DVD protection ruled illegal in France

The Paris Court of Appeals has ruled against the copy protection mechanisms included in DVDs, called Content Scrambling System (CSS). Not too long ago the same mechanism was being enforced in American and Norwegian courts, and now they are declaring that the technology is a bit dodgy. The case was brought by a French man who wanted to transfer his copy of Mulholland Drive into VHS format to watch with his mother (I will not make any wise comments about how unwise it is to watch a David Lynch movie with your parents). He was not able to do it because of the copy protection built-in the DVD, so he brought a case against Les Films Alain Sarde and Studio Canal. The court apparently has ruled that copy-protection is incompatible with private copying rights. The court also found that the labeling on the DVD is inadequate, as those with copy-protection have small CP letters, and this might confuse consumers.

It is quite refreshing that we are getting a number of progressive rulings on intellectual property around the world. Is it possible that courts are finally understanding that copyright owners have been getting all of the protection that they want for far too long? James Boyle has an excellent article in FT.com deconstructing the stupidity of some IP protection. Copyright industries have gone unchallenged for too long. Viva la Revolución!

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