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Crackdowns, Fools and the MPAA 346

werdna was one of many to submit a Motley Fool column which takes the MPAA to task, neatly summarizing the events to date. But the best DVD story so far has to be this Linux Journal article, Crackers and Crackdowns. The author has some personal experience with crackdowns, and offers tips on what you can do to fight them.
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Crackdowns, Fools and the MPAA

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  • Let's ignore the expense and difficulty of this step for the moment. The plaitiffs are out there portraying the defendants as pirates. If we walk into court and demonstrate piracy, then we make the plaintiff's case for them.

    The case is not about piracy. To address that is to fall into the trap that the DVD CCA and the MPAA have placed. The case is about fair use and freedom within the context of respect for the principles of copyright. The only demonstration that needs to be done is to play a DVD on a Linux system.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2000 @06:11AM (#1329810)
    W.r.t. the movies...hmm..pretty centralized industry there - are we strong enough to go to no movies? Or are there independent alternatives that we can support instead.?

    Somehow we grovelled through several thousand years without movies prior to their invention around 100 years ago. I'm sure we can do without them again.

    But it may not be necessary. Here's how to really hurt the MPAA in the long run: Work on tools and technologies that decrease the upfront investment required to make and distribute a movie. Cheaper and better cameras and lighting equipment. Digital storage and projection technologies that make it less expensive to create and distribute 'prints' of a film to theaters. When the advantages that money can buy diminish, the power of large companies that can muster enormous financial resources diminishes, as well. I don't see large movie production companies being rendered as thoroughly irrelevant as large record companies probably will. But certainly some of the wind will be taken from their sails.

  • Not only is JWZ right on target, there's the other factor to consider.

    Suppose everyone boycotts DVDs and it DOES work. Sales plummet. What will MPAA announce? "Sales are down x% since the eeeevil pirating program DeCSS was released. Obviously everyone's pirating now, and for the good of the world we must put Johansen on death row!". It's just like the RIAA's announcement last year when 1998 record sales were down the MP3s were responsible. That rhetoric's nowhere to be found now that 1999 CD sales hit an all-time high.
  • The Motely Fool isn't the only investor's info source to cover this. The Wall Street Journal had an article on the situation, including quotes from Chris DiBona, last week.
  • RIAA's members "create" (publish) or manufacture or distribute 90% of the recorded music in the USA.

    What is left? Can anyone name some of the 10% of albums neither published, stamped, or distributed by RIAA members?
  • >I propose democracy, and a wealth limit. A high
    >one, say $25million (US).

    So people like Michael Dell just have to up and retire when his assets hit $25 million, and Dell computers would have to be liquidated. No company run by its founder can grow beyond $25 million in value. The guy who founded "Virgin airways" should never have had a chance to found "virgin games" or any of the dozens of other companies.

    And of course the people who have proven themselves successful at creating and running profitable companies should by no means be allowed to continue doing it. All companies should lose money, or at best break even.

    Like most simple utopian strategies, this betrays a profound a vivid lack of understanding of the situation. (Communism, case in point.)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2000 @06:20AM (#1329816)

    Has anyone here actually *read* the transcript from the New York hearing? The judge wasn't nearly as biased as he's being portrayed; a couple of really good points got made. The EFF lawyers actually infuriated the judge by not addressing the complaints of the suit directly.

    The injunction was regarding the actual Windows program called "DeCSS", NOT the css-auth code, the algorithm whitepaper or any LiVid code. The judge himself says outright that "programming notes" are not being acted against in any way, and that he has no evidence that non-Windows clients even exist.

    The secondary issue of controlled playback is being handled as exactly that - a secondary issue. The real issue here is the right to reverse engineer, and whether or not specific permission from the copyright owner is required to do so. *That* was the point that Ms. Gross and the EFF failed to address, and what pissed the judge off.

    The most important point, though, is that this isn't a case of copyright infringement. It's a case of DMCA infringement under the "reverse engineering" and "copy protection circumvention" sections. This is a very important point.

    Finally, the "giving them a runaway train" comment never in fact happened. The actual quote was:

    "I do bear in mind the defendants' interest in speed here and in avoiding a prolonged duration for the preliminary injunction, and so, within the limits of my schedule, which is pretty clear at the moment, you can have a trial pretty near whenever you want.

    So when do you want your trial? I think I'm free to start Tuesday."

    Page 79, lines 23-25, and page 80, 1-4.

    Read the transcript yourself at [].

    The email mirror at is still operational. Email a request for code, a mirror list or the whitepaper detailing how the algorithm is done. All emails will be deleted from the mailbox after the packages have been sent.

  • If the MPAA succeeds, they could simply Subpoena the list.

    A better solution would be for every one to get [] DeCSS(This is just the windows exe), and if worse comes to worse, pass it along individually to every one you know.

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • I find it amazing that people could be so blind, so steeped in doublethink as to not only believe that DeCSS is can only be used to play movies in Linux, but to outright attack anything that doesn't conform to whatever it is they choose to believe.

    You've been called a Troll because you misrepresent what is being said here.

    No one here thinks or says that DeCSS can only be used to play movies. The comments that you have misread are that the or intent of the writers of DeCSS was to help design a DVD player for Linux. Other comments that you misread say correctly that it is economically foolish to use DeCSS for piracy. I suppose you can reencode it as a VCD and (illegally) pass it around, but why would you want to? CVD has terrible quality. You get better results by defeating the Macrovision and recording the movie on a VCR.

    I've already posted that DeCSS should be allowed to die because it has fufilled its purpose and that css-auth should be mirrored, but the legal case against DeCSS needs to be defended because css-auth derives from it.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • Tell me which sounds better:

    1. CSS was cracked because we were incompetent
    2. The evil h4x0r5 have cracked our code, and are out to steal our property!!!

    Two, beyond a doubt. You see, this was began by Xing but the blame would also fall on the DVD cartel because it was their gross incompetence that made the cracking so easy. If they were using a decent encryption algorythm, we most likely would still only have Xing's key, which could easily be removed from future movie releases. The fact that they used 40-bit encryption (that can be brute forced in less than eighteen seconds on an average desktop system) is what made brute-forcing the remaining keys so easy. There is going to be a lot of ass-covering going on as they attempt to shift the blame to evil pirates.

  • the MPAA is the motion picture Assoc. of america. The MPA is the Motion Picture Assoc. Got to [] to find out more

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • The masses seem to be content with media being force fed to them by 20-second sound bytes and corporations that (for example) are capable of manufacturing, recording, distributing, and playing the music of an entertainer (for lack of a better word) under one corporate roof.

    I was content too, until I grokked the 'Net and learned how to scavenge, gather, and interpret my own information. I think the best course of action is to make sure we continue to have an open and free media source. As more people move to it, the chances for education improve tremendously.

    Don't forget the powerful of personal involvement either. I can't count the number of "real" conversations I've had about a wide variety of Internet issues. In almost every instance I have to educate them on what the issue is before I can go into my spiel about what it means. It takes time, patience, and empathy to overcome ignorance and apathy. Be patient, but never stop pushing.
  • Judging by your copying philosophies, you must not produce software or any other information form, because you'd just give it away.

    You mean like linux?

    If I slaved away on a book for 2 years, I would be pissed as hell if the whole world copied it for free.

    Well, I wouldn't If the whole world was copying my book, and millions, billions, of people were reading it, I'd be pretty fucking happy. But thats just me.

    Anyway, the reason that we do this is altruism. We don't care about the record/movie companies, but we do care about are frends. Also by trading mp3s/warez/moviez we get more in return. I hope this answers your question.

    Although some people belive in the Ayn Rand Capitalist Utopia, others do not.

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • is it like the cluetrain []?
  • Remember, a EULA does NOT have the force of a law. You can not be prosecuted in a criminal court for violatin a EULA. At least no according to the law. It's an entirely civil matter known as Breach of Contract. And that's VERY VERY VERY difficult to prove with a EULA as there is no way of knowing that the person every saw the license agreement. Especially if the software was preinstalled on their system. It's illegal to ask someone to agree to something without letting them see it, so there can't just be a 'You agree to all EULA's of any software installed on this system' clause in the purchase of the machine.
    So no, you can not prosecute someone as a criminal because they violated your EULA, and in fact you can't prosecute someone under 18 for violating your EULA at ALL as they are not of age to enter into a binding contract.

  • I read the transcript of the ruling cover to cover and while the judge is certainly predisposed against the defendants, the defendants lawyers did a very poor job of presenting their case. They are relying on some pretty subtle nuiances of the law as their defense. To the layman reading the law, the decss program does indeed seem to be in obvious violation, and let's face it, contrary to his statement that he is not a moron, the judge clearly knows nothing about the internet. He did not even understand the distinction between linking and posting. Furthermore, he clearly did not want to spend the time to become educated on these issues.

    That said, I did find a big loophole that the judge left wide open. He made it VERY clear that the programmer's notes (in this case source-code comments) we clearly protected speech. I have reviewed the DeCSS source code and it is a fairly simple short piece of code. I would think that some programmer out there could write 'enhanced' comments that described everything the code was doing to the point that it would allow somebody reading said comments to reproduce the program.

    The 'code comments' could then be posted prominently on any website without fear of being sued. I have not quite figured out how the keys could be described without it looking like code.

    That said, all it will do is preserve the knowledge, ultimately we will need the right to distribute the executable for our goals to be practically met.
  • Actually, I think that boycotts *often* work, but
    the myth that they don't is suprisingly wide spread.

