It probably isn't any surprise that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is on a litigation rampage. And now, they're going after folks who rip legally purchased DVDs to their iPod. Stupid, right?
Well, the Video iPod (and no, I still don't own an iPod) has one company in hot water. Load 'n Go is under some legal guns as they help people to rip DVDs to their iPods. Founded in 2005, Boston based Load 'n Go offers a service where one can purchase a software service to encode DVDs to ones iPod. In fact, they even sell iPods and DVD movies. You can purchase an iPod from them, and in addition, buy some DVD movies. Then, Load n' Go will load those movies onto your iPod and ship it to you, along with the original DVD movies you legally purchased. Sounds sweet, but rings of sour to the MPAA.
Most (if not all) of the complications surrounding the Load n' Go case can be traced back to the DMCA. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a poorly written piece of US copyright legislation that squashes fair use rights. Let's say for example, you go to your favourite electronics store and pick up a recently released movie. You plunk down $30 bucks for, let's say, Lords of the Rings. You own that movie and can watch it on whatever medium you should choose. But if want to watch it on your iPod, ripping it would be illegal. You'd have to go to some MPAA sanctioned movie download site and shell out another $30 bucks for an iPod legit version of that movie you already bought. Pardon me whilst I pound my head against the wall in frustration for a moment.
Fair use has been around for decades, and other mediums allow the conversion of a legally owned medium to some other equivalent. The MPAA is double dipping when it comes to selling their goods on different formats. And for an added punch, the MPAA had recently said that they were big fans of fair use. Big fans who sue at the drop of a hat. Big fans who are pushing for broadcast flags in television and radio shows. Big fans who use DRM like a weapon of mass frustration.