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DVD/DeCSS: MPAA Wins In New York

michael posted more than 14 years ago | from the good-guys-finish-last dept.

The Courts 547

Jim Tyre writes: "Judge Kaplan's ruling is out." The actual judgment is a separate document. Note that the judgment forbids Defendants and anyone acting in concert with them from posting or linking to the DeCSS code.Update: 08/17 07:57 PM by H :Taken from an earlier post: The ruling is availible online. The New York Times has a concise statement concering the case - essentially, the judge rejected the arguement that computer code counts as free speech, and therefore should be protected by the First Amendment. However, it should be noted that this ruling was *expected* by the 2600 folks, as Martin Garbus, one of the lawyers noted. (Garbus, it should be noted, has been before the Supreme Court /19/ times). This will mean that the Appeal will go higher, and that means that if/when the judgement is overturned, it will affect more than just NY, as this would have.

A quote from the conclusion:

VI. Conclusion

In the final analysis, the dispute between these parties is simply put if not necessarily simply resolved.

Plaintiffs have invested huge sums over the years in producing motion pictures in reliance upon a legal framework that, through the law of copyright, has ensured that they will have the exclusive right to copy and distribute those motion pictures for economic gain. They contend that the advent of new technology should not alter this long established structure.

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located. Less radically, they have raised a legitimate concern about the possible impact on traditional fair use of access control measures in the digital era.

Each side is entitled to its views. In our society, however, clashes of competing interests like this are resolved by Congress. For now, at least, Congress has resolved this clash in the DMCA and in plaintiffs? favor. Given the peculiar characteristics of computer programs for circumventing encryption and other access control measures, the DMCA as applied to posting and linking here does not contravene the First Amendment. Accordingly, plaintiffs are entitled to appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief.

SO ORDERED.

Dated: August 17, 2000

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This can be good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#848053)

It looks like this will bring this case one step closer to the supreme court. Once under the supreme court, the DMCA can be scrutinized, and this can be resolved once and for all.

Re:Copyleft T-Shirts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#848056)

You will be arrested by the fashion police and sent to a nerd re-education camp.

Re:Real Impartial (1)

echo (735) | more than 14 years ago | (#848059)

Obviously you don't understand the statement "Information want to be free."

It is NOT "Information should be free"

It means that an inherent property of information is for it to spread and be free.

The judge very definately did have a choice (1)

bkosse (1219) | more than 14 years ago | (#848062)

It is not the sole perview of the supreme court to determine constitutionality. Any judge can claim something is not constitutional. Very few do that because they are afraid to go against what the supreme court may later find.

--
Ben Kosse

Re:Before you get up in arms... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 14 years ago | (#848065)

True, but it is his job to determine whether or not the DMCA is a constitutional law, and whether it can be exercised in a way that is constitutional. He's failed miserably there.

DeCSS = Presidential Assasination?!? (1)

ink (4325) | more than 14 years ago | (#848067)

Thus sayeth the judge:

"... Code causes computers to perform desired functions. Its expressive element no more immunizes its functional aspects from regulation than the expressive motives of an assassin immunize the assassin's action.

In an era in which the transmission of computer viruses -- which, like DeCSS, are simply computer code and thus to some degree expressive--can disable systems upon which the nation depends and in which other computer code also is capable of inflicting other harm, society must be able to regulate the use and dissemination of code in appropriate circumstances. The Constition, after all, is a framework for building a just and democratic society. It is not a suicide pact."

What the hell is he talking about here? With this rationale one can make any first ammendment violation go away. It's a fatalistic approach to the problem: "Well, an assasin cannot kill the president as a form of expression, so therefore we can limit whatever we want to limit." I can't believe he is using this as justification for his finding!

It's fine that he found for the plantiffs, but please give us some real reasons why instead of liking a small group of people interested in viewing licensed DVD discs on their DVD drives to cold-war presidential assasination freaks. Could this judge be more biased?

The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

1st Amendment musing (1)

BrotherPope (8102) | more than 14 years ago | (#848077)

I continue to be amazed by Kaplan's reliance on the content of written words, from the various 'fuck the lawyers' rants on DeCSS mirrors to the articles in the print version of 2600 itself. I wonder just how far the First Amendment (and related case law) should block this kind of consideration. By exercising its 1st amendment right to publish pretty much whatever the hell it wants, it seems that 2600 has earned Kaplan's ire. Pages 15 to 17 of the opinion make mention of some articles, and I'm wondering how this is relevant if he's only exercising his rights. In court, Goldstein put these articles into context, but that's conspicuously absent here. Without any evidence to the contrary presented, how can Kaplan get away with passing this kind of judgement on 2600's content?

Just curious.

An empty win?? (1)

LordDartan (8373) | more than 14 years ago | (#848079)

They may have won the case, but DeCSS is already out there on countless websites. Granted, it may be illegal to have now, but that doesn't mean people are going to stop using it.

In actuallity, this may be a good thing. Maybe it will show the powers that be exactly what the internet can and will do. No amount of legislation is going to be able to control what is out there.

Re:Real Impartial (1)

Keel (11611) | more than 14 years ago | (#848083)

Even a foolish idiot wouldn't make such a spurious claim.

Actually, this has been a sort of hacker motto for a long time... "information wants to be free". This goes back to the days when phreakers believed phone service should be free, among other things. I agree they are foolish idiots who think this.

What I don't know is how the judge linked the defendants to this kind of philosophy. Did they say something to link themselves?

court not doing its job (1)

dawg (18967) | more than 14 years ago | (#848109)

It seems like the judge is completely defering to Congress on the issue of copyright protection.

