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The DVD Copying War Is… Still Going On?

Kaleidescape has an announcement, everyone: Kaleidescape boxes are no longer allowed to exist.

Kaleidescape isn’t a name most people know, which makes sense: The company sells boxes that copy DVDs to a hard drive, then send them to your TV. They’re pricey and made for people with huge DVD collections — they’re meant to live in a big A/V closet, next to a dedicated CD player with a built in ten-disc changer.

They’re useful for some (mostly well-to-do) people and, you would think, utterly uncontroversial. Which just one of the reasons this is so silly:

The conditions of the injunction: Stop selling your product.

Note the year. It’s 2012! The DVD Copy Control Association’s encryption technology has been broken since 1999 and ignored for just as long, because it’s outdated and absurd. But when Kaleidescape started selling its ripping product in 2003, they were sued almost immediately.

According to the the CCA’s license, a DVD owner — a guy who paid money for a movie — can’t take that movie and copy it to his iPhone. He can’t back it up to his hard drive. He can’t do anything with it except leave to it wallow on a DVD that he’ll probably lose, or play it through a piece of hardware that he doesn’t want to keep.

As far as individuals are concerned, this hasn’t been an issue for a decade. Handbrake will rip a DVD for you in, like, five minutes, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. It’s out of sight and out of reach.

Kaleidescape, though, is exposed: It sells something. And so now, all these years later, the company, which says it’s appealing the decision one more time, might finally be done.

So congratulations, DVD Copy Control Association, and congratulations, film industry: You’re one step closer to killing the company whose sole mission was to make your biggest customers lives a little easier. At the rate you’re going, you’ll put Kaleidescape out of business just in time for the DVD market to disappear completely.

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