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DeCSS Injunction Reversed In CA Case

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the sanity-in-california dept.

The Courts 480

kinesis writes: "For those of you following the California DeCSS case, a court of appeal just ruled in our favor, overturning the injunction imposed by a lower court. The court's opinion is available in DOC and PDF versions. It's a great read for those who want to really understand the case. The conclusion is nicely summarized with this quote: 'In the case of a prior restraint on pure speech, the hurdle is substantially higher [than for an ordinary preliminary injunction]: publication must threaten an interest more fundamental than the First Amendment itself. Indeed, the Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint, even faced with the competing interest of national security or the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.' " Or you can go straight to the PDF.

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480 comments

Damn (5, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508731)

I told Valenti that we needed to pay those judges more. Ah well, I wonder how much an Amendment costs?

Cheap (3, Funny)

powerlord (28156) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508875)

Don't worry, Amendments are cheap.

We have lots of Congressman and Senators paid for.

Maybe we can borrow a President from Microsoft for a while so we don't have to wait for our 2/3rds majority to be paid for.

Re:Damn (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508883)

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Judge Kaplan - $80000000 if member of MPAA. Subtract $5000000 if dealing with those skript kiddies at 2600.

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furriest prostate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508733)

Propz to all WWI warplanes.

so close and yet so far (-1, Offtopic)

D.A.R.E. To Get High (531150) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508743)

I was gonna get first post,
But then I got high.

Now I'm posting late in the thread
And I know why...

Because I got High, Because I got High, Because I got High.

FIRST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508744)

PSOT BITCHES

Slashdot really sucks!

Re:FIRST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508790)

Then why the fuck do you come here?

Pinch me. (3, Funny)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508750)

It's been so long since the right thing has happened in an intellectual property-related case, that I don't believe it.

Re:Pinch me. (5, Interesting)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508940)

We probably haven't heard the last of this case yet. Poring over the ruling, I have to ask some questions that didn't seem to get raised.

Why isn't Johansen's status as a minor the key factor in his inability to agree to the Xing EULA? Who cares about Norwegian law on this matter, if Johansen lived in CA, he could not be held to such a contract because he is a minor. Can 15 year olds sign binding contracts in Norway?

Anyone else notice the slashdot.org plug right there in the ruling? That is some awesome free advertising. :)

By the way, we should note that this case does not appear to have had any impact on the DMCA, but on a CA trade secret law. So we are not out of the woods yet with the federal law.

Re:Pinch me. (4, Informative)

dachshund (300733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509047)

By the way, we should note that this case does not appear to have had any impact on the DMCA, but on a CA trade secret law.

Actually, the court's recognition of source code as expressive speech is a major step in the right direction, if it's upheld by higher courts.

The susequent balance of state (and presumably federal law) against constitutional interests could presumably put an axe in the DMCA's head-- if the code==speech assumption is upheld all the way to the Supreme Court. Don't count on that, of course.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508751)

About time

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508756)

always wanted to do that.

So.... (2, Funny)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508761)

Now can I wear my T-shirt with DeCSS code on it without going to jail?

Re:So.... (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508787)

Now can I wear my T-shirt with DeCSS code on it without going to jail?
Yes, as long as you understand that you can still be put in jail after the court case is over and RIAA et. al. have won. Just not before.

sPh

HEADLINES (4, Funny)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508766)

Ashcroft locks up Appeals Court.

In an unprecedented move, Attorney General John Ashcroft locked up all the Appeals Court judges while waving his arms in the air screaming something about terrorists. In a later statement he made the comment "How could anyone imagine anyone but a terrorist thinking free speech was somehow more important than national security?". Reporters who asked provocotive questions were also taken away for correctional training.

Re:HEADLINES (1)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508862)

I just gotta know, what does your tagline mean.

Re:HEADLINES (1)

blackmateria (255470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508902)

Dude, it depends on the processor mode.

V86 + real mode: B8 00 4C = mov ax, 4c00h; CD 21 = int 21h
protected mode: B8 00 4C CD 21 = mov eax, 21cd4c00h

Re:HEADLINES (1)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508941)

Jeez, it's been WAY too long since I've done anything in assembler. That's the DOS terminate command isn't it.

Re:HEADLINES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508944)

Or, in 6502 assembly code:

B8 SEI
00 BRK
4C CD 21 JMP $21CD

Re:HEADLINES (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2509003)

Jesse Christ, how the FUCK do you remember something like that??! (/me bows his head in shame for not being a fucking genious.)

