Fellow productivity blogger, Dwayne Melancon, wants to know if he can watch his legally purchased DVDs on his iPod.

Well, the fair use laws might permit him to repurpose his video, however, as Dwayne points out the DCMA gets in the way.

I covered this topic in a business law class I took a few years ago when I went paperless for 8 weeks, which meant that I had to scan my books. I posed a similar question: Is it legal to scan your books to read on a tablet PC? It was a busy thread with may comments and even more off-blog emails traded. Ultimately, and after much research, I concluded that the fair use laws would permit this for personal use and I presented my research to my class in a presentation called, Wallpaper, Toilet paper, or ePaper.

But my research only addressed fair use of paper/books, not media. What Dwayne needs is a different kind of presentation.

Fortunately, I have one.

The clever and creative folks at Stanford University, in collaboration with Professor Lawrence Lessig, have recruited help from a few Disney characters to explain why Dwight can't legally record his DVDs to his iPod for personal viewing.

Watch the video.

Discussion/Comments (5):

Disney Characters answer Dwayne’s fair-use question

LOL! THAT... (video)... was... So... COOL! :)

Now, as a professional writer who aspires to make a living from creative works, I must disagree with the characterization of current US copyright law as prohibitively long-lived. I would not want my work falling into the public domain within my own lifetime, and the original "protected lifetime" of 14 years strikes me as absurdly short. I do agree, however, that fair use has been written into the law for good reason and should be enforceable as a valid defense in a copyright infringement action.

(The views of this commenter are the views of one particular individual and do not necessarily represent the position of Eric Mack or of the blog "Eric Mack online." Nor do they necessarily represent the views of EM Sky tomorrow or on any day thereafter or especially after she's had a nice, long nap, in which case she is often in an excellent mood and of an entirely different mind on many subjects.)

(The use of the term "Eric Mack online" has not been condoned by the owner of said mark and should not be construed to imply any relationship whatsoever between EM Sky and "Eric Mack online," beyond the fact that said Ms. Sky deeply appreciated this particular post. That is all.)


Posted at 5/21/2007 9:40:35 PM by EM Sky

Fair use, while a part of copyright needs to be revisited

Fair use laws,in my opinion, really need to be brought up to date with current technologies and applications. One hundred years ago, if I purchased a book, I really could not repurpose it beyond possibly using it toilet paper or wall paper - neither of which I would have done. (Apparently, at one time, folks used the Sears catalog for the former and the latter). In any case, Dwayne's issue (and mine in the case of my book-scanning posts, has to do with the lawful repurposing of material to which I have already paid for the right to use. I won't get into a debate here, because there are so many that are much more informed than I am on this topic. (See the comments in my post on fair use) . All I know is that as a consumer of information, I want to retrieve it in any way that I want. I have no problem paying for a song on iTunes, for example, but once I've PAID for it, I want to be able to listen to that song on my PC, on my iPod, on my home stereo, and in any other format that I have have available do me. That, in my opinion, should be permitted under Fair Use. Some would argue that it already is.

I'm all for copyright protection for creative works. In a knowledge economy, creative works are our product.

Posted at 5/21/2007 9:47:59 PM by Eric Mack

Disney Characters answer Dwayne’s fair-use question

What, you didn't like my disclaimer? But it had all those cool legal words like "necessarily" and "thereafter"... :)

Posted at 5/21/2007 10:10:09 PM by EM Sky

Disney Characters answer Dwayne’s fair-use question

Thanks for the video, Eric! And I am in full agreement with your comment - I don't mind paying for what I want to read, hear, etc. but I don't want to have to pay again to listen to it through a different set of speakers.

As for disclaimers, I posted a couple of sets of product warnings for physicists a couple of years ago that are kind of entertaining - for example:

COMPONENT EQUIVALENCY NOTICE: The subatomic particles (electrons, protons, etc.) comprising this product are exactly the same in every measurable respect as those used in the products of other manufacturers, and no claim to the contrary may legitimately be expressed or implied.

More here: { Link }

and here: { Link }


Posted at 5/23/2007 4:29:54 AM by Dwayne Melancon

Disney Characters answer Dwayne’s fair-use question

Em Sky,

I liked your disclaimers, they were very funny.

Posted at 5/24/2007 2:23:53 PM by Tanny O'Haley

Discussion for this entry is now closed.