Home » MPAA virtually guarantees that you’ll rip your DVDs illegally

MPAA virtually guarantees that you’ll rip your DVDs illegally

mpaa_versus RealDVD should have been lauded by the movie and television studios as a great step forward.  Software that allowed consumers to copy their legally purchased DVDs while not only maintaining copy protection but adding an extra layer to be sure that the files created couldn’t be shared.  If just one executive in Hollywood had even an ounce of foresight, they would have tried to form a formal partnership with RealNetworks.  Instead, the studios and the MPAA have ensured that millions of content buyers will continue to do things illegally and be free to trade/share/give these illegal copies to their heart’s content.  I won’t go ripping into the history of this lawsuit but if you want to get in depth you can head to RealDVD’s website where they have a ton of links to information.

RealNetworks has decided to settle and in the process will pay $4.5 million to the studios for legal fees.  They’re doing what they feel they need to do as a business to stay in business.  The sad part of this story isn’t RealNetworks settling.  It’s that they were sued in the first place.  With more and more people learning how to circumvent copy protection everyday, why would you hammer the one company that’s actually trying to protect your content AND give people what they want?  It doesn’t seem to make sense until you start to think like a studio executive or higher-up at the MPAA.  If you can basically throw logic and common sense to the wind then you’re all set.

Currently, I can head out onto the internet, search “the googles” and come up with literally thousands (if not millions) of links that will take me to places that will teach me how to rip DVDs.  We’ve spelled it out here on The DMZ.  It’s not a difficult process and once you’ve done it once or twice, you’re set.  Not only can you rip your DVDs but you can circumvent copy protection (illegal per the DCMA) and convert them to the format you want for viewing where you want.  Using the process out there on the ‘net, you get an almost perfect copy of your movie and there isn’t a hint of DRM or copy protection included.  Meaning that you’re free to share it with anyone you want.  Yeah, it’s illegal but if that doesn’t bother you then that’s on you.  The studios can’t really do anything to stop you from ripping your discs and really there isn’t a whole lot they can do to stop people from sharing the files on the internet.  They try but it has yet to work out very well for them.

In steps RealNetworks with RealDVD.  This application would preserve the copy protection on the disc and actually adds an extra layer to ensure that RealDVD users can’t share their movies with each other.  Let me repeat that:  RealDVD PROVIDES BETTER PROTECTION THAN THE STUDIOS THAT PRODUCE THE CONTENT!

So the execs, in their infinite wisdom, decided that instead of embracing this technology which would protect their content and make it nice and safe, they would destroy it.  They would take the company that produced it, make them look like movie stealing enablers and force normal everyday folks to break the law just to use legally purchased content the way they want.  And why would they do this?  The answer here is pretty simple:  Money.  Period.

See, if you can legally rip a DVD and play back the movie on your iPod, Zune, phone, Xbox, Playstation, etc. then the studios don’t have the opportunity to charge your five times for the same piece of dreck they actually convinced you to buy in the first place.  What they don’t seem to grasp is that as they make it harder and harder to use paid for content the way you want, they are also making it easier for people to justify stealing said content.  I’m not saying it’s right but if someone gives you two options and one of them is 10x easier than the other, which one are you going to pick?  I guess this depends on how dark of a shade of grey you think downloading content is but the fact remains that a vast majority of people will take the easy way out.

The Solution

MPAA So how could Hollywood have handled this differently and made everyone happy?  When I say everyone, I mean the consumer (who gets to rip and use content the way they want), the studios (who get to continue to make money and protect their content) and RealDVD (who wants to make money too).  It’s actually a pretty simple solution:  BUY RealDVD!

Yes, Hollywood.  Like the music industry slowly learned, you too can give consumers what they want and still be profitable!  RealNetworks sells you this great software (they win) which would allow your customers to use the movies they pay you for in any format they want.  Win!  You get to charge for the software, making up for any potential losses from people not paying you 5x for the same movie.  Win!  The software produces files that have better protection than what you’re currently offering meaning that people can’t exchange them with each other.  DOUBLE WIN!  You actually come out ahead here instead of looking like a bunch of goons who can’t learn from the music biz.  But hey, just keep products like RealDVD and the number of people willing to steal your content instead of paying you for it will just continue to grow.  Up to you I guess.

Original news via CEPro

Image courtesy of Digital Digest

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About the author

Adam Thursby

Adam Thursby is the founder and creator of The Digital Media Zone.