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DeCSS Loses Free Speech Shield

simoniker posted about 11 years ago | from the might-have-left-it-on-train dept.

Censorship 613

JohnGrahamCumming writes "BusinessWeek/CNET is reporting that the California Supreme Court has ruled that 'a Web publisher could be barred from posting DVD-copying code online without infringing on his free speech rights.' They also say that 'the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case.'" According to the article, this "...overturned an earlier decision that said blocking Web publishers from posting the controversial piece of software called DeCSS, which can be used to help decrypt and copy DVDs, would violate their First Amendment rights."

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suck it (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | about 11 years ago | (#6787281)

fp? nope.


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787404)

Be confident in you're ability to get first post. You appear to be good at it. But, since you put the "nope" comment in there, I must present you with the appropriate chiding: YOU FAIL IT!

AYBABTU (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787282)

Welcome to the new world order.

All Your Base Are Belong To US --U.S. DoJ

Trade secret case depends on Norway (5, Interesting)

Euphonious Coward (189818) | about 11 years ago | (#6787285)

The original decision was based on a biased assumption that the original reverse-engineering and publication were illegal in Norway. At last report the Norwegian court had rejected that assertion. Norwegian law specifically forbids anti-reverse-engineering clauses in contracts. The confused or arm-twisted Norwegian prosecutors said they meant to ask for a re-trial. I haven't seen any news about results of that re-trial, if any.

The "knew or should have known" test should not have been applied to the original trade-secret violation case. It appears that not even Norway's prosecutor "knows", and its court certainly thinks not. How would some kid who's never been there be expected to "know"? The only outcome that would not embarrass California's courts any further would be to decide that there was no remaining trade secret at the time of the original filing.

Strange (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787306)

The "knew or should have known" test

Did you know that your post was going to suck ass? Or maybe you just should have known.

Re:Trade secret case depends on Norway (5, Insightful)

anthonyrcalgary (622205) | about 11 years ago | (#6787533)

It doesn't matter. The DeCSS code is everywhere now.

But the implications are worrying.

The solution (5, Insightful)

captainclever (568610) | about 11 years ago | (#6787291)

Don't host it on a website.. in the US.

There are plenty of other countries that don't have such a crazy legal system.

Re:The solution (2, Interesting)

silicon_id (666117) | about 11 years ago | (#6787482)

Art or Subversion? [] The real solution is not to stand for stooges on the take sell our freedoms to the corporations.

Re:The solution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787508)

A better solution would be to write in complete sentences.

Re:The solution (2, Informative)

Jason1729 (561790) | about 11 years ago | (#6787567)

Even if you host it on a website outside the US, you are still legally responsible and well within reach of the US authorities. Sure it might make it harder to link the site to you, but once the link is made, the fact that it's hosted offshore won't provide any legal defense.

ProfQuotes []

Oh shit! (2, Funny)

briancollins (700695) | about 11 years ago | (#6787293)

So this means we're going to have to buy the DVDs? nope [] .

I refuse to buy a product that.... (5, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | about 11 years ago | (#6787510)

I refuse to buy any product from any company who assumes that I am a criminal and refuses to give me the benefit of the doubt. Do I run Windows or Office? Nope. Do I watch DVD's? Nope. If I could watch a DVD without a DVD player would I? Usually not.

The point is that the MPAA (and now RIAA, Microsoft, etc.) make it a point in assuming that their customer base is a part of their problem. Fine. Then I won't be a part of their customer base. End of story.

Somehow I don't think I am alone. THe recoding industry started seeing additional losses after winning their battle against Napster, and although most of it is explained by simple economics, I have known many friends who felt very torn whether to buy an album by an artist they liked-- if they buy it, they are lining the pockets of an insdustry they felt betrayed by, but they still wanted to support their artists.

Goodbye free speech! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787299)

People will miss you! Hey, we have some nice places here in Europe. Come join us! :)

Mod Parent Down (-1, Flamebait)

HyperColor Underware (628462) | about 11 years ago | (#6787327)

Libertarian bullhockey. If Europe's so free, let's see you even say the word "Nazi" without being arrested.

Re:Mod Parent Down (4, Funny)

RMH101 (636144) | about 11 years ago | (#6787448)


nope, all ok so far.

your turn: go out into a major city with a broomstick in your hands and shout "allah is great! allah is great" and see how long you last.

Re:Mod Parent Down (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787517)

your turn: go out into a major city with a broomstick in your hands and shout "allah is great! allah is great" and see how long you last.

