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MPAA Says Teachers Should Camcord For Fair Use 286

Posted by kdawson
from the bend-over-backwards-and-insert-here dept.
unlametheweak recommends an Ars Technica piece detailing the convoluted lengths to which the MPAA will go in order to keep anybody from ripping a DVD, ever. The organization showed a film to the US Copyright Office, in the triennial hearing to spell out exemptions to the DMCA, giving instructions for how a teacher could use a camcorder to record a low-quality clip of a DVD for educational use — even though such a purpose is solidly established in law as fair use. "Never mind that this solution results in video of questionable quality and requires teachers to learn even more tech in order to get the job done. It also requires schools (or, given the way most schools are run, the teachers themselves) to incur additional costs to purchase camcorders and videotapes if they don't have them already. Add in the extra time involved, and this 'solution' is a laughably convoluted alternative to simply ripping a clip from a DVD."
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MPAA Says Teachers Should Camcord For Fair Use

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  • by eggman9713 (714915) <{eggman97132007} {at} {mac.com}> on Saturday May 09, 2009 @10:57PM (#27893515)
    Nah, can't do that, teacher might use the camcorder to videotape students in the locker room.
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7&kc,rr,com> on Saturday May 09, 2009 @10:59PM (#27893535) Homepage

    Now I know what that guy was doing behind me while I was watching Star Trek yesterday. He was just making a clip for fair use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 09, 2009 @10:59PM (#27893537)

    According to the MPAA, it is a-okay to use a camcorder to record a movie!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mysidia (191772)

      As long as you own the DVD, and you're using only a short piss-poor-quality recording solely for classroom purposes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SlashWombat (1227578)
      Prior to Vista, you could just snatch the video memory, and re-encode the data back to whatever format you were happy with. Vista, however, will stop you doing that (and presumably so will windows 7)
      • Re:This just in: (Score:4, Informative)

        by peragrin (659227) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:39AM (#27895599)

        You do realize that is because of blue-ray right? The Vista DRM is necessary in order to comply with the blue ray specs and HDCP which requires end to end Drive to display hardware/software copy protection.

        That is why i am glad apple and linux doesn't have blue ray in there stuff. Teachers should be able to use clips of dvd's and other media for teaching. DRM is preventing that.

      • Re:This just in: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by master811 (874700) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @03:18PM (#27898789)

        No, Vista/7 will only stop you from doing that with DRM'd stuff, (which if you didn't have Vista you wouldn't be able to watch anyway), so it's a complete non-issue.

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:02PM (#27893559) Journal
    requiring you to defend yourself from a wild boar with a knife, even if you have a gun, just because it is not legal to have a gun where you live. (Even if you don't happen to have a knife.)

    BTW, like the MPAA, wild boars are vicious.
  • by basementman (1475159) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:11PM (#27893601) Homepage

    Given the technology skills most my teachers have had I can see them trying to put the dvd inside a photocopier and hoping for the best. Your average teacher couldn't rip a DVD, and why bother when you can just get any notable clip you want off youtube. Go fight with Google MPAA.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lostguru (987112)
      Putting aside the fact that almost every teacher I have or have had in highschool with the exception of a few have been able to rip video clips off dvds, and the ones who couldn't would simply have student who was bright enough do it for them. Most schools/districts these days block youtube as well as facebook, myspace, etc, for reasons unknown as it seems to only serve the purpose of annoying teachers and students. Wonderful fun, our district also chooses to block many useful linux/programming sites as t
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheStonepedo (885845)

        Reasons unknown? If my boss blocked Facebook and YouTube fewer idiots would be wasting time they should be spending doing billable work for our clients. The schools' blocking open source sites for fear of hacking is disappointing, but your suggestion that social networking and flash video websites serve some useful purpose is ridiculous. I wish you luck getting programming and open source sites to kids, but try leave pointless time-wasters out of your argument when defending your suggestion in front of t

        • Re:Photocopying (Score:4, Informative)

          by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:30PM (#27897439)

          I disagree with your assertion that Youtube videos can't be educationally relevant. Try getting the equipment to actually have students go outside and observe the sun in a high school. Then try checking out these clips:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7W385a-tM [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbGD_9aPTK0&feature=related [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwn_Y3990wQ&feature=related [youtube.com]

          And I defy you to find a school where their library is as well-stocked with information on diverse subjects as the internet. Most school libraries have vast sections of Juvenille literature, and are so small that the Dewey Decimal system is still relevant and useful to them. The librarian is more likely to point the students to the internet, because the source material one can get from a good google search or series of searches is far more timely, more likely to be relevant, and much quicker to access.

