Intellectual property actions are not very impressive

Thursday you had an article titled “Recording industry wants to shame Costa Rica.”

This is a joke, enforcement wise. I am deeply into computer security. I wanted to test a method of copying DVDs, something that irritates the Motion Picture Association of America, but is quite legal for backing up your DVD, for having a DVD in a beach home and a copy at your city home, etc. Just so long as you can only see ONE at a time. You may NOT loan, or sell a copy — if you can also view the original.

Long long ago the U.S.A. courts said you CAN LEGALLY copy, say, an album you listen to at home, to cassette so you can hear YOUR ALBUM in your car – it is somewhat illegal for somebody in your house to play the album at the same time! This didn’t upset the Recording Industry Association of America too much because each analog copy is worse than where it came from, digital copies are perfect. But the courts said nothing about “It’s OK if it sounds bad.”

Back to my test – I COULD NOT CRACK the copy protection code from a rented movie. I am very good at cracking low level codes like the “CSS” code that protects DVDs. Why couldn’t I crack it? Because someone had already done it! Each and every DVD I rented was pre-cracked, therefore proving that ALL for-rent DVDs are illegal copies — every one I could find. Enforcement would be easy, no undercover work needed. It is politics — DVD rental stores do not want to pay for legit copies — and there are a lot of them. Plus the dumb MPAA puts in “region codes” so they can decide when and where to release their movies — contrary to the TLC.

So region codes are removed (Yea!) along with copy protection (Yea!) so that commercial copies can be made (Boo!). I never did test my “cracking” code till Mom-in-law sent us a present, that happened to be a legit DVD purchased in the USA.

[I know that they passed the Digital Millennium Act, a ball of stupidity that contradicts logic and past laws.]
This one kinda says it is illegal if it sounds TOO good.

There is a well known corner in Alajuela where you have “Pelicolas, Musica, DVDs” shoved in you face. The only police activity I see is that the police don’t let vendors completely block the sidewalk with their “portable stores.”

So, the “International Intellectual Property Alliance” is just making a show for their members (MPAA. RIAA, BMC etc) whining about some mystery sales (and rentals) going on in Costa Rica. They also seem to think that the way to control this is to limit blank DVDs, or DVD burners. That is just like outlawing cars to stop bank robberies. We have a (U.S.A.) right to copy our own DVDs – so long as only one copy at a time is viewed. These lazy “Suits and Ties” should stop with the press releases and walk into a few rental outlets. But I don’t think they will, they prefer to walk the carpeted halls of Congress getting a tax on blanks, a large portion of which would go into their pockets — as “compensation”. Boo! Note I said U.S.A. right. I know very little Costa Rican law.

This “letter to the editor” remains the property of the author. Author licenses editor to print in one issue of A.M. COSTARICA and further licenses readers of said “paper” to read ONE TIME, and not make any copies, whether for forwarding, archival purposes, or just to be mean. By clicking your browser to this page of today’s issue you have entered into a legally binding agreement with author.
(That’s a joke folks)

Charlie Merritt
San Isidro de Alajuela

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