Decade-Long Courtroom Battle Between Movie Studios And High-End DVD Jukebox Manufacturer Ends In A Draw

from the Right-of-First-Sale-still-being-carved-into-uselessness dept

A decade's worth of legal battling is over and it hardly looks like a vindication for innovation or the Right of First Sale. Kaleidescape, a company marketing high-end DVD and Blu-Ray "jukeboxes" has reached an undisclosed settlement with the body representing Hollywood, DVD CCA (Copy Control Association).

Yesterday, the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara, noted a "voluntary dismissal" of the case. Kaleidescape CEO Cheena Srinivasan tells CE Pro that both parties have agreed not to comment at this time.

Court notices indicate that Kaleidescape requested a dismissal of the case on May 12 and that the next day a joint notice of settlement was filed. The court took three days to review the parties' stipulations and determined on May 19th, "Case complete."

The case ends a long and complicated test of the rights of both content creators and the studios who market that content … as well as the consumers who "own" copies of the content and the manufacturers who unlock it.
This may have concluded the "test" but there are no proven results. Since 2004, the movie industry has pushed to make Kaleidescape's offerings illegal. The fear of piracy has informed DVD CCA's every move. When the industry is concerned that a $4-10,000 item will be used mostly for infringement, it's drowning in its own paranoia. A big box store desktop computer with a $50 piece of software will do the same thing -- and that's if the would-pirates even bother to pay for the DVD-ripping program in the first place.

The industry wants to sell plastic discs but it doesn't want consumers to have much choice in how they use them after they've paid for them. Kaleidescape's jukeboxes would rip lossless DVDs and Blu-Rays directly to the internal drive and allow instant playback (including skipping the long stream of anti-piracy PSAs the studios still seem to feel obliged to insert into every paid-for movie) of the consumer's library.

Of course, it also bricked this latest offering by requiring the user to insert Blu-Ray discs before allowing "instant" playback (earlier in the legal battle, DVDs were also included in the requirement), thus removing a great deal of the convenience someone just paid over $4,000 for.

One of the sticking points for the CCA over the years was the anti-piracy DRM that comes standard on every DVD and Blu-Ray, but even Kaleidescape's lack of circumvention somehow posed a problem.
That group argues that the license that governs CSS – required of all manufacturers who make DVD players – expressly prohibits the manufacturers from allowing users to copy DVDs, even if they own those DVDs.

Kaleidescape has always maintained that the DVD CCA contracts express no such prohibitions. In any case, Kaleidescape servers make bit-for-bit copies so that the digital rights management (DRM) provisions of CSS are preserved.
Even with the DRM intact, the studios' presumption that Kaleidescape was manufacturing piracy boxes dragged the company into court and kept it there for ten years. What has just transpired doesn't really sound like a victory for the company. There may be more stipulations added to the legal framework surrounding Kaleidescape's jukeboxes that make them even more useless than they are currently. Or maybe future development is predicted on the company entering into contracts with the studios to push their lackluster digital offerings.

But whatever it is, it's hardly seems like a victory for the Right of First Sale. If the CCA's arguments are still being entertained, even owning a physical copy makes you (and Kaleidascape) subject to restrictive license agreements -- meaning it's highly unlikely bit-for-bit copying will ever be approved for those willing to shell out what Kaleidescape is asking for its equipment.

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Filed Under: copyright, dvd jukebox, kaleidescape
Companies: dvd cca, kaleidescape

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  1. identicon
    Whatever, 21 May 2014 @ 11:07pm


    Imagine if they put all of this cash drive and innovation into giving consumers what they wanted, rather than chasing pirates they keep creating.

    They do exactly that. What do you think everyone wants to see, everyone pirates, everyone climbs all over each other to get? It's hollywood content, it's mainstream American TV content, and HBO content. They create exactly what the market wants.

    The only issue? The market wants it for free, doesn't want to do anything that would contribute to paying for it, and so on. Adblockers, commercial removed tv shows, and all that stuff in the end is as much the problem as anything else.

    At some point, there won't be enough money in it and the whole thing will grind to a near halt. See the porn industry for more info on what is likely to happen.

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