          I really think you actually need to do some research about the educational uses of the Internet before spouting off the opinion that video is a pointless time-waster and that books are the only real source of useful information.

    • Re:Photocopying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by honkycat (249849) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:21AM (#27893969) Homepage Journal

      People will always be able to rip DVDs. It doesn't matter if the law allows the circumvention or not, it's a cracked technology.

      However, if the law DOES allow it, that opens the door for legitimate businesses to manufacture and sell tools to make it easy for educators to copy clips. That's one of the reasons why it's so important that it be legal.

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        People will always be able to rip DVDs. It doesn't matter if the law allows the circumvention or not, it's a cracked technology.

        However, if the law DOES allow it, that opens the door for legitimate businesses to manufacture and sell tools to make it easy for educators to copy clips. That's one of the reasons why it's so important that it be legal.

        And there's the, admittedly, side issue of the minority users who still theoretically cannot watch DVDs because of the structure of the market.
        Of course even if I did get a great DVD player with my Linux distribution of choice, I'd probably still go with a native hacked player because the dvdnav lib skips a few "mandatory" bits like forced displays (no you cannot skip forward or to the menu from here) and so on.

  • For starters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkNinja75 (990459) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:12PM (#27893609)
    It might help if we didn't call it "ripping."
  • by SirLurksAlot (1169039) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:14PM (#27893625)

    Teachers may also make partial copies of a CD for education purposes by recording to a vinyl record and playing it back on a phonograph.

    • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:17AM (#27893949)

      Teachers may also make partial copies of a CD for education purposes by recording to a vinyl record and playing it back on a phonograph.

      It appears that part of the rationale behind the MPAA doing this is:
      1) To keep any copies (copied fair-use clips, no less) of marginal quality so as to increase the (theoretical) value of an actual DVD. Dubious logic here, if that is part of the reasoning. If that were the case they could more logically argue to keep low quality copies (in general) of MPAA IP legal for educational purposes, no matter how it is derived (from ripping software or through cam-cording).
      2) Try and prevent the spread of DVD-circumvention devices. Dubious logic again since it would probably be more efficient to by an extra DVD (or use the original if possible) and just bookmark the appropriate scenes for classroom viewing rather than to buy blank tape and maintain video equipment. Of course you can't un-invent DeCSS, nor can the MPAA go back in time and assassinate DVD Jon or people like him, so trying to stop DVD copying is fruitless and will only punish people and hinder schools, etc from making back-ups, fair-use clips, etc. The logic here is as senseless as the people who want to fight the War on Drugs.
      3) They've already argued against cam-cording in non-educational settings (like movie-theaters), so it seems like they just have too much time and money on there hands and just want to be difficult. These are people who have power, and want to get as much out of it as they can. They seem to be enjoying themselves. My two cents here.

    • Well then, my old school would have PLENTY of equipent to play it back on. We even had a 90 year old projector to play back any old Itchy and Scratchy films too!

  • by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:16PM (#27893637)

    ThePirateBay.org registers the domain TheTeacherBay.org

  • by eyepeepackets (33477) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:22PM (#27893679)

    One would expect the MPAA to suggest teachers use pantomime since this would please both themselves and the RIAA.

  • If only so that I may attempt to show other possible logical and reasonable perspectives on the matter.


    Uh... got nothing...
  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:24PM (#27893691)

    I'm glad for ridiculous crap like this, because the more groups that end up on the target list of the MAFIAA's tactics, the sooner something will be done to redress the abuses of our society and our freedoms they have perpetuated in the name of copyright.

