Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom - A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at 88% off. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×
The Courts Government Software News Your Rights Online

DeCSS Arguments in CA Supreme Court Case 531

scubacuda writes "According to, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer called DVD-cracking software DeCSS a tool for "breaking, entering and stealing" during a hearing before the California Supreme Court on Thursday. "The program DeCSS is a burglary tool," Lockyer told the judges, adding that the movie studios lose millions of dollars because of piracy over the Internet. (CopyLeft offers this "burglary tool" on a t-shirt)" If you've forgotten what this case is about, see EFF's page about it.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DeCSS Arguments in CA Supreme Court Case

Comments Filter:
  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by g0at ( 135364 ) <(ac.taogyz) (ta) (neb)> on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:51AM (#6076747) Homepage Journal
    DeCSS is a burglary tool just like how I'm actually growing dildos in my vegetable garden.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:56AM (#6076792)
      If you grow them, they will cum.
    • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rgoer ( 521471 )
      So that's where I dropped my dildo seeds... In any case, is there really such a thing as a "burglary tool?" Is there any kind of precedent for an object being considered, by the courts, to be a "burglary tool?" Is the sale of things like a slim jim for a car restricted? Do you have to show either your locksmiths' license or your burgalry permit to purchase one? Are they even categorized differently than normal "hardware?" Where does the MPAA come up with this crap?
  • Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acehole ( 174372 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:54AM (#6076762) Homepage
    Well... shall we ban any tools that can be used for breaking and entering then?

    * screw drivers
    * crowbars
    * keys
    * bits of metal
    * credit cards

    please, cuff me and send me to the bighouse, i've got a tool shed!

    • Re:Hrmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:01AM (#6076837) Homepage Journal
      The problem is that all those tools have many legitimate uses.

      Despoite being wrong IMO (and most of yours too I imagine), DeCSS is still seen by the masses as being solely for the purposes of theft.
      • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... minus pi> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:03AM (#6076878) Journal
        What it's seen as by the masses is irrelevant. DeCSS or something similar is required if you want to view a DVD that you bought and all you have is a Linux box. This is a legitimate use, just as hammers and shovels and pry bars also have legit uses.
        • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:39AM (#6077311) Journal
          DeCSS is a tool, just like a hammer, or an alligator.

          More to the point (AFAIC), it's an expression of an algorithm. It's simply a description of a mathematical process.

          Come to think of it, the *source* to DeCSS is not really a tool at all. You can't use the source to watch DVDs. I could maybe see justification for classifying DeCSS binaries like lockpicks and slimjims, but the source is more like the description of how to make a lockpick.

          • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... minus pi> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:51AM (#6077436) Journal
            Good point. Just like a knife in the kitchen is just a cutting tool, but when I stick it into someone's chest, it becomes a deadly weapon. Even binaries are useless unless they're actually running on the host system, ore one capable of emulating it.

            Maybe they should hook up w. SCO. Look at the commonality:

            1. They both don't want you accessing the source code.
            2. They both want you to pay licensing fees for womething you don't need.
            3. They both have used/are using the same lawyer (Boies).
            4. They both can't come up with a business model to suit changing conditions.
            5. The both are using the courts to try to fatten their bottom lines.
            6. The both love FUD
            7. They both need a serious beating with a clue-stick.
      • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:14AM (#6077015)
        Actually I don't think the masses would even know what you were talking about if you started talking about DeCSS. Hell, half of the masses don't even have the internet at home. A great number of them don't have a computer either. And while DVDs are taking off, I doubt very many folks are going to be able to discuss this past "well, if you want to watch DVDs, why don't you just buy a DVD player, they're like $100 at Target?" Besides, the masses aren't going to be the ones making this decision in the courts. And in this case, we're lucky, judges, by their very nature have far more education and access to the funds to buy computer stuff than the average American, and are therefore, more likely to be able to understand what DeCSS is all about.

        Unfortunately, I'm guessing most of these same judges have themselves or had one of their children download Kazaa, and therefore they've seen that the primary use of P2P seems to be copyright infringement... and then to top that off, they're going to link things like DeCSS as a necessary first-step in that infringement chain. The real question is: can the pro-DeCSS lawyers overcome this impression?
    • Don't forget:
      • Soap (for making impressions of keys)
      • Household cleaners (could be used as chemical weapons)
      • Toothbrushes (for making shivs)
      • Mops (lethal when in the hands of Jackie Chan)
      • Surgical gowns (the bad guys always use these as disguises to evade the police)

      Clearly, we need to outlaw all health and cleanliness items for the good of the people. After all, I saw these things used for all kinds of evil purposes in movies, and never for anything positive...

