National Consumers League

DVD Copying Is In the Public Interest


By John Breyault, NCL VP of Public Policy, Fraud and Telecommunications

Consumers have an average of 78 DVDs in their collections and are frustrated that for the most part, they are limited to only using the physical discs, according to NCL’s new survey on DVD usage.

For years, consumers have enjoyed to the freedom to copy their compact disc collections for back up purposes or transfer the content of those discs to their computers for personal use. Many consumers have spent years building up vast collections of CDs, so this ability is a welcome way to extend the lives of their collections and listen to their library on different platforms, such as iPods or personal computers.

A confluence of factors led to our interest in the DVD copying issue. The dramatically lower cost of hard drive space, the promulgation of portable video-viewing devices, including in-car players, video-capable personal music devices, and ultraportable laptop computers and the wide availability of DVD-RW drives are all technological advances that have made copying DVD content to hard drives practical for consumers. Our goal in surveying consumers on this issue was to see if these greater technological capabilities, combined with years of expectations related to content use (from the CD market) have translated into greater consumer desire to copy DVDs.

Our survey of consumer attitudes towards DVD copying largely validated our hypothesis. Some of the highlights from the survey results include:

·        90% (93% of households with children) of consumers believe that DVD owners should be able to copy a DVD to their computer in the same way that they save music from a CD.

·        69% of respondents reported watching DVDs on their computers (74% in households with children)

·        31% of consumers use a portable or in-car DVD player regularly, a figure which rises to 40% for households with children.

·        More than one-third (38) of respondents have had to repurchase at least one DVD because it was lost or damaged.

·        41% of respondents said that the ability to copy a DVDs to their hard drives would make their DVD collections more valuable and 40% said that it might cause them to buy more DVDs.

For more information on the new survey, click here.