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French Appeals Court Rules DVD Copy Protection Violates Privacy Rights
Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 03:50 PM EDT

This extraordinary story from the AP just out: that a French appeals court has ordered a DVD with digital rights management pulled off the shelves, saying that the DRM violates consumer privacy rights. A customer bought the movie on DVD and then tried to transfer it onto a video cassette so he could show his mother the movie at her home. The DRM wouldn't let it happen:

"This ruling means that 80 percent of DVDs now on the French market are equipped with illegal mechanisms," said Julien Dourgnon, spokesman for consumer advocacy group UFC-Que Choisir, which brought the case.

"Stores will probably not have to send back products already in stock," Dourgnon said Tuesday. "But in the future, no DVD or CD that has the device can be sold."

France, along with other European Union members including Germany and Spain, has laws guaranteeing the right of consumers to copy recordings they have purchased for private use.

The defendants in the litigation are Alain Sarde Films and Studio Canal and distributor Universal, who were also were found guilty of violating French consumer protection laws, because the only notice that there was such copy prevention software on the DVD were the letters "CP", standing for copy protection. The law is that consumers must be clearly notified of a product's "essential characteristics".

How amazing, and reassuring, to find that the rights of consumers are finally being given some weight.


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