    People apparently have to feel the heat themselves in order to see the wrong in the MAFIAA's ways.

    • Not any time soon (Score:3, Interesting)

      by siloko (1133863)

      Haven't we been saying this for, like, ten years. The fact that an increasing number of consumers are becoming aware of said tactics doesn't seem to have:

      a) impacted on those tactics [google.com]

      b) changed legislative backing [cnet.com] for the MPAA

      c) reduced political complicity in the whole sorry affair [arstechnica.com]

      Sure it will change eventually, but soon?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by houghi (78078)

      I doubt something will be done anytime soon.

      OTOH I do not see why teachers would be an exception. They should teaching us stuff, including what is right and what is wrong. Where did I do my first copyright violations? Yep, many many years before the Internet was available. I did it by making copies of books.

      Not only did I do that, my teacher told me to do so. Even then I knew something wrong was going on, as the first copy I was sure to make was the copyright notice. I thought it was pretty ironic. I also t

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      The more intelligent and motivated university graduates tend to be the least likely to enter K-12 education.

      The more intelligent and motivated school teachers tend to be the least likely to seek positions with decision making authority.

      The teachers I know rarely acknowledge any of this as their own failures or shortcomings. They also tend to portray themselves as victims of an unfair system.

      If you've been reading me on slashdot, you know I'm fairly consistent in my view that a person in a position with lim

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        In some countries, it is extremely difficult to fire a bad teacher...
        So you give a bad teacher a really good reference and hope they will get hired somewhere else, usually to a more senior position which pays more money so they have incentive to go. Also in a position with more power they are likely to do less actual teaching.

        A good teacher on the other hand, will be held onto by the school and kept where they provide the most value - teaching, without giving them additional responsibility that would take a

  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:33PM (#27893735)
    Talk is cheap. How are they going to back it up? It's not like they can walk onto school grounds and force teachers to abide by this arbitrary policy that has no legal weight whatsoever.
  • Empirical Test (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drmofe (523606)

    Experiment: Take a random sample of teachers. Equip half with camcorders, a DVD, DVD player and TV. (For completeness, include a group that can take a feed from the DVD player directly to the camcorder). Equip the other half with a PC, DVD ripping software, a DVD and DVD player.

    Measure the time taken to extract a clip from the specific DVD and the quality achieved by each group. Compare results.

    Hypothesis: Quality obtained by first group will be acceptable and is a lower-tech solution than that need

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Volante3192 (953645)

      Teachers also have students in their classroom.

      "10 points extra credit to whoever helps me clip this section of this movie off this DVD."

      Can guarentee in any school where teachers are actually concerned about pulling clips off a DVD at least 5 students will know how to do that right then and there.

      Camcorder method requires setting up the camcorder, TV or projector, lighting, you'll likely need to do this in a spare room or after hours. Then you have to edit it in to whatever the teacher wanted to use it fo

      • Don't forget to add in the extra MONETARY COST of owning and maintaining all the extra equipment necessary for doing things the mafiaa approved way. Our school disctrict alone might spend $10,000 annually to keep this obsolete equipment around, pointlessly. It costs just about $0.00 to just rip content on a ten year old computer.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      The direct feed is unlikely to work...
      They usually use some kind of copy protection scheme from macrovision that exploits a bug in old VHS recorders... Although this bug has long since been fixed, VHS manufacturers have been forced to intentionally reintroduce it so their recorders cannot bypass the copy protection scheme.

  • by MistaE (776169) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:40PM (#27893767) Homepage
    I was one of the few people that had the pleasure (or the displeasure) of being at the Library of Congress DMCA hearing room when the MPAA made this ridiculous argument. Suffice to say, I was completely shocked, flabbergasted, and just plain insulted that educators would truly be expected to do something like this in their bizarro world. Nevermind the fact that you would need an HDTV, HD Camcorder, Tripod, good lighting, and tons of time on your hands to manually create compilation clips with your camcorder (as if educators had any free time as it is).

    I couldn't tell if the Copyright bigwigs that heard the argument were actually taking it seriously, but I sincerely hope that any appearance of sincerity was simply there for the sake of keeping respect for the hearings.