He acknowledges that sometimes copyright protection goes too far and inhibits legal use of material but he basically says "well Congress passed the DMCA and they weighed both sides of the issue so they must have gotten it right."

What about the judicial branch being a check on Congress? Division of powers? 8th grade civics man. It seems like the judge barely even considered the case!

on to the appeal...

Re:now that DeCSS has been shot down... (1)

ttyRazor (20815) | more than 14 years ago | (#848113)

Ultimately, they want to install compulsary implants into everyone's brains that detect watermarks in copyrighted stimuli and bill the victim accordingly.

Re:prepare for battle (1)

Can (21457) | more than 14 years ago | (#848114)

Even better, how about the cost of putting up some billboards in various metropolitan areas, just to prove the point?

Free Speech rights of Code (1)

spRed (28066) | more than 14 years ago | (#848138)

The judge's dismissal of the defense seems to pivot around the fact that he doesn't think code is protected speech. to quote :

Computer code is expressive ... but computer code is not purely expressive any more than the assasination of a political figure is a purely political statement.

So basically, code is expressive (like speech) but can be regulated (like porn) because it has side effects.

-spRed

A Nit to Pick about the Judges Comments (1)

_J_ (30559) | more than 14 years ago | (#848154)

DSL lines ... offer transfer rates of 7 megabits per second.

I wish.:( I get less than 1 mbps down.

IMHO, as per

J:)

Re:World != USA (1)

smutt (35184) | more than 14 years ago | (#848161)

This has absolutely nothing to do with distributing MP3s. This decision is about
the DECSS code that the kid from Finland wrote
that cracked some crappy encryption.

I for one will still be wearing my DECSS shirt
in the US. If code isn't recognized as free speech then we're all doomed.

Re:The judge has a point (1)

smutt (35184) | more than 14 years ago | (#848162)

If I purchase something I should be able to view
it on any type of device I wish to. Once I own
the right to watch something it shouldn't be illegal for me to watch it the way I want to, on my platform.

This has nothing to do pirating. This has to do with control of the DVD player.

Does this mean... (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 14 years ago | (#848174)

..that we're no longer going to constantly be reminded about all the keen new DVDs and the DeCSS plaintiff's movies that are out on Slashdot?

Or will it continue to be, "On the one hand, we hate Fox for their role in DeCSS, on the other hand, they've got that keen new X-Men movie out let's all go see it."

Everyone, don't buy movies and DVDs!

Oh, and the way you can really, really, hurt them.. don't work for them, the movie industry, in any capacity.

What do you call that? A work-cott?

Possible responses (1)

Ground0 (63349) | more than 14 years ago | (#848182)

Once again, it is quite obvious that the Judge just didn't get it. Here are some possible ways we might remedy this situation:
1) Do nothing and pray a higher court does understand the issues and overrided this judgement. This is the normal response of about 75% of the people.
2) Respond mindlessly and rudely, spamming the shit out of the judge. Usually 5% of the people take this response.
3) Write letters to newspapers and elected officals or people running for office, educate others, protest about this issue, elect officials who understand the issues. The last 20% of people actually do this.


I would encourage more people to try 3) and not 1) (which is essentially doing nothing) or 2) (which is just counterproductive).


One last thought: given that the technical sector is one of the fast growing parts of the economy, why don't we exercize more political muscle?

Re:Wow... talk about missing the point (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 14 years ago | (#848187)

Give some credit to the MPAA's lawyers. They played that card to the hilt during the trial. If I were them trying desperately to save my a$$ (read: business plan), I'd do whatever it takes, including mudslinging and propagating unsubstantiated rumors. BTW IANAL.

-- Dave

Not surprising, but disturbing nonetheless (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 14 years ago | (#848188)

This ruling shouldn't come as a surprise. The DMCA is a law on the books, and the role of any judge is to uphold the laws. From the ruling:
...The inescapable facts are the (1) CSS is a technological means that effectively controls access to plaintiffs' copyrighted works, (2) the one and only function of DeCSS is to circumvent CSS, and (3) defendants offered and provided DeCSS by posting it on their web site... The offering or provision of the program is prohibited conduct [under Section 1201(a)(2) of the DMCA]
The judge had no choice.

What is, perhaps, more disturbing though is that the judge passed the buck on the ruling. There's this thing in the US called checks and balances, and one result of this system is that the Legislative branch makes the laws and the Judicial branch is supposed to interpret them. In this case, the judge said that the Legislative body has already made the decision by passing the DMCA. I think the judge needs to take responsibility for the fact that it's his call.

Plan on seeing an appeal. There were serious First Amendment issues raised that can only be fleshed out on appeal. (And no, IANAL.)

-- Dave

Re:Real Impartial (1)

chewbca (79906) | more than 14 years ago | (#848196)

I agree that this statement by the judge seems anything BUT impartial...

I also balk at the idea that the whole community or "movement" feel that information should be available to those who are "clever" enough to break in to systems. I believe that the attitude of most members of this community are more that of favoring free and equal information SHARING.. not breaking into and stealing.

but a bias is quite clear in the judge's case...

Told You So (1)

Drestin (82768) | more than 14 years ago | (#848198)

It has always been a perfectly clear cut, b&w decision obvious to anyone with the ability to read english and the ability to admit to the facts of the case.

Re:The judge has a point (1)

Madman (84403) | more than 14 years ago | (#848201)

It may not look like it's about piracy, but it is when you get down deeper. Those who make something have the right to control it. They can't make it secure if they make it an open standard. So it may not be directly involved with copying DVDs, but a ruling the other way would open the door to that a bit wider.
I am with you in that I would like to be able to play it on whatever I choose, but those who own the technology don't agree, and they should not be forced to give up their rights.

