The MPAA on How to Camcord

The U.S. Copyright Office is conducting hearings on the exemptions under the DMCA (they do this every three years) and Rebecca Tushnet has been providing detailed coverage.  A full day was devoted to the issue of an exemption for teachers and students so that they could circumvent the locks on DVDs to show film clips in class or as part of an assignment.  The education community are pushing for an expansion of the exemption to more broadly cover teachers and students.  The MPAA doesn't want an exemption at all, or, if there is one, argues it should be very limited.

Among the stranger moments of the hearings was the MPAA's argument that there is no need for an exemption since there is an analog way to create film clips.  Rather than break the encryption on a DVD, teachers could camcord the same film clips.  In fact, the organization showed a video demonstrating how to effectively camcord clips of DVDs without breaking the encryption on the DVD. 

Leaving aside how surreal it is to see the same organization that travels the world demanding anti-camcording legislation now citing it as a solution, it is useful to consider how this would have played out had Bill C-61 become law.  First, there was no exception in C-61 to circumvent for any teaching or private study purposes.  Therefore, the act of circumventing for educational instruction or class assignments would have become a violation of the law (the Film Studies Association of Canada spoke out on the issue).  Second, there was no mechanism for hearings to identify necessary exceptions under C-61, so Canadian law did not even include the possibility of mirroring these DMCA exemption hearings to address problems in the law.


  1. _|¯¯|o says:

    wow.. just…… wow..
    That’s pretty ridiculous.. camcording a dvd? why not photographing a book while we’re at it?

    It’s getting more and more obvious that the MPAA and friends don’t care about the content, but only about the product. That’s not culturally healthy in my opinion.

  2. Anon Name says:

    HD CAMS anyone?
    Camcording a HD DVD is going to work regardless of the state of the art of the copy protection. And HD cams made at home will have way higher quality than the ones made in theatres. Also, no risk to get busted by theatre owners wearing night vision goggles.

  3. Say that again?
    In what way is camcordering a DVD NOT breaking the encryption? You are clearly circumventing the copy protection scheme.

  4. Doctor?
    This is completely and utterly absurd. Any sane person, when faced with this argument from the MPAA, would either burst into laughter or into tears that someone is this insane.

  5. OBAMA lost confidence watch n see says:

    im wathcing it that breaks encryption
    that next you might as well not wathc it cause that is breech of the encryption.

    UNTIL we start reversing the morons powers and GET OUR dmeocracy back this will get so bad it will destroy whats left of the ailing economy, how can you innovate with 2 billion year copyright terms and and forever pay pay pay to a bunch a greedy stinky old men.