Kaleidescape Trial: The Prosecution Rests

March 26, 2007

KaleidescapeFollowing up on the now two-year old Kaleidescape lawsuit, for those of you unfamiliar with the Kaleidescape system, in a nut-shell it’s a high-end (gross understatement there as they can go for upwards of 30k) movie server system that allows you to archive your entire DVD collection onto one central server, with full-resolution playback anywhere in the house. What really separated Kaleidescape from the DVD changer market is their gorgeous user interface, think AppleTV to the Nth degree.

On Friday, March 23 the DVD-CCA (Copy Control Association) supplied the evidence for their claim that Kaleidescape has violated the DVD copy control license and did it knowingly. The DVD-CCA lawyers supplied emails and meeting notes from Cheena Srinivasan, the chief operating officer and co-founder of Kaleidescape, in which he expressed concerns that their system violated the CSS license. The CSS, Content Scramble System, is a method used to encrypt video and audio data on DVD’s in which the DVD-CCA, a group which is run by a board consisting of undisclosed movie studios, consumer and computer companies, regulates the license of.

Srinivasan was concerned about the possible violation of the CSS license because their Kaleidescape system does not require a physical DVD to play back a movie, which in turn can open the door to letting users make copies of rented or borrowed disks. While on the stand he also suggested that the license agreement is sometimes confusing, complex, and that there is no help from the DVD-CCA or other company in order to verify compliance. The DVD-CCA maintains the stance that licensees are expected to take responsibility for their own compliance to the spec.

What doesn’t make sense to me regarding this lawsuit is, if the DVD-CCA knew anything at all about what the Kaleidescape system is actually used for, then why would the DVD-CCA let Kaleidescape sign an agreement, just so they can turn around and sue them? “The DVD-CCA is not seeking monetary damages, but is asking Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols to force the company to change the design of its system or stop selling it.”

In the end I expect this trial may not garner much attention in the mainstream press but its implications could play a hand in redefining our electronic landscape. What we have here is a convoluted mess of contractual agreements, the perhaps naive assumption that higher courts will view earlier decisions by lower courts in the same way and a thorny cocktail of implied breach of contract with a splash of fair use.

I say a splash of fair use because I could find no evidence of the MPAA taking the DVD-CCA up on their offer to join in the suit. This would appear (admittedly from afar) to really boil down to a hardware manufacturer squabble, with one side insisting the other isn’t playing by the rules; oddly enough, Kaleidescape may prevail with that very rule-set. We’ll have a better idea on that once the prosecution rests (today) and Kaleidescape begins to lay out their defense.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Media Servers


Comments

  • Fresh K

    does anyone actually know which font they use in their GUI. sort of been looking for it.

  • Fresh K

    does anyone actually know which font they use in their GUI. sort of been looking for it.

  • B.Greenway

    lol Ben, “What part, the boring square menus or the ugliest font in the world?”

    That’s sort of like “Do You Still Beat Your Wife?”

    I guess UI’s and GUI’s are like anything else when it comes to aesthetics, they either tickle your fancy or they don’t.

    I suppose in this case I love both the boring square menus and the ugliest font in the world, but more importantly how seamlessly it all flows together.

  • B.Greenway

    lol Ben, “What part, the boring square menus or the ugliest font in the world?”

    That’s sort of like “Do You Still Beat Your Wife?”

    I guess UI’s and GUI’s are like anything else when it comes to aesthetics, they either tickle your fancy or they don’t.

    I suppose in this case I love both the boring square menus and the ugliest font in the world, but more importantly how seamlessly it all flows together.

  • Carlton Bale

    Kaleidescape has the best user interface I’ve ever seen. This legal issue is idiotic, highlighting how technologically backwards the movie industry is. No wonder bit torrent downloads are thriving – every attempting-to-be-legal option is being eliminated.

    Why must the movie industry take the approach of inconveniencing their customers as much as possible? No backups of movies you own, being forced to watch commercials on movies you own — this is no way to treat a customer.

  • Carlton Bale

    Kaleidescape has the best user interface I’ve ever seen. This legal issue is idiotic, highlighting how technologically backwards the movie industry is. No wonder bit torrent downloads are thriving – every attempting-to-be-legal option is being eliminated.

    Why must the movie industry take the approach of inconveniencing their customers as much as possible? No backups of movies you own, being forced to watch commercials on movies you own — this is no way to treat a customer.

  • Ben Drawbaugh

    You think the UI looks good?
    What part, the boring square menus or the ugliest font in the world?

    It looks like it was designed by a programmer. The only thing that is nice is the movie art and the snappy responsiveness.

    Either way I hope they win, regardless of their overpriced hardware, I think people should be able to create easily access libraries of their content.

  • Ben Drawbaugh

    You think the UI looks good?
    What part, the boring square menus or the ugliest font in the world?

    It looks like it was designed by a programmer. The only thing that is nice is the movie art and the snappy responsiveness.

    Either way I hope they win, regardless of their overpriced hardware, I think people should be able to create easily access libraries of their content.

  • B.Greenway

    My thinking as well Jonathan but their probably more concerned about down the road when this type of device (even from another manufacturer) becomes more mainstream.

    But in all likelihood digital downloads would be more prevalent by then, rendering it again a moot point.

  • B.Greenway

    My thinking as well Jonathan but their probably more concerned about down the road when this type of device (even from another manufacturer) becomes more mainstream.

    But in all likelihood digital downloads would be more prevalent by then, rendering it again a moot point.

  • Jonathan Greene

    As if people who can afford a 30K+ video server will be stealing DVDs… the whole thing is ridiculous.

  • Jonathan Greene

    As if people who can afford a 30K+ video server will be stealing DVDs… the whole thing is ridiculous.