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CSS of DVDs Ruled 'Ineffective' by Finnish Courts

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the rip-away-my-pretties-rip-away dept.

Media 222

An anonymous reader writes "The CSS protection used in DVDs has been ruled "ineffective" by Helsinki District Court. This means that CSS is not covered by the Finnish copyright law amendment of 2005 (based on EU Copyright Directive from 2001), allowing it to be freely circumvented. Quoting the press release: ' The conclusions of the court can be applied all over Europe since the word effective comes directly from the directive ... A protection measure is no longer effective, when there is widely available end-user software implementing a circumvention method. My understanding is that this is not technology-dependent. The decision can therefore be applied to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as well in the future.'"

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222 comments

Catch-22? (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273593)

A protection measure is no longer effective, when there is widely available end-user software implementing a circumvention method. My understanding is that this is not technology-dependent.

What this would seem to say to me is that in order to get to the point at which the protection measure is considered to be ineffective, you have to go through a point at which it is not widely available, and you're breaking the law.

Does that seem a bit wrong to anyone else?

Re:Catch-22? (5, Insightful)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273729)

That might have been true in the past. In the age of the Internet, cracks can almost instantly become widespread.

Re:Catch-22? (1)

BUTT-H34D (840273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273791)

In the age of the Internet, cracks can almost instantly become widespread.
Huh huh. Heh heh. Huh huh.

Re:Catch-22? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273953)

In the age of the Internet, cracks can almost instantly become widespread.

Alright trolls, here's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to have your goatse posts be ontopic.

Mod parent funny (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274127)

Wish I had some mod points. That's the funniest goatse post I've seen since it became tired (which was about 5 minutes after it was first posted).

Re:Catch-22? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274401)

Wow.. that is hands down the funniest goatse reference I've seen on slashdot. props to you.

Re:Catch-22? (3, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274099)

That might have been true in the past. In the age of the Internet, cracks can almost instantly become widespread.
I don't know the precise wording of the law but I'm guessing that while it's legal to break already ineffective protection the person who made it ineffective in the first place can still be prosecuted.

In other words you can beat a dead horse, just don't beat the horse to death.

Re:Catch-22? (4, Insightful)

Stocktonian (844758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274447)

Not everyone is subject to the same law stopping reverse engineering. All that is needed is for someone to crack the encryption somewhere it is legal then distribute it so that it is widespread. Then everyone in Europe at least can use it.

I'm sure there's something missing here and I doubt any of that would really work but we can dream can't we.

Re:Catch-22? (2, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273741)

Not really , think civil disobedience.

I took from it that if it's widely hacked and in use then it's deemed useless.

Sort of like when everyone started decrypting dv... oh my bad.

Re:Catch-22? (4, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273761)

On the other side of the coin, does this mean that all that is required to make it legal to crack a protection scheme is to crack it and make the crack widely available?

Re:Catch-22? (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273983)

Widely available doesn't just mean that anyone could download it though...it has to be available in the sense that almost any end user could apply the crack and use it effectively. Something like AnyDVD, where all the user needs to know is how to download a file and install it.

Re:Catch-22? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275021)

In that case you know how to circumvent the copy protection -> the method becomes obvious.

You really cannot be told not to do modifications to your electronic apparel / software. No matter what the vendors try to make you believe. You are not breaking the law in any sense so you can tell your friends how to circumvent the protection too.

You are not eating anyone's bread by telling people how to circumvent copy-protections on media they already own!

If you think that is illegal, well hey, the corporations have been very effective at their lobbying. Photocopying and selling books & warez movies is another thing entirely.

Re:Catch-22? (3, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273793)

The alternative would be for the courts to examine the protection method and decide (without any empirical evidence) whether the method is effective. That will never work. Frankly, I think the court's ruling is a huge victory for us - because it means that crappy security systems will eventually lose any protection under copyright law.

Re:Catch-22? (1)

InvalidError (771317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274549)

CSS was never protected under copyright law... it was protected under DMCA and any other relevant law, industrial secrets, patents and licensing. Same thing for AACS. What is copyrighted is the protected content, not the DRM.

The ruling only means the court will not protect obsolete, weak or otherwise largely compromised DRM schemes. This is a good thing as it will prevent companies from seeking DMCA-like protection for daft/dummy/broken DRM schemes.