    Just in the last few years: _Global Exchange_
    (a small non-profit with a few dozen employees)
    led a boycott against the Nike corporation, and
    Nike did ultimately back down (they've now
    instituted minimum age hiring practices, etc.).

    More recently, the same suspects started going
    after the Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic because
    of the way they're running their operation in
    Saipan (briefly: conning women from Asian into
    indentured servitude). Soon thereafter, I noticed
    in article in the business pages about how the
    Gap's sales had gone flat. Notably this article
    proposed a number of possible causes for this,
    but didn't mention the boycott...

    In any case, I think the chief barrier to getting
    a boycott to work in this place is coming up
    with a short, simple explanation of the issues.
    It's obvious to *us* that this is bullshit,
    but how do you make it obvious to everyone?
    What's the slogan?

  • Linux hackers wanted to play DVDs on their Linux boxes...

    That's exactly how I see it. I own a great DVD library, but the lack of DVD support in Linux has kept me dual-booting with Win 2000 on my personal machine.

    To MPAA et al.: I'll stop using DeCSS the minute I find a complete Linux DVD solution.

    I've searched high and low, checking recent distributions, to no avail. I just put on Mandrake 7 (finally with USB mouse support! Yeah!) and I noticed it installed a DVD player, but it seems it's just not in the cards quite yet.

  • Some people believe that it is economically unfeasible to pirate a DVD at full quality. And yes this is probably true right now. However, with better (wavelet?) compression, fatter pipes, and bigger hard drives, in the future it will not be.

    I've read through all the source I could get my hands on, but I wasn't sure if what I was looking at was DeCSS or css-auth. The source files said 'css-auth.c' and css-auth.h' etc, so I'm not sure. Is this [] css-auth, or DeCSS? (or is css-auth just a part of LiViD)?

    And as for pirating VCDs, trust me, its happening. I got a copy of American Pie 3 weeks before it came out in theaters. I got my 'good' copy of the matrix about a month before the DVD release. A friend of mine, who at the time still had an analog modem would go to public computer labs and span the files on 10 or so zip disks. Go to #vcd on efnet and tell me then that it isn't happening.

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • Jon and his group MoRE (Masters of Reverse Engineering) managed to break the encryption scheme, apparently intercepting the data as it passed through a piece of hardware unencrypted(due partially to a design error on the part of the hardware manufacturer)

    go after them, they are the ones that were originally trusted w/the information and screwed up.

    they are just trying to make an example of him. get a life MPAA.
  • This was a very good summary of the events so far. But it makes me feel better for one reason and for one reason only: The MPAA/CCA does not have the Motley Fool, a bunch of investors, under their spell. Maybe they're not mainstream media, but it's certainly a start, and a little heartening.

    I like his idea about commoditizing it. You can bet they'll fight tooth and nail. But you know what? I bet that's where it's all headed. And the MPAA/CCA can either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.
  • by Demona ( 7994 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @07:57PM (#1329851) Homepage
    (I apologize for focusing solely on the end-user viewpoint. Chris Johnson has had much insightful stuff to say here lately about the content creator's end of things, and how all this crap that supposedly protects artists screws them just as much as it does the rest of us, if not more.)

    Too many people confuse fascism, oligopoly, mercantilism and fraud with actual fair trade. (A truly free market requires informed consumers, not passive drones; but we cannot force everyone to be equally intelligent, nor expect everyone to be equally desirous to live freely.)

    Groups can never have more rights than the individuals which comprise them -- the individual is the smallest minority. The privileges of a private guild conflict with the inalienable rights of individuals? Too bad; the latter trumps the former.

    A lot of so-called "capitalists" have swallowed the CCA/MPAA lies hook, line and sinker. They think it's about piracy. It's not. What IS it about? A lot of things which can't be easily condensed, as the last few weeks of discussion here have shown. Meanwhile, lots of hackers see "capitalism" as the problem, when it's fascism, mercantilism, oligopoly and the like that they're really upset about -- they just don't realize it.

    You already know the State claims you don't even own yourself? Now private guilds are ready to violate your rights just as thoroughly, and abuse the legal power of the State by using sovereign national's police forces as their enforcement arm. Bouvier's Law Dictionary defines "property" as

    "the sole and despotic dominion which one man exercises over the external things of the world to the total exclusion of every other individual in the universe."
    When you lawfully purchase a DVD, do you really own it? Do you only have the right to expose your eyeballs to its images and ears to its sounds? How far may ownership be abrogated -- and by what process is this happening?

    In the good old days, you were lucky: If you opened the case, all you did was void the warranty. Now, you can be declared a criminal. This harkens back to medieval days, when everyone had "special knowledge" and people were routinely exiled from the guild or killed by its members for revealing the secrets of smithing, healing, or even reading and writing.

    But lawful behavior (fair use, reverse engineering and the like) can never be made unlawful, by any amount of legislation. It can only be declared illegal.

    Of course it's easy to see how capitalism gets its bad name, given the retarded poster children that get all the press. Steve Gilliard once said, "The reason that some of us are more worried about government power than corporate power is that Coca Cola rarely strafes the villages of Pepsi drinkers." Unfortunately, a lot of groups out there seem to be eagerly competing with governments everywhere to see who can violate the rights of the individual more efficiently and thoroughly. Disney and other companies get together to extend copyrights, while every two-bit jackass who throws together a CGI script slaps a patent on it and sues anyone running a web-based store...

    The future, where your only freedom is the freedom to make money (but not too much); where tools like compilers and debuggers are restricted to an elite, privileged and licensed class []; where it doesn't matter whether it's government or a corporation giving you the shaft, because they're fascistically intertwined so thoroughly you can't tell one from the other.

    "Shut up, be happy. The conveniences you demanded are now mandatory."

    Have a nice day, citizen-unit.


    the problem with an information superhighway is that everyone wants to be a traffic cop

  • Rabid capitalist that I am I find myself agreeing with you simply because of the fact that it makes sense. I mean, even in most video games there is a 2 billion dollar limit on the amount of money you can have. So why do we need so much more in real life? I think 25 million is enough to buy an ungodly large home, a couple dozen cars, servants, and anything else you could want. And perhaps at the end of each year an amount of cash equal to the amount over 25 million you are worth would be taken from you and placed in an area of common funds which would be used for road building, and other infrastructure, or perhaps research and development... Who knows... But I imagine taxes would be reduced to almost nothing very quickly given a reasonable group of people in charge. And that would encourage the wealthy to spend money, the more money the wealthy spend the more other people become wealthy. So it's just all good. And I don't think anyone can argue that 25 million isn't enough money....>:)

  • So people like Michael Dell just have to up and retire when his assets hit $25 million, and Dell computers would have to be liquidated. No company run by its founder can grow beyond $25 million in value. The guy who founded "Virgin airways" should never have had a chance to found "virgin games" or any of the dozens of other companies.

    And of course the people who have proven themselves successful at creating and running profitable companies should by no means be allowed to continue doing it. All companies should lose money, or at best break even.

    Like most simple utopian strategies, this betrays a profound a vivid lack of understanding of the situation. (Communism, case in point.)


    Wrong, it simply requires that he continue to spend the money, to use it. Also, the value of the company would be divided by the # of shareholders (Seems reasonable to me) and then if that exceeded 25 million per person they would need more shareholders. No one is suggesting that once the person reaches 25 million they must STOP. However the extra could be skimmed off if they couldn't spend it fast enough. I mean, come on, if they can't spend the excess in a year then they really don't have any use for that kind of money, do they?

  • You going to regulate that?? Want our already overburdened government to do it?? Can we really trust the government to do it?? Would you be suggesting to do this if you were the one that was collecting such wealth??

    Sorry folks, but more regulation is not the answer!

    you seem to have the impression that the current regulations would remain. That is incorrect.
    I say remove the entire current government, it performs mostly useless functions anyways. And create a new government, a new system. Give that government explicit rights, make sure it can not act beyond those rights. It's feasible if you are building a nation from the ground up. Or have the cooperation of the people currently in power. I'd say the best hope is to get a colony on the moon or mars and design your own political/economic system.

  • Whoa there. Perhaps we've all been misinformed. One way or another, it looks like there's some confusion here. I wonder which side it's on.

    Are you sure the RIAA is suing for beaming music that was bought from My understanding was that was beaming other music too, which they didn't have the distribution rights too. (e.g. Beaming music by artists that are not signed by, and without their permission.) My understanding was that's justification for this was that they used some kind of software that runs on the receiver's machine to verify that the receiver already owns a copy of that CD. (And of course, we all know that it would be impossible for that software to be reverse engineered or connected to a fake virtual CD drive that reports arbitrary CDDB information.)

    If any of the above is wrong, please flame away. Otherwise, it sounds like screwed up big time, and they are not fighting the true MP3 fight. was once a fresh and legitimate music publisher, with a cool distribution scheme. But now they're trying to turn into a w4r3z server, and I think MP3 advocates should distance themselves from this company.

  • Works for me. Can still watch independent films I guess. Bring your own munchies too.

  • You need to read more carefully. As the Fool said, there have been tools since 1997 that just grab the decrypted signals going to the video card and save that.

    Really, you don't need to understand CSS to copy CSS encrypted stuff. It is needed if you want to make players without paying licensing fees. And that is what this case is about.

  • I decided to post a poll on my site asking the obvious question:

    Are YOU boycotting DVD?

    I'm curious to see what percentage of people in the /. community are...please take a moment to jump over to The Swindle and register your vote. I promise to post a followup with the current tally tomorrow.

