THE NEW COPYRIGHT....

THE NEW COPYRIGHT. Warner Brothers is going to sell movies over the Internet, which seems sensible. Sadly, once you download one of their movies, you won't be able to burn it to DVD. Of course, it's the studio's right to sell a product that works that way if they're so inclined. But here's the rub. Suppose you wrote a program that converted the files to a format that could be watched on a standard DVD player. Well, as Tim Lee explains, that would be a federal crime. Similarly, building a DVD player capable of playing the movie is illegal.

Most strangely of all, both of these activities are prohibited by . . . an aspect of American copyright law even though watching a movie you bought on your television obviously isn't a copyright violation in any sense.

--Matthew Yglesias

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