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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Judge blocks sales of unlicensed DVD chips


A California judge has ordered a multimedia chipmaker to stop selling versions of its products that were used in DVD-copying devices.

The Motion Picture Association of America said Monday that it had found chips from ESS Technology, based in Fremont, Calif., inside a device that allowed DVDs to be copied. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis issued an order Friday that blocked the manufacturer from selling its chips to any other device maker producing similar products.

"By selling chips to unlicensed manufacturers, ESS was effectively enabling wholesale piracy," Dan Robbins, the MPAA's chief technology counsel, said in a statement.

The case is part of Hollywood's ongoing battle to keep DVD-copying technology off the market and the Internet, despite widespread availability of underground software that will break through the discs' copy protection.

Earlier in the year, the MPAA successfully stopped the sale of 321 Studios' DVD X Copy, which had sold nearly 1 million copies online and in retail outlets like CompUSA. Previously, it had sued to stop the distribution of DeCSS, code that can be used to work around DVD encryption.

Any hardware manufacturer that makes DVD players needs to have permission from a Hollywood technology group called the DVD Copy Control Association in order to be able to decrypt the information stored on DVDs. ESS' customer, unnamed by the MPAA, did not have that right, the group said.

From News.com



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