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MPAA Makes Unauthorized Copies of DVD 424

Posted by Zonk
from the pot-i-would-like-you-to-meet-kettle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a story on ArsTechnica about how the MPAA has admitted that they made unauthorized copies of a movie. That in itself is a bit of tasty hypocrisy, but if it turns out that they ripped a DVD, then the MPAA could find themselves in violation of the DMCA." From the article: "According to Mark Lemley, a professor at the Stanford Law School, the MPAA may have been within its rights to make copies of the film. Given that the MPAA's intent isn't financial gain and that the whole situation may rise above the level of trading barbs through the media into legal action, making a copy may be justified. Personally, I can't see any justification for an organization such as the MPAA ignoring a directive from a copyright owner, but IANAL." Update: 01/24 19:52 GMT by Z : Made title more accurate.
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MPAA Makes Unauthorized Copies of DVD

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  • by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:05PM (#14550455)
    .... The MPAA will have to sue themselves?
    • ...The MPAA will have to sue themselves?

      Why not? They like Fucking everyone.

    • by iSeal (854481) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:13PM (#14550534)
      .... The MPAA will have to sue themselves?

      Nah, they'll just sue the company they got to make copies for them. They'll call it a "mega piracy bust" or something, and say that they found 30 DVD replicators inside and some pirated goods... namely this one "This Film is Not Yet Rated" documentary.
    • it is a win-win for their attorneys :)
    • This is forbidden by Directive 2:

      Must not sue self

      Also related is Directive 2.i:

      Must not sue any RIAA member or any third party of political influence and/or monetary support

      Any attempts to violate these hard-wired directives will result in immediate self-destruction.

    • First, sir your sig makes me smile.

      Second, INAL but, you bring up a good point, and it's bigger than just the MPAA. New laws often have gaps, situations they don't expect, and therefore aren't covered. (At work I'm dealing with a situation not covered in ERISA) The DMAC was meant to be omnibus, but it isn't, partly due to the fact that it's new, partly due to the fact that the technology is so new. Also we have conflicting laws and judicial president, DMAC vs. Betamax for example. Then add in another

    • by darthservo (942083) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:45PM (#14550805)
      The MPAA will take themselves to court. Following their standard procedures, they will then delay proceedings, forcing the opposing party (themselves) to run out of funding for lawyers. Eventually, they will win by default because they can no longer afford the necessary fees. From their new HQ, under a bridge, they will issue a public statement in the form of cardboard and permanent marker.
  • Uh Oh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dancpsu (822623) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:06PM (#14550466) Journal
    The "no profit" loophole was closed by the DMCA. Now the MPAA is fleeing to a locked door. This is going to be fun.
    • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by faloi (738831) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:15PM (#14550556)
      The "no profit" loophole was closed by the DMCA. Now the MPAA is fleeing to a locked door. This is going to be fun.

      It'll only get fun if the film maker decides to try to take it somewhere. Right now it looks like the film wasn't harmed financially, and I don't think the film maker has a major studio backing him with financial and legal muscle. He'll probably milk it for publicity, and it'll all go away. Or at most be something we point to for the next five years or until the MPAA does something else stupid, whichever comes first.
      • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dancpsu (822623) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:19PM (#14550598) Journal
        For this case yes, but it will be an interesting day in court when a defendants lawyer brings this up when the MPAA sues someone else for copyright infringement.
      • by Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) <abacaxi@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:22PM (#14550618)
        If the copyright was registetred, he can sak for statutory damages ($50K or so) and not have to prove financial losses from the copying.

        It could be profitable :0

      • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HaeMaker (221642) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:33PM (#14550720) Homepage
        Not harmed financially? If he was harmed as much as $1, he can sue and get into punitive damage territory. If copies were given to MPAA staffers, those staffers will not need to see the movie in the theater or buy it on DVD, since they already have a copy, that is all it takes. IANAL.
      • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by FellowConspirator (882908) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:37PM (#14550750)
        For what it's worth, if the film had been encrypted using CSS (like a normal CD), then the DMCA applies. If the DMCA applies, the act was criminal (copyright infringement is a tort, while a DMCA violation is a crime).

