Duplicate and Die

DVDWhen conservatives complain about “activist judges,” I wonder if they would include the growing number of adjudicators who have been systematically destroying consumers’ fair use rights (or, for that matter, those appointed under Republican presidents who have been diligently repealing environmental protections). The latest of these is Judge Susan Illston, who sits on the federal bench in San Francisco, and who last week in a suit between 321 Studios and the Motion Picture Association of America, ruled that DVD-copying software is illegal.

As it happened, I watched a DVD that had been duplicated by 321 Studios’ DVD X Copy software for the first time just this past weekend, and I have to admit that it was impressive, and practically perfect. Unlike the somewhat kludgy method that I’ve been using on my Mac, this Windows-only package does not require multiple software components (and multiple, unwieldy steps), and most significantly does not omit a DVD’s navigational menus and extra features. To an untrained eye, there’s practically no difference between a DVD Copy X-authored movie and one bought from the store, which is frightening but also somewhat liberating, at least until you realize that this using this feature will, if the ruling stands, render you a criminal by the end of the week.



  1. DVD2OneX (mentioned in your previous post and hinted at in this one) can make an full copy of a DVD, including all special features and menus. Just like DVD X Copy, it just recompresses the video to make it all fit, and like you say, it’s not really noticeable (unless you have a really fancy TV).

    I wasn’t sure if you were aware of that, because what you said above is a little unclear. It seems like what you’re saying isn’t at all possible with DVD2OneX.

    But back to the suit, did you catch what Jack Valenti said about backing up DVDs? “If you buy a DVD you have a copy. If you want a backup copy you buy another one.” Riiight.

  2. I agree. Why did this not happen for videotapes then?

    I think a lot of these issues are cropping up and being scrutinized because of big business and the ever so hip issues of downloading music.

    So silly.

  3. Frank: I admit, I didn’t realize that DVD2oneX can make a full copy of a DVD, The documentation for the program isn’t all that great — I’ve been kind of groping around in using it and figuring stuff out in a pretty inefficient manner. Anyway, that’s good news! Thanks!

  4. Well I’ve been a registered user of DVDXCopy and it’s by far perfect in it’s copying. I usually do it so I have a small carrying case of DVDs when I’m flying. Would hate to have originals since I treat them so poorly.

    Anyway, here’s the email I received from 321 Studios today:

    Dear 321 Studios Customers & Friends,

    As many of you may have already heard, Judge Illston of the Northern District of California Court ruled against us last Friday and in favor of the movie studios. This is the first major decision in the six lawsuits in which we are now involved.

    Her ruling included an injunction preventing us from continuing to sell the current version of our popular DVDXCOPY software if it included a ripper. This injunction takes effect 7 days from her order. While we do not agree with the rationale behind the decision, we intend to fully comply with the order and, at the same time, file an appeal and ask her to stay the injunction pending the appeal.

    This decision is unfortunate news for us. However, we expected the fight for fair use rights to be a long one when we initiated it almost two years ago. We also expected to face great opposition and to take some hits along the way. Well, we are still here and are not going out of business. Starting next week, weѓll sell ripper-free versions of DVDXCOPY as well as all our other popular titles including DVDXSHOW, DVDXMAKER and DVDXPOINT.

    If youѓd like to read Judge Illstonѓs decision or articles written about us, please go to our web site at http://www.321studios.com. If youѓd like to offer your support, please visit http://www.protectfairuse.org. Meanwhile, we are making every effort to continue to support you and your 321 products.

    Please share this news with your friends and family. We can use all the support we can get to continue fighting for everyoneѓs fair use rights in todayѓs digital world.

    Thank you for your ongoing support,


    The 321 Studios Team.

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