It happens often enough: a smaller company is accused of something by a bigger company, the smaller company is sued, and suddenly, you don’t hear anything about the smaller company anymore. In this case, the smaller company is doing its best to fight back.
Earlier this year, LegendSky, the maker of the HDFury — a small box that downgrades newer versions of HDCP copy protection to the older HDCP 1.4 version — was sued by Warner Bros. and Digital Content Protection (DCP), a child company of Intel. The accusation was that the HDFury was being used to pirate 4K content, as 4K rips began appearing on the Internet shortly after the HDFury became available, and that LegendSky was violating the DMCA with its device.
LegendSky, for its part, says that as mentioned above, the HDFury merely downgrades the HDCP version – something that is permitted by the DMCA as long as it isn’t used to connect two separate computer programs. Now, the company has filed several counterclaims against both Warner Bros. and DCP, TorrentFreak reports. LegendSky is demanding compensation for damages suffered and accusing DCP of defamation and monopolization.
“Plaintiffs’ Complaint is a sham,” the LegendSky counterclaim reads. “They know, or should know, that Plaintiff DCP’s licensees, including Netflix, use HDFury Devices to convert newer to older versions of HDCP so as to enable interoperability between devices.”
In addition to Netflix, LegendSky says that other companies like CBS, Disney, and NBC have purchased HDFury devices, and are using them for legitimate and legal purposes.
“Plaintiffs have, either directly or indirectly, made knowing false statements of fact to third parties wherein they have painted Defendant as a criminal enterprise releasing the HDFury Devices with no other intent than to steal and pirate copyrighted materials,” the counterclaim reads.
How Warner Bros. and DCP will respond remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch this case unfold. While LegendSky is correct in asserting that there are completely legitimate uses for downgrading HDCP, it can also be used to facilitate piracy. Then again, so could VHS decks, and those managed to survive for quite a long time.