[wellylug] MPEG/DVD encoding/decoding.

JP jumbophut at yahoo.co.in
Wed May 5 12:14:45 NZST 2004


 --- Tim Nicholas wrote: 

> On 04/29/04 12:12, Jonathan Harker wrote:
<snip...>

> > DVD decryption under Linux cannot legally be done
> > at all.

> Isn't this only illegal because of the DMCA, a law
> for which NZ doesn't 
> yet have an equivalent? It's not a copyright crime
> to watch a DVD that 
> you own (you aren't copying it) no matter how you do
> it.
> 

Unlike Mr Harker, I'm not sure that it is illegal,
though he may well be correct.  Some folks in Aus who
should be knowledgeable (Rusty Russell) have been
saying thayt it is illegal over there, even before
they adopt the DMCA.

There are two issues:

1. Is it illegal to circumvent encryption, or to
posses tools for doing so?  I don't think it is
illegal in NZ at the moment, but I don't know for
sure.

2. Are there patents on _decrypting_ css?  I suspect
if there are patents, they will be for using css to
protect media, not on reversing it, but who knows.

In any case, if Aus get the DMCA, you can probably
expect NZ to get it too after a while.  There is a
focus on regulatory harmonisation in the two markets.

So, two options in the long-run:

1. Licensed software player (presumably would have to
be closed source to get the license?)

2. Hardware solution (these do exist for Linux, but
aren't cheap, and I don't know if complete source is
available for the drivers).

I'm quite happy to look at other formats for now.  It
looks like MPEG-1/VCD is okay, since patents on it
have expired, though audio is questionable.  Ogg
Theora is promising too, though not yet stable.  VidX
is not a solution, unfortunately, since DivX/MPEG-4
and related codecs are heavily patent-encumbered.

I'm asking around the the moment to find out whether
copying patented technology is against the law if you
do it for your own use only.  If it is legal, I will
have a go at coding up my own encoding/decoding app. 
The Patent Act says something about having a monopoly
on commercial exploitation and, in some case,
manufacturing.  The question is whether or not me
making one product for myself is manufacturing.

Cheers
Tony

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