MPAA sues company for selling pre-loaded iPods

The MPAA has launched yet another "defensive attack", this time on a small business that is pre-loading movie DVDs onto iPods and reselling them. The original DVDs of the movies that are loaded are also given to the customer.

To you and me this might seem like a perfectly fair and legal thing to do. The company, Load ‘N Go Video is basically charging people to load movies onto iPods. Customers pay for the original DVDs, for the iPods and for the service of having them loaded. They even receive the original DVDs they’ve paid for. What’s wrong then? Well, the MPAA isn’t you or me, and their way of differentiating between right and wrong seems to focus on how much money they can make.

MPAA LogoThe MPAA is claiming that the service Load ‘N Go Video offers is completely illegal because ripping a DVD is against the DMCA. The MPAA is also suing the company for copyright violation.

This lawsuit’s purpose isn’t just to shut down Load ‘N Go Video. It also indirectly implies that it is illegal for people to rip legally purchased DVDs at home. Quite a shame, since this only hurts actual paying customers. “Pirates” are going to continue doing whatever they want. It’s just like the sad truth about DRM. The people that are actually buying songs are being restricted from listening to them on devices of their choice, whereas those who aren’t, remain unaffected.

While writing this article, a very similar incident came to mind, one involving the maker of the iPod, Apple itself. At the original iPod keynote 5 years ago, Apple gave all the atendees iPods … preloaded with songs! And just like Load ‘N Go Video, Apple provided the original CDs too. Jason Snell for Macworld wrote in his Five Years of iPod article:

At the end of the event, we all took home pre-release versions of the iPod, which were already loaded with music. To make the point that the iPod wasn’t meant as a vehicle for music piracy, our iPod packages also contained a stack of audio CDs, the contents of which matched the music pre-loaded on the iPod.

Now the RIAA has motive to sue Apple, right? Wrong. Because private copying of music CDs falls under fair use in most countries. If so, why shouldn’t the same apply to movies too?

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