Re:Catch-22? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274593)

Hey, the DMCA was a modification to Title 17 of the USC: copyright. The DMCA is a part of American copyright law.

Re:Catch-22? (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273843)

Sounds like a good way to keep the law in sync with the norms of society.

Re:Catch-22? (4, Insightful)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274117)

While it seems odd, the global Internet makes it a reasonable possibility.

If a crack is available openly in places where it is legal, and you can get to those cracks from within a country where it is illegal, then I could still come to the conclusion that the protection is ineffecetive simply because anyone who wanted to circumvent it would trivially be able to, even if no laws in that country had yet been broken.

Re:Catch-22? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274405)

I'm sorry, but I am a stranger in a strange land. What is "Catch-22" ?

Re:Catch-22? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274707)

Don't grok it? See, when the company makes a profit you profit. Everybody has a share. (From Milo speaks to the church of all worlds).

Re:Catch-22? (2, Informative)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274897)

I'm sorry, but I am a stranger in a strange land. What is "Catch-22" ?

A novel, for starters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22 [wikipedia.org]

Idiomatically, it means an especially perverse, circular no-win situation. The "catch" in the novel refers to a policy where a soldier may request to be relieved of duty for reasons of insanity; but to wish to avoid war is, the novel notes, the desire of a sane mind. The soldier would have to be crazy to fight, but to attempt to avoid it proves him sane and forces him to fight anyways.

Most home security systems are "ineffective" (-1, Offtopic)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274987)

by this measure. I am already booking my plane tickets to Finland, and will start my new career as a home pirate by looting this judge's home.

I think extending this to BR and HD is a stretch. (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273597)

It's an interesting concept though - if you can crack the system, and the cracks are easily obtainable in enduser products, then it is - for the purposes of the courts - not really encrypted. I like that thinking.

Re:I think extending this to BR and HD is a stretc (2)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273789)

I do too. I wonder if we will ever see that in the good old US of Corporations... Damn there i go again being forward thinking like our , dvd decrypting european overlords, and I for one welcome them.

Re:I think extending this to BR and HD is a stretc (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274541)

I like this ruling a lot. I notice that the DMCA includes similar language.

Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

        `(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.
What are the chances of us getting a similar ruling in the US?

Re:I think extending this to BR and HD is a stretc (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275049)

Unlikely.

The common interpretation here as to what 'effective' means is that it is in fact an access control as opposed to some sort of thing that is not really an access control but which is put forward as such. To use an analogy, if you put the worst lock in the world on a gate (think of a combination lock where the combination is 3), it is effective; if you put a piece of paper on the gate that merely had the word 'lock' on it, trusting to people to respect it as if it were a lock, that would not be. Or say, if the lock was made to be permanently open, then it wouldn't be effective.

For example, in the Streambox case, there was a one bit flag to indicate whether access was allowed. This was found to be an effective control.

Still, you're welcome to try your luck. I for one would like to see the outcome.

Re:I think extending this to BR and HD is a stretc (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275105)

For example, in the Streambox case, there was a one bit flag to indicate whether access was allowed. This was found to be an effective control.

Isn't there a copy protect flag on CDDA tracks? By that precedent, it would constitute an effective access control, and so CD rippers are illegal.

Excellent News! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273599)

I congratulate our enlightened European friends on their new found freedom.

Coding is not a crime.

Obligatory Monty Python reference (3, Funny)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273605)

...and there was much rejoicing!

Suck on that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273879)

suck on that, mr. MPAA!

Note to Linux users (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273627)

You're still thieves. DVD playing on Linux is not legal and never will be. This Finnish case notwithstanding.

begone, and to stone turn, old troll (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274029)

the only reason it's "illegal" is that there is nobody around for the weasels to get license money from with FOSS software. no license, no magic number.

well, the free market is saying they are a bunch of bonehead morons for taking that stance, we'll gin up a magic number with Special Midnight Magic, and screw you.

moral: a weasel without a secret is no threat. make their secret public, and the weasel is just another annoying little pesky bug on the wind. allow access, or folks will find it anyway.

smart judge.

