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DVD X Copy re-issued without ripper

321 Studios answers trial judge's ban

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DVD copying software developer 321 Studios has made good its pledge to offer 'ripper-free' versions of its DVD X Copy range of utilities.

The company announced its plan to strip the DeCSS-derived code out of its applications last week after US District Court judge Susan Illston ruled that the programs violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The DeCSS code was used to decrypt the files held on a DVD in order to copy them to the user's hard drive before burning them onto a DVD-R. According to 321, the purpose of such a move is to back up the contents of a legally acquired DVD, but a number of movie studios believe that the company's applications are used primarily for unauthorised, illegal copying.

As a result, MGM Studios, Tristar Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Time Warner Entertainment, Disney, Universal City Studios and The Saul Zaentz Company last May began legal proceedings against 321. Last Friday, Judge Illston ruled in favour of the studios and banned the sale of DVD X Copy from today.

321 said that it was offering the ripper-free versions of its applications in order to comply with that injunction. Without the ripper code, the software can no longer circumvent DVD encryption and so no longer violates the DMCA.

"Although we strongly disagree with the ruling, 321 Studios is now in full compliance with Judge Illston's order," said Robert Moore, 321 Studios' President and founder.

The irony is that the open source DeCSS code is widely available on the Internet, and it won't be too hard for users to locate ripper software that can extract files from a DVD. The new versions of DVD X Copy will then be able to burn those files to a fresh disc, as before.

321 Studios filed a motion for a stay of the injunction in the Northern District Court of California on Tuesday. The Studios opposed this motion. A ruling is expected shortly. ®

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