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321Studios: The case begins

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 15 May 2003 14:28 User comments (10)

321Studios: The case begins Today the much anticipated court room drama between major movie studios, represented by the MPAA, and 321 Studios, the developers of the DVD-Video backup tools such as DVD X Copy and XPRESS, began in San Fransisco.
Movie studios are seeking a summary judgement against the 321Studios, claiming that its products violate the controversial DMCA law by circumventing the copy protection found on most DVD-Video discs. 321Studios claims that their software allows users only copy the originals, but doesn't allow making new copies from copies (which is true, in some sense, since their tools wont allow copying copies that have been made with their tools -- but allows copying copies made with other tools) and therefor only serves as a legitimate backup tool for owners of DVD movies. Studios counter-argue this claiming that it doesn't matter whether the user owns the original or not or what happens to the copy -- according to studios, the DMCA law explicitly says that all copy-protection circumvention tools are illegal.

The judge, Susan Illiston, said that she has read the previous major DMCA cases', the 2600 and Elcomsoft, verdicts and has been "substantially persuaded by them". At first, it seemed that judge is really siding with the studios' arguments, but later during the hearing, she also questioned various studios' claims as well. Judge asked what would happen to copy-protected movies after their copyrights expire and the studios' representative said that such works would be publicly available at that point. Judge replied to this, stating "But it's encrypted. If it doesn't stop being encrypted, it's still encrypted" and saying that under that situation, copying such works would be still illegal, even when their copyrights have already expired.

More information:

Official DVDXCopy forums

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10 user comments

115.5.2003 15:39

This is a pivotal case for fair use... I hope that Susan Illiston has the same common sense that Judge Stephen Wilson had in finding that Kazaa/Grokster/Morpheus can be held liable for the actions of their users. The current scope of the DMCA is way too broad and gives too much power to the movie/music industry. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

215.5.2003 16:31

Phuocle, I think you meant that Grokster and Morpheus cannot be held liable for the actions of their users. Also note that the ruling doesn't apply to Kazaa, because they are not based in the U.S. and the courts have not yet decided if they have any legal recourse against Kazaa for that reason. But otherwise I concur: The DMCA is in substantial need of correction.

315.5.2003 17:04

Rendering, You're right - thanks for catching that!

415.5.2003 19:10

The courts found that decentralized P2P (Kazaa) is ok (last I heard anyhow). I hate the DMCA.. Basically you can get arrested for something you legally purchased.

516.5.2003 6:59

I'll have the software whether or not.

616.5.2003 13:11

We need more judges like Judge Stephen Wilson. Let's hope this judge makes the right decision. But even if she doesn't, it really doesn't change anything: DVD's are always going to get ripped.

716.5.2003 14:33

Well if the MPAA wins, I think that I am going to uninstall all of my DVD ripping software and delete the original exe files so I am not tempted to install them again in the future. I might even reformat my hard-drives and reinstall everything! **Sarcasm** Even if 321 Studios looses, it will be a long time before they will be able to stop individual peeps from copying DVD's. With all of the excellent choices for backing up DVD's already in circulation, does the MPAA really stand a chance against everyone? Nope. They will be just shutting down another software developer from making money from their work.

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818.5.2003 6:47

what about the guy who buys such a software, if the software is "illegal" ? Will it be "legal" to backup a DVD I own using an "illegal" software ?

918.5.2003 22:34

I understand it is illegal to copy copy-protected dvd's and distribute. I don't see anything wrong with copying your own movies that you own, after you buy them they are yours. If they would consider the pricing they have on dvd's, bring it down so people could afford to buy them, then maybe they wouldn't have this problem. It is all about the mighty DOLLAR, that's the problem. To each his own and we all have rights.

1019.5.2003 15:23

Combine DVD Decrypter and Pinnacle Instantcopy, and you have no watermark signatures, can copy a copy, and no re-activation phone calls when reformating.....Hmmm

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