6809 FLEX (1, Offtopic)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509046)

$7E $CD03

JMP WARMS ; jump to warmstart entry point

Re:6809 FLEX (1, Offtopic)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509059)

... "You had an assembler? Man! In my day, we entered code in by hand, and not with those wimpy hex keypads, WE set switches in binary and toggled the deposit or deposit next switch."

Re:HEADLINES (1)

Derek (1525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508963)

Clear as mud. Thank you.

OK, I recognize those are assembler instructions. Is that as deep as it goes? Are these some sort of infamous intel intructions? Is it fearful to code in assembly these days? What gives? I just gotta know....

-Derek

OT: Tagline meaning (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508975)

the code sequence is x86 assembler for the following code sequence:
mov ax,4c00
int 21

or

in other words, it is a dos function to end a program and pass the back the return code of 0.

I'm sorry... (2, Interesting)

AKAJack (31058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508767)

I just could never worry about this a lot. It was so obvious that it was unconstitutional that it became just a matter of time before it went away.

No, I'm not a lawyer, yes, you can flame me about not caring enough.

I'm just a practical guy who saw the right people going balistic over this.

Let me know when the smoke finally clears.

Re:I'm sorry... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508824)

I just could never worry about the holocaust a lot.
It was so obvious that it was immoral that it became a matter of time before it went away.
You can bury your head in the sand, but that doesn't make the problem go away.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509009)

That's not insightful, it's an absurd analogy. Up until now the DMCA has not been a problem anywhere near on the scale of the Holocaust.


It hasn't even really been tried in court. When it's being used to sentence 6 million criminals to death you can make that analogy, but until then you cheapen the tragedy of the Holocaust by doing it.

Gah... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508768)

Decrypting DVD's for free is a terrorist activity. The real threat to this country is not anthrax laced letters or food supply contamination, it's DeCSS. I say we torture these "hackers" to death!! FUCK THEM!!!!!

This just rocks.. (5, Insightful)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508806)

The fact that a medium of expression has a functional capacity should not preclude constitutional protection.... Computer source code, thought unintelligible to many is the preferred method of communication among
computer programmers. Because computer source code is an expressive means for the exchange of information and ideas about computer programming, we hold that it is protected by the First Amendment"

This confirms my theory that there are more sensible people in the world than I previously expected. I just loved the part where they upheld the belief that "computer source code" being an expressive means for the exchange of information among geeks. I mean, that just rocks..

Re: This just rocks... (2, Funny)

slow_flight (518010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508914)

while (!TiredOfHearingIt)
System.out.println("This decision Rocks!");

System.out.println("Score one for the good guys!");

Java on Slashdot? (1)

EatAtJoes (102729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509064)

You'd think that code fragment would be in Perl, or Python, or even better, obfuscated c:

for(;printf("This decision [etc]");tiredOfHearingIt){}

Re:This just rocks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508989)

so under this, publishing exploit and virus source code is no longer a terrorist act? i sure hope so!

segmond

Re:This just rocks.. (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509024)

This confirms my theory that there are more sensible people in the world than I previously expected.


Too bad there aren't enough of them. It's obvious you're a disciple of Dr. E. L. Karsten, keeping your expectations at rock bottom only leads to such pleasant surprises.

Isn't there some "sensibility test" we could give, to weed out the morons from voting?

Wow (2, Insightful)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508816)

So, what they're saying is basically is that the RIAA's profits don't rank as high as the 1st amendment. Anybody else been waiting a couple years to hear that.

Yes, *but* (5, Informative)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509049)

If you read the decision, you'll see that the judges are not establishing that the First Amendment always or typically trumps Copyright, just that the First Amendment trumps prior restraint in the form of preliminary injunctions in a trade secret case of this kind. The appeals court could still conceivaly come back and approve a final judgement against the distribution of DeCSS, and the court will surely uphold actions against individuals distributing copyrighted DVD materials through benefit of DeCSS.

Which puts matters back into the interesting realm of practical enforcement of copyright on an open Internet.

Hip Hip Horay! (1)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508821)

Now we can all say goodbye to the pending DeCss cases and litigation. Now is it possible to counter sue for all the money spent defending ourselves against DeCSS or is that just a lost cause?

Linuxrunner

Re:Hip Hip Horay! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508931)

Now we can all say goodbye to the pending DeCss cases and litigation. Now is it possible to counter sue for all the money spent defending ourselves against DeCSS or is that just a lost cause?

