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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Legal action closes DVD-copy firm
Computer user
321 said it defended users' digital rights
A US software firm which developed a program to copy PC games and DVDs has collapsed after repeated legal action from film and software bodies.

321 Studios said that despite "best efforts", three federal court rulings against it had killed off the firm.

The company had defended its program, saying it was meant to let people innocently back-up DVDs and games.

But the US movie industry and games makers argued it infringed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

In a statement on its website, 321 Studios said: "The employees and those associated with 321 Studios sincerely appreciate your support of our company and products over the last couple of years."

Big battle

Its programs, DVD X Copy and Games X Copy, worked by getting around copy protection codes.

Games giants Atari, Electronic Arts, and Vivendi Universal Games were among those who joined in the battle against the company, arguing its programs broke copyright laws.

Warner Home Video UK had also said the software breached EU anti-piracy laws, specifically the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, which came into force in the UK at the end of October 2003.

A film industry group that oversees copy protection technology of film DVDs, the DVD Copy Control Association, had also filed a claim that the software infringed its patents.

They all argued that the copying of DVDs and games boosted piracy of their products.

Robert Moore, co-founder of 321 Studios
Robert Moore, 321 co-founder, said users should be able to make back-ups
But Robert Moore, co-founder of 321, had always argued it was defending customers' digital rights to make copies for personal use.

Earlier in the year, federal judges in New York and California had barred 321 from marketing the DVD-cloning software.

And last Thursday, a New York federal judge placed a global ban on its Games X Copy software.

In a separate move, an alliance of US media giants, including Disney, IBM, Microsoft and Warner Bros, announced they were developing content protection technology ready for licensing later this year.

It would allow users to make legal copies of DVDs for use on portable players.

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