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DVD Hearing Today - Are You Ready to Rumble?

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the pulling-together dept.

News 652

You've almost certainly heard that the DVD CCA [Copyright Control Association] is trying to get a restraining order that would force hundreds of Web sites to remove all links to information about DeCSS. Slashdot is one of the named sites. The hearing is today, in San Jose, California. If you can get there, we urge you to go and help "show the flag." You won't be alone. If you can't make it in person, stay tuned. We'll have updates throughout the day. Meanwhile, click below now for news, opinions from various members of the Slashdot crew, and a long list of links to other resources and stories elsewhere about the DVD CCA's attempt to not only stop DeCSS, but to stifle anyone who publishes or links to information about DeCSS. Update at 1:20 p.m. EST. (Please see bottom of the story.)

Leading up to Today's Hearing
- by Emmett Plant
Emmett Plant is Slashdot's newest author.

Monday, DVD Copy Control Association, Inc. filed for a restraining order in a California court. The targets of this cease-and-desist order were individuals and organizations who had made DVD decryption source code freely available on the net, by hosting the code themselves or linking to a website that did. Commmunity response has been fast and furious, with a deluge of Slashdot comments and submissions, and the immediate organization of Open Source community members to attend the hearing this morning.

Technically, the argument boils down to the issue of reverse engineering. Ideologically, the argument challenges the ideals of free speech, freedom of information, and the ability to innovate on behalf of computer users, hardware engineers and software developers all over the planet.

On Monday night, I spoke to a gentleman who had received the order just minutes prior, and although he didn't want his name mentioned, he provided with me with his thoughts.

"It should be legal when you've got people reverse engineering this kind of stuff. But a small minority in the business community want to lock down the information, citing that it's a trade secret. It's sort of like being busted in math class for passing answers around. [The code] is basically a mathematical equation that decrypts poorly encrypted DVD data. I support the free human right to freedom of thought. That's how civilization has gotten to where it is today, without lawyers heading innovators off at the pass."

Would he be willing to go to court to defend himself?

"Probably not. There are a lot of sites that are mirroring [the code], and they'll keep the program alive. I'll sleep easy at night knowing I did my part."

In many ways, the cease-and-desist only made it easier for people to get their hands on the code. As soon as the community heard about the order, many people posted the code on their websites as a sign of protest. Many community members have made the code available on overseas servers that don't face the possible legal repercussions associated with sites located in the United States.

Another interesting point of this case is that anyone who linked to a site that contained the information is also being held liable in the case. This is particularly frightening. This means that in the spirit of the cease-and-desist order, almost everyone on the web with a site that links to anywhere else falls into the legal maelstrom, as long as it eventually leads to a site with the code posted on it.

The legal ramifications of the case are extremely influential. The DVD CCA lawyers are fighting a battle against reverse engineering, an engineering process that enables the computer industry to utilize powerful tools like the IBM-compatible personal computer and countless hardware device drivers.

The hearing will take place this morning at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California.


Funny and Sad at the Same Time
- by Hemos

The particularly humorous section of the lawsuit, at least for me, is that what they are trying to do is make linking illegal. That's right. Linking. Is. Illegal. Once we cross the the bridge of dictating what can and cannot be linked to, than we open ourselves up to a world of people being able to sue whenever something they don't want linked is linked. Without linking, the Web is dead.


Shaky Legal Grounds
- by Michael Sims

The legal standing for the DVD companies is so shaky it's not even funny. The danger is that they can effectively paint the opposition as a bunch of crooks and the judge will feel that *justice* requires a ruling in their favor despite the law - that can be averted if the defense makes a strong competent showing tomorrow, presumably. The second danger is that they will inflict sufficient costs on the defendants that others will be dissuaded from doing even perfectly legal things. That can't be prevented.


Planning to Join the Protest in Person?

The best source of information on how to help out at the Santa Clara County Courthouse is this page from Chris DiBona's Web site. It tells you where and when to be, what to wear, and what to expect. Worth reading even if you can't make it. Nice to know that Chris and others, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are doing a great job for all of us on this!