The judge has a point (1)

Madman (84403) | more than 14 years ago | (#848202)

I feel that it is childish for the Technical Community to ever have persued this case. One of the reasons that we have good movies with large budgets is that it is financially beneficial to do so, ie, there's profit. No profit, no big budget thrillers, no Star Wars. I can copy a videotape and sell it, but that doesn't make it legal. Those who spend the money have every right to make it back.

Whatever.... (1)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 14 years ago | (#848212)

Who cares who wins or loses? I know damn well that DeCSS is never going away unless the world explodes in a giant fireball (or something better comes along). They may have one the battle but they will never win the war.

Re:What's the next step, appeal, emigrate? (1)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 14 years ago | (#848213)

1)Leavenworth is a military prison.

2)this is not a criminal trial.

3)Norway would piss their pants

4)Got any tacos?

Rebel with a shirt (1)

StandingBear (99367) | more than 14 years ago | (#848233)

They'll have to rip the shirt from my dead body! (referencing the wicked cool Copyleft t-shirt I bought a few weeks ago)

got DeCSS? (1)

JbirdUAH (104470) | more than 14 years ago | (#848240)

i know which one of my copyleft shirts i'm wearing tomorrow....

-J

For those of use with no PDF viewer... (1)

DarthVdr (115873) | more than 14 years ago | (#848260)

Could someone please post a link to a true html or (better yet) txt version of the story?

thanx


--DV
"Kermit the frog, cuz he gets all the hos!"

Re:Whatever.... (1)

RiscTaker (124328) | more than 14 years ago | (#848268)

Who cares who wins or loses? I know damn well that DeCSS is never going away unless the world explodes in a giant fireball

DeCSS is never going away, but if it's declared illegal it will also never result in the creation of unlicensed commercial players with features that consumers want, rather than Macrovision and region coding. It also means open source players cannot be included in official Linux distributions.
--

The Conclusion (1)

WBDinnigan (125242) | more than 14 years ago | (#848270)

Ugh, 93 pages of legaleeze to march through.

I have to admit, though that I am rather disturbed by the paragraph in the conclusion that states:

"...Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located..."

Which was not the core issue of the case, in my opinion. It seems that the defendants in the DECSS case are being treated in a "guilt by association" sort of manner. I wonder how much that this line of thinking affected the Honorable Mr. Kaplan's decision.

I know that the judge spelt out in the end that he felt that DECSS and the subsequent distribution of the DECSS code was a violation of the DMCA, but that one paragraph really bothers me.

Is that the future for situations that deal with free speech that involve "hackers"? Will they all be viewed in that sort of damning light that makes judges ignore the potential First Amendment concerns?

prepare for battle (1)

whatsthislifefor (126424) | more than 14 years ago | (#848271)

anyone know how much it will cost to make a few million copy's at kinko's? I've got some code to distibute to the people.

now that DeCSS has been shot down... (1)

hansonc (127888) | more than 14 years ago | (#848272)

What's next? Is the MPAA going to decide that I can't have a group of friends over to watch a movie without paying them a royality per viewer? How about the RIAA deciding that I can't play my CD's in my Pioneer CD player and instead I have to buy a new RIAA "approved" CD player at an inflated cost.

We all need to contact our members of Congress and get the DMCA revoked because it stomps all over our rights to fair use.

Long Live DeCSS!!

-CH

Re:Real Impartial (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 14 years ago | (#848287)

It looks like this judge has got Napster and DeCSS confused. Does he actually believe that people are going to be able to view DVDs that they did not purchase simply by having this software? That it's magically going to create/locate/receive/assemble random bits of information on your computer into an actual movie that you can see and hear?

Someone missed the point.

Congress? (1)

AshPattern (152048) | more than 14 years ago | (#848294)

Looks to me as though the judge just passed up the responsibility for making any sort of decision. "Don't blame me! Congress makes the laws!" Never mind that one of the functions of the Judiciary system in America is to judge the constitutionality of a particular law.

When will they realize... (1)

Xrkun (160736) | more than 14 years ago | (#848306)

That the program and the source are not to blame for people violating copyright. If that is the case, why didn't they make cd writer's illegal? They too are an tool used to violate copyright protection. Why not make tape recorders illegal. Better yet, lets make guns illegal. They are used as tools to kill people. DeCss in itself is not breaking any laws. It's the people who are using DeCss to violate copyright law (placing Decrypted DVD's on ftp servers etc...) ARGH!

argh! (1)

aurikan (160848) | more than 14 years ago | (#848307)

can anyone translate this to enlish? i can't read legalese

They just don't understand (1)

xercist (161422) | more than 14 years ago | (#848312)

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.

I don't even need to mention this, but this is obviously not even close the the truth. This is about playing movies you own, etc, etc, while the above statement makes it looks like these people want to have legal right to break into other people's systems.

Pathetic! This is all pathetic! *sigh*

--

Re:Whatever.... (1)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 14 years ago | (#848315)

Who cares who wins and loses? I do. I dont particularly care about DeCSS, this is about copyright and about freedom. Are we going to accept this judges ruling that copyright exists for the Movie industry to make money, or are we going to try and bring copyright back to where the constitution put it? besides the copyright issues I think this statement speaks volumes on the judges part: "Computer code is expressive. To that extent, it is a matter of First Amendment concern. But computer code is not purely expressive any more that the assassination of a political figure is purely a political statement" Look at it this way: simply because code can do and represent other things does not make it less expressive any more than the immorality or illeagality of an assassination makes it less a political statement. Every assassination is a political statement of some kind and the circumstances around it dont take that away. Every bit of code is an expressive statement and the use of it does not nullify that. BTW - they 'one' the battle, did they ?