        In this sense, the copyright owner need not complain at all. Anyone may report the crime to law enforcement (it being a federal law, that would probably be the FBI), and it is their duty to investigate and then prosecute if the evidence supports it.

        Nothing in copyright law nor the DMCA implies that profit need be a motive or that the copyright holder was financially harmed by the act. Look it up.
        • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Informative)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @03:09PM (#14550985) Homepage
          For what it's worth, if the film had been encrypted using CSS (like a normal CD), then the DMCA applies. If the DMCA applies, the act was criminal (copyright infringement is a tort, while a DMCA violation is a crime).

          Your post is incorrect.

          First, it's DVDs that are encrypted with CSS, not CDs, which normally are not encrypted at all. Second, while yes, the anti-circumvention statute would apply, it's unclear whether the MPAA would have violated it; it depends on whether or not they defeated CSS, or just copied the DVD with CSS intact. Third, not all violations of the DMCA are crimes -- the law does more than just set up anti-circumvention provisions. Fourth, copyright infringement can be criminal, under the right circumstances, and circumvention is civilly actionable, just as copyright is.

          In this sense, the copyright owner need not complain at all. Anyone may report the crime to law enforcement (it being a federal law, that would probably be the FBI), and it is their duty to investigate and then prosecute if the evidence supports it.

          Fifth, the FBI and Department of Justice have discretion in choosing what crimes to investigate and who to prosecute, as they have limited resources. Reporting this to them could easily result in no criminal case ever even beginning. While it might not hurt to report with them, a victim with a cause of action should pursue his own case, regardless of law enforcement.

          Nothing in copyright law nor the DMCA implies that profit need be a motive or that the copyright holder was financially harmed by the act.

          True, but these can have an impact. For example, the MPAA may have here a good claim to fair use, since their interest in the film is in looking into the privacy of their employees, rather than making copies as a substitute for getting them from the Best Buy. If they're looking in to their legal remedies against the filmmaker, if they have any, this too strengthens their defense.
          • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by tambo (310170) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @04:00PM (#14551475)
            it depends on whether or not they defeated CSS, or just copied the DVD with CSS intact.

            I'm not sure about that.

            Some copyright-enforcement mechanisms for CD-ROMs, like SecuROM and SafeDisc, look for particular quirks in the format of data storage on the CD that indicates that it's authentic. Of course, utilities like DAEMON Tools now provide access to ISOs in a manner that emulates the quirks in the original media, for the purpose of fooling the copyright enforcement mechanism into thinking that the ISO is the authentic media. Now, good luck presenting an argument in court that this isn't "circumvention" of the copyright mechanism.

            Similarly, the purpose of CSS is to prevent the content from being playable on any copied DVD. Are you sure that "circumvention" is limited to extracting the content without the CSS wrapper - and excludes making a copy of the DVD that looks authentic to the CSS protection?

            Fifth, the FBI and Department of Justice have discretion in choosing what crimes to investigate and who to prosecute, as they have limited resources.

            That's true. But much more importantly, criminal prosecution has always been an extremely political decision. I really can't see the State of California filing suit against one of its major businesses for a fairly minor and technical criminal violation; the political cost would be too high.

            the MPAA may have here a good claim to fair use...

            Not sure about this.

            The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has construed the crime of DMCA circumvention as inherently requiring some kind of underlying copyright violation - i.e., if there's no actual copyright violation, then there's no DMCA liability. Unfortunately, that statutory construction is suspect for a number of reasons. (The CAFC's reasoning is large based on the positioning of the DMCA within 17 USC, the copyright laws... which seems, at best, alarmingly squishy logic.) This is problematic because the DMCA liability clause is very clear, and very clearly doesn't mention "underlying copyright violation" or anything remotely similar. The Supreme Court of the United States has not yet weighed in, so the future of the DMCA might be interesting.

