Banned DVD copiers get spam treatment

Missed your chance to get software--now deemed illegal--that will copy DVDs? Just check your in-box.

It's been just a few days since St. Louis start-up 321 Studios reluctantly complied with a court's order to remove the "ripping" feature, which allowed computer users to make copies of Hollywood studio films, from its popular line of software. But already unsolicited bulk e-mail is showing up in in-boxes telling consumers that if they act fast, they can buy the last copies of the "banned" software. "Your last chance to own this powerful software," read one ad CNET News.com received Monday from a Minnesota company that called itself ProDVDCopy.com. "Limited pieces available and then they're gone forever."

With such little fanfare, DVD copying software has left the realm of ordinary legal controversy and entered the exalted realm of herbal Viagra and Nigerian investment schemes. But this e-mail advertising campaign carries a legal risk for its source. While it's not illegal under federal law to use DVD copying software, the same law that Hollywood used to stop 321 Studios from distributing its own software bars anyone from distributing software that breaks through digital copy-protection locks.

News source: C|Net News.com

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