The most egregious aspect of the vile DMCA is the anti-circumvention provision that says you cannot abet copy-protection circumvention, even though the consumer has the right to make a fair use copy of a DVD. This catch-22 mentality has now been reaffirmed by a San Francisco federal judge:
- In a ruling released Friday, Judge Susan Illston granted Hollywood studios' request for an injunction against 321 Studios, saying the small software company has seven days to stop distributing its DVD-copying products.
The case was widely viewed as a test of how far commercial software could go in helping consumers make backup copies of their own legally purchased digital entertainment products, such as DVDs or video games. Illston wrote that federal law made it illegal to sell products that--like 321 Studios' software--break through DVDs' antipiracy technology, even if consumers do have a legal right to make personal copies of their movies.
"It is the technology itself at issue, not the uses to which the copyrighted material may be put," Illston wrote. "Legal downstream use of the copyrighted material by customers is not a defense to the software manufacturer's violation of the provisions (of copyright law)."
....321 Studios has said it has sold about 1 million copies of its DVD-copying software, many of them through mainstream computer stores such as CompUSA. Under the ruling's terms, the company will have to remove from its software the ability to "rip" copies of copy-protected DVDs or take the products off the market altogether.
The company said it would immediately ask for an emergency stay that would let it keep the software on the shelves but would appeal Illston's ruling, regardless of what happened.
"We can't just lay down for this," 321 Studios President Robert Moore said. "It is too important for the consumer; it is far too important to the evolution of our culture...We think the final battle will be fought at the Supreme Court or at the congressional level."