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Lawsuits Force 321 Studios Out Of Business 465

Posted by timothy
from the anywhere-it-wants-to dept.
elegie writes "321 Studios has gone out of business. Earlier, they came under fire for producing DVD disc-copying software. Specifically, it was argued by movie studios that the DVD-X Copy software and the DVD Copy Plus software violated the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) anticircumvention rules. 321 Studios argued that copying a DVD disc for personal use counted as "fair use" in terms of copyright law. The EFF has said that the closing was not surprising because of all the legal injunctions against 321 Studios."
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Lawsuits Force 321 Studios Out Of Business

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  • Open source? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:00PM (#9879680)
    How about opening the source for their software?
    • The MPAA then will try shutting down the web sites distributing it, like when they went after 2600 and Jon.

      Of course, they can't get everyone. :)

      Besides, I suspect that since it is a Winoze application, they didn't write it to be ported. But, it can provide a good start.
    • Re:Open source? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:06PM (#9879761) Homepage
      There really is no need to.

      there is a far superior product that is already open source. It's called DVDshrink.

      anyways, Xcopy is based on all open source tools with a delphi frontend wrapped on it to hold the call-home/DRM protection they put in it.

      ignore the crud from 321, download dvdshrink instead.
      • Re:Open source? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        Oops, I was wrong, dvdshrink is not open source but is freeware.

        I am sure it is still based on already available OSS tools though. (with the mpegtools and other projects you can reproduce the exact same thing that it does)

      • Re:Open source? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Karzz1 (306015) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:11PM (#9879833) Homepage
        Actually, DVDShrink [dvdshrink.org] is not open source, it is a free binary. It also utilizes the burning libraries from Nero which are definitely not free (although it does use the ones included in trial versions of Nero).

        • Re:Open source? (Score:5, Informative)

          by mrbass (742021) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:40PM (#9880785) Homepage
          Nero is optional. DVDShrink 3.2 released about a week ago or so can now split out an .iso into 1GB chucnks on a FAT32 partition and automatically burn with DVD Decrypter (freeware). Prior to this it could transcode to an 4.37GB .iso and burn with DVD Decrypter if you had an NTFS partition.

          Bottomline is that you don't need any payware (yes it can burn with Nero or CopyToDVD) but why? DVDShrink 3.2 and the lastest DVD Decrypter are awesome especially with the new AEC algorithms that rivals if not beats Instant Copy 8.
          • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @03:50PM (#9882098) Journal
            >DVDShrink 3.2 and the lastest DVD Decrypter are awesome especially with the new AEC algorithms that rivals if not beats Instant Copy 8.

            You mean I can't use Locksmith 6 or NibblesAway II anymore?
    • Re:Open source? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:09PM (#9879804) Homepage Journal
      How about opening the source for their software?

      Dunno, but sounds like something that would get you in loads of trouble and cast shadows on the good work of Open Sourcers. In sympathize, but pick your battles wisely, as 321's demise should underscore. Even EFF doesn't likely have the deep pockets to fight all villains in MPAA/RIAA, etc.

      Probably 321 would also suffer immense litgation if their code slipped into the wild anyway.

  • Lesson. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:00PM (#9879682)
    There's an important lesson to be learnt here.

    Wasn't the point of the legal system once to protect the weak from the poor. Somewhere along the line something happened to that ideal.

    www.fishkeeping.co.uk
    • Re:Lesson. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by altek (119814)
      Or was it protect the weak from the RICH?
    • Re:Lesson. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:04PM (#9879719)
      There is no "legal" system.
      There is no "system".
      Life is unreal and absurd.
    • Re:Lesson. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:19PM (#9879921) Journal
      Wasn't the point of the legal system once to protect the weak from the poor. Somewhere along the line something happened to that ideal.