  • by freeBill ( 3843 ) on Friday January 28, 2000 @03:22AM (#1329903) Homepage
    Because The Motley Fool is investor-oriented they have brought out some important points which we have been ignoring on /.

    DVDCCA has defrauded investors and content-providers by telling them they have a copy-proof technology (when we now know they had a third-rate encryption system). They got people to give them money on false pretenses. They got people to put content out in their format by lying to them.

    They also got people to buy DVD players on the premise that the players would be able to play all DVDs. Now, they are threatening to release a new encryption system which would make all current players obsolete. Even if they didn't do this, the companies which have agreed to release material on the format are being harmed by the court actions because those actions restrict the market for their material.

    The Motley Fool brings out the real issues by showing that it is economic reasons, not technical reasons, that prevent illegal copying. The article even shows why that will continue to be true in the future.

    All of this suggests better strategies for fighting these idiots. Boycotts are all well and good, but only a small percentage of the moviegoing public is going to understand these issues. (Taking back your DVD players and demanding a refund or boycotting the player-makers may prove more useful since geeks are much more likely to be the target market for these kinds of tech.)

    How about a class-action lawsuit against the DVDCCA on behalf of everyone who legally owns a DVD but is being prevented from using it legally?

    How about suing on behalf of investors who were lied to and whose interests are being undermined by the phony DVDCCA lawsuits? If DVD goes the way of DIVX because these guys are overplaying their hand, some people are gonna lose some big-time money.

    How about a lawsuit on behalf of content-providers who were defrauded and then had their markets curtailed by DVDCCA legal actions?

    I know most slashdotters are morally opposed to things done by lawyers. I share a certain amount of disdain for some parts of the legal profession. But this may be a time when the courts are the right venue.

    Certainly, plenty of lawyers ought to be willing to try it on contingency. It's an easy case. The tech issues are straightforward, and the economic issues (as demonstrated by The Motley Fool) are pretty simple.

    Maybe it's time to fight fire with fire.

    Any lawyers out there interested? If you've got the credentials, we can probably get you an unusually long list of named plaintiffs for a contingency-based class action. (Remember, this could be a very high-profile case and function as pretty good PR.)

    BTW, what about a volunteer lawyer in Norway for Jon Lech? I don't know what the laws there are like for malicious prosecution, but there could be some big money there. Maybe a legal fund isn't even needed.
  • Labor unions are definitely not the right kind of power bloc. They have different goals than what we're talking about here. Their membership is miniscule compared to what is needed too. The corruption problem is a tough thing to deal with. Anywhere you have power, corruption is sure to rear its head. But we need power in order to create some kind of balance. The only thing that we can do is try to minimize the potential for corruption by keeping things as open as possible.

  • Ah.. the letter vs. the spirit of the law. Thanx for the good explanation. I guess such a thing exists in just about every country, but the wording was a bit vague for me (not being a native english speaker)

  • To:
    Subject: What my boycott costs you


    Since I am boycotting for its abusive patents policies I would like to let you know how much my boycott has cost you so far (I now make my purchases through other retailers on the web but I originally intended to purchase through Amazon):

    $299.99 + $459.99 = $759.98



  • I also wonder what American Pie has to do with DeCSS, since it came out before DeCSS existed? Nothing, obviously. and as I said, I got it 3 weeks before it came out in theaters.

    Of course pirating is happening. If you've been paying attention many people have pointed out that pirating is easy, unstoppable, and doesn't need DeCSS.

    DeCSS makes it easier.

    I'm not sure you fully understand your own point or even morality here.

    My point is only that you need DeCSS to get a Digital copy of the movie on your hard drive. Basically that DeCSS Copying the encrypted data off the disk gets you nothing! I don't see what's so hard to understand about that. The only moral point that I'm trying to make, at this point, is that you shouldn't lie to bolster your position, and that its bad for general knowledge to get so far removed from reality.

    And as for my morals, I understand those just fine. I understand that it's 'wrong' on some level to pirate videos. But on a relative scale, a single act of piracy is so insignificant that it's not worth it to not do it.

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Friday January 28, 2000 @04:12AM (#1329939) Homepage Journal
    I agree with you entirely. This is the strategy that has been used by the military for millenia, very very effectively.

    It's MUCH easier to overwhelm a small, splintered group, than to confront a large, united group. This is, in fact, a lot of how the DVD group is trying to destroy US! By attacking piecemeal, it's hoping to be able to overcome an opponent that is simply too great for it, when united.

    There is only one way to defeat this - splinter them, first. Focus, as you say, on MGM, or one of the others. Seperate it out. Castigate it. Throw on all the mud you can. Get the spotlight on it. All the negative press that can be mustered. Chances are, it'll fold - the risk to it's shareholders and it's profits is too great.

    With one company under interrogation, the other companies are likely to distance themselves. They aren't equipt to handle united struggles against adversity. They're RIVALS, for the most part. It's not in their blood to try and rescue a cornered comrade.

  • ... but I saw no good way to correct Rob Landley about one thing:
    Robert Heinlein once wrote a morality tale about how an overly militaristic society can be a bad thing

    BZZT! Wrong! RAH was writing about how a society of people who are held responsible for their actions from birth would be a good thing! While I can see how Mr. Landley might get the impression he has if he had only seen the movie, if he had indeed read the book, he would have no such misconceptions.

    OK, go ahead and moderate me down as offtopic...

  • "It's like prohibition in the 1920s. That's not going to work. It's not even a holding action, it's just... dumb."

    This is not strictly true. You see there is a method to the madness and I can explain. Let's forget DVD copying ( you are right ). This is about players. So what we have here is prosecution by proxy.

    I.e. The real defendants are not in the courtroom and only one of the real plaintiffs is there too. What these people want is for a court somewhere ( any court, anywhere ) to say that DeCSS is an illegal piece of code and should not be allowed to exist.

    What do they get from such a ruling ? They have a president that can then be used to bludgeon Diamond or RedHat into not writing, building or distributing players that use the new code. That's why the central people in the case are the people most likely to have a ruling entered against them.

    People like which after crying "free Kevin" for 5 years is roundly hated by every judge on the bench, or that little boy who after you bash his computer and harass both him and his dad for a whole day ( 7 hours straight ) you tell the mother that "look, if he signs this thing to the effect that DeCSS was illegally created we will leave you all alone ).

    Effectively what they are trying to do is Retroactively create a patent for DVD encryption. "It's out there. You can look at it but you can't use it". A court might just buy that crap too.

    So yep, It's the MPAA in court but Sony and Panasonic who are the real plaintiffs. It's a bunch of websites and a few little boys on trial but they really care about corporate defendants who are nowhere near the courtroom. Frankly I would tell LI to bankroll the defense and file a counter-suite of some kind.

  • by garyrich ( 30652 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:03PM (#1329949) Homepage Journal
    the well written motley fool article
    will probably be the first wall street,
    and the stockholders of the big media
    companies will ever hear of this. This is
    a very good thing. a few years ago these
    guys were ignored by TPTB, but they are read
    by financial people now. they get quoted
    in financial circles the way slashdot gets
    quoted (and is unoformly read by) the tech

    Long range this may be the turning point between
    where the Great Unwashed thinks cracking css
    is crimal and where they think it's obvious that
    MPAA is in the wrong.

    I, for one, was very glad to see this.

  • Agreed. The investors of these companies need to know this is happening. And this is one of the best ways for them to find out.

    Maybe as a community we need to start finding out who the investors are and mailing them.

    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.
  • Right, I believe you're getting at an important point here that a lot of people miss.

    For example, during the days of the anti-apartheid movement, when people were calling for divestiture it was common for the libertarian-types to point out that the economics of this was dubious: if you talk HP into selling an electronics plant in South Africa, the plant is still there, only now it's locally owned (and possibly with less enlightened management than it had previously). So why should anyone in South Africa care if every US firm "divested" and sold off all of their plants at a bargain rate?

    I think what this hyper-rational viewpoint missed is that the whole divestiture controversy was a tremendous publicity generating event, and it got to the point where no one from South Africa could travel anywhere without being treated like a pariah.

    Buzz is the goal. You don't need to worry that much about details like "do we boycott the whole MPAA?"; "do we go after subsidiaries too?"; "do we ban DVD players", etc. None of these details matters that much... it doesn't even necessarily matter how many people support the boycott (though if you can get it up to even 1%, I guarantee they'll cave immediately, and start looking for someone to fire).

    You just want to get it to the point that whenever a Disney exec plays golf he gets sick of hearing people ask if he's worried about those silly boycott.

