Is There a Business in Copying DVD Movies?

August 9, 2006

Many of you will see that headline and think I’m talking about buying one DVD of a movie, making a ton of copies and selling them. I am definitely not saying to do that. Let’s back up a few days to a story about Circuit City copying DVDs for customers. Go ahead and read it carefully. They are only helping customers get movies from DVD to a portable video player like an iPod, a Playstation Portable, a Zen Vision M or even a video-equipped phone.

If you have one of these devices, maybe you have already done this. If you have, you have technically broken the law. You see, Hollywood expects you to buy a separate copy of a movie (or TV show) for every movie you want on your portable player. As a content provider myself, I’m all for copyright laws. Unfortunately this one is just ridiculously unfair.

For those who haven’t copied a movie from DVD to a PVP (portable video player), I’ll give you vague descriptions of how to do it. You see, I can’t even give you the full information or that would be breaking the law. The first step is being able to decrypt a DVD. That is the part that is breaking the law. There are a ton of programs you can find on the Net to do it. A quick search for DVD43 will get you a good one.

Next you need a program that will take the audio and video files and compress them to a more reasonable size. My personal favorite is Video Vault and it comes in several versions depending on which PVP you have. Note to all those who love iPods. Keep in mind that the maximum film size allowed on the iPod is 320 x 240 pixels. That’s fine for the internal screen, but looks pretty lousy if you plug it back into a TV. By contrast, the Zen Vision M allows movies to be up to 640 x 480 pixels and they look fantastic when played back through a TV.

Here’s the real problem. Even on a very fast machine, it takes about an hour to process a movie. That leads me back to the original question about whether there is a business in copying movies as a service to people. Absolutely, you require proof that they own the DVD. But you don’t need to rip it every time a customer brings you a disc. Once you have proof, you can simply provide them with the finished file. The downside to this whole business plan is that Hollywood doesn’t like it and will try to get you arrested for doing it. Whatever happened to fair use? If I buy a disc, I should be allowed to use it on my TV or my PVP. What do you think?

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I think you are right. i also think that, along the same lines, if you own a cd or even an lp, you should be entiteld to download the very same music from a P2P network.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    There’s a bigger problem. Since movies can be tagged with a serial number, it is possible that if you are giving people copies of a movie you previously copied rather than generating a new one from their disk, they will have a copy with someone elses serial number embedded in it. Now suppose they do something illegal with this copy — like upload it to a file sharing site. It isn’t hard to imagine how this might all play out in court.

    Reply

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