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Seller of 'DVD CopyWare' Is Sued

September 18, 2003|From Times Wire Services

Paramount Pictures Corp. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. sued Tritton Technologies on Wednesday, accusing the company of distributing software designed to crack the technology used to prevent unlawful copying of DVDs.

The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks a court order stopping Irvine-based Tritton from distributing the software called "DVD CopyWare." It also seeks unspecified damages.

Three Web site operators that offer to sell various DVD-copying software also are named as defendants in the suit.

A spokesman for Tritton did not have any immediate comment. On its Web site, Tritton describes CopyWare as "DVD backup copying software."

Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., and Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of News Corp., said all the defendants conduct business in New York.

The suit charges that the defendants violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bars creating or distributing technology that can be used to circumvent copyright protections on software, movies and music.

The plaintiffs allege that Tritton's software is designed to circumvent a copy-protection system called the Content Scramble System.

The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has previously ruled that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not infringe on the free speech protections of the Constitution. Rulings by the 2nd Circuit are binding on cases filed in Manhattan federal court.

Tritton, which describes itself as a manufacturer of high- end multimedia products, announced last month that it would distribute "DVD CopyWare" in North America.

In December, seven Hollywood studios sued to block another firm, 321 Studios, and its executives from making or selling two programs -- DVD Copy Plus and DVDXCopy -- or any similar product that circumvents the electronic locks on DVDs.

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