            In other words: The DMCA may or may not require proof of some kind of copyright violation in connection with the act of circumvention. If it does, then fair use is a valid defense to the underlying copyright violation, and can be used to fend off DMCA liability. If it does not, then fair use is no defense whatsoever to DMCA liability.

            - David Stein

            • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hackronym0 (812439)

              That's true. But much more importantly, criminal prosecution has always been an extremely political decision. I really can't see the State of California filing suit against one of its major businesses for a fairly minor and technical criminal violation; the political cost would be too high. --Emphasis mine

              I just want to point out that until it is judged by a court with the proper authority and jurisdiction, I am not so sure how someone is supposed to determine which crimes are minor and should be allowe

            • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by typical (886006)
              I don't think that California's state government is very likely to go after Hollywood's powerful in any event.
      • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:40PM (#14550771)
        The way it reads to me the filmmaker was itching to stir something up to begin with, I mean why else would you specify that the MPAA not make any copies of the film - have any films actually been leaked by the ratings board?

        I obviously don't know the background but when a guy makes an incidiary movie about the MPAA, makes specific requests of the MPAA, and pays attention to whether or not his instructions were followed it seems to be like he is trying to get a law suit.

        I am torn between not liking the film maker for trying to find something to sue for and not liking the MPAA because they're cockroaches - I think I'll just settle on liking neither and hoping that the MPAA loses.
        • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

          I obviously don't know the background but when a guy makes an incidiary movie about the MPAA, makes specific requests of the MPAA, and pays attention to whether or not his instructions were followed it seems to be like he is trying to get a law suit.

          Does this logic allow all Republicans to pirate F9/11?

          If the MPAA makes a specific request of movie buyers that they not pirate, and pays attention to whether these instructions were followed, aren't they "trying to get a lawsuit"? Your point is irrelevant (
        • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by olddotter (638430)
          "have any films actually been leaked by the ratings board?"
          Will you ever know for sure? Not until someone is caught. But the perfect digital copies of movies that come out before the film hits the theaters often come from advance DVD's sent to ratings boards and professional movie reviewers.

          Yes I think the film maker is looking to stir something up, but that doesn't matter. The MPAA broke the same law they spend millions trying to enforce.

          I could imagine a lawyer taking the case for the publicity also. M
        • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @07:01PM (#14553088)
          I obviously don't know the background but when a guy makes an incidiary movie about the MPAA, makes specific requests of the MPAA, and pays attention to whether or not his instructions were followed it seems to be like he is trying to get a law suit.

          That's entrapment, of course.

          Entrapment is only illegal when it's done by the police.
    • 1. There is no mention that the movie was encypted in any fashion. It's possible, but I suspect unlikely.

      2. The lawyer who is quoted states that the MPAA may have a justification that the MPAA was making a copy that they could use in evidence (presumably in a lawsuit against the director/author).

      So, it might come down to what the MPAA actually did with those copies.

      The article mentions that the email exchanges don't fully support the director's assertion that the MPAA agreed not to copy the movie, but th

      • My brother is in the indy film business and basically they submit a copy of the movie burned on a standard dvd burner to the MPAA for review. Once the movie gets its rating, then they get the movie published with the anti-copying encryption.

        It's possible the big budget films might do more but considering this was a documentary and not big budget, I bet that it was done the way typical indy films are submitted.
    • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by murphyslawyer (534449) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:25PM (#14550650) Homepage
      The DMCA says nothing about fair use (except for the reverse engineering clause if I recall).

      The DMCA makes it illegal to break copyright protection mechanisms. If the movie was NOT protected, and it probably wasn't, then the DMCA does not come into play in any way.

      The copyright infringment bit is still possible, but fair use does come into play there.

      That's really the perversion of the DMCA - any copyright protection mechanism, pretty much regardless of how poorly implemented, trumps fair use rights.
    • Re:Uh Oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:30PM (#14550686) Homepage Journal
      The "no profit" loophole was closed by the DMCA.

      Actually, that loophole was closed by the No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act [ucla.edu], not the DMCA.

      Funnily enough, like the DMCA, the NET Act was also signed into law by the Clinton Administration. I only point that out to illustrate that selling out your rights to further rapacious corporate profits is not, and never has been, exclusively a Republican trait.