    The one thing that I learned at the hearing was that you have to be fucking crazy in order to be a lawyer on their side. Even I (a soon to be unemployed law school graduate) didn't think that I could make this argument with a straight face even for tons of money.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:51PM (#27893839)

      Even I (a soon to be unemployed law school graduate) didn't think that I could make this argument with a straight face even for tons of money.

      Don't worry, you'll learn.

    • by GF678 (1453005)

      Even I (a soon to be unemployed law school graduate) didn't think that I could make this argument with a straight face even for tons of money.

      Some people are great lawyers for a reason - they can distance themselves from logic and common sense and still present a case, so long as the price is right. Having said that, I'm not I'd want to have anything to do with them on a personal basis, as I feel their humanity would have been sucked out by the profession.

    • I don't really have sympathy, but I understand the mess they're being confronted with. If they admit that it should be legal to break DRM in cases of fair use, then the DRM-breaking tools themselves will have to be legal. Then suddenly they have no ground to control the distribution of DRM-breaking tools, which means everyone will have them, which means DRM will be completely useless.

      Now there's a good argument that those things should happen, but it's pretty clear that the MPAA doesn't want that to happ

  • How much longer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:42PM (#27893787) Homepage Journal

    How much longer before the MPAA becomes irrelevant and we can just ignore their antics?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      actually, in spite of their best (or worst) efforts, most people already do
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)

      How much longer before the MPAA becomes irrelevant and we can just ignore their antics?

      Under current law: ninety-five years after the end of the year in which the major U.S. motion picture studios stop publishing new works.

  • by Moleculo (1321509) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @11:50PM (#27893833)
    until Star.Trek.(2009).Mr.BeRNaRD.3rdPeRIod.SoCiALSTudiES.avi hits the scene.
  • Seriously, this is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. If anyone really needed proof that the MPAA doesn't care about consumers in any way, look no further.

  • I am more than willing to support smarter teachers in the classroom, including paying higher taxes for higher pay for these teachers. Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?! Maybe if the MPAA had smarter teachers in the classroom when they were in school they would never try to pull fast ones like this to the Copyright office in the first place!
  • I know that its legitimate in Russia to break copy protection to make a backup as allowed under their law. I don't think that is allowed in the states because it would be effectively attacking the DRM scheme. That makes it kinda silly then to have fair use and not allow people to use that right. Points to how poorly crafted the DMCA really is.
  • The submitter just gave us a link to a recording of a recording?

  • What do these folks have against education?
    First they go after the students, now, they go after the teachers?

    This brings up another point that someone further up mentioned as a joke, I've always thought that using a camcorder to record a movie would be and/or should be fair use, Its obviously an inferior copy (even the best shaky cams have some serious problems, mostly they point out just how $h!tty the theatre experience is, people get up, down, coughing, talking, etc); when it comes down to it I suspect t

  • Or, better yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:25AM (#27893987) Homepage

    Teachers could carve each frame into a clay tablet and let it dry in the sun. Then mount the clay tablets on big wooden wheel and spin it real fast.

    Time to put an end to chucklehead organizations like the MPAA, BSA and RIAA. Companies are trying to be heavy-handed with their customers while letting some vaporous organization take the heat for their dickish behavior. Implement joint and several liability on the member companies for the actions of their enforcement organizations and this silly business will end overnight.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      >Teachers could carve each frame into a clay tablet and let it dry in the sun. Then mount the
      >clay tablets on big wooden wheel and spin it real fast.

      Smart, resourceful teachers could persuade their educational institutions to produce their own, original education materials and create a profit center instead of incurring a cost.

      Explain to me how any product represented by the MPAA is in any way essential to K-12 education, aside from perhaps some course that covers entertainment film?

      Schools and school

  • The problem with most copyright arguments is that it tends to support downloading. If one is going to use the analog hole to break copyright, them one might as well download a copy from the internet. This accomplishing the same thing, that is make a fair use copy of the video without breaking the copy protection.

