Legal Question

vbimport

#1

From what I read in the DMCA it seems as though in the USA it is unlawful to circumvent copy protections. I want to make sure I’m not misenterpreting this and would be grateful if anyone can clarify the following.

  1. Does this mean it is illegal to backup an encrypted DVD/copy-protected disc that you legallly own (if you live in the USA)?

  2. Does this mean it is illegal to download cracks, keygens etc. (if you live in the USA)?

  3. Does this mean that it is illegal to distribute cracks, keygens etc. (if you live in the USA)?

  4. Does this mean it is illegal to download or otherwise aquire software designed to defeat copy protection methods (if you live in the USA)?


#2
  1. Backing up DVD’s requires circumvention/removal of protections, I believe that is illegal in the US as it is here in Australia.
    2)Definately Yes
    3)As above
    4)No, programs such as Alcohol, Clone CD, Blindwrite etc… dont circumvent protections, they copy them or emulate them. As long as you own the original, it is perfectly legal.

#3

Thanks. That’s exactly what I wanted to know.


#4

Talk to your attourney to be sure. Need to ask mine someday next time i talk to him.


#5

So would a website that offered cracks for download be breaking the law regardless of where it was hosted and run from as long as US citizens were able to access it? Would they be legally obligated to block US IP addresses from the site or does the responsibility lie solely with the person accessing the site?


#6
  1. Yes.

  2. Yes (though in some cases downloading them isn’t illegal so long as you don’t use them).

  3. Yes (illegal everywhere not just USA).

  4. Depends on the specific application. Programs such as alcohol, blindwrite, etc that preserve the copy protection are legal. Programs such as Dvd Decrypter that have the primary purpose of stripping the protection are not (just ask 321 Studios).

So would a website that offered cracks for download be breaking the law regardless of where it was hosted and run from as long as US citizens were able to access it?

The relevant laws are those of the place where the website is located not those of the USA. However, since offering cracks, keygens etc isn’t legal anywhere, it doesn’t make much much difference (though, of course, the authorities of many countries are far more lax than those of the USA in enforcing copyright laws).