DVD copying firms under the microscope

Hollywood's major music studios last week turned their anti-DVD copying campaign up a notch, bringing legal proceedings against several US software manufacturers.

Industry giants Paramount pictures and Twentieth Century Fox filed for an injunction with the US District Court in New York to bar five companies — Internet Enterprises, Rdenstiny, HowtocopyDVDs.com, DVDBackupbuddy.com and DVDsqueeze.com — from selling the software.

In a separate case in San Francisco, DVD copying software maker 321 Studios LLC defended the legality of its products in front of a judge who started the hearing by confirming her leanings toward the opposing party.

US District Court Judge Susan Illston said she was "substantially persuaded" by the opinions of other judges in earlier cases involving the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it illegal to distribute tools that circumvent copy prevention technologies. Those opinions were in favour of copyright holders.

At least two US federal courts have already determined that it is illegal to distribute DVD copyright circumvention software (known as DeCSS) under the DMCA. Judge Illston referred to a case in which the website of hacker magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly was barred from linking to websites offering the DeCSS code for download.

The DMCA provisions are unconstitutional and obstruct fair use rights, argued 321 Studios in court. Furthermore, the software maker argued that CSS is not a copy protection tool but an access control tool.

"What rights does a copyright holder have and what restrictions are imposed on the user who buys a DVD?" asked Daralyn Durie, the lawyer presenting 321 Studios' case. "Surely one right that is transferred to me once I buy a DVD is the right to unlock the encryption and access the content?"

Buyers can play the DVD in a player, but "the right to make a complete digital copy" is not part of fair use, said Russell Frackman, the lawyer representing the movie studios. "Under no doctrine of copyright law is a user ever entitled to extra copies of any copyright-protected material," he said.

Frackman said there is "hardly a difference" with any of the other cases involving DeCSS, just that 321 Studios "sells it commercially." "We're eager and we think this is an open-and-shut case. It is a very straightforward DMCA case," said Marta Grutka, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America, after the hearing.

Judge Illston said she would prepare an opinion on the matter but did not specify when her judgement would be released.

A decision in favour of the studios would be likely to have a similar impact on UK companies. The case continues.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Wendy Brewer

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?