It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that if you want to make copies of your high-def disc media you can. But that’s not stopping the AACS from working out a licensing deal to bring managed copy to the market. The studios would really like this to happen by holiday 2007 to take advantage of the purported goodwill such a deal would generate. The problem is managed copy of HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs puts on the façade of fair use, but you’re still paying for copies.

If the agreement goes through consumers will be able to make copies of discs they have purchased for a price. DRM is going to be all over the copied discs as well, and in order to copy content you’d have to purchase a premium disc with AACS copy protection. The spin put on this system is that you can make copies for friends or family, and thus should have to pay for them to own a copy. It makes sense, and is as fair a deal as can be expected. The problem is with backing up your own content. If you just want to have a spare copy for your kid, who will most likely use the disc as a Frisbee more than it’s actually in a player, you still have to pay.

Another issue for Blu-ray owners is their format has not enforced the same copy protections as HD-DVD. All HD-DVD discs created are required to support managed copy, not so much on the Blu-ray side. This doesn’t mean that because HD-DVD already has it supported you won’t be paying extra, because content provides have the ability to still charge. But if someone were to offer free managed copy to consumers it’d likely be in the HD-DVD realm.

Sure I live in fantasy world, but to me fair use means you get to do with the content you have purchased anything you see fit. Short of making money off of it, of course. There isn’t a clear indication of how this deal will go down, but it’s likely when you purchase a movie at the store you may pay a little extra in order to get a few licenses. Or the cost could be added into the writeable discs you’ll have to buy. In no way do I support piracy when it takes away from the content creator. Someone who works on a movie should be compensated for that material, and it’s fair that I have to pay some price. But once that content is purchased I should be allowed to do whatever I want with it.

We’ll have to see how things play out, but the AACS LA seems to agree that loosening the DRM reigns will be beneficial to sales. For now, let’s take this as a semi-positive step and as more news comes our way we can make a more informed opinion.

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