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2600 Drops DeCSS Appeal 246

Slashdot Chaplain writes "At the 2600 site, you can see today's details about why 2600 is withdrawing from taking their suit to the Supreme Court." So let's recap the case: 2600 published the DeCSS utility on their website. The movie studios filed suit, and the EFF agreed to assist 2600 with their case. 2600 lost the case in District Court, receiving a tongue-lashing from Judge Kaplan, which ordered them not to post or even link to DeCSS. 2600 appealed. They lost. They attempted to have their case heard again, by the full Appeals court rather than a three-judge panel, and were rejected. And although they have the option of appealing to the Supreme Court, they are saying today that they will not: so Judge Kaplan's decision stands. The case in California is still ongoing. No doubt this will be discussed at H2K2 next week.
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2600 Drops DeCSS Appeal

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  • Does anyone know what the Canadian stance is on the DeCSS issue?

    I haven't heard anything relating to it, except for the taxes on CD-Rs, DVDs, and VHS tapes ... and I think they had a tax on hard drives, too, not sure.
    • Re:DeCSS (Score:5, Informative)

      by schon ( 31600 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @08:54PM (#3819452)
      Does anyone know what the Canadian stance is on the DeCSS issue?

      As of right now, there is nothing "official" about it.

      The Canadian Copyright board is considering legislation similar to the DMCA, and (for the past year, give or take) has issued a request for public comments, and held public hearings about what should or shouldn't be included in such legislation.

      The RFC elicted over 600 comments, all of which were published at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp00007e.html [ic.gc.ca]. A (very informative) summary of these responses is available at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp00842e.html [ic.gc.ca] (Interesting to note that our government considers copyright infringement and "piracy" to be two different things.)

      I attented the last day of hearings, held in Edmonton, and I must say that things looked hopeful. There was one guy, who owned a publishing house, who was pro-playback protection, and everyone else (approx 50 or so, including a police officer, teachers, librarians, and even the president of a crypto company) was opposed.
    • The canadian version of the DMCA is still being worked out, so for the time being having DeCSS on a .ca is still legal [is2.dal.ca]. Considering the nature of the internet, the legislation I would really be concerned about would be international DMCA clone.
  • Definition... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wo1verin3 ( 473094 )
    Laws don't define what is made legal....
    Money does.
  • Don't Blame 2600 (Score:5, Informative)

    by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo@nosPaM.jaquith.org> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:13PM (#3818231) Homepage Journal
    I hope that nobody blames 2600 Magazine for their decision not to appeal. It's plain that now is not the time for such appeals, particularly given how strongly that they've been rebuffed thus far. Perhaps most importantly, Emmanuel lacks the funds (I assume) to take a case to the Supreme Court. Such things involve a tremendous amount of money.

    Given the recent 2600-related news (recall that Ford dropped the suit against them over FuckGeneralMotors.com [slashdot.org] last week), I should point out that 2600 Magazine relies on merchandise sales [yahoo.com] and magazine subscriptions [2600.com] to stay afloat. For those that haven't heard of 2600 Magazine, I recommend that you check it out. I've subscribed since the early '90s, though it's been published continuously (every quarter) for over a decade now. Whether you want to support 2600's legal work or you'd simply like to keep current on hacker news and culture, I recommend that you subscribe.

    -Waldo Jaquith
    • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:20PM (#3818292)
      Such things involve a tremendous amount of money.

      No, not really. At this point the cost would be pretty minimal on top of what has already been expended. Going to the SCOTUS is actually a pretty straightforward thing (assuming they take the case, which they wouldn't probably or necessarily).

      No, the realy reason this didnt go forward is probably strategic.

      Having a case either (a) rejected by or worse (b) decided not in your favor is a very devastating thing. There is no appeal but to the people or to the Congress. If you lose in front of SCOTUS, then that ruling is the law until further notice.

      That futher notice is usually (a) Congress intervening or (b) a substantially different court wished to re-affirm or chnage a previous court. Either usually takes years or more often decades.

      You don't take a case to the SCOTUS unless you know its damn good. Test cases are especially straightforward usually.
      • " You don't take a case to the SCOTUS unless you know its damn good. Test cases are especially straightforward usually."