      Yeah, those darn poor are always taking advantage of the weak.
      • Re:Lesson. (Score:4, Funny)

        by Threni (635302) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:24PM (#9879990)
        Oops! It's sort of a combination of `the weak AND the poor` and `the weak from the strong`. It's hot in England right now - give me a break!
        • Re:Lesson. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by brainburger (792239) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:34PM (#9880101)
          I don't want to sound cynical, but as the legal system is created and maintained by the rich, I always felt it existed to protect the rich from the poor, (at least as far as property law is concerned anyway). I suppose some might have more generous interpretations...
          • Re:Lesson. (Score:4, Funny)

            by FlutterVertigo(gmail (800106) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:19PM (#9880566)
            It's called a "plutocracy" (did you sleep in class that day?) Why describe in sentences when a word will do? Perhaps you write code the same way?

            Two simple phrases to remember:

            1. Life is like a shit sandwich. The more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat.
            2. The Golden Rule - he who has the gold makes the rules.
          • Re:Lesson. (Score:5, Informative)

            by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:53PM (#9880955) Homepage Journal
            IANAL. I am an amateur linguist and historian, and am a large fan of the works of Georges Dumezil, Edgar Polome, and Calvert Watkins. Personally, I think you are both wrong. I don't think the purpose of the legal system has ever been to protect one group or another, but is a bit more abstract than that, at least among Indo-Europeans. Elsewhere, YMMV.

            When we talk about the "legal system" it seems we are talking about the framework of laws which set the ground rules for society, and the Indo-Europeans evidently had a complex structure of thought regarding the purpose of law.

            If we accept the work of Georges Dumezil as strong evidence at least for an iconographic and liturgical formula which is essentially a set of three merisms (two-fold formulas relating to a higher concept), then we are left with the argument that the Indo-Europeans probably elevated the concepts of king and priest above those of war, and those of war above those of production and wealth. We see a fallen form of this in the Indian caste system today, where the Brahmans (priests) are above the Kashatrias (warriors including the king) and the Kashatrias are above the wealthy businessmen and merchants (who often have more wealth than either the king or the brahmans).

            The concept of the kings and priests in traditional IE society seems to have been one of custodianship of sacred and social order. It should be noted that in many traditions, particularly the Celtic, the king was considered to be directly responsible for the production of the land, and a drought was considered to be a result of injustice or other failure on the part of the king. One wonders whether similar ideas were brought to China by the Tocharians, as they show up later in the writings of Meng Tzu.

            If we extrapolate on these concepts a bit, we end up exactly where, I think, Plato was with "The Republic" where justice is defined not so much in moral terms but rather as a state dependent on the structure and function of society. In this view, laws are not there to protect any group against any other group, except as a part of their more basic function-- the development of a set of social rules which facilitate the general working together of society towards common ends. Protection of human rights is an important aspect to this, no doubt, but it to think that the protective aspect of law is its driving force in IE traditions is, I think, to put the cart before the horse.

            Were these ideas in the minds of the founding fathers? I think there is a good chance that they were. These ideas regarding the nature of Justice have been well articulated by Plato, Aristotle, and others, and I am sure that the Founding Fathers were generally aware of their work, especially given the level of influence that the writings of Plato had on various schools of esoteric thought, such as the Freemasons, and it is relatively undisputed that a great many of the Founding Fathers were Freemasons (as were a great many of the Red-coats too).

            Even if they were not Freemasons, most of the Founding Fathers were quite learned people, and I would be very surprised of they had *not* studied the works of Plato and Aristotle on this topic.
            • Re:Lesson. (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Genda (560240)
              I deply believe that if you have a variety of engineers, scientists, and sociologist examine our culture and specifically the workings of law and the legal system, you will find that the best description of the legal system is; ECOLOGY.

              The body of law forms a substrate of complex and chaotic interactions that is perfectly consistent with a living ecology. As forces inpinge from the outside, populations and affiliations move, break, reform, and new structures are forever unfolding from this churning stew
    • I think the point of the legal system was to protect the right from the wrong. Right and wrong, however, changes.

    • Re:Lesson. (Score:3, Funny)

      by swb (14022)
      No, the point of the legal system is to justify the will of the rich and legitimize its implementation at the barrel of a gun.

