SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a long running legal battle, a California court upheld an injunction banning sales of a home server from Kaleidescape. The decision delivers a heavy blow to the company’s digital media system but is largely irrelevant to an industry that has moved on to cloud-based video services.
Judge William J. Monahan of the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County ruled Kaleidescape violates a contract with the DVD Copy Control Association by allowing its system to make and store digital copies of DVDs on a hard drive. He issued and upheld an injunction on the systems, decisions Kaleidescape likely will appeal.
For its part, Kaleidescape claims its customers must agree to copy only the DVDs that they own, an agreement they must reaffirm each time they copy a disk to the system's hard drive. The systems identify rental discs and prevent them from being copied, the company said
“We have always believed, and continue to believe, that our products comply with the CSS license agreement, and in court we will continue to fight the DVD CCA's allegations to the contrary," said Michael Malcolm, Kaleidescape's chief executive.
The decision does not impact the Kaleidescape System for Blu-ray Discs and CDs. "Blu-ray continues to provide the best audio fidelity and video quality for a home theater," said a company spokesman.
Meanwhile technology and the rest of the industry has moved on.
Apple’s iTunes, Netflix and Amazon and other services have become primary sources of digital video, effectively making DVDs obsolete. In recognition of that fact, Apple pioneered a line of thin MacBook Air notebooks and iPad tablets without disk players. Android proponents and Intel have followed suit with diskless tablets and ultrabooks.
In this environment the top legal issue is enforcing a line between legitimate and pirated online video services. The pirated services typically use the Internet’s ability to cross national boundaries, challenging enforcement efforts. Thus the focus today has turned to creating international legal structures to address online piracy, largely in peer-to-peer networking services.
The good news is in the years of the Kaleidscape battle tensions between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over digital media have eased. The struggle today is less over getting access to digital media and more over ease of use of the services across multiple devices from smartphones to flat-screen TVs.
In this battleground the issues are less legal ones and have more to do with intelligent software that manages security keys and content presentation across different platforms.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.