DVD Copy Controls Head to Court

Small software firm challenges digital copyright law, tries to assert the right to backups.

Call it David takes Goliath to court.

A tiny DVD software tools company is ducking the Hollywood giants and challenging U.S. copyright laws. 321 Studios fears the studios want to squash it for selling software that lets you make lesser-quality copies of DVD movies. So it has asked a San Francisco court to declare that its DVD Copy Plus program does not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The 1998 DMCA, reviled by proponents of fair use and free digital speech, deems it illegal to provide information or tools that circumvent copy control technology.

"What we are fighting for is the right for people to make backup copies of DVDs," says Robert Moore, president and chief operating officer of 321 Studios. Moore is asking the U.S. District Court to declare that 321 Studios can legally sell its software. The firm is not seeking any damages.

The complaint names nine Hollywood studios, including MGM, Sony, and Time Warner Entertainment. It alleges the firms are acting in consort to put 321 Studios out of business. The small firm employs 20 in its St. Louis offices. Its primary product is DVD Copy Plus, which Moore says has sold 75,000 copies since its release about ten months ago.

News source: PCWorld.com

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