A lot longer than someone preaching Christianity in Mecca.

Broomstick? (-1, Flamebait)

HyperColor Underware (628462) | about 11 years ago | (#6787532)

A broomstick or a boomstick? Ass. Nobody's going to care if you shout allah is great in the street. Especially if you're carrying a broomstick. Now if you're waving around a boomstick, then yeah... i can see a reason to get upset. I love the way the French can hold drug dealers without trial but when we Americans do the same... WE are a country without rights. You Europeans are so screwed up in the head it's sick. You push entire countries - for example, Ireland - into further economic chaos with your stupid "national" interest rate. Brussels has such an inferiority complex it's disgusting. []

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

rTough (316345) | about 11 years ago | (#6787526)


I don't seem to get arrested so your view of Europe is a bit of. But I'm convinced you're not speaking about laws that forbid you to to use sertain words but rather laws that forbid you to release "Mein Kampf" and to make rasist remarks. Even thou I will touch a sensetive point I would have to agree with you on that too some extent although I'm sure you have some regions in the US with similar laws.

If it's hatelaws you speak about you do have them in the US as well.

Re:Mod Parent Down (2, Insightful)

HyperColor Underware (628462) | about 11 years ago | (#6787563)

See, Europeans misunderstand something about free speech.

How free is it, if only the majority opinion gets heard? Of course, it's assinine to hear racist literature being read aloud on streets. But to take the right away from them is even sicker.

What is this DeCSS? (1)

FreeLinux (555387) | about 11 years ago | (#6787307)

Could someone post a link to it? I'd like to know what it is. :)

Re:What is this DeCSS? (5, Informative)

N8F8 (4562) | about 11 years ago | (#6787356)

OK: decss.c []

Hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787415)

* css_unscramble.c : unscrambling function

* Copyright (C) 1999 Derek Fawcus

Re:What is this DeCSS? (1)

xv4n (639231) | about 11 years ago | (#6787460)

> Could someone post a link to it? I'd like to know what it is. :)
  1. >>OK: decss.c []

I think he meant it sarcastically.

Re:What is this DeCSS? (3, Funny)

Xeth (614132) | about 11 years ago | (#6787465)

Your sig seems oddly a propos...

No time now for detailed analysis... (5, Funny)

Glyndwr (217857) | about 11 years ago | (#6787310)

... so here's a "from the gut" reaction.

Ah, shit.

Sometimes, the continued reporting of how our rights as consumers are being eroded makes me want to put slashdot in my barred hosts file. And then move to a cave. I'm sick of this crap, I really am.

Re:No time now for detailed analysis... (4, Insightful)

ichimunki (194887) | about 11 years ago | (#6787375)

rights as consumers

I don't know about you but I'm a citizen not a consumer. I do stuff like vote and pay taxes... although I have to wonder why I bother with the former and if there are any good ways to avoid the latter. Got room in that cave?

Re:No time now for detailed analysis... (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 11 years ago | (#6787412)

the continued reporting of how our rights as consumers are being eroded

you think this is bad -- take a look at your rights as a citizen of the USA, and tell me that you still have all those basic rights....(dept homeland security ring a bell?)

when is the revolution? please post to slashdot, so that a Canadian version of CNN can cover 'the ground breaking news'. (that is, ofcourse, if CNN goes off the air).

Re:No time now for detailed analysis... (1)

Glyndwr (217857) | about 11 years ago | (#6787461)

Fortunately, I'm a .uk person and so have a good three years more to enjoy before all the same sucky laws as the US have now get implemented here.

Re:No time now for detailed analysis... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787549)

Your judges wear wigs, and send British farmers to jail for shooting buglars, so why don't you STFU about our laws. Can you even go out of your house without being filmed by the gov't? Right. At least we still have civil rights that can be eroded.

Re:No time now for detailed analysis... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 11 years ago | (#6787435)

The real question is, when California implodes do all the legal rulings go with it?


Still a shot (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787311)

Notice that the decision is based on the code being a trade secret. The lower appeals court can still decide that the code is not a trade secret, and it could still be published

next step - supreme court? (4, Insightful)

smd4985 (203677) | about 11 years ago | (#6787313)

i find this decision surprising, but from an article on CNET an EFF attorney indicates that this wasn't a total loss. the court ruled that the revelation of trade secrets is not protected speech, though it isn't clear if DeCSS is a trade secret (because it is so widespread). nevertheless, the ruling sets a bad precedent, and i'm sure the supreme court will be appealed to.

