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Old 02-27-2007, 09:49 PM   #1
leupi
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Playing DVDs on Linux illegal?


Why is playng DVDs on Linux illegal? I would assume that the DVD 'format' is proprietory and that the 'free' software that comes with most free versions of Linux obviously do not pay royalties. Who owns the DVD format (or codec, not sure if I have my terminology straight)? Or is it because DVD players are cracking some kind of DRM to get the thing to play?

This DRM thing truly is out of control...

Thanks,
Todd
 
Old 02-27-2007, 09:53 PM   #2
Quakeboy02
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Not being a lawyer, my answer is pretty much invalid. But, it seems to me that it's a DRM issue. In the US, there is the CDMA that controls this stuff. Breaking the encryption on the disks is illegal. But, in practice, if you own a copy of the CD/DVD, I don't think the RIAA would have a leg to stand on if they tried to prosecute you for playing it on your Linux box.
 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:02 PM   #3
SlowCoder
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I could be wrong, and maybe improper, but ...

Check out this site: http://www.videolan.org/
Somewhere on that site they said they get around the decoder legality issues, because their software is not a decoder, just a player. Not sure how they can play the DVDs without decoding them first ... interesting.
 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:11 PM   #4
Quakeboy02
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"Somewhere on that site they said they get around the decoder legality issues, because their software is not a decoder, just a player. Not sure how they can play the DVDs without decoding them first ... interesting."

The way they get around it is that you have to install libdvdcss2, just like all the other DVD players.

From their installation page for Debian:

apt-get install vlc libdvdcss2
 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #5
rickh
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It's probably illegal to play them, but it's not wrong. There is a difference.
 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:32 PM   #6
kstan
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If I'm not mistaken, its depend country. In some country law playing dvd and mp3 seems like no problem.
 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:38 PM   #7
SlowCoder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quakeboy02
"Somewhere on that site they said they get around the decoder legality issues, because their software is not a decoder, just a player. Not sure how they can play the DVDs without decoding them first ... interesting."

The way they get around it is that you have to install libdvdcss2, just like all the other DVD players.

From their installation page for Debian:

apt-get install vlc libdvdcss2
I guess I should have been more clear. At my office we have a number of systems that originally came with Windows XP and associated DVD decoder software. We rebuilt those computers, again with Windows XP, and did not include the decoder software. Someone in my office decided to clean up the disks, and threw out all of the rescue CDs, so we no longer had access to the decoders. So, what to do now? With research we found the previously mentioned VLC site and installed the software, which successfully allowed us to play the DVDs.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 12:00 AM   #8
SciYro
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If your a company in the US or US subsidiary, and your business involves decoding DVD's, then just pay for a proprietary DVD player, no real point in risking legal actions. If your a individual then its really no big deal, even if you where sued, you might still be able to wiggle your way out by claiming fair-use. Companies probably dont have such a leg, and your more likely to get sued as you have more money to take.

IANAL
 
Old 02-28-2007, 12:10 AM   #9
craigevil
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Even using software like mplayer and win32codecs is illegal in many countries. The sidux forum is on a German server and even mentioning mplayer is a big no no.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:40 AM   #10
hacker supreme
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I think that using something like libdvdcss is illegal, but I don't care. I paid for the DVD, why can't I watch it?

<Off Topic>
Funny thing is, as I was installing libdvdcss on my Ubuntu, the garden quickly, but gradually, disappeared under a really dense fog. I was half expecting armies of lawyers to come marching out of the fog.
</off topic>

But anyway, I don't think they can sue you for using libdvdcss on your PC to watch DVDs as long as you're not copying them.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 03:32 PM   #11
migcoke
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wait, so let me get this straight...if i buy a dvd like, um let's say spiderman, and i play it on my linux OS, I'm breaking the law? That's the first time I've ever heard of that. Why exactly?
 
Old 02-28-2007, 04:25 PM   #12
greeniguana00
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I am pretty sure it's completely legal to play DVDs on Linux.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 04:35 PM   #13
craigevil
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DeCSS: watch your DVD's on your favorite OS
http://www.free-dvd.org.lu/

DeCSS: watch your DVD's on your favorite OS. Linux today (and others) background
Quote:
Legal notice

The software (source as well as binaries) offered on this site can be freely redistributed. It was written by authors who expressly permitted and encourage the redistribution of this software and information. The purpose of this software is not, I repeat not illegal copying of DVD disks. It is meant to provide information neccesary to be able to program a DVD player for Linux. To do this, the CSS system needs to be incorporated in the player. Recently the (very weak) content scrambling system was deciphered, freeing the way for a Linux DVD player. The CSS system is not a copy protection system, since it does not prevent copying of the disk. Writing information about the way a certain protection scheme functions is completely legal. The source code and binaries on this site are completely legal too, since they contain no code from the DVD consortium or one of its members. The sources and programs on this site are purely written by 3rd parties using clean-room reverse engineering methods, which is, again, completely legal. This software and information below make it possible for people who legally obtained their DVD movies to view them on their Linux systems.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 11:32 PM   #14
Winter Knight
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Cool

The legality of watching DVDs in linux is questionable. Most court decisions have decided that it is illegal to do so in the US. The DMCA forbids cracking encryption that protects content from its users.

CSS was designed so that the MPAA could charge a tax on everyone who buys a DVD player, software or hardware. A DVD manufacturer cannot make a DVD player without paying the fees to acquire a CSS key. If you bought a DVD player for your linux box, you have already paid the tax, since it came with PowerDVD for Windows, or something like that. However, the US courts are still clear, libdvdcss is illegal software, since it's purpose is to crack encryption. The DMCA makes no exception for fair use, except to make copies of computer programs, not content.

It is probably legal to run PowerDVD, or the like, under wine. <waving finger>And don't you be skipping through those previews.</waving finger>

If you are willing to, however, please fight the good fight. Watch DVDs in Linux. No one changed a fascist government by sitting around and obeying the law.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 11:59 PM   #15
IBall
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If it is illegal to watch DVDs in Linux (im not sure if it is here in Australia), it certainly is a stupid law. Just like the "region protection" on DVDs.

If I buy a legal copy of a movie on DVD, I should be able to watch that DVD on any DVD player, or under any operating system, anywhere in the world that I chose to. Obviously, copying the DVD for redistribution is wrong, as it should be.

I think they have just changed the law in Australia, so you are now allowed to rip tracks off a CD onto your iPod and not be breaking the law. This is right, because I bought a copy of that track and should be able to listen to it on whatever device I want. Again, copying for redistribution is illegal, as it should be.

I think that restrictive and stupid copyright laws don't help anyone - even the record companies / movie studios. They should be encouraging people to buy their product, not telling them when and how they can use it. Many record stores are closing down, because people don't buy CDs anymore. If the record companies had embraced new technology instead of trying to fight it, these stores would still be open and probably have become more profitable.

--Ian
 
  


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