Calif. Judge Clobbers Copycats

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In a big victory for the Motion Picture Association of America’s efforts to stem digital-content piracy, a California court Friday ruled that software that allows users to circumvent the copy protection on DVDs is against the law.

Beginning next week, 321 Studios may not "manufacture, distribute or otherwise traffic in DVD circumvention software." Judge Susan Illston found that the company had violated the protections afforded digital content by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"Today’s ruling sends a clear message that it is essential for corporations to protect copyrighted works while facilitating the enjoyment of entertainment offerings through new digital entertainment technologies," said MPAA Chairman Jack Valenti.

"A ban on manufacturing, importing, offering to the public, providing, or otherwise trafficking in technology that circumvents [Contents Scramble System]," said Illston, "does not impermissibly burden the First Amendment rights of DVD users."

The protection regimen of digital broadcast content remains one of the key issues for both studios and broadcasters in the transition to digital TV.

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