Update by Emmett @ 1:20 p.m. EST:

Chris DiBona called me at 8:30 a.m. PST from right outside the courtroom, letting me in on the scene. The Open Source community has about 25 people there, as well as a lawyer or two of their own. The community members present are busy distributing the DeCSS source code on floppy disk as well as leaflet hard copy. No pictures will be taken of the interior of the courtroom, and there wasn't enough time to apply for the permit to record what happens inside.

Chris will be calling me as soon as they let out with up-to-the-minute information and notes from the community members inside the courtroom.


Links to Other DVD CCA Stories and Sites

Boston Globe
Washington Post
Wired News
Chris DiBona's excellent page
PZ Communications DeCSS Resource Site DeCSS Defense page
Dan Gillmor ( columnist)
Santa Clara County Superior Court info
EFF to the Rescue!


Please send additional links to so we can add them to the list. Thanks.

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Can't be there (1)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436150)

I can't make it there in person, is there someone I could email to show my support?

Trade Secret? (5)

Steve B (42864) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436151)

But a small minority in the business community want to lock down the information, citing that it's a trade secret.

The difference between a trade secret and a copyright or patent is that a trade secret is not disclosed to the public -- but if it leaks, the owner is just SOL. If they're taking the position that their decryption is a trade secret, then they have no case.

The internet (1)

bibos (116554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436152)

The internet is a free place and it should stay that way. I think it's important that no government controls and/or censors the internet way like we had it up to now. To make LINKING illegal would be - I don't know - stupid ? i mean - thats censorship isnt it ?

i can tell the location of another site to anyone and everyone i want ! I dont want that right to be taken away from me ........

this isn't good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436153)

Everybody involved is gonna come out looking bad.

nobody can win, but we could lose a lot.

I fear the outcome won't be favorable.

Re:Can't be there (0)

graphicsboy (96499) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436154)

Perfect place for steaming WEB CAM!

You can't stop it (1)

Mo B. Dick (100537) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436156)

Do they want this to be some sort of secret forever? Is it some sort of conspiracy? Like the virus in the X - Files movie? Red Team go! Red Team Go!

Re:Can't be there (1)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436157)

Sending snail mail is the best idea. Emails have a good chance of getting ignored. Letters don't.

Calling up that someone is the second best idea.

reading as reverse engineering (1)

thomasa (17495) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436158)

In my opinion, reading text, reading a book,
reading this web page is the same as reverse
engineering an executable program. Is reading

I wish i could be there (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436159)

If there was any possible way of gewtting to CA today (short of selling my soul), I would. But, unfortunatly, i am but one of the masses who live nortyh of the US border, yet know and understand that whatever these nimrods accomplish down there will unavoidable have an effect on our simmilar freedoms up here. Where can I contact the numerous organizations figting this sort of thing on a day to daY basis to show my support?

Re:Can't be there (2)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436160)

Perfect place for steaming WEB CAM!

I guess that can't be a "live steaming WEB CAM", because if it got hot enough to actually steam that would probably kill it.

Re:this isn't good. (2)

limpdawg (77844) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436161)

What do you mean?
If the people show up on the court steps and are protesting, then they can get media to show up and get some attention. If they have good spokespeople then they can spin it for the media to show the truth about the whole thing. Hopefully ESR won't show up dressed like Obi-Wan again.

Yeah! (1)

kneel (17810) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436162)

Way to go guys! I hope to see you on the 6 o'clock news, with a victory.

IMHO... (5)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436163)

It's less like someone passing the answers round to a maths test, than it is for the same person to pass around a list of page numbers which -say- how to calculate the answer.

As for the links, I'd compare that with passing round a list of names of people who pass around lists of pages. I'm sorry, but when you start to get -that- far removed from the source, WHATEVER justification there may have been for the original case is thrown right out the window.

Either that, or I deem the entire Universe guilty of conspiring to cause explosions, as a result of containing links to the Big Bang. If this case ends with sites like Slashdot losing, this case will be precident of links being sufficient to be proof of guilt. More than adequate for me to sue the cosmos for a few trillian dollars.