T-Shirts (5, Funny)

N8F8 (4562) | about 11 years ago | (#6787315)

Dows this mean they have to stop selling the t-shirts too?

Re:T-Shirts (2, Funny)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | about 11 years ago | (#6787488)

Don't forget outlawing a particular prime number, and stopping people from singing along to the DeCSS songs, and keeping people from distributing a gif of the mona lisa with the code padded into it.

Mr. Cox (3, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | about 11 years ago | (#6787318)

Mr. Cox...come on over to California for your MBA.

Does this mean that DeCSS isn't protected under "fair use" either? Bastages.

What's next? Arrest Securityfocus folks? (5, Informative)

sdriver (126467) | about 11 years ago | (#6787323)

Maybe it's good reason all the tech jobs are going overseas. At least in India/Russia they have the freedom to post security related software without going to jail...

Re:What's next? Arrest Securityfocus folks? (1)

Kaemaril (266849) | about 11 years ago | (#6787371)

Maybe it's good reason all the tech jobs are going overseas. At least in India/Russia they have the freedom to post security related software without going to jail...

For the time being. I'm sure once the WTO and the US government has had a quiet word, that might change.

You're so fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787334)

Come on you smart Americans. Come back to the Old World.

Let the puritans and corporate fascists fight it out.

Now that I think about it, it would be nice if the EU guaranteed, in the very best "socialist" fashion, a job and a house for all of you. I'd be ready to pay for it. As a payback for the Marshall Aid, you know. We still owe you for that.

In other news..... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787335)

This link [] leads to a story about a related case. I know, it's no laughing matter....

California has gone insane... (1)

ravind (701403) | about 11 years ago | (#6787337)'s no surprise that their supreme court should follow.

Linux Installation Help! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787341)

If anyone in the Linux community could help me with my installation question, I would be much obliged. I am unable to extract the Redhat installation CDs from my rectum after an all-night installation and cramming session! What is the standard procedure for rectifying (no pun intended) this probably very common problem within the Linux community?

Re:Linux Installation Help! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787362)

You don't really want our help, you just want someone else to stick their hand up there.

Re:Linux Installation Help! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787372)

You need snot.

Lots of snot.

Mail CmdrTaco with a subject line: "I volunteer for TacoSnotting".

Oh, and RTFM!!!!


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787373)

If you receive any resistance or errors, repeat the procedure from the beginning.

Jesus Lord in Heaven! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787554)

Okay, I've followed your suggestions... Owww gawwwddd!!!

I think my colon is going to need a ....yipe... reformat! Can you now recommend a good formatting utility and hemorrhoidal cream??!!

Move My Grave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787348)

Move my grave to a free country!

George Washington

Err... trade secret rights?? (5, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 11 years ago | (#6787352)

What does that mean? Correct me if I'm wrong, but last I checked, there's no such thing as "trade secret rights". Trade secrets are secret because you keep them secret (via NDA or whatever). Once they escape, they're public knowledge, end of story. I wonder how long it'll take before trade secrets are lumped together with patents, copyrights, and trademarks as "IP". *sigh*

Re:Err... trade secret rights?? (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | about 11 years ago | (#6787432)

Damnit, that strategy was crucial to my company's business model. By publishing my company's business model, you have stolen my trade secrets, and infringed upon my right to make a profit! Expect to hear from my lawyer.

Re:Err... trade secret rights?? (5, Informative)

Sanity (1431) | about 11 years ago | (#6787458)

Once they escape, they're public knowledge, end of story.
IANAL, but IIRC the law still tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube if the original disclosure was a breach of trade-secret law (such as a violation of an NDA or license agreement), no matter how widely that toothpaste has been spread around.

For this reason trade secret law is, in many ways, much more powerful (and restrictive to the general population) than copyright.

Re:Err... trade secret rights?? MOD UP (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 11 years ago | (#6787473)

Ahhh, *very* interesting. This I didn't know. Thanks.

It's not hard to copy DVDs (5, Informative)

Josh Booth (588074) | about 11 years ago | (#6787357)

...[DeCSS] could more broadly be used in the process of decrypting and copying DVDs.

That's balogna, and everyone on Slashdot knows it. Just because the orginization is called the DVD Copy Control Association doesn't mean that the encryption used has anything to do with copying the DVDs. I can easily and full "cp /dev/dvd ~/copied-dvd.iso" without DeCSS. But you need DeCSS to access the content, which has nothing to do with copying (well, permenantly), only playing.

