Originally Posted by ApK
Fair Use uses that as a factor, but it's far from a sure thing as I understand it.
Those other case have all been explicitly upheld in court but they have in common the fact that the source material was legal for you to use in the first place. I'm not sure if the reasoning applies to the firmware issue if you had no license to use the firmware in that way. Same as it's not fair use to rent a DVD and make a private copy (CSS circumvention aside). You may not get caught or sued, but that doesn't mean it's fair or legal.
As I mentioned in my older post, DMCA prevents decryption, but for unencrypted material it is generally accepted that you can make your OWN copies of just about anything for your OWN personal use. It is distribution that is illegal. You can photograph artwork and hang it on your wall. You can photocopy books and magazines for personal use. You can record TV programs for archival or later viewing. You can make copies of sculptures, tools, and other stuff (copyrighted or patented) for your own personal use. You just cannot SELL them (or legally give them away).
Of course, I made a general statement that "usually" applies, in my experience. But there are always exceptions... Consult your law professional before making a personal copy of anything, if in doubt.
You can borrow a library book and make a photocopy. If a DVD is not encrypted, you should be able to make a copy for later viewing of stuff you rented. I used to do that. I would rent VHS tapes and copy them for later viewing (without even watching them while I was copying them). In essence, I was "timeshifting" items that were rarely in stock, when they were available, until I could view them later. Some of them have STILL not been viewed after all these years. Because my Hi-8 VCR had built-in Time-Base Correction, I did not even have to "circumvent" the Macrovision protection (my copies still had the Macrovision encoding).
From what I have read, you can even COPY encrypted video streams (for your own personal use). You just cannot DECRYPT them. Whether it is considered legal or moral is a personal choice, and in the courtroom it is often decided based on INTENT. Personal use (small number of copies of a given material) is rarely considered "intent to distribute".
UPDATE: According to this document: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/academi...1_001_Band.pdf regarding commercial "Fair Use" it was argued that because Google only presented a low quality or partial copy to the public, it was okay that they made a high-quality copy for their own personal use (for search-engine image processing).
The people who have been "busted" for downloading music or movies using P2P software were prosecuted for DISTRIBUTING the shared music (while it was being downloaded). Copying them from an FTP server would not be a problem, except for the server owner who may get a takedown notice, and there would only be legal problems if they refused to comply. It is file SHARING that is illegal, despite false advertising from the media companies claiming that DOWNLOADING itself is illegal. Even copies of software (that you copied yourself) is not necessary illegal, but copies of CRACKED software is (DMCA circumvention rules). Whether or not it is MORAL is a different issue, subject to personal ethics and personal choice. Again, INTENT is what makes the difference.
Regarding FIRMWARE, I received verbal "it should be okay" permission from amazon techs to distribute copies of their firmware for "repair" purposes, but their legal department did not provide written permission (or denial) that I had requested. Whether our actions are legal or not, the amazon legal department IS aware of us, and as long as we do more good than harm, they are not likely to object to our usage. Just to be safe, we do NOT intentionally post direct links to firmware images anywhere on mobileread.
WARNING: The above text is not meant to be taken as legal advice, and may only apply to residents of the USA. Other legal jurisdictions may have different rules. If in doubt, consult a legal professional before making a personal copy of anything.