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Modulus... lossless copy of BR without infringement ?!

Vodder

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Came across this. https://www.cepro.com/audio-video/modulus-media-server-comeback/

Says it can record streaming (lossy) but also BR (lossless) with out risk of copyright issue due to a patent awarded.

I’m no copyright or patent expert but surely copying something during rendering is still copying the data and allowing it to be watched back is a method that ‘potentially’ opens up the door to all sorts?

Article reads like a paid for item given how bullish it is. Namechecks K at beginning but never mentioned again.
 

cinelife

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Yup, I've been following their development, and looks like they are starting the marketing now. I'd have to know more before commenting on the legality, and while they can certainly make the argument that the Patent reflects approval of the Feds, and must therefore not be violative of existing Fed laws, that is not the case based on what I remember. The USPTO doesn't look at that aspect of the filing, they are there to evaluate whether or not the submission is in compliance with current Patent laws, if it is, it is normally approved. This also doesn't preclude a studio from deciding to move against them (but not sure they would be successful).
 

cinelife

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That said, it's also possible they already ran this by the relevant entities (DVD CCA, BR, UHD folks, etc.) to get their blessing, need more info. I reached out for more, will report back when I know more. Kind of reminds me of an advanced TIVO.......
 

sbutter

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For Blu-Ray rips the user has to figure out what software to use. They are not providing disc ripping software. Looks like their patent is only to copy streaming content after decryption.
Pretty sure major streamers would want this shut down.

Here is the information from the FAQ. https://www.modulusmediasystems.com/pg/faq

How does MMS legally import optical disc content?

For DVD discs, the technology used has been in the public domain for 20 years, included in every major distribution of the linux operating system freely provided to millions of users. U.S. copyright law explicitly allows for reverse-engineering of technological measures when required for the purpose of interoperability, as was the case with linux, where no commercial alternatives were available. Preventing disc playback on popular operating systems could be an anti-trust concern over restraint of free trade.

For Blu-ray discs, where the principle remains the same but there is less precedent, MMS has elected in an abundance of caution not to supply active decryption technology, but instead permit this to be an individual decision of the user.

How does MMS legally record streaming content?

U.S. copyright law places restrictions on how DRM-protected content may be decrypted. The methods used inside Modulus to record streaming content does not include any decryption technology. The decryption is handled using the provider’s decryption technology as delivered to the user’s device from them directly. Modulus has developed a technique that intercepts the stream after it has been legally decrypted for a given valid user account. Thus, the challenges of stream recording in high definition are entirely technical in nature, not legal

Have other companies successfully used disc import methods? Have any been sued or shutdown?

Over a half-dozen other companies serving the home theater market with disc import capability have used the same method for many years (some over 10 years). Management research and industry expert inputs indicate that none of these companies were shut down, or sued, for violating U.S. copyright law.
Kaleidescape was sued for breach of contract with the DVD CCA. They won in a March 2007 ruling, but it was overturned 5 years later on appeal over a technicality. The license agreement they signed included adherence to the entirety of the “CSS General Specifications”, but their product was centered around violating one of the terms regarding simultaneous use. Had they not signed that agreement with the DVD CCA, they would not have been in violation.

What are the primary copyright laws that apply?

The most relevant law is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Specifically, Chapter 12 of Section 103 of the DMCA generated the most controversy relating to media content. It makes it illegal to circumvent technological measures (i.e. encryption) that control access to work (“access control”), when circumvention is the only or primary commercial purpose. While it is legal for a consumer to use circumvention to make personal copies of media he/she has rights to access, it is not legal to traffic in the circumvention software that enables it. MMS avoids this issue because MMS does not “traffic in any circumvention software” and furthermore provides no support for such software (the consumer makes that choice for their personal use after installing the unit).
Just as important, there are critical exemptions in the DMCA, including that copy-control circumvention (once access is authorized) is not prohibited. Also, the DMCA upholds the long-standing “Fair Use” doctrine permitting limited duplication of copyrighted material for personal use without requiring permission. Furthermore, the DMCA explicitly allows reverse-engineering of technological measures for the purpose of interoperability. This is the exact situation with the DVD and Blu-Ray libraries discussed above.
 

cinelife

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Thanks for sharing, I haven't spent any time on their site, just sent an email to learn more, but the answers to those FAQ are very typical.

