The MPAA says that by denying consumers the ability to rip DVDs legally, it actually gives them more "choice" to re-buy the same content over and over again
The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has attacked a proposal to grant a legal exemption for DVD ripping, saying it will lead to consumers having less "options".
Every three years, the Library of Congress, specifically the US Copyright Office, seeks public consultation on exemptions that should be made to existing copyright laws. The exemptions allows copyright laws to remain versatile in an age where the fluidity of content means static copyright laws could hurt the public's ability to access content.
For this latest consultation process, public interest group Public Knowledge (PK) asked for DVD ripping (the removal of DVD CSS copy protection, to be precise) to be exempt from the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), after a similar exemption was made for CD ripping back in 2006. The DMCA, as it stands right now, makes the circumvention of digital copy protection, such as the DVD CSS scheme found on commercial DVDs, illegal, regardless of how "flimsy" the copy protection scheme is (having being broken way back in the year 2000, with little effort).
PK's argument for an exemption on DVD ripping centers on the increasing availability of portable media devices, such as the iPad, and the need for consumers to be able to "space shift" their DVDs onto these new platforms.
However, the MPAA has hit back, saying that "It is clear that access controls have increased consumers' options with respect to motion pictures in digital formats."
In other words, the MPAA believes copy protection, DRM and access controls such as region locking has actually increased the consumer's option to re-buy the same content over and over again, one for each platform. By making DVD ripping legal, the MPAA argues that the business model built around re-selling the same content again and again may no longer exist, and as such, consumers will have fewer "options".
But PK says the fact that consumers have to re-pay for the same movie multiple times is exactly why DVD ripping should be made legal. PK also argues that many movies that are available on DVD are not available on any of these "options", and that MPAA members has been active in removing content from these alternative services. For example, many Digital Copies that come with DVD or Blu-ray releases are often set to expire a year after the release of the title.
The US Copyright Office has also received a request for an exemption to game console jailbreaking. The request was made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which asks for the exemption to be made on the grounds that a similar exemption was made for smartphone jailbreaking 3 years ago.