  • by theMerovingian (722983) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:01PM (#9879690) Journal

    The REAL reason they went out of business is that everyone was burning and distributing illegal copies of their software.

    [/joke]
  • no surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rhpot1991 (799210) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:02PM (#9879694) Homepage
    Noone should be using DVD-X copy anyways, dvdshrink is where it is at. Better quality and better price(free).
    • by aslate (675607)
      I just went to update my copy of DVD Shrink to see this advert on the download site:

      DVD X COPY.
      The Best-Selling software for backing up your DVD movies.
      More info here.

      Oh, the irony.
    • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:16PM (#9879886) Homepage
      No matter how superior dvdshrink maybe over DVD-X, I have never seen a boxed copy at a local retailer.

      If you are a less than computer savvy user at your local Best Buy wandering around the software section, you are far more likely to stumble upon DVD-X and use it then you are to find dvdshrink on your own.
    • Re:no surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

      by erroneus (253617)
      Thanks for plugging DVD Shrink! No seriously. I have never heard of it before you mentioned it here. I can't tell you how many interesting things I have picked up in slightly off-topic skews. Very useful tip.

      I still think they should open-source the software. :) I think it would send an important message to the **AAs out there.

      "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possible know..."

      At least then they'd have more incentive to find other ways to close down an operation they
    • Re:no surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OgGreeb (35588)
      I bought a copy, and bought another copy just before they discontinued it. I wanted to make the point that we should be able to buy this software, and you can only prove the point by putting up the bucks.

      I'm only sorry that Robert Moore had to spend all his money on fighting this fight for us, instead of tricking out a Hummer.
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:02PM (#9879701) Homepage
    Any chance they're going to release the code to their products? Would that increase their legal liability at this point?
    • Any chance they're going to release the code to their products?

      The reason they went out of business is that a court issued an injunction against them. The court enjoined them from making their DVD ripper available, because the product is deemed to violate the DMCA. I think it is likely that distribution of the source code would constitute a violation of that injunction.
      • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:23PM (#9879977) Homepage Journal
        The source code doesn't rip any DVDs. It's just a text file with neat words like "void" and "int32" in it. LAME uses the same principle: Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder. It's the source code for one. If you'd like to violate the patent yourself, go ahead and compile it. If you want to violate the DMCA go ahead and compile the ripper. Otherwise it's speech just like this post or that song you got off of Kazaa^H^H^H^H^H iTMS :-D

        If someone tells you otherwise it's time to a) write your Congresscritter a nice note or b) burn down a building or two. You didn't hear b) from me though :-)
        • Completely wrong. LAME right now is an full-fledged MP3 compiler, but before May 2000, it was simply a patch to the Fraunhofer demonstration code (which was not open). Hence, it was not a MP3 encoder. It couldn't even be compiled without the Fraunhofer code. Now, it is an MP3 compiler. The fact that it's in source code format or executable is irrelevent.
  • by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:02PM (#9879703) Homepage
    ... but you can't fight people with deeper pockets as has been shown over and over again

    Rus
  • This comes hot off the heels of a purchase of a smal laptop with no internal DVD. Guess it's back to Kazaa.
  • I can't stand it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrRuslan (767128) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:03PM (#9879709)
    when all these companys take rights away from legitimate users like that...if people really wanna break the law they will but what if someone needs to do something legitimate with it...what are they supposed to do...this company is just one exaple of of this whole bullshit with copying stuff...no protection scheme has stoped pirate from copying stuff iligally...
    • Re:I can't stand it (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192)
      That's really the fundamental problem with law. Criminals will be criminals whether restricted by law or not. Law only serves to restrict people who want to be good. And by institutionalizing coersion, you make it all the easier to wield power for evil.
  • by baywulf (214371) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:03PM (#9879717)
    Now how else will I back up my DVD movies that I plan to eventually buy?
  • by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:04PM (#9879722) Homepage Journal
    People need to confront the DMCA, really see it for what it is. Right now, the law says "thou shalt only play the movies in the way Hollywood prescribes", but it hasn't really internalized because so many people can use unlicensed software to do things like copy DVDs, play them without commercials, etc. I think the FBI needs to really crack down on anyone who violates the DMCA, by imprisoning everyone who copies a DVD for home use, especially rich and politically connected people. We could call it the "War on Pirates", and appoint a "Piracy czar", or something similarly crazy. The public needs to be rendered totally unable to copy or play DVDs in a way of their choosing, as the law prescribes, before they will wake up and actually understand what the law prescribes. Right now there's no reason to fight the DMCA because no one knows what it really means. It's a ban on any speech which could be used to play DVDs or other media the way we want. And that's a pretty amazing thing.