  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook AT guanotronic DOT com> on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:07PM (#1329958)
    We've been screaming this until we're blue in the face, but the media hasn't been listening too much. I consider The Motley Fool to be a lot more mainstream (read: folks who wear suits) than /., so this could mean that our message is finally getting out. It's also good to see they're looking at respectable sources from our sector (Eric Raymond instead of the flaming ACs) for a rundown of the situation. I have a bunch of friends who aren't exactly /. types, and it took a lot of explaining to convince them that DeCSS was legal. I think they'd give it more weight coming from Dan Rather, so it would be good if the message can keep expanding into the rest of the population. The DVDCCA is out to cover their asses, but if they realize that they'll piss off millions of customers by furthering these ridiculous lawsuits, they might back down, saving us all a lot of trouble, and legal bills.
  • lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    That's an ironic quote to use, considering the guy who said it was the same sort of corporate pig that the MPAA is.
  • by Robin Hood ( 1507 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:09PM (#1329969) Homepage
    Jason Kroll, the author of the Linux Journal article, suggests boycotting the entire motion picture industry: "Specifically, boycott Disney, Sony, MGM, Paramount, Fox, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. All together. Everything they do." And I can't say I disagree with him, but:

    1. If you're going to boycott, publicize your reasons! Put up a web page stating (in a calm and rational manner) the reasons for your boycott, giving all the history you can without getting too verbose. Assume this is going to be read by someone who hasn't even heard of DeCSS, let alone Jon Johansen. Then put the URL in your .sig, put links to it on your main web page, and so on.
    2. Publicizing doesn't have to be online. Put up posters! Find public places where posters would be appropriate (i.e., NOT the store window of Blockbusters, since it's their private property, and you don't want people ignoring your message because you were disrespectful of other people's property), and spread the word! Include a BRIEF (we're talking five lines of text here) summary of the reasons for your boycott, and put your URL at the bottom so people can find out more if they're interested.
    3. If you've got the time, organize a picket line! Find some friends willing to help, make some signs resembling your posters with "BOYCOTT THE MOVIE INDUSTRY" or some such message in big letters, with reasons underneath, and parade back and forth in front of Blockbusters and other movie-related stores. As long as you're peaceful and don't physically block people from entering the stores, they can't legally touch you. If you happen to know anyone involved in any sort of labor union, ask them for advice on how to do a picket line.

    That's about it. Remember to act like reasonable adults, and be ready to give reasons to anyone who asks you "Why are you boycotting?" We've got the moral high ground here; let's act like it. It's like Linux advocacy: if you maintain your cool and act reasonable, many more people will listen to you than if you shout and scream.

    Briefing's over, ladies and gentlemen. You know what to do. Now get out there and execute Plan Boycott! They'll never know what hit 'em!
    The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Friday January 28, 2000 @05:15AM (#1329970) Homepage
    Let me repeat all this: The deCSS program is neither designed nor necessary for copying DVD movies, which isn't economically feasible anyway and not technically possible with the partially prewritten blank disks being sold today. In any case, a tool to copy DVDs would be legal for personal use.

    If the matter can be summarized to this two sentence paragraph, why in the world is this even an issue??

    I have to read The Motley Fool more often, and so should lawyers, judges and execs.. Poor Jon Johannsen.
  • I submitted this message to the webmaster yesterday.

    [ Forwarded message displayed below ] -------------------------

    Subject: Verdana


    That Verdana font that you are using it *really* tough to read on an X-Window machine. You will have a tough time getting anybody that uses Linux as a desktop to go to your site.

    Is this something that you would consider changing?


    [ End of Forwarded Message 1 ]

    And I got this response.

    Thanks in advance,

    My name is Chris and I handle Technical Customer Service issues here at the Motley Fool.

    We serve a different style sheet for every browser, in order to optimize the content for that browser. However, we do not currently have any specifically made for Linux browsers yet. The thing that will facilitate this is an increase in the number of requests for this new style sheet. I will pass along your request and add it to those they already have.

    I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.

    Chris Elam : )
    The Motley Fool
    Quality Assurance Team
    "Fools learn nothing from wise men, but wise men learn a lot from Fools."

    If you think it's worth it, send them an email asking them to create a stylesheet that's easier to read on a Linux machine.
  • 'm surprised that there aren't more indie bands putting up web-pages with mp3s. Also surprised that there aren't any centralized distributors for them - but then I'm pretty ignorant on that side of things. [] is an example of a centralized distributor of MP3s from indie bands. I doubt very much that it's the best that can be done, but it's a start. I know that I HAVE bought a CD from one of the bands (who I had never heard of before) as a result of a download from

    On the movie front, it's starting to happen, but has a ways to go. This could be an excellent opportunity for film students to get wide distribution. Computer generated effects are becoming more commonplace and are getting cheaper. When done in Hollywood, they're mostly expensive because of the artist's time and effort. Easier to use and more automated modeling software will help. A sort of GPL model library wouldn't be a bad idea either, it's a lot easier to make customize an existing model than it is to create a new one from nothing. Expanding use of DSL and cable internet will help the independants immensely.

  • The linux journal article claims CSS was reverse engineered by watching hardware decrypt a DVD.

    Everyone else thinks it was Xing's software DVD player that was reverse engineered; in fact, this is part of a crucial point in the prosecution's case against DeCSS distributors because of Xing's EULA that specifically forbids reverse engineering.

    Which is it?
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:21PM (#1330002) Homepage

    I posted this recently, but I'd like to post it again, because the Linux Journal article is related to my point here. I think that, no matter whether linux users choose to move that way, we will be pushed towards stronger radicalism, in our beliefs, our tactics to retain our right to free speech/code, etc.

    The good thing is that, unlike most activists and radicals, we're in a *very* strong position, because the stock market, and the economy in general has bet the farm on the industry we work in...

    Imagine what were to happen if, in protest of the recent attacks against the linux community, we were to coordinate a general strike?

    Even more powerful is another possibility, what if great portions of the industry took large paycuts in order to work on free software?

    We may not always be at the forefront of our economy, IT jobs may move wholesale to India where wages are much lower. If you don't think it'll happen, I'm sure I could introduce you to a GM worker in Flint, MI who thought the same thing about his job in the 70's. But for the time being, we are a very strong force in the economy, and because of that we have a responsibility to protect freedom.

    In any case, here's my post from a while ago. Think about it, and remember that whether you consider yourself a right-Libertarian, a liberal, a conservative, or an Individualist Anarcho-Syndicalist, you and your peers (the linux community) will have your freedoms attacked, and it will radicalize you. Think about it...


    Which means you should prepare to face a barrage of court orders, attacks on individual freedom, attempts to bottleneck the Internet, and arrests of prominent Open Source gurus.

    It's quite possible. I'm not saying it's definite, but the possibility exists. Keep in mind that Food Not Bombs [] gives away free vegetarian food to anybody who's hungry. Their reason? Because "food grows on trees."

    Despite this wonderful example of altruism, they've had numerous encounters with the police, and are a constant target of brutality and harrassment. Strange, no?

    Maybe not. Food Not Bombs are very progressive and radical (as opposed to being liberal, and just whining about poverty), and have decided to take matters into their own hands. Becuase of this, they also use the opportunity to hand out flyers, organize protests, meet other social activists, etc. Most probably, this is what scares the government and corporations into repressing them.

    Probably open source's saving grace is the fact that most of it's members are not equating the sharing of code with political ideologies. Regardless, it will be targetted by the corporations it threatens, but in the first wave of repression, you'll see very IP-oriented attacks (such as the actions by RIAA), lobbying to forbid the use of open source software in government institutions, along with future attempts to use the antiquated patent and intellectual property laws against the open source community. As this begins happening, you will start seeing open source advocates becoming increasingly more radical in order to challenge the powers that be.

    More protests, more electronic civil disobedience, etc. Once people start using the freedom of open source as a point of advocacy towards a more free and equitable society is when you will see the real repression by the elites. Not because giving away code (or food) is inherently dangerous to them, but because it represents a flaw in their dominance that they will go to great lengths to conceal. What is that flaw? That we don't need them!

    One of the popular Linux slogans has been "Welcome to the Revolution." So welcome - and welcome to the front lines. Prepare to duck!

    Make no mistake, Open Source is a revolution, but what most "Linux zealots" don't realize is that the people in control never welcome a revolution of any kind.


    gcc -o -Wall Classes 'government' and 'capitalism' not found! Derived classes, 'greed', 'oppression', 'hierarchy', and 'violence' will no longer function.

    Proceed with compilation? Y/n

    Michael Chisari
  • It should be odd enough that this whole thing isn't mainstream news by now.

    (Someone check my acronyms on this, I'm not sure who's attacking the internet anymore nowadays...)

    Think about it: Why didn't the DVDCCA start taking up this whole issue on the whole from the get-go? If they would have gotten the preemptive strike, the Cult of the Media and it's followers would worship it's new tomes of information like the Bible, or the Koran, or whatnot, as it always does. First to news gets the followers.

    Instead, they tried to keep it under wraps, it seems. Does this tell anyone else something? I can only see it as the DVDCCA isn't serious about this. How could they be? Their war cry of "Piracy! Piracy! Piracy!" doesn't seem to be reaching outside the internet community.

    But now, here comes the Motley Fool, a reasonably respectable money news source. People read this stuff from time to time. They're pointing out the idocy of this whole mess. That's the first kind of media attention I've seen this whole fiasco get at all.

    Guess what? It seems like we got the preemptive strike. Now doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?


  • The Fool article talked a lot about the CCA but they didn't mention the MPAA. They are filing different lawsuits. It seems like an important detail because the MPAA is made up of all the large American movie stuidos.

  • Meanwhile, lots of hackers see "capitalism" as the problem, when it's fascism, mercantilism, oligopoly and the like that they're really upset about -- they just don't realize it.

    I realise it, and this kind of things is the reason why I want to spit when somebody calls America "The land of Freedom", nowadays I consider the USA to be a Fascist state, like it or leave, but I stay in Europe, I wouldn't want to go in America save for Holidays.
  • Well, I did go an submit a letter to all these fine people (MPAA, studios, etc) using their email addresses or "submit" forms.

    Of course, I used my HotMail account as it's a convenient "public" bag.

    Surprise surprise, I checked my email today and the SPAM level has gone about by - ooooo - at least 80-100%

    What a vicious form of revenge they have, no? :)
  • No, you don't have to STOP, you just go find 10 people and say, ok We need to have X amount of cash, and you all start spending money and investing in a company. Why must you have all of the money yourself?