    • Re:Hrmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by mahdi13 ( 660205 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:24AM (#6077143) Journal
      The lawers are just pissed off because what their clients worked hard on for 3 years was reverse engineered by a teenager over spring break =)
  • Name calling? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by absurdhero ( 614828 )
    It looks like the industry is so desperate, they have to resort to name calling and hollow accusations. What a sad state of affairs.
    • Re:Name calling? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aborchers ( 471342 )
      It looks like the industry is so desperate, they have to resort to name calling and hollow accusations. What a sad state of affairs.

      I expect this kind of nonsense from "the industry". What's terrifying is they have a DA doing their name calling for them!

  • This again??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bull999999 ( 652264 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:54AM (#6076773) Journal
    Didn't they use the same exact argument when VRCs came out?
  • by ( 676686 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:55AM (#6076776)
    That a tool that allows people to copy their DVD's for their own purposes is "a tool for burglary", yet a gun which allows people to kill other people is a "right"? Null
    • by Hypocritical Guy ( 674824 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:57AM (#6076799) Homepage Journal
      That a tool that allows people to copy their DVD's for their own purposes is "a tool for burglary", yet a gun which allows people to kill other people is a "right"?

      This makes me so angry I want to go shoot someone!
      • Like the classic comment about the general offering target practice to Boy Scouts.
        Accusec by a female reporter of training the boys to be killers, he observed
        she was equipped to be a prostitute...
        If we simply boycott all of these products, they won't afford sharks (lawyers), and the whole non-argument will eat itself.
        Sure, I own some DVDs, but would gladly give them all all away if it would get these idiots to shut their pie hole.
        • by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <scubacuda@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:36AM (#6077285)
          While funny (and applicable), that story is bogus [].

          Claim: Questioned about the wisdom of teaching Boy Scouts to use firearms, a US General points out the difference between being equipped to do something and doing it.

          Status: False.

          Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]

          This is an extract of an National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Army Lieutenant General Reinwald about sponsoring a Boy Scout Troop on his military installation.

          Interviewer: "So, LTG Reinwald, what are you going to do with these young boys on their adventure holiday?"

          LTG Reinwald: "We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting."

          Interviewer: "Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?"

          LTG Reinwald: "I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the range."

          Interviewer: "Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?"

          LTG Reinwald: "I don't see how, we will be teaching them proper range discipline before they even touch a firearm."

          Interviewer: "But you're equipping them to become violent killers."

          LTG Reinwald: "Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?"

          End of the interview

          Origins: As great a tale as this is, it's pure fabrication. It began life in 1999, purportedly about an "LTG Reinwald" of the US Army. In 2001 it reappeared, this time attributed to "Marine Corps General Reinwald."

          The U.S. Army denies that there is a Lieutenant General Reinwald and chalks the whole thing up as a hoax. (Which is as logic dictated all along; if an armed forces spokesperson ever gave voice to a sexist remark likening a female interviewer to a prostitute, that officer would soon be called upon to make a very public apology as well as face charges within ranks for conduct unbecoming.)

          National Public Radio had this to say about the matter:

          We are aware of an erroneous story posted on the Free Republic Website, and possibly elsewhere, which mentions a supposed interview between an unnamed NPR reporter and a U.S Army Lieutenant General Reinwald. The story is false -- the dialogue mentioned was not an NPR interview, and it never aired on any NPR program.

          Those who like their guns and who believe responsible gun ownership begins with teaching young people the right way to handle firearms at an early age have a great fondness for this story. As well they should, because this anecdote illustrates in a humorous way the difference between having the ability to do something and that ability dictating life choices.

          The "Reinwald" story existed as a joke as far back as October 1997 when it appeared on a number of web pages in the following form:

          Excerpt from a recent live radio interview on one of the regional Welsh stations:

          A female newscaster is interviewing the leader of a Youth club:

          Interviewer: So, Mr. Jones, what are you going to do with these children on this adventure holiday?

