As Hollywood and the music industry step up their efforts to combat piracy, so, too, is the video game industry. Leading producers of interactive entertainment are asking the courts to ban the sale of 321 Studios’ Games X Copy, a software application that cracks the copy protection systems used by publishers.
Atari, Electronic Arts and Vivendi Universal Games filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, contending that 321 Studios’ software is illegal because it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing technological protection measures designed to prevent piracy.
“Masquerading as a consumer friendly tool, 321 Studios’ software is, in truth, really nothing more than a device to facilitate the illegal copying of games,” says Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “Game-copying software like Games X Copy, as well as other circumvention tools, cause entertainment software publishers irreparable harm," he continues. “The creation and distribution of video games involves tremendous investments of time, resources and creativity, with a typical top video game costing an average of $5 million to $10 million to create and market.”
321 Studios was recently enjoined by federal courts in three similar cases for creating and distributing DVD-copying software.