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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

That's how I feel about my DVD collection right about now.

I have always been a big fan of movies. Maybe it's the joy of removing one's stresses by taking a break from reality, but nothing is better than a creepy horror flick or a side-splitting comedy.

Come on, you know you're still quoting hilarious lines from "Superbad."

While movies are entertaining to watch at home , the burning question is this: why can't I transfer them to my iPod?

Over the years, I have accumulated about 120 DVDs - everything from the "Star Wars" trilogies to the complete series of "Friends." Upon my recent purchase of my first mp3 player with video capabilities, the iPod touch, I thought the sky was the limit.

I was sadly mistaken.

Silly of me to think that, like my CDs, I could easily put a DVD into my optical drive and watch it in iTunes.

I was wrong.

Well, then I thought, maybe the DVD menu has an option to transfer the movie to my hard drive.

Wrong again.

After much frustration and a plethora of swear words aimed at inanimate objects, I began researching.

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I found out that unlike most CDs today, DVDs have built-in encryptions to block access to their files - meaning you can play the disc in any compatible machine, but the DVD cannot be "ripped" on to your hard drive.

So let me get this straight - I can purchase the movie, watch it as often as I'd like, but never on my iPod?

That's crap.

I Googled the phrase ,"DVD to iPod," and I found a list of software that allows you to copy your movies to your portable device. Scrolling through the list of amateur programs, I wondered why they seemed illegal.

Maybe because it is. Sort of.

According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the "production and dissemination of technology, devices or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works" is illegal.

In this case, that would be CSS, a copy-protected algorithm found in DVDs. So, any person who finds a way around this and transfers a DVD onto an iPod is performing an illegal act. It makes no difference if the movie is just for personal use.

As far as I know, there has yet to be a case against an individual for such a violation. But, in 2006, a company called Load-n-go was sued for copyright infringement for selling iPods with ripped DVDs. So, purchasing the "ripping" software is illegal. But if you can acquire it for free on some shady Web site somehow, would that be OK?

I had to know.

Online bloggers - and probably anyone you ask - would say yes. Arguments can be summed up in the typical, "what they don't know won't hurt them." I decided to take the high road and opened an iTunes account so I could purchase a "wide variety" of movies. I still feel cheated.

No, I would not like to buy "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Where are all the new releases?

A new movie rental program by iTunes was announced recently to solve that problem. And, while I still love you, Steve Jobs, I don't need another Netflix account. If it were up to me, movies and music would be available in any form, interchangeably, to anyone who is willing to pay the retail price.

After all, if we can quote funny lines and have friends over for movie night, isn't that technically "file sharing?"

Rebecca Ganzak is a journalism senior. Her column appears on Thursdays.

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