        I think in this case it's got less to do with the strength of the case then the makeup of the court. There is no way in hell a republican dominated supreme court will rule in favor 2600.
    • it was obviously a good choice on the part of 2600 to not continue to the supreme court. not only could it have cost them a great deal of money, possibly even enough to have forced them into bacnkruptcy; but if it had been heard, and the supreme court ruled against 2600, that would dramaticly decrease the chances of getting another, stonger case heard later.
    • funded by progressively high filing fees based on the damages sought after.
      SOMETHING has to be done to balance the power.
      If Megacorp A goes after littleguy B, and littleguy B is assigned Some Huge Lawyer by the court, and Megacorp would have to cough up a filing fee so large as to cover the costs of Huge Lawyer's bond against the action, then maybe we might see far less of this bullshit.
      Just a thought.
  • The World? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mongoks ( 540017 )
    People the world over know all about the DMCA and are committed to overturning it.

    People who read /. know all about the DMCA. Outside of that, I don't think anyone cares. Windows users buy their DVD-ROM's and WinDVD comes with so they are happy and it doesn't affect them.

    • " People who read /. know all about the DMCA. Outside of that, I don't think anyone cares."

      *cough* Sklyarov *cough*
  • I think they're making the right decision here. Losing in the Supreme Court would not be good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:14PM (#3818238)
    If your case is relatively weak (and you feel you may lose), it is often better to not take your case to the last level, else a national precedent is set. Once this happens, it's often difficult to have it reversed.

    So, by not appealing, they leave the door open to a future (stronger) case to set the law straight.

    It's a matter of picking your battles wisely. Give up this one battle, but not the war.
    • That's right. A good strategy in this case might be to post DeCSS code on a website in a difference Circuit, one whose judges are more favorable to First Amendment issues. (Possibly the Ninth?) Then if they decide differently than the 2nd Circuit, the Supreme Court is almost sure to hear the case.

      So, any Californians want to give it a try?

  • Tragedy (Score:1, Redundant)

    by cosmosis ( 221542 )
    This is a tragedy, as this case is a clear cut examply of how the DMCA is unconstitutional because it violetes the First Ammendment. Now we may have to wait years before another sufficiently compelling case can be leveraged to bring down the DMCA.
  • by Patrick13 ( 223909 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:15PM (#3818247) Homepage Journal
    When CNN [cnn.com] was covering this case on their site, a year or so ago, they actually published links to DeCSS software...

    I still have a screenshot of it in my HD...
  • The MPAA wins this battle... but it still remains to be seen who's going to win the war. So this 'strategy' doesn't work - our fair-use rights are worth fighting for. We need to find new, legal or semi-legal ways of fighting back against the MPAA. Let's take THEM to court. Let's use their laws against them. Let's show them who's boss. The fundamental law of business is that the customer is always right - they seem to have forgotten that, so it's time to teach them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I use dvd2svcd.org [dvd2svcd.org] all the time to irp SVCDs and VCDs. I suppose the only thing possibly illegal is the included auth.dll which allows you to rip it to your drive.

    Perhaps in the future a year from now it won't come with auth.dll and another version will be created. In the meantime download away!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:20PM (#3818299)
    This is an old subject, but I have yet to get a really valid answer to the question: What are you buying when you buy a DVD (or CD or tape for that matter).

    By checking the price tag, you can quickly acertain that you aren't buying just the media.

    We've all been reminded a million times that we don't own the content.

    The whole deCSS issue has elliminated the possibility of buying the right to watch or listen to the content since we can't legally do this on our own. Note: I realize that you can't simply look at a CD and hear the music on it, but the technology required to listen to the music on the CD isn't illegal to post on the internet.

    Okay... so maybe we're buying the right (if you can call it that) to consume the content - but only providing that certain conditions are met - like we've bought some software from a company approved to make it. Well, not really, because if we owned the right to consume the content, we shouldn't have to pay full price for a replacement if we lose or accidentally destroy our DVD or CD or whatever.

    So we're buying something that we don't own. Right. My favorite way to spend money.

    By the way, where can I find the deCSS stuff now?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So we're buying something that we don't own. Right. My favorite way to spend money.

      Don't like that model? Don't spend your money that way. See, this is how capitalism works - people and companies that provide goods and services are given money in exchange for the use of those goods and services. If people don't like the terms, they don't spend the money, and the terms change.

      Obviously, a lot of people don't mind not owning the copyright on the media they purchase. They're perfectly content to just watch the movie, and those few who want to copy the content without paying for the privilege are left up shit creek.