          Mr Jones: We're going to teach them climbing, abseiling, canoeing, archery, shooting...

          Interviewer: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible isn't it?

          Jones: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the range.

          Interviewer: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

          Jones: I don't see how, we will be teaching them proper range discipline before they even touch a firearm.

          Interviewer: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

          Jones: Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute but you're not one are you?

          Needless to say, the interview was terminated almost immediately.

          Notice the differences that have taken place between the two tellings:

          * "Abseiling" has been taken out of the Americanized version (probably because whoever altered the text didn't know it was a r

    • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:11AM (#6076982) Homepage
      Software doesn't pirate DVDs...PEOPLE pirate DVDs.

    • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:16AM (#6077033) Journal
      Although this seems like a troll, it really isn't. In recent years, both before and after Sept. 11, the US government has passed a raft of legislation curtailing and limiting the 1st Amendment, to the general apathy of the population. Meanwhile, any suggestion of curtailing the 2nd Amendment, however mild, is met with howls of protest.

      Wouldn't it be nice if the ACLU was as politically powerful as the NRA?

      Disclaimer: I am a Canadian.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:18AM (#6077064)
        any suggestion of curtailing the 2nd Amendment, however mild, is met with howls of protest.

        If faced with creeping tyranny, wouldn't you want to be armed, just in case?

        • by TamMan2000 ( 578899 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:33AM (#6077254) Journal
          Didn't help the iraqis...

          Disclamer: I am not against the 2nd amendment, it is just that that argument is freakin' weak...
        • by dameron ( 307970 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:02AM (#6077530)
          >>any suggestion of curtailing the 2nd Amendment, however mild, is met with howls of protest.

          >If faced with creeping tyranny, wouldn't you want to be armed, just in case?

          To paraphrase a jurist I heard on the radio recently, the 2nd Amendment isn't our great bulwark against tyrany, the 1st Amendment is.

          The upcoming stealth FCC media consolidation deregulation poses a far, far greater threat to democracy than the most rabid gun control advocate.


    • AAAARRRGGHHH!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wurp ( 51446 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:08AM (#6077593) Homepage
      I can't believe so many people have replied to this, and not pointed out -- DeCSS IS NOT ABOUT COPYING DVDs!!!

      DeCSS is about watching DVDs that I paid for on machines not approved by the MPAA, for example my two linux machines.

      It also gives you back the fair use rights that the movie industry is trying so hard to steal, but the primary use for DeCSS is to watch movies on linux.

      The only way DeCSS even helps DVD copying is that it allows you to do lossy compression you couldn't otherwise do. DVD "copy protection" doesn't in the least keep you from copying a DVD. I can easily copy a DVD and view it without using any unapproved decryptor.
      • Re:AAAARRRGGHHH!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:32AM (#6077791) Journal
        Actually, DeCSS circumvents a copy-protection feature of a commerically produced DVD which inadvertantly prevents the end user of a purchased product from a legal use of said product.

        Before you cry foul, the "feature" was intended to prevent the viewing of a DVD on an unauthorized system (one which has no macrovision or region encoding, for example, which is TRUE for region 1 DVDs based on current law, AFAIK).

        Nonetheless, you have purchased a product - not a licence. If your DVD breaks in five years, they will not replace it for a nominal media cost, nor will they send you new media should your system change (OTOH, microsoft used to send you 3.5" floppies if you licenced their software and you got it delivered on CD).

        Once you've bought it, you should be able to do anything you want to with it, as long as the product (physical disc and information therein) stays with you and, arguably, your immediate family. You can even use it to shim up that door frame that's a bit out of whack. Of course, if it doens't work to shim the door frame, you won't get your money back, as it's not the intended use of the product. If , even with DeCSS it doesn't work on your PC - once again - you won't get your money back. If you put it in your DVD player and it doesn't work, you can take it back and get a replacement, because that IS the intended use.

        Try this analogy: you may purchase a lock from Quickset, sit on your living room floor, and pick the lock all you want. You are circumventing their mechanism without a licenced key, but it's your lock and your home. The law has not been broken.
  • by shish ( 588640 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:55AM (#6076781) Homepage
    It may break encryption, but entering and stealing? WTF???
    • Rhetoric (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nanojath ( 265940 )
      Unfortunately, this is just a typical, if escalated, example of the rhetoric the supporters of intellectual property insanity (read: multimedia conglomerates) are pushing. Try and have a discussion here about copyright without seeing people bicker over the fact that illegal duplication of copyrighted material is not legally "stealing" (in my opinion it's not morally equivalent either although it's in the ballpark and a lot more so if you are bootlegging for money).