      Schwab

    • It's amusing, but the MPAA would first have to decide it was worth suing itself. You can't have a lawsuit without a plaintiff, after all. Though they do seem to like making examples out of people.

      Nobody move or the monopoly gets it!
  • Financial gain? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by los furtive (232491) <ChrisLamothe@gma ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:06PM (#14550468) Homepage
    Those movies you can download or share on torrent sites? They aren't copied for financial gain either.
    • by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:18PM (#14550584) Homepage
      More precisely, they are often copied not for financial gain but to curb financial loss.
    • by Chops (168851) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:27PM (#14550666)
      Those movies you can download or share on torrent sites? They aren't copied for financial gain either.

      Didn't you get the memo? The movies on file sharing sites all have stegonographically encrypted bomb making instructions in them to give to the terrorists in Al Qaeda in exchange for the money which is used to buy the drugs which are given to the school children for posing in the child pornography which is stored on the computers of the innocent after they're broken into with the hacking tools that come with Linux. It should have all been explained in the Evil People's Ten Steps to Victory flier that came with your Debian installation. Didn't you get one?
    • True! But I'm sure the MPAA didn't go out and give away copies to hundreds or perhaps thousands of strangers.
  • "Not even MPAA employees give a **** about DMCA".

    There :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mary-Kate and Ashley in " New York Minute"
  • intent!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wardk (3037) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:08PM (#14550489) Journal
    Given that the MPAA's intent isn't financial gain

    so I can rip a few thousand copies of the latest sucky movie and as long as I don't gain financially, I can distribute at my discretion.
    • Statutory Damages (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EvilMagnus (32878) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:12PM (#14550533)
      What makes it even sweeter is that the MPAA was one of the organisations pushing for Statutory damages for copyright infringement; which they got as part of the Sonny Bono Copyright Act. Which basically says even if the copying resulted in no financial loss for the rights holder, you must pay a basic amount of damages. I believe it's something like several thousand dollars per unauthorised copy.
      • Re:Statutory Damages (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @03:23PM (#14551120) Homepage
        Wrong.

        We've had statutory damages since the 1790 Copyright Act, and IIRC, it was in the Statute of Anne, which was even earlier. Over the years, the amount has increased (and MPAA has lobbied in favor of that), but the idea's always been there.

        Presently statutory damages are within a range of $750 - 30,000. If the infringement was intentional, the ceiling can rise to $150,000. In rare cases, the floor can drop to $200. A few defendants -- never you -- in exceptional cases can get the floor dropped to $0. In some circumstances, statutory damages may not be available to the plaintiff; he'll have to sue for actual damages. Of course, injunctive relief, fees, costs, etc. are also available, and you needn't just pick one.

        However, these are the numbers for works infringed, not the number of infringements. That is, if you make a million copies of Star Wars, the most you can possibly be liable for is $150,000. But if you make one copy of Star Wars and one copy of Empire, then you could be liable for $300,000, since there are two works infringed upon now, not just the one.

        The relevant statute is 17 USC 504.
    • This is only true if this gets into a court of law, and the MPAA uses this in their argument. A company or organization cannot use a legal argument in one case, then in another case claim the argument is invalid. (Well, they can try, but that is a good way to get a judicial smackdown.)

      This will only happen if the content owner wants to keep pressing the point through a lawsuit. If he can't find a lawyer willing to take the case, or if he considers any settlement the MPAA might offer, it has little to no
    • Re:intent!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Daniel_Staal (609844)
      No, but they can only claim the amount they lost because of your distribution. If you aimed to make a profit they can claim that as well, and then possibly claim punitive damages on top of everything else.

      In the first case it may not even be worth going to trial (since they'll still have to pay the lawyer fees which may well be more than they could get), in the second it is much more likely to be worth it, on a 'normal' case.

