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Macrovision sues DVD-copying firm

The copy-protection company is joining the movie industry in a legal fight against small software maker 321 Studios.

Copy-protection company Macrovision said Wednesday that it sued DVD-copying software producer 321 Studios, joining the movie industry in a legal fight against the small software maker.

Macrovision claims that by making copies of DVDs, 321's software also is copying Macrovision's own patented anticopying technology, which guards against a different copying process.

"This lawsuit is based on a fundamental cornerstone of the American economic system--protection of intellectual capital," Macrovision Chief Executive Officer Bill Krepick said in a statement. "It is ironic that 321 Studios itself employs a sophisticated mechanism to prevent people from making illegal copies of its software, while at the same time selling products that aid in the theft of the intellectual property created by moviemakers."

Hollywood's lawsuit against 321 remains one of the most closely watched outstanding intellectual property cases.

The studios argue that the company's software, which makes virtually perfect copies of DVDs, violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids distribution of tools that break through digital copyright locks. A handful of other companies that produce similar products also have been sued.

Although were heard last May, both sides are still waiting for a judge to decide whether an injunction should block sales of the software, which is available in stores such as CompUSA. The decision could come at any time.

Executives at 321 Studios said they had not seen the lawsuit, nor had they been contacted by Macrovision.

"Macrovision is a company that manufactures an analogue copy-protection device that has absolutely nothing to do with anything of 321 Studio's products," 321 President Robert Moore said. "We are puzzled by Macrovision's press release today and disappointed that the company officers did not contact 321 Studios directly to clear up any misperceptions or confusion they have about our product."