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EFF Appeals 2600 Decision 131

eclectro writes "The EFF representing 2600 has appealed the district court's decision that banned the posting of the DeCSS source code on websites. The case will be argued in April." EFF's brief makes good reading. If this is new to you, we've posted a few things about the DeCSS cases before.
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EFF Appeals 2600 Decision

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    But then I forgot, he previously worked for the MPAA. So he didn't need to be paid off by the MPAA. Judge Kaplan was already paid by MPAA. The transparent conflict-of-interest did not seem to disturb Kaplan, however. Sad, really. I thought our judiciary was beyond blatant corporate/monetary influence.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Trust me, 4 months is pretty swift for our (and any) legal system. The whole problem is that Judge Kaplan ruled in such a wrong and capricious manner in the first place. Basically, Judge Kaplan said fuck the first amendment, it doesn't matter, because corporations are more important (especially the one he worked for already).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Any sufficiently advanced Perl is indistinguishable from /dev/urandom.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This puppy will be over and either the Movie Industry will be defeated (yeah, hurrah!) or the we will go over this DMCA thing until it is heard again by the courts.

    Then maybe I will go out to see Square's FF movie and not feel bad that I am supporting these jerks.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I also think that taxing blank media is a dumb idea.

    Hear, hear. Where I live (Denmark) we have had this for some time. And it is not just petty pennies:

    Today, if you need a blank tape it is cheaper to buy a VCR tape with a movie on it and erase it than to buy a blank tape.

    And now that CD-R have become popular, blankmedia taxes for that is coming too. So how much is this going to cost when it starts in april this year? About US$0.54 for one blank 80 min. CD-R media. This tax is going to rise with the general inflation, with no connection to the actual price of the media.

    And who gets this tax? Our government doesn't see a dime. It is all given to Copy-Dan [], an private organization that is supposed to redistribute this money to copyright holders.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just wanted to say:

    DeCSS isn't software (at all).

    DeCSS is a text file written by a human (not the MPAA). The language of the text of this file is a mixture of english, mathematical symbols, and character sequences unique to a particular programming language ("C" I believe). This text file is human understandable.

    It is not all clear that this will actually work, but placing the text file into a compiler and compiling it could result in a piece of software. This software will be functionless.

    Unless the text file is substantially rewritten or linked to some other file(s), it simply doesn't do anything except communicate to any human who reads it how to decrypt a data stream encoded with CSS. It may not even be the correct way to do this.

    But that is all it purports to do and all it could do -- communicate a method of decryption to a human reader.

    Judge Kaplan egregiously violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution when he banned those particular sites from hosting this text file. Even worse he conjured up new law from out of thin air by then also banning direct links to the text file (DeCSS).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:36PM (#494627)
    You don't need DeCSS to copy DVDs. You need DeCSS to watch the movie stored on the DVD. DVDs are just disks with the UDF file system. The movies are files on that file system. I'm sure you've copied files before. Getting media that will be playable on j. random commercial DVD player isn't possible for the average consumer, so this really is not an issue at all. DeCSS has nothing to do with commercial piracy onto DVDs. Whether or not it can facilitate piracy of the contents through other channels is debatable. At the present, forget it. In the high-bandwidth future, DeCSS can enable piracy, but so can snooping on the bus traffic either with another device or through a virtual machine.

    Now to the real issue. If you buy a book, you can include a passage in a review or an academic article without prior permission. If you buy a protected DVD, it is currently illegal for you to include a passage in a review or an article. If you buy a book, you can type it into your computer to facilitate automatic searches. If you buy a protected DVD, it is currently illegal for you to decode it through your computer to facilitate automatic searches. If a book (or magazine) has ads interspersed with the content, you can cut them out. If a DVD includes ads, it is currently illegal to remove or bypass them. With a book, it's fair use. With a DVD, it's illegal.

    The core question is control. The industry believes its pocketbook relies on controlling what you can and cannot do with a DVD. Many artists also feel they have exclusive rights to control what you can and cannot do with their work. Traditionally in the US, the majority of the control has rested with the citizen who purchased the work (now solely referred to as a consumer, go fig). In many people's eyes, this makes sense. The citizen is the one who paid money for the work. The citizen is the one with the physical medium holding the work. Some control was traditionally reserved for the artist, who then gave it all to the publishing industry. This was to allow the artist to recoup costs and make a bit of money to start the next work. Now it's used by the publishing / recording industry to pay for expensive offices and little, fake statuettes. A bit is used to take risks on ``the next big thing.'' These risks almost never pay off, so they are rarely made. (The next big thing almost always comes from outside the traditional publishing industry.)

    This changed with a little bill known as the Millennium Digital Copyright Act. The citizens' representatives gave citizens a big ol' middle finger and ate very well at meals bought by the publishing industry. Now the publishing industry gets to tell you how many minutes of commercials you must watch, and they get to determine which reviews are allowed and which are not. Of course, they swear up and down that they'll never use those powers. Then they turn around and sue people who have produced technology to return fair-use rights to the citizens. There are no balances to the powers granted by the DMCA. They will be abused. Many would claim that they are being abused.

    That's a little bit on why this is moral and should be legal. Others can fill in more details.

  • Bullshit.

    Once the decompressed video is in your system's memory, it is yours to manipulate at will. There have been loopback audio devices designed for this sort of thing for a long time. Such a thing for video is quite within the capabilities of Linux or Windows.

    At the very crudest level, you could merely make a whole bunch of screen captures of a particular window and dump those to a file for later conversion into AVI or whatnot. (There are linux vidcap utils that do just this)

    The MPAA lost control of their content as soon as they allowed the first software-only DVD player.
  • Just donate 5, 10 , 25 per month!!! I donate 25.00 per month, less than the cost of eating out once!
  • So let me just get you perfectly straight on this. If I go to Denmark after April this year, and I buy a CD-R, I have to pay extra because I'm assumed to be a pirate? I've effectively been found guilty of piracy and fined before I even get the damn thing home? God, you lot must be starting to think you live in the UK! (Course, we scrapped "innocent until proven guilty" some time ago).
  • Eventually, if they get their way, the only people allowed to say anything would be philosophers ...

  • I think as proof by this Kaplan decision and many others too numerous to speak of regarding technology, the judicial system in America has a major problem: understanding.

    I disagree. If anything Kaplan's decision shows a quite different but an even more severe problem: corruption. Didn't you know that Kaplan used to work for MPAA?

  • I don't understand.

    I don't understand the need for FSF to appeal to US court over a decision by a US judge.

    I mean, what we are talking about is the NET, right? And, the NET is supposed to be LARGER than US, right?

    So, what's the need to appeal to the US court over a stupid decision by a myopic US judge, when what we can do is to post whatever "offending" (according to that myopic US judge anyway) content on the Web anyway, and HOST that web OUTSIDE the U. S. of A. where the US jurisdiction does NOT apply?

    Up until now, as far as I understand, the USA still don't have the power to RULE OVER OTHER COUNTRIES, right?

    So, if I were t opost that "offending" content on my own website that is being hosted by someone in, let's say, Australia, what the heck can that myopic US judge do to me?

    As I said, I don't understand. So, please educate me.