    To tie in to this article, I will award a Gmail invite for anyone who can prove to me that it's legal under the DMCA to stand on a street corner and recite DeCSS. It is of course illegal, which means that Free Speech is dead in America, but if you manage to prove me wrong and include an address, the invite will be on its way. Good luck!
    • To tie in to this article, I will award a Gmail invite for anyone who can prove to me that it's legal under the DMCA to stand on a street corner and recite DeCSS. It is of course illegal, which means that Free Speech is dead in America, but if you manage to prove me wrong and include an address, the invite will be on its way.

      A gmail account in return for proving free speech in America isn't dead? man, you're cheap...
    • The public needs to be rendered totally unable to copy or play DVDs in a way of their choosing, as the law prescribes, before they will wake up and actually understand what the law prescribes. Right now there's no reason to fight the DMCA because no one knows what it really means. It's a ban on any speech which could be used to play DVDs or other media the way we want. And that's a pretty amazing thing.

      What's really amazing is that people won't care. The MPAA (and RIAA for that matter) has been able to c
      • by rewt66 (738525) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:23PM (#9879973)
        I think you misunderstand. Daxx's point is that people won't care as long as the issue is abstract. When it starts to hit them personally, there will be action.

        An idealist would say that people should care anyway, even if they aren't personally affected. A pessimist (the parent) would say that people will never care, no matter what. A realist says people are motivated most strongly by self-interest. Me, I agree with the idealist about what should be, and with the realist about what is ;-)

        A cynical realist says that the masses care only when it limits their bread and circuses. But inability to copy DVDs actually does cut into that...

        • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:24PM (#9879993) Homepage
          I think you misunderstand. Daxx's point is that people won't care as long as the issue is abstract. When it starts to hit them personally, there will be action.

          I think it's you that misunderstands. People aren't going to understand that they have a leg to stand on especially with more and more money being pumped into lawmaking to enable the MPAA/RIAA to do what they want.

          People aren't motivated by much these days. We have always had factions that went against the norm. Everyone else conforms. Sad reality but a true one.
    • by Unnngh! (731758) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:30PM (#9880061)
      These are all small steps in a longer process of trying to control something that is very difficult to control: The internet. The RIAA has now set a precedent of successful subpoenas on user records of people appearing to violate copyright law. Other regulations like the DMCA don't apply so directly, but in an indirect fashion result in free speech on the net being truncated. Currently there's a lot of stuff going on legally around these issues and it's all very confusing. As is intended.

      The PATRIOT act put into law many things for which the legal system had already set precedent in one form or another; there was just no codification of these items into law until a moment of panic ensued and *whoosh* along come laws that certain members of law enforcement have been trying to get through for years. Along comes a limitation on freedom in exchange for the perception of heightened safety.

      I see internet-related regulation going in much the same fasion. The obvious answer with this one, however, lies with all of us: don't do illegal shit and no one will have to pass these laws. Stop using P2P to share copyrighted works. We have already gotten ourselves in enough trouble with the DMCA, don't let it go any further.