Anyone want to join in? I don't mind splitting the winnings.

NPR news says that DeCSS is "copying software" (4)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436164)

Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a very brief story about "DVD copying software" being posted on the internet and a "lawsuit being brought against dozens of websites". Two points here. First, DeCSS is not "copying software". Second a restraing order is not a "lawsuit". I think it is a pretty crappy tactic to pursuade the news media to report such things. I don't blame NPR, I blame the movie industry for feeding them the story in such a form. BTW, there was now mention of breaking encryption or Linux development, etc. It just sounded like all the posters were a bunch of pirates and thieves.

Tell the EFF.... (5)

Zurk (37028) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436165)

to have a look at this : may be possible to get it thrown out without a trial.
SLAPPs -- strategic lawsuits against public participation -- are civil complaints or counterclaims (against either an individual or an organization) in which the alleged injury was the result of
petitioning or free speech activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. SLAPPs are often brought by corporations, real estate developers, or government officials and
entities against individuals who oppose them on public issues. Typically, SLAPPs are based on ordinary civil tort claims such as defamation, conspiracy, and interference with prospective
economic advantage.

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link doesn't work! (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436166)

The boston globe titled its story as "Web sites sued for DVD piracy" -- AFAIK, there is no DVD piracy involved. Their article is fair, though.

reverse engineering = debugging, soon illegal?! (5)

mathboy (10519) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436167)

This is a very frightening case. If this passes through, and reverse engineering is made illegal, then Richard Stallman's story (grrr, cant find
link on! anyone?) about how debuggers
will be allowed only in 'guarded research labs'
will come true alot faster than we'd like.

This is a monumentally important case for our rights to explore and investigate technology, and if we are stopped from doing so, only hackers will be doing it (and if you decide to do it, you are an instant hacker, and now a criminal). [I've given up on cracker/hacker debate, btw. I use words common folk can understand, since thats who Im preaching to.]

Unix and Linux has a long history of being hacked on and taken apart, and if it wasnt for this ability, I dont think we'd be where we are now with Linux.

We should all put in as much effort as possible to make people aware of whats at stake. I can imagine its only a few steps before you're not allowed to fix your own car! THen we'll have the general populace interested.


Re:NPR news says that DeCSS is "copying software" (4)

Hiawatha (13285) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436168)

I talked to an attorney for the DVD side. He certainly thinks it's a lawsuit....

Get it while its hot (5)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436169)

A copy of the DeCSS software source code for linux and a zip file of the dll's for doze are available here for those interested: [] Fight for copyright / patent sanity. Perhaps once companies realize that strong arm tactics to silence information will not work on the net, all of these intimidating law suits will stop.


Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436170)

  • What if the whole thin is legal in Norway?
  • How can a copyright/patent infringement lawsuit issued in the USA can be enforced on a European defendent?

Fearful of the Mind Gestapo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436171)

I find the legal action being taken to be extremely frightening, but I wonder if this time the forces of evil have bitten off more than they can chew. How in the world can breaking encryption be illegal? Does anyone know of any US laws that prohibit the breaking of encryption? I know that it is illegal to COPY DVD's, but how is breaking the encryption illegal? That is like Uncle Sam saying that it is a felony to solve a mathmatical problem. No wonder our high school standardized test scores are so low. Juke Bug -Anonymous "Damn Firewalls" Coward "We're not stupid! We're law abiding citizens!"

DeCSS SOURCE CODE available.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436172)

at (816) 246 6160. you can't enjoy DVD without it.

this whole thing is just stupid (1)

CrudPuppy (33870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436173)

why dont they just come out and tell people that
they can no longer be interested in black boxes??

it is in the spirit of the hacker to crave information
about that which escapes his understanding...

in this case, someone wanted to figure out how
the encryption worked, and they DID...whats so

i'm so mad i could go in front of that courthouse
and pour hot grits down my pants in protest!

Search engines too? (1)

krez (75916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436174)

So, what sorts of ramifications does this have on search engines that dig up links to sites containing information on DeCSS?

Any thoughts?

