Is Burning A Backup Of A Dvd That You Purchased Legal?

This is a very interesting question and seems to be in the grey area of law. I will present some interesting issues on the subject for both sides. The important thing to mention is that I am not giving legal advice on the subject and I am not an expert.

First the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) view. They stated that ?Making Even One Copy of a DVD is Illegal?, based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA says you are not allowed to circumvent copy protection. This brings up the question of the legality of copying a DVD with no copy protection. Under this act it seems that it is legal, but very few are not copy protected in some way.

Second is the Fair Use Act view. This Act was created to allow copies of works to be made for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research”. But what action constitutes “fair use” is really what a lawyer, a judge and a jury decides it is. There is a lot of talk about burning copies of a DVD you purchased for personal use being allowed under this Act. I read the Act and did not see it stated there.

Now let?s discuss the gray area. The DMCA says you are not allowed to circumvent copy protection on DVD?s, but the music industry allows you to copy music to your computer and then to your IPOD and it is perfectly legal. You don?t need to buy the music more than once to use it on all your personal devices. There seems to be a disconnect here. Also, you are permitted to copy live TV to VHS tape or DVD or even DVR. Next is the issue of copying your DVD?s to your IPOD. Right now the MPAA says you must purchase this a second time for your IPOD. Why is one purchase of the DVD not enough for all your personal devices like the music industry? It seems that the standard should stand for all of these media types. It also seems that the DMCA ruling that you are not allowed to circumvent copy protection should apply to music like with DVD?s.

It is easy to see why this is so confusing. What works for one industry does not work for the other. A person can legally copy a movie from TV that they did not purchase to a DVR and have it for as long as they want it. This movie was not even purchased, but it is legally copied. Somewhere down the line the courtroom will have to rule on this but until then there is a lot of gray area.

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