      (Standard disclaimer: IANAL, but I have studied this some. Got good grades too.)
    • Re:intent!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by joeface (182928)
      exactly

      If the point to all of the *AAs' huffing and puffing is the financial gain of the people doing any sort of copying, and the MPAA can get away with making copies of this guy's movie, then we should all be able to breathe a sigh of relief, right?

      (Well, in an ideal world, yes, but in our current bizarro-world where big corporations want to control every thought in your head and dollar in your pocket, no).

      It also amuses me that they claim the copying was justified because their employees' privacy may hav
  • HAHAHA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZeonMan0079 (926241) <(zeonman0079) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:09PM (#14550502)
    " MPAA Makes Illegal Copies of DVD "

    Let me laugh a little longer...

    From TFA: "The Motion Picture Association of America was caught with its pants down, admitting to making unauthorized copies of the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated in advance of this week's Sundance Film Festival."

    "MPAA made copies of the film to distribute them to its employees"

    It doesn't get any more ironic than this...

  • by MaceyHW (832021) <maceyhw AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:10PM (#14550509)
    Not to rain on the *AA hatefest, but the original article [latimes.com] offers a more complete and less biased account of what happened.

    Depending on how many copies they made and who they gave them to, there does seem to be some grounds for a fair use defense.
    • by walt-sjc (145127) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:18PM (#14550583)
      ... But the MPAA's opinion is that there is no such thing as "Fair Use". They don't even allow you to make a backup copy of your DVD's (which, especially if you have children, is important.)

      There used to be a company called "321 Studios" that sold backup software. Guess what happened to them?
    • The original unspun article may have a little more detail, but hardly offers any more reason that this is acceptable for them.

      If anything the latimes article contains more spin and excuse making from MPAA lawyers and reps than additional factual information.

    • by PatHMV (701344) <post@patrickmartin.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:26PM (#14550656) Homepage
      But fair use is not grounds for circumventing DRM under the DMCA.
    • by SpecBear (769433) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:45PM (#14550808)

      That's funny, since Jack Valenti (President of the MPAA until 2004) has claimed repeatedly that there's no such thing as fair use. [darknet.com]

      They were making copies of the work in its entirety and distributing it to employees because they thought they might be interested in it because the movie was about them. The only reason they had access to the material in the first place was because it was submitted to be rated, and they control the ratings process. IANAL, but I don't see how they'd squeeze a fair use defense out of this.

      Remember, this is a movie that was being submitted for rating, so it hadn't been released yet. The MPAA has supported legislation that would have made this kind of copying a felony punishable by jail time. [slashdot.org]

      I would love for this to go to trial and have the MPAA use a fair use defense. I want them on the record as saying distributing a small number of copies for purposes other than financial gain. I want an MPAA executive under oath stating what that number is. Hell, I just want them to submit to the court, in writing, a document that acknowledges the existence of the fair use exceptions.

    • I think the whole point of this is that the MPAA didn't have to make any copies. They could have just called everybody to the screening room, one at a time if need be, and shown them the only copy they had.

      So there was a way around his do not copy commandment and still be able to rate the movie. That pretty well moots their defense IMO.

      Frankly I feel there may be more than just a $50,000(?) fine involved for the copyright violation, if only because there are enough attorneys around that some of them might
  • Perfect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XMilkProject (935232) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:11PM (#14550519) Homepage
    So a movie comes along that the MPAA doesn't like and suddenly all their gripes about destroying the industry with copyright violations doesn't matter?

    I would propose that indeed the creators of this film have lost money, and that all of those employees who received copies were almost absolutely going to have purchased the movie (since it is about them).

    I would hope that both criminal and civil suits are filed. As they potentially broke criminal law by cracking any protection in making the copy.

    I hope this is widely publicized, as it is clear evidence that this group does not care about the law or moral implications of the piracy, but rather is only concerned in doing what serves them best.

    I for one will be sending emails to the producers of my favorite news shows urging them to cover the story, hopefully all of you will do the same.
  • Double Standard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MasterPoof (876056)
    Typical, this just furthers the opinion that the MPAA can get away with everything: IP or personal rights be damned.
  • by Caspian (99221) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:14PM (#14550549)
    Meself, I'm thinking more of Priests telling their congregations not to have illicit sex... ;)
  • by IAAP (937607) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:14PM (#14550551)
    Dick had specifically requested in an e-mail that the MPAA not make copies of the movie.

