Lawsuit over 4K Content Protection Stripper Settled Out of Court

Published: May 6, 2016 9:15 PM /


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Last year, 4K content from Netflix and Amazon was leaked by pirates for the first time. This came as a shock to those who believed High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection(HDCP) which protected 4K streams was uncrackable. The HDFury device, which was created by Chinese manufacturer LegendSky, was believed to be responsible for enabling these leaks. As a result, Warner Brothers and Digital Content Protection(DCP), a subsidiary of Intel, filed a lawsuit against LegendSky. They claimed the devices violated the DMCA because it violated copyright protection measures.

LegendSky argued that the device did not strip any copyright protection, it merely downgraded it to a lower version, something which LegendSky claims is permitted by the DMCA. LegendSky also countersued for defamation, because the two plaintiffs had characterized the HDFury as a piracy device. The company claims the device is not intended for piracy but has many legitimate uses.  HDCP licensees like Netflix and Disney have purchased the devices for legitimate purposes.

It now appears that the dispute has been settled out of court, although details of the settlement have not been made public. Court documents only show a statement signed by both sides that all claims and counterclaims have been dropped. However, a statement by LegendSky to its customers gives some hint as to what the settlement entailed. In an email, the company informed customers that several products would no longer be available for purchase due to a settlement the company had reached.

The products that were removed have nothing at all to do with 4K content protection. Instead, the products were digital to analog converters. Earlier filings made by DCP informed the court that such devices would be considered infringing under previous rulings. It's not surprising to see LegendSky end the sale of devices which would clearly be considered infringing while leaving up ones which may be acceptable or the legal status is unclear. However, the specific devices which lead to the lawsuit in the first place remain available, making this an apparent defeat for Warner Brothers and DCP.

Is LegendSky infringing copyright by selling these devices? Leave your comment below.

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I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.