EBay prohibits auctioning Apex DVD players on their site due to copyright infring

According to a news article found on Wired News this morning, EBay has banned the sale of the Apex A-600AD DVD player through their auctioning website for legal reasons. It was only a matter of time until this player that allows users to circumvent all copy protection and region coding found on DVD ruffles some feathers, and the signs show that the time has come – although surprisingly late.

According to the article, EBay began cancelling all transactions to sell these DVD players last week on a request made by Macrovision. Since the player allows users to turn off the copy protection mechanism in the player, Macrovision felt the players violates their copyright, trademark and other rights. After verifying the validity of Macrovision’s claim based upon their VeRO program, Ebay began enforcing it under the penalty of perjury if the claim is untrue. That however can hardly be argued in this case.

Macrovision’s copy protection scheme was designed and implemented as a DVD specification to prevent copying DVDs to VHS tapes, a feature put in place to prevent piracy. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which prohibits anyone from offering or selling a product or technology for use in “circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner,” Macrovision asked to have all related auctions removed as the company feels strongly that it must protect its intellectual properties.

Since the publication of information about how to use the player to circumvent copy protection and region coding, Apex Digital has recalled the remaining inventory and updated the units to disable the menu access. Units with the accessible hidden menus were taken out of the retail channel on May 15, according to company spokesman Colton Manley.

As with every Wired article, of course, you also get a highly biased consumer comment, complaining that it is bad practice of EBay to prohibit the sale of the player. The Internet is about freedom, the anonymous nerd says, which to him and many other people seems to imply the freedom to steal!

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