Macrovision Corporation is a globally-operating, U.S.-based company that develops and markets licensing, access control, and secure distribution technologies for electronically delivered creative works. This includes digital media (video, music), web publishing (text, images), and computer software (consumer software, enterprise software, and video games). The name is also sometimes used to refer to certain video copy prevention schemes developed by that company early in its history. Its customers include the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as most major movie studios, record labels, PC video game publishers, ISVs, consumer electronic device manufacturers, and IC manufacturers.
The recent proliferation of cheap DVD recorders has presented a major setback to vendors of DVD anti-copying systems, because one can make an excellent quality dub by linking a DVD player to a DVD recorder via S-video and disabling the anti-copy system with an inexpensive Macrovision removal box . One can freely copy such a dub. Although it does not have the menu structure of the original DVD release, many users consider that an improvement, since in many cases it means that the entire feature (stripped of all the "extras") can fit uncompressed on a single-layer disc. It also means one can watch the movie without having to view multiple previews or several seconds of unskippable corporate logos and copyright warnings.
Historically, the original Macrovision technology was considered a nuisance to some specialist users because it could interfere with other electronic equipment. For example, if one were to run their video signal through a VCR before the television, some VCRs will output a ruined signal regardless of whether it is recording. This also occurs in some TV-VCR combo sets. Apart from this, many DVD recorders mistake the mechanical instability of worn videotapes for Macrovision signals, and so refuse to make what would be perfectly legal DVD dubs of people's old home movies and the like. This widespread problem provides a legitimate basis for the sale of devices that defeat Macrovision. The signal has also been known to confuse home theater line doublers (devices for improving the quality of video for large projection TVs) and some high-end television comb filters. In addition, Macrovision confuses many upconverters (devices that convert a video signal to a higher resolution), causing them to shut down and refuse to play Macrovision content.
Some DVD players give the user the option of disabling the Macrovision technology. This is possible since the signal is not stored on the DVD itself; instead commercial DVDs contain an instruction to the player to create such a signal during playback. Some DVD players can be configured to ignore such instructions.
There are also devices called stabilizers, video stabilizers or enhancers available that filter out the Macrovision spikes and thereby defeat the system. The principle of their function lies in detecting the vertical synchronization signal, and forcing the lines occurring during the vertical blanking interval to black level, removing the AGC-confusing pulses. They can be easily built by hobbyists, as nothing more than a cheap microcontroller together with an analog multiplexer and a little other circuitry is needed. Individuals less experienced with such things can purchase video stabilizers off the Internet. The best device for defeating Macrovision is a Time Base Corrector (TBC), although they are more expensive than the simpler video stabilizers.
Discs made with DVD copying programs such as DVD Shrink automatically disable any Macrovision copy prevention. USB-based video interfaces designed to allow DVD recording on PCs are legally required to detect the presence of Macrovision signals on any analog signals input to them, and if so, inhibit the recording.
The MPAA maintains it has every right to limit copying of movies, comparing DVDs to pay-per-view where the consumer is allowed to view the movie in question but nothing more. Many are concerned that the organization is attempting to quash fair use by disallowing consumers to make personal copies.
On the other hand the ease with which Macrovision and other copy-prevention measures can be defeated has prompted a steadily growing number of DVD releases that do not have copy prevention of any kind, CSS or Macrovision.
United States fair use law, as interpreted in the decision over Betamax (Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios), dictates that consumers are fully within their legal rights to copy videos they own. However, the legality has changed somewhat with the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. After April 26 2002, no VCR may be manufactured or imported without Automatic Gain Control circuitry (which renders VCRs vulnerable to Macrovision). This is contained in title 17, section 1201(k) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, there are a number of mostly older VCR models on the market that are not affected by Macrovision.
On October 26 2001, the sale, purchase, or manufacture of any device that has no commercial purpose other than disabling Macrovision copy prevention was made illegal under section 1201(a) of the same controversial act.
In June 2005, Macrovision sent a cease and desist letter to "Lightning UK!", the maker of DVD Decrypter, a program that allows users to backup their DVDs by bypassing CSS and Macrovision. They later acquired the rights to this software and withdrew it from circulation on the internet.
In June 2005, Macrovision sued Sima Products under section 1201 of the DMCA, claiming that Sima's video processors provided a way to circumvent Macrovision's analog content protection (ACP). As of June 2006, Sima received an injunction barring the sale of this device, while the court proceedings continue.
TotalPlay, formerly called Cactus Data Shield (CDS) is a form of copy control for audio compact discs developed by Midbar Tech, now owned by Macrovision. There are several types, commonly described as CDS100, CDS200 and CDS300. However, there are about seven subtly different versions of CDS200. CDS200 discs are usually labeled as 'copy controlled' (CCCD). (They are officially not designated CDs). CDS300 discs are labeled as 'content protected'. CDS300 discs cannot be ripped by iTunes in particular. However, they contain copies of the music in low bit-rate WMA format, which can be burned to a CD no more than three times.
CDS300 was rebranded Totalplay in 2005 and contained a Windows CD software driver that denied access to the audio portion of the music disc. Apple computers were immune to CDS300. However, it could still be copied on the Windows platform by using the Musicmatch player and others.
CDS100 is incompatible with many CD players, particularly car CD players, which generated negative press around 2002. The company claims this was fixed in (modern versions of) CDS200.
Macrovision Licenses Its G-GUIDE Mobile and Related Intellectual Property for One-Segment Broadcasting to Japan's Three Major Mobile Phone Operators.
Jun 09, 2009; Macrovision Solutions Corporation (NASDAQ:MVSN) announced that it has now licensed its intellectual property related to...