Friday, May 10, 2002

Slashdot is echoing a Matt Drudge report that bootlegs of Star Wars episode II are already circulating on the Internet.

Expect shrill cries from Hollywood pleading that this shows that digital consumer electronics need strong copy prevention even though the copies could be (and, I have no doubt, are being) just as easily distributed via VHS, and even though they certainly were not originally made with consumer electronics, since the movie has never been made available in consumer media.

Which actually brings up one of the more sublime pieces of nonsense in the generally ridiculous Digital Millenium Copyright Act, 17 USC 1201(k)(3)(B). Section 1201(k) of the copyright act generally requires analog VCRs to implement Macrovision copy prevention, but subsection (3)(B) specifically exempts "professional" equipment, where that term is defined right below in 1201(k)(4)(D) like so:

The term ''professional analog video cassette recorder'' means an analog video cassette recorder that is designed, manufactured, marketed, and intended for use by a person who regularly employs such a device for a lawful business or industrial use, including making, performing, displaying, distributing, or transmitting copies of motion pictures on a commercial scale.

So, making or selling a gizmo which is able to copy rented VHS videos is against the law, unless the gizmo can copy them in bulk.

Remember, this law was approved by the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. It must make sense.

(Update: And, as predicted, here come the nitwits; the Seattle Times suggests that the attack of the clones of Attack of the Clones provides an argument for legislation even as it acknowledges that:

Many industry observers do not expect it to cut into box-office receipts, but some worry about the impact on videotape and DVD revenues that make up a significant portion of a studio's profits.

Oh, they're worried. Obviously, the only thing we can do is put copy-censors in every PC and electronic device. Otherwise they might need a little milk in their tea to get to sleep at night.

via Boing Boing).


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