  • From their FAQ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gentoo Fan (643403) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:04PM (#9879725) Homepage
    It is not illegal for you to own or use the software. The injunction only applies to 321 Studios. [321studios.com]

    How long until 321 will be required to hand over their customer list (at least the ones that registered)? If they can force this company out of business, it seems to me the next step is to go after the users. You know, the ones doing the acutal "law breaking".
    • If they can force this company out of business, it seems to me the next step is to go after the users. You know, the ones doing the acutal "law breaking".
      Actually, users wouldn't fall into the DMCA violation category - users didn't develop or distribute 'circumvention' technology. Remember, it's not the copying that's the illegal part, it's the circumvention...
    • How long until 321 will be required to hand over their customer list (at least the ones that registered)? If they can force this company out of business, it seems to me the next step is to go after the users. You know, the ones doing the acutal "law breaking".

      If you use peerguardian and 321 Software you will notice that the program does not work because it blocks reporting to the 321 sites. This means that not only do they have a legal list of registered users that have bought it, but they also have a l
    • Re:From their FAQ (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:14PM (#9879866)
      What customer list? Believe it or not, CompUSA does not sample your DNA and track everything you buy. This is not like an ISP where they have a list of customers, at best they'll have a list of the 2% that bothered to register.
    • "How long until 321 will be required to hand over their customer list (at least the ones that registered)?"

      Uh, never. 321 was making money off sales of something that bypassed encryption. This pissed off the movie industry ONLY because it affected sales.

      The industry could care less if individuals create their own backups. The only people they'd want to "go after" are those that made money off 321 (e.g. people who used the software to sell pirated copies of movies).
    • Users cannot violate the DMCA; only developers and distributers can. The DMCA only forbids distributing circumvention methods; if you already own one or create one yourself and do not distribute it you are in the clear.
  • Dangerous precedant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:05PM (#9879737)
    I may be just stating the obvious but: This is awful because now the MPAA and RIAA are gonna sue as many of their perceived enemies as possible, hoping to shut them down too. On the bright side, maybe people will use the superior DVD Shrink [dvdshrink.org] instead.
  • by Mitleid (734193) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:05PM (#9879740)
    It shows a lack of journalistic integrity to completely believe a company for their reasons for going out of business. It could very well be true that the lawsuits seriously put a damper on their plans, but it could ALSO be true that the company was just poorly managed. No one is going to come out and say: "We're going out of business because our managers are a bunch of schmucks and blew all the money on cheap whores and expensive cocaine!"; they're gonna point the finger.
    • But that's when the EMPLOYEES would come out and say "ya, the lawsuit hurt, but the real reason I lost my job is because the owner/managers used the company like their person piggy bank and ran it into the ground." Employees have voices too.
  • by Smiglo (764447) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:06PM (#9879759)
    Now, when they are out of bussines, they wouldn't mind "leaking" source code into public. (pref. with BSD licence :) )
  • For windows the best thing for DVD ripping since sliced bread is Gordian Knot [sourceforge.net] and if you still want to get the most retarded version out there try this [amazon.com]. Remember 321 studios made a simplified front end for DVD copying built on some shoddy code, they might have become better in a few generations but the free stuff still works better.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:07PM (#9879765) Homepage
    DVDDecrypter [dvddecrypter.com] or DVD Shrink [dvdshrink.org]. Rip and burn to ISO or another disc. I use DVD-shrink for dual layered discs and then burn the ISO with DVD Decrypter. If you have a single layer you can just use DVD Decrypter to burn the entire disc without edits.

    See here [mrbass.org] for more information on DVD Shrink.

    They are both free and work well.
  • I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by netwiz (33291) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:08PM (#9879784) Homepage
    The DMCA expressly forbids systems that bypass copy protection systems, like cracking the CSS encryption codes. Wouldn't software that performs a bitwise direct copy of the encrypted data therefore be legal, as it's not attempting to play the DVD on unauthorized hardware, nor is it decrypting the MPEG-2 stream in any way?

    • by funaho (42567) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:20PM (#9879943) Homepage
      It would still be illegal copying, just without the added offense of circumventing the copy protection.

