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Media Server Manufacturer Wins in Court 98

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the gentlemen-start-your-rippers dept.
whoever57 writes "The DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) has lost its bid to shut down Kaleidescope, which manufactures media servers that can copy DVDs (along with decryption keys) to built in hard drives. The DVD CCA claimed that this violated the terms of the contracts that control DVD-related equipment because the DVD need not be physically present for payback. However, the judge ruled against the DVD CCA on the narrow grounds that part of the specification of the Content Scrambling System was not part of the overall license agreement. This may open up the market for similar devices."
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Media Server Manufacturer Wins in Court

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  • Typo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:13PM (#18537507)
    Kaleidescape not Kaleidescope (kaleidescape.com [kaleidescape.com])
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Workaphobia (931620)
      I am now officially disgusted at this thread because every single post in it except for this one and the first one are, at the time of my posting, related to grammar or spelling mistakes in the summary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Workaphobia (931620)
        Er, guess I shouldn't be a hypocrite. That one and this one are both "related to grammar or spelling mistakes" as well.
      • by AusIV (950840)
        That one was somewhat significant. If someone wants to find said device, the misspelling would be prohibitive.
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:14PM (#18537521) Journal
    I guess the editors did not notice my typo, but it should be:

    the DVD need not be physically present for playback
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Scooter's_dad (833628)
      I guess the editors did not notice my typo

      ...or they would have tried to pass it off as one of their own.
  • by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:21PM (#18537593)
    I think

    ... because the DVD need not be physically present for payback.
    should read

    ... because the DVD need not be physically present for playback.
    • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:24PM (#18537621)
      that without the DVD present. playback's a bitch.

    • I think that this ruling will result in the sale of more dvd disks. I think someone will soon bring out a dvd player with a terabyte hard drive. That will mean between 100 and 200 movies can be stored in the device. It will start with a menu so that one can find one of their movies without having to look through a shelf full of them. It will also mean that they will be accessed by category, director, producer, stars, year made, length. People will buy more movies when they can store the disk in a safe p
    • by Tatisimo (1061320) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @09:06PM (#18537923)
      Give him a break, he's a cowboy, maybe he's thinking of duels and revenge (a.k.a. payback). Don't we all wanna unload some payback on them evil companies?
  • "This [CSS spec] is a product of a committee of lawyers," said Nichols in his ruling. ... "It is almost self evident that there is potential for confusion there," said Nichols.


    LOLpwnz0r!!one!eleven
  • Odd argument. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eddy (18759) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:53PM (#18537819) Homepage Journal

    Assuming this is correct, the argument seems very weak, almost completely counter-intuitive:

    "In closing arguments Coats warned that a ruling in favor of Kaleidescape "could open the flood gates to copycats. Prices could come down to that of a laptop for products that are not as elegant as Kaleidescape's but have the same basic functionality," Coats said."

    So by ruling for the defendant, the judge would open the floodgates to innovation, increased competition and more jobs in the market?

    Yeah, I can see how one must warn against a ruling with evil results such as those.

    • a ruling in favor of Kaleidescape "could open the flood gates to copycats. Prices could come down to that of a laptop for products that are not as elegant as Kaleidescape's but have the same basic functionality...

      The funny thing is, those products already exist, exactly as he described them: lower cost, not as elegant, but with the same basic functionality. Axonix [axonix.com], Xperinet [xperinet.com], and others have been doing the same thing as Kaleidescape, but not as expensively, not as slick, not as secure, and do you know ho

  • by sdo1 (213835) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:55PM (#18537847) Journal
    Anything I BUY should be MINE to do with what I please within the privacy of my own home or in/on my own property (with obvious exceptions such as causing physical harm to others, etc.). And I should NOT be illegal in any way to provide the tools to allow me to exercise that right.

    I'm thrilled that the courts are slowly, every so slowly, starting to realize this. They need to look past the fact that it's a DVD and realize that its a collection of bits on a piece of plastic. I understand copyright and why it's not legal for me to distribute it to millions or to re-sell copies of it, but copyright is limited not absolute. Having a copyright on something does not mean that you get to dictate how and where it is used in perpetuity.