      Again, you don't like it, don't buy it, or create something better. That's capitalism. Capitalism works. Whining doesn't. Deal.
      • See, this is how capitalism works - people and companies that provide goods and services are given money in exchange for the use of those goods and services.

        NO. Capitilism does not work by government granted monopolies. If this were true capitalism, I would be allowed to do anything I want with the property I own, not restricted by law against copying and even interpreting my property.

        That's capitalism. Capitalism works.

        Not when there's a monopoly product.

        • I agree with your anger, but capitalism != a free market. Capitalism is the use of private capital to generate more, through investments in businesses. Governments may intervene to their heart's content as long as the investment and cycle of capital continues. A free market is one where the government does not set up monopolies (and a case can be made on either side for whether it should break up and/or regulate naturally formed monopolies), but a free market could (theoretically) exist in a country where the system is set up to support cooperatives, and a capitalist regime could restrict freedom to only the richest, with monopolies on everything from the supply of oil to the supply of chocolate to those who bid the highest to governments for a licence.

          So, in a sense, the person you were responding to was correct, but was promoting something as positive using logic that didn't actually imply positiveness.

    • http://www.google.com/search?hl=en=UTF-8=UTF-8=dec ss
    • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @06:46PM (#3818823) Homepage

      You are buying a lovely, crunchy Cellophane wrapper. It's yours, to do with as you please. You can even share(tm) with a friend! How's that for freedom?

      As a bonus, when you buy this Cellophane, you also get a limited right to do certain things with the Box and shiny Plastic Disc inside. You may open the Box with your right hand, remove the Disc with your left, and insert it into an approved Device to view or listen to some Content. There are several Devices you may use for this purpose. After you view or listen to the Content (please do not fast-forward, although there are no commercials [yet], we don't want you getting into the habit), please return it to the box, and lock it away so no one else can use it. In fact if you want to just throw the whole thing away, and buy it again next time you want to view the Content, that's just fine with us. You'll even get another piece of Cellophane!!

  • I don't agreed with the DMCA. It is probably unconstitutional and at some point it will be overturned. I also fully support 2600's decision, but this statement frm their website:

    The MPAA and their cronies went out of their way to choose a defendant (us) that the court system would be prejudiced against.

    Is complete bullshit. 2600 goes out of their way to get sued and make test cases. I would venture to say that being in court is the best publicilty 2600 ever gets. A lot of people got cease and decist letters over DeCSS. Some decided not to fight, 2600 decided to thumb their noses at the MPAA and Judge Kaplan, and they felt the consequences.

    I'm not saying they deserved what they got, but they are acting like the MPAA came after them with no warning or provocation. When you poke a bear you shouldn't be suprised if it chases you up a tree.

    • I've never gotten the impression that they go looking for trouble. They just do what they always do, but they stick up for themselves.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Perhaps you need to go back and look at the case again. The MPAA put up a weak-as-shit case, 2600's lawyers burned Jack Valenti and other suits on the stand..

      And after it was all said and done, the most obvious free-speech case in the last 2 years didn't recieve the constitutional ruling it deserved.

      They are totally right, the MPAA went after them because they were the best target. After all, do you see them suing AOL/TW, who posted a link to the code on the CNN.com webpage? Or, perhaps, after all the other news sites that posted to sites that posted to the code? After all, 2600 can't even post to sites that post to code, that's a part of the ruling.

      No, the MPAA chose their battle very wisely. Now, 2600 is doing the same in choosing to not do battle.
    • Their "hacker" image ended up hurting them in court. The MPAA lawyers played up the fact that they published what looks like the anarchist's playbook. If these cases had happened more recently you can be sure they would've played the terrorism card. To the uninformed, or frankly, to anyone incapable of intelligent reasoning, 2600 appears to be a criminal group with an underground publication attempting to spread terror. The only way it could've been better for the MPAA is if it were Neo Nazis linking to DeCSS.

      This is in fact all too common. When someone wants to promote their point of view they attempt to make those that disagree appear stupid, evil, or otherwise unappealing. Fox News does it all the time when they invite "liberals" onto their shows to comment--they find maniacs with some twisted point of view and then proceed to ridicule them, and to try to generalize it against an entire group.

  • by H1r0Pr0tag0n1st ( 449433 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:23PM (#3818316)
    This is why instead of changing the "under God" portion of the Pledge of Allegiance they should change the last line to "liberty and justice for those who can afford it." Support 2600 and the EFF or the First amendment will be re-written by big corporations.