    Realistically, given the increasing free market bias of the developed world, combined with the relaxed view of copyright in the developing world, companies either have to supply content in a use

  • Ha (Score:4, Funny)

    by rpillala (583965) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:42AM (#27894057)

    If NEA is as powerful as many around here think it is, the recording industry is going down.

  • by earlymon (1116185) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @01:48AM (#27894327) Homepage Journal

    If you watch the History channels very, very early in the morning, you'll find that they run a show with less/no commercials to make room before the top of the hour. During that time, they have a History Classroom or something show (seriously - that's not my best time of day, so I apologize for inaccuracies).

    One thing I noticed - there's a screen that gives instructions to teachers that they have to delete any video recordings they've made of the show after a certain date - I recall, sleepily - that it's within a year or something.

    Now - how does history go stale in a year?

    I did a lot of digging to find the food chain on this one... History is the Classroom ties into Cable in the Classroom. Here's what they have to say:

    http://www.history.com/global/feedback/faq.jsp?NetwCode=THC&level_1=nodes_54224&level_2=nodes_54240&level_3=nodes_54297&x=35&y=11 [history.com]
    http://www.ciconline.org/faq#Copyright [ciconline.org]
    http://www.ciconline.org/copyright [ciconline.org]
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280.shtml [education-world.com]

    Now, color me naive - but that's the beginning of the foodchain for a teacher to BEGIN to simply videotape something related to history of educational value to show to their students. I quote - and I am not making this up:

    What's an educator to do? Read Education World's five-part series on copyright, fair use, and new technologies, that's what! We did the work so you wouldn't have to!
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280a.shtml [education-world.com]
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280b.shtml [education-world.com]
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280c.shtml [education-world.com]
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280d.shtml [education-world.com]
    http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr280e.shtml [education-world.com]

    In an age where our test scores show we're failing, with teachers overburdened like never before - related to a show that a kid can just watch at home without encumbrances (should his/her parents **be there** for the kid with this kind of info) - note what the teacher has to go through.

    As opposed to just taping it and working it into the lesson plan - because it comes from a place called the History Channel - tied to Cable in the Classroom - where "cable" is that thing usually subsidized by local communities as a near utility.

    Thanks, copyright eagles. Thanks a lot.

  • by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @02:06AM (#27894385) Homepage

    We can't have teachers ripping DVD-quality clips all willy-nilly. Why, if someone got ahold of enough teachers, he could put all their clips together and re-create the original movie! In digital DVD quality! You pirates will surely roast in hell for even considering it.

  • They see their teacher making a copy of a DVD: ''I need to do that because the MPAA says so''. The conclusion that kids will draw is that it is perfectly fine to make copies of DVD and that this is sanctioned by the MPAA.

    The only conclusion that I can draw is that the MPAA wants to protect its income stream by getting teachers to train up lots of adults who they can sue. Remember: the MPAA gets money from sueing, the studios loose money through piracy of DVDs.

  • Uh-oh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @05:04AM (#27895057)

    I just finished ripping my somewhat meager DVD collection (~ 100 titles) to disk. Guess I should start over and use a camcorder this time around...

    On a more serious note - this really is getting absurd. Even with good care DVDs get scratched. I had to run a couple of mine through a Skip Doctor before they'd play without errors (as an aside: that's a pretty nifty device). But frankly the "backing up" aspect of all this is secondary - I'm ripping my DVDs because it's a heck of a lot more convenient to manage my library of purchased DVDs this way. Now I can take advantage of some great free software (pyTivo, streambaby) and watch whichever one I want using my Tivo remote - no more digging through the DVD rack looking for one particular movie.

    There's just no way I'm going to let these dinosaurs tell me what I can and can't do with my own stuff.

  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @11:00AM (#27896755)
    I downloaded a copy of Star Wars, Episode III several years ago - I'm pretty sure it was made by this method.

    Okay, I'm pretty sure a movie theater screen was involved, rather than a television set, but the basic mechanism is essentially the same.

    I was only pursuing an education, honest! It's not fair - Obi-Wan trained Anakin Skywalker, but he wouldn't train me. I have to get my force training somewhere, don't I?

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