Yup, publicity killz blackmail OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274167)

The first publicized case of blackmail in the United States involved Alexander Hamilton paying money to John Reynolds, with whose wife he had been sexually involved. To end the blackmail, Hamilton went public with a pamphlet about his involvement, thereby denying what he felt was a more serious charge against him ("pecuniary speculation") while in office. Apparently he considered adultery a lesser crime than financial chicanery, and by pleading the one, he avoided the other. McLaren believes that Hamilton's political friends and rivals who had a similar "weakness for the ladies" (including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr, among others) no doubt shared this view. Hamilton never took his case to court because, legally speaking, heterosexual blackmail did not exist in the 18th century. Only in the later half of the 19th century, when the concern for sexual respectability became pervasive, was the legal definition of blackmail extended to cover the exploitation of heterosexual acts.
-- from a review by Vern L. Bullough of Angus McLaren's Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History (Harvard University Press, 2002).

All Over Europe? (5, Informative)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273653)

The conclusions of the court can be applied all over Europe since the word effective comes directly from the directive.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but afaik the meaning of directive is that each member-country has to make their own law, based on these directives. So they must make their own interpretations if the directive, and therefore court rulings cannot make a direct precedence across borders.

Re:All Over Europe? (4, Informative)

David Off (101038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273711)

I think you are right. In addition, in France at least a district court ruling would not constitute jurisprudence. Only a ruling by the Conseil d'Etat (supreme or high court) would do. The ruling could possibly be used in arguments though.

Re:All Over Europe? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274865)

Well, in Finland they still have two more court levels to grind through, guess it'll take at least year each.

Even though Finnish supreme civil court might come in the future to same conclusion, it's still local precedent applicable in Finland only. Granted, supreme court decisions are as applicable as laws, but it's still country-level judicial decision, not EU-wide. Wait and see.

Re:All Over Europe? (2, Interesting)

icsx (1107185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273863)

The directive gives instructions how to implement it to the law of each country. There is some leverage but the main concept is to be kept the same. Each country dont have to agree 100% with the directive but they have to obey it from the most parts. Good example is that copyright law directive. Officially you cant copu a CD which has a copy protection, even for your own use and they implemented that 100% here so officially, if i own a copy protected CD, i cannot transfer its content legally to my iPod. Thats how stupid these directives are. They are made up by jackasses who dont know the real meaning of them.

Re:All Over Europe? (1)

starwed (735423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274969)

No, they were passed into law by jackasses who didn't know the real meaning of them. I imagine the people who actually conceived the laws had a pretty clear idea.

Re:All Over Europe? (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274509)

I belive you are right. But there are at least two differing ways a court can arrive to their conclusion: 1) the law based on the EU directive is found to be sufficently clear (and correctly implementing the directive) which allows the local court to deliver a decision in the case or 2) there are some uncertainties surrounding the issue at hand which prompts the court to refer the issue (not the case itself) to the European Court of Justice. Reasons for such a referal might be unclear parts of a directive (scope etc). The ECJ will then send back a clarification to be used when deciding the case.

In this case I don't know if there was any referal to the ECJ or not but I would make a not too bold guess that in cases where there has been a referal it counts more or less as a direct precedence for any nation and otherwise not.

Re:All Over Europe? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274583)

A court ruling in one EU country is generally valid in all other EU countries.
However if the country where the ruling took place has another implementation of a directive (usually France, Denmark or England) it will be easier to change the ruling.

Of course you know this means: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273665)

Freedom Pastry!

You've crossed the line now, Denmark.

- The Corporate States of America

Re:Of course you know this means: (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273825)

Finland [wikipedia.org] != Denmark [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Of course you know this means: (5, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274027)

That's what those Swedes want you to think.

Re:Of course you know this means: (3, Funny)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275147)

All the swiss people in Sweden will take offense of the mixup here.

Re:Of course you know this means: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274333)

Finland != Denmark.

Denmark just stood by and let Finland do this, so the name directive stands. And let's not even get started about Estonia.

Heh, heh, - ooops it was Finland, not Denmark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273829)

Hey, Finnish / Danish, Taiwan / Thailand, Iraq / Iran, - it's all the same the us over here in Alabama.

Re:Heh, heh, - ooops it was Finland, not Denmark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275025)

Finnish / Danish, Taiwan / Thailand, Iraq / Iran, - it's all the same the us over here
You forgot Australia/Austria. :)

Freedom! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273673)


Eat your Freedom Fries, lads! These Finns need Liberatin'!"

oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19273693)

fap

CSS? (3, Funny)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273701)

Duh, what do cascading style sheets have to do with DVDs? They must have embedded web content. That must be it.