As I explain to my non-techie friends (3, Informative)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | about 11 years ago | (#6787561)

To put it in simpler terms, I can copy coded/Chinese text by hand without ever knowing what it says. DeCSS is a codebook or Chinese-English dictionary. Dictionaries don't help you copy stuff.

It's not "copying" (4, Insightful)

richieb (3277) | about 11 years ago | (#6787360)

First of all DeCSS does not copy anything - it simply descrypts the data. Unless you want to take the position that anytime you read data from a DVD you actually copy it...

Anyway, what kind of trade secret is it, if everybody knows it?

Re:It's not "copying" (4, Insightful)

kiltedtaco (213773) | about 11 years ago | (#6787518)

Look, I know it, you know it, we all know what the MPAA doesn't like about DeCSS. It's not disc to disc copying, it's converting from dvd to something more easily transmited over the net. Divx.

You can argue about how DeCSS doesn't copy anything, but you all know it, DeCSS is used for ripping dvd's to vcd's and divx. We can keep living in la la land and pretend that DeCSS is perfectly ledgitimate, but it really isn't.

That doesn't mean I support the decision by the courts, I think code is speech too. It's just that i'm not willing to keep beliving in my argument just because the other side doesn't have the wording *exactly* right.

Laws laws laws. (5, Interesting)

blitzoid (618964) | about 11 years ago | (#6787374)

See, that's why I just ignore laws like that. I bought the DVD. It's mine. I own it. If I want to crack the copy protection, it's my choice. Since, you know, I own it and all. If I wanna take a razor and scratch up the surface, it's my choice. Since, you know, I own it and all.

I really don't understand how it came to be that if you buy something it's still not yours.

Then again, I live in canada so that DeCSS ruling probably doesn't effect me... yet.

Re:Laws laws laws. (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | about 11 years ago | (#6787553)

I've re-encoded some of my dvds, yet I probably wouldn't have done so if I had to break CSS on my own. The crux of the matter is that only a few people have the expertise, willingness, and time required to figure it out, and the law targets the disemination of knowledge.

DeCSS Meta Comment (4, Funny)

llamalicious (448215) | about 11 years ago | (#6787377)

Hmm, feel free to add here folks, I'm going to post a meta comment for this one (you know they're coming)
  • I should be able to say/print whatever I want! I am teh 1337!
  • The US and all it's USians are heading towards a nihilistic semi-fascist state!
  • DeCSS only breaks something that wasn't secure in the first place, who cares!
  • Six posts of people willing to host mirrors of DeCSS code
  • 4 geeks are going to comment on their DeCSS Perl t-shirts!
  • One militant troll is going to suggest we bomb MPAA headquarters
  • Someone's going to post DeCSS here on /. to see if they can get the comment removed.
  • 3 or 4 trolls who have no idea what DeCSS is are going to ask anyone if they know how to disable regions on their DVD player
  • Requisite flames will be posted telling the posters from the last bullet to STFU and RTFA. Or something.
  • One or two GNAA trolls (seem to be a dying breed, yay)
  • One page widening troll (oh wait, he hasn't shown up lately)
Correct me, mod me, flame me, whip me, beat me. It's all good, you just aren't that important. Should you post something funny/insightful, I might give a shit. :)

Re:DeCSS Meta Comment (2, Funny)

blitzoid (618964) | about 11 years ago | (#6787424)

And a partridge in a pear treeeeeee!

Re:DeCSS Meta Comment (1)

swordgeek (112599) | about 11 years ago | (#6787550)

You forgot the one actual valid response, which gets posted fairly heavily (shockingly!). DeCSS has no relevance to copy protection in the first place. Just decrypting for use.

But aside from that, I think you got them all.

All DVD piracy to stop! news at 11! (5, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 11 years ago | (#6787378)

Of course, all those pirate DVDs that are printed en masse in places like China, New York and LA are going to be put right out of business.

Heaven forbid people pump the video from a DVD component output into a capture card and make a DiVX copy that is smaller, almost as good and without copy protection.

IMHO, DeCSS was litigated not because it allowed copying/viewing of DVDs but because it was a major embarrassment to the industry. Their best and brightest were humbled by a kid from Norway. Oh the shame!

DeCSS was written for, and mainly used for, watching legally purchased DVDs on Linux computers. Was the DVD industry ever able to come up with examples of DeCSS being used to pirate DVDs? There are probably more pirate DVDs stamped in China in one day that were EVER made with DeCSS.

Loss of face. A shame the idiots in charge just didn't commit suicide and get it over with.