    Ahem, wouldn't that be considered a verbal contract? He submits the DVD and says "Do not copy, please." Or does he have to explicitly say, "DON'T FUCKING COPY THIS MOVIE YOU FUCKS!" and have them sign it for it to be a contract?

    Signature __________________,
    by MPAA FUCK

  • "Dick had specifically requested in an e-mail that the MPAA not make copies of the movie. The MPAA responded by saying that "the confidentiality of your film is our first priority."

    They then proceed to illegally copy it and hand it out to their employees. How stupid do you have to be?

    • by Soko (17987)
      It is not stupidity really, it's huberis. The MPAA thinks they are the stewards of all creative works involving a camera, and as such can do whatever they please in regards to such.

      It's that they're so full of themselves, it just looks like stupidity.

      Soko
  • Bah, that's nothing. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.TraegerNO@SPAMgooglemail.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:15PM (#14550559) Journal
    In Europe, there was a police raid on a couple of "Release Groups" today, supported by the the GVU (Geman leg of the MPA). Funny thing is, one of the places searched was the GVU's office, becasue they were actively involved in swapping the movies. Two stories about it (in German) one [heise.de] and two [onlinekosten.de]
    • More info (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeti (105266)
      The GVU [www.gvu.de] ( German Federation Against Copyright Theft ) is suspected of having regularly paid at least one administrator of one of the major warez servers in Germany. In exchange for their payment, the GVU got access to logfiles. Furthermore the GVU is accused of having provided hardware for the server, which was located in Frankfurt. The office of the GVU in Ellwangen was raided and there also is an investigation against the central in Hamburg.
    • by Chuckaluphagus (111487) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @03:35PM (#14551228)
      In my mind, this raid on the Hamburg offices of the GVU is even more jaw-dropping than the MPAA copying one single movie and distributing it to employees. Here's my summary, I don't have time to hack out a full translation right now:

      <summary>

      The GVU (The German analog to the MPAA) had its Hamburg offices raided today after a criminal investigation into the German warez scene turned up at least one server and warez group being actively funded by the the GVU. The GVU paid the admin of the server (called "IOH", located in Frankfurt) for access to server logs, sort of as a "honeypot" setup. They were collecting information about warez distribution, but they additionally paid for hardware upgrades to the server as well. The investigation is trying to determine whether they also paid for the bandwidth and additional infrstructure for the server operation.

      </summary>

      I'm sorry, this takes astonishing gall. The article denotes this as a major, high-capacity warez server, which would mean it hosted and handled a huge amount of copyrighted material. It looks to me like a case where the GVU decided "we're the good guys, so we don't have to follow the laws." I can only hope some nice, schadenfreude-laden prosecution comes out of this.
      • (Original article is at http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/68760 [heise.de])

        GVU is reported to have sponsored piracy

        Of all things, the Organization for Prosecuting Copyright Infringements (GVU) was targeted in the large search action against the piracy scene. The state attorney's office of Ellwangen suspects the private tracking organization of the film and software industry of having actively supported the distribution of what are called "warez". On Tuesday, investigators of the state Office of C
  • by daniel23 (605413) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:16PM (#14550564)
    Apparently this day has some positive karma towards that kind of news. In Germany a similar thing happened, when the police raided about 20 FTP sites allegedly serving pirated movies. One of the sites taken down during that action was the office and servers of the GVU Gesellschaft zur Verfolgung von Urheberrechtsverletzungen, an office funded by the German content industry to investigate "pirating". Their website was down for half the day, too (GVU [www.gvu.de]. More info to this, in German at heise [heise.de]. -- was ich selber denk und tu, das traue ich den andern zu
  • C'mon Man! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carrier lost (222597) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:17PM (#14550572) Homepage

    When you're a giant corproration with a ton of lawyers, lobbyists and a congressperson or two, laws are for other people!

