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HDFury Sued by Warner Bros. for Product That Copies 4K Video

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 07, 2016 5:59 AM

Another new year, another fresh intellectual property lawsuit to start things off. Warner Bros. and the creator and license holder of HDCP (Hi-Definition Copyright Protection) software, Digitial Content Protection, LLC, have jointly sued Chinese outfit Legendsky (dba HDFury) over allegations that at least one of its devices strips content of its digital copyright protection, rendering it viewable on devices not originally intended by the studios.

The guy who ran the HD Fury website seemed not to have any qualms at all about the "HD Fury Integral" device, marketing it as liberation from "HDCP errors".

Newer and More Illegal-ish

There had been many dubious devices sold by HDFury in the past, but the company's release of the "Integral 4K60 4:4:4 600MHz" is particularly troubling to both Warner Bros. and the creator of DCP because it has the capability of bypassing DCP's HDCP 2.2, the current iteration protection 4K video. That's Netflix and Amazon, if you're wondering.

Cable TV Theft -- 2016 Style

All of this has the scent of cable TV theft that was all the counter-culture rage during the 90s.

Both plaintiffs alleged in their complaint in New York court that the use of a device that strips HDCP encryption in order to display content on a monitor not designed (ahem, intended) to display HD content is illegal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Quite frankly, we don't think this bothers this individual at all.

HDFury's Legal Strategy

Still, the company is not without its legal strategy. Perhaps to cover itself, HDFury has posited that digital rights advocates see the stripping of HDCP from content for use on older devices as nothing more than the exercise of fair use, a theory that both plaintiffs are sure to balk at.

And they wouldn't be completely unjustified in their position. Many years ago, Real (of RealNetworks) pushed for the building of a device that would circumvent copyright protection on DVDs to serve the market under a similar fair use theory. The aim was to move content readily between devices. But when the studios got wind of this, they sued like no other and the judge agreed with the studios that such a produce would be a violation of the DMCA.

Still, so what? Even if lawyers are successful at taking down HDFury's site, another will pop up. People salivate over pirated video -- and supply follows demand. By the way, the HDFury site is back up.

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