      Anyway consumer DVD burners are incapable of writing to the portion of the disc holding the CSS keys, so there is no way for an average user to burn a bit-for-bit copy of a DVD without decrypting the data first. Commercial DVD authoring systems can do it, but they're not exactly cheap, and neither is the blank media.
    • by endeitzslash (570374) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:21PM (#9879946)
      You can't bit copy the "key" part of a pressed DVD, because it exists in a part of the DVD that is inaccessible to burners.

      Put in another way, you can't burn a CSS-encrypted DVD yourself.

      Ed.
  • From the article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnny_sas (785125) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:09PM (#9879795)
    "They couldn't afford to do business and fight all the legal fights. They essentially got sued out of existence." That's becoming a far too common theme these days.
  • by moankey (142715) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:09PM (#9879796)
    If things like DVD shrink are distibuted for free what can they do. Tell the author to stop and then some one else picks up the slack, and the chase starts again.

    But when you package the software sell it in retail stores and pretty much stick in front of the industry's face what do you expect them to do? Make better movies in hopes people will be so taken back they have to buy the movie? Spend countless millions developing better security to have it broken in a week or just shut down 321?
  • 1-2-3 strikes you're out!
  • by anandpur (303114) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:09PM (#9879805)
    "Under the DMCA, you have a theoretical right to fair use. But this ruling shows that if you provide a tool for fair use you can't use it."

    From NewScientist [newscientist.com]
  • Backups not legal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:10PM (#9879809)
    As I understand it, there is no legal right to make backups of movies, in the U.S. There is a right to make backups of computer software, but that provision is explicit and does not apply to other forms of content.

    Some have argued that fair use would allow making backups of general content, but since such usage is not educational or for research purposes, and would have commercial impact, it seems like a weak argument to me. In any case, it has never been confirmed in the courts.
  • by El_Ge_Ex (218107) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:10PM (#9879821) Journal
    Interesting. Now that 321 is out of business. DVD X-Copy is now considered fair use under the "software created by company no longer in existance" revision they added.
  • by chrisw24 (798887) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:12PM (#9879839)
    I heard from a friend that knows someone that knows someone else, that they are moving the business offshore. Not sure if the business will move out of the US, or if the employees will be recieving a paycheck from a company overseas, I guess we'll have to wait and see.
  • As usual (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:12PM (#9879841) Homepage
    A combination of free and cheap software works much better than 321 Studios' software. DVD Shrink is free, easy to use, and never crashes. Nero can be had as cheap as $5 on the web. This combination is sweet, if you're using DVD-X-Copy or whatever you paid for inferior software.

  • I one thing that was a disappointment to me when 321 studios started working on this was that I was just switching to mac and they were only supporting windows based systems.
    however, there is now an option for mac users.fast dvd copy 2 [fastdvdcopy.com] is awesome. MacWorld just gave it 3 1/2 mouse rating in the latest issue.
  • Did anyone _not_ see this coming? The precedent concerning distributing the deCSS had been set long before the company came into existance

  • Man.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by bdigit (132070) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:20PM (#9879935)
    That's alot of studios that went out of business
  • Other solutions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zaranne (733967) <zaranne17@gmaiEULERl.com minus math_god> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:20PM (#9879936) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand why the solution that worked for the music world wasn't used here. Back when blank recording cassettes were created and mass marketed, the music industry nearly blew a gasket. The compromise is that TDK/Maxell/Fuji and the rest pay a small portion of their sales to the record companies. Kind of a tithe. While it's still illegal for me to copy my CD's onto cassettes and SELL them to people, I can do it for personal use. Everybody's happy.
  • by Seoulstriker (748895) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:34PM (#9880094)
    If you go to the website for the Bastard company, http://www.123copydvd.com/ [123copydvd.com], you will notice that the "company" is offering the exact same program. What 321 Studios has effectively done is known as "asset protection", where they branch off a company into a separate Corporation or Limited-liability corporation (LLC) that is untouchable if the prior company is sued and run out of business. 321 studios is still alive, just in another form. I have purchased their 123 copy DVD software, and it is almost identical to the 321 Studios DVD X Copy software.

