CEA Slams Studios


Branding as "totalitarian" the efforts of content producers to block Google's use of thumbnail pictures as copyright infringement the Consumer Electronics Association filed a court brief Friday defending Google.

"The content community's trampling of consumer rights has never been more open and brazen," said CEA President Gary Shapiro. "The content industry is in a non-stop battle to stop new technology, limit existing products and frustrate consumers."

CEA also filed a brief last week defending XM Satellite radio's use of an iPod-like device that allows users to save songs and create their own playlist, though it prevents--how successfully is one of the content providers' concern--any redistibution of that playlist.

CEA also cited as part of the battle a decision by the U.S. District Court in Colorado earlier this month to pull the plug on cleanflicks in another suit filed by the studios.

Siding with the studios, the court called the Cleanflicks business illegitimate and ordered the seizure and destruction of its DVD's. The company has been copying DVD's, editing out sex and violence to produce to their standard of family-friendly fare, and selling and/or renting the result.

The studios are seeking stronger protections of digital content in copyright laws, in the meantime increasingly filing suit against what they see as infringers. CEA, whose members make the recording devices used to copy the content, have joined with fair use advocates to fight what they argue is heavy-handed content control that stifles innovation.