Stop! I'm kidding. Put the flamethrowers away!

Re:CSS? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273837)

Actually, spyware is loaded via the @import command. Got to infect all those computers belonging to pirates. As for innocent bystanders, they're collateral damage in the war on pirates.

Re:CSS? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273927)

You work for Sony don't you ?

Re:CSS? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274389)

Actually, I had a two-week contract in 2005 as a lead QA tester to test English-language content on the Japanese prototype that became the Sony Reader [learningcenter.sony.us] . :)

Re:CSS? (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273949)

Ha! @pwned_by_the_man

Re:CSS? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274641)

Better question: what does this article have to with Counter-Strike: Source? :)

Cat got your tongue? (-1, Offtopic)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273725)

LOL

But... (2, Interesting)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273747)

If the enforcement technology is ineffective, does that make violating the copyright OK? Weak analogy: A stop sign in an intersection is easily circumvented, does that mean it's OK for me to blow right by them? No, I'm not on the side of the mafiaa - just not sure I agree with the logic here. I'd rather see some discussion of the copyright laws themselves rather than CSS technology to "enforce" them. My 2 cents.

Re:But... (4, Interesting)

gerrysteele (927030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273795)

Well your logic is askew... There are specific laws that deal with the use case of a stop sign denoting exactly what to do. There are no specific laws relating to the use of CSS on DVDs.

Re:But... (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273961)

If your enforcement technology is a sticker that says "Please don't copy me" should it be taken seriously?

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274169)

Decrypting DVDs and violating copyrights are not the same thing. There are plenty of reasons I have for decrypting CSS without the DVD-CCA's approval which do not violate copyright law in any way.

Your linkage of unauthorized decryption with violating copyright law is exactly what the "mafiaa" would like for you to believe. You've fallen into their trap. You have lost. Have a nice day.

Re:But... (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275145)

The reason copyright can apply is that while you do something to the CSS you usually have to copy some parts of the DVD to memory, thus you need permission from the copyright owner to do that. Atleast the R/MAFIAA likes to think so.

Re:But... (5, Insightful)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274197)

There's a very distinct (and important!) difference between bypassing enforcement technology and violating copyright.

Copyright law spells out how to tell if a use of copyrighted works is infringing or not, and provides a list of examples of non-infringing use.

However, enforcement technology may well prevent you from doing any sort of copying; even what is explicitly provided as an example of allowable use! Bypassing the enforcement technology for this purpose is clearly not a violation of the owners copyright.

So, circumventing the enforcement tech, and violating copyright are two seperate things.

Now, to continue on a slightly different topic... Why should circumvention be illegal in the first place? Copyright law already handles every case where someone who is circumventing the enforcement is doing something you'd classify as wrong. It seems to add redundancy, and more importantly, target a new class of people... namely those who are trying to excersize thier fair-use rights.

I'll leave it up to you to speculate who could want such legislation and why they'd want it. I'm pretty sure you can figure out my thoughts on it, I'll leave you to develop your own.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274275)

Why should circumvention be illegal in the first place?

Because the satellite TV companies, and more recently the movie industry, bought up a lot of Senators and Representatives and got some legislation passed?

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274799)

I didn't say why *is* it illegal, I asked why *should* it be illegal... :P

The answer you gave is to why it is.

Fair Use (1)

qaz2 (36148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274687)

I believe one of the major reasons DRM was invented is to redefine and enforce the fair use rights as the studios see them.

I have the feeling that you might view those rights differently and now so will the courts for css protected content. For
instance, you might now view a legally obtained css protected dvd on a linux box *shudder*.

Re:But... (1)

stoicfaux (466273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274227)

There are two potential crimes. The first is bypassing the encryption. The second is copyright infringement.

The Danes are saying that the first is no longer a crime. However, you are still required to respect copyright.