  • Lets think about this for a bit, think about all the stupid ways the court has been ruling on things. (an no I'm not talking about the florida voting thing and school vochers)

    I say good game to 2600 and the EFF for not screwing it up entirly for people. let the court change a few seats before someone brings this up again (and it will happen agin if not by 2600 then by someone else).

    my 2cents
    • You have no good grammer.
  • But thanks anyway! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:23PM (#3818322) Journal
    2600,
    Your fight on this case has brought more attention to the issue than any publicity campaign could have ever raised! You more than caried your share of the load for us all. Someone will pick up the fight from here, because our rights are still there, no matter what stupid act, or congress idiot thinks about taking them away, and calling it a Patriot Act.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORTS.

    PS: The only Patriot Act that should have passed was the one in the Superbowl! Go Pats, do it again!
  • by Aliks ( 530618 )
    Google readily finds a number of sites, some clearly in the US, with code executables. Are these legal or just not sued yet?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't it great to live in the land of the free!
  • by -stax ( 34630 )
    Nested [slashdot.org] slashdot comments are cool.
  • I mean who here does not have a copy of DeCSS? As soon as I read the story here, I downloaded a copy via one of the dozens of links posted.

    The MPAA did a much better job of spreading DeCSS than anybody else could have. Nobody would have cared much about this little bit of code otherwise. This code will now live on forever and they can't do a damn thing about it.

    For those keeping score at home, current score: MPAA 1, Geeks 1. Round 2 comming soon.

  • Prudence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crayola ( 250908 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:33PM (#3818392) Homepage
    I agree with 2600's decision. The worst thing that could happen here is for the Supreme Court to get the chance to put another nail in the coffin for our rights. The MPAA is doing everything it can to squeeze the consumer, from using anti-competitive region codes [slashdot.org] to strangling the signal coming out of the DVD player by prohibiting Firewire ports.
  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:35PM (#3818413) Homepage Journal
    I used to work with Andrew a while back in SF and around that time, he had a temporary win which was covered in Slashdot and other media. I have since lost touch with him, but I would like to know what has happened to that case. I dont know what stage it is in (I believe it was High court).

    Although 2600 has lost this battle, I wish Andrew would have better luck.
    • I believe it was High court

      In other news, the case lost on appeal on the grounds that the previous judge concluded the case quickly so he could go get some "munchies".
      • Ha ha.

        Obviously you've never smoked before.

        You remind me of the scene in Fear and Loathing where the Cop Conventioneers are learning why users call a roach a "roach".

        (Oh, and if you really are stoned right now, you're a dork for posting such lameness to a fucking website)

        you LOSE. Smoke a bowl. It'll help you in life. I'm FUCKING serious!
  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:41PM (#3818456)
    Can't a case be setup between two parties specifically to generate a precedent? i.e Open Source Friendly DVD publisher sues CNN for their DeCSS links in the full knowledge that CNN will successfully defend this right in court.

    Other than legal costs can anyone explain why this wouldn't work?
  • Intresting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Peridriga ( 308995 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:44PM (#3818467)
    It's simply amazing that this got them in trouble.

    Google Search Engine [google.com]

    Yahoo has blocked the search of DeCSS [yahoo.com]

    Lycos [lycos.com]

    Altavista [altavista.com]

    MetaCrawler [metacrawler.com]

    Go. Now Overture. Owned By Disney/ABC [overture.com]

    CNet (Search.com) [search.com]

    Add Any I left out :-)
  • by geekotourist ( 80163 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:51PM (#3818505) Journal
    I think its another point of evidence that the EFF goes on principle, not popularity. When you're dealing with judges who are more used to typewriters and record players, you'd rather have defendants that the judges won't start off being biased against. But its unlikely the RIAA / MPAA will give them one, and the EFF tried hard with what they had. Thanks to both the EFF and 2600 for both fighting this fight and for knowing that this wasn't the one to take to the SCOTUS.

    I'll bet that when the XXAA starts suing individuals [slashdot.org], they'll have done background checks to ensure the defendants are as unsympathetic as possible.

    • The EFF is a form of insurance- we all would be a lot worse off without the work they've been doing for the past 12 years. [eff.org] You can look at all the cases [eff.org] they're working on now. They can't win all their cases, but with them around we won't automatically lose. But it can only happen if they have money- court cases are expensive and necessary. For this we need to join / donate [eff.org].