Never before... (1)

Corbin Dallas (165835) | more than 14 years ago | (#848316)

in my life have I ever been so un-suprised. However, all is not lost. There are still several stages of the game left to play, and each of those steps may prove to our advantage. Only at the end, when all is lost, and Mordor, err, MPAA has the Supreme Court on their side, will it be time to panic, as it were.

World != USA (1)

nikhilwiz (176218) | more than 14 years ago | (#848319)

Is this valid _only_ is the US, or is it throughout the world? Is distributing MP3s still valid in a country like India? I know there is a lot of US pressure to comply to its rules, but I dont think other countries are obligated to implement this.

DeCSS (1)

.sig (180877) | more than 14 years ago | (#848324)

Well, fine. People shouldn't profit from other's work. That's what copyrights are for, contrary to what "people in charge" will tell you. Copying anything for your own use should never be illegal, it's when you try to take credit for it and/or profit from something that's not yours that it gets 'bad'
I'm not a big fan of bootlegging/piracy/information liberation/whatever you want to call it, but I do think that the corporations are taking things too far. Of course, that's true with just about anyone. Give 'em an inch and they'll want the whole world.
Well, better luck next time....

Bad Defendants (1)

daemones (188271) | more than 14 years ago | (#848334)

(Dice Rolling)

Sorry guys, it seems that you've landed on a biased judge.

Go to the Appeals Court. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

Hope you roll up someone with sense next time.

Bizarre Reasoning (1)

Prong (190135) | more than 14 years ago | (#848337)

The NY Times piece was interesting. Kaplan's thinking seems a bit skewed to me.

``Society must be able to regulate the use and dissemination of code in appropriate circumstances,'' the judge wrote. ``The Constitution, after all, is a framework for building a just and democratic society. It is not a suicide pact.''

Aside from the fact that the last sentence is a direct ripoff of Tom Clancy (who may have ripped it off from someone else), I fail to see how disseminating information is the equivilant of assasination. After all, posting instruction for making explosives has been upheld as protected, right?

Re:Copyleft T-Shirts (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 14 years ago | (#848344)

Well, it's true that they're not particularly stylish, so the fashion police would have a case...

Re:Copyleft shirts (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 14 years ago | (#848345)

Wear them tomorrow! Let the feds try to tear them off your back.

sulli

Easy to prove Judge bias (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 14 years ago | (#848346)

And so this will inform the appeal. It is particularly onerous to permit or deny speech (using prior restraint, may I add) based on the ideology of the originators.

sulli

Re:Appeal coming on line (1)

Shadow1 (198738) | more than 14 years ago | (#848356)

Don't bet on it.... Check this article on the Supremes... http://www.FreeRepublic.com/forum/a399c16ed3f39.ht m

DeCSS (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 14 years ago | (#848357)

I think that someone should start 2 companies that each sell half of the DeCSS code for $1. Of course, the home user has to "assemble" them so it's totally legal. The profits go directly to EFF. Who's with me?
email me.

Bought and Sold (1)

CIHMaster (208218) | more than 14 years ago | (#848380)

Looks like the MPAA's investment was worthwhile. We're all fucked now.

Re:No, you americans are bought and sold. (1)

CIHMaster (208218) | more than 14 years ago | (#848381)

No, if it hasn't occurred to you yet, you can ONLY be president/senator/representative if:

a.) You are rich

b.) You are willing to pander to some extreme special interest groups.

c.) You are a christian (just TRY being agnostic/athiest/anything else).

Or you could work your way up in a corporation and gain more power than you could in politics.

Only the first round. (1)

swngnmonk (210826) | more than 14 years ago | (#848384)

Even the posted snippet of the discussion left open too many avenues for debate. If you re-read it, the judge seems quite reluctant to go up against the DCMA. That is something the higher courts will definitely have to consider - there's too much of a conflict going on here between Congressional actions and the First Amendment.

Many more rounds to go!

Fair use (1)

cprael (215426) | more than 14 years ago | (#848389)

The part of the opinion that really caught my eye was this:

"The fact that Congress elected to leave technologically unsophisticated persons who wish to make fair use of encrypted copyrighted works without the technical means of doing so is a matter for Congress"

Which can be read (to me) that technologically sophisticated persons wishing to make fair use are entirely allowed to do so. The implication is that _possession_ of DeCSS strictly for fair use purposes is not illegal under this decision. _Distribution_ is, however.

Re:The judge has a point (1)

Expecting Rain (217620) | more than 14 years ago | (#848392)

Why do you feel as if you have the right to decide on which OS you can watch DVDs? The studios own the rights to DVDs and the rights to their distribution. If Linux can't legally play a DVD, use a Wintel box or a Mac to watch a DVD. Otherwise, don't watch a DVD. Your argument is like saying, "If I buy a concert ticket, I should be allowed to see the concert wherever I want to. Bob Dylan should have to come to my house and play for me, since I don't want him dictating my 'choice' to me by saying that I have to go to the arena to see him."

What's the next step, appeal, emigrate? (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 14 years ago | (#848395)

And I fell real sorry for that Norwegian kid, is he going to get extradited to the US and put in Leavenworth?

I'm betting on an appeal, any lawyers want to comment?