    If I buy a piece of furniture and I want another one like it for another room, should it be illegal for me to pull out my tape measure, buy some wood, and build myself another one just like it?

    If I buy a small print from a local artist to hang in my bedroom, should it be illegal for me to scan it, manipulate the colors, and print another copy that matches the decor in the guest room?

    If I have a VHS tape that I'd like to preserve, should it be illegal for me to capture it, do a little noise reduction and clean-up on the video, and burn it to DVD?

    And if I have a shelf of DVDs, should it be illegal to rip them and stick them on a server in my own home. Should it be illegal to provide the tools that allow me to do that? Of course not. It's no more illegal than to make the hammer I use to put together the copy of the chair.

    -S
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @09:03PM (#18537899) Homepage Journal
      If you're going to compare your right to copy physical items to your right to copy works, why not go the whole hog?

      If you like my chair and ask me if you can make a copy, should I refuse?

      Should it be illegal for me to allow you to make the copy?

      Does the existance of an autocarpenter make a difference?

      We have a right to copy. The law of copyright is ment to be a deal.. we give up our right to copy and the creators get a short incentive to make productive works. I don't like this deal anymore.. I want out. Who's with me?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by 313373_bot (766001)
        I believe that the discussion has been misguided for a long time. "Making a copy" shouldn't be a "right" that can be bought or sold, taken, managed or enforced by law. The problem ethical in the first place, and economical in second. For instance: if I buy a movie on tape, and later want to digitize and burn it on disc, no harm is done to anyone - so, no ethical problem. But if, say, the MPAA wanted to force me buying the movie again on dvd, based solely on the idea of copyright, this is immoral gouging. On
        • For instance: if I buy a movie on tape, and later want to digitize and burn it on disc, no harm is done to anyone - so, no ethical problem.

          This should be legal.

          But if, say, the MPAA wanted to force me buying the movie again on dvd, based solely on the idea of copyright, this is immoral gouging.

          They do this.

          On the other hand, if the version on dvd is much better (clean sound, image, extras), I might want to buy it again, *if* the price is reasonable.

          And this is a valid concept as well. This isn't a "silly example" it's common sense and exactly the kind of thing that the MPAA is trying to inhibit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, in support of these arguments, I suppose if you could reproduce the movie by means of recasting and stuff you might have an argument, or you might not, since you didn't get permission to reproduce the script. It's too touchy of a subject, but I'm agreeable to copy protection toning down.

        Sure, when I was 15-16, I pirated tons of songs on napster. Then napster died, and I didn't pirate as much anymore. One day, I got sick of all the miscellaneous songs on my drive, and simply deleted them all. Over
      • Sure it's easy to "get out" Don't buy the content, I don't. I rent from Netflix and for the price of 1 DVD I get like 20 per month. If I want to watch it again I just rent it again and wait 1 day. I see almost NO point in buying DVDs. The same goes for music. People buy on iTunes. Ok that is lame, you do not own it. I would rather do a subscription model. I don't buy music either, the radio is good enough for me and when a commercial comes on I switch channels.
        • by Illserve (56215)
          Sure it's easy to "get out" Don't buy the content, I don't. I rent from Netflix and ...

          You have not gotten out as you are still part of the MPAA's profit system. Netflix buys DVD's from them, and they use your money to do it.

          What you say is true, and reasonable, and I'm not suggesting it's worth NOT renting movies. Just that you are still part of their machine, and don't think otherwise.
      • by hankwang (413283) *

        If you like my chair and ask me if you can make a copy, should I refuse?

        I'm not sure whether you are being sarcastic here. You as the owner wouldn't care maybe, but copying an object is covered by other intellectual-property laws besides copyright. Part of the construction of the chair could be patented, or the design of the chair could have a patent. I'm think patents don't apply for private not-for-profit, but you are certainly not allowed to sell the copy of the chair.

        We have a right to copy. The law o

        • by QuantumG (50515)
          Any good that copyright serves is negated by the insanity of current terms and the restrictions on everyday practices. If we were to scale back the terms and remove the restrictions, the result would be so different from copyright as it exists today as to be copyright in name only.
      • by jimicus (737525)
        Then I hope you like my new invention. It's a 3-dimensional photocopier. Place any object in there, turn it on and out pops an identical copy.