      The basic reality, and it does represent

  • No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrTentacle ( 469268 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:56AM (#6076788)
    Bunner said he originally posted the code so that people could use it to play their DVDs on the Linux operating system, a practice that was all but impossible at the time.

    Unfortunately, with no large corporate backing at the time, legitimate uses such as this would of course be ignored. When large corporates think they are losing money, the government will come down on their side time after time.

    Let's hope that uses such as this can be viewed as more legitimate now that the OSS movement has some large backers - IBM and the like.
  • Likewise.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:56AM (#6076789)
    Gasoline is a tool for ARSON!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wish someone released a divx of the court procedings.

  • by Sigurd_Fafnersbane ( 674740 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:58AM (#6076809)

    Again, you dont need DeCSS to copy a DVD, you need it to be able to decode its content.

    Making a bit by bit copy of a DVD will play flawlessly in any DVD player, no problem. The problem comes when you want to build your own DVD player, then you need DeCSS.

    • by Sigurd_Fafnersbane ( 674740 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:04AM (#6076881)

      One could add that having DeCSS would enable you to rip a DVD and make a un-encrypted copy. In this respect it could be used for circumventing the copy protection. Nevertheless I will risk the claim that 99.9% of the people using DeCSS is doing so to watch DVDs they have purchased for their hard earned cash.

      If you wanted a pirated version it is easier to download one than to make one yourself;-)

      • by visualight ( 468005 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:36AM (#6077281) Homepage

        If that's true, then why was there ever a problem in the first place? Surely this was brought up so many times back when this first started with 2600. Even the MPAA must realize that DeCSS is not necessary for copying DVD's. So while the MPAA and their bribed politicians are claiming it's a burglary tool in court, the reason they went to court in the first place is probably something else. Like that fact that with DeCSS you can watch a movie on an UNLICENSED player.

        For the MPAA (though they won't say this in court), this has nothing to do with copy prevention, but everything to do with the when, where, and how you watch a film you paid for. Obviously this is important to them or they wouldn't have dreamed up Region Codes.

        How the hell do you get to be a State Attorney General and not have the mental ability to see straight through this?

    • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:22AM (#6077125) Journal
      You can copy the vob file to your HDD and play it back with powerdvd or other licensed DVD playback softwares.

      So you could go ahead and trade around the encrypted movie and watch it, no problem.

      Even with a super duper mega unbreakable encryption, you could still framegrab the video and encode it into divx or whatever. You're downsampling and losing quality either way, it's really six of one, half dozen of the other.

      This doesnt stop movie trading, it just prevents the MPAA from collecting CSS licensing for DVD playback devices, and takes away their power to impose region locks on the movies.

      It's a strawman argument to protect their artificial regional targetted marketting.
    • by Poeir ( 637508 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:32AM (#6077235) Journal
      The problem here is that consumer DVD burners can't burn to track 0, where the keys to the encryption are kept; so when you burn a bit-by-bit copy, it's encrypted with no key, and therefore useless.

      I don't have any idea what a professional DVD burner would cost.
      • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @01:45PM (#6079228) Homepage
        I don't have any idea what a professional DVD burner would cost.

        With all of the competing formats it's a real pain to search out the proper drives. You need a drive that can write DVD-R(A). The A stands for authoring. I don't have a price quote on them, but I'm pretty sure these drives can be had for under $1000 now. There are cheap drives around $100 to $200 that claim "authoring", but it's hard to verify whether or not they actually support DVD-R(A).

        Any time you see DVD-R it generally actually means DVD-R(G). the G stands for general. The (G) discs are crippled in that one of the sectors is destroyed. I really hate industry conspiracies that cripple products. There is no reason to ever buy a disk with a destroyed sector over an un damaged disk. Yet no manufacturers sell undamaged DVD-R(G) disks. Everyone buys damaged disks because that's all that's on the shelves.

