DVD copying software tries to skirt law

Court rulings have pulled the most popular software for copying DVD movies off the market, but a new 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 new 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 Web site 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. Steve Thomas, the manufacturer's vice president, claimed in a telephone interview that the site with the decryption software is unaffiliated with 123 Copy DVD.

But that claim is contradicted by Web site registration records, which show that both 123 Copy DVD's site and the site with the patch are owned by the same company, Bling Software Ltd., which has a Gibraltar mailing address. Reached later, Thomas said he had been unaware that Bling Software owned the site with the patch. He identified Bling Software as 123 Copy DVD's parent company. Federal judges in March ordered another company, 321 Studios Inc., to stop marketing its best-selling DVD copying software. That was a victory for Hollywood studios, which contended that DVD-copying products violate the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law bars circumvention of anti-piracy measures used to protect DVDs and other technology.

News source: CNN

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