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Hollywood studios seek to ban DVD copying software

DCMA brandished as software maker cries "fair use"
Fri Dec 20 2002, 15:05
A GANG OF HOLLYWOOD film studios has filed a lawsuit against the maker of DVD copying software, DVD X Copy, because the software is just too good at its job.

In a familiar refrain, the studios claim the software is a piracy tool, while the software company, 321 Studios, says the product has legal uses and is contesting the claim.

321 Studios had already begun proceedings against nine major motion picture production companies with a complaint that challenged the constitutionality of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The company claimed free speech rights under the First Amendment, and asked the court to rule that the sale of its product, DVD Copy Plus, does not violate key provisions of the DMCA or unlawfully aid consumers in infringing copyright privileges associated with material stored in the DVD format. In a statement, he company says it was seeking a declaratory judgment that will permit 321 Studios to continue to sell DVD Copy Plus. No damages were being sought, it said.

But now seven of the studios have filed a counterclaim against the software maker in the Northern California District Court, in an effort to prevent it from selling or distributing a new product, DVD X Copy.

DVDX-Copy can make exact copies of DVDs, getting around copy protection measures built into the products and this has really miffed the film studios. One attorney for the film companies claimed: "It's like somebody selling a digital crowbar." Which we kind of like as an argument, since it's not buying or owning a crowbar that's illegal, but using it to break into someone's house is.

A spokesperson for the software company said making a back-up copy of a DVD is not illegal. It has vowed to fight to for the right its customers to make "fair use" copies of DVDs. µ

See also:
Russians charged with DCMA offences cleared
Doin' the DMCA rag


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