MPAA Takes Action Against Chip Manufacturers

The Motion Picture Association of America has sued two chip manufacturing companies for selling integrated circuits to manufacturers that produce non-approved DVD players.

The MPAA isn’t happy that the makers of some DVD players deviate from the the agreed standards and produce appliances that do not feature the full range of DRM features. Consequently, the MPAA is suing Sigma Designs and MediaTek for distributing Content Scramble System chips to such companies, and thus breaking their original license agreement to distribute the chips only to other CSS-licensed outfits.

CSS and related DVD technologies are controlled by a technology group called the DVD Copy Control Association, and any manufacturer must agree to their contract terms before they can work with the format.

Dan Robbins, MPAA Chief Technology Counsel said: “Responsible corporate citizens honour the contracts they sign. There is no leniency for irresponsible companies that seek to circumvent the system and operate outside of the law.”

This latest action from the MPAA shows that they are keen to use a variety of techniques to protect their business – this doesn’t revolve around copyright law like previous instances, this is about contracts.

DVD Copy Control Association

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?