        I am sure the manufacturing industry will be ecstatic to learn of this new invention.
      • by jez9999 (618189)
        I think I can see the other point of view on this one, though.

        Look at the value part of the product.

        With a chair, the value part of the product is mainly in the physical materials used to make it, and the labour used to manufacture it. If one is having to reproduce a chair, they're basically having to pay (in money and also perhaps significant time) for the large majority of the value part of the product.

        In digital/computerized products (a musical recording), the value part of the product is almost entirel
      • Well, we have a right to copy. However, what about the creators' rights?

        Let's take it to a subject that people on /. generally know about: Some of us liked Firefly and would pay for another season to be made. What do you think the odds are that we could afford the millions to hire the writers/producers/actors/special effects that a TV serial cost? TV is not just a dozen guys that hold cameras or act. Sometimes it really does take a hundred people or more to put together a production.

        Creators of content
        • by CmdrGravy (645153)

          Who the hell actually wants to be touring when they are in their 50s?

          I don't especially want to be working in my 50s either but the chances are that I will be so I don't see why artists should have any special exemption and in any case lots of them seem quite happy to tour long into their 50s, 60s and 70s.

          I don't have much time for artists who don't do much touring since they tend to be the kind of morons you see on Pop Idol or McFly and other assorted crap. Most of my favourite bands seem to be playing somewhere or other every day for months at a time.

        • As for musicians, many here are advocating they tour for the rest of their natural lives in order to egg out a meager living. Who the hell actually wants to be touring when they are in their 50s?

          Why do you believe that musicians should be exempted from life? I doubt that I'll still want to be an IT manager in my 50s, but I may be because of the same reason I am now - my family and I need money that is provided by my job. Being a touring musician is a job, and one that many people would love to do into their 50s. Musicians are somehow special and should be able to retire at 22 from one over-produced CD of teeny-pop trash?

          Copyright isn't going away and most here do not call for a complete disma

        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          Well, we have a right to copy. However, what about the creators' rights?

          If you actually look at the long history of artistry and creativity, and the comparatively short history of copyrights, you'd understand that creators basically have no rights to claim any sort of "ownership" of their creations. Copyright was a bargain we'd struck, granting them a limited monopoly on copying for a short time, to give them an incentive to create more. Point is, as soon as these works are shared, we all own them. They are artifacts of our common culture. Who owns the fairy tales recorded by

      • In the US, abolishing copyright would probably mean amending the constitution.

        I make a distinction between personal use and redistribution. Copying what you bought, for personal use, is fine with me, but I don't think redistribution is acceptable. I think that used to be well within line of what was granted through copyright, before it was turned into a monster.

        This ease of copying thing is one reason I really don't bother making software. I can't afford to fund myself, I don't think anyone else will, an
        • by QuantumG (50515)

          In the US, abolishing copyright would probably mean amending the constitution.
          I stopped reading your comment there. The consistution of the US clearly makes copyright optional.
    • by AusIV (950840)
      Just to play devil's advocate, how many people actually buy DVDs? I watch probably 50-75 movies a year, most of which come from a subscription to Blockbuster Online. How is this machine supposed to distinguish between movies that I own and movies that I rent? If I could get a device like this, I could get my three DVDs a week, copy them to my device, take them to blockbuster, get three more movies, copy those to the device, return them to the store. A few days later, I get three more movies, and the process
      • a few things to consider

        1 rental movies should be watermarked or otherwise indentifiable
        2 a good number of the rental version are butchered and or are the basic version (you get the movie you might get all of the "extras" but..)
        3 if you have a warrant served on your Media Server you should be able BY DEFINITION be able to match a physical disc with each virtual Disc or be able to prove that the vDisc was purchased as a download so if you have 2000 VDiscs you should be able to point to ~83 shelf feet of actu
        • by Sancho (17056)
          I've always liked the idea of watermarks over DRM because it allows me to do what I want with content I've purchased. I don't think it's feasible for the current disc-based mediums that are out there. Video downloads would be the way to go here, I think.