What else with this affect? (1)

buff_pilot (221119) | more than 14 years ago | (#848397)

As others have said, this judgement will obviously appealed. In the interim, before the appeal works it's way through the system, will this precedent have any affect on other software issues that are or are about to be brought to court?

Appeal coming on line (1)

maninblackhat (221616) | more than 14 years ago | (#848399)

(sigh) Score one for the evil forces of monopoly and control. Still, I'd be willing to bet the EFF is already filing it's appeal. Hopefully the Supreme Court will be willing to go out on a limb against the big-money MPAA and declare the DMCA unconstitutional.

Copyleft shirts (1)

ThymePuns (222253) | more than 14 years ago | (#848401)

But what will become of the copyleft shirts!?

Wrong. (2)

bkosse (1219) | more than 14 years ago | (#848417)

I said it above, but the judicial branch of the government, at all levels, can make the claim that a law is unconstitutional. They can't pass claim on whether the law should be there or not from a "good law/bad law" standpoint, but from a "legal law/illegal law", they have no real restrictions.

This is an illegal law, and hopefully the S.C. will realize that.

--
Ben Kosse

Code as Speech addressed on page 54 (2)

ry4an (1568) | more than 14 years ago | (#848418)

Well, 54 in the pdf, but page 50 logically. The document discussed whether or not source code could be considered speech. Fortunately they do come down on the side of source code and even object code being forms of expression that do fall under the rules of Free Speech as given in the First Ammendment (to the US constitution).

It's not the ruling we wanted, but at least it doesn't say that code isn't speech -- a precident like that would make other rulings harder to win in the future.
--

Re:Real Impartial (2)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 14 years ago | (#848428)

Did they say something to link themselves [to stuff like the aforementioned "phreaker" philosophy]?

Have you ever read 2600?

This worries me. (2)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 14 years ago | (#848429)

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.

[emphasis mine]

Is this really the public perception of the Free Software/Open Content movements? Unfortunately, I fear this particular segment of the ruling is going to be bandied about a great deal in the media from now on. If it's not now, it may well be.

I can't say I was ever that comfortable having 2600 being the ones standing up for us in this case. This is exactly the impression I was afraid of them giving.

Agreed. (2)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 14 years ago | (#848431)

Kaplan all but admitted that the case is beyond his scope to do anything interesting. I'm looking forward to the real action, either in the appeal(s) or in Congress (anyone contacted Senator Hatch about this, since he seems clueful about fair use and moreover has the power to make it stick?).

mirror in case Courtweb gets /.'ed (2)

Zarn (11601) | more than 14 years ago | (#848440)

mirror [mud.nu] in the Netherlands of the 3 PDF files of Courtweb.

Re:Fascinating! (2)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 14 years ago | (#848446)

Not true... if he had addressed the constitutional issue, then the "Free speech" or "freedom of the press" arguments would have won out, easily.

Admittedly, there's a bit of "this is stupid" in his tone as I read it as well, but he definitely doesn't seem inclined to want to be the person to rule the DMCA unconstitutional. Damn pussy. ;-)

bahahahahahaha! (2)

FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) | more than 14 years ago | (#848472)

"Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located."

This idiotic statement will come back to haunt the judge.

The information is already available to the defendants--through a normal DVD player. And not "without charge"--they purchased the disk with data included. To imply (no, to rule) that I can't view my own DVDs on the player of my choosing is so antithetical to the real purposes of copyright and fair use that....I can't even finish that sentence.
--

Re:interesting times (2)

spRed (28066) | more than 14 years ago | (#848475)

The judge said that the code wasn't purely free speech because it has a law-breaking side effect (it is against the DMCA). His clarifying example was that computer viruses (which are code) are not considered free speech, even though they are expressive, because they break all kinds of laws in the process (not just speech, but action).

-spRed

Re:Real Impartial (2)

adimarco (30853) | more than 14 years ago | (#848477)

It is also interesting to say that the current framework is one that protects and harbors a monopoly.

<sarcasm>

So, wait a second. Are you daring to suggest that the court system, or politicians for that matter, would base their decisions on who's got the money rather than rational, legal, or common-sensical reasons?

The audiacity! Here? In the land of the free? The home of the brave? How could you suggest such a thing? :)

</sarcasm>

Anthony

Re:argh! (2)

Steve B (42864) | more than 14 years ago | (#848483)

can anyone translate this to enlish? i can't read legalese
Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.

[MUMBLE]"Damn dirty pinko hippies... we oughta ship 'em all back to Russia...."[/MUMBLE]

Less radically, they have raised a legitimate concern about the possible impact on traditional fair use of access control measures in the digital era.

[Looks up, notes court stenographer's stunned expression] "Strike that last from the record; replace it with, 'Having fairly and impartially considered the evidence,...'"


/.

He's right, in a way (2)

kaphka (50736) | more than 14 years ago | (#848499)

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.
Source code is speech, and is subject to the restrictions of the First Ammendment. It's disgraceful that an attempt to supress this speech has gotten so far (although I'm still pretty confident that it won't last.)

Unfortunately, many of the loudest pro-DeCSS voices have another agenda entirely, as the judge noted above. I don't think that most intelligent Americans would agree with the contention that "information wants to be free," against the wishes of its authors. Besides, even if copyright is wrong, it's still the law of the land, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that a judge would have little sympathy for people who flagrantly disregard it.

Anti-IP folks remind me of the pro-hemp crowd. Sure, hemp should probably be legal. Maybe it really is environmentally friendly, and dirt cheap, and stronger than Kevlar (or whatever.) I'm still not going to take those claims seriously when I know that few (if any) hemp supporters could give a shit about making rope.