  • Is when one person's rights are taken away it is only a matter of time that other peoples rights are taken away.
  • Like clockwork an article is rolled out every few weeks to incite the usual replies about DeCSS. Reading the postings here one might get the impression there is a large constituency opposed to present DVD restrictions. However not long ago web sites, Usenet newsgroups etc. were mobilized not to publicize the shortcomings but to fight an all-out "war" of advocacy against laserdisc advocates. Far more resources were contributed on the Internet to promote the triumph of DVD, resources given freely by people unaffiliated with the major media powers. It is simply not true that the reason there is no public outcry over current restrictions is a conspiracy of silence imposed by these powers. The reason there is no outcry is that there is no constituency that wants to protest. People have already voted with their dollars and advocacy: At all cost their investment in DVD technology must not be invalidated. Consumers have made their bed, now they must lie in it. There was a clear tradeoff between consumers and industry to get content put on the superior and longer-lasting (compared to video tape) DVDs. Industry simply would not have signed off on putting their content onto DVDs without this legislation. For the average American consumer there has never been better choice in content, there has never been more accessible mass importation of foreign product such as Japanese anime. Overall, things got better.
  • Except for the fact that DVDs don't have an EULA. All restrictions on them are under normal copyright law, just like a book or a VHS tape, and the DMCA, which only applies to digital stuff. So they do have to be constitutional.

    -David T. C.
  • The real quesion is...did "Antitrust" make them money?
  • Getting media that will be playable on j. random commercial DVD player isn't possible for the average consumer,

    Well, according to Apple, their new DVD authoring software will enable anyone with a new G4 to create content that will be playable on any commercial DVD player.

  • Summary paragraph from the brief:

    In short, by failing to limit copyright owners' ability to prevent access to their works, the District Court's interpretation of Sect. 1201(a)(2) grants them powers far beyond those allowed by copyright law or the First Amendment, placing the statute on a collision course with the constitution. A reasonable interpretation of the statute, however, could allow it to remain a powerful tool to prevent copyright infringement, while also preserving freedom of expression as movies move into the digital age.

    Sound pretty reasonable to me. But then, I am a resonable man. Judge Kaplan didn't seem very resonable to me.

    I liked this part alot:

    as often occurs in First Amendment cases, the District Court allowed its feelings about the individual speaker before it to color its judgment of his right to speak.

    He's saying that Kaplan doesnt like hackers? And that this colored his judgement?


    I hope they get a better judge in this one. I will be watching.


  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @04:38PM (#494640) Homepage Journal

    CSS is designed to prevent copyright infringement, but the Court held that publishing DeCSS was illegal even when no infringement had occurred and despite the fact that it was being used for legitimate, even constitutionally protected purposes.

    I am disappointed by this sentence from EFF. The problem is with the "CSS is designed to prevent copyright infringement" part and it just shows that MPAA has actually gotten EFF itself to think it their terms.

    CSS is not designed to prevent copyright infringement. CSS is designed to prevent copying. (The fact that it doesn't work is a whole other topic...)

    If I can take an invention that accomplishes an easy-to-understand low-level specific, and claim that its purpose is to achieve a particular high-level goal (which is one among many of the high-level effects), then I can get away with all kinds of amazing lies. For example: a gun is a medical instrument. (Rationale: you can use a gun to euthanize an infected patient so that they don't infect other people.)

  • "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

    Thanks to Google and n.html [] for the quote whose exact wording I can never remember.

  • The MPAA and RIAA got snuck thru Congress (a la the DMCA) a law that ends the 20-30 year limit (I am not sure what it was) on a record company owning distribution rights to a song...

    Even better - IIRC, it was actually to fulfill a condition in an international treaty, part of the GATT round. This means that even if the US Congress wanted to reverse the change, they'd have to either renegotiate the treaty or break their word to the other countries.

    That said, most academics aren't too worried about copyright as such. Leaving aside the fact that most of them own copyrights themselves, they have book-buying allowances and institutional libraries to help them get over the cost of getting access to copyrighted material. Copyright powers are sometimes used to mess them about, but it's traditionally been the relatives of dead authors and public figures who usually do it, not professional publishers. The combination of fair use, financial support, and reasonable behaviour by copyright holders means that the status quo is acceptable to them, even if it does cost them large amounts of money. Take away fair use (and reasonable behaviour) and it would be a very different story.

    Also, as I recall, there was actual testimony in the DeCSS case where some MPAA drone admitted that because of the DMCA, using video clips of a movie on VHS in an academic paper would be legal, while video clips taken from a DVD would not..

    That's why I'm so surprised that the EFF wasn't able (or willing?) to get a single historian or someone similar into its long line of witnesses, to explain how his profession would be affected, just as (damn, forgotten his name right now) did so well for computer science. Even just to have someone like that in the line-up would go a long way to counteracting the preception that this was an issue that only "hackers" (by the media definition) and computer nerds cared about.

    The DMCA, as it stands now interpreted by "judge" Kaplan would seem to prevent ANY academic use of digital media....

    Kaplan is a legitimate US federal judge, whether or not we agree with his ruling or think he's a good judge. Having to live with the possibility of bad verdicts is one price we pay for living under the rule of law, rather than the rule of might (read: dictatorship or bloody anarchy). Sorry to get up on my high-horse about that, it's just too important to let pass.

  • The EFF is absolutely spot on when it claims that the DeCSS ruling menaces fair use for academic purposes. So it's worrying that the EFF seems to have failed (so far, anyway) to make academics aware of the threat. It's probably safe to say that any American CS academic worth a damn now knows about the threat from the DMCA; but most historians and other academics whose work may actually be worse affected seem still to be blissfully unaware.

    These academics need access to old data, really any old data, the more the better - even the most boring or transient stuff could be extremely useful to somebody sometime. In the nineteenth century (for instance), most records went onto paper. Paper is a surprisingly durable storage medium over the long run. By contrast, we in the later twentieth century create much more data, but increasingly it gets put in formats that may well be unreadable ("dead media") in 20, never mind 200 years' time. The data may have degraded beyond recovery by the time researchers come back to it, even assuming that they can still get a working media player to read it. Or take the celebrated case of the US federal housing data, stored on paper tape or something some decades back. (I'm afraid I can't remember details, and I'm in a hurry to get this posted). There are historians, sociologists, economists, social geographers and others who would kill to get the chance to sift through it. They may never get the chance, for while the data has been well preserved, and physically reading it isn't a problem, nobody knows what the data format is anymore!

    For these reasons, these academics have mixed feelings about the increasing computerisation of our data. Now we throw in the DVDCCA's licence control, soon , it seems, to be followed by similar locks on recorded music and even electronic texts. If you think these restrictions are going to make academics' lives hard today, just wait 40 years or so. Getting working media readers and transferring the data onto new media for safekeeping might now be not only impossible but actually illegal. Who will be holding the DVD licences in two generations or more's time? Will it even be clear who holds them? Who would care to bet that they'll feel like helping out academics as a public service, instead of, say, shaking them down royally for every disk they save, possibly even pushing some ideological agenda in dictating what can be saved, or God knows what?

    Clearly, every half-decent humanities and social science department in the USA and beyond should be up in arms by now. They're very obviously not, and I'm reasonably sure that it's because they are still largely unaware of the DMCA threat. My father is a full-time professional historian, a member of the American Historical Association and a subscriber to their journal. The first he heard of the DVDCCA and the DMCA was from me. The word isn't getting out to these people. It's all very well for the EFF to have a very popular website, but if it can't reach what should be a huge grassroots support base, it's just not functioning well as a pressure group.

