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Thread: DVDs and CSS

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    DVDs and CSS

    So the other day my wife and I sat downto watch a movie on my laptop, recently graced with a fresh installof Raring. I had installed my favorite browser, email client, biblesoftware, restricted extras, etc., but I’d neglected to run theinstall-css.sh script. I’d done it a dozen times in the past, andcould almost do it from memory. But this time I had to do it whilemy wife (only recently introduced to Ubuntu) watched. To be honest,I was a little embarrassed that my OS requires me to run a scriptburied five layers into the system files just to watch a DVD.

    Then it hit me. Why? I’d never eventhought about what the script did in the past. I just ran it, andthen DVD play started working. I was a little surprised to realizethat all the script does is download the libdvdcss2 package from theMaverick release of the Medibuntu repository and install it. Sothen, why isn’t libdvdcss2 included in the Multiverse repository? For that matter, why isn’t it included in the restricted extrasmetapackage?
    Jane, stop this crazy thing!

  2. #2
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Simply put its a mostly illegal workaround so even the restricted repos are not immune to possible lawsuits.
    At least MP3 playback in linux is MOSTLY legal as are some other codecs.
    But the matter of libdvdcss is more complicated.
    Heck even windows cant play DVD by default in terms of the law, a non OEM copy of windows wont have DVD playback

  3. #3
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    what is css???

  4. #4
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Jane, stop this crazy thing!

  5. #5
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Quote Originally Posted by newb85 View Post
    this is the main controversy here, as I said at least something like MP3 playback is semi legal while DVD playback is far more of a gray area.

  6. #6
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    I'm not trying to make legal or political arguments here. (I'm not qualified for the first, and the second is against CoC.) I just want to understand better. The difference between "semi legal" and "grey area" evades me.

    Here's how I understand it. Please feel free to correct...

    As I understand it, laws and rulings against distribution of CSS decryption are for the protection of the DVD content, not the format itself.

    Codecs are different, however, in that any lawsuits that could/would take place would be for the protection of the patented encoding format itself.

    So then, distribution of the unpatented CSS decryption tools is illegal because we could use it to copy copyrighted material, but distribution of patented codecs is not?
    Jane, stop this crazy thing!

  7. #7
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Yes, as those patented codecs are so common anyhow so distributing them on the side is a non issue for the most part.
    The only time codecs become an issue is when they come pre packaged with the OS like on linux mint, but since it is not as public as Ubuntu it can slip in the cracks a little.
    Ubuntu however is owned by a major company as opposed to a independent distro so it cant come with codecs out of the box.
    And windows is no different, again get a box copy of windows and it will have no codecs on it.
    The main reason why windows seems "easier" with multimedia is because companies like dell/HP/Toshiba and the like hand you the codecs but install windows on your own and its your job to install codecs.
    Last edited by MadmanRB; May 25th, 2013 at 07:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority

  9. #9
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    I think libdvdcss is only potentially illegal in the U.S because of DMCA, but there has been no definitive words as far as I know, it seems not important enough for the copyright thugs to bother, possibly because of desktop Linux's small user base in the U.S. But then it is also illegal in the U.S. to unlock your cell phone. Distros are only playing it safe for not bundling it. Since I don't live in the U.S. it is never my concern.

    I am wondering what goodies are bundled in Kylin (Ubuntu Chinese edition)
    Last edited by monkeybrain2012; May 25th, 2013 at 09:41 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: DVDs and CSS

    Codecs are different. It is illegal to distribute codecs without permission, but it is not illegal to use them for personal purposes (you need to pay for license to play mp3 if you run a radio station, but not if you listen to music at home) But libdvdcss is different in that under DCMA any technology with the purpose of circumventing copyright protection is illegal and it is exactly what libdvdcss does, so if libdvdcss is indeed illegal (likely though there has not been any official word) it will still be illegal if you download it from Videolan yourself (VLC). But again this is only in the U.S. Videolan is in France so it can host libdvdcss publicly with impunity. I suppose medibuntu's server is also somewhere in Europe.
    Last edited by monkeybrain2012; May 25th, 2013 at 09:57 PM.

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