We need to have a clearer separation between the two arguments in favor of DeCSS. (The first being that it is protected speech, and the second being that evil corporations don't have any right to control the information that they create.) As long as the second argument keeps drowning out the first, our freedom of speech will continue to erode... and free speech is much more important that free DVDs.

(Since this will undoubtedly be a hot topic, let me repeat that I do not agree with the judge's decision. For that matter, I think drugs should be legal too.)

Re:The judge has a point (2)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#848504)

One more time. This is _not_ about copying DVD's. Hell, I hope hollywood makes sevaral googleplexs of us dollars this year. Then maybe I'll finally get to see a six movie series of the Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever books.

I just hope if I lay out $129.00 for the dvd set, I can view it on the OS of my choice. That is what it is about. I don't want to be told what OS I can run, which is _WHY_ I run linux.

Re:This is okay, we still have round 2... (2)

The Queen (56621) | more than 14 years ago | (#848508)

Yes, but can we geeks get our act together and push for a change in the law without resorting to whining, box-cracking, and name-calling? If the /. community is any example, the great majority of us are loud-mouthed a$$holes.
Just look at the tone of replies whenever a Napster story is posted...

The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk

Re:Copyleft T-Shirts (2)

B-Rad (66696) | more than 14 years ago | (#848512)

*heh* Even better, I'm a Canadian going down to the States in a week, and I want to know if they'll take me down at the border when I wear my DeCSS shirt.

Comments? (2)

deblau (68023) | more than 14 years ago | (#848513)

Let's have a rational discussion about this OK?

-- Dave

This is just the first step. (2)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 14 years ago | (#848515)

Remember, the Appeals and Supreme courts are where laws like the DMCA get declared unconstitutional. Now that the case is in court and enough people care about it there's a good chance it'll be overturned on constitutional grounds. Even if it doesn't, it's like trying to stop the Niagra with a cork. By the way, it's time to distribute the source everywhere. Post it on Usenet, make more shirts, engrave it on artwork, etc. Write it on the sidewalks if you have to.

They didn't make their case well. (2)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#848521)

The lawyer representing their clients did not make their case well enough to overcome the misstaken assumtion that reverse engineering has malicious intent. This statement is evidenced by the following statements made by the judge in the case:

(my emphysis added)
Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located. Less radically, they have raised a legitimate concern about the possible impact on traditional fair use of access control measures in the digital era.

phew (2)

matticus (93537) | more than 14 years ago | (#848526)

i just read through the first 71 pages (argh, i hate legal talk, that's why i couldn't make it all the way) and it seems that 2600 was hit where it counts. all their arguments were dismissed as invalid. this could turn out to be very interesting.

How odd that a judge would uphold the law (2)

NaughtyEddie (140998) | more than 14 years ago | (#848541)

It seems that certain Slashdot readers have a dramatic misunderstanding of how the legal system works.

The DMCA is a law. Anyone posting DeCSS is in direct violation of that law. It's really really simple.

That's all there is to this case. That's what the judge's summary says. The "information wants to be free" quip is more-or-less irrelevant. He found that the DMCA covered the case and applied it.

I mean, yeah, if I got busted with Marijuana I might complain that the law was stupid in that respect. But I wouldn't go around saying "oh, our legal system doesn't work." It does work. It upholds the law.

Now, you wanna change the law? Let's talk ...

judge says: "code is not protected" (2)

Miriku chan (168612) | more than 14 years ago | (#848548)

to quote: (page 7) "But computer code is not purely expressive any more than the assassination of a political figure is purely a political statement."

lovely metaphor. so now people who copy games are Pirates (arrr), people who buy domains are Cybersquatters, and coders are Assassins...

*sigh*. it's not that i disagree with his statement (too much), it's just that his choice of words is gonna be jumped on by every newspaper hack in the country and the net result is more bad public opinions...

Disappointing, yes... (2)

Diablerie (195323) | more than 14 years ago | (#848551)

...but was it really unexpected? The judge's decision was based on the DMCA as it stands. The fact that it's a bad law to begin with isn't really relevant to the judge.

In fact, even the EFF said that the MPAA would probably win, and that this trial was mainly to set the stage for an appeal.

So who constitutes "society"? (2)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 14 years ago | (#848552)


``...in an era in which the transmission of computer viruses.... can disable systems upon which the nation depends and in which other computer code also is capable of inflicting harm, society must be able to regulate the use and dissemination of code in appropriate circumstance.'' US District Judge Lewis Kaplan

I'm all in favor of regulation (not censorship) of code, in this era of script kiddies running amok causing millions of dollars of damages. But my question is, who exactly constitutes society, in the eyes of Judge Kaplan?

Is it the programmers who developed the code?
Is it the companies that distribute the equipment that uses such code?
Is it all the people in the computer area?
Is it *gulp* the US Government?

Until we determine exactly who's got the right (or the power, or the intelligence) to regulate this kind of information, I'd say we're just running around in circles, and we're not gonna get anywhere soon. That's my opinion, in any way.

PS: Here's a link to the Yahoo News article from which comes the quote: Judge Orders Injunction in DVD Hacker Case [yahoo.com]

Does this surprise anyone? (2)

vertical-limit (207715) | more than 14 years ago | (#848553)

Let's face it - 2600.com had it in from the beginning. I'm sure everyone would like them to have won -- after all, nobody likes to see the MPAA get its way -- but they really had no case to stand on. The MPAA has the DMCA on its side; 2600 has merely a rather tenuous connection to the 1st Amendment. And, remember, the MPAA has the right to do business too, which defeats 2600's entire case.

