Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes

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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