What Are the Laws for Converting a Copy-Protected VHS to DVD?


Quick Answer

Converting a VHS protected by copyright into a DVD is a punishable form of copyright infringement, reports the U.S. Copyright Office. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that copyright owners can even sue companies for copyright infringement if they make devices capable of circumventing anti-copy technology, states About.com.

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U.S. copyright law stipulates that although owners of computer programs are allowed to create an archival or backup copy, that privilege does not extend to other types of copyrighted works such as music and films, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. It is also illegal for owners of films produced in one medium such as VHS to attempt to bypass technological measures that copyright owners have implanted to create a copy in another medium such as DVD. The law also clarifies that no one is permitted to manufacture, import, sell or traffic in any product or component that is designed to circumvent copyright protection.

Someone found guilty of infringing a copyrighted work such as a film is liable for damages of up to $30,000 for each work he infringes, reports the U.S. Copyright Office. If the copyright owner proves willful infringement, the penalty amount can increase to as much as $150,000 for every infringed work. The court may also order the person found guilty of copyright infringement to pay the copyright owner's attorney fees.

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