Hypocritical (5, Insightful)

Prizm (52977) | about 11 years ago | (#6787379)

Why is it that we can post the directions for how to properly murder someone or build a bomb (In fact, this seems to be the topic of most movies made today), yet we are barred from posting DVD-copying code?

Can a case be made that posting DVD-copying code and directions on a website makes people more likely to copy DVDs, while there is no correlation to how many people are more likely to build a bomb or murder someone after reading the directions online?

worrying picture (1)

noyren (701451) | about 11 years ago | (#6787503)

I think this paint a worryingly (it's a word now) exact picture of the US today. You can tell people how to build a bomb, but not how to copy a dvd.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 11 years ago | (#6787576)

No, it's simply because there's no corporation with a vested interest in protecting a specific set of directions on a method of murdering someone, or building bombs, which is currently leaked out all over the Internet against their wishes.

"Outranked"? (5, Interesting)

badasscat (563442) | about 11 years ago | (#6787388)

the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case.'"

If this is in fact what they said, it'll never hold up. Freedom of speech is the First Amendment to the US Constitution (for those of you who don't live here). It cannot be "outranked" by property and trade secrets rights. No state or federal law can "outrank" the Constitution of the United States.

The article may have misinterpreted the decision, but if that indeed was the decision, it will be overturned.

those can't outrank it (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6787471)

but a briefcase full of cash and a pre-screening DVD of the Return of the King sure do...

("This DVD is a pre-screening meant to bribe Judge Joe, any other viewer of this video is in violation of...")

Re:"Outranked"? (4, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#6787543)

It seems likely that the article misinterpreted the decision. The first line gives a more probable interpretation of what the Court actually said (which is in line with the first decision on this):
The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Web publisher could be barred from posting DVD-copying code online without infringing on his free speech rights.
It seems to me that the Courst felt that free speech was not at issue. The article quotes the court:
"Disclosure of this highly technical information adds nothing to the public debate over the use of encryption software or the DVD industry's efforts to limit unauthorized copying of movies on DVDs," the court wrote. "We do not see how any speech addressing a matter of public concern is inextricably intertwined with and somehow necessitates disclosure of DVD CCA's trade secrets."
So the Court is creating a distinction between speech and 'information.' And it is saying that government can regulate 'information' to the hilt. This is defining the concept of speech down rather than putting trade secret law over free speech. I still hope that SCOTUS slams them hard on this one.

Re:"Outranked"? (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#6787573)

Addendum: If 'highly technical information' really isn't protected speech, then that is a wonderful opportunity for the government to regulate scientific journals. You know, to keep the terrorists from getting ideas.

illegal prime (4, Informative)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6787389)

8565078965 7397829309 8418946942 8613770744 2087351357
9240196520 7366869851 3401047237 4469687974 3992611751
0973777701 0274475280 4905883138 4037549709 9879096539
5522701171 2157025974 6669932402 2683459661 9606034851
7424977358 4685188556 7457025712 5474999648 2194184655
7100841190 8625971694 7970799152 0048667099 7592359606
1320725973 7979936188 6063169144 7358830024 5336972781
8139147979 5551339994 9394882899 8469178361 0018259789
0103160196 1835034344 8956870538 4520853804 5842415654
8248893338 0474758711 2833959896 8522325446 0840897111
9771276941 2079586244 0547161321 0050064598 2017696177
1809478113 6220027234 4827224932 3259547234 6880029277
7649790614 8129840428 3457201463 4896854716 9082354737
8356619721 8622496943 1622716663 9390554302 4156473292
4855248991 2257394665 4862714048 2117138124 3882177176
0298412552 4464744505 5834628144 8833563190 2725319590
4392838737 6407391689 1257924055 0156208897 8716337599
9107887084 9081590975 4801928576 8451988596 3053238234
9055809203 2999603234 4711407760 1984716353 1161713078
5760848622 3637028357 0104961259 5681846785 9653331007
7017991614 6744725492 7283348691 6000647585 9174627812
1269007351 8309241530 1063028932 9566584366 2000800476
7789679843 8209079761 9859493646 3093805863 3672146969
5975027968 7712057249 9666698056 1453382074 1203159337
7030994915 2746918356 5937621022 2006812679 8273445760
9380203044 7912277498 0917955938 3871210005 8876668925
8448700470 7725524970 6044465212 7130404321 1826101035
9118647666 2963858495 0874484973 7347686142 0880529443

extract it with:

use LWP::Simple;
use Math::BigInt;
my $html = get(" 65...29443.html");
my($prime) = $html =~ m{

$prime =~ s{\D+}{};
$prime = Math::BigInt->new($prime);
my $binary = '';
while ($prime > 0) {
$binary = pack("N", ($prime % 2**32)) . $binary;
$prime /= 2**32;
$binary =~ s{^\0+}{};
open(my $fh, "| gunzip -c 2>/dev/null") or die "cannot gunzip, $!";
print $fh $binary;
close $fh;

Re:illegal prime (1)

BrynM (217883) | about 11 years ago | (#6787476)

Could you explain that a little bit? Is that part of the encryption/decryption code?