No, you cannot.

This reversed the preliminary injunction only. That means that DeCSS can be distributed in source code form. If you read the PDF carefully (hint, hint) the appeals court says that, indeed, the trial court might decide to assess financial penalties for the improper disclosure, if any is found to exist. The case is still headed to trial--just without the odious preliminary injunction.

The other posters who pointed out how bad a ruling the PI was are right; it was just a matter of time before someone with judicial authority understood the "if it can be put on a T-shirt, it's speech" argument.

There are still a lot of scary, possible outcomes relating to reverse-engineering, jurisdictions which govern license agreements, and other issues. We're NOT out of the woods on this one yet, folks.

Re:Hip Hip Horay! (not so fast) (1)

Blue Weirdo (178504) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508964)

"Now we can all say goodbye to the pending DeCss cases and litigation. Now is it possible to counter sue for all
the money spent defending ourselves against DeCSS or is that just a lost cause? "

Actually this just removes the temporary injunction. It does not get rid of the trial and the court specifically refused to weigh in on wether the plaintiff could gain a permanent injuction as the result of that trial.

Re:Hip Hip Horay! (2, Informative)

vsavatar (196370) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508977)

Actually that is not the case, and by the way IANAL, but I am a first year law student. As the appellate court said they make no judgement as to whether or not there can be granted permanent injunctive relief nor on damages. They merely said the plantiff could not have a preliminary injunction. Besides, this case did not deal with the DMCA. It deals with the UTSA which is a totally separate and quite different law which had been around for longer than the DMCA. Publishing it is in fact a violation of the DMCA and the defendant could likely be enjoined under that law if the plantiff were to file for injunctive relief under that law unless the DMCA is held to be unconstitutional (which is still going through our courts and probably will be for another year or so). This does not make the other DeCSS cases go away because currently in MPAA vs. Emmanuel Goldstein relief is being sought under the DMCA.

Re:Hip Hip Horay! (and "Facts") (2, Interesting)

glitch! (57276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508993)

Now we can all say goodbye to the pending DeCss cases and litigation.

Well, that's a nice thought... Here is one part that intrigued me (under "Facts"):

CSS is primarily composed of algorithms and 400 "master keys." Every CSS encrypted DVD contains all 400 master keys, one of which is
the trade secret at issue in this case.


I thought that the 400 keys were used to encrypt the movie decryption key, and that the player in question would use its "master key" to decrypt the session key from those 400 on the disk.

In other words, I believe that the "Facts" are wrong. The master keys are NOT on the DVD, just the session key(s) encrypted by the master keys.

If a court ruling starts out with incorrect "Facts", how strong and binding can it be?

yes -- sorta (3, Informative)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509032)

The last line of the ruling:

The order granting a preliminary injunction is reversed. Defendant Andrew Bunner shall recover his appellate costs.

Of course, that only covers his appellate costs, but it's at least something.

Good thing too... (1)

wyldeling (471661) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508825)

Well I feel, not to be redundant, that this was a very good decision. Having free speech win out over every other law in the land is a good thing. Besides, how can you outlaw a prime number [utm.edu] ?

V for Victoly! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508826)

It makes me so happy I want to pour a bowl of hot grists down my pants! Heil bin Laden!

Its just something to get our hopes up (4, Interesting)

rtkluttz (244325) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508843)

Finally a small amount of sanity in this insane world. The DMCA and the legal clout that it gives big business may have another small crack now. But it seems everytime the ball gets rolling a little something stops it in its track. Just the idea of them trying to limit how I can watch a DVD or media that I legally obtained burns me up. I have just about had enough of the RIAA and MPAA and other big business shoving people around. I from this point on am not going to "buy" another cd or watch another movie that I don't get for free on the internet. But wait... don't jump to hasty conclusions about me or anyone else that is finally thinking this way. A common misconception in the world these days is that breaking the law is always wrong. WRONG. Many many times the morally correct thing to do is at odds with the "law". If the proper forum were available where appreciative listeners could pool money to send DIRECTLY to the artists that they enjoy listening to, I think many people would line up give their fair share. Its just that these strong arm tactics have me seeing red. NO ONE should be able to dictate how I listen to music or watch TV. Its a sad state of affairs when things have gotten so bad that I even feel animosity towards the cable company for upgrading my cable from analog to digital. Now I am forced to decide between one single show to watch or tape unless I pay more money for another decoder. It would not have been to this point had all of the other things not been going on in this industry. I will resist HDTV until the bitter end. What I watch is my own business... if I want to fast forward past commercials on a show I taped, so be it. I'm just plain tired of being pushed around by these people, and until there is a better way, I simply will not support it/them any longer, and I argue that this does not make me a bad person. It simply means that I am choosing the lesser of two evils. It would take a few big name artists to buck the system and back their listeners and drop out of contracts with RIAA and allow listeners to pay them directly but it has to start somewhere. The bands themselves are the logical starting point. Lawsuits will fly. People will lose money but in the long run we will all come out better than we were before if this were to happen.

