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Game Ripping Allowed, but DVD/Blu-ray Ripping Remains Illegal

Posted by: , 13:02 AEDT, Mon November 2, 2015

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You still can't legally rip your DVD or Blu-ray for personal use, says US Copyright Office
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Image/Photo Credit: Dwayne Bent @ Flickr, CC

The US Copyright Office has just released its list of copyright exemptions, and DVD and Blu-ray ripping remains illegal.

The US Copyright Office, a department of the Library of Congress, regularly calls for public consultation on exemptions to existing copyright laws. These exemptions are needed to prevent copyright laws from impinging on consumer rights, or to prevent teaching and research activities.

Public interest group Public Knowledge petitioned the US Copyright Group to exempt DVD and Blu-ray ripping from copyright laws, if the user is doing so for personal and non-profit reasons, such as to enable cross-device compatibility. The exemption, they say is needed to allow consumers to exercise their fair use rights, to allow consumers to move their legally owned media between their personal devices.

The US Copyright Office did grant limited exemption for DVD/Blu-ray ripping, in the context of ripping short portions for "use in documentary filmmaking" and for "nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis." Teachers and students may also engage in disc ripping "for educational purposes" and for "film studies or other courses requiring close analysis of film and media excerpts."

In one big concession, an exemption was granted for game DRM ripping for "local play" games. This means that for games which require online authentication even for local solo play, the DRM in these games can now be legally cracked in order to allow for continued play. As for creating replacement servers to allow the continued use of online games, this remains illegal.

Other notable exemptions include jailbreaking of mobile phones, tablets, wearables with cellular connections, and even smart TVs. Jailbreaking of game consoles remain illegal because the US Copyright Office says the activity is still too closely linked to piracy at the moment.


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