Studios heckle hackers

Norwegian teen's DVD decoder creating piracy

WASHINGTON — The studios continue the full federal-court press on DVD hackers with two lawsuits filed against three individuals in Connecticut and New York.

The suits seek to stop the individuals from distributing the formula for breaking the encryption code for DVDs.

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“The MPAA is striking a blow today in the defense of the future of American movies,” said MPAA prexy Jack Valenti.

The MPAA is concerned about the possibility that pirates will be able to make an endless string of perfect DVD copies. Unlike VHS tapes, which degrade with each copy made, DVDs can be copied almost without limit.

The movie industry had hoped that pirates would be discouraged by copy blocking technology developed for the DVD. But last fall a Norwegian teenager beat the encryption system, and his solution is now spreading throughout the world via the Internet. The lawsuits in Connecticut and New York are the studios’ latest effort to keep the lid on their encryption system.

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