    Sheesh!

    MjM

  • Can we then reserve the right to consider our next action "accelerated oxidation of their physical resources coincident with carbon reclamation," rather than "burning their fucking headquarters to the ground with everyone locked inside"?
  • by ematic (217513) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:19PM (#14550592)
    Let's not forget that consumer DVD burners were never given the capability to encrypt, since they can't burn to the area of the disk where the CSS key is stored. So even if the MPAA made a copy, it's likely to have been a clear copy.
  • Difficult to see? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:19PM (#14550597) Homepage Journal
    "It's difficult to see how This Film Is Not Yet Rated--which ended up with an NC-17 rating for graphic sexual content--is being harmed."

    Call me sceptical, but if I were a ratings association and wanted a film exposing my practices burried, I would slap an NC-17 label on it and make sure it was tucked far away from public sight. But now that this article has surfaced, I want to see it, to see if it really does have graphic secual content, or if the MPAA was just trying to hush a movie.

    -Rick
    • But now that this article has surfaced, I want to see it, to see if it really does have graphic secual content, or if the MPAA was just trying to hush a movie.

      I'll save you the trouble and personally guarentee that it does not have graphic secual content.
    • by duerra (684053) * on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @03:40PM (#14551269) Homepage
      The MPAA, in response to questions regarding the rating, defended the rating, saying "The rating was appropriately assigned and is just, as it clearly exposes some of the biggest dicks in the industry."
  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:19PM (#14550600)
    Title: MPAA Makes Illegal Copies of DVD

    Hey, I make illegal copies too! Maybe they'd like to get together so we can trade. I wonder if they have Land of the Dead yet...
  • Personally, I can't see any justification for an organization such as the MPAA ignoring a directive from a copyright owner, but IANAL."

    Did you mean:

    Personally, I can't see any justification for an organization such as the MPAA ignoring a directive from a copyright owner, but I am a bit ANAL."

    Anyway, I think that the MPAA should sue the RIAA, and vice-versa. This will tie them up in court for years and let everyone get back to the Prime Directive of copying every Ashley Simpson album known to e
  • by Bill_Royle (639563) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:20PM (#14550608)
    I've had a bit of experience in this area, as the RIAA violated my copyright a couple of years ago by reprinting an article I wrote on intellectual property. Had it not been cited by the Washington Post I wouldn't have even been aware of it! Still they ended up distributing that material in a press packet, and of course it was all without permission. They ended up apologizing, but there wasn't really anything that I could do about it at that point.

    I suspect it'll be the same with this guy. His case is better than mine, I'd think, as he's got legal resources to some degree I'd think. However, my bet is that in terms of an overall payoff, all this is going to produce for him is perhaps some free press.

    I wish him the best, regardless! Way to expose these folks :)
  • by edremy (36408) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:21PM (#14550610) Journal
    Back a couple of EDUCAUSEs ago, I went to a talk by a RIAA laywer about legal downloading vs. illegal. He was happily showing off iTunes and downloading some Rolling Stones tunes to play for the 200+ people in attendance. (The talk actually wasn't all that bad- he was trying to get the idea across that legal ways to get and share digital music now existed.)

    After the talk, I went up with a single question- "Did you clear public performance rights for that? iTunes downloads are for personal use only."

    He instantly answered that he had, but given that he was a RIAA laywer, who knows? I'd put money that he formally hadn't, but had just assumed either being from RIAA or fair use covered it. My faculty use stuff from iTunes commonly in their classes- technically they can't except under some strict conditions, but my counsel has been to go ahead provided they take reasonable steps to make sure it stays inside the class.

  • DMCA (Score:2, Informative)

    by kunzy (880730)
    The true meaning of DMCA: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20060122 [userfriendly.org]
  • wtfff (Score:2, Interesting)

    by usernotfound (831691)
    Legitimate use would be getting all those who have a right to see it together to watch it at once. Or even over multiple viewings??

    As I understand it, fair use copying is basically for backup purposes only. If any one of those copies left the office place, and strict domain of the "Job" giving them the right to access one of these copies...sounds pretty clear cut violation to me.

