[DVD-CCA is suing Kaleidescape.] The company, which has won several recent consumer electronics awards, said it has worked closely with the DVD CCA for more than a year, and will fight the suit, filed Tuesday.
Kaleidescape creates expensive consumer electronics networks that upload the full contents of as many as 500 DVDs to a home server, and allow the owner to browse through the movies without later using the DVDs themselves. That’s exactly what the copy-protection technology on DVDs, called Content Scramble System (CSS) was meant to prevent, the Hollywood-backed group said.
“The express intent and purpose of the contract and CSS are to prevent copying of copyrighted materials such as DVD motion pictures,” Bill Coats, a DVD CCA attorney, said in a statement. “While Kaleidescape obtained a license to use CSS, the company has built a system to do precisely what the license and CSS are designed to prevent–the wholesale copying of protected DVDs.”
From the DVD-CCA rhetoric, you might think this suit is about copyright infringement. Reading the article and DVD-CCA statements carefully, though, it seems as if it’s just a contract dispute about whether Kaleidescape violated the terms of its license agreement with DVD-CCA.
(I haven’t seen DVD-CCA’s complaint yet, so I can’t be absolutely sure that there are no copyright claims. But if it were a copyright case, one would have expected the plaintiffs to include some major copyright owners, such as movie studios.)
The subtext here is that DVD-CCA is trying to maintain its control over all technology related to DVDs. In the good old days, copyright law gave copyright owners the right to sue infringers but gave no right to stop noninfringing uses just because the copyright owner didn’t like them. These days, copyright interests seem to want broad control over technology design.
It’s far to early to tell whether this lawsuit will involve big policy issues, or whether it will be confined to narrow issues of contract interpretation. Regardless, its a good bet we’ll learn more about how the DVD-CCA operates.
By the way, the DVD-CCA’s “Procedural Specifications” are freely available for download by anybody who provides their name and contact information. (Amusingly, the Procedural Specifications document itself says, falsely, that “[t]he Procedural Specifications are provided only to CSS Licensees, prospective CSS Licensees, and others with a business need to know consistent with the intent and purposes of the CSS licensing process.”)