        You need to get DVD-R(A) disks. These use a different dye that can't be recorded on by "ordinary" DVD burner lasers. They are usually a several dollars a piece because very few are made/sold. I did once come across a dozzen or so on e-bay for under a dollar each.

  • Slim Jims (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L. VeGas ( 580015 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:59AM (#6076821) Homepage Journal
    I can buy slim jims at my local auto parts store.
  • Fuck you, Lockyer. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:00AM (#6076825) Journal
    California consistently votes Democratic and we get this? Okay, he's sucking on the teat of Hollywood, but still.
  • those bastards got into my house and stole my Do It Yourself Masturbation Kit (tm).

    They used DECSS!!!

    Wait a minute...

    (I really don't have one of those kits that come in a blue box... Really...)
  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arth1 ( 260657 )
    A crowbar, a credit card, a bottle opener and a screwdriver are also burglary tools, but the legitimate uses are real, which is one darn good reason why the tools are available to the public.

    Same with DeCSS -- you can use it to facilitate illegal copying, or you can use it for legitimate purposes, like creating backups, viewing the media on devices lacking a built-in DeCSS equivalent, copy short excerpts you are entitled to for journalistic or educational purposes under fair use, or exercising your public
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by corbettw ( 214229 )
      "Same with DeCSS -- you can use it to facilitate illegal copying, or you can use it for legitimate purposes, like creating backups, viewing the media on devices lacking a built-in DeCSS equivalent, copy short excerpts you are entitled to for journalistic or educational purposes under fair use, or exercising your public right to copy the works once the copyrights expire."

      The problem with this is that it can be argued you don't need DeCSS do any of this. Let's look at each one, one a time.

      Creating backups:
  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:01AM (#6076842)
    Ok, so DeCSS is a "buglary tool", fine. And its not legal to make a "buglary tool"? Riiight. If that's the case, then why stop there? How many languages has this thing been written in? Start outlawing the languages because you can make "buglary tools", hell, why stop there, just get rid of computers! Or wait, I have it! Eliminate all traces of human thought, seems to be working well for the California AG.
  • Politics, duh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjmalone ( 677326 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:01AM (#6076844) Homepage
    "Lockyer, who's gearing up to run for governor next year, appeared on the side of the DVD Copy Control Association"

    Of course he is on the side of the DVD Copy Control Association, he is on the side of the movie studios... They have deeper pockets and are more likely to win him the election then the technogeeks in silicon valley's burst bubble...
    • "Lockyer, who's gearing up to run for governor next year, appeared on the side of the DVD Copy Control Association"

      Governor Davis was elected last year to a 4-year term, so that means Lockyer won't be running until 2006 at the earliest. Unless someone is anticipating that the petition to recall Davis is going to be successful, in which case the recall election would be anywhere from September 2003 - March 2004, depending on when the last signatures are turned in.
  • Logical Conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:01AM (#6076846) Homepage Journal
    Computers are a tool for burglary, let's ban those.
  • by BigGar' ( 411008 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:02AM (#6076856) Homepage
    From Yahoo News:
    However, in one indication of the money that is at stake, Lockyer cited estimates that as many as 350,000 movies are illegally downloaded from the Internet every day.

    Does this even sound reasonable?
    If each move filled a cd at 700MB then they're claiming that 245TB of movies are downloaded on a daily basis. That seems a tad high to me.
    • Worldwide?

      Take all the irc channels, ftp pubs, kazaa, usenet. Say 1000 sources with 350 downloads per day.

      It sounds about right. No doubt he also includes legitimate downloads like in his math.

      Also realize, though that 99% of that is porn. The number gets pretty realistic, conservative even.
  • by More Trouble ( 211162 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:04AM (#6076880)
    If you want to "pirate", aka make unauthorized copies, of a DVD, just image it. CSS doesn't hinder you one iota. That's not what it's for. It's for forcing users to use licensed players. And, more over, it's to force users to obey region encoding. Neither of these have anything to do with movie's intellectual property.

  • ..not to live in the USA. And that's not anti-US. It simply means that some parts of the US' judicial system don't fit together with my point of view which are very important to me. Therefor I am glad to live in a country which judicial system is more compatible with mine.
  • by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:05AM (#6076899) Homepage Journal
    If the RIAA and MPAA don't want to let their movies and music get copied, then simply don't distribute it enmasse to untrusted sources via 8-track, cassette tape, LP, CD, CD-ROM, DVD, etc! It's as easy as that!