Re:Its just something to get our hopes up (2, Informative)

mmacdona86 (524915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508934)

If the proper forum were available where appreciative listeners could pool money to send DIRECTLY to the artists that they enjoy listening to, I think many people would line up give their fair share.

www.fairtunes.com exists for just this purpose. Go ahead and line up!

Simple Solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508968)

Buy music and films from independent artists. Buy used CDs and DVDs. Contact the (independent) record label that your favorite artist is on and buy direct if possible.

A lot of underground techno is self-published, meaning that artists get almost all of the money (so buy underground stuff, especially vinyl). Finally, go see live shows, especially those that allow taping (I'm sure you can find a link on this somewhere) dbc

Re:Its just something to get our hopes up (4, Interesting)

GPool (413097) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508981)

If the proper forum were available where appreciative listeners could pool money to send DIRECTLY to the artists that they enjoy listening to, I think many people would line up give their fair share.

You also have to pay the people who fronted the money to pay for the production of the album. Hmm... that's often the record companies, isn't it? Yes, they do end up charging more than they really need to, and so do the record stores. HMV will sell a CD for $25CDN that I could pick up at an independent store for $18CDN.

The best method I saw for paying the artists directly was a band I listen to allowing people to pre-order their next CD (which they hadn't even started writing/recording) for double-price ($30 US), with only the promise of having it autographed. A year later, I've got my shiny new CD, plus a free t-shirt, and $5 off other band-related merch. Very nice. Still, not really any less than a record-company-produced album would cost. Hopefully the artists will see more money out of this, though.

before everyone celebrates too much (4, Redundant)

shibut (208631) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508844)

notice the quote:
"We express no opinion as to whether permanent injunctive relief may be obtained
after a full trial on the complaint, as that issue is not before us."

This only prevents the preliminary injunction, it does not prevent a full trial....

Look out, Taco. (1, Flamebait)

Soko (17987) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508845)

Finally, Bunner submitted his own declaration. He admitted that he had become aware of DeCSS by "reading and participating in discussions held on a news web site entitled 'slashdot.org.'"

This "slashdot.org" is full of people who have no regard whatsoever for traditional IP laws and rights and discuss ways to subvert them at every turn.

Good work, Rob.

Soko

Re:Look out, Taco. (1)

vinnythenose (214595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508882)

Ah-HAHAHAHAH!!! News web site, man, I'm not sure who's been fooled more. The one that called this site news, or the people that might now thing it is news.

Alright, it's sorta news, it's more of a gripe site though I think. You go there to complain about the world and why they us a living.

Re:Look out, Taco. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508923)

I know I'm going to get moded down for this but...

You're an idiot.

Re:Look out, Taco. (1)

Triple D (466942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509056)

If this is appealed... now that slashdot's been mentioned, do you think all the old posts will eventually be subpoenaed?
I'm picturing several unfortunate legal interns paging though hundreds and hundreds of really old slashdot posts trying to figure out what all the chatter about Gnomes and Gnus has to do with anything...

Cudos to Slashdot.. (1)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508854)

From the pdf..

Finally, Bunner submitted his own declaration. He admitted that he had become
aware of DeCSS by "reading and participating in discussions held on a news web site
entitled 'slashdot.org.'

Cudos to Slashdot for that..and to all of us who doesnt take it lying down.

And one more thing.. I am proud to be a colleague of Andrew bunner. Guy sure rocks when he is churning out code when he is not kicking snobbish DCCA lawyers in their arse.

Way to go Andrew..

Thank Goodness, I don't have to worry about ELPs (3, Funny)

Syllepsis (196919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508861)

Well, it is certainly a good thing that the Supreme Court holds that a language having a "functional aspect" is still protected speech.

