A Superior Court judge here has ordered Fremont, Calif.-based ESS Technology Inc. to stop selling descrambling chips that allow for the illegal copying of DVDs.

LOS ANGELES -- A Superior Court judge here has ordered Fremont, Calif.-based ESS Technology Inc. to stop selling descrambling chips that allow for the illegal copying of DVDs.

The preliminary injunction -- handed down July 26 by Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis -- stems from a lawsuit that the seven major motion-picture studios filed against ESS in April. The studios claimed that chips from ESS, when sold to unauthorized manufacturers whose products allow for DVD copying, violate the studios' license for the Content Scramble System (CSS) technology that protects DVDs.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) supports the ruling.

"By selling chips to unlicensed manufacturers, ESS was effectively enabling wholesale piracy, facilitating unauthorized copies of DVDs that make their way onto the Internet and into the hands of pirates around the world," says Dan Robbins, the MPAA's chief technology counsel, in a statement.

An ESS representative declined to comment on the ruling.

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