    If you wish to see how damn clever they are, they do not actually include de-cryption software in the product. They do however link directly to a "3rd Party Plugin" site which features a downloadable plug-in which works exclusively with 123 copy DVD.

    Talk about legal maneuvering!
    • What 321 Studios has effectively done is known as "asset protection", where they branch off a company into a separate Corporation or Limited-liability corporation (LLC) that is untouchable if the prior company is sued and run out of business.

      IAmNotALawyer, but I believe there are some circumstances such protection can be breached. Of course, since it doesn't look like 321 studios had major liabilites when they were shut down (since the MPAA mainly sought the injunction, not damages), they may be able to

  • GPL?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acousticiris (656375) * on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:53PM (#9880304)
    I'm thinking if I'm them... My company's last dying breath is to release the source code to the public domain or as a GPL application.

    Sure, one can easily argue that there are other apps that do (IMHO) a better job and are free (like DVD Shrink), but being as high-profile as their company has been the last few months, being that they sell their products in retail stores, a move like that might garner some pretty serious publicity and would surely ruffle the feathers of their adversary.
    Even though the cat has been out of the bag for a while regarding CSS, them sending out copies of sourcecode would surely have social/emotional impact.
    My guess is that someone there would probably be sent to jail for further violating the DMCA (not only making an anti-circumvention tool that people can use to backup and *gasp* copy DVDs, but giving a bunch of "no good hackers and pirates" the ability to modify the software for other nefarious purposes (oh no!)). But I'm sure there's a way they could get around the law to do it.
  • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:05PM (#9880424)
    The Fair Use exemption to copyright protection is spelled out in the U.S. Code [cornell.edu]:
    Sec. 107. - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

    "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

    It seems clear that personal backups are for purposes of protection in case the disk breaks, not for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. None of those provisions would protect personal backups as fair use. The law goes on to say:
    In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    On point 1, personal backups are not for nonprofit educational purposes, but rather to save money in case the disk breaks, which counts as a commercial use. On point 2, the works are typically creative, original commercial works which have the full protection of the copyright laws. On point 3, it is the entirety of the work which is copied, not just an excerpt. And on point 4, the existence of free backups would reduce re-sales of replacement disks, not to mention that it might cut into new sales if the "backups" are illicitly shared.

    Based on the text of the statute, personal backups fail every test that would make them fair use. Anyone disagree?

    • by wbm6k (593413)
      Based on the text of the statute, personal backups fail every test that would make them fair use. Anyone disagree?

      Well, the EFF and "many lawyers" would disagree.

      From their website FAQ on Fair Use [eff.org]:

      4. What's been recognized as fair use?

      Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

      In ad
  • by cyberlotnet (182742) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:07PM (#9880452) Homepage Journal
    CD Burners don't break laws, people do
    Guns don't kill people, people do
    Cars don't kill people, people do
    Software don't break laws, people do
    Knives don't kill people, people do

    Sorry but hello law makers please take reeval your prioritys.. If you want to do something good make laws that keep guns out of killers hands, that keep cars out of the hands of drunk drivers and things like that..

    Spend more time protecting the PEOPLE not the greedy big business.
  • by BrianWCarver (569070) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:31PM (#9880677) Homepage
    This shows the DMCA can be used by the MPAA/RIAA to put legitimate technology companies out of business. But they're hoping for another tool to do even more of this, and it's called the INDUCE act.

    Go to EFF's Action Center [eff.org] and savetheipod.com [savetheipod.com] to take action! Let your Senators know that they should be supporting Rep. Boucher's DMCRA [house.gov] rather than INDUCE.