    Oh, wait... no one wants to go spend $20 to take themselves and a significant other to the movie theatre for one showing of "The Hot Chick," but they'll rent it or buy it on DVD for the EXACT SAME PRICE for multiple viewings? Guess my idea of "customer value" should have been thrown out a long time ago along with my ideas that are counter-culture to the new socialism: Sue companies to get rich!

    Silly me.
  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:06AM (#6076910)
    Bill "Nightschool" Lockyer is so set on being governor of California that he'll not only carry the Entertainment industry's water, he'll draw it a warm bath and tuck it in bed. Entertainment makes lots of political donations in California.
  • by haystor ( 102186 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:07AM (#6076925)
    The argument needs to be made that the tool is necessary to provide backups of data as the physical media will deteriorate before the copyright expires. After all, the purchaser has a license to the copyright material its not just physical ownership of the disk.

    Of course the MPAA could argue that copyright expiration is so far in the future that any consideration of post-expiration is ridiculous. And I might agree.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:31AM (#6077228) Journal
      EULA? I'm compliant. I made my changes to it and clicked "AGREE".

      I've wondered about that. The old version of windows update allowed you to agree to the EULA displayed in a box before the text had loaded, so I agreed to an empty EULA. Another version used an editable text box for the EULA. I replaced it with text stating that a 51% share in Microsoft Corporation became my property as a result of accepting the conditions, and clicked Okay. This leaves us with two options. For a contract to be legally binding, it must be legally binding for both parties so either EULAs are not legally binding, or I own MS. If the second is true then Balmer, you are so fired.

  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:07AM (#6076927) Homepage
    "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."
    --Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA, in congressional testimony. []

    Who's burglarizing who? I buy a car, I get the keys. Ford doesn't have the right to tell me where I can drive; I bought the car, and I bought its keys. If they come in and take the keys away from me, am I not the victim of burlary?

    Too much intellectual property handwaving. Sellers don't have authority over buyer's uses, as some rather racist folks in whitebred towns discovered as their old homes were bought up by upwardly mobile *gasp* minorities.

    • Who's burglarizing who? I buy a car, I get the keys. Ford doesn't have the right to tell me where I can drive; I bought the car, and I bought its keys. If they come in and take the keys away from me, am I not the victim of burlary?

      The industry's point of view (and backed up by law) is not that they've sold you something, but that you've bought a license. Which means that they get to tell you the terms by which you can use it.
      • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:28AM (#6077194) Homepage
        It's not as backed up by law as you think it might be, or there wouldn't continue to be fights about Right of First Sale that the industry kept losing (i.e. sales of used CDs and DVDs.)

        The industry can think what they want; the moment they put their product in a retail outlet, apply sales tax appropriate for a consumer good, and advertise using slogans like "Buy it today!" (Blockbuster), they sold it.

        Imagine if every purchase you made came with a list of conditions. Imagine how often you'd ignore that list.

      • by Poeir ( 637508 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:38AM (#6077310) Journal
        Hey, great! I can't find part I of my Fellowship of the Ring DVD, I think it was lost during the move, where do I send for another piece of media so I can still use my license?
      • Hahahahhaha (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dh003i ( 203189 ) < minus punct> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:43AM (#6077350) Homepage Journal
        Yea, sure. Just like the EULA's on software. Oh, wait, those are having trouble being upheld in court.

        If the consumer perceives it as being a sale, and isn't told otherwise, then it's a sale. As in, they now own that DVD in the same sense that they own a book they buy.

        Not only is their license invalid, and thus it's just an ordinary sale, like the sale of a book, but their license is also completely unenforcible, which means irrelevant. Encorfing their license would mean violating the privacy of millions of Americans and stepping into their homes, to prevent them from watching DVD's on GNU/Linux. No court is going to allow that. So, in other words, the MPAA's "license" is moot on two terms.
  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:07AM (#6076932) Homepage
    when he confuses copyright infringement with burglary and theft. This is an alarming show of incompetence by this attorney general.
    His incompetence in IT matters could have been excused, but seems to be on the same level.
  • Mr. Lockyer seems to be confusing the act of Burglary with that of Circumvention. DeCSS is not a tool for stealing or copying DVDs, but a tool for decoding a DVD for use in a DVD player, i.e. one created for Linux.

