Intel backs ClearPlay against suit

Filing is in response to copyright infringement claims

Chip giant Intel has filed a court brief backing ClearPlay Inc., which has been sued by the DGA and the studios over its software to sanitize videos and DVDs.

The filing is in response to last year’s copyright and trademark infringement claims against ClearPlay and 14 other businesses that traffic in sanitized versions of films with sex, foul language and violence chopped out.

In a “friend of the court brief,” filed last month with the federal court in Denver, Intel argued that ClearPlay’s technology does not violate studio copyrights or the trademarks of directors.

“Recognizing (the studios’) novel theory would do more than remove a parent-friendly tool from the market; it would chill innovation and stifle the development of new generations of products, including products designed to empower the individual and enhance the consumer’s lawful and reasonable enjoyment of lawfully acquired entertainment content,” the brief said.

A DGA spokeswoman said the guild agrees with the studios’ argument that ClearPlay’s technology creates a “derivative work,” in violation of studio copyrights. The DGA has claimed the companies are violating the Lanham Act in that they misrepresent directors’ work by creating new versions of films without authorization.

ClearPlay’s software enables users to select the types of material to be deleted through time codes. Intel argued that ClearPlay’s technology does not incorporate any copyrighted expression from the studios’ films.

Intel: Not derivative

“Referencing the studios’ copyrighted works according to these standard time codes does not create a derivative work any more than referring to a book by its page numbers creates a derivative work,” Intel’s brief said.

The case originated a year ago, when retailer CleanFlicks sued the DGA and 16 leading directors to obtain a ruling that its practice of altering films is legal. The DGA filed a countersuit alleging copyright and trademark infringement, and that action was joined last December by the studios.

No trial date has been set in the case, and several of the defendants in the DGA countersuit, including ClearPlay and Trilogy Studios, have filed for a summary judgment.