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Monday, February 16, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Technology Briefs
321 Studios sells system for copying PC games


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ST. LOUIS — A company whose DVD-copying software prompted copyright and piracy-related lawsuits from Hollywood is expanding into the realm of computer games, rolling out a system that lets game buyers make backup copies.

With 321 Studios' Games X Copy software, launched last weekend, users can burn PC games onto a hard drive, CD or DVD. The company says parents requested those options to safeguard original discs from rough-and-tumble handling by young gamers.

Games X Copy — fetching $60 at www.dvdxcopy.com — creates four "virtual drives" on a hard drive, letting the user play multidisc games without the interruption of inserting different discs. No compression is used, making the backup a true one-to-one disc conversion.

The company hopes to sidestep the cloud that has shadowed its DVD-copying software, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The movie industry claims the software facilitates copyright infringement and piracy.

"We feel we have a much stronger case with Games X Copy," said Julia Bishop-Cross, a 321 spokeswoman. "PC games are widely recognized as software, and with software there's a legal precedent set that you can make backup copies."

Analysts agreed — though there are some restrictions, including that consumers can't sell a backup copy unless they sell the original with it, said Keith Kupferschmid, vice president of intellectual property policy for the Software and Information Industry Association.

The company is being sued by Hollywood movie studios that argue that DVD X Copy violates the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Internet users don't click — on online ads, at least

Only four people out of a thousand clicked through on Internet ads in the fourth quarter, according to DoubleClick. The Web marketing firm said data showed the rate was down 45 percent from a year ago. DoubleClick said the number of ads it served was 203.8 billion, a 43 percent increase from a year ago.
 
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"The data showed rates continue to decline, which likely reflects a maturation of the industry and dramatically increased volumes, but also that many marketers have goals beyond direct response," such as image and branding, said Doug Knopper, senior vice president and general manager, advertiser & publisher solutions at DoubleClick.

Whitehouse.com domain for sale, is porn site now

The man who owns Whitehouse.com wants to come clean.

The site is visited monthly by as many as 2 million people, many of whom are surprised to find it is a portal for adult entertainment. The "real" White House Web site is Whitehouse.gov.

Dan Parisi said he created the site to be "a place for uncensored discussion on governmental policies."

He announced last week that he is putting the domain name up for sale.

The domain is currently licensed to a European firm, which has a home page proclaiming the site to be the worldwide leader in adult and political entertainment. "Our candidates are better looking," it adds.

Sun Microsystems buying

privately held Kealia

LOS ANGELES — Sun Microsystems, whose server computers run corporate networks and Web sites, said it will acquire privately held Kealia for stock, getting Kealia's advanced server technology.

Kealia was co-founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, who was a founder of Sun. The price wasn't revealed.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services and Bloomberg News

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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