and it does not employ "stolen" keys nor any other information other than what is on the DVD itself. The decoding library (called libdvdcss) written and used by VLC has never been challenged in court. The VLC software does not have a "copy DVD" function, it is a player not a copier. The encoding used by DVDs is very weak, it is neither novel nor original, so it shouldn't have any patents applicable to it.

Why should it be illegal to watch a DVD on Linux using VLC?

No one who suggests it is illegal is ever able to explain what law has allegedly been breached by such an act.


You can rip DVDs with VLC by streaming them to a file. VLC also must have some kind of copy protection workaround because it's able to play and stream copy protected DVDs.

Having said that, it's still not something that will get you in trouble. This isn't a Orwellian police state, the FBI aren't going to know what you used to play a DVD with and frankly they don't care. They'll care if you start selling bootlegs. So ultimately it has to do with what you do with this software rather than the software itself.

ACTA sucks, but chances are you aren't going to be affected by it. Especially if you're a US citizen.

Edited 2011-10-05 04:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Fair Use granted by Copyright to the content license holder says I pay to license the content not the medium it is delivered on. It also says that I can, for private use, access that content any way I like. Music comes on CD, I can legally convert it to mp3 to enjoy using my digital music player. Movies come on DVD, I can legally convert it to a digital format to vew though digital media players.

But boy howdy does big content put a lot of effort and lobbying into trying to remove fair use from copyright so they can sell me the same content license over and over on different storage mediums.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Call me contrarian...
by sagum on Wed 5th Oct 2011 06:21 in reply to "RE[2]: Call me contrarian..."
sagum Member since:
2006-01-23

the copy protection used in DVD encyption is Content Scramble System (aka CSS) and is licensed to venders for use in DVD player hardware and software from the DVD Forum. They are a collection of companies who designed and setup the DRM (CSS) for use with DVDs in the first place. The cost is $10-15. The (Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the USA members here, forbids VLC from playing DVDs.

Legally, if you are in the USA and use VLC to play a whole movie you are doing something illegal because you don't have a license to play DVDs. That license does NOT come as part of a DVD disc.

Of course, USA laws don't apply to everyone else, regardless of if the DVD Forum is made up of company around the world.

Lastly, VideoLAN and who created the libdvdcss that VLC uses, is a French non-profit organization and there is nothing the USA can do about that with the DMCA.

Edited 2011-10-05 06:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Call me contrarian...
by lemur2 on Thu 6th Oct 2011 06:14 in reply to "RE[3]: Call me contrarian..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

the copy protection used in DVD encyption is Content Scramble System (aka CSS) and is licensed to venders for use in DVD player hardware and software from the DVD Forum. They are a collection of companies who designed and setup the DRM (CSS) for use with DVDs in the first place. The cost is $10-15. The (Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the USA members here, forbids VLC from playing DVDs. Legally, if you are in the USA and use VLC to play a whole movie you are doing something illegal because you don't have a license to play DVDs. That license does NOT come as part of a DVD disc. Of course, USA laws don't apply to everyone else, regardless of if the DVD Forum is made up of company around the world. Lastly, VideoLAN and who created the libdvdcss that VLC uses, is a French non-profit organization and there is nothing the USA can do about that with the DMCA.


The DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. It is meant to prevent copying of copyrighted works, it is NOT meant as a means to enforce collection of bogus fees-for-use.

VLC does not use the software from the the DVD Forum, therefore there is no need to purchase a $10-$15 licesne from the DVD Forum to run VLC.

There was a case of a printer manufacturer who tried to put "copy protection" into prinetr ink cartridges, and then to charge users a premium price for printer ink catridges. A competing firm made cheaper ink cartridges for that printer, and the printer firm sued, claiming a DMCA violation. It went to court, the printer firm lost.

The DMCA is NOT a law for enforcing collection of license fees or locking other products out of markets or locking people into expensive support, it is strictly for the protection of copyrighted works.

Reply Parent Score: 3