    We can't afford not to pick up allies like this in such an important fight, not when we're up against hugely powerful organisations like the DVDCCA and MPAA. Fortunately, it's easy to make a start. If you have the ear of a non-science academic, take the next chance you have to bring them up to speed on what the DMCA will mean, not just for video but soon for audio and texts as well, and encourage them to spread the message to their peers.

  • the acceptance is removing the content from the package, and the consideration is the price paid for the content

    Past consideration is no consideration. You can't have acceptance of a deal for which consideration has already passed, it makes no sense. You need to rethink what you're treating as acceptance, or what you're treating as consideration one or the other.
  • Are you saying you think Free Speech will really go away because people aren't allowed to play encoded DVD content on alternative platforms?

    I don't think he is. If, however, you are forbidden under penalty of law from telling people how to decode DVDs, which is what Judge Kaplan found, then Free Speech has already 'gone away'. The right to say only those things that have not been forbidden is not 'Free Speech'.
  • How can I hack into something I paid money for. I bought the dvd and player. It is mine. I can use it however I like. It is true that the content on a DVD is still copyrighted and you can't redistribute that content. But the DMCA isn't about content. It is about giving an excessive amount of protection to a certain class of encryption algorithms. I should be able to toss bits at a piece of hardware and see what happens all day if I like. I you saying that using the "print to file" function of the Windows print dialog for a simple image and then using that output to create printer drivers for linux or *bsd or any other system is illegal. If so then their are a dozen or so ghostscript drivers out there for Lexmark and HP printers that should be considered illegal.
  • what does this mean to all the people that downloaded the software???

    could this possibly get so far out of hand that someone shows up at my door asking to sift thru my computer???

    legal stuff scares me.

  • You do realize that decss is the *only* reason those DVD->mpeg4 rippers work, right?

  • AC parent has a good point. It's not the taxes themselves were the issue, but people being cut away from the Powers That Be in a way that enraged them.

    Likewise, the right to play legally purchased DVDs on legally purchased hardware may not seem important on its own, but in the current historical context, and in the context it will be seen 20 years from now, this small freedom represents the ability of consumers to buy technology and use it in their own homes as they see fit, without needing to seek approval from cartels. And its effect on copyright represents the right of the consumer to have access to their own culture without the interference of racketeering middlemen.

    If the MPAA et al are allowed to wield technology AND the law to impose a draconian copyright scheme on the consumer, what's to prevent them from claiming copyright to works you create with their "licensed" camcorder? The "market" won't save you if they all act together.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • It has absolutely nothing to do with copying - it's whole reason for existance is for content control. The only part they never mention is that it wouldn't have teeth if not for the DMCA and in the future, if more states pas it, the UCITA...

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • Not really, the key verb 'to circumvent' means:

    1.To surround (an enemy, for example); enclose or entrap.
    2.To go around; bypass: circumvented the city.
    3.To avoid or get around by artful maneuvering: She planned a way to circumvent all the bureaucratic red tape.

    I don't think players designed according to the legitimate criteria of the copy control system can be described as 'circumvention devices'.
  • CSS is an encryption scheme. In all of the legal proceeding, it has always been applied specifically to the plaintifs and their products. This is not the whole story. Anyone who makes DVD's could use the CSS encryption algorithm. This is as ludicrous as banning HTML information becuase the some company accidentally exposed credit card numbers in HTML format.

    This stinks of Napster-eqse corporate influences. Once Napster got into the deal with a big music company, for some reason it becuase unquestionably legal for it to support peer-to-peer music sharing. Some of those shared files could be data copyrighted by 3rd-party artists or independent musicians. For them, the situation has not changed at all. But now a few certain big companies are getting monetary cuts. How does that change the real or percieved legality of Napster's buisness at all??
  • You wrote:

    Oh that stupid cliche, Information wants to be free.

    The real quote is from Stewart Brand []. The actual quote is:

    Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine -- too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient.

    Stewart Brand, The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T. (New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987).

    the implications of this is up to the reader of course, but please do try to keep things in context. :)
  • I thought the /. wisdom was that CSS is there to make sure only authorised DVD players could play industry discs, and that it really doesn't pertain to copying since you can just copy the raw data from one disc to another, just like I can copy a Finnish text character by character without understanding a word of it.

    Or did I mix up the conspiracies?
  • My favorite part was when the courts put all of the source code out in writing as public record as part of the evidence.
    I believe they sealed it later, but for several days they were doing the exact same thing they convicted 2600 of doing.

  • Based on your name, you sound like an Aussie. You might want to try EFA [], the Aussie version of EFF.
  • just remember - no taxation without representation ..... and if you're not a citizen the US will happily tax you and not let you vote (unlike some other western countries) .... all that boston tea party patriotic rah-rah is just window dressing. The ONLY way you can make yourself heard here is with your money - spending it with a group like the EFF is an excellent way to do it.

    Beside don't you think the RIAA has members that are based outside the US that are funding its operations?

  • I can't get tax relief donating to a US entity (I'm an EU citizen...from Ireland), so is their any other means by which I can maximise the effectiveness of my few ?

    Electronic Frontier Ireland [] is probably worth looking into, then. Perhaps you can get a tax break by donating to them? I don't know how active they are, but it can't hurt to send them a note and ask if they have suggestions.

    You can also still donate to the EFF [], you just won't get the tax break. (Though at least in the US tax law, if you're poor, you generally want to just take the "standard deduction" anyway, which means you wouldn't get a tax break for charitable donations.)

  • I would like to support the EFF, but I am a guest in the US (non-resident alien), and as such have reservations about participating in the American political process.

    First off, as a 501(c)3 the EFF can't do as much lobbying as a "real" political action group, so contributions are not considered campaign/political donations.

    Second, the MPAA doesn't seem to care if you're a US citizen or not; just ask Jon Johansen!

    The DVD issue at hand is a worldwide issue. (CSS exists to enforce region codes, among other things.) The fight happens to be taking place in the US, but that doesn't mean it's not going to affect the rest of the affect it right back.

  • by ckd ( 72611 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:55PM (#494660) Homepage

    Don't forget to join and support the EFF []. The MPAA has plenty of money from selling all those VHS tapes, DVDs, movie tickets, etc. The EFF only has what we can give it.

    Broke? Student/low income membership is $20. That's what, three pizzas from the cheap pizza parlor? Two CDs? A month of saving a buck a day by skipping that vending machine soda every weekday....

    Not broke? Got stock that is still worth more than you paid for it at the IPO? Need a tax deduction? They're a registered nonprofit.

    Lazy? They take Visa and Mastercard [], American Express [], PayPal [], and a bunch of other options. If you'll shop online for your music, books, games, about shopping online for your rights?

    (And see if your employer might match your donation [].)

  • Even better - IIRC, it was actually to fulfill a condition in an international treaty, part of the GATT round.

    Not so. The copyright industry invariably claims its abuses are required by the WIPO. Members of Congress apparently don't bother to read the treaty, and rubber-stamp whatever absurd legislation passes their way.

    It reminds me of the 'de facto declaration of war' on North Vietnam in order to uphold the South's independence as guaranteed by the Geneva Accords. Even ten seconds' examination of the agreement would have revealed that it guaranteed the unity of Vietnam. There is an important lesson here for lobbyists.

  • May I recommend:
    1. Keep it rude, but sign off, as the MPAA did, with 'Respectfully,'.
    2. Don't say 'off of'.
    3. Accuse the MPAA of perjury. (It's not true, unfortunately: they claim to be perjuring themselves, but they're lying.)
  • "Anyway, my point is that if you really want to help the cause, educate the people."