      I've been to many of their events and know people there: the EFF isn't rolling in money- quite the opposite. It really is a non-profit, and money is their limiting factor: more money = more cases they could take. Far fewer people donate than you'd think, including people who have directly benefited from their work (if you're at a US internet security or encryption company that hasn't donated, try to change that!). They try to be at or ahead of the curve on tech issues, and this means that its harder to get the grandparent sympathy donation(2). And their main donation source- us, the techie crowd- just hasn't been doing to well lately. Unfortunately the number of cases the EFF should fight doesn't go down in an economic downturn, its probably the opposite: Congress is chumming for dollars with Disney / MPAA more than ever.

      (1) in the economics sense

      (2) If the EFF was a medical nonprofit, they wouldn't be the ones with the big-eyed sick children, they'd be the ones worrying about prions [nih.gov] 20 years ago. Harder to explain, but often more important.

  • by RebelTycoon ( 584591 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#3818513) Homepage
    Wait until Walmart puts in a DVD player and an open source DVD Player based off of the DeCSS code.

    2600's association with hackers, phreakers, and crackers, etc, did not make it easy for them to appear as angels. Though the law shouldn't be biased, it is hard not to be, especially when you don't understand the jargon.

    Of course, its getting to the point that judges that do not become technically proficient SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE BENCH. If many judges still held racist views, would they be tolerated? I think not.

    Judges must become technically knowledgable. Greater effort must be spent on educating judges about technology.

    Explaining technology to someone who doesn't understand it is essential.

  • I'm curious (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 )
    In the judges statement, it defines "DeCSS" as:
    any computer program, file or device that may be used to decrypt or unscramble the contents of DVDs that are protected, or otherwise to circumvent the protection afforded by CSS and that permits the copying of the contents or any portion thereof.

    By this definition, wouldn't anything that could descramble CSS be considered 'DeCSS' such as WinDVD, or any DVD player on the market. In fact, DVD players permit copying, because I could run the output into a VCR, and I'm sure some dual deck DVD players might be coming out soon, and if those will permit copying, they could be considered 'DeCSS'.

    This just seems to be an overly broad definition of DeCSS and could mean anything that can decrypt CSS including licensed programs. Maybe the clincher is that it permits copying, but couldn't anything that's not directly beamed to my eyeballs/brain be copied in some way?
    • By this definition, wouldn't anything that could descramble CSS be considered 'DeCSS' such as WinDVD, or any DVD player on the market.

      This point goes back to the subtleties and loopholes in DMCA. The key word is "circumvent." DMCA defines that word, and it doesn't mean what you (or anyone else) would think it means:

      to `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.
      Notice those last few words. If you have permission, then you're not circumventing. This is the hole that DVDCCA-licensed DVD players were intended to slip through, while simultaneously stopping unlicensed players.

      This hole was poorly designed for its purpose, and has some unintended weaknesses. You will find it an interesting diversion to consider some of the possibilities. (Hints to start you off: who owns the copyright on a DVD? Is it always the same party for all DVDs? In what form is this "authority" to bypass, given?) I have not, however, heard of any attempts at exploiting it to its full potential.

  • Very sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikethegeek ( 257172 ) <`MAPSmoc.mfimcwON' `ta' `rialb'> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @07:16PM (#3818979) Homepage
    Very sad that an obviously biased judge (once worked in a law firm that represented Time Warner, one of the plantiffs) is allowed to hand down a horribly flawed ruling that stands because the clique of lifetime appointed, unaccountable Federal judges close ranks...

    It is even sadder that it matters WHO you are, not the merits of your case... The RIAA and the courts wanted nothing of Professor Felten, of Princeton, but have no trouble squashing the "eevilll" hackers of 2600, despite the fact that the DeCSS case was far stronger.

    Our government is owned by the highest bidder. The DeCSS case proves it. Sooner or later we will either be completely corporatized, or else line some of these buggers up against the wall. One or the other outcome is inevitable.
    • The point of lifetime appointment is so that they don't have to worry about their decisions costing them their jobs due to political pressure; it's supposed to help them be impartial.

      • "The point of lifetime appointment is so that they don't have to worry about their decisions costing them their jobs due to political pressure; it's supposed to help them be impartial."

        It doesnt. All it does is lock in their PARTIALITY in for life.

        Kaplan is a prime example. A lowly district judge, the lowest IN the Federal food chain, he came from a lawfirm that defended media companies (like TW). So, you can say that the IP lobby funded him then. He was also a Clinton appointee, which also suggests bias towards the media establishment (and the DMCA).