Now I can rest easy that when good english language processors come about and all human language is source code we will still have a first amendment.

Besides, it was really taking my little brother a long time to decrypt some of my DVDs with the instructions I told him in English.

Duhhhh....

Re:Thank Goodness, I don't have to worry about ELP (1)

sealawyer (473327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509052)

The Supreme Court didn't hold any such thing. This is a state court of appeals ruling. The cases cited in the opinion as support for the ruling are federal court of appeals cases which were not appealed to the Supreme Court.

Sealawyer

PDF? (3, Funny)

chas7926 (513140) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508865)

>>Or you can go straight to the PDF.

Aren't we supposed to be boycotting Adobe?

Re:PDF? (4, Funny)

alcmena (312085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509055)

Only on Monday and Saturdays. Tuesday and Thursdays we are boycotting all movies. All other days is choose-your-own-boycott day.

My Favorite citation from the Decision: (5, Interesting)

chrisd (1457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508867)

From Page 13:

[C]omputer source code, though unintelligible to many, is the preferred method of communication among computer programmers. Because computer source code is an espressive means for the exchagne of information and ideas about computer programming, we hold that it it protected by the first amendment. (junger v. Daley (6th Cir. 2000)))

This is too cool. As another posted said earlier, pinch me. I hope andrew bunner goes after the DVDCCA in an Anti-SLAPP [sirius.com] (abuse of process) lawsuit if he comes out of this unscathed.

Chris DiBona

Other interesting citations (4, Interesting)

Cerilus (191314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509045)

From Page 13:

"The "fair use" exception permits copying and use
of a copyrighted work "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
teaching . . . , scholarship, or research" under certain circumstances. (17 U.S.C., 107.)
It "offers a means of balancing the exclusive rights of a copyright holder with the
public's interest in dissemination of information affecting areas of universal concern,
such as art, science and industry. Put more graphically, the doctrine distinguishes
between 'a true scholar and a chiseler who infringes a work for personal profit.' "
(Wainwright Sec. v. Wall Street Transcript Corp. (1977) 558 F.2d 91, 94.)
. . . the statutory prohibition on disclosures of trade secrets is of infinite
duration rather than "for limited Times." While the limited period of copyright protection
authorized by the United States Constitution ensures that copyrighted material will
eventually pass into the public domain, thereby serving the public interest by increasing
its availability to the general public, the UTSA bars disclosure of a trade secret for a
potentially infinite period of time, thereby ensuring that the trade secret will never be
disclosed to the general public."

I would think that you can use this citation to argue that copyrights, while supposed to be limited in scope, are now becoming de facto limitless, and thus are not 'for limited times'.

Court with common sense?! (1)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508877)

It was just amazing to read the PDF [ca.gov] and to notice how straightforward and understandable the document was.

It almost seemed like it was written by a person with some technical knowledge. Give more cases for these folks to handle! :)

Walter Sobczek (2)

joshamania (32599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508894)

...for your information ma'am, THE SUPREME COURT HAS ROUNDLY REJECTED PRIOR RESTRAINT!

dude: Walter, this is not a First Amendment issue...

Perl Code (3, Funny)

-stax (34630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508897)

#!/usr/bin/perl
# 472-byte qrpff, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz
# MPEG 2 PS VOB file -> descrambled output on stdout.
# usage: perl -I :::: qrpff
# where k1..k5 are the title key bytes in least to most-significant order

s''$/=\2048;while(){G=29;R=142;if((@a=unqT="C*", _) [20]&48){D=89;_=unqb24,qT,@
b=map{ord qB8,unqb8,qT,_^$a[--D]}@INC;s/...$/1$&/;Q=unqV,qb2 5,_;H=73;O=$b[4]>8^(P=(E=255)&(Q>>12^Q&gt ;>4^Q/8^Q))>8^(E&(F=(S=O>>14&7^O)
^S*8^S>=8
)+=P+(~F&E))for@a[128..$#a]}print+qT,@a}';s/[D-H O- U_]/\$$&/g;s/q/pack+/g;eval

Man, this is awesome. (2)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508899)

They view the UTSA as not being based on Constitutional principles, and therefore not clashing at all with 1st Amendment or the Constitution...

While the harm to the defendent is minor for not posting DeCSS and the harm to the plaintiff for having DeCSS posted is considerable, the cost of abridging the 1st Amendment rights of Bunner outweight the need of the DVDCCA(?) to keep DeCSS off the net.

