Stop innovating, please: Kaleidescape loses DVD ripping case

24 05 2012

A California judge ruled last week that Kaleidescape, the company behind a line of high-end home media servers, violated the terms of its DVD licensing agreement by allowing consumers to rip DVDs.

The DVD Copy Control Association sets rules that all manufacturers of DVD players must follow. The organization objected to the DVD-ripping functionality of Kaleidescape’s products and went to court to force them off the market. On Thursday, Judge William Monahan issued a broad injuncton barring Kaleidescape from selling its DVD-streaming products.

The case is a useful reminder that, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, major content companies continue to enjoy veto power over the design of digital media devices. Include a digital lock in your spec and the DMCA keeps anyone from bypassing it, even if the intended use might well be legal. Hollywood is using this power to prevent “DVD jukebox” products from reaching consumers.


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