321 Studios says DMCA ruling is unconstitutional.

A Missouri maker of DVD-copying products says it has appealed a pair of federal court rulings that it stop making and marketing its software.

321 Studios Inc., based in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, filed the appeals in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California and the 2nd U.S. Circuit appellate court in New York.

Federal judges in both states ordered 321 in recent weeks to stop marketing the software, siding with Hollywood studios that contended the DVD-copying products violate the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law bars circumvention of anti-piracy measures used to protect DVDs.

Since those rulings, 321 has shipped retooled versions of the DVD-copying products, removing a built-in tool for descrambling movies.

The company contends its products merely guarantee consumers fair use of the movies they've bought, including backing up expensive copies of children's movies in case the originals get scratched.

In both appeals, which include requests that the court rulings be stayed, 321 argues that the DMCA is unconstitutional and illegally extends copyright protections.

The company also insists that the New York injunction is inconsistent with a federal court ruling that found the DCMA did not forbid the sale of a universal garage-door-opener remote control though it bypassed encryption.

In that case, 321 said, a judge "upheld the garage owner's right to open his own garage door, and 321 similarly argues that lawful purchasers of DVDs have the inherent right to unlock their DVD's encryption to access the DVD's contents."

Messages left with the Motion Picture Association of America were not immediately returned.

321 Studios says it has sold a million copies of the in-question products DVD Copy Plus and DVD X Copy nationwide, and that it likely would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars destroying the versions with the descrambling tool built in.

Hearings are scheduled for April 13 in the New York case and for June 18 in the California one.

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