A better analogy would be U.S. laws on drug paraphenalia and drugs. Owning a crack pipe is illegal. Owning crack is illegal. The Danes are saying that since it's so easy to obtain a crack pipe, owning a crack pipe is no longer illegal. However, owning crack is still a no-no.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274457)

The Danes are saying
The Danes? Denmark is occupying Finland?!1 Those bastards!1 ;-)

Re:But... (1)

Ornedan (1093745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274527)

Still a faulty analogy, seeing as the primary purpose of a crack pipe is to smoke crack in. To continue along the same vein, but IMO more accurate would be:
"Owning any type of a pipe is illegal, because you might smoke crack in it. Owning crack is also illegal. The finns are saying that since it's so easy to obtain a pipe and having one does not actually directly imply any crack-related activity, the pipe is no longer illegal"

Re:But... (2, Informative)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274695)

You have misunderstood something... this doesn't allow you to copy and distribute copyrighted material.
This makes it legal to play your DVD's on a Linux box or whatever else and it makes it legal to make backup copies of your own DVD disks to any media you like (both these things were previously violations of the DMCA).

Re:But... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274855)

If the enforcement technology is ineffective, does that make violating the copyright OK?

It doesn't make it legal to violate the copyright. It does make it legal to, say, publish a paper on how weak CSS is. It makes it legal to write your own DVD player software. If the emperor has no clothes, the law is an ass if it's illegal to say so.

Re:But... (1)

pjviitas (1066558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275005)

I think that everyone on here can agree that successful CSS hacking is a constant.

Wouldn't this mean that CSS is not CSS at all and is actually just being billed as CSS?

Makes me think of the phrase "Legend in his own mind".

Just my 2cents
Hedghog

So which politician... (2, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273777)

...do we have to bri^H^H^Hlobby to get some key sections from this "European Copyright Directive" tacked onto the end of the DMCA?

And how did the Europeans get all the good lawmakers anyway? I'm thinking about moving to Finland where copyright seems to make more sense.

Re:So which politician... (-1, Troll)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273969)

"And how did the Europeans get all the good lawmakers anyway? I'm thinking about moving to Finland where copyright seems to make more sense."

They didn't, or have you not noticed the completely barely-democratic method the EU happens to govern itself by? Seriously, while I appreciate being able to legally rip DVDs, that comes pretty far behind basic rights and freedoms, some of which (speech, press, gun control) are openly assaulted on a daily basis at the EU Parliament level.

And, more to the point, this was a court decision, not a parliamentary one.

Re:So which politician... (1)

LilWolf (847434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274337)

"I'm thinking about moving to Finland where copyright seems to make more sense."

Don't bother. It's the same crap here as it is in every western country. This time the court just happened to make a reasonable decision. More often they fail to do that.

Re:So which politician... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274429)

Don't bother. The former beauty queen responsible for "finnish dmca" just got re-elected. And this isn't exactly her only fuckup.

Re:So which politician... (1)

Moggie68 (614870) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274751)

She did lose 2/3 of her votes when compared to previous elections tho'...
And the decision is gonna be overturned in a higher court once the media companies make a couple of phonecalls...

Re:So which politician... (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274781)

a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.


Now, using DeCSS or the thousands of variants of that doesn't require the "authority of the copyright owner." Maybe that same logic the judge used could apply in the US, although the interpretation would be somewhat more strained.

This is nice, but... (1)

cyrusmack (1105309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273787)

It doesn't recognize the right to access information we possess. Is it too much to ask for the courts to recognize this fundamental right? I'm glad CSS is ruled ineffectual, but what about BR and HD-DVD? When can we openly discuss the idea that erecting artificial barriers to entry is not something 21st century "enlightened" countries should engage in?

-Cyrus
http://www.bytesfree.org/ [bytesfree.org]

Re:This is nice, but... (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274015)

What if the packaging were required to notify you that the product contained encryption that may interfere with your fair use rights?

It isn't the current situation by any means, but I don't really want laws that force me to always pay for fair use; every once in a while, for stuff I want to watch once, encumbrance is just peachy. (and I realize that this is a hypothetical, as no such price differentiation currently exists)

Re:This is nice, but... (1)

cyrusmack (1105309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274315)

It's actually not the publishers I'm targeting here - it's the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. However, having said that, I have wondered if DMCA reform would result in a built-in extra "premium" paid to access content. I have to say no - without the legal means to sue those who reverse-engineer data formats, I can see market forces dinging those who charge premiums. At the moment, market forces are somewhat held at bay by current copyright law.

In your scenario, if data format encryption can be legally circumvented, then I can't see any premium for fair use remaining in place.

