On January 14, 2000, in response to the illegal hacking of the DVD encryption system “CSS,” and subsequent Internet distribution of an unauthorized de-encryption formula, the major motion picture companies filed injunction complaints in the Southern District of New
York and District of Connecticut against three defendants to prevent them from making the formula available on their Web sites. The defendants in New York are Shawn C. Reimerdes, Eric Corley A/K/A “Emmanuel Goldstein,“” and Jeraimee Hughes in the District of Connecticut.
The plaintiffs are Universal Studios, Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Tristar Pictures, Inc.; Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; Time Warner Entertainment Co., L.P.; Disney Enterprises, Inc.; and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Announcing the court action, Jack Valenti, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), made the following statement: “The MPAA is striking a blow today in defense of the future of American movies. We have filed suit in federal court to stop Internet hackers from distributing the software designed to circumvent the encryption technology that prevents unlawful copying of DVDs. This is a case of theft. The posting of the de-encryption formula is no different from making and then distributing unauthorized keys to a department store. The keys have no real purpose except to circumvent the locks that stand between the thief and the goods he or she targets,” said Valenti.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone to traffic in any product that is designed to render useless encryption devices that protect copyrighted material. In 1998, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to protect the creators of copyrighted material from seeing their life’s work stolen by Internet hackers. The MPAA strongly supported the DMCA precisely because of concerns about online piracy of motion pictures. The defendants“ brazen trafficking of the unauthorized utility plainly violates the `anti-circumvention” provisions of the DMCA.
“The U.S. movie industry intends to defeat anyone who steals our intellectual property. We are determined to defend the technology that protects artists” and intellectual property holders“ rights,”“ vowed Valenti. ”If you can’t protect that which you own, then you don’t own anything.’