Fight the power! (2)

Emmanuel69 (60669) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436175)

I think that slashdot should put all the information in one handy location, so that we can all mirror it on our personal sites... What are they going to do? Sue the world?

They have to point the finger at someone. (5)

nevets (39138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436176)

If DVD CCA doesn't point the finger at someone, then it must be their fault (which I believe it is). Just because you code and compile something, doesn't make it a trade secret. Someone else mentioned Coca Cola's secret formula. If you figure it out, you can use it. Reverse engineering is the same thing.

Didn't this once come up with a case of Ford against a Nissan or Honda. Where the Japanese company bought a Ford and dismantled it to find out how it worked. When Ford tried to sue, the judge ruled that they didn't do anything wrong. Since they bought the car, it was theirs to do what they pleased. I think this is the same thing.

Now as for linking. That is getting out of hand. If you do business on the Web, you should be prepared to be linked to. Altough, this is slightly different, But as for free speech, not being able to link to something is a definite form of censorship. Yes, you can complain about content, but how can you complain about someone else linking to them. IANAL, but if you hear someone that shows bootlegged movies, and tell someone about it, and if someone asks who is doing it, and you tell them, are you just as guilty at bootlegging the movie. Now you are not related in any way to that bootlegger, and did not profit in telling someone about it. You just shared information that you knew about.

Unfortunately, I'm in NY and won't be able to go. I would love to see this trial!

Steven Rostedt

Restricting the code or the algorithm? (2)

fingal (49160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436177)

Just a query - are they trying to ban mirrors of the actual binary code for DeCSS and the associated links to these sites or is it the underlying algorithm that is the target. If the injunction is against a specific binary application, then would publishing an "abstract" pseudo-code of the core of the binary engine be affected by the ban? If this was done then how long do you think it would be before many, many different implementations of the code in different languages started appearing on the web? Would it be necessary to start a new injunction against each one?

The Fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436178)

I can see dark clouds and hear an ominous rumbling of thunder in the distance. I have never seen Slashdot gear up for anything this way. Personally, it's freaking me out.

This is not a fight to be missed -- it is high time we stand up and fight the cold, faceless corporations with their harsh fluorescent-lit hallways who have been trampling upon the little person's rights for oh so long.


I would be VERY careful what you say here (1)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436179)


I hate to rain on your parade, but if the court rules against the you, it could get very ugly very fast.

I would be very careful in any open comments on this issue, especially since lawyers representating the plaintiffs could be reading Any potentially damaging and/or slanderous comments could get the plaintiffs to ask for a court order for NSI to pull the registration of, and THAT will obviously have extremely ugly consequences.

In short, hope for the best, but don't do anything online here that will make a bad situation worse.

Re:DVD code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436180)

I don't have a damned DVD player, but the shotgun approach these creeps used to "enforce" their "protected" property pissed me off so much that I downloaded the code an emailed it to everyone I know , including my mother.

" First thing we do, we kill all the lawyers"

Willie the Shake

One idea... (3)

Darth Yoshi (91228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436181)

...would be to print out the source code to DeCSS (and neatly bind it, if possible) like they did with the PGP code. It might illustrate more clearly to the judge that the censorship of non-copyrighted material is a violation of first amendment rights.

The judge will probably be highly intelligent, but non-technical. Having a concrete, readable example of what they're trying to censor may help put things in perspective, and bring out the first amendment issues (which I'm sure the corporate lawyers are going to try to gloss over).

DVD (1)

so.what (75302) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436182)

There was a post made yesterday that I think sums the whole thing up really well. It said something about only wanting to be able to play a movie on a Linux box. Without the decryption code, we'd never be able to do that. Do you really think those DVD fellas would bother to whip something up for us linux users to use to play our DVDs? Probably not, and then it would cost you something if they did...which isn't quite in the spirit of the Linux movement. Another good point that I think I read was that did CD manufacturers start sueing the general public when CD-Rs came out? Not even that silly music association got involved. What makes the movie industry think its so important it can do whatever it wants? Just another reason to invest wisely on Wallstreet, buy your own island, and start anew. Of course we'd outlaw Microsoft products! =)

This Is A travesty (1)

NormHome (99305) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436183)

As someone else pointed out nobody is going to look good at this hearing and the web as a whole has a lot to lose. The thing that concerns me the most is the judge, most judges that I've seen are middle age or older. How computer literate and familier with the actual issues is the judge, does he even know what a link is? How can someone make a decision on this important an issue if he or she is not fully conversant in the technology involved. This whole thing is really frightening and the implications far too wide ranging.