Re:illegal prime (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787493)

extract it with:


Anyone else see the irony in using Perl to make something less obfuscated? :o)

Re:illegal prime (1)

swordgeek (112599) | about 11 years ago | (#6787578)


Just post the damned code, and quit playing with cute ways of extracting it. The point was made--two years ago. The courts WILL recognise this as identical to the actual code, and will act on both, or neither.

solution (1)

ih8apple (607271) | about 11 years ago | (#6787390)

According to the article:

"Monday's Supreme Court ruling will let companies protect their legitimate trade secrets from online distribution while still holding out the possibility that DeCSS might ultimately be deemed too widely distributed to qualify for that protection, some attorneys said. "

So the solution to all of this is to widely distribute anything you want to be free speech and eventually the protection will cease due to the wide distribution. So, with the widespread use of MP3s, shouldn't they no longer be considered protected and be freely available as free speech?

Is this for California only? (1)

Dante333 (25148) | about 11 years ago | (#6787391)

Does this ruling apply to people outside of California? Does this ruling apply to say Matthew Pavlovich, who was removed from the law suit, because he had no connection to California? In a related note raise your middle finger if you think this isn't going to be appealed to the Federal Court system?

Never Meant to Be Public (2, Insightful)

BrynM (217883) | about 11 years ago | (#6787392)

"property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case, because the DVD code was never meant to be public."
And the watergate tapes were never meant to be public. Neither was that Lawinski blowjob. Or the problems Pintos had with rear impacts. Or the harmful effects of tobacco. Or the methamphedamine formula. Or the LSD formula. etc. etc. etc.

This doesn't change the fact that the DVD code became public and now is. Being that manufacturers provided discs with the DVD code on them to the public for a small fee, I don't see how it could have been avoided.

damn (2, Funny)

stagl (569675) | about 11 years ago | (#6787396)

what about that t-shirt i got from think geek a while back? should i be nervous? ;)

DeCSS (1)

The Old Burke (679901) | about 11 years ago | (#6787405)

'the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case.'
At first this sounds wrong, free seech sholfd be protected under the constitution, right?

The thing is that the constitution doesn't specific mention this sort of case. Intellectual property should and is protected at the same level as property. Such a level where choosen by the founding fathers becuase they discovered that the the intellectual property is vital to a growing economy. In other words, this dessicon is correct under the constitution.

Re:DeCSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787464)

"Proud patriot and republican voter."

Oh, and don't forget illiterate.

I had to read your post three times to make it through the spelling and grammatical errors, only to find that your point was completely nonsensical.

Now I understand how your country put Bush into power.

Which came first? (3, Funny)

worst_name_ever (633374) | about 11 years ago | (#6787410)

...the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case...

Right, because you know, since property and trade secrets rights are guaranteed in the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill Of Rights, they outrank the First Amendment, don't they?

In other words... (4, Insightful)

Sanity (1431) | about 11 years ago | (#6787419)

The movie industry's right to prevent fair use of DVDs outranks our right to know when we are being sold flawed cryptography?

CSS does not prevent people from copying CDs illegally, what it does prevent is perfectly legal uses of DVDs such as playing them in countries other than that in which they were sold, and playing them on operating systems for which CSS decoders might not exist. Now our government wants to compromize the 1st amendment to defend their right to stop us from doing something that our laws specifically entitle us to do?

All laws which seek to limit two or more people's ability to willingly share ideas and information will ultimately be seen as being just as rediculous as witch burning or the Spanish Inquisition. Our right to effectively regulate our governments, which requires that we have free and open access to knowledge, ideas, and information, is being sold off based on the wrong-headed dogma that treating everything as "property" will improve efficiency.

Having said all that, I think we should welcome this ruling - since it is perhaps one of the clearest examples of how the 1st Amendment is being corroded by laws which increasingly serve only to stifle innovation and prop up monopolies to the detriment of science and the useful arts.

