Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Video coming to iTunes, Apple TV may have future, Dead walk the Earth.

It's good to hear that video rentals may finally be coming to iTunes, but what's this about a tie-up with Fox DVDs?:
A digital file protected by FairPlay will be included in new Fox DVD releases, enabling film content to be transferred or “ripped” from the disc to a computer and video iPod. DVD content can already be moved to an iPod but this requires special software and is considered piracy by some studios

Hmm. Doesn't make much sense to me. Another format on the DVD especially for Apple? It could happen, but I can't see it catching on. And how would that be any better from a DRM perspective than an encrypted DVD? More sensible (and IMO more likely) would be an Apple TV that lets us rip a DVD to a Fairplay protected H.264 file that's then authorised by my Apple ID and playable on the same kind of terms as the DRM'd iTunes content. That I'd buy.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Pete Ashton said...

Or you could just use Handbrake to rip the DVD to H.264.

Robert Sharl said...

Well yes Pete, but of course that's of dubious legality, the studios don't allow it, and it's a faff. Like it or not, once it's simple as ripping a CD in iTunes and the DRM is unintrusive for consumers and satisfies the studios that mass infringement is non-trivial (for consumers, go figure) it'll go mainstream. Let me drop a DVD into the Apple TV and click "import". Have that appear on my iPod. Then it'll happen.

Pete Ashton said...

Well, IANAL but if you own the DVD and copy it for personal use then it's covered under some kind of Fair Use, just like popping mp3s of CDs on your iPod. The illegality comes when you distribute that copy. Preventing the latter should not infringe on the former.

And, to be frank, using Handbrake is much simpler than ripping "to a Fairplay protected H.264 file that's then authorised by my Apple ID and playable on the same kind of terms as the DRM'd iTunes content." It's pretty much a two click operation and you get a file you can use anywhere.

I'm of the opinion that "unintrusive DRM" is an oxymoron. It'll never happen.

Robert Sharl said...

Thanks Pete. While I share your distaste of DRM, or at least of companies treating customers like criminals, it is AFAIK a fiction that ripping DVDs is covered under Fair Use, and there's no such defense in UK law, even for CD ripping (the RIAA have claimed there's no such explicit right in the US either). Most DVDs are already DRMd using CSS, and selling software to crack it contravenes the US DMCA legislation, so while it may be trivial for a reasonably technical user, ripping DVDs isn't even legal over the pond.

The Gower Review of late 2006 included a recommendation that UK copyright law be amended to allow personal use "format shifting" (but doesn't explicitly allow DVD to computer backup). The relevant section is:

There should be some strict limits on the scope of any private copying exception. The
Review recommends that the private copying should be limited to ‘format shifting’ (i.e.
transferring a work from CD to an MP3 player or from a video tape to DVD) rather than simply
allowing any copies to be made for private purposes. The exception would only allow one
copy per ‘format’, but it would also have to recognise that transfer between formats may
require intermediate steps (or formats) to be taken.

Full PDF report here.

AFAIK, nothing has happened to amend the legislation yet, and it's not on the draft legislative program for this year.