321 Studios Shutters Business3 Aug, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner
DVD copying software maker 321 Studios has shuttered its business of making and selling DVD and game copying software, throwing in the towel after years of litigation with movie studios and computer-game companies.
“321 Studios regrets to inform you that it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products,” a message on the company's Web site reads. “Despite 321 Studios' best efforts to remain in business, injunctions entered against 321 Studios by three U.S. Federal courts earlier this year has resulted in 321 Studios no longer being able to continue operating the business.”
In recent weeks, CEO Robert Moore was mulling whether to seek federal bankruptcy protection to free the company of copyright-related lawsuits. Moore had argued the software let consumers make backup copies of their DVDs and computer games, but the studios contend it is a piracy tool that violates copyright law by letting people copy discs in their entirety.
The company began distributing a “ripper-free” version of its software after federal judges in New York and California barred the company from selling the copying software. The new version did not include the software to descramble movies.
The latest blow came Thursday, when a federal judge in New York granted computer game makers Atari Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. and Vivendi Universal Games Inc.'s request to bar the company from selling its game-copying software.
The company has ceased providing tech support for its products, and has asked creditors to submit invoices by the end of the month.