Outrageous Outranking (5, Insightful)

An'Desha Danin (666568) | about 11 years ago | (#6787420)

'...the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case.'

Funny, I wasn't aware that propety and trade secrets rights were in the Constitution.

Isn't this a little late? (1)

Genjurosan (601032) | about 11 years ago | (#6787421)

I'm curious as to what's next? DeCSS is so far out there now, I don't see how it can ever be retracted. I know that without it, my HTPC would not be possible. I use DVD Decrypter ( to rip all my purchased movies to my HDD so I can output them at 1080i.

For the more educated when it comes to CSS, Is there a way, other than changing the entire standard of encryption, to fix the damage that has been done? Someone please post an 'informative' post with some information please.

Meant to be public? (3, Interesting)

dachshund (300733) | about 11 years ago | (#6787422)

the state Supreme Court ruled that property and trade secrets rights outranked free speech rights in this case, because the DVD code was never meant to be public

If I'm not mistaken, this code wasn't stolen, it was reengineered from scratch, wasn't it? If that's the case, what does it matter if the code was "meant to be" public? It became public the minute its author wrote it. Is the court really saying that the manufacturer's intent bars me from writing original descriptions of a product?

PS I realize that this may be an issue of the code containing "stolen" trade secrets such as keys. If this is the case, would the decision still apply to a truly "clean-room" version of DeCSS?

Are trade secrets a constitutional right? (2, Insightful)

fejrskov (664451) | about 11 years ago | (#6787431)

Two questions from a non-US citizen:

- Are property and trade secrets rights a constitutional right?

- Can anything outweigh a constitutional right?

I Denmark we have something called "Grundloven" (translates to something like "the basic law"). NOTHING can surpass what's written in this law. I sure hope that's the case too with your constitution...

Your answers.. (5, Insightful)

Genjurosan (601032) | about 11 years ago | (#6787499)

- Are property and trade secrets rights a constitutional right?


- Can anything outweigh a constitutional right?


Woah, Woah, Woah.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787441)

I thought trade secrets were not subject to protection? If I buy a chicken dinner from KFC and figure out what the secret "11 herbs and spices" are, I can tell anyone I want to. As a matter of fact, this information is published in a couple of books and is widely available on the Net. To my knowledge this has always been held as a "trade secret" by KFC, so what gives the the MPAA any special protection for DeCSS?

Barn door closed, missing wall not noticed... (5, Insightful)

MightyTribble (126109) | about 11 years ago | (#6787442)

This lawsuit was specious. DeCSS had/has nothing to do with illegal DVD duplication as described by the plantiffs - the DVD pirates of Asia don't use it, and never had. They didn't need to.

All it's done is solidify a bad law and provide PR for the DVDCCA and MPAA. Large scale movie piracy will continue, untouched by this ruling, in factories all over China, Russia and Vietnam.

But US citizens will now be unable to exercise reasonable fair-use on DVDs they own.

This is *fantastic* news. Sure, in the short-term it looks bad, but in a few years time the consumer backlash will be a sight to behold. It'll happen, once Joe Sixpack realises he has to buy a seperate copy of "American Wedding III" for each media player he wants to watch it on.

Property Rights? There is no secret (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 11 years ago | (#6787443)

Property rights? I didn't know there was a restrictive license on DeCSS.
What property rights are being violated?

Trade secrets only exist as long as it is a secret. It isn't anymore.

Protest the DCMA: This law must be broken. (0, Redundant)

Erik_the_Awful (675368) | about 11 years ago | (#6787447)

#!/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=$b[4]>8^(P=(E=255)&(Q>>12^Q>>4^Q/8^Q))> 8^(E&(F=(S=O>>14&7^O) ^S*8^S>=8 )+=P+(~F&E))for@a[128..$#a]}print+qT,@a}';s/[D-HO- U_]/\$$&/g;s/q/pack+/g;eval

Trade Secret RIGHTS? (4, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | about 11 years ago | (#6787462)

From the article -
Under the previous ruling, a disgruntled employee might be able to post a company's proprietary code online and claim free speech rights, for example.

Forgive me for being naive, but this incident is already covered by Copyright Infringement laws. No need to bring Free Speech into the picture.

This judgement leads us down a slippery slope to a point where any form of reverse engineering is illegal - just claim "trade secret rights" (whatever those are.)

Ammendment I - Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6787463)

In the Corporation vs People, the Corporation wins. Which is the natural outcome.