-Cyrus
http://www.bytesfree.org/ [bytesfree.org]

Nice... (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273807)

...but just a note on law. Even though EU passes directives, each country must pass their own laws in parliament. The EU does not make "federal law" like in the US. They may also apply different exceptions and such. So the law is not the same and even if it were, precedents do not legally apply. However, this goes straight to the core of the directive so if other countries read "effective" the same way... The precedent sounds rather strange to me though, it's like saying "if enough people are breaking the law, the law doesn't apply". Somehow I think they meant "to the effect of" meaning "however they do it, as long as it protects a copyrighted work". Not that it matters since the actual law is probably in Finnish anyway.

Re:Nice... (4, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274121)

The precedent sounds rather strange to me though, it's like saying "if enough people are breaking the law, the law doesn't apply".

Nothing strange there IMHO, considering the following:

  1. This is how advocates of nonprofit 'piracy' have often argued. The law should represent common morality, so whatever a significant portion of people do should not be illegal.
  2. This ruling is similar to saying that you can legally break ROT13 and press Shift while loading a CD. It's saying that if CSS is so easy to break then it doesn't deserve any legal protection. Much like insurance companies that have standards for bike locks.

Well, in a democracy (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274125)

if enough people break, consciously, a law, then one may assume the law was wrong in the first place and so it can't - or shouldn't be applied. After all laws should reflect the public interest, and it seems clear to me that the public is interested in being allowed to copy media. I wonder, how many people living in a resonable modern society which provides access to copying devices - Xerox machines, CD or DVD rewriters, computers, VHS recorders, you name it - has NEVER infringed copyright at some point? I bet very few, if any at all.

Re:Nice... (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274431)

The precedent sounds rather strange to me though, it's like saying "if enough people are breaking the law, the law doesn't apply".
It sounds pretty reasonable to me. One of the main reasons to have laws is to provide an agreeable structure for a society. If a sizeable chunk of the population is breaking (perhaps it is more illustrative to say "ignoring") law X, that's a good indicator that law X is unnecessary or unwanted. The wisest course of action for the governing body is to repeal such laws because that is what the people want.

encourage hackers to distribute ? (1)

Sod75 (558841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273877)

If I get this right, it is illegal to circumvent effective copyright protection.
but
  since a Norwegian hacker succeeded in circumventing CSS protection used in DVDs in 1999, end-users have been able to get with ease tens of similar circumventing software from the Internet even free of charge. Some operating systems come with this kind of software pre-installed. Thus, the court concluded that CSS protection can no longer be held effective as defined in law.

So everybody can circumvent CSS NOW, but back in 99, when it was difficult, it was still illegal...

I guess the logical step is for hackers/crackers when the find a means of circumventing X, that they widely distribute it and aide in creating user friendly progs to do so. Since at that point the protection method becomes ineffective and so it is legal !

Sounds like a plan to me !

Re:encourage hackers to distribute ? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274141)

It's actually a very good way to encourage reverse engineering, which actually helps you to become a better engineer. I wonder if they passed this along to help develop stronger methods of content protection.

Re:encourage hackers to distribute ? (1)

pjviitas (1066558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275101)

I think this is already common practice.

"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (3, Interesting)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19273959)

There is a problem with this ruling, as it only takes local law into account, and not the directive. According to the EU "solidarity principle", the interpretation of local laws made because of EU directives should be in line with the directive.

And the InfoSoc directive [eu.int] actually defines "effective technological measures" in article 6.3.

The definition is contrary to common sense. Basically the directive defines "effective technological measures" as "technological measures" used by copyright holders:

3. For the purposes of this Directive, the expression 'technological measures' means any technology, device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or restrict acts, in respect of works or other subjectmatter, which are not authorised by the rightholder of any copyright or any right related to copyright as provided for by law or the sui generis right provided for in Chapter III of Directive 96/9/EC. Technological measures shall be deemed 'effective' where the use of a protected work or other subjectmatter is controlled by the rightholders through application of an access control or protection process, such as encryption, scrambling or other transformation of the work or other subject-matter or a copy control mechanism, which achieves the protection objective.

You can only get such perverted definitions if you let the copyright holders write the law! I'm glad that Finland will not take part in such a perversion.