Hey, the Boston Globe link .. is fixed now! (2)

Roblimo (357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436184)

Please don't blame Hiawatha Bray for his column's crummy title. Newspaper headlines are usually written by copy editors, not by the people who actually write the stories. (Hiawatha Bray is one of my personal favorite "mainstream" tech columnists in the whole world.)

- Robin

Linking causes criminals (4)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436185)

Remember that a link is a pointer to a location not to content.

Based on what these lawyers seem to be arguing: If the contents of a link changed to something illegal, all the existing links would become illegal.

Were all search engines with links to challenged sites also mentioned?

From the CNN article... (1)

Nafai7 (53671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436186)

The lawsuit alleges consumers already have suffered from hacking of the DVD encryption code. A related product, DVD audio, was scheduled for release in December of 1999 but it was delayed for at least six months while a new copyright protection system is developed

How stupid is that? THEY are the ones who implemented a crappy encryption scheme. THEY are the ones who decided to delay DVD audio.

The DVD CCA has caused more harm to consumers than hackers EVER will. If anything, customers have benefited from the hacking of the DVD code.

A sad day... (2)

deefer (82630) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436187)

Technically, the argument boils down to the issue of reverse engineering.
And still, judges don't really understand this. If a car manufacturer A can take apart say, a competitor B's carburettor, they can reverse engineer it. There's nothing preventing them doing this, in reality, and no judge would hold this case up. Because there are _manufacturing_ considerations to making the carburettor. Exactly the same applies with software- you can see what it does, but you must still figure out how to "make" (pun intended :) it.

Ideologically, the argument challenges the ideals of free speech, freedom of information, and the ability to innovate on behalf of computer users, hardware engineers and software developers all over the planet.
Hmm, think you're pushing it a bit there about the whole planet. The USA is mostly a nice place, but there are other continents

...without lawyers heading innovators off at the pass."
Sadly, this is my impression of corporate America these days. If you can't win by market forces, crush them with your legal team.

There are a lot of sites that are mirroring [the code], and they'll keep the program alive. I'll sleep easy at night knowing I did my part."
Yep. And when one gets hit with the Cease & Desist, another will take it's place. I really hope this goes high profile. Once corporations get the message that when it comes to the net, winning in court is not absolute, then they may consider their legal actions more carefully. And I find it heartening (hey, I'm British, I always root for the underdog! :) that the "underground" can fight back in this manner - corporate pigs may win the battle, but who is winning the war?

Another interesting point of this case is that anyone who linked to a site that contained the information is also being held liable in the case.
That scares the piss out of me. Where does it end? Say if I link to a site that links to a site with the contentious code, am I liable? Reminds me of a rhyme I was taught as a kid - "Big fleas have little fleas upon their back to bite them, little fleas have tiny fleas, and so ad infinitum...". Surely a judge somewhere _must_ realise the complete and utter stupidity of this... I think it's a plot by the lawyers... If they can sue everybody on the net, then everybody requires a lawyer... :(

Maybe the soothsayers are right... Maybe this is the armageddon coming for Y2K. A poor decision by the judge here could badly hurt the whole internet...

By the way, if you're wondering who this Emmett Plant bloke is (I doubt he's related to Egg Plant, but I bet he's heard that before... :), I think this may be the chap here... [] ... If it isn't, my apologies... Would the real Emmett Plant stand up...

i still don't quite get this... (2)

jhoffmann (42839) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436188)

i read most of the legalese the other day, but didn't follow the 1000 or so messages here, so i'm wondering if someone can clear this up for me: why aren't the DVD people suing xing? that's where the breakdown in the trade secrets happened (decss supposedly happened because xing was negligent with their key & from my reading of the legalities of trade secrets, they're the ones negligent in letting it slip out -- they're the ones who signed the agreement, etc.) xing should be suing the decss authors because they "broke" the (bogus, imho) "no-reverse engineering" clause in their license. and that doesn't even start to get into the linking legalities issue...