Now, IANAL, but did 2600 have any legal defense for their actions? As far as I can, they relied entirely upon dogma, which is why the judge labeled them a "radical" group. I wanted to see them win too, but it simply wasn't within the boundaries of the law for them to do so. What should happen and what the law says are two totally different and unrelated things.

Yes, 2600 are the moral winners in this case. But why did we expect them to win in court when they have no legal footing?

Kaplan sneers (3)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 14 years ago | (#848558)

"Mr. Johansen is a very
talented young man and a member of a well known hacker group who viewed "cracking" CSS as an
end it itself and a means of demonstrating his talent and who fully expected that the use of DeCSS
would not be confined to Linux machines. Hence, the Court finds that Mr. Johansen and the others
who actually did develop DeCSS did not do so solely for the purpose of making a Linux DVD player
if, indeed, developing a Linux-based DVD player was among their purposes.
Accordingly, the reverse engineering exception to the DMCA has no application here."

I wonder what the application to LiVid will be.

Re:Real Impartial (3)

Zagadka (6641) | more than 14 years ago | (#848560)

Even a foolish idiot wouldn't make such a spurious claim.

That's essentially the claim that most of the "information wants to be free" crowd uses though. They say it's mathematically/physically impossible to prevent people from copying the data, so there shouldn't be laws against it. In other words, "information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to [get it]". Yeah, they probably wouldn't use the term "break into" (like thge ruling), but rather somethiung that means the same thing but sounds more benign...

Now before I get flamed, I should point out that I don't agree with the ruling. (oh, and IANAL) I think the DMCA goes way too far. I think that copyright protection doesn't need legal protection. Copyright alone should be enough. If people use DeCSS to illegally copy DVD's, then go after them. People using DeCSS for fair use aren't doing anything wrong. So in other words, DMCA is unnecessary, and makes things illegal that shouldn't be.

Unfortunately, because of the boneheaded way American law works, once a law is passed, you pretty well can't get rid of it unless you can prove that it's "unconstitutional", and likewise, you can't create laws that conflict with the constitutional dogma...

Let the flaming begin!

You knew there would be an appeal. (3)

ethereal (13958) | more than 14 years ago | (#848562)

It looks like this judge is ruling merely on the merits of the DMCA as passed by Congress, rather than considering the larger question of whether the law is constitutional. Perhaps at this level of the legal system the judiciary is unwilling (or unable, IANACS (constitutional scholar)) to overturn a federal law as unconstitutional. I think it was pretty clear on the basis of the past few months activities that this case would go against the defendants.

The DMCA itself is bad enough, but the upholding of an injunction against the defendants linking to freely available information (well, at least until the hosting sites are also sued) is really troubling. I hope that facet of the case is an important part of the appeal as well; otherwise the New York Times and other major news venues will have to watch what they link to. If linking to a site with controversial content is prohibited, how about linking to a site that does the linking? For that matter, how about linking to AltaVista?

This ruling represents an unconscionable attack on the underpinnings of the Internet. The powers-that-be have won the first battle to halt the changes that are coming to the world they own; I hope that the EFF, Mr. Garbus, and other people of good will are able to win the war for freedom of information and the right to free speech online, even if it does hurt someone's bottom line.

</soapbox>

This is okay, we still have round 2... (3)

drenehtsral (29789) | more than 14 years ago | (#848563)

This is to be expected, infact from what i've read, the EFF and company were even counting on this. This sets the stage for a constitutional challenge, which will set precedent on a national level.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, nor do i play one on television =:-0

Re:Real Impartial (3)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#848566)

It's pretty clear that the judge from the begining has seen the programmers as a bunch of punk kids. The legal treatment of those involved has been amazingly shoddy. I could see the judge being disbarred for this, he oversaw the trial even though he'd been a consultant with the MPAA just a few years ago.... Yeah, they give him a large sum of money and he's supposed to be un-biased???

It's appeal time.

Re:Real Impartial (3)

Nehemiah S. (69069) | more than 14 years ago | (#848567)

Unfortunately, because of the boneheaded way American law works, once a law is passed, you pretty well can't get rid of it unless you can prove that it's "unconstitutional", and likewise, you can't create laws that conflict with the constitutional dogma

It's pretty easy to get rid of a law once it's been passed. You just bury a rider 500 lines deep in a budget bill that says "The DMCA is hereby repealed", get both houses to sign off on it, and start watching movies on your platform of choice.

IANAL BIRA LOS (I am not a lawyer (but I read a lot of Slashdot)).

Before you get up in arms... (3)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 14 years ago | (#848568)

Remeber this: It's the judge's purpose, and only purpose here, to decide whether or not DeCSS runs contrary to existing law (the DMCA). In light of this, he did his job perfectly, with his decision.

It is NOT his purpose to decide whether that existing law is bad or not, and his own views regarding the law itself should not be relevant to the task at hand. So, protest the law, not the judge.

Fascinating! (3)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 14 years ago | (#848570)

That's as close as I've ever seen an opinion come to "Congress, this is a stupid law, and you should fix it -- but, given that it's Constitutional, there's nothing I can do about it."

Too bad we didn't get a rational judgement (4)

jslag (21657) | more than 14 years ago | (#848576)

I mean, look at this stuff...


Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.


While there certainly are those on the DeCCS side who may come off this way, it misses the issue by a mile. DeCCS doesn't "break into. . .computer systems", it plays back media! Nothing in DeCCS makes it easier to illegally use DVDs, unless viewing DVDs is in and of itself illegal in some way (now I guess it is).


