Ridiculously Broad Ruling Against DVD Ripper Software Has Court Allow Seizure Of Domains, Social Media & More
from the how-is-that-proper-under-the-law? dept
Who needs SOPA when US judges seem willing to pretend the law already lets them do what SOPA would have created? AACS, the licensing organization that handles the basic encryption used on DVDs, sued one of many DVD ripping software companies, DVDFab (which is based in China). DVD ripping is a somewhat contentious topic. While it’s generally accepted (even by the recording industry) that ripping music CDs is legitimate, for whatever reason, Hollywood has fought exceptionally hard against the idea that movies should ever be rippable. With DVD software, they make it “illegal” by placing (weak) DRM on the DVDs, and then claim that any attempt to get around that violates the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA, 17 USC 1201.
AACS sought a preliminary injunction against DVDFab, who chose not to respond to the lawsuit (understandable, seeing as it’s based halfway around the world). Of course, rather than just granting a basic preliminary injunction, federal judge Vernon Broderick appears to have issued an order that is basically Hollywood’s dream: ordering the seizure of basically everything in an attempt to wipe DVDFab off the internet entirely. It orders the company to stop using its website, domain names and social media. Then, it goes way beyond that, using “this Court’s inherent equitable power” to order domain registries to disable the company’s URLs and make them “transferable” on the orders of the court — basically ordering the companies to seize the domain names. Then, it also orders all companies who have anything to do with DVDFab to stop doing business with the company. This includes social networking companies, service providers, advertising firms, payment processors and more:
Any third party service providers providing services to Defendants in connection with any of the DVDFab Domain Names, the DVDFab Websites or the DVDFab Social Media Accounts, and who receive actual notice of this Order, including without limitation, web hosting providers, social media or other online service providers (including without limitation, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+), back-end service providers, web designers, distributors, search-based online advertising services (such as through paid inclusion, paid search results, sponsored search results, sponsored links, and Internet keyword advertising), and any banks, savings and loan associations, merchant account providers, payment processors and providers, credit card associations, or other financial institutions which receive or process payments or hold assets on Defendants’ behalf (including without limitation, Avangate Inc., Avangate B.V., PayPal, Western Union, PayEase, IPS Ltd., Realypay, WorldPay, Opus Payments, Amazon Payments, WorldPay, Money Gram International, WebMoney, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Visa Electron, Maestro, Solo, Laser, and Carte Bleue) for any Defendant or any of the DVDFab Domain Names or the DVDFab Websites, and who receive actual notice of this Order, shall, within three (3) days of receipt of this Order, cease or disable providing such services to: a) Defendants in relation to the DVDFab Software and/or any other products or services that circumvent the AACS Technology; andb) any and all of the DVDFab Domain Names, the DVDFab Websites or DVDFab Social Media Accounts.
This goes way, way, way beyond the normal remedies put forth under copyright law. In fact, it was these kinds of solutions which SOPA was designed to add to copyright law. I can understand how a judge only hearing one side of a case goes with the “default” judgment and just gives the single party everything they ask for, but at some point doesn’t common sense have to come in, and have people point out that this kind of remedy, seeking to wipe an entire company completely off the face of the internet for daring to do something that’s basically legal in similar realms (i.e., with music), seems immensely worrisome.