  • Publicizing doesn't have to be online. Put up posters!

    Personally I think it would be great to have some sort of small advertisement campaign (flyers, bus stops...) with a slogan under (or above) a picture of Jon Johansen:

    "Next time you go to Cinema, don't forget that your money is used to <STRIKE>persecute </STRIKE> prosecute kids"
  • That's hilarious. Really. When Thomas Jefferson said that a revolution every few years was a good thing, I'm sure he had you personally in mind.

    Go look up the phrase "armchair quarterbacking". Then go watch the movie 1776, and the Ken Burns documentary series on the Civil War.

    In the mean time, I'm not entirely sure what chemicals you've been sniffing, but please don't share them with anyone else.


    I'm sure you believe that the people in power are the most competent available and should not be questioned as they posess some sort of knowledge not available to the common people. But I have no such illusions. It doesn't take some kind of special insite to look at the government of any random country and see corruption, see misspent money, see programs that don't actually help anyone or do anything useful.

  • by BadDoggie ( 145310 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:26PM (#1330023) Homepage Journal
    The Linux Journal article is very good but what hasn't been discussed at length should be raising more than a few legal arguments. The film industry (the US' single largest exporting industry) has not gone after software that nullifies regional codes. Why? It's illegal. In economics it's called "discriminatory pricing" and it's illegal in the US and most other signatories to various worldwide trade agreements. Charging different prices for the same item because of what people in various areas can afford to pay for the item is illegal. Selling some crappy Bruce Willis film for US$35 in the US, $55 in Germany and $15 in India is what they're doing, and sooner or later, the MPA is going to find their names after the "v." in some lawsuit. But not one started by the US government.

    The crux of the argument against the MPA suits is that they do not have the right to control playback media and platforms, especially since the legal restriction of usable operating system is tantamount to requiring payments to Microsoft or Apple for the privilege of watching the DVD one already paid for (and such a similar statement was made by Judge Kaplan in the New York case when he said that playbility on a Linux machine was not necessarily a factor because "there are alternative bases that [he] already [has] outlined" -- meaning Judge Kaplan thinks Windows boxes are good enough for all of us [ ns.txt []]).

  • One comment in the Linux Journal article that I found interesting was the comment about the new, encrypted CD's. They said:

    The other problem is that consumers (remember, business people don't refer to people as people, they refer to us as 'consumers') already have these old CD players that can't play new, encrypted CDs, and we'd all have to buy new players.

    I'm not the tiniest bit convinced that the manufacturers consider this to be a problem at all. The consumer electronics industry depends on constantly shoveling new technology down our throats, which is where we got lousy ideas like quadrophonic sound, 8-track tapes, minidisks, and the advanced photo system. They positively hate things like old-fashioned LP's that remain technically adequate for decades. I am sure that they'd like nothing better than to force everyone to buy new players to play their new encryped CD's. The truly sad part is that all they have to do is A) stop putting out the most popular music in the old format and B) provide some thin shell of an argument for the technical superiority of the new system and gullible people will start buying.

  • The Motley Fool reaches a great mixture of society. Regular consumers from all walks of life have just been exposed to the deplorable behavior of the MPAA. It shouldn't take many more articles like this from a variety of media before the consumers revolt.

    Thanks Fool! You continue to provide your followers a great service!

  • As long as you're peaceful and don't physically block people from entering the stores, they can't legally touch you.
    You are also (at least in some states) required to keep moving. This is not hard; just get a couple backbacks, or rocks, or imaginary points on the sidewalk, and walk in a circle aronud them.

    Remember to act like reasonable adults
    This is key, because if you don't you may very well get arrested -- and it's not worth it. Behave rationally and follow this advice, and you won't be arrested.

    be ready to give reasons to anyone who asks you "Why are you boycotting?"
    Having literature availible is also a Good Thing, also because you can give it to people who don't specifically some up to you and ask 'Why are you boycotting?'

    Ooh! My sig is actually relevant for once:

  • (A truly free market requires informed consumers, not passive drones; but we cannot force everyone to be equally intelligent, nor expect everyone to be equally desirous to live freely.)

    Your argument would have merit if it weren't for the fact that corporations obfuscate facts so that consumers CAN NOT make informed decisions. It's impossible to compete with the spin that a multi-billion dollar industry or corporation can apply.

    Let's not forget that educational institutions teach people to fall in line, and not rebel. Given these things, the playing field can never be fair.

  • Here an unfortunately small list of links to independent films. Please email me at if you know of any other web sites with independent films or legally available video downloads.

    ifilm--Streaming Independent Film []

    The New Venue []

    The Sync Online Film Festival []
  • To MPAA et al: I'll stop using DeCSS the minute I find a complete Linux DVD Solution

    You're saying that you'd gladly trade an open-source solution for a closed source/proprietary DVD player solution?

    The MPAA can kiss my ass. If I purchase a DVD drive, I want to know how it works. I want to see the source. Some people say that we wouldn't need DeCSS if they provided us with a Linux DVD player.

    I bet that kid in Norway would still come up with DeCSS even if we had some sort of closed-source DVD player.

    My whole problem with the DVD Assoc is not that they didn't provide a DVD player for Linux, but that they choose to employ idiotic methods of tightly controlling the technology they sell.

    I'm not going to be happy until we have an open source DVD player that the DVD assoc does not harass about. One that is included in most Linux distributions. Some closed-source proprietary DVD player for Linux is not enough.


  • by crush ( 19364 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @08:36PM (#1330047)
    I hardly know where to begin on this one. But I'll start with this:

    Of course it's easy to see how capitalism gets its bad name, given the retarded poster children that get all the press

    It seems to me that capitalism gets all the good press round here and that Socialism is attacked and vilified at every turn - look at the original article, it lumps socialism with fascism, what sort of goonery is that?

    A complaint that capitalism is not getting a fair crack of the whip in the media is untrue - I'm sick of hearing free-market rhetoric that challenges to shake off the reigns of governmental control (my government!) and to let business blindly run the world with it's invisible hand. No thanks! The results of that laissez-faire mentality were exactly what stimulated Engels (a capitalist himself) to investigate how a better society could be run.

    I really sympathize and empathize with the Libertarian emphasis on freedom and the dignity and sovereignty of the individual but I don't believe that these can be achieved through business. They can only be acheived through ensuring that monopoly and aggregation of resources unto indviduals is prevented by the common, agreed will of the people.


    as Proudhon declared and I heartily agree with him. A world which denies that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a world that endorses the mad policies of the free-market that allow the accumulation and sequestration of capital unto individuals by cheating and exploiting their fellow humans.

    To return to the topic of this article, I fully support the call to take action against the motion picture companies. Is this best achieved through a boycott?

    I think as the writer himself points out that it is impossible to boycott effectively. It is far more effective to purchase ethical alternatives - rather than buy nasty Starbucks coffee, purchase from Bridgehead by mail, bring your own coffee to work in a flask etc. W.r.t. the movies...hmm..pretty centralized industry there - are we strong enough to go to no movies? Or are there independent alternatives that we can support instead.?

    The future, where your only freedom is the freedom to make money

    Well, isn't that what the free-market is? No? Then you must be talking about introducing some sort of regulations - sounds like government to me.

  • What bothers me about the DeCSS mess isn't that the geeks are's that the geeks aren't learning. Let me clarify that statement...

    The geeks have been cracked down on repeatedly the last 20 years with example cases. In just about every case, the govt and plaintiff were able to make their point (you are bad, you must be punished, we've taken your toys and your freedom; see how we punish). Whether the geek was exhonerated in the end didn't make nearly as much impact on the non-geeks as the crackdown did.

    So the geeks now are better at mobilizing when the crackdown comes. So what! The point has already been made. It is already sticking in the backs of the non-geeks heads- geeks now have a two front battle of proving they aren't pirates to the court, and fixing their already dubious reputations with their own communities.

    What the geeks need to start doing is heading off the problems when they see the problem at the outset - think of it as a good security policy for your community network (rather than your LAN/WAN). You see a nibble, you do a check, and if you find a hole, you plug it in as many places as possible.

    The geeks, after the first filing, should have pre-emptively filed in EVERY federal jurisdiction. This would have headed off most of the mess going on now, and forced the MPAA off balance (disrupting their entired choreagraphed passion play to the media). What really gets me is this- nobody suspected that the first LAME attempt at a suit filed in California was just to test the waters, and to come up with more defendants for a case that HAD to be in the MPAA's works prior to the Copy Authoity's original filing.

    So while everybody here is congratulating themselves on what the suits might think about how righteous we geeks may be, what is anyone doing to ensure we don't get a repeat? Volunteering to rebuild your local Congressperson's network/website to get their ear on tech issues? Finding new resources to work with on future problems that WILL come up? Even following current bills and measures being deliberated at the local level?

    We may be laughing at how stupid the lawyers may look because they are technologically inept in regards to these proceedings, but how do you think the geeks look for leaving themselves open to this kind of stupid-ass suit in the first place? Do something, but don't just sit there.

  • When I found out I was being attacked by the MPAA in a landmark case I was shocked. Since then rather then being able to scream about it I've been poked and prodded by the press to no avail. I've also found out that MANY people submitted news on _my_ case many times to slashdot.
    I have a feeling that this isn't going to make the plain `ol 'press' until one of the little guys makes a fuss. The bad news is that I'm the little guy...
  • I think that, no matter whether linux users choose to move that way, we will be pushed towards stronger radicalism, in our beliefs, our tactics to retain our right to free speech/code, etc.

