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Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes

The
Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes copyright case was filed on the basis
of a device, technology, or service being re-created in a fashion that does not
coexist with a company’s original or future intention for the product. 
Universal City Studios, Inc. asked the court to ban the computer program,
 DeCSS, created by 2600: The Hacker Quarterly (which included Shawn
Reimerdes) on the grounds of producing a product that manipulated their CSS
program coding, in an effort to allow consumers to make unofficial copies by
decrypting DVD coding. 

The DeCSS greatly affected the movie
copyright industry because this new software gave consumers such capability in
a way in which they would not be subject to licensing fees.  Although not
the basis of the movie copyright case, the
 DeCSS was also responsible for
providing the means of compatibility for DVDs to be played on computers that
use the operating system, Linux.

The Motion Picture Association of America first
made the discovery that Reimerdes was potentially in direct violation of the
movie copyright provisions in its distribution of
 DeCSS on the Internet.  Major players who belong to this
trade association issued its first response in the form of letters to the
websites featuring this program, asking for its swift removal.  

Some
cooperatively obliged, while others did not.  The follow-up response was
in the form of a copyright case initiated by the DVD Copy Control Association,
an organization that aims its focus on DVD and currently Blu-ray movie copyright
protection. 

The DVD Copy
Control Association had officially opened the copyright case with a request for
a temporary restraining order to be issued by the Superior Court of California
in the County of Santa Clara.  The initial stages of the copyright case
did not go in the favor of the DVD Copy Control Association, as the court had
denied the request.  Just two months later, the copyright case made a
pivotal turn when the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara,
declared a temporary suspension of the Reimerdes’ program,
 DeCSS, until the movie copyright
case had reached a final verdict.  

In the meantime, the movie copyright
hearing did not prohibit
 DeCSS from being distributed in route of websites that linked to the
software download.  This decision in the copyright case was made on the
basis of the court, due to the fact that this provision was not requested by
the DVD Copy Control Association in the original court petition.

On the date of August 17, 2000, a verdict in the
copyright case had been issued just three days after deliberation had gone
under way.  In the Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes copyright
case, the verdict was issued in favor of the DVD Copy Control
Association.  Reimerdes, not satisfied with the verdict in the copyright
case, decided to issue an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit. 

Before the
end of 2001, the movie copyright suit of Universal City Studios, Inc. v.
Reimerdes had come to an end, when Reirmerdes had lost their attempt at a winning
verdict in the copyright case once again.  Reimerdes did not appeal to the
Supreme Court. 

Although
these series of proceedings marked the end of this particular copyright case,
this was the very first movie copyright suit to apply the principles of the
newly formed copyright protection law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in
its final court decision.  Due to its large influence on the final verdict
of the copyright case, this is an aspect of copyright law that is often taken
into account in copyright court decisions to date.

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