August 04, 2006

Circuit City says it does not violate DMCA, does not copy commercial DVD's

According to a story making the rounds of the bogosphere, "Circuit City Flouts The DMCA For A Tenner"

Well, well, well! Look who's violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act! For only a couple of fins, Circuit City will take your DVD and an iPod and flagrantly breach copyright at your behest.

When I read that story, it struck me as unbelievable. I could not imagine a large chain store setting up a DVD duplication service, without authorization. These people aren't going to fight the MPAA just for fun.

So I called Circuit City for some fact-checking.

According to Bill Cimino, Circuit City Director of Corporate Communications:

"The sign is incorrect and not authorized and we are in the process of making sure the sign is removed"

"We offer two services. In a small number of stores, we will transfer your commercial CD's to a DVD, and in other stores, we will transfer your home VHS to a DVD. We do not transfer pre-recorded VHS or DVD, to DVD"

Folks, apply common sense. It's a lot more believable that someone got service details wrong, or even did some under-the-table moonlighting, than that a large corporation has an official DVD-copying service.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in dmca | on August 04, 2006 05:42 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Indeed, I could've made that sign at home, walked into a CC, snapped a photo, and make the whole story up.

Posted by: Michael Zimmer at August 4, 2006 07:40 PM

I took the image, so I'm pretty sure I didn't print up the sign, take it into Circuit City, and shoot it.

I don't think anybody thought CC was actually starting a DVD ripping program at a company-wide level. But for a sign like this to have been placed on the cash register you'd think it would have to have been given a nod by the store manager, at least.

Posted by: Joel Johnson at August 4, 2006 07:52 PM

Joel, sadly, by the time the story got to Slashdot or Digg, it did sound like a company-wide service.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at August 4, 2006 08:12 PM

As I just said on Gizmodo (although I'm not sure it "took"), that specific Circuit City already has a problem, as offering the service alone is enough to violate the DMCA:

17 USC 1201(b)(1):

"No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, tható"

Posted by: Jeff at August 4, 2006 10:31 PM

Itís kind of ironic that on a day when the blogosphere is beating up Businessweek for bad reporting, a reputable blog is also doing some bad reporting. Kudos to the folks setting BusinessWeek straight and kudos to Seth Finkelstein for setting Consumerist straight.

I've cross-posted to my blog.

Posted by: Randy Weber at August 4, 2006 10:32 PM