Should be interesting (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436189)

Earlier, on the advice of legal counsel, I was advised against giving my name while talking to Emmett, but I've come to realize that "duck and run" isn't the most effective course of action when being hit with suits like this. I've taken down my mirror [] temporarily, and I look forward to putting at back up as soon as I hear something about the decision (I am on the opposite side of the country). It'll be interesting to see how everything pans out this morning.

Here are a few interesting links:

Tom Vogt's site [] - lots of info and links [] - arguments against CSS

SJ Mercury article [] by Dave Wilson


Re:The internet (1)

IcePic (23761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436190)

It was the same way for the swedish guy that had
links to mp3's, and the swedish courts freed him
on that account. (Don't know if he was accused of
anything else though)

If you disallow linking to (potentially?)
offensive/illegal material by law, you get into
a situation that I think equals a person pointing
at robbers hurrying out of a bank with money flying all around them.

And other people picks that money up.
And the cops arrive at the scene and arrests the
person that _points_ to the money.
Not the robbers, not the people that collect the
bills, but the person that says that there are
money here you can pick up.


DVD is schlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436191)

If the movie industry wins this hearing, I will dump my DVD.

Freedom of the Press? (4)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436192)

Excuse me, fellows, but is Slashdot a member of The Press or not? Are these lawyers trying to suppress press activity in bothering Slashdot?

Re:DeCSS SOURCE CODE available.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436193)

at (816) 246 6160. you can't enjoy DVD without it.

HEY!! I called that number and it was the number for Micrsoft's sales number. Don't tell me they are in this too??


Re: Coca Cola Recipe (3)

tgd (2822) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436194)

While we're divulging trade secrets, the coke recipe isn't too complicated. The only secret part are the flavors added to it (the "vegetable extracts" as they term it in Europe)...

And those are simple -- they're kola nut extract and coca extract. That's why all the other colas taste like Pepsi, not Coke. Coke is the only company allowed to use the coca plant extract. From my understanding, they purchase it from some company in New Jersey which has an exclusive arrangement with the US Government to import something on the order of 500 tons of coca leaves which are chemically processed to destroy the cocaine. The extract is sold to Coke in some exclusive arrangement.

So there you go, now we all know how to decrypt DVD's and make Coke.

Of course, when you say you can use coke's formula if you figure it out, that's not the case because no one else can import the coca leaves, or you rot in jail for the rest of your life.

Who is going to be affected? (1)

tlight (36060) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436195)

Perhaps a lawyer would care to explain how a restraining order issued in the United States affects a website hosted outside the USA and/or a website owned by people who live outside the USA???
And what about the status of reverse enginering. Remember the xing thing was reverse enginered in Norway. Aside from the question whether the reverse enginering of the xing player was legal or not in Norway, certainly (I may hope so) a court in the USA can't decide on that.

Anyways for the time being, my protest (and the DeCSS files) are also here [] .

Re:I would be VERY careful what you say here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436196)

Doesn't "content neutrality" protect /. from any legal action regarding comments posted here? Surely this is the linchpin of any messageboard's legal defense in this sort of case.

Re:I would be VERY careful what you say here (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436197)

since lawyers representating the plaintiffs could be reading

I hope they are, they might learn something.
As for pulling slashdot, that is as likely as losing it's domain because of slanderous comments on usenet.

If, in some strange twist of fate that does happen, I would not want to be in the plaintiff's shoes. They would be pissing off a lot of intelligent, computer savvy folks. Not to mention our growing script kiddie population :)


A Serious Question? (2)

Rabbins (70965) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436198)

How many of you really watch movies on your computer?

Maybe I am weird, but I would much rather have the comfort of my couch.

