Warner Bros accused of pirating anti-piracy software

Hollywood movie studio Warner Brothers Pictures is accused of using stolen anti-piracy technology, and the German technology company Medient Patent Verwaltung plans to take them to court to recover lost revenue.

Warner Bros. first received a demonstration of the technology in 2003, which embeds custom tracking code in pirated films so that they can be traced, and started using the software in Europe a year later.

Warner Bros accused of pirating anti-piracy software

“We disclosed our anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. in 2003 at their request, under strict confidentiality, expecting to be treated fairly,” according to a statement.  “Instead, they started using our technology extensively without our permission and without any accounting to us.”

Warner Bros. hasn’t responded to the media reports, although it appears MPV listed the wrong patent in its lawsuit filing.  In the lawsuit, MPV cites patent 7,187,633, the “Motion Picture and Anti-Piracy Coding” has been infringed upon, but The Hollywood Reporter discovered that patent is owned by Warner Bros.

However, even though MPV cited the wrong patent, the filing will be amended and the company will move on with its legal action.  It’s unknown how much MPV seeks in monetary damages, but the company also wants Warner Bros. to halt the use of the allegedly stolen software until payments are made.

It’s an ironic twist since the company has stepped up its anti-piracy campaign against accused movie pirates.  Warner Bros. has worked hard to crack down on piracy, with the company reportedly using interns to spy on file sharers.

I’m unsure if Warner Bros. is at fault here — and will wait for the court to issue a ruling — but this wouldn’t be the first case such as this if Warner is found guilty. There have been other reports of companies trying to punish pirates while also using pirated software themselves.