    This would be like accusing someone who breaks into a car, but doesn't take anything, of grand theft auto. I think Mr. Lockyer needs to spend a few more years in Law School or at least read over the criminal legislation.

  • by janda ( 572221 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:08AM (#6076936) Homepage

    The advertisement I got when I come into the comments page was for the Intel C++ compilter.

    If DeCSS is a burglery tool, Intel, Microsoft, and other assembler/compiler makers should be charged with "aiding and abetting".

  • by horace ( 29145 )
    Am I right in thinking that there is no need ot use a tool like DeCSS to copy a DVD? I believe you can just make a bit for bit copy of the DVD which is less likely to alarm the punters.

    There are contantly stories mentioning DeCSS and file sharing in the same breath as piracy. While both may be in conflict with the law they are quite different and everything should be done to explain the differences between the two. ie

    File sharing/DeCSS = personal, between friends, not for profit.

    Piracy = for profit, does
    • To VIEW your DVDs on your computer generally requires decryption software to view it. THIS was the main reason DeCSS was written, remember? So that people could watch the legally purchased and owned DVDs on their totally legal and legit linux systems.

      Copying is also legal and legit for backup purposes. Period. This you CAN do with the correct burner in bit-by-bit manner but such are not in general custody of most users. Copying is peripheral to DeCSS in the first place, just FUD-talk by MPAA crimina

  • I prefer to call it

    (hand over one eye)


  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:14AM (#6077012) Homepage Journal

    It's only a matter of time before SCO [] decides they own the rights to all motion picture technology and tries to sue the RIAA.
  • by reverendG ( 602408 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:16AM (#6077047) Homepage
    I think that a huge piece of what's wrong with our legal system is the blurring of facts, charging issues with emotion, and obscuring real issues. By saying things like "burglary tool", Lockyer is taking a piece of software and equating it with something the violates the security of an everyday middle class citizen. Admittedly, this is exactly how you should sway a jury in today's legal system. This is also why today's legal system is so fsck'd up.

    The truth of the matter is that DeCSS is no more a burglary tool than a Dremel tool, and a middle class jury, who doesn't sit on media corporation boards, isn't going to give a damn about this case. The only way to make them care is to charge the issue with the illusion that someone is going to be "breaking, entering, and stealing" into their house to abduct their kids.

    Unfortunately, although Lockyer is successfully relating the issue to something that the jury may be able to comprehend, he's also hopelessly obscuring the truth, and most middle class people aren't going to know the difference between a codec and a hole in the ground, so they aren't going to be able to discern the deliberate obfuscation.

    Judges should be educated about technology before trying cases like this, and then prevent counsel from either side from making misleading statements like this. This would greatly even the playing field in the legal arena, and probably stop many of the misinterpretations of the DMCA. If all judges who deal with technology could be educated to at least being literate with the terminology, they would be able to dismiss legal actions that try to use the DMCA in a way that it wasn't intended (if there is such a thing).
    • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pendersempai ( 625351 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:22AM (#6077707)

      There are no juries in a state Supreme Court. He was making the argument to a justice, who can be expected to understand issues enough not to fall for such rhetoric.

      The "middle-class jury" you so disparagingly reference is not making any major policy changes; they're deciding on findings of fact and leaving the actual legal maneuverings to the trial judge. Beyond that, most sweeping decisions are appealed.

      Judges should be educated about technology before trying cases like this, and then prevent counsel from either side from making misleading statements like this.

      To a large extent, judges ARE educated about technology before trying cases like this. And why should they "prevent counsel from either side from making misleading statements like this" when they could simply RECOGNIZE them as misleading and NOT BE MISLED?

      Yes, the system may have its faults, but the ignorance of your post makes it abundantly clear that you're not one to prescribe fixes.

  • by anonymous loser ( 58627 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:18AM (#6077070)
    An interesting point from the article:
    During Thursday's hearing, DVD CCA attorney Robert Sugarman told the seven-judge panel that the software is designed "to allow individuals to steal a trade secret and, by virtue of that, hack into a system that protects the trade secrets of motion picture makers."

