Friday, May 07, 2004

"123 Copy DVD" about to get smacked down...hard, really hard

Court rulings have pulled the most popular software for copying DVD movies off the market [321 Studios program, called DVDXCopy], but a program, already on sale at CompUSA and Wal-Mart, is trying to get around these rulings and still let users duplicate copy-protected discs.

The software, called 123 Copy DVD, sells for as little as $19.99. Out of the box, it won't copy the vast majority of commercial DVDs, which are protected by encryption.

However, the manufacturer, also called 123 Copy DVD, has a website with a link to another site that contains a piece of decryption software. Users can easily download that patch, which allows the program to copy any disc.

Jeez, this looks like a major screw up. First, if I were 321 Studios I would seriously be considering a trademark claim for consumer confusion against 123 Copy. It seems all too apparent that 123 Copy is trying to appropriate 321 Studios' goodwill. Second, 123 Copy is going to get nailed with a preliminary injunction, even though it is quite possible that the carriers of the program will pull it from shelves after receiving a cease and desist letter from the movie industry reps. This method of trying to skirt copyright law (or para-copyright law in the case of the DMCA) by providing the DeCSS-esque decryption key for download on the company website is a non-starter. Even a law student (cough, cough) knows that the courts will not participate in their little fantasy land fiction - these guys are blatently violating the DMCA by providing a program, the sole purpose of which is to circumvent data protection methods. People just don't get it; these guys do not play games --- for purposefully violating (bad faith) the DMCA for business gain, 123 Copy is probably now liable to amounts of money that would shock (plus attorney fees). The penalties for violating the DMCA are ridiculously high (both civil and criminal). Just wait, I gaurantee I'll be posting an "I told you so" post in less than two days. If these guys got advice from counsel (which I doubt they did), s/he should be sued for malpractice.

Via Wired & CNN & PC World.


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