    The fact of the matter is that we're not radical, nor are we getting MORE radical over time. It's simply a matter of the MAINSTREAM moving farther away from us.

    Accusing us of being "radicals" is one of the classic ways that mainstream institutions can minimize the effect that any good movement can have. This happens simply because of the blind faith that the typical John Q. Citizen has in his information sources (whatever they may be... be it an obnoxious afternoon AM radio shock jock [12-3pm], or the president of the united states).

    Yes, our views SCARE the monolithic mainstream, but our views really haven't changed. We want our freedoms. We've always wanted them, and we always will. There's nothing particularly MORE radical about than those ideas than in the 1960's, but what has changed are the people and institutions who want us to have fewer freedoms so they can have higher profit-margins.

  • I'm willing to coordinate something like this. Mail me if you want in. I'll set up a list and we can discuss options.

    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.
  • needed to hear this.

    Veranda is a free font. All you have to do is head to MS's FTP site, or get it from another place, and unzip or untar it. Heck, I have a big bundle of true type fonts I have archived in a tarball so that I can get at them when I install Linux on a machine. Then you just install a TrueType font server for X (like xfstt in the Slackware contrib dir on Freshmeat [] has a bunch of them, too..

    The page looks great in M13 and Netscape thanks to it..
  • Please email me at if you know of any other web sites with independent films or legally available video downloads.

    And might I also suggest posting the URLs here? :-)
    The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

  • (not really a reply to you, but I liked the subject line for this rant
    I sent to an anti censorship mailing list this AM.)

    (If my take is correct, and please correct me if I'm wrong here.) The DVD
    "crack" could be argued to be inevitable due to the incompetence of one
    corporation, a subsidiary of Realnetworks (you know, the privacy people?)
    yet AFAIK the law has gone after the 16 year old Norwegian without deep
    pockets, and while I don't keep track of it too much (metal prices are bad
    enough) Realnetworks' stock price -- like other internet stock prices -- has
    remained between irrational and outrageous, and AFAIK (again, please
    set me straight if you know different) nobody is suing them for anything.

    The whole situation seems a bit irrational to me. I've read articles, and
    Realnetworks' role in the initial how-not-to-do-crypto idiocy isn't getting
    any ink. What gives? Do these people have the best PR-department on
    the planet, or am I missing something?

  • Just saw on BBC news some stupidass entertainment journalism show where "news just in" that

    "The mastermind of a piracy ring has been arrested in Norway for hacking DVDs, breaking their copy protection to make illegal copies of DVDs"

    (Stock footage of hidden camera in some Asian market stall, panning rapidly by what may or may not be illegal DVDs)

    Saw countless other examples in newspapers today. Just plain untruths, attempts to demonize Jon, and Linux or Xing never being mentioned once.

    Personally, I think slashdot should drill this issue as hard as possible - because anyone who becomes convinced that the reality has to do with people wanting to run DVDs on the OS of their choice is NOT being reported. It's much juicier for them to say that some 16 year old screwed over the power elite of Hollywood through some nefarious scheme by an embittered nerd genius - and that's what they're running with.

  • Think about it, and remember that whether you consider yourself a right-Libertarian, a liberal, a conservative, or an Individualist Anarcho-Syndicalist,

    Anarchists fall into three main categories:

    • Individualist/Philosophical/Egoist/Libertarian
    • Communist
    • Syndicalist

    The last two are perhaps more similar than the first group. Yes, this is a rough, very-arguable typology but the essential point is that Anarcho-Syndicalists are NOT reasonably called Individualist. They believe in "One big Union, One Big Strike" an extreme form of collective action, using the allowed forms in our society (examples IWW=The Wobblies, SAT (a Swedish Trade Union). Individualists tend to be more inspired by the ideas of individual action and the writings of Max Stirner (The Ego and Its Own) and William Godwin (Enquiry Concerning Political Justice) and in the latter part of the 19th C. in the U.S. Benjamin Tucker.

    Communist Anarchists exist in a state of tension between the demands of community and individuality - examples (Spain 1936-The Friends of Durutti, post-Kronstadt-Libertarian Communist's "Platform of Libertarian Communism" by Ida Mett, Pietr Arshinov et al, also Peter Kropotkin identified himself as Anarcho-Communist)

    Food Not Bombs are cool though - ideology in action!

    Imagine what were to happen if, in protest of the recent attacks against the linux community, we were to coordinate a general strike?

    If it were effective it would be smashed by the police unless there were enough people in the whole nation behind it convinced that there was a different way of organizing the world. Things are this way because most people believe in them.

    Note, I am not being defeatist, just warning that strikes that challenge authority in a half-assed manner usually end up being squashed unpleasantly and then, rather than being radicalised people are frightened off. Even situations where there is mass popular support (Allendes' govt) can be squashed by the plutocrats (admittedly with US help).

    Open Source is a revolution? I hope so. I like your spirit! DOn't listen to me! Fight on!

  • But lawful behavior ... can never be made unlawful, by any amount of legislation. It can only be declared illegal.

    I don't understand what you mean here. To me, "unlawful" and "illegal" mean more or less the same thing. Could you explain what you mean by these terms?
    The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

  • Don't make the mistake of thinking The Motley Fool is a monolithic entity. Or any news/commentary organization, for that matter. The first my editor had heard about the situation either way was when I sent him the article.

    I try to bring issues like this to the financial community for the same reason people write documentation. Just because WE know something doesn't mean everybody does, and the ones who don't already know it are often the ones most in need of being told about it.


  • You wrote: "I don't understand what you mean here. To me, "unlawful" and "illegal" mean more or less the same thing. Could you explain what you mean by these terms?"

    Certainly. Legal is the mere form of the law; you can dot all your i's and cross all your t's while merrily sending Jews to the gas chambers (to use a Godwinesque metaphor) and still be obeying all the statutes, legislation, orders, etc. Lawful, on the other hand, is concerned with the substance of law, not the mere form/formalities. And this is not my definition; these are legal definitions as recognized in Bouvier's Law Dictionary (the AK-47 of the pro se).

    What is lawful cannot be made unlawful. Making something "illegal" means making it malum prohibitum, or "evil because it is prohibited" (i.e., "it's wrong because it's against the law"). Unlawful actions are those which are malum in se, or "evil in and of itself" -- i.e., those actions which are inherently wrong (fraud, theft, assault, murder).

    Getting back on track a bit: You don't have any rights that you can't claim, and if you don't object timely, the right is assumed to be waived. The Supreme Court has said -- and keep this in mind at all times when you are the defendant -- regarding any and all rights you can claim:

    "The privilege against self-incrimination is neither accorded to the passive resistant, nor the person who is ignorant of his rights, nor to one who is indifferent thereto. It is a fighting clause. It's benefits can be retained only by sustained combat. It cannot be claimed by an attorney or solicitor. It is valid only when insisted upon by a belligerent claimant in person." US v Johnson, 76 F. Supp 538.
    I agree with the other proactive folks. The best defense is a good offense; and the more the merrier. Let a thousand flowers bloom.
  • If you REALLY understand what this fight is about, you won't be doing this.

    What the hell is there to stop you from selling (or, since you've got the list posted), from the MPAA to get that list, copy down the names of everyone on it, and send out a giant big-ass friggin' lawsuit with everyone on it? If I got a copy of the DeCSS source, mirroring it is one thing, but making an open confession that I have it, and signing my ass away on someone's shit list? HELL FSCKIN' NO.

    The idea, is that we make sure that the DeCSS source is as widespread as possible. AND we want to make sure that people can grab the source and hide it, with the plausable deniability that they ever had it. That way, there will always be someone out there, and the expense to track and hunt down everyone with a copy of the source will make it financially impossible for even someone like the MPAA. A centralized list will only help them in their work.

    -=- SiKnight
  • It should probably read "because Indians have less money". That is the whole point of region locks. If you are the sole supplier of some sort of product (a movie, a music album, a book, a car, etc), you can charge what you want for it.

    You may decide to sell the product for one price in Australia or America, and at a lower price in a poorer country since you figure more people will buy it there if it is cheaper, so you will make more money. You can do this because no one else can sell the product to the customers.

    Now you have a problem if someone decides to import quantities of the product from the poorer country and starts undercutting you in the richer country. To prevent this sort of thing, the Government has tarrifs and other measures which help support your `right' to sell the product for different prices in different places, or even withold it from certain countries.

    Of course, occasionally governments do stupid things like introducing laws to allow parallel imports. A while back they did this in Australia for CDs, and ARIA (the .au equivalent of RIAA) started a big advertising campaign in opposition. They claimed that if parallel import was allowed, then they would have less money to support local artists (personally, I believe there will always be a market for local music -- the same way there will always be supporters for local sports teams. By taking a small cut off the profits from some bit name artists, they could easily support a local music industry). This campaign did not really educate people about the issues, to the extent that a lot of musicians didn't know what ARIA was on about.

    To get around these government `mistakes', a lot of new forms of media have region locks. This way, even if parallel imports are allowed, you can keep your profits high since the stuff your competitors import doesn't work!

    This is what it looks like from the corporation's side. If you are a consumer, region locks allow big companies to screw you for as much money as possible without having to worry about competition.

    This is one of the reasons a lot of consumer watchdog associations don't particularly like the idea of region locks.
  • by simpleguy ( 5686 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:20PM (#1330093) Homepage
    Hi, I do not live in the USA nor I know much about US laws.