    I agree totally. That's why I think Dubya will make a good president - because he believes in the people, and their power to govern themselves. That's why he, and John Ashcroft, don't plan on overturning Roe vs. Wade and banning abortion - not because abortion is acceptible, but because it's the people that need to decide whether it is or not. That's the reason the prohibition didn't work - because people didn't see the problem with drinking and the government tried to force it upon them. That's why I'm hoping for a smaller government and a more informed, values-oriented populace, to compensate. As geeks, it's our duty to explain to people and try to educate them on these issues.

    Remember, the values that people try to force upon others are not necessarily wrong, it's just annoying to have them forced upon you. Be sure and evaluate things on their real merits before deciding based upon how you feel. A lot of people decide to buy stereos, tvs, music cds, Windoze, etc. just for entertainment's sake and because it feels good. If they would only stop and think, and if they were a bit more educated on the issues, they might realize what it's going to support.

  • Thanks for the info. I'll be sure and drop him an email protesting this, if I can find his address.
  • Ok, I sent the following th Not sure the address is valid though, as his homepage isn't.

    (This is an open letter.)

    Dear Sir,

    I believe that it is extremely important that drug use be curtailed in this country. Methamphetamine use, from what I hear, is extremely addictive, in addition to being very easy and cheap for people to make at home. Drug use is very, very harmful to society.

    However, I do not believe that harsher controls are the answer. Especially if those controls have the potential of violating our fourth and first amenndment rights. As citizens, we have the right to say what we like, and that includes, I believe, being allowed to provide instructions on the formulation of drugs. We have the right to provide that information on the internet, and we have the right to link to such sites. A person should not be punishable for merely writing an article or telling someone where to find such an article. The same goes for software - a person should not be punishable for merely providing links to the DeCSS program.

    Our fourth amendment rights are, in this case, perhaps even more important. The right of people to not be searched without warrants is extremely important. Even if there is a possibility of a person being guilty of having drugs in their posession, the government should not be able to search their property without a warrant. I am very concerned that innocent people suffer the effects of anti-drug legislation. Here's a quote from an article on Slashdot, a prominent "Geek" news site, in response to an article of mine defending you as George W. Bush's choice for Attorney General:

    "There are many issues being used to discredit President-Elect Bush's nominee for Attorney General, John Ashcroft, but one we haven't heard is The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act which Ashcroft authored. It would have allowed the police the authority to conduct secret warrantless searches. If this bill had passed, Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies would be able to to enter private property - e.g., homes, businesses, automobiles - to conduct criminal searches without a warrant and without any legal obligation to inform the private property owner that a search and seizure was conducted until months later, if at all."

    I think this flies in the face of the traditional Conservative model of smaller government, more rights for the people, and invividual responsibility. Please reconsider your ideas on drug prevention.
  • by nezroy ( 84641 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @04:04PM (#494666) Homepage
    Don't forget to pick up an OpenDVD T-Shirt [] from Copyleft [www.copyle...ttargetnew] too! $4 of each purchase goes to the EFF. Support the boys in the trenches and use that walking ad space to express your opinion, all in one fell swoop.
  • Don't you think the main-page poll is a bit stale? It's been almost a month since x-mas.
  • This site [] has a gallery of different ways to conceal decss source code, including pics.
  • What's funny is what the DVDCCA claimed in their lawsuit (CopyLeft was "Doe 74"):

    "Defendants' posting of the proprietary information licensed by DVD CCA on their Web sites has caused the illegal pirating of the motion picture industry's copyrighted content contained on DVDs."

    Whoops...they had no proof. Oh well, what's another frivolous lawsuit or three?


  • Hey, if they want to tax blank media to offset piracy, then I'm going to pirate to offset the blank media tax. Fair is fair.


  • Good post, but there's an even stronger connection to be made: you don't have to buy a book to quote from it under fair use, you can check it out from the library. But even if you go out and buy a DVD, you cannot use any of it under the fair use laws because of the DMCA. This speaks volumes for the corporate nature of our "rights" these days.


  • by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @06:18PM (#494672) Homepage
    Here's my response to MPAA threats as seen on (reprinted here for convenience):

    [begin included text]

    From Thu Nov 30 19:50:14 2000
    Subject: Re:
    To: (mpaa23)
    Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 19:50:09 -0700 (MST)

    To Whom it May Concern:

    My initial response to your threats of legal action ("Go fuck yourself") did not address the irony of this situation. Allow me to educate you.

    I had the DeCSS [] source up on for about a week, way back when all of your threats were just starting. I voluntarily removed it because the administrator of Dimensional was already receiving grief from people upset about the nature of my page, and I felt that he shouldn't have to take any more problems on my behalf. Since DeCSS [] has not been available on for quite some time (what is it now, a year?), I can only assume that you're basing your "knowledge" off of a few lists cirulating around the internet.

    The irony, of course, is this: now that you've decided to come after me (albeit extremely late) for DeCSS [], I plan to link to a lycos search on []. Note that this is a link to a search engine [], not to a particular file, and you'll damn well have to drag me to court to get a ruling on it. If Dimensional wants me to remove the link (and by this I mean *Dimensional*, not MPAA or its slime-sucking lawyers), I will do so immediately and without question, but this will not stop me from hosting the actual DeCSS [] file from a country with smarter laws, nor will it stop me from distributing the file via other means.

    Let me spell out the irony for you: I've had little actual interest in DeCSS [] since it all started, but now you've renewed that interest, and I can fully assure you that I will not let this matter go.


    [Original text appears below]

    From Wed Nov 29 17:56:12 2000
    Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 16:46:38 -0800
    From: mpaa23 <>
    X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200



    PHONE: (818) 728-8127 Email: Anti-Piracy Operations

    November 29, 2000

    Steve Pordon Squealing Pigs, LLC 123 Main Street Yourtown, CO 80201

    RE: Distribution of Unauthorized Product Site/Email Address: MPAA File #: 5-671-267

    Dear Steve Pordon:

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) represents the following motion picture production and distribution companies:

    Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Disney Enterprises, Inc. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. Paramount Pictures Corporation TriStar Pictures, Inc. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation United Artists Pictures, Inc. United Artists Corporation Universal City Studios, Inc. Warner Bros., a Division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.

    We have received information that you are unlawfully offering product at the above-referenced web site. We have notified your ISP of the unlawful nature of this web site and have asked for its immediate removal. Our letter to your ISP is set forth below for your reference.

    Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email if you should have any questions.

    Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

    Very truly yours,

    Motion Picture Association of America



    PHONE: (818) 728-8127 Email: Anti-Piracy Operations

    November 29, 2000

    Chuck U. Farley Dimensional Communications, LLC 910 16th Street Suite 1015 Denver, CO 80202

    RE: Illegal Provision of DeCSS/Circumvention Device Site/URL: MPAA File#: 5-671-267

    Dear Chuck U. Farley:

    The Motion Picture Association of America is authorized to act on behalf = of the following copyright owners:

    Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Disney Enterprises, Inc. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. Paramount Pictures Corporation TriStar Pictures, Inc. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation=20 United Artists Pictures, Inc. United Artists Corporation Universal City Studios, Inc. Warner Bros., a Division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.