          If nothing else, when do you serve that warrant you mentioned? When 2 discs show up on the Internet that were rented by the same person? Three? Five? Ten? At what point does it become statistically significant enough to burden someone with a warrant?
      • but the copies would still have to be rented. That means rental stores would buy more DVDs to keep up demand. If a company like Apple was smart they'd add the feature to rip DVDs but add the standard DRM and 90% of people wouldn't care.. or share them online!!! That's the key. It would put a serious damper on the social implications of downloading stuff online. Right now, copying DVDs is forbidden.. even downloading DeCSS is illegal.. what's the point in buying the DVD if they've already called you a pi
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        If you rent a movie, are you allowed to watch it twice?

        I say, of course you are.

        If those two times you want to watch the movie are 6 months apart, should you have to rent the movie for 6 months?

        Of course not.

        So why do you have to pay to watch the movie twice if you want to watch it 6 months after the first time you watched it when you don't have to pay twice if you want to watch it twice on the same day.
        • So why do you have to pay to watch the movie twice if you want to watch it 6 months after the first time you watched it when you don't have to pay twice if you want to watch it twice on the same day.

          Quite simply because you are (deliberately?) confusing the issue - you arent renting the movie for a set number of viewings, you are renting the movie for a set maximum period of time. You want to delay your viewing for 6 months, then you either rent it twice or rent it for a very long time.

      • HEY ! I still buy a lot of DVDs.
        Movies i like, for instance Cars, Earth vs Flying Saucers, Enron, Used Cars, DS-9, 1st season of LOST (not the current crap after they killed off michelle) etc., these are movies you want to watch.
         
    • by honkycat (249849)
      I'm not sure this ruling was a great example of what you're happy that the courts are "starting to realize." The judge ruled that the license agreement didn't say what the DVD producers thought it said and that since their lawyers wrote it, it was to be construed in favor of the other party when it was unclear. I'm glad he didn't go the other way -- I'm sure there were ways to construe things the other way around, but still, this wasn't really a big DMCA slap-down so much as a license agreement slapdown.

      S
    • by Magada (741361)
      "If I buy a piece of furniture and I want another one like it for another room, should it be illegal for me to pull out my tape measure, buy some wood, and build myself another one just like it?"
      No. You wouldn't be infringing any copyrights either. The fact that it's a DIY will make it sufficiently different from the original in any case.

      "If I buy a small print from a local artist to hang in my bedroom, should it be illegal for me to scan it, manipulate the colors, and print another copy that matches the de
      • by Dog-Cow (21281)
        "Yes, definitely, if you do it without permission. While making a print of a print should be ok as long as you don't distribute it, modifying stuff in random ways can really hurt the artist's reputation so big no-no there."

        It's perfectly legal, moral and ethical to draw funny mustaches and horns and a goatee on the original, so long as you own it. Doing whatever mutilations you want to a copy would be even more so.

        Is there a stupidity test required for posting on /.? I don't think I'd pass.
        • by jackbird (721605)
          Yes, the right to create a derivative parody is firmly established under fair use. The right to create other kinds of derivative works is not.

          A physical work of art and its copyright are two separate entities that are routinely sold/licensed separately, and making a color-corrected copy would indeed be infringement.
    • by hazzey (679052)

      If I buy a small print from a local artist to hang in my bedroom, should it be illegal for me to scan it, manipulate the colors, and print another copy that matches the decor in the guest room?

      Yes. This is exactly what copyright is about. You aren't limited to only hanging it on the wall that the artist approves of, but you are limited to not duplicating it. There is nothing evil about this and no one is trying to squeeze more money out of you, but you can't just go around coping anything that you want. You obviously aren't "making a backup" of the print, you are in fact duplicating it for your own benefit.

    • by rdeadman (675487)
      The media companies are playing a fine line between licencing and buying. When they want to restrict how we use it, they tell us we have only licenced the content. When our physical media is damaged, they tell us that we bought it and don't have any more rights to the content.