    Here is something I have been wondering about. We are constantly arguing that DeCSS is NOT used to COPY DVDs but its just an aid to VIEWING DVDs.

    However, how will you show this to a judge in USA?
    Isn't it possible for defendants to bring a DVD Recorder in court, copy a DVD bit-to-bit *LIVE*, play the copy and show the judge that DeCSS is not about COPYING since it has not been used in the process?

    Then, if the ruling says that DeCSS is illegal, I believe, DVD recorders should be outlawed as well.

    Can something like above be done in a US court?

    Dont flame me or something if the above idea is just stupid.

  • by Demona ( 7994 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @09:30PM (#1330098) Homepage
    Actually, Proudhon and I are on more than a passing acquaintance:
    "To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded,by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measureed, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harrassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."
    Regarding the anticapitalist bent, I was specifically referring to the Linux Journal article, not the media in general. And no, freedom is not (solely) about making money -- it's about being free. Freedom is not a means to an end, but an end -- and a good -- in and of itself.
  • by Demona ( 7994 )
    Being replied to with a troll of this quality is more gratifying than any amount of positive moderation. Thanks, AC. You put a genuine smile on my face. Now if only you'd worked in Natalie Portman, grits and a Beowolf cluster...
  • by Jamie Zawinski ( 775 ) <> on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:43PM (#1330108) Homepage
    Does anyone really believe boycotts do anything other than make the boycotter feel good? If everyone who ran Linux stopped going to movies, would the MPAA even notice?

    Not that there's anything wrong with boycotting something because it makes you feel good, or with one-handed exercises in general. But do they actually effect social change? My guess is: never.

    I'd like to hear suggestions for how to combat this kind of nonsense that sound a little more effective than sticking out your tongue at the corporations and saying ``yeah well I'm taking my toys and going home!''

  • by dkesh ( 23048 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:43PM (#1330109)
    Jason Kroll, the author of the Linux Journal article, suggests boycotting the entire motion picture industry

    I disagree. A good boycott should pick just one studio, say MGM. Reasons:
    1. If the negative press is spread out, a weak light is cast over all of them. Better to take a magnifying glass and focus it all on MGM. They won't be too happy if lots of newscasts show their corporate headquarters while talking about raiding 16-year-olds. This could even help toward eventually breaking the coalition.
    2. People are more likely to believe that MGM is big and bad than the entire movie industry is a vast conspiracy (even if its true).
    3. You don't have to give up all your movies.
    4. More people will join because of 3).
  • by grantdh ( 72401 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:45PM (#1330111) Homepage Journal
    OK gang, so we're talking boycots and we're talking about how MPAA et al are bastards. Great - even if all of us just boycot, I'm sure we're not going to impact that much (unless we buy lots of DVD's on a daily basis :)

    So, why not take the time & effort to email/contact them? Tell them that you're boycotting, that you're telling your friends and that you're supporting the DeCSS/LiViD folks.

    Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a statement that could be wrong: I'd say most of us on /. are fairly typical in one respect. We'll bitch, we'll moan, we'll talk it up - but when it comes to the crunch, we never quite get around to doing something about it.

    Don't you just hate that? This is why governments/corporations take notice if 1% of a target demographic respond. For every person who does do something, there are at least 10 who want to but don't get around to it. Thus that 1% represents about 10% and that's enough to count as a vocal majority.

    This is also why highly organised groups/cults/sects/religious organisations/etc get the ear of politics/corporates. They manage to influence/order a lot of their consituents to do something, thus inflating the numbers and throwing out the "Total Number x 10 = % population who are annoyed/concerned" :)

    Anyhow, to help you folks tell these people what you think, here's some handy info:

    Their web site has no "contact us" that I could find. How convenient, no? :)

    If you want to get physical, try their snail mail address:

    15503 Ventura Blvd.
    Encino, California 91436

    Or phone on: (818) 995-6600

    Otherwise, email to WareNet [mailto] (the guys who made their site) and ask why no online "Contact Us" was supplied.

    The investor relations feedback form at [] would be a good place to hassle them.

    Go to dex.html [], select the part of the world you're in and tell them you're so annoyed, you're not going to buy any more PlayStation stuff and you've kicked your AIBO out in the snow :)

    Fill in the form at dex.html [] and let them know.

    Send an email to [mailto] and ask for information about their logic behind this as you're sure it's not what's being said in public :)

    Send an email to [mailto] and ask them why they're doing this. You might also want to mention the fact that their Simpson's splash page is seriously lame :)

    Go to [] and fill in the form.

    No "contact us" in an obvious location, so I gave up - there must be one somewhere here but it's very well hidden :)

    Now, much in all as I'd love to say "Wild, uncontrolled bursts - we do more damage that way" - the reality is that a reasoned, controlled message stating that you disagree with their actions and have commenced boycotting their products will have much more impact than a flame or mail bombing.

    Do it right and we get respect. Do it in classic "Script Kiddy, 31337 Wanker Fuckwit Mode" and we're doomed :)
  • by webster ( 22696 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:48PM (#1330112)
    The problem with this is that capitalism, left unfettered, will always tend to degenerate into fascism, mercantilism and oligarcy. We see this happening right before our eyes, with the raid that's (supposedly) the subject of this thread having chilling overtones of fascism.

    The problem, of course, is not evil corporations, or evil governments, or evil police; but the evil that comes from concentrations of power. If power is completely distributed between the corporate sector and the government sector, the citizen sector, having no power of its own, can expect to receive the royal shaft. The desired response to all of this in a free society would be the formation of of a power bloc representing the interests of free citizens. I don't see anything like this forming at the moment, but who knows what the future will bring? If such a thing does not form fairly soon (even if it's just everybody waking up and voting), we cannot expect to remain very long a free society.

    Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation
  • In the Crackers and Crackdowns [] article from Linux Journal [] , Jason Kroll < [mailto]> writes:

    The GILC ... has condemned the action as a violation both of the Human Rights Accords of the United Nations and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    The US Constitution? Aren't Jon and Per Johansen Norwegian citizens? And wasn't the "action" carried out by Norway's Econcomic Crime Departement (ECD)? How is the US Constitution relevant here?

    Is Mr. Kroll's claim that the MPAA was somehow directly influencing Norway's ECD to suppress the Johansens' free speach, and that since the MPAA is an American organization, somehow the US Constitution has bearing on the ECD's actions? That doesn't make much sense. So what if the MPAA pressured the ECD? That might be an issue for Norwegian law, but I just don't see the US Constitutional tie-in.

    Mr. Kroll goes on to write:

    Almost ironically, Jon's reverse-engineering rights are specifically protected by the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which itself is probably unconstitutional).

    Again, why would Jon's rights to do anything be protected by an American law? The Digital Millennium Copyright Act should be completely irrelevant as regards a Norwegian citizen acting on Norwegian soil.

    Am I just missing something here?

    Don't get me wrong. I don't endorse the action taken against the Johansens. But I do want to understand the basis for Mr. Kroll's claims. If his claims have merit, then I have misunderstood something important and I wish to be corrected. If his claims are without merit, then they are alarmist misdirections that do nothing to help foster rational discussion and debate.

  • by enmity. ( 124175 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @09:43PM (#1330117)
    I'll apologize in advance for the length of this posting. Congress certainly has a way with words.

    Excerpts from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act
    full text available here [].

    Section 1201

    (a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--
    (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
    1201(a)(2)(B) is what I assume will be the MPA[A]'s reponse to the defense that DeCSS was written to bridge the gap between DVD and Linux -- they'll make an effort to show that the possible illegal uses of DeCSS, regardless of its intended use, mean that Johansen should go to jail. that's kind of like trying to outlaw FTP servers because software piracy can happen there. 'circumvent a technological measure' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner.
    the following section will probably be DeCSS's defense; however, this probably would not save anyone from the Xing EULA. however, i think that violation of the EULA is a purely civil matter, not a criminal one, and wouldn't involve any jail time -- I've been wrong before though, does anyone else have any knowledge? does the EULA itself say?
    (f) REVERSE ENGINEERING- (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.

    (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.

    (3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

  • While the Motley Fool points out that the CCA algorithm is no good for preventing piracy, after all you can just burn an image of the DVD, it fails to address the major piracy issue. What DECSS theoretically makes possible is decryption of a DVD into a series of unencrypted MPEGS, which would then be considerably easier to distribute. Given current trends in bandwidth availability, the DVD derived MPEGs would become as easy to trade as MP3s. So this would change the economics of piracy a little more favorable, making the decision to copy a little more casual. Granted, even a licenced CCA algorithm user could write a program to do the same thing. But the point is to make sure that someone trying to play a DVD is in posession of the actual physical disc. The overall point is correct, however: the music & video industries have been used to selling boxes with discs in them at extortionate prices, they now need to get to grips with the fact that they don't really know that much about selling and managing intellectual property.
  • by landley ( 9786 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @10:05PM (#1330124) Homepage
    >if they realize that they'll piss off millions of
    >customers by furthering these ridiculous
    >lawsuits, they might back down, saving us all a
    >lot of trouble, and legal bills.

    It's not just that. This point didn't make it into the article (space constraints and trying not to alienate a financial audience with hints of socialism) but what we're all doing with the deCSS program is massive, widespread civil disobedience.

    We quote gandhi for a reason: he wasn't trying to get anybody to grant him a favor, he was simply ignoring them and orchestrating widespread "business as usual" under the new model until the defenders of the status quo acknowledged the inevitable.

