• Decryption Software Subject To Injunction
  • March 31, 2004
  • Law Firm: Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP - Cincinnati Office
  • A company that manufactured and sold computer software that decrypts the content scrambling technology protecting motion pictures on DVDs could be enjoined under the anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), according to a federal trial court sitting in New York City.

    The trial judge issued a preliminarily injunction halting 321 Studios from further manufacture and sale of the software, characterizing the defendant's conduct as "essentially identical" to conduct previously found to have violated the DMCA's anti-trafficking provisions in cases from other jurisdictions.

    In its attempt to avoid the injunction, 321 Studios argued that its DVD copying technology was not "primarily designed or produced" to circumvent the motion picture companies' content scrambling technology and, therefore, did not violate the DMCA. 321 Studios argued that its software could -- in addition to decrypting scrambled digital content -- retrieve and preserve digital content on damaged DVDs.

    The court was unimpressed with this argument. It found that the DMCA provisions could not be "evaded by the existence of arguably limited alternative uses." According to the court, the only purpose of the software is to circumvent the content scrambling technology.

    The injunction was preliminary, which means that a final judgment will come after a presentation of additional evidence.