A quality DVD player is available nowadays at $300 dollars... is that outrageous?

While I fully support and side with the individuals being threatened here, I tend to think both sides are over-reacting. Obviously, pirated DVD's are not the advent of a social apocolypse as the industry claims... but neither is this quite the "fight to save our individual freedoms" as many on this site so loudly proclaim.

As someone pointed out yesterday: We could never watch VHS tapes on our computers... what is the huge deal!?

Re:This Is A travesty (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436199)

Considering that the trial is in Santa Clara County California (aka Silicon Valley), I would imagine that the court system there is used to technical and IP disputes.

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link doesn't work! (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436200)

I sent a nasty reply to this paper for screwing the facts up, id suggest others do the same. I hate when major sources of informatin to the uninformed public get evrythig wrong like this.

They say that the only reason they cracked the encryption was to facilitate piracy. No mention of Linnux software support was made. How sad.

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link .. is fixed now! (1)

qmrf (52837) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436201)

As someone who has been a copy editor, I'd just like to point out that it's not them who make up headlines. Generally, it's page editors who control content (including pictures, captions, headlines, etc), while a copy editor is more of a human spellcheck. Of course, this really makes absolutely no difference to anyone.

Good Point! (1)

gengee (124713) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436202)

This is an excellent point - Surely, with all the "investigative work" the DVD CCA Lawyers did, they could have directed there web browsers to searched for "DeCSS" and found the same results [] as I did. Why is Infoseek not being hauled into court?
signature smigmature

the media, clueless or movie studio lapdogs? (3)

dieMSdie (24109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436203)

Every article I have read about this makes me grind my teeth. The DeCSS is always referred to as either a "DVD Copy Program" or a "DVD Pirating Program". Never is any mention made of the project to bring DVD to Linux. We all come across as a bunch of evil pirates out to destroy the All-American Movie Industry.

Here is a suggestion to put the Slashdot Effect to good use: everyone write your favorite media outlets. Tell them what this is really about. This has nothing to do with piracy, it has everything to do about freedom. The same freedom that allows them to publish their websites and newspapers.

I think the purpose of this legal action is to frighten everyone into submission. I don't think the DVD Consortium knows what they have stepped into, however :)

I can't be at the courthouse, but I am there in spirit anyway!

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link .. is fixed now! (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436204)

It's odd you should comment thusly, as I had exactly this in mind when I wrote "the boston globe titled". I've worked for newspapers, and actually used to manage a student magazine, so I'm aware of the editorial process ... I was actually responsible myself for that kind of eye catching bullshit.

Re:DVD (1)

heh2k (84254) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436206)

even if they were to produce a "linux version", it'd probably be for x86 only. other archs and oses (eg, BSD) would be shit out of luck.

Just Cause they are too Lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436207)

What makes no sense is the fact that these corp. idiots have no true understanding of what is happening here. This program was developed to help users play DVDs under Linux. There will always be a few who abuse it and will pirate DVDs. But do they honestly think that everyone is out to do that? I think the majority will still buy DVDs but its a shame these idiots think we are all here to pirate DVDs......

These fools will never understand it. They made it obvious with the restraining order....

- Just another linux user

Isn't this like Coca Cola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436208)

I was wondering, with todays chemical analysis machines, could one not determine the exact formula for Coca Cola? Then if I gave this exact formula out, say to Pepsi, would I be held liable? I do not think this is the case. Anyone with any legal experience know different? Is there a law that says "Thou shalt not communicate trade secrets to the masses?" The fact that CSS was reverse engineered I think is not the problem, and I dont see how they can sue someone for posting the "formula" of a trade secret (freedom of speech?). Personaly I think this is too stupid for words, typical of technology phobic groups, insted of embracing the technology they try to stamp it out. Why not accept that CSS has been broken and use the same people to find a better encryption routine? Who do we have to send mail to? I want to write some letters or mails.

Suppression of Constitutional Rights? (1)

shaunj (72350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436209)

They are trying to bar sites that publish info about DeCSS? Isn't that suppression of freedom of press and/or freedom of speech (in the US at least)?

