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DVD group takes another shot at copy ban

Posted: 06 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DVD copy ban? HDD? consumer electronics?

After losing its suit against Kaleidescape earlier this year, the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) will put up for a vote Nov. 7 changes to its bylaws that would explicitly forbid OEMs from selling systems that make copies of movies, even for secure internal storage on a hard disk.

The DVD CCA, a broad group of studios and CE companies, licenses the security technology for accessing encrypted video on DVDs. In its second shot at passing the ban, the proposed amendments would make it a violation of the license for anyone to make a system that stores a persistent copy of a video or decrypts a video when the physical disk is not present.

Michael Malcolm, founder and chief executive of Kaleidescape, sent a letter to the members of the DVD CCA subcommittee slated to vote on the amendments, warning them the new rules would be anticompetitive. The rules would effectively shut down the startup, which makes a DVD jukebox that caches movies on a HDD, he wrote.

'Antitrust liability'
"You expose yourself, your employer, and the DVD CCA to serious and substantial antitrust liability if you vote for either amendment," Malcolm said in the letter.

The amendments were originally slated for a vote at a June meeting of a DVD CCA subcommittee, however, the group apparently tabled the issue. According to Malcolm the sponsors of the current amendments include executives from three movie studiosChris Cookson of Warner Brothers, Benn Carr of Walt Disney Studios, and Jane Sunderland of Fox.

Representatives of the DVD CCA did not have an immediate reaction according to a spokesperson, who said they received the Kaleidescape letter Nov. 2. The DVD CCA had put out a notice for comment about the proposed amendments to all its members including Kaleidescape, he added.

'Not anticompetitive'
In August, attorneys for DVD CCA responded to a similar letter from Kaleidescape. They said the similar amendments proposed in June were not anticompetitive but aimed to protect digital content on DVDs.

The Kaleidescape system acts like a high-end video jukebox, storing copies of movies from hundreds of disks on an array of hard drives for later playback. Kaleidescape and the DVD CCA fiercely debated in court earlier this year whether its system adheres to the contract and adequately secures copies of movies stored on its hard drives. A judge ruled Kaleidescape was not in violation of the contract, primarily because the contract was worded and administered in a confusing manner.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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