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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
US brings film piracy fight to UK
The US film industry is cracking down on DVD piracy
America's film industry is taking legal action in the UK against a company that distributes software that enables DVDs to be copied.

The Motion Picture Association (MPAA) has announced it is seeking an injunction against 321 Studios, which has a UK office, seeking to prevent the sale of the software to customers.

The MPAA alleges the software breaches the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 because it allows anti-copying protection of DVDs to be bypassed.

Jack Valenti, president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association said: "Companies that stand to profit from the violation of copyright laws should be brought to book.

"No one should be under any illusions about the damage that this dangerous software would do to consumer choice and film-making."

Mr Valenti added: "The law does not allow for the copying of commercial DVDs, and technologies designed to get round copyright protection are plain unlawful."

A statement from 321 Studios said the company was prepared to meet the lawsuit head on and was confident of success.

"We see the legal action as a positive step, as it further highlights the issue of consumers rights to choose how they manage their personal DVD portfolio - just as they are allowed to copy movies they own onto video cassettes and music they own onto audio cassettes, CDs and MP3 players.

"Our software has a four-stage safeguard in place to prevent piracy, including an unalterable, digital stamp, which creates a 'fingerprint' that is traceable back to the point of purchase."

The statement added: "We are so confident in our position of being legal and right, based on the million plus copies that we have already sold, we will be announcing several, new products in the near future."

'Breach'

The MPAA has been at the forefront of a campaign to crackdown on film piracy, estimating it costs the industry $3bn (1.9bn) a year, including the copying of videos and the taping of movies in cinemas.

The industry organisation has launched its High Court bid through Warner Home Video UK.

Lawyer Nick Gardner alleged that the 321 Studios was in "flagrant breach" of the copyright act, which outlaws the sale of devices or software which are designed to defeat copy-protection.

"We want the High Court to grant an injunction against 321 Studios so as to prevent the sale of this software to consumers in the UK," said Mr Gardner.




SEE ALSO:
Studios take on DVD copying firms
16 May 03  |  Entertainment
Hollywood unions tackle piracy
26 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Lucas leads anti-piracy campaign
06 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Piracy 'threat' to Hollywood
19 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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