Anti-Piracy Tech Pirated By Movie Studio?

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Did Warner Bros. steal technology designed to make it harder for people to steal movies? According to a new lawsuit, the answer may be yes.

Swiss company Medien Patent Verwaltung is suing Warner Bros., Technicolor and Deluxe Entertainment Services for what they claim is unauthorized use by Warners, Technicolor and Deluxe of an anti-piracy code invented and patented by the company. According to the complaint, filed last week, MPV disclosed the technology to Warners in September 2003, under “strict confidentiality,” and less than a month later, Warners directed its European manufacturers to use the technology without permission. In a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter’s THR, Esq. blog, MPV said,

We disclosed our anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. in 2003 at their request, under strict confidentiality, expecting to be treated fairly… Instead, they started using our technology extensively without our permission and without any accounting to us. However, we had taken care to obtain patents to protect MPV’s technology, and we are now in a position where we must assert our rights.

The lawsuit is seeking to not only block usage of the code, but also for financial restitution for damages incurred by the theft. Unsurprisingly, Warners is declining to comment on the lawsuit.