Re:"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274111)

How do you interpret "which achieves the protection objective." I think that phrase leaves plenty of room for a local court to decide that chosing a method that is too easily breakable using off the shelf tools isn't "effective"

Re:"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (4, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274123)

Technological measures shall be deemed 'effective' where the use of a protected work or other subjectmatter is controlled by the rightholders through application of an access control or protection process, such as encryption, scrambling or other transformation of the work or other subject-matter or a copy control mechanism, which achieves the protection objective.
(Emphasis mine)

The nice Judges in the Helsinki District Court have decided that, with the wide-spread use of DeCSS, CSS no longer achieves it's objective. So rather than make criminals out of all the Linux users in Finland (- those who don't watch DVDs on their computers) they have rightly stated that DeCSS isn't an effective encryption mechanism, and thus, it isn't any more illegal to bypass the CSS than it would be if the DVD in question were unencrypted.

Re:"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274555)

The nice Judges in the Helsinki District Court have decided that, with the wide-spread use of DeCSS, CSS no longer achieves it's objective. So rather than make criminals out of all the Linux users in Finland (- those who don't watch DVDs on their computers) they have rightly stated that DeCSS isn't an effective encryption mechanism, and thus, it isn't any more illegal to bypass the CSS than it would be if the DVD in question were unencrypted.


Mod parent up! Agreed 100%. It specifically says that the copy control mechanism must achieve the protection objective. There's no other way to interpret that, at least in my mind.

I would love to see language like this amended to the DMCA. As the DMCA reads now, vs lbh whfg qrpbqrq gur erfg bs guvf fragrapr, lbh oebxr gur ynj. ** Now isn't that ridiculous?

** remainder of sentence protected by patent-pending ROT13(tm) Digital Rights Management

Re:"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (1)

DCBoland (700327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274229)

which achieves the protection objective.
Even by the directive's definition, I think the same ruling could be reached. If everybody and his milkman can easily bypass the control mechanism (using widely available software), then clearly it doesn't achieve the protection objective, thus it is not an "effective technological measure".

Re:"effective" means "used by copyrightholder" (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274861)

What do you mean ? It's right there in the text you quoted, the very last sentence "...which achieves the protection objective.".
The ruling says that the CSS implementation does not achive the protection objective so it is no longer protected by the directive.

Well, then (5, Funny)

bccomm (709680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274325)

CSS is Finnished then.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274483)

CSS of websites Ruled 'Ineffective & defective' by the rest of teh world

This may be very, very bad (0)

javakah (932230) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274521)

CSS is weak, but it has served to prevent the masses from being able to easily and legally copy DVDs. Because of it's weakness, it has been easy for many hardware vendors to produce DVD players. As people have said DVDs "just work". But you are seeing more problems when more complex DRM is used. You have things that consumers think are supposed to work well together not working well together (such as a lot of earlier HD stuff). By ruling that CSS is not effective enough, this will force the MPAA, etc. into using much harsher DRM (although they seem to be heading that way, it will now actually be more justified).

I'm not a big fan of DRM, but I don't think it will be going away completely any time soon, and I'd rather just have weak DRM that is an annoyance that can be fairly easily gotten around rather than draconian restrictions that will make things stop working.

Cheesy analogy (1)

PhilipMckrack (311145) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274609)

Now don't get me wrong, I hate DRM in all forms, but isn't this just like saying if I lock my door with a lock that is easily pickable, then it's ok for someone to break in?

Re:Cheesy analogy (2, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274831)

Now don't get me wrong, I hate DRM in all forms, but isn't this just like saying if I lock my door with a lock that is easily pickable, then it's ok for someone to break in?

This is probably true if you think about insurance business. Likewise, trademark law requires the owner to actively defend the trademark.

Of course, the main problem with these analogies is that basic copyright still applies; you can break CSS in order to watch the movie on Linux, but you're not allowed to distribute tons of copies.

Horray for Finland! (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274765)

So why don't they just have a government program where the entire country buys one DVD of every movie and post a bittorrent for it?

Blu-ray and HD-DVD implication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274945)

Since Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs use a different copy protection method, AACS, I don't see how this ruling applies to them as well. The ruling explicit says CSS in ineffective, so I'm not sure why the defendant's counsel concludes the ruling is not 'technology-dependent' and applies to Blu-ray and HD-DVD as well.
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