How Do You Pirate Anti-Piracy Technology? Ask Warner Brothers.
Medien Patent Verwaltung has brought forth a claim alleging that Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. stole anti-piracy software to be used in the distribution of films. Medien is a Swiss corporation that created a method of placing a specialized audio code inside the soundtrack of each film distributed. Since pirates cannot eliminate the soundtrack from the recording, the code is attached to every illegal copy made. Medien (or any other user of the technology) would then be able to find the code in the copy and track it to the theater where the film was originally distributed. According to the complaint, this technology would save the film industry almost six billion dollars a year in profits. Medien alleges that Warner Brothers liked the savings so much that they stole the technology.
The piracy allegedly occurred after a meeting between the two parties in Europe in 2003. Medien disclosed its invention to Warner Bros.. Medien supposedly made it clear to Warner Bros. that the technology was patented, but Warner Bros. began to implement use of the technology almost immediately. The complaint says that thousands of films were made with the stolen technology since that meeting, and Medien has asked for relief.
There is only one problem with the complaint, however. Medien is alleging violation of patent number 7,187,633. The complaint refers to this patent as “Motion Picture and Anti-Piracy Coding.” However, the patent’s actual title is “Marking of a Data Medium Material for Information Intended for Reproduction.” The patent title referred to throughout the complaint is the name of a patent owned by (you had to see this coming) Warner Brothers. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to catch this, and Medien’s lawyers are supposedly filing an amended complaint.
By Mark Tratos