Warner Bros. and Intel owned Digital Content Protection have filed a lawsuit in the US federal court against Ohio based Freedom USA and its CEO Alex Sonis for inducing copyright infringement and making anti-circumvention devices that violates the DMCA.
The HDMI cable standard uses the HDCP copy protection method, which was duly cracked way back in 2010. Since then, several devices has appeared on the market that decrypts the HDCP and either allows the recording of the digital video/audio being transmitted, or allows legacy devices that either don't support HDCP or don't have HDMI connectors to be able to be used with newer HDMI only devices.
Freedom USA, who also trades under the names AVADirect and AntaresPro, produces several such devices.
Warner Bros. says that circumventing HDCP hurts demand for legitimate content as the unprotected signal can be copied and shared online. "When HDCP is circumvented, the risk of unauthorized copying and redistribution of the content formerly protected by HDCP is dramatically increased," the studio writes in the complaint, "This damages Warner Bros. because the unauthorized and uncompensated reproduction and distribution of Warner Bros. copyrighted content decreases the demand for such content through legitimate distribution channels, such as home video, video-on-demand, premium broadcast channels and the like."
Warner Bros. and Digital Content Protection, the plaintiffs, want an injunction placed against further sales of Freedom USA's HDCP circumvention devices, and also want the company to pay damages to for any acts of copyright infringement that these devices were responsible for.
For Freedom USA, the expected defense would be based on the Fair Use doctrine, by arguing that these devices allow legacy devices to work with new equipment and this falls under the category of fair use.