Consumers may get the right to make several legal copies of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc films they've purchased, if a licensing agreement in its final stages reaches completion.
This concession by the movie industry follows criticism that DRM (digital rights management) technologies are too restrictive.
The agreement, if supported by movie studios and film companies, could allow a consumer to make a backup copy in case their original disc is damaged and another copy for their home media server, said Michael Ayers, a representative of an industry group that licenses the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) copy-prevention system.
AACS is used on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, the new high-definition DVD formats, to prevent unauthorised copying of the discs.
The concept, called managed copy', would undercut one the strongest arguments against DRM technology, which critics say deprives buyers of their legal right to fair uses such as moving their content to other digital systems and devices.
The licensing agreement is under negotiation between the AACS Licensing Adminstrator, which Ayers represents, and companies using AACS technology, including film makers. AACS LA members include Sony, IBM, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Microsoft.