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Macrovision's Maginot Line

22 Jun, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Macrovision Corp. this week heralded its copy protection and digital rights management software products to be officially certified “spyware safe,” according to PC Tools, manufacturer of spyware removal software.

Spyware are programs that surreptitiously monitor computer users' actions, thereby generating user data for marketers and, sometimes, hackers.

The veiled advertorial between Macrovision and PC Tools is no different than law firms sending out pseudo “day-after scenario” press releases touting an “immediate legislative assault” by the losing side of today's potential groundbreaking MGM v. Grokster decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case has been called the Betamax case of the 21st century after an appeals court held that file-sharing services (such as Grokster) have substantial noninfringing uses and, therefore, cannot be held liable for how consumers use them.

The tech companies' symbiotic relationship helps drive software sales and public awareness, while law firms Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP and Brinks, Hofer Gilson & Lione shill for prestige and billable clients on Business Wire.

What is unique about Macrovision, however, is its antipiracy lawsuit filed last week against two manufacturers of software that allegedly infringe on the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's analog copy-protection (ACP) technology.

What you have is a company not unlike the French Maginot Line in World War II.

Named after the Minister of War Andr? Maginot, and built between 1929 and 1940, the Line stretched from Switzerland in the north to the Mediterranean in the south in an attempt to keep the German army at bay.

And for a while, the Line, like ACP copy protection, worked. Then came Hitler, who simply sent troops around and over it (by plane), and soon the Line was as successful thwarting the German army as some say might say ACP is at thwarting illegal DVD copying.

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