    I can copy a DVD and let it sit on my shelf while i watch the original, i can watch the copy and let the original sit on the shelf

  • Okay... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:23PM (#14550632) Homepage
    but IANAL

    Good for you, but I don't see how your sexual leanings have anything to do with copyright violations.
  • Let the blade fall again, again, and agian! IF MPAA wants to fall on their own blade, fine, but at least let us crucify the bastards that DARE break their own rules that they consider set in stone.

    C'est la Vie sweetheart, now get into the guillotine!
  • geese and ganders (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stumbles (602007)
    Well lets see if I understand this right. The copyright owner, specifically asked the MPAA not to make copies and the MPAA violated that request by making copies anyway. So the MPAA feels they are justified how?

    Sounds a whole lot like pot, kettle and black. The copyright owner should sue their pants off.

  • Heh, I work in the MPAA's DC building (not for them) across the hall from Valenti's office, I wonder if he could hook me up, I've been dying to see that movie.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:40PM (#14550777)

    According to Mark Lemley, a professor at the Stanford Law School, the MPAA may have been within its rights to make copies of the film. Given that the MPAA's intent isn't financial gain...

    So, that's okay then? Please, please, please...say that's ok. Just once. We won't hold you to it in the future. Honest!

  • Irony aside, I still can't understand how a movie that consisted entirely of following film raters around managed to get an NC-17 rating for explicit sexual content. Where exactly did he follow these people? Apparently they must have a lot more fun on their job than I do on mine!
  • Wait a minute...The "not for monetary gain" defense actually works?! Isn't that a standard part of the anti-piracy line, that it doesn't matter if you don't want to sell it, its still illegal?
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @02:53PM (#14550872) Homepage
    The Big Fish....the little fry, just have no right to pursue it. So, does anyone expect this to turn out any other way than in the MPAA's favor?

    He who has the $$$ gets the rest of the $$$$$$$$$$

    SONY, should have been hit with a fine or penalty for every instance of the ROOT kit installed. Were they? Nope...but they'll turn around and sue a 12 yr old.

  • Separate issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @03:29PM (#14551179)
    A [lawyer] for the MPAA justified the organization's apparent hypocrisy by saying that Dick had invaded the privacy of some MPAA staffers, which justified the MPAA's actions.

    "We made a copy of Kirby's movie because it had implications for our employees," said Kori Bernards, the MPAA's vice president for corporate communications. She said Dick spied on the members of the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration, including going through their garbage and following them as they drove their children to school.


    A classic straw man argument. These are two totally separate issues, but the MPAA is trying to make it sound like they are linked.

    Kirby followed MPAA employees and went through their trash during the filming of his movie. This is a possible stalking charge, and perhaps invasion of privacy. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know the exact charges that would be listed, but his actions are clearly on the edge of legality.

    The MPAA made unauthorized copies of the movie. Who these copies were distributed to is totally irrelevant; the point is that the copies were made and distributed, even after the MPAA was asked in an email from Kirby *not* to make copies of the film. (Against the wishes of the copyright holder.)

    Possibly, the MPAA ripped the film from a DVD. If this DVD is protected with CSS, then the MPAA is also guilty of a DMCA violation. (The article does not say why.) Who did the ripping, and why, is irrelevant in the eyes of the DMCA.

    If this goes to trial, these issues will be dealt with separately. Kirby's actions do not automatically exempt the MPAA from copyright infringement and copyright protection circumvention charges, nor does the fact that the MPAA ignored his wishes as copyright holder exempt him from having to answer for his actions during filming.
  • by Lhooqtoo (876551) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @04:33PM (#14551787)
    No more perfect way to quash piracy but to report it to the MPAA. http://www.mpaa.org/ReportPiracy.asp [mpaa.org]
  • by Storm (2856) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:13PM (#14552195) Homepage
    ...The MPAA would say "Oh dear..." and vanish in a puff of logic.

    Unfortunately, I do not believe this to be the case in our frame of reference.

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