That source code *is* speech, especially between computer programmers and is a language unto them the way Hebrew is or Russian is...

That if the 1st Amendment cannot be restricted over matters of national security, it can hardly be restricted in a matter of this level...

That copyright law does have an expiration date for it's protections, but that UTSA *does not*, or that the UTSA does not make allowances for fair use... Man, this is good!

Why America Doesn't Suck (5, Interesting)

sparks (7204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508903)

"DVDCCA's statutory right to protect its economically valuable trade secret is not an interest that is "more fundamental" than the First Amendment right to freedom of speech"


You know, that old constitution thing you have is pretty cool. I wish we had one.

Re:Why America Doesn't Suck (1)

VA Software (533136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508925)

We have.
A brief outline of the British Constitution [geocities.com]

Re:Why America Doesn't Suck (4, Interesting)

sparks (7204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508943)

Well, how about one based on the sovreignty of the people and the rights of man rather than on the few pitiful concessions the monarch and her government care to bestow upon us?

Music to my Ears... (3, Interesting)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508908)

"...The fact that a medium of expression has a functional capacity should not preclude constitutional protection... [C]omputer source code, though unintelligible to many, is the preferred method of communication among computer programmers. Because computer source code is an expressive means for the exchange of information and ideas of computer programming, we hold that it is protected by the First Amendment..."
Junger v. Daley (6th Cir. 2000) 209 F. 3d 481, 484-485

Boasting (5, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508909)

"Plaintiff's case is problematic at this [stage]. Clearly they have no direct evidence at this point that Mr. Jon Johansen did the reverse engineering, and that he did so after clicking on any license agreement." Nevertheless, the court concluded that "the circumstantial evidence, available mostly due to the various defendants' inclination to boast about their disrespect for the law, is quite compelling on botht he issue of Mr. Johansen's improper means and the Defendants' knowledge of impropriety."

So essentially, nobody ever boasted that they reverse-engineered the thing, or that they clicked on a license... But simply by saying "CSS sucks" and "the DMCA is a stupid law, I should be allowed to post whatever I want", you can find yourself the defendant in a trial for which the plaintiff has minimal evidence against you?

Those nasty kids. We didn't have any real evidence against them, but they were so disrespectful.

Nice conclusion (part of conclusion copied) (5, Interesting)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508913)

"Like the CSS decryption software, DeCSS is a writing composed of computer source code which describes an alternative method of decrypting CSS encrypted DVDs. Regardless of who authored the program, DeCSS is a written expression of the author's ideas and information about decryption of DVDs without CSS. If the source code were "compiled" to create object code, we would agree that the resulting composition of zeroes and ones would not convey ideas. (See generally Junger v. Daley, supra, 209 F.3d at pp. 482483.) That the source code is capable of such compilation, however, does not destroy the expressive nature of the source code itself. Thus, we conclude that the trial court's preliminary injunction barring Bunner from disclosing DeCSS can fairly be characterized as a prohibition of "pure" speech. "

Conclusion:

Code == Free Speech

Compiled Code != Free Speech

So what else is new? Other than this fact is now recognized by the court?

Re:Nice conclusion (part of conclusion copied) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2509017)

I agree with your conclusion... but wonder about it. Will gcc soon become a circumvention device, because it can be used to convert speech (source code) into circumvention tools (binary code)?

Re:Nice conclusion (part of conclusion copied) (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509038)


So what else is new? Other than this fact is now recognized by the court?

Fact no, opinion yes. Source Code is free speech, and SO IS compiled code. It's just a translation to another language. I can translate english to spanish, is the spanish now not free speech. What if I can read object code. Translating free speech from one format to another DOES NOT negate the fact that it is free speech.

These commie judges (-1, Flamebait)

come_sucker (393298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508915)

should be arrested and tried for treason along with everyone else advocating free speech. Freedom must be brought, not given. Anyone who perverts the first admendment like these judges should be sent to Afghanistan and nuked along with the other anti-capitalists.

11/01/01 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508921)

Happy Binary Day everybody. Only one more Binary Day and then there is a 9 year drought.

Slashdot got a mention (2, Informative)

baronben (322394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508928)

On Page 5 of the Doc. form, slashdot.org gets a callout
Finally, Bunner submitted his own declaration. He admitted that he had become aware of DeCSS by "reading and participating in discussions held on a news web site entitled 'slashdot.org.' "
Basicly it's Burnner saying that he had prior knowedlge of DeCSS thanks to us here. So, what is this, the 2en time that /. has been mentioned in court decsions (the first being the scientology thing?). Well, just thought I'd mention it.

