Warner Bros. is notorious for its attempts to squash piracy, which have included suing popular music search sites and hiring interns whose sole purpose is to find pirated content and issue takedown notices. The company also began embedding each film distributed to theaters and critics with a unique identifier, so that Warner could trace leaked and pirated movies back to their source. But, in a piece of delicious irony, it seems that Warner Bros. may have actually stolen this technology from a German company called Medien Patent Verwaltung (MPV).
According to a complaint filed by MPV, the company demoed its anti-piracy tech for the film distributor at Warner Bros.’ invitation in 2003. MPV claims that Warner then began using its technology in 2004 without its permission. A suit has now been filed in New York that seeks to prevent Warner Bros. from using the anti-piracy coding on future film prints, and attempts to collect financial damages incurred from the patent violation. If it turns out that Warner did steal its anti-piracy technology, you can bet it will be one of the biggest stories of the year. After all, pirating anti-piracy tech makes for a great headline. [From: The Hollywood Reporter, via: Techland]