Avoid Copyright Infringement: Legal Ways To Duplicate CDs And DVDs

FFact: Unauthorized copying of someone else’s creative work is against the law. It may be a safe assumption to say that practically everyone knows it’s illegal to copy and distribute copy-protected software, music, and movie files.

The copyright infringement warning is basically displayed at the beginning of a movie DVD. Although you may not find the unauthorized copying message on all compact discs or on those files you download from the internet, the law still applies.

According to Title 17, United States Code, Sections 501 & 506, severe civil and criminal penalties await those who reproduce, distribute and or offer rental or digital transmission of copyrighted recordings. It aims to protect the intellectual properties of film makers, composers, authors, designers and their investors among others.


Photo credit: Ian May on Flickr

How to Legally Duplicate CDs and DVDs

Because of inexpensive, oftentimes free CD-R burning technology and the accessibility of internet downloads, many people easily dismiss the illegitimacy of this practice. But what if, you’re only hoping to make a copy of your CD or DVD for your gizmos and have no intention of distributing it illegally for profit?

• What does the law states?

When a CD or DVD is released for distribution, a copy protection layer in the form of the Digital Rights Management or DRM is embedded in the file. This feature was pioneered by the movie industry but did not apply to music CDs until later years. However, only a few years after the inclusion of DRM, the protective technology was deciphered.

Basically, if you want to rip a copy-protected CD or DVD, you must not crack the DRM that comes with it, or else you violate Title I of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 U.S.C 1201.

While most judges find the regulation fair and reasonable, there are some who argues that it’s rather too strict. Those who tried to leaven this regulation claimed that consumers deserve the right to rip an original CD or DVD they bought for their own use if the content will only serve as a back-up file to be stored in their laptops, cellular phones and other devices for quick and handy access.

• When is it permissible to copy CD/DVD content?

Duplicating copy-protected files becomes considerably legal when you’re only taking out short clips from a full-length video for purposes limited to academics, documentary film making and non-commercial use.

Basing on the DRM matter alone, it then becomes, to some degree, acceptable to rip a CD or DVD as long as you don’t crack the DRM. But the congress has a found a way to cover this loophole as various software are now available to copy CD/DVD files that bypass the copy protection. One example is the application released in 2008, the RealDVD by Real Networks. RealDVD makes it possible for consumers to duplicate CDs and DVDs without copying or decrypting the encoded Content Scrambling System or CSS.

RealDVD stopped its distribution in 2010 because the company received litigation threats from movie studios. Although, many computer programmers continue to develop applications that are very much like their famed predecessor.

The digital video ripping restrictions has led most consumers to demand for fair use rights. While the copyright act gives exclusive reproduction entitlements to copyright holders alone, fair use allows consumers to copy a part or (in some circumstances) all of the work even without direct permission once the copyright term expires. But you have to be careful as there is no real guarantee to this clause.

Karrie Morton is a law student at the University of California Irvine and a part time freelance writer, she writes for Integrity Legal Corp., offers Litigation Supports services in Orange County. You can connect with Karrie through her social media accounts. Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest