Home movie jukeboxes. The concept has been gaining significant popularity in the consumer public. Kaleidescape Inc. is an upstart company that is
trying to take this technology to a new level - storing the movies on a hard drive, thereby allowing non-synchronous playback of DVD movies on several
TVs in a house. This technology, however, has been plagued with legal issues. The stringent anti-piracy laws currently in place have made
implementing this technology legally difficult, at best. The major concern, people renting a DVD, copying it to the system, and returning it, has
been addressed through a series of safeguards and checks to ensure the system is being used legally.
The company's three-part system includes a disc reader that copies DVDs; a server with multiple hard drives, which stores and transmits scrambled
movies over a home network; and set-top boxes that descramble the movies for playback. Anytime users try to rip a DVD, the system requires them to
attest that they own and will keep the disc.
Each system connects to the Internet periodically to receive updates, and "we have the technical ability to turn off the system if it's not being used
in compliance," said Anne M. Ortel, Kaleidescape's senior counsel.
Coates, the DVD association's attorney, said, "All those protections that they allegedly put in place actually make clear they're aware that they're
not following the license."
The case has made numerous executives in the technology and consumer electronics world uneasy, even though representatives of their industries
approved the lawsuit.
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Kaleidescape Inc. is doing their best to provide this technology to home users while abiding by all the laws surrounding piracy issues. Whereas I do
see the system as a very convenient way of storing and viewing DVDs, I do see the potential for abuse of the system.
The systems current price tag of $27,000 makes it less than affordable for most people, however there are currently between 400 and 500 customers who
have purchased this system. The final verdict of whether or not this system is ultimately legal to use or not sits in the hands of the Santa Clara
County Superior Court. The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin next month.
Piracy will be involved with any new technology. If the industry puts it out, the community will crack it. It is a never ending cycle. Movies, music,
games, software and apps all avaliable with just a few searches. Though the legality of it may be in question, it is hard to tell someone not to eat
the oreo on the table while you leave and they sit there and look at it.
The industry needs to find a way to intigrate this aspect of media consumption into their existing business model. It will always be there. They would
benifit greatly if they figured out how to profit from piracy and not lose potential customers.
Well, this story isn't so much about whether or not people are going to crack it, but rather about trying to release a new technology, that is legal,
yet operates in a way similar to illegal practices. Admittedly, nothing is secure, however, the safeguards put in place on this system are to try and
cover the developers butts, and appease the lawyers from a legal aspect.
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