June 15, 2004 2:44 PM PDT

Video game makers sue over copying program

A group of major video game companies has sued 321 Studios--the company best known for its now-banned DVD copying software--charging that its new video-game copying software is also illegal.

Atari, Electronic Arts and Vivendi Universal Games filed suit against the software company in New York federal court, asking a judge to block distribution of 321 Studios' Games X Copy software.

"Federal law makes it clear that it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or sell devices or programs that circumvent technological protection measures built into video games," Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), said in a statement. "That's exactly what 321 Studios? Games X Copy does, and we fully expect the court to grant our request to ban this product."

The St. Louis-based software company has been the subject of repeated lawsuits over the past several years, all focusing on its disc-copying technology.

For more than a year, 321 Studios offered the most popular DVD copying software on the market, sold in stores such as CompUSA. The major Hollywood studios charged that the program violated federal copyright law by evading antipiracy protections in most commercial DVDs.

In February, a San Francisco federal judge agreed, and ordered the software removed from the market. A judge in New York agreed in several separate cases, so 321 Studios now faces at least three injunctions against selling the DVD-copying software.

In response, the software company has stripped the capability to copy protected DVDs from its software, and is selling the slimmed-down product instead. It has appealed the rulings in San Francisco and New York, but has laid off much of its staff in recent weeks.

According to the ESA, more than $7 billion of entertainment software products--mostly video games--was sold in the United States last year.

A spokesperson for 321 Studios could not immediately be reached for comment.

6 comments

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Yet Alcohol 120% remains unchallegned..
The under U.S copyright law people have legitiment right to make a backup copy of software as per Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 117.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/117.html" target="_newWindow">http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/117.html</a>

There seems to be quite a bit of conflict between fair use and the DMCA.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
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Who's next
Give them time. If it's not the movie industry then the games industry will get to them soon enough. It's sad but true.
Posted by Chwith (79 comments )
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Free
I guess the media manufacturers will be supplying everyone with free backup copies of any media they may own currently. Let's see that's minimum 1-200 pieces per user times the equivalent population of the continental United States....well that's one hefty shipping and manufacturuing bill for coming down so hard on personal user backups.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Time to rethink
The DMCA is flawed legislation pure and simple. Besides, software priates have other means besides anything that 321 is doing. The only thing shutting them down (by way of stopping them from distributing their products) does is make it harder for people who have a legitimate and legal use for this type of software.
Posted by Chwith (79 comments )
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DVD X Copy no longer being sold, see www.dvdxcopy.com
DVD X Copy was an excellent product for DVD copying - the best DVD Copy Software of all time. As per <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dvdxcopy.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.dvdxcopy.com</a> , DVD X Copy products are no longer being sold or supported. I went to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dvdxcopyreviews.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.dvdxcopyreviews.com</a> and there are some excellent DVDXCopy alternative software programs for DVD copying. I've tried both of the top ranked DVD copy software products and they are both awesome! Both of these companies picked up where 321 Studios left off.
Posted by shakenbaker (18 comments )
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DVD X Copy no longer being sold, see www.dvdxcopy.com
DVD X Copy products were great for DVD copying - the best DVD Copy Software of all time. As per <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dvdxcopy.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.dvdxcopy.com</a> , DVD X Copy products are no longer being sold or supported. I went to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dvdxcopyreviews.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.dvdxcopyreviews.com</a> and there are some excellent DVDXCopy alternative software programs for DVD copying. I've tried both of the top ranked DVD copy software products and they are both awesome! Both of these companies picked up where 321 Studios left off.
Posted by shakenbaker (18 comments )
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