4K Piracy Saga Part 2: Now Warner and Intel are getting sued by the maker of HDFury
Stephan Jukic – March 18, 2016
Usually, when two giant companies go after a smaller business they think has wronged them and take it to court, the result is the deadly silence of a little company that got defeated and crushed. However, it seems that this isn’t going to be the case this time. At least for now, the little company is letting out its own claws and fighting right back.
Previously, we covered the case of a lawsuit filed in a New York federal court by Warner Brothers and an Intel subsidiary company called Digital Content Protection (DCP) over alleged facilitation of 4K content piracy efforts by a small Chinese company called LegendSky. In basic terms, according to the filings of Warner and DCP, LegendSky indirectly allowed digital content pirates to strip the HDCP 2.2 content copy protections from 4K UHD TV shows that are being delivered to customers’ 4K TVs via streaming and other means. The way in which the smaller company “facilitated” this piracy was by producing and retailing a piece of hardware called HDFury, which can strip the new 4K-oreinted HDCP protections from said content.
In doing this, according to Warner and CP, LegendSky was thus violating the DMCA with their device.
LegendSky on the other hand –obviously enough- argued right back by basically stating that its device is covered by “fair use” provisions in the DMCA (PDF) because it only downgrades the level of HDCP protection (by downgrading the version) and that this is covered by the DMCA as permissible as long as it isn’t used to connect two separate computer programs.
Now though, LegendSky has also taken things beyond its original defensive arguments against Warner and DCP by filing several counter lawsuits against both media/technology giants and the Chinese company is thus now demanding compensation for damages incurred as a result of both the original lawsuit filed against it and also due to supposed monopolization practices by the bigger entities.
According to the LegendSky counterclaim, the “Plaintiffs’ Complaint is a sham. They know or should know that Plaintiff DCP’s licensees, including Netflix, use HDFury Devices to convert newer to older versions of HDCP so as to enable interoperability between devices.”
In other words, LegendSky feels it’s hardly the one who deserves to be sued given the circumstances of how the hardware is being used by legitimate players in the 4K content market.
In addition to Netflix, LegendSky also says that other companies like CBS, NBC, Disney and others have also purchased their HDFury devices and are regularly using them to legitimately downgrade HDCP content protection.
According to the LegendSky countercomplaint,
“Plaintiffs have, either directly or indirectly, made knowing false statements of fact to third parties wherein they have painted Defendant as a criminal enterprise releasing the HDFury Devices with no other intent than to steal and pirate copyrighted materials,”
We have yet to see what Warner’s and DCP’s responses to this surprising but tough offensive response from LegendSky will be but it seems, at least for now, that the little company does indeed have quite a valid argument to make on its own behalf. The simple fact that HDFury CAN be used for piracy even though it’s mainly used for legitimate reasons by legitimate companies does seem like a weak foundation for a piracy facilitation lawsuit under the DMCA, especially when we consider how many other perfectly legitimate devices like DVD burners, torrent software and even PCs themselves are regularly used for piracy facilitation too. Should the makers of all these technologies be sued next?
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that LegendSky is now probably getting more free product publicity than it has ever received in its entire existence thanks to these court shenanigans between it and these corporate giants.
Story by 4k.com