Public interest group Public Knowledge (PK) has recommended to the U.S. Copyright Office that consumers be given the ability to "space shift" DVDs among various devices they may own, by cracking the encryption on the DVDs.
PK made the recommendation
as part of the Copyright Office's proceeding that takes place every three years to evaluate suggested exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Unlike music CDs, video DVDs are usually encrypted. It is currently a violation of the DMCA to break the encryption in order to copy the video onto another device.
PK asked the Register of Copyright to approve an exemption for breaking the encryption so that a DVD could be copied, for noncommercial use, onto a consumer's device, such as a tablet computer or other item that doesn't have a DVD drive.
PK's filing said: "The combination of widespread DVD ownership and trends away from DVD drives in devices leaves consumers with a dilemma: having invested tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in motion picture DVDs, they are unable to play them on their newest devices. The only reasonable solution for these consumers is to copy the motion picture contained on the DVD into a format that can be viewed on the new device. Without the requested exemption, critical steps in the copying process violate the DMCA."