Jim
 

Vodder

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Cheers both. Interesting stuff. I can name one studio beginning with D - and it ain’t Dreamworks 🤔 - that throws the book at anyone for using an image out of place, let alone anything else, that just launched a new streaming service... bet they’ll be very supportive of a device that will openly kick down the door to allowing people to copy their material 😂
 

Noah Winter

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On the articles section of their website they indicate they are now shipping and the cost of their box may be around $6,500. I thought the layman's interpretation of media copyrights was both very well written and surprisingly strait forward. I don't think the studios who place the big disclaimer page at the beginning of every movie would agree with this interpretation. I always thought it was circular logic that its ok to copy movies but illegal to sell software that does so but I'm not an attorney so maybe that is accurate. I do not want to make this an invitation to start a "why it is ok to copy discs" thread, I just appreciated how upfront they were with the process. The user would have to bear the risk.

Since they do not offer a store like K does maybe those of us who have a Premier system could use this to replace our existing disc based Premier system and fill in the gaps that someday may occur when the Premier is no longer supported. Then we can use the Strato for future media purchases that are supported by the store as the Strato is intended. K does not offer a DVR so this is another opportunity for the two systems to coexist in our theaters. Of course all this assumes this system works as well as dropping a disc does which is a big "IF".

Since they are now shipping I wonder if this thread should be moved to the "Alternatives to Kaleidescape" thread?
 

cinelife

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Good idea Noah, I moved it.

Jim
 

josh

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That’s pretty impressive technologically. But I can’t imagine Netflix and Hulu and amazon are going to allow this box to stream and then record and store the content! The studios make sure those are different categories and the timing of content releases into different windows is critical to their revenue stream. So the studios will make the streaming services close those loopholes fast. And the streaming services can likely apply a technological block on this, and failing that will solve it with legal remedies.

Add to that that this company seems to be breaking css on discs for ripping and storing media... something us kaleidescape users have seen play out in the past. So this company will face daunting legal and technological challenges on that front as well. Personally I’d not want to invest thousands of dollars into this before some of those inevitable battles play out.

That said, I wish them luck. Technology improvements are good for all of us and they've done some impressive engineering here.
 

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josh

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They discuss their claims of how this is all legal here: https://www.modulusmediasystems.com/pg/faq
and, more interestingly, they make particular mention of Kaleidescape, and why their approach is different:
Kaleidescape was sued for breach of contract with the DVD CCA. They won in a March 2007 ruling, but it was overturned 5 years later on appeal over a technicality. The license agreement they signed included adherence to the entirety of the “CSS General Specifications”, but their product was centered around violating one of the terms regarding simultaneous use. Had they not signed that agreement with the DVD CCA, they would not have been in violation.
How do our lawyer members here think about that response regarding Kaliedescape?
 

cinelife

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Well...as my Intellectual Property Professor said, "reasonable minds may differ." The wonderful thing about law, at least from a lawyer's perspective, is there is almost always a counterargument that can be made, and this is what keeps most of us in business. I'm sure their legal counsel (I'm assuming they had/have counsel), advised them they are legal in what they are doing, otherwise they wouldn't have gone this far in the process. The unknown here is the training and skill set of their attorney(s). I do know for certain that the studios and other content owners will remain silent until they see an actual commercial product that they believe violates their property rights, so no response from them at this point is normal.

A lawyer in a one lawyer town will "eke out a living," but add another lawyer and they'll both do very well. That's the beauty of counterarguments!

Jim
 

TrackZ

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I can't see any reason for someone to buy this thing. Anyone that wants to DIY their content will do just that for far less money. If you have money and/or don't want to DIY your media, then you'd just buy into Kaleidescape.

The days on this thing are numbered right from the get-go, IMO.
 

cinelife

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I think the only way to appeal to most Kaleidescape owners would be to have the ability to import 4K discs bit-for-bit. That would solve the audio issue folks complain about for some of the Store content, BUT, it's not ever likely to happen because of the very strong 4K content protection placed on that content by the studios and other content owners. Installing a 4K optical drive "planned for the future" doesn't mean the ability to import protected 4K content, that's not happening anytime soon. (Maybe when we get to to 16K they won't care.) :giggle:


Jim
 

josh

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I'm still VERY skeptical of them navigating the legal waters on this one, but if they can do all that they claim they can do, I'd disagree with @TrackZ and Jim in terms of the desirability of the system. One system with 4K HDR content, streaming content, AND a complete OTA and CableCard DVR is pretty attractive from an ease-of-use perspective. It would need a very good UI and be as reliable as a Kaleidescape, but if that's doable, I think there is a market for such a device. I have worked hard to make my system at home VERY easy to operate with one remote and switch between AppleTV, Kaleidescape, and Tivo... but I'd sure like to see an option where they are all built into one device.

That said, it's probably a moot point as I don't think they'll be able to legally offer what they claim they can.
 

Vodder

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Let's assume they are able to do it... no reason why others including K couldn't do the same. I guess my only thought on K would be if that "if they hadn't signed the CCA agreement" bit is true then perhaps they are tied to that as they exist today but that can't be forever... etc etc

(it's still a very ugly box!)
 
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