      If we really have just licenced the content, that's fine. But were can I take my old audio tapes and have them replaced with CDs for only the cost of the media? After all, I have a licence for the content and should only have to pay fo
    • by oliphaunt (124016)
      I think you may be conflating to distinct concepts: copyright applies to information or data, like the bits on your DVD. trademarks and patents can apply to physical representations or implementations of ideas.

      If I buy a piece of furniture and I want another one like it for another room, should it be illegal for me to pull out my tape measure, buy some wood, and build myself another one just like it?

      Depends. Has the chair design been trademarked? Is the design "in the public domain?" Is the design obviou
  • Price point (Score:4, Informative)

    by gnetwerker (526997) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @09:28PM (#18538093) Journal
    These devices cost $27k for a "base" system, and $4k per player. On the one hand, I suppose this means they had enough money to litigate the issue. On the other hand, one can only hope that some competition brings the price point down.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why bother? Yes, the system seems nice overall, but for a fraction of the price you can get so much more...

      Their 3U server maxed out is 9TB (the extra HDs are 700$ each!) That works out to 1344 movies by their numbers.

      You could easily fit 1344 movies in 4GB of space in H.264 with basically the same quality. And with the upcoming 1TB drives going for 400$, you could store all this for 1600$ total expense (or just a little more if you need a box to throw the disks into). From there it can be played on any net
      • by Cygfrydd (957180)

        You could easily fit 1344 movies in 4GB of space in H.264 with basically the same quality.
        That works out to ~3MiB each. That's a helluva codec.
        • by hobbesx (259250)

          > You could easily fit 1344 movies in 4GB of space in H.264 with basically the same quality.
          That works out to ~3MiB each. That's a helluva codec.


          It's 16x16 pixel four color animated GIFs at one frame every five seconds. There's no audio, but you can read the subtitles if you want.
    • I guess they are mainly used in Hotels as part of video on demand systems. Not exactly a consumer item.
    • A) As I understand it, they've come out with a "basic" system for under $10,000 that will handle either music, or movies. (Their higher-end systems will do both now).

      B) The product line that used to start at $27k is now, I believe, around $23k, or it was a few months ago.

      C) This isn't for Slashdot geeks who understand computers and codecs and TB hard drives and MythTV. This is for wealthy people who don't know how to edit a config file, who would pay $100,000 to have someone come into their home and
      • As well as new products, this means that some combined DVD/PVR devices could now potentially be patched in new firmware releases to allow ripping of CSS'd DVDs. I know my PVR can rip DVDs so long as they aren't encrypted, it'd just be a small thing to turn that check off.
  • The tide is turning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pwizard2 (920421)
    It seems that the pendulum is reversing direction; now it is swinging back against the media companies. (the RIAA is having to work harder in court, and now this) Hopefully this will be a long-term trend and not just a series of flukes.
  • I think that this is good. I don't think that it will last, but I think that this is good. The copy protection on DVDs has always been weak. One could as soon as DVD burners came out to the masses copy single layer DVDs without any sort of cracks, a bit later came the DL DVD burners allowing all of the rest to be copied.

    All that the content management stuff ever did was prevent playing the movies in a non approved player. Really insignificant, except to Linux users, because any DVD player at all would play
  • by fabu10u$ (839423)
    They'll just change the terms of the contract going forward, so don't expect any new entrants in the field to be able to play ball.
  • Kaleidascope's device doesn't actively decrypt the content (or specifically enable decryption for other hardware/software) - it merely makes a faithful copy of the original content, as licensed to the end-user at time of purchase. Sounds like 'fair use' to me!

    Without some external form of CSS decryption software (such as libdvdcss in the Linux world), the data are no more accessible from a hard disk than they were from the original DVD. If the capacity for decrypting CSS-scrambled exists, than the medium

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Kaleidescape is very nice and far from a massive copy device, it's a storage device. It help save time by centralizing all movies and thus money.

    Multimedia tools such as the Kaleidescape have a market niche and should be permitted to exist. It is not a 'pirate tool' just a very convenient way to help handle huge collections, usually by professionals (or rich people).

    The business I know using Kaleidescape have around 30 employees that need to watch specific scenes from a bank of 600 movies (and growing). Not

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