After Hours

Judge blocks sales of unlicensed DVD chips

The MPAA wins a court round against the spread of chips that helped DVD copying.

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By John Borland
CNET News.com

A California judge has ordered a multimedia chipmaker to stop selling versions of its products that were used in DVD-copying devices.

The Motion Picture Association of America said Monday that it had found chips from , based in Fremont, Calif., inside a device that allowed DVDs to be copied. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis issued an order Friday that blocked the manufacturer from selling its chips to any other device maker producing similar products.

"By selling chips to unlicensed manufacturers, ESS was effectively enabling wholesale piracy," Dan Robbins, the MPAA's chief technology counsel, said in a statement.

The case is part of Hollywood's ongoing battle to keep DVD-copying technology off the market and the Internet, despite widespread availability of underground software that will break through the discs' copy protection.

Earlier in the year, the MPAA successfully , which had sold nearly 1 million copies online and in retail outlets like CompUSA. Previously, it had sued to stop the distribution of , code that can be used to work around DVD encryption.

Any hardware manufacturer that makes DVD players needs to have permission from a Hollywood technology group called the in order to be able to decrypt the information stored on DVDs. ESS' customer, unnamed by the MPAA, did not have that right, the group said.

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