It’s official: The war over copyright has officially branched into crazy land.
There were many times this could have been declared in the past, but an article I ran across on Ars Technica sealed the deal today.
The Motion Picture Association of America has a video circulating recommending teachers not rip DVDs to show clips for students in class. Instead, they should do the following:
1) Hook up their TV and DVD player at home
2) Purchase a camcorder if they don’t have one already and record the video from the TV.
3) Run a cable from their TV’s audio out jacks to the camcorder to capture the audio.
All of this, the MPAA says, will provide a copy of the clip for the teacher to use while not breaking the copy protection on the DVD.
Somebody deserves a solid thump on the head right now.
At the same time this is taking place, the MPAA is taking Real Networks to court over DVD copying software that it claims can only be used for pirating movies. Yes, it’s the same Real Networks who makes the Real media player nobody uses anymore but finds its way onto every PC it can. But this time I’m actually behind them.
The public has a right to make a backup copy and to frankly do whatever they please with said backup copy.
Rather than have this case heard in an open court, the MPAA has made sure to throw the public out of the courtroom not once but twice. Why? It’s copy protection software is so important and protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that they dare not reveal its secret.
Of course that’s not the only example of copyright causing the legal system to run amuck. Running through the globe, the various international incarnations of the MPAA and Recording Industry Artists of America are pitching variations on a copyright law that have the same common thread: If you’re accused of violating copyright three times, kiss your Internet access goodbye.
I’ve got no problem with Mickey Mouse randomly being granted another couple of years of exclusivity for Disney or the Beatles trying to protect their work. But when you’re trying to strip people of access to the Internet or throw them in jail after just a few piddly proofless accusations, that doesn’t fly with me.
Plus what could be so bad about public domain? It’s currently breathing new life into the undead. Dracula’s being revealed in a blog retelling the story and Jane Austen’s work has an added kick in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”