        Contrary to popular belief, FEW of these guys actually serve for life, because few of them get to move up and on, without sound political connections. So, Kaplan, as a lowly district judge, needs to either:

        1. Get himself some political buddies to get promoted (which could put him under the influence of a Senator Hollings, or some other pro-IP lobby politico)

        2. Get himself positioned (by doing favors) to cash out and go to work FOR a corporation.

        Option #2 is becoming more and more common, especially as our society and the corps become more litigious. Judges are picked from among the LAWYERS. Corps are most likely to USE lawyers, especially against consumer interest. Ergo, the judiciary, particulalry the newer judges (like Kaplan) are more likely to be PRO CORP...
    • The RIAA and the courts wanted nothing of Professor Felten, of Princeton, but have no trouble squashing the "eevilll" hackers of 2600, despite the fact that the DeCSS case was far stronger.

      Far stronger? Try 2600 broke the law. Felton did not. Sheesh.

      Our government is owned by the highest bidder. The DeCSS case proves it.

      No, the DMCA proves it. The DeCSS case simply proves that the constitution does not protect against government being owned by the highest bidder.

    • This analysis is nonsense. The judges aren't corporatized, no matter how wrong they are! They are appointed for life, and they decide however they like it. That's the way the constitution is written, and it has nothing to Hollywood or anyone else owning the judges!

      It is not obvious to me that publishing DeCSS is protected by the first amendment. It is not obvious to me that it is not. The amendment is not absolute... you can be prosecuted for a number of things you speak or write - for example, shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater, or inciting a riot, *or* participating in a criminal conspiracy.

      Copyright law exists to protect private property. The law is out of date in that it (and here is where corporatism - or more accurately - special interests come in) extends too far into the future. Beyond that, it is not at all unresonable that a person who creates something should control what he creates, and that is what this is all about. I think the copyright holders are idiots and haven't adapted to the digital age. But that doesn't change their rights.

      What I find more questionable is the remedies which they have been given in DMCA and other areas. It is one thing to have a property right, and another thing when the government persecutes people in an attempt to protect those rights.

      Traditionally, theft of copyrighted material has resulted in prosecution of those who profit by doing it en mass - i.e. tape and CD duplicators. This is not unreasonable. But when one can prosecute somebody for simply publishing, at no profit, technology for stealing the material... well... I think that's going to far.

      But it doesn't mean the judges are owned by corporations.
      The judges are making their decision - First Amendment vs. law and property rights. We may disagree, but from a legal standpoint, the judges are not obviously wrong - however much we dislike their ruling..
  • by galaga79 ( 307346 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @07:20PM (#3819003) Homepage
    I was thinking about this whole problem about Linux users not being able to legally play encrypted DVDs on their computers because DeCSS has been deemed illegal. We all know that the licenses for CSS keys and DVD playback cost money so a free and legal DVD player Linux is not possible, so with that said why don't commercial Linux distros like Mandrake, Redhat etc apply for licenses and sell it with their boxed set versions? It would make playing DVDs on Linux legal and it would provide an incentive to buy the box-set versions rather than just download the ISOs.
  • It's much easier to whine about how the DMCA is unconstitutional when you don't have a supreme court ruling proving you wrong.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @11:50PM (#3820244)
    Kaplan's findings of fact begin on page 32 of:

    http://www.2600.com/dvd/docs/2000/0817-decision. pd f

    I don't understand why 2600 attempted to argue the definition of "effectively" as the layman's definition, instead of arguing that the ability to play DVD's on computers at all, with other software permitted by the Plaintiffs, means that CSS does not effectively control the ability to copy (etc.) the material.

    I also don't understand why they did not argue this on the basis of the existance of the ability to make verbatim copies of DVD discs indicates that the CSS mechanism is in fact flawed by design, and therefore does not effectively control (etc.).

    Finally, I don't understand that they did not argue that the keys used by DeCSS were in fact the important part of the equation, and the DeCSS itself was not therefore a mechanism, without the keys, and that it was the keys, not the scrambling mechanism itself, which constitute the disclosure. That would imply that the keys were trade secrets... and anyone who followed the USL vs. BSDI and UC Berkeley case back in the early 1990's should be able to tell you that, once disclosed, a trade secret is no longer a trade secret.

    Can someone shed some light on this for me?

    -- Terry
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