One down, nine to go.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Am I trolling or is it that my frustration surfacing? I feel helpless watching common sense distorted by people who are capable to interpret laws in any way that fits them.

The more numerous the laws, the more corrupted the state. Yes, indeed.

By the way, what good does DVD encrytion do for me? Or even for the DVD business... has it stopped someone from copying/backing up a DVD (which by the way SHOULD be OK and easy).

Damn, I am really starting to fear an Orwellian future. Yes, I am an Anonimous Coward.

libdvdcss, libdvdread (2, Interesting)

i_am_nitrogen (524475) | about 11 years ago | (#6787468)

Does anybody know if this also applies to libdvdcss and libdvdread? If so, that means it could once again be illegal for someone to watch an encrypted DVD in Linux. This makes it really difficult or impossible for someone to build and sell any Linux PC or HTPC capable of playing DVD's.

Oh well. Screw the DVD-CCA. I'm going to keep doing what I want, and next time I go to a movie theater, I'm going to hand out free CD's with a bootable Linux-based DVD player on them.

Oh America... (-1, Troll)

ebf (676166) | about 11 years ago | (#6787504)

First, you can't decide which president you want. Now, you can't even put a simple outdated code on your website... Home of brave! Land of the just!

The Day Free Speech was lost (1)

AstroDrabb (534369) | about 11 years ago | (#6787511)

Remember Monday August 25, 2003 as the day that freedom of speech was lost in America for corporate profit. There is no legal definition for "IP". Soon, companies will be calling EVERYTHING "IP" and will be stripping away more and more rights. If "IP" is infact stolen from a company, then yes, freedom of speech should not allow that stolen "IP" to be spread. However, if that "IP" is gained by legal reverse engineering, then freedom of speech should in fact have more weight over "IP". In this case, nothing was stolen, the DeCSS code was created NEW from reverse engineering, which is totally legal. If a corporation does not make efforst to protect their "IP", then they have no right to later call it trade secrets. It is a sad day to be an American for me.

Story also on SF Gate (2, Informative)

guzzirider (551141) | about 11 years ago | (#6787524)

SF Gate also has a story on this here [] more or less the same information ..

California deserves Ahnold! (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 11 years ago | (#6787534)

So much for the fun-loving, freedom-to-choose state. Remember for every Cole Valley, there's a Encino in CA....

Are The Supremes Up For Recall? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 11 years ago | (#6787536)

Maybe the California Supreme Court mistakenly believes it is up for recall, and is now trying to change its decisions to protect itself.

Would Arnold put up with this garbage if he was on the court?

Determination by Who? (2, Informative)

4of12 (97621) | about 11 years ago | (#6787538)

Now that there is another trump suit over the right to free speech (I guess that "national security", "libel", "slander" and no "Fire! in a crowded theatre are additional reasons), I have to wonder whether there will be cases where free speech is suppressed for less than reasonable cause.

For example, the Co$ has maintained that certain of its documents are trade-secrets.

Corporations could shield a great deal of signficant information under the guise of trade-secrets, such as advice that Enron executives gave to VP Cheney concering energy policy (the US federal government has already dismissed attempts to release those conversation under the FoIA).

Judges pretty much try to interpret law. What this ruling indicates is the need for legislative review, debate, and possible modification of the law:

what are the real costs, benefits, and side effects of various IP protection laws and who do they effect?

If IP is taken to an extreme, there will be issues cropping up where information, as coded in genetic expressions, will become someone's intellectual property and "reading" it by overcoming some supposed obstacle would be a crime.

The DVD makers have rights too... (2, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | about 11 years ago | (#6787542)

They should be allowed to protect their products. So if they spend money on a protection procedure, and someone finds a way to destroy that protection, then harm was caused to the producer.

At the same time, those who produce these DVD's should not have a monopoly and charge 15x what it costs to produce the product. And they should not release the same DVD over and over and over again to make 20 dollars * 3 times. First comes the DVD with no extras, then the special edition, then the collectors edition.

If you view this from an emotional standpoint, I can see why some would want to screw the movie industry.

What? (1)

tds67 (670584) | about 11 years ago | (#6787557)

An industry technology coalition called the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) had sued dozens of people in California courts, contending that posting the software online violated its trade secrets rights.

If the software has already been public for some time now, how can it still be a trade secret?


You can always find a copy . . . (1)

droleary (47999) | about 11 years ago | (#6787558)

. . . here []

Note that it may be in a data superposition until you actually observe a page to decode into be the DeCSS source!

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