    We have knowledge that the above-referenced Internet site is providing a = circumvention device commonly known as DeCSS. DeCSS is a software = utility that decrypts or unscrambles the contents of DVDs (consisting of = copyrighted motion pictures) or otherwise circumvents the protection = afforded by the Contents Scramble System (CSS) and permits the copying = of the DVD contents and/or any portion thereof. As such, DeCSS is an = unlawful circumvention device within the meaning of the Digital = Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 1201(a)(2),(3). Providing = or offering DeCSS to the public on your system or network violates the = provisions of Section 1201(a)(2) which prohibits the "manufacturing, = importing or offering to the public, providing, or otherwise = trafficking" in an unlawful circumvention device. (17 U.S.C. Section = 1201 et seq. hereafter is referred to as the "DMCA").

    On August 17, 2000, a federal district court in the Southern District of = New York confirmed that offering, providing, or trafficking in DeCSS, or = any other device designed to circumvent CSS, violates the DMCA. The = district court granted a permanent injunction against (1) posting on = any Internet site, or in any other way manufacturing, importing or = offering to the public, providing, or otherwise trafficking in DeCSS or = any other technology primarily designed to circumvent CSS, and (2) = linking any Internet web site, either directly or through a series of = links, to any other Internet web site containing DeCSS.=20

    The district court's ruling makes clear that by providing DeCSS, the = above- referenced Internet site violates the DMCA. We therefore demand = that you:

    1) take appropriate steps to cause immediate removal of DeCSS from the = above identified URL, along with such other actions as may be necessary = or appropriate to suspend this illegal activity;

    2) provide appropriate notice to the subscriber or account holder = responsible for the presence of DeCSS on your system or network, = advising him/her of the contents of this notice and directing that = person to contact the undersigned immediately at the e-mail address = provided above;

    Failure to comply with these measures will subject you to liability as = described above.

    We also request that you maintain, and take whatever steps are necessary = to prevent the destruction of, all records, including electronic = records, in your possession or control respecting this URL, account = holder or subscriber.

    By copy of this letter, the owner of the above-referenced URL and/or = email account is hereby directed to cease and desist from the conduct = complained of herein.

    On behalf of the respective owners of the exclusive rights to the = copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state, pursuant = to the DMCA that we have a good faith belief that the acts complained of = are not authorized by the copyright owners, their respective agents, or = the law.

    Also pursuant to DMCA, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury under = the law of California and under the laws of the United States, that the = information in this notification is accurate and that we are authorized = to act on behalf of the owners of the exclusive rights being infringed = as set forth in this notification.

    Should you have any questions, please contact us at the above listed = address.

    Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your immediate response = is requested.

    Respectfully, The Motion Picture Association of America

    [end included text]


  • by Jim Tyre ( 100017 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:14PM (#494673) Homepage
    Remember that this is just the first round of appellate briefs, so four months is not that far away. Next Friday is the due date for amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in support of 2600, of which there will be several (including mine). Then, the studios do their brief in a month from now. A week after, their amici file, then 2600 does a reply brief. So the interval from the last brief to the oral arguments is not that great.
  • If cryptography is controlled as a weapon for export purposes, I'm surprised that the posession of such a weapon by 2600 is nor also protected under the Fourth amendment, that is that American citizens are allowed to "keep and bear arms".
  • Yes, i Know it's great that they'll be heard in April. But that's the sad part. A major rights issue which is high priority, yet it takes 4 months to hear. Isn't the legal system supposed to work _swiftly_ and justly, not just one of the two...
  • by myc ( 105406 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:08PM (#494676)
    that people give away their fair use rights doesn't bother me all THAT much. what really pisses me of is some people who have these kickass home entertainment systems, but have no taste in movies; who needs to watch Howard the Duck in 5 channel surround sound anyway? It's like the people who have these really nice, expensive stereo systems and the only CD they own is the Dolby decoder test CD with the cannon-firing sounds. Why, back in my day we used mono cassette players plugged into 5 dollar computer speakers, and WE LIKED IT!
  • He's saying that Kaplan doesnt like hackers? And that this colored his judgement?
    No, he didn't like Martin Garbus, the defendant's lawyers. Plus, if you read the transcripts, he's continually hostile towards him and the defendants in general. He just seemed biased from the outset.
  • Don't forget that SpeedRipper, which is the base of Dod's SpeedRipper was out before DeCSS.

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • That would be the Second Amendment, not the Fourth.
  • Generally, this is a liberal court on First Amendment issues, a tendency that is shaped primarily by Kennedy and Scalia. The key exception is Rehnquist, who is as unfriendly to the First Amendment as precedent allows.

    There is ONE area where the Court seems to cut local governments some slack, and that is in the area of adult bookstores, nude dancing establishments, etc. Those often are regulable through 'secondary effects' doctrine. The Court has been buying the idea that the substantial impact of those establishments is to drive down property values and increase crime nearby. It would be unfortunate if somehow 'piracy' got labeled as a 'secondary effect', leading to upholding the regulation.

  • Doh! My comment was supposed to have an <A> in the title & the body!
  • Heh, it looks like about 1/3 of the way down they forgot to close a tag :-) /. posters aren't the only ones :-)
  • Granted you have to have a subscription to get into the website, but The Perl Journal [] published a really kewl article on converting C to english using a perl script called More info on converting C code to gramatically correct English is here. [] The author of the article published the entire deccs program in english in the fall issue.
  • "He failed to apply the required Constitutionality test to the DMCA."

    I thought only the Supreme Court was supposed to handle that?
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • Fair Use derives from the Constitution ... I don't think it's possible to sign away or agree to anything that conflicts with the Constitution.

    The United States Constitution, as amended, states that "Congress shall make no law" abridging freedom of speech (17 USC 107 [], the fair use section, makes most of copyright law constitutional), not that private individuals shall make no law (that is, contract). If this were true, non-disclosure agreements would be unconstitutional. A EULA for DVDs that pretty much amounts to an NDA would not be out of the question.

    And yes, the contract is there; the offer is the EULA, the acceptance is removing the content from the package, and the consideration is the price paid for the content (in terms of dollars, square inches of ad space, or personal information) in exchange for the right to view the content.

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @04:26PM (#494687)
    I am already a member, but I must say that I think the jump from low income/student to regular member is a bit stiff.

    $65 may not be that much to a sysadmin or programmer, but to Jolene Sixpack it might be confusing why it's three times the cost of, say, her favorite magazine subscription.

    Sometimes an org can grow very rapidly if they remember "economy of scale".

    On the other hand, freedom is never free. Corporations like Microsoft and Seagrams have masses of attorneys in Washington looking out for their shareholders...which means maximizing profits by any means necessary...even if this takes away your right to code.

    The EFF and ACLU are taking brave steps towards protecting our freedom to code. Power to the Programmers!

  • > For the average American consumer there has
    > never been better choice in content, there has
    > never been more accessible mass importation of
    > foreign product such as Japanese anime.
    > Overall, things got better.

    Is this a joke ?

    A lot of people interested in foreign movies had multi-standard VCRs and TVs that could read Pal & Secam Tapes. Now, YOU CAN NO LONGER WATCH ANY EUROPEAN MOVIES ON DVD. Except those that Holiwood feels are US-worthy to edit in Zone 1, i.e. a tiny percentage.

    For all the other ones, screw you, multi-zone DVD players are easy to find in Europe, but they are a lot harder to come by here in California, because the average american doesn't care about obscure foreign movies.