For people paying attention to the trial, is this misunderstanding due to a bad job by the defense lawyers, or is the judge just an idiot?

Re:Real Impartial (4)

MattW (97290) | more than 14 years ago | (#848580)

Indeed, and I think the summary nicely reveals that clearly the point that people buying a DVD have a right to view it as they please has not been made. However, this is unsurprising, as this was actually a predicted result when the DMCA was being considered as law. If a poor precedent is set, expect the DMCA to protect any and all information with enough lawyers. Why even encrypt with a key? They could have xor'd the content against a 16bit key, and sued just the same.

I'm going to take the time and write my legislators about repealing the provisions of the DMCA which enact the absurd restrictions on reverse engineering encryption systems, just because they protect copyrighted works. The criminality of that activity should require a burden of proof that it was intended for the illegitimate access to the protected work.

Real Impartial (4)

Luminous (192747) | more than 14 years ago | (#848583)

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.

I may be way off course here, but I don't believe the defendants would ever make the argument as stated above. Even a foolish idiot wouldn't make such a spurious claim. The fact this judge has interpreted the argument in this fashion implies a clear biased.

I am not making a comment on the ruling as a whole, just this judge's view of the defendants. It is also interesting to say that the current framework is one that protects and harbors a monopoly.

Re:mirror in case Courtweb gets /.'ed (4)

Quietust (205670) | more than 14 years ago | (#848584)

Zarn: there was an extra / at the end of the link.
Try this [mud.nu] instead.

-- Sig (120 chars) --
Your friendly neighborhood mIRC scripter.

interesting times (4)

zenith744 (210415) | more than 14 years ago | (#848585)

in case the link on the front page is /.ed, here is a link to the nytimes article [nytimes.com] . I like the part where "...He noted that the DeCSS computer code that unlocks the software designed to protect DVDs from being copied is like computer viruses which can ``disable systems upon which the nation depends.'' Really! I guess I better update Norton Antivirus and get the definitions for this new and very very evil DeCSS virus...it could destroy EVERYTHING!

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (5)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 14 years ago | (#848587)

Their legal footing is this (IANAL):

1) The first amendment DOES permit the publication of potentially dangerous information or instructions. This has been upheld by the Supreme Court for quite some time (at least since the case in which a magazine published instructions for nuclear weapons construction in the 60s -70s)

No, you can't say "Let's go kill Brian Adams, right now" but you can say "Brian Adams will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes." One is an immediate incitement to an illegal act. The other is not - it's protected speech.

And source code has been found in a different circuit to be protected speech, and once a case involving that idea gets to the Supreme Court it's likely to be upheld there too - why should VERY PRECISE speech be less protected than vague speech? It's not impossible to program a computer in English, if you're clear and write an interpreter.

2) The MPAA members are illegally using their copyrights to acquire and keep a monopoly on DVD players. The traditional remedy, as I have heard, is to invalidate the copyrights being used in this manner until such a time as they are no longer being used for illegal activities.

The Judge (whose firm has consulted for the MPAA on antitrust issues in the past - which is why he probably should not have been involved with this case) quickly decided that the DMCA overrides antitrust law (it plainly doesn't and the Congressional record is clear on that over and over again) and refused to hear arguments along those lines.

3) Fair use is being circumvented by the DMCA, but fair use is a right which for over a hundred years was found by courts high and low to be more fundemental than copyright. While Congress has since explicitly enacted laws protecting fair use, they are constitutionally unable (so sayeth the courts) to get rid of it.

But Kaplan let himself be fooled by the MPAA who claim that fair use still exists, even though you can't actually exercise it.

4) The MPAA never showed any harm, which is something of a prerequisite. The case should have ended at the beginning, really.

2600 has a MUCH stronger case than the MPAA. They just don't come across as well to a biased judge.

Let us consult the Constitution.... (5)

adimarco (30853) | more than 14 years ago | (#848591)

I know it's going out of style these days, but let's see what the consitution [nara.gov] has to say on the matter of intellectual property.

This clause is varyingly known as the "copyright clause" or the "patent clause" depending on what kind of a lawyer you are. Either way, this is the exact wording in the Constitution (section 8) that provides for the creation of Intellectual Property.

It says:

The Congress shall have Power...
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;


It seems that the authors of the consitution had not intended in any way for Intellectual Property to be a financial protection in the way that it is currently interpreted. Seemingly in direct contradiction, the judge says:

Plaintiffs have invested huge sums over the years in producing motion pictures in reliance upon a legal framework that, through the law of copyright, has ensured that they will have the exclusive right to copy and distribute those motion pictures for economic gain.

(emphasis in both cases rather obviously mine)

Something smells fishy here...

Anthony

Copyleft T-Shirts (5)

q2k (67077) | more than 14 years ago | (#848594)

So am I breaking the law if I wear my DeCSS shirt tomorrow?

Wow... talk about missing the point (5)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 14 years ago | (#848596)

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located

I followed this case kind of closely, and I don't remember even a shred of the DeCSS defense revolving around the argument that intellectual property should be free to all. The strongest DeCSS argument, in my opinion, was the one that the reverse engineering was specifically legal because it allowed the content to be played on platforms for which there was not a "legitimate" player.

But regardless of that, I think this ruling shows a fairly huge amount of bias on the part of Kaplan, since I don't believe someone who actually read and understood the defensive filings would summarize the defenese's position in this manner.

Or, to be less sinister, maybe it was just a serious lack of understanding on Kaplan's part. One way or another though, the gross misrepresentation of defense's argument in the ruling should be strong grounds for appeal.

-b

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