Good news, still keeping mirror up just in case (2, Informative)

Cyberstar (106451) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508947)

Good to hear.

Still keeping my mirror up at http://cyberstar.nu/ [cyberstar.nu] just in case though (I even got a mail from the MPAA asking me to remove it ;) ...

- Cyberstar

I like this ruling...very logical (3, Interesting)

Acoustic_Nowhere (521733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508949)

"If the source code were "compiled" to create object code, we would agree that the resulting composition of zeroes and ones would not convey ideas. (See generally Junger v. Daley, supra, 209 F.3d at pp. 482-483.) That the source code is capable of such compilation, however, does not destroy the expressive nature of the source code itself. Thus, we conclude that the trial court's preliminary injunction barring Bunner from disclosing DeCSS can fairly be characterized as a prohibition of "pure" speech."

Hallelujah! (1)

meara (236388) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508956)

"DVDCCA's statutory right to protect its economically valuable trade secret is not an interest that is "more fundamental" than the First Amendment right to freedom of speech or even on equal footing with the national security interests and other vital governmental interests that have previously been found insufficient to justify a prior restraint."

Now if only other courts would follow suit. (For those who haven't read the decision, "prior restraint" is a court injunction against a particular exercise of free speech before it has even happened -- e.g. forbidding a newspaper to print a list of tomorrow's bombing targets -- and has been found unconstitutional over and over again, even in moderately serious cases of national security)

"In our favor" (5, Interesting)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508960)

Oh really, didn't realize slashdot went to court -- oh wait -- they made it into page 4 of the ruling!

Of interest is the explanation as to why source code is a valid means of communication and should be given first ammendment protection -- it's simply the most efficient means for programmers to communicate ideas about encryption. Even a much simpler concept, say a regular expression would take much longer to say in words than it would take to just write the damn regexp.

One thing that really annoyed me was DVDCSS's argument that there wasn't any evidence indicating that Bunner would suffer serious consequences if he'd have to stop his disclosure of DeCSS code vs what would happen if it were freely copied everywhere -- irreperable damage to DVDCSS. First, the damage has been done, although I suppose that there cuold be new dvd players coming out with that Xing master key without having paid licensing fees to DVDCSS. Second, and most importantly, being denied the right to free speech is some pretty darn serious stuff to have to live with. You can't put a dollar figure on that, and you shouldn't have to in order to justify the importance of your rights to some corporation.

I'm glad the judge ruled in "our favor".

Bravo, EFF! (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508991)

That's got to be the best bang for the buck that I've ever seen from contributing to an advocacy group.

-jcr

Woohoo! (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508994)

This means that I don't need to carry the DeCSS source code around anymore on my mp3 player. [Now I get some storage space back.] I always kept a copy there just in case ;-)

Has anyone else been keeping backup copies of the code in odd places? ... I'm still trying to figure out if storing DeCSS on an mp3 player is ironic or just plain odd.

Finally! (2)

farrellj (563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509029)

One for the Good Guys!

Thanx to all you involved with this directly!

ttyl
Farrell

This is the best possible circuit for it... (5, Interesting)

JWhitlock (201845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509033)

Sixth Circuit (West Coast, + maybe Hawaii) is known as the most liberal of the appeals courts. This means that the ruling is truly the best case for the free speech arguement, but doesn't neccesarily mean that it would survive a Supreme Court review.

I assume that the ruling, if the Supreme Court doesn't hear it, will stand, but that another circuit court may interpret differently, in which case it will eventually go to the Supreme Court. Looks like it's time to donate to the EFF, so that they will have the funds to argue the case at the next level.

Cherry on top (3, Informative)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509036)

Defendant Andrew Bunner shall recover his appellate costs

Did anyone ever really doubt the 6th district? I mean, aren't those honors from Berkeley, mostly? Seriously, all this chatter and breathing of sighs of relief is a little embarassing. Expect the best from your justice system. And dont be so surprized when you get it. This is still America.

Set top players without a CSS license? (3, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 12 years ago | (#2509050)

Does anyone outh there know of any set top DVD players out there that use DeCSS instead of licensing CSS from the DVDCCA? I'm thinking of buying my mother a DVD player for Christmas and I'd perfer not to give the DVDCCA any more money then is nescissary.
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