    How did this go from stealing copyrights to stealing trade secrets all of a sudden? Exactly what part of the DVD is a trade secret? It can't possibly be the encryption, because nobody's interested in that part, they want the content. The content itself is certainly no trade secret, since it is widely distributed and available to anyone with a Blockbuster card.

  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:50AM (#6077431) Homepage Journal

    So let me get this straight. I can sit in my home, with a DVD I purchased in full, and by the act of playing that DVD on my Linux computer, I have forcibly invaded the private premises of the media industry and stolen their property?

    We've known for years that words like piracy and theft are intended to have an emotional effect, (unless, of course, groups of Scandanavian teenagers are storming container ships on the open sea and stealing DVDs) but burglary?!

    The only support for the application of the concept of burglary is phrases such as "hacking into mechanisms to protect trade secrets". Does this indicate that the man who may one day be governor of California believes that a copy of a DVD is to be considered the private property and premises of the MPAA?! And what trade secret is violated by skipping the forced commercials at the beginning of the video? It is shocking that someone would walk into a courtroom and have the gall to suggest that a DVD in my own home represents homestead rights and privileges of the MPAA! Regardless of the outcome, I have to wonder about a world where someone would even attempt to make a point so utterly devoid of reason.

    Can somebody please tell me that he is just being stupid? Please, someone post something about attributing to evil that which can be explained by incompetence. I really need something like that to get me through the day.

  • Yeah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:03AM (#6077544) Homepage Journal
    God damn DECSS! If it weren't for that, all those copies of "The Matrix, Reloaded" wouldn't be on the Internet right now.

    What? er... nevermind.

  • by Superfreaker ( 581067 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:23AM (#6077712) Homepage Journal
    Did anyone notice this:
    "Well the inevitable has happened, Copyleft is now named as a defendant in the DVD-CCA case in California. "

    Just for selling a shirt with the code printed on it?! I can't compile a shirt!

    'Begin lameness
    I know the shirt is soft wear, but this is ridiculous

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:42AM (#6077894) Journal
    And locksmiths use lockpics, or other special devices to open up locations where keys have been lost, etc. But, lockpicks are used by burglars, burglars are criminals and locksmiths use lockpicks, so that must mean that locksmiths are criminals.

    Geeze... doesn't this sound like basic High-School logic courses? Just because once group uses a tool for a purpose does not make the tool criminal, and does not make other groups using the tool criminals.

    Meanwhile... a warrant is out for the inventor of the coathanger, after it was discovered that this device could also be used as a tool for burglarizing vehicles...
  • by Greg Lindahl ( 37568 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @11:51AM (#6078002) Homepage
    Go immediately to:

    and enter a consumer complaint. I said that I owned a DVD player and some DVDs, and that the California Attourney General's office was trying to prevent me from watching the DVD on my Linux computer.
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @12:34PM (#6078478)
    "breaking, entering and stealing"

    This abuse of words without regard to their meaning (but with regard to emotional effect) is getting alarming. According to them, you can perform B&E in your own house if you do something wrong with a DVD.

    It amounts to "A and B are crimes. B sounds much worse, so let's call all the A crimes B crimes so they look like worse fiends."

    "The program DeCSS is a burglary tool,"

    If this is the case, then I suppose it is a short matter of time before DeCSS is claimed to be a weapon used in crimes of murder and rape.

    If this keeps up, sometime next year, some MPAA or RIAA flack will be the first to accuse a disc pirate of committing genocide.
  • by w_mute ( 40724 ) on Friday May 30, 2003 @01:04PM (#6078775)
    Take this with a grain of salt if you will. But on the list of his 2001-02 campaign contributors:

    RIAA - $15,000.00
    Sony Pictures Ent. Inc. - $5,000.00
    Howard S. Welinsky (Warner Brothers Sr. VP) - $4,000.00
    MPAA - $2,000.00
    Paramount Pictures Group - $2,500.00
    The Walt Disney Company - $2,500.00
    Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation - $2,000.00
    Universal Studios, Inc. - $2,000.00
    Alan F. Horn (Warner Brothers CEO) - $1,000.00
    MGM And UA Services Company - $1000.00

    Note that these amounts are only a small portion of about $12 million US in contributions. The largest portion of contributions comes from other big business (Telecom, etc), law firms, and casinos.


Money isn't everything -- but it's a long way ahead of what comes next. -- Sir Edmond Stockdale