    We can turn the tide here if we take action!
  • by maximilln (654768) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:33PM (#9880706) Homepage Journal
    If the product was formally sold then the DMCA (for media) and EULAs (for software) would have no leg to stand on. No one, except the media/software industry, rents a product which can be easily copied. Instead those products are adjusted so that the sale price is profitable. Instead, software is licensed, via the EULA, and media is licensed for use, defined in terms of the licensing agreement. Consumers no longer buy the product but instead purchase a right to use the license.

    What is the difference between a product which is sold and a product which is rented? A product which is sold is the property of the owner and the owner has the right to do with it as they please. A product which is rented is still the property of the owner and the renter is bound by terms of a usage agreement. What, then, is the difference between a product which is licensed and a product which is rented? There is none. When a consumer rents a product they sign a contract accepting terms of use. When a consumer purchases a software/media license they accept a contract accepting terms of use.

    Why the jargon difference, then?

    The jargon difference is this: the breach of a rental agreement is a civil matter which requires the owner to retain legal counsel and compile a legal case. Consider the rights of landlords, automobile rental agencies, or your local hardware store renting out powertools. The breach of a license agreement has been manipulated to be a felony offense in which the financial burden of investigation has been passed onto the taxpaying public as a whole.

    There is not a more blatant example of corporate political graft.
  • by eadint (156250) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @02:14PM (#9881189) Homepage Journal
    I will probably get modded into oblivion for this but i think it has to be done
    The recent events of orin hatch [slashdot.org], DMCA shinanigans [slashdot.org] have just gone too far. there are allot of people on /. who like to whine about this kind of thing but nothing ever gets done. i think its time that /. show its power in the DMCA and DRM, and *AA [slashdot.org] playing field. the web site www.nomoreorin. org com net are currently available. based on user moderation here is what i plan to do.

    1. Register the domain www.nomoreorin.org and use it for a organizational starting place to campaign against his reelection
    2. Gather all of the evidence and bills that he is against peoples rights and is in the pay of the *aa
    3. Work to form a grass roots party in his hometown to make sure that he is defeated buy a landslide in the next election.
    4. Try to set up rallys and protests in his community with pamphlets that say

    1. Your senator wants to outlaw your VCR, Tivo, DVR

    2. Your senator wants to outlaw your computer
    3. Your senator wants to put viruses and destroy your computer if you do something he doe sent approve of
    4. Your senator helped to put an innocent Russian Civilian in jail without due process over writing an essentially legal program.

    5. Your senator wants to remove your rights to make backup copies of movies and software that you already own

    6. Your senator cares more about the *aa than the people who elected him
    7. Your senator has accepted XXXXX$ from these *aa groups

    5. Next target any and all politicians that have shown support for the DMCA, INDUCE or have received an money from the *AA
    6. If we send a message to the government that clearly states that

    1. If you accept any money from the *AA we will see to it that your political career is destroyed.
    2. Supporting any bill that restricts a users rights to media he owns will result in your not getting elected.

    It is evidently clear that if we do not act now. your right to use a computer or any kind of audio and visual media will be severely restricted.
    Depending on the replies to this post i will reserve and set up the
    www.nomoreorin.org website.
    and will do what i can to help a movement whose time have come .
    if you have any questions email me at
    eric.aint.net (spam proof)

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @02:22PM (#9881257) Homepage Journal
    This was the end goal, to get them out of business.

    If it cant be done via the legal system directly, then just sue them to the point they cant afford to keep fighting.

    Its too bad you cant recoup costs from tactics like this.. When you are innocent, but are under attack.

    This is the same thing they are trying with other industries as well, such as the gun industry. Expect more, as its VERY effective..
  • by AllTheGoodNamesWereT (546114) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @03:12PM (#9881744)
    One somewhat ironic aspect of this is that 321 Studios used mandatory activation to protect their software (at least with DVD XCopy Express). So if the company totally ceased operation without a successor taking over, there would be no way to install the software they've sold in the past on any new computer.
    Apparently that is not the case (at least not yet). According to their FAQ [321studios.com], "You will be able to activate your 321 product online either through the computer where the software is installed or through another computer which is online, using a floppy disk. Telephone activation will not be available."

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