Piracy and Hollywood

Hollywood is again trying to limit users’ rights in regards to digital media.

It seems that Hollywood just canâÄôt get it right these days. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is squaring off with RealNetworks, maker of the DVD ripping software RealDVD, in court over allegations that its software is hurting the movie picture business. RealDVD enables people to burn their legally bought movies to computers without the plague known as Digital Rights Management (DRM). But Hollywood and the MPAA believe this practice is killing a business that is already suffering due to digital piracy. True, digital piracy has taken a toll on the business, but moves like this are the reason why piracy is so prevalent. Hollywood has suffered since the birth of file sharing programs. Revenues have taken a drastic hit, which has forced them to experiment with different methods to combat the situation. Now they fear DVD ripping software will enable a new flow of digital media onto peer-to-peer networks, and want to eliminate the possibility of such software entirely. But denying the right for consumers to legally burn their movies is an embarrassment for the whole industry. Consumers who buy their movies should be rewarded with the freedom of doing what they please with them. If users are unable to copy movies to their computer, two scenarios will result. The first: Consumers will turn to software that is independently developed, such as DVD Decrypter. Although movie studios already shut down most of these smaller programs, they are still prevalent throughout the Internet. The other, and perhaps more alarming, is that users will be given yet another reason to turn to illegally downloaded movies. Hollywood should reward people for buying its content with the freedom to rip movies. It is a two-way street of trust between motion picture studios and consumers that must be established before piracy can be limited. If Hollywood puts this simple trust into the consumer, surprising results could follow.