    When i went back home to Europe for X-mas, i saw in stores lots of french DVDs that I wanted to buy, but couldn't knowing they wouldn't work on my Sony DVD player here. ALL of those, because they are in French and mostly pertinent to european culture (TV shows and such), are ONLY available in Zone 2. Screw me. Overall, things got worse.

  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @06:24PM (#494694) Homepage

    I think the most interesting part of the EFF argument was about functionality of speech.
    Part of the ruling of the District Court was that "functional speech" was not granted the same protection as other modes of speech. The EFF argued that nothing in the first amendment, or until now, the judgements on the first amendment, had ever made a distinction between "functional" and "non-functional" speech.

    If speech isn't meant to have a function, and have an influence on things, what is the point of speech? This would be a world of totally reflective speech, where speech will only be able to repeat or abstract what already exists. I think that speech is inherently meant to change things and have a function, not just to describe the world as it is. If the courts seem to think that only descriptive speech is protected, I think we are in trouble.

  • Blockquoth the poster:
    I see a day when an artist can put out their own material, for which they will get their just rewards (both financial and other).
    Technologically, that day is nearly here. Remember that these battles are being initiated by Big Money Media, who are terrified people will copy their holy pap. But Big Money Media -- espcially in music, and growing so in video -- are dinosaurs, whose existence has been based upon controlling distribution. It is that way that Hollywood, et al, control the content. The argument is, it costs a lot of money to produce and distribute, say, a CD, so we can only do a few. Moreover, prod/dist therefore requires the economies of scale that concentrate control into a few hands, who can then create the content they deem most likely to turn a profit.

    But with digital equipment and broadband access, it is becoming easier and cheaper to produce and distribute content -- even "professional" quality. Eventually, artists are going to hit upon a mechanism for direct pay -- perhaps Street Performer Protocol, perhaps something else -- and then the scales will fall from their eyes. They will realize they don't need the big distribution houses and the big studios. And then music will be free, in the political sense, because they'll see they can make a decent profit without forking over creative control, 95% of the money, and their souls in return for a contract.

    I eagerly await the first album to truly take off due to Internet exposure. That will be the "killer app" that lights the fuse and launches the Free Art revolution. The biggest threat is that Big Money Media will seize control of the broadband pipe before this liberation happens. Then they'll try to convince everyone that the Internet is just TV II, and will strangle people whose philosophy threatens their own. Think it can't happen? Can you say, AOL/Time-Warner?

  • Blockquoth the poster:
    So, if I were t opost that "offending" content on my own website that is being hosted by someone in, let's say, Australia, what the heck can that myopic US judge do to me?
    Well, ask that Jansen(?) kid, whose usually benificent Norwegian government bashed in his door at the behest of the US. US money carries a long reach, and remember that most "US" companies (of import in this fight) are transnational corporate behemoths, who will certainly extend this law into any friendly country. And, as with the Berne Convention, there will be tremendous pressure to make all friendly nations conform to a single standard, and the US is likely to set that standard.

    But mostly, if the 20th century taught us anything, it's that you can't just ignore something evil. It's not good enough if you've found a place you think is safe. The problem with routing around damage is, the damage remains... and remains a threat.

  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @05:06PM (#494697) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:
    Remember, time and preparation are good for our side and bad for the MPAA. After all, they really can't come up with any new arguments, and thus benefit from rushing things thru.
    Also, the longer it takes, the more people get used to the idea of free art. As it stands now, we have the edge, as the most draconian parts of the DCMA are hinging on this outcome. We have more time to make people aware of how awful this law is.
  • I would like to support the EFF, but I am a guest in the US (non-resident alien), and as such have reservations about participating in the American political process.

    It's not that I don't have opinions about various things that happen, but I feel that as a guest I don't have the right to influence them. As a foriegn national I'm not eternally tied to the results of decisions (legal and otherwise) in the same way that a US citizen is. I can always go back to my country if I don't like things.

    However, in cases involving the net, actions taken in the US can directly affect the net everywhere, and the EFF seems like a good place to get involved. I'm not looking so much for absolution to join the EFF, but rather asking how /.'s USAian readership feels about foriegners trying to influence American public policy.

    Cheers, quokka

  • I've been involved in a car accident case for two and a half years now. We will have our pre-trial meeting with the judge this coming March. Then our trial date will be set.
  • ircumv.shtml []

    I don't see anywhere that the source code is linked to as the brief claims. Can someone point it out to me or did she pull the link in fear of getting a lawsuit herself? I'd imagine that she would have agreed to let them link to her site in the brief. It would be a real blow to the argument if she pulled the rug out from under them.

  • I think what the world really needs is an obfuscated DeCSS T-Shirt contest. That way, the MPAA will be too stupid to figure out what it does. Now, I guess the question, what language is easier to obfuscate?

    Perl, Lisp, or C? (Or maybe all three!)

    Then again, maybe some sed scripts would be sufficiently arcane.

    Any takers?

  • by fantom_winter ( 194762 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @02:49PM (#494709)
    I am getting sick of the things going on today in the tech sector. It seems that everywhere I look, people are trying to use convenience to take our rights away.

    There is only one body that can prevent such a thing from happening, and its not the government. It's the people; frankly, most people don't care. They would rather watch their movies in Digital Surround Sound and Digital Image Quality in trade for their rights of fair use then boycott the whole damn thing and demand better from these companies.

    Whatever the court decision, this issue in a broader sense is not going away, and WON'T ever, and its going to keep on getting worse as people keep on selling their rights away for comfortable living. Does it remind you a little bit of something, like perhaps the fall of Rome?

    Ah well. It was good while it lasted.

  • I certainly hope the next round goes better. I grew up thinking that just because you don't like hearing it you can't stop truthful speech. It seems simply reporting you-can-get-this-here is against the law as far as Kaplan is concerned. I truly hope that isn't so.

    BTW didn't Garbus defend free speach issues for Lenny Bruce before a judge named Kaplan? Is this the same Kaplan?

  • by Xuther ( 223012 ) on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:13PM (#494716)
    Probably being redundant in posting this, but if you haven't already read the other posts about the subject here on /. you need to be whacked upside the head.

    The DeCSS source code could be used for other means other than piracy. Or would you prefer that in order to play a dvd that you legally own you must have windblows since anything open source would void the copy protection code. In my case I can't really argue anyhow since I'm not using any *nix derivative on the machine that has a dvd player. (Only because it's a company loaner until they decide it's really obsolete and give it to me.) Of course this does become extremely relevant when I finish building my new system because I intend to have FreeBSD on it. Whether I keep the laptop or not, I still own the discs and they are useless without a player. And a dvd drive is useless without software.

    I also think that taxing blank media is a dumb idea. What happens when I don't use the blanks for "copyrighted" material, but personal stuff? Hmm? So now if I need to make a backup of corporate pdf docs, or put together a utils disc that has all the stuff a new hire might need I get taxed to support the media industry? I think not. That is nothing but a load of bull. Who decides who gets what for compensation anyhow? If you put all the taxes into a slush fund that feeds the artists, how do you decide how much an artist gets? And whether the people who made the product CLEARLY don't want it used that way in your words, have you stopped to consider that as a consumer you have a right to use the product you bought as you see fit as long as you don't profit from someone elses work? When are people going to wake up and realize that copy protection doesn't hurt pirates as much as it hurts people who have a legit copy and need to make a backup so that the original doesn't get scratched, or wants to use an alternate operating system with the software/movie. Good thing they haven't thought of taxing DNA just because someone might figure out how to store computer data on it.