    Martin Luther King Jr. did the same thing. Passive, nonviolent (AC flamers take note) resistance. This is what we're doing, it doesn't hurt anyone, and you can't stop us anyway. We write and use open source because now that the PC has completely commotidized all the hardware, the next obvious step is to do the same thing to all the software. Commoditization happens as markets mature. This is capitalism. Scribes had trouble competing when movable type came around. It wasn't a conspiracy, it was competition.

    In the long run, if we can't get it for free, we'll have to pay for it. If we CAN get it for free, charging for it won't be able to compete no matter what the law says. Saying there will be no movies without charging admission is like saying there will be no television without charging admission. No books without cover prices: ever seen an editor's slush pile? As for free magzines, tried web surfing lately? No music without a record contract, then what's all that garbage at Or the live band in a bar?

    There's a HUGE market for filtering through the garbage to find the 1% that's worth keeping. That's what the record companies USED to do. That's what the movie companies sort of do filtering through screenplay slush piles. That's what Red Hat (and a zillion others) try to do with Linux. And these service companies can find the best writers/singers/actors and hire them, to keep a steady supply of good material on hand. Customers come to them not because they can't go elsewhere but because what this company produces is good enough to pay for. Exactly the way Red Hat employs Alan Cox. Contratulations, it's a service industry.

    Forcing people to pay for things isn't capitalism. Providing something they ARE willing to pay for is capitalism. Deal with it.


  • by delmoi ( 26744 ) on Thursday January 27, 2000 @11:19PM (#1330130) Homepage
    Have you ever read 1984?

    I read the book just last week; witch may be why it's so prevalent in my thoughts right now. In the past, it always bothered me when someone would cite a fiction book as a reason not to do something (or even worse a movie). But, I'm going to do precisely that right now. Mostly because I feel a little bit like Winston Smith right now, knowing something to be true when increasingly the world around me, and the people in it believes the opposite.

    No, I don't like what the DVDCCA is doing; I think that it is morally wrong, both in the suppression of free speech, and the fact that they would knowingly squelch all of our liberties for a few profit points. But it isn't the ever-present Man that's perpetuating the doublethink; it's us.

    There was a technical flaw in the article

    "Let me repeat all this: The DeCSS program is neither designed nor necessary for copying DVD movies, which isn't economically feasible anyway and not technically possible with the partially prewritten blank disks being sold today. In any case, a tool to copy DVDs would be legal for personal use."

    Or rather, two compound technical flaws.

    In reality, DeCSS can do nothing but copy DVD movies. I doubt that many of you have even run the program. If you had you would know that it is a windows program (though, I'm not sure if DeCSS itself had been ported to Linux, of if just css-auth was derived from it by LiViD). DeCSS, or at least they copy I have is a Windows GUI application with only two buttons. One says "Select Folder" and the other says, "Transfer". I've posted my own mirror, [] if anyone doesn't believe me, they can see for themselves.

    The other flaw is a bit deeper, and it comes from a failed technical understanding of what comprises the Movie on a DVD disk. Frequently, and this article as well, I've seen it stated that you can simply copy the data right off the disk with a standard file system read. This is incorrect, you can copy the encrypted data, but there is a fundamental difference between encrypted data and 'regular' data. The DVD movie is an element of pure data. The images and are nothing more then information. When you copy the contents of a DVD with a standard file system read, that is not what you get. Instead what you get is white noise. Worthless garbage. The encrypted data and they key are two halves of a whole, without ether, you do not have a movie.
    What DeCSS does is remove the pure data from the physical medium, and into the pure ether of information. What DeCSS does, is copy the MOVIE. In its pure form, unprotected from copying, it can be viewed in Linux, or anywhere with an mpeg2 decompresser. It can also be shrunk down to VCD size and passed around the Internet.

    Yes, it is possible to digitize the movie, and get the data that way, but it would require much more hardware then what would be required with DeCSS. Simply dumping the video to the hard drive uncompressed would require a 150 gig hard drive for a two-hour movie. (This hard drive, of course, would be able record at 21.3 megs/second-sustained as well...). Alternatively one could purchase a MPEG encoder card for a few hundred dollars. Along with an external DVD player to plug into
    Yes, you of course wouldn't be able to duplicate the DVD image onto a burned DVD, because of the zeroed out pits, but after you merge the two halves to form the movie, it wouldn't be necessary.
    Right now a 40gig UDMA hard drive sells for about $350. That's about $40 per movie. And that's bound to get cheaper as the year progresses. Using a data Tape would only cost $10 per movie, and if you really wanted to span 7 CD's the cost would be about $5 per movie. This is hardly what I would call economically unfeasible, and certainly less so then not using DeCSS to copy movies.

    I've posted this information to slashdot before, and in several cases, I was ether called a moron or a Troll. I find it amazing that people could be so blind, so steeped in doublethink as to not only believe that DeCSS is can only be used to play movies in Linux, but to outright attack anything that doesn't conform to whatever it is they choose to believe

    I've also been told that I shouldn't say what I'm saying, and that by saying it I am weakening our case. But, I cannot deny what I know to be true, and I cannot stand to see these untruths touted as reality.

    At least Winston Smith got laid...

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] []
  • Plausable deniability [] is always a good thing.

    (This whole thing makes me mad enough to throw this keg [] at the MPAA...)
  • We pay for the dvd, but are not allowed to play it the way we like. I fail to see the problem. I can build my own tv. I can build my own VCR (well.. in theory.. I'm not that handy). Why can I not build my own dvd player?

  • The geeks, after the first filing, should have pre-emptively filed in EVERY federal jurisdiction.
    Filed what? What legal claim do "the geeks" have against the DVD CCA and the MPAA?
    "But, Mulder, the new millennium doesn't begin until January 2001."
  • IAMNP (I am not a programmer), but don't most software patents (inane as they are) apply to the algorithm itself rather than the specific code used to implement the algorithm. If so, a detailed description of the algorithm wouldn't circumvent anything. Of course, one could claim it's an extremely technical new novel :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Please follow this link: Follow: dvdtruth.txt [] It will explain what Jon did and did not do. And please stop saying that Jon did crack the dvd encryption, because, according to this, he didn't. He said so himself. BTW: this "new" information seems to make the pending courtcase against Jon even more ridiculous. Imagine: Jon is being accused of doing something which isn't illegal and which he didn't do! Bye, Taliesin. ps.: I am not sure if the information given in that document is true, anyone got more information on this?
  • The way it seems to me, the DVD CSS is a conspiracy to establish an abusive monopoly on replay devices for digital video, and acting in a fraudulent manner to deny rights established under the Copyright Act. Furthermore, their initial suit is based upon a fraudulent premise inasmuch as a DVD copy must also copy the encryption in order to work properly with a DVD player. As such, they should be conter-sued under (among other things) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [], which calls for triple damages, attorneys fees, and potentially the dissolution of the offending enterprise.

  • One of the big newspapers in Norway arranged a netmeeting with Jon Johansen yesterday where people could write questions and he would answer online. See oh (norwegian) Anyways one of the readers asks: "I just wanted to know if it was Xing which had the uncoded player, so that you could figure it out." An Jon Johansen answers: "The player that hadnt protected its keys was made by Xing, and by the way I do not recomend this player it is of bad quality." -------- Phalse
  • And especially at times like this, it's much appreciated. Shows at least some journalists have their eye on the ball. This is a real battle, and the stakes are high, and your bringing the matter to light is a Good Thing.

    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.
  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Friday January 28, 2000 @06:01AM (#1330150) Homepage
    Johansen is a teenager. What are the implications of that fact?

    In the US, if you're under legal age, you can't be bound by a contract. If the same is true in Norway, even if the no-reverse-engineering license is legal, Johansen could have just voided his end of the deal without penalty.

    Even if Norwegian law doesn't save him, the plaintiffs in California could argue as follows:

    In order to protect your legal rights to a trade secret, you have to show a certain amount of diligence in protecting it. DVD players are being sold over the counter as consumer products to anyone who can cough up the money, including minors who can't be bound by contracts, and the licensor isn't even keeping track of who has consented to the license.

    What company with a truly valuable trade secret is so lax about protecting it? Imagine the Coca-Cola Company having a room with Coke's secret formula inside, and a sign on the door saying "By entering this room, you consent to the following license..." and not even having a security guard watching who enters the room!

    Does the EFF have some email address for "silly legal ideas from amateurs that might prove useful"?
    "But, Mulder, the new millennium doesn't begin until January 2001."
  • IS there anyway we can join forces with to publicize our plight? RIAA is suing for their "beaming" technology which allows the listening of CD's people buy at It's basically the same deal: controlling the method of playback. As the CEO of MP3 states in his open letter to the RIAA Prez:
    The RIAA decries that its copyrights have been violated. This is the rhetoric of a monopolist. Your organization says that it controls 90% of the off-line distribution of music. But the question is, to whom does the music belong? When a consumer buys a CD, does the industry get to tell the consumer where she can listen to her music? The type of technology that she can use to play the CD? Whether she can use new Internet technologies? What about the fair use rights of the consumer, Hilary? Is it all about forcing consumers to use out-dated technologies to induce yet another CD sale?
    Can we join forces and get CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, everyone and see the (Microsoft like : ) bulliness that is eminating from these big corporations? Let's face it. More people use MP3 nowadays (Windoze/Mac users/general public) compared with Linux users. If we can group us all together... I shudder at the potential. THIS IS ALL ABOUT CHOICE OF WHERE WE WANT TO VIEW OUR PROPERTY AFTER WE BUY!!!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.