    One of my real pet peeves are people who think something needs to be taken away just because a few individuals can't use it properly.
  • by HongPong ( 226840 ) < minus author> on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:57PM (#494717) Homepage
    I find it amusing that there are 2 consecutive stories on the front page about 2600. Not the same 2600, but I like it. I don't know why...
  • I disagree. The masses CAN be powerful in stopping such grabs of liberty when they want to. In particular, the Betamax case (1984 was it?) that ruled that it was legal to tape shows and movies off TV... Also, the public resoundingly rejected Divx.

    You understand the public had nothing to with Betamax? It's a Supreme Court decision, not a popular vote. Bear in mind that the Supreme Court will probably upheld the DMCA today. Since 1986, Reagan and Bush have added Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O'Connor, et al to the Court. These people don't have a history of favoring free-speech rights.
  • I did a little research at Oyez [] and was suprised at how often the conservative judges on the Supreme Court rule in favor of first ammendment cases. Even after twelve years of Republican appointments, they ruled 9-0 in favor of a constitutional right to burn the flag, found the CDA unconstitutional, upheld the rights of the Klu Klux Klan and the American Nazi party to hold rallies, upheld the right to cable porn, upheld the right for criminals to sell books about their crimes, and so on. It seems likely the Supreme Court will uphold a right to distribute code. Of course, there could be subtle differences here which, since IANAL I wouln't understand.
  • The big boys surely can't seize control of the current situation - i would think that it's grown beyond a level where they can control distribution over the net. If you really believe that they can then I'm scared.

    You make it sound as though Big Brother's waiting around the corner...

  • Instead, 2600 Magazine was found liable for publishing a technology that might someday be used by someone to access a movie without the "authority" of the copyright owner. The District Court acknowledged that the published material, the text of a computer program called DeCSS that decrypts the data on DVDs, has substantial noninfringing uses, including scholarly study of cryptography, enabling fair use of copyrighted movies, and development of competing DVD players.
    Copyright owners have never had the right to prevent such uses. The District Court's interpretation of Sect. 1201, however, now gives them this right.

    1) If I write a program for a nuclear reaction in a science textbook, derived from the Hiroshima bomb, for study of physics, chemistry, or epidemiology, am I guilty of violating the terrorism laws?

    2) The people who jump onto DeCSS posts are motivated primarily by a profit incentive and seem to think that this right to profit abrogrates our First Amendment rights.

    3) The fair use agreement, which is something I use all the time as a journalist, gives me the right to use whatever tool I want, including an open-source tool written by a gifted private individual instead of a corporation which catalogs and reports your every use of their technology to marketing departments and federal agencies.

    Oh that stupid cliche, Information wants to be free. It's true. Information is a valuable commodity like everything else under capitalism, and the only principled stand being taken against 2600 is not a protection of artists, but a protection of profit. Many artists have spoken out in support of this freedom.

  • "Sad, really. I thought our judiciary was beyond blatant corporate/monetary influence."

    No, that is what lobbying government is all about. Using the power of the government and other people's money to get your way.

    Which is why I'm morally opposed to government having any more power than is absolutely needed to prevent mass anarchy. In fact, government's ONLY legitimate role in commerce is preventing corporate cartels like the MPAA from walking over the Constitution...
  • Money ALWAYS buys influence and loyalty. This includes employer-employee relationships. Kaplan was once an indirect (through his lawfirm) an employee of the MPAA.

    What is insane is a system of government made up of politicians who have to shake down donors to get re-elected. This is one drawback of an elective Republic.

    I belive that there needs to be mandatory FULL DISCLOSURE of all contributions, relationships, et all for ALL elected politicians and judges. This should have to be disclosed publically, and the officer/etc/judge should then be required to recuse themselves in any case/vote etc that involves a contributor...

    Furthermore, only INDIVIDUALS should be allowed to contribute anything to campaigns. Corporations, organizations, unions, etc should be forbidden to influence government with contributions.

    Will this ever happen? Of course not. Something like John McCain's hairbrained, unbalanced, and farcical "campaign finance reform" that will do nothing to stop corporate or organization/union contributions, nor will it require FULL disclosure is far more likely.
  • Correct. Furthermore, this time, the EFF has the initiative... This case is proceeding to court AFTER they have prepared it. The Kaplan screwjob was more of a mugging than a trial. The defendants were obstructed and confounded constantly by him.

    Assuming that the appelate judge isn't another Kaplan, this hearing will be a LOT different. I've read most of the EFF legal brief now, and I have to say, it makes things very clear, simple and SCARY... Kaplan's ruling is potentially the Dred Scott Decision of the 1st Amendment if it stands (ruled that blacks were not entitled to ANY Constitutional due process).

    And for those who got their History from a government school, the Dred Scott decision led to the Civil War... Kaplan's ruling could necessitate more bloodshed to retake this country from a tyrannical corporate owned goverment...
  • Actually, Fair Use derives from the Constitution, not from statutory law.

    I don't think it's possible to sign away or agree to anything that conflicts with the Constitution. If it were that easy, would-be tyrants would long ago have done it.

    The DVD "EULA" shrink-wrap license terms that conflict with fair use are legal only in that they (may) be written to use the DMCA. The DMCA is statutory law, and is trumped by Constitutional law..

    There is a LONG line of supreme court rulings on fair use that would seem to make using the DMCA in the way the MPAA did (and Kaplan rubber stamped) in the DeCSS case unconstitutional.
  • "I thought only the Supreme Court was supposed to handle that?"

    Nope. That is the primary Constitutional role for the Federal Judiciary. ALL judges have that power, which, of course, can be overridden by higher courts up to the Supreme Court.

    By failing to take the Constitution into account at all in the DeCSS case, so-called "judge" Kaplan violated the oath he took when he became a judge.
  • "What puzzles me is that I believe that Antitrust was made by a member of the MPAA (correct me if wrong)."

    Hollywood itself (the writers, actors, production talent, etc) is not at all represented by the MPAA. The MPAA represents the studio/corpers.

    Though as a conservative I frequently disagree with Hollywood, there is still an element there that does stand for free expression.

    I haven't seen this movie yet, so I can't comment intelligently on it. However, many (in fact, EVERY) Hollywood movie about hackers since War Games has had many extreme inaccuracies.
  • I think shrinkwrap EULA's have been (in principle) upheld by some Federal Court, I don't think the Supreme Court has ruled on it.

    However, the terms of ANY specific EULA (they are almost all different) in a technical sense, are NOT gospel until ruled on by a court, and then not until the Supreme Court.

    So it can be said that ANY EULA is as binding as either party is willing to either enforce it or challenge it. IMO, most EULA's violate at least SOME law somewhere, including the Constitution, so most of them are probably, at least in part, illegal.
  • An addendum...

    There are so many laws in the USA (over 60,000 NEW state, local and Federal laws passed any given year) it may, in fact be IMPOSSIBLE for any EULA to be 100% legal in every single state, or locale.

    The very complexity of them are their weakness. Simple EULA's that stuck to Constitutional law would be enforceable anywhere. However, the whole point of a EULA is to deprive the end user of their rights...
  • DUH!

    Kaplan ruled the DMCA not only Constitutional, but ADDED to it with his hyperlink ruling...

    Kaplan had a RESPONSIBILITY, based on his OATH he took when he was confirmed as a federal judge (Clinton appointee), to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution".

    How could ruling so blatantly and partisanly in favor of the MPAA, with the attitude "Constitution be dammed, I'm looking out for ME" be upholding that oath? Kaplan could, I suppose have ruled that the DMCA WAS constitutional, but he totaly failed to give ANY JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER in his ruling...
  • If upheld, the DeCSS case could "Dred Scott" away the 1st Amendment. There will then, for all practical purposes, cease to be any such thing as "free speech" that is not approved by the MPAA/RIAA, which are huge corporate cartels.

    This would have a chilling effect on the Internet, technology and education. Read what Valenti (chief MPAA goon) was saying about academia having NO fair use rights in the DMCA world...
  • "Hey, if they want to tax blank media to offset piracy, then I'm going to pirate to offset the blank media tax. Fair is fair. "

    In a moral sense, a tax on blank media pretty much would piracy. After all, you are PAYING the RIAA/MPAA through the tax for their audio/video/software whether you bought it or not.

    IMO, a tax on blank media is one of those "thin edge of the wedge" issues. Clearly the MPAA/RIAA want to get a cut, but it will obviously be abused to the point to make blank media artificially expensive. Blank CD-R discs used to cost more than $5 a pop, now they can be had for less than $.50.

    Their justification for increasing the "RIAA/MPAA tax" every year? Why that skyrocketing $$$ they claim every year (though never in their SEC filings, which is a felony) that is "lost" to piracy. If you think hundres of billion$ are being "lost" to piracy now, watch it soar into the trillion$ if that "tax" got passed.

    I also wonder about the Constitutionality of such a tax... Is it legal to tax citizens on behalf of a corporation?

  • "You understand the public had nothing to with Betamax? It's a Supreme Court decision, not a popular vote"

    If it hadn't been for the public outcry, there never would have been a case to be made.

    "Since 1986, Reagan and Bush have added Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O'Connor, et al to the Court. These people don't have a history of favoring free-speech rights."

    As for conservatives on the court, they tend to be strict constructionists, and reluctant to let things LIKE the DMCA trump the Constitution. Liberal judges tend to find things in the Constitution that aren't there (ie, make something up to suit one's agenda rather than following the law), which might allow something like the DMCA... particularly as the Left has the most ties to Hollywood and the MPAA.

    Case in point: Judge Kaplan IS a Liberal judge, and a Clinton Appointee. As a Liberal judge, he "found" an exception to the 1st Amendment that allowed him to make hyperlinking illegal.

    Also, you forget Reno vs ACLU, aka, the CDA case. It was Scalia, the MOST conservative judges on the court who wrote the majority opinion striking down the CDA.. And Thomas also voted to strike it down.

    I feel far safer with conservative strict Constitutionalists on the court than with any other type.

    You do have a point, Reagan and Bush both appointed judges like Souter and O'Conner, both of which have proven themselves to be unfriendly to the Constitution at times.
  • There are limits to a NDA. For example, a NDA becomes void if the company breaks the law. You are not bound by it in that case.

    Also, NDA's etc and EULA's are cases of tort or CIVIL law. You cannot be arrested or jailed for violating them.

    The DMCA has the effect of taking civil EULA's and raising their power to the level of CRIMINAL law, which is definately on the shady side of legal.
  • by mikethegeek ( 257172 ) <blair@N[ ]mifm.comSPAM ['Owc' in gap]> on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:58PM (#494745) Homepage
    "problem is most people today are completly unaware of the rights they are selling off when they get into new technology"

    I disagree. The masses CAN be powerful in stopping such grabs of liberty when they want to. In particular, the Betamax case (1984 was it?) that ruled that it was legal to tape shows and movies off TV... Also, the public resoundingly rejected Divx.

    The problem is, the case has to be made non-technical and explained... The MPAA/RIAA right now is trying to illegally "circumvent" fair use and the Betamax case law by arguing that digital recording/playback is somehow LEGALLY different from analog..

    It's an argument that doesn't hold much legal weight, but the situation is a LOT different than it was back in the 80's...

    For one, the media is virtually controlled today by the MPAA/RIAA members. So just WHO is going to report honestly on this case? Coverage of the first DeCSS trial was treated as the stereotypical "forces of good" vs the "evil hackers".

    Secondly, the MPAA/RIAA's political influence is astounding. They got the DMCA, arguably the WORST law since "Jim Crowe" (forced segregation), passed UNANIMOUSLY by both parties...

    In this case, the only possible relief is the courts. So-called "judge" Kaplan was handpicked for his previous (and likely lucrative future) ties to the MPAA. There are likely MANY more judges up the chain with similar ties, as the MPAA/RIAA have had a nasty habit of suing people lately and have employed many law firms (which produce federal judges).
  • At least this time, as the party bringing the case to court, 2600 will be able to have a lot more control over the scheduling.

    One act that really exposed Kaplan's bias was his constant caving in to the MPAA in moving up schedules. This was done deliberately to deny Garbus the time to make his case.

    Remember the first injunction hearing? Everyone got less than a WEEK's notice... Kaplan allowed himself to be used to completely blindside the defendants.

    Remember, time and preparation are good for our side and bad for the MPAA. After all, they really can't come up with any new arguments, and thus benefit from rushing things thru.

  • DeCSS is completely unnecessary to copy a DVD. That can be done with any DVD recorder by doing a bit-for-bit copy.

    DeCSS allows decoding of the DVD for playback. That is really it's only real purpose.

    In fact, in terms of piracy, the MPAA is far more threatened by MPEG-4.... There are now Mpeg-4 rippers out there that will allow you to copy and compress a DVD onto an ordinary 650MB CD-R disc with very little loss of quality... has an article on this.

    The MPAA is after DeCSS for one reason: they want TOTAL control of the PLAYER... They want to dictate when, how, and by what a DVD is played on.
  • by mikethegeek ( 257172 ) <blair@N[ ]mifm.comSPAM ['Owc' in gap]> on Friday January 19, 2001 @03:45PM (#494748) Homepage
    I was getting a bit worried that this wasn't going to happen, and that a bought and paid for corporate hack, the dishonorable "judge" Kaplan was going to be allowed to have the final word on this...

    Kaplan failed to uphold his responsibility in this case in several ways... Among them:

    1. He failed to apply the required Constitutionality test to the DMCA. In so doing, he not only interpreted the DMCA in it's most narrow way possible (ignoring the clause that allows circumvention devices for uses OTHER than piracy, such as creation of a Linux DVD player), but he EXTENDED it by adding to it making hyperlinks to DeCSS illegal...

    2. He failed to disclose his previous DIRECT ties to the MPAA, which was, if memory serves, being part of a law firm that had once REPRESENTED them. He then refused to recuse himself when it was requested of the defendant. He EXCORIATED Martin Garbus, the lead attorney for 2600, for a much lesser (and trivial) conflict of interest (Garbus once represented a media company later bought by Time-Warner).

    Point #1 could be excused as incompetence, though, IMO, that is no excuse at ALL for a federal judge.

    Point #2 leads me to believe that the actions in point #1 were because Kaplan is extremely corrupt. He worked for a MPAA lawfirm BEFORE he was a judge, and, likely, he will work for one AFTER. He stood to gain a LOT of money for ruling in the way that he did, for the MPAA. That is impeachable. Judges in particular should be held to the highest standards of character and conduct in a case. For the very reason that Federal judges in particular, weild a TON of power.

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