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link doesn't work! (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436210)

Are you aware of the fact that the person who wrote the article in the Globe is also the person you're responding to on slashdot?

DVD Decryption, Links, and Regions. (1)

MightyMicro (111816) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436211)

Links are the basic structural elements of the Web. No links, no web. So that takes care of the generality. If you publish information on the Web, you must expect to have links pointed at it. So the only remaining action can be for some infringement (copyright??) by the published material on the orginating site or sites. That doesn't look too strong, either, in this case. I hope the DVD manufacturers get nowhere with this -- I still haven't forgiven them for their stupid Region scheme, another utterly pointless piece of technology crippling which is a pain for this Region 1/2 commuter and his laptop.

Mirrors and the law (4)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436212)

I'm increasingly disappointed in how many governments treat freedom of information issues like this. The methods of controlling this information (namely, the legal system) are out of date and largely irrelevant to today's internet community. The internet's scope is international and the laws of one country do not extend to another. There are efforts underway to control this massive amount of freedom - the government likes it's information control and many have shown a willingness to give up some of their soverienty(sp?) in exchange for control over their citizenship.

This is disappointing, if only because it is doomed to fail. How many people here will change their computing habits if a decision were made outlawing DeCSS? Infact, how many people might start a development effort outside this country? The legal system is largely ineffective in dealing with this - witness the huge crypto debate. There is none: the world has crypto, and the US looks like a bunch of jackasses for trying to stop it. They didn't even put a dent in the flow of information out of this country. China isn't doing much better either - and they have thousands of firewalls and even more people dedicated strictly to censoring the internet. Information still gets out. There solution seems to be "kill anyone exhibiting independent thought online!" - history has, and will again, show that such tactics are ineffective.

This trial will be of no consequence to the community at large.... nothing will change except the amount of money exchanged over the matter. however, there is a question of moral obligation: should we help these people? Do we have an obligation to support people who risk their livelyhood to give us our freedom? This is, in my mind, the heart of this matter.

Re:DeCSS SOURCE CODE available.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436213)

did you ask for the colonel?

An excellent resource. (5)

Rob the Roadie (2950) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436214)

Having read the cover letter and the text of the complaint I was wondering if the DVD CCA peeps have cited themselves in their complaint for producing such an excellent resource for people like us who wish to mirror the source code and other material.

Thank you.

a statment from Defendant #10 (5)

emmons (94632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436216)

We are not pirates, nor do we encourage the illegal duplication and/or distribution of copyrighted works. We are, however, citizens of a country based on the principles of personal freedom and trust of common man. We believe that it is morally and legally acceptable to have the right to manipulate digital media, media which we have bought and paid for, in the ways we see fit. We believe that it is within our rights, and is morally acceptable, to view and store this media in the ways we choose; be in on a DVD disk, our computer's hard drive or recorded to a VHS tape; from a hardware DVD player, the Windows operating system or the Linux operating system. These are the rights we are fighting for. We believe that the authoritarian acts of the RIAA and DVD CSS should not be stood for, they are immoral and unjust. We do not believe that anyone should be able to tell us that we can only view a movie from a computer which they have choosen, or save that movie only in the way they dictate. We also believe that if there is a tool which allows such freedoms, we should have a right to use it, to tell others about it and to distribute it. We do not believe that someone should be able to command that we cannot tell or distribute this tool simply because it is not within their corporate strategy.


Radio Show (1)

The Iconoclast (24795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436217)

Well, I have a radio show to do today, and though it is usually a music show, I think I will talke a bit of time out to RANT!
Anyone in the Cleveland area can tune to 91.1FM at noon. Anyone on the net can go to at 12EST.

A wealthy eccentric who marches to the beat of a different drum. But you may call me "Noodle Noggin."

Re:The internet (1)

bibos (116554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436218)

cool. i'm gonna make a nice website and when like hundreds of people got a link to my site I'll post some illegal mp3's or other stuff

they'll all get sued LOL

What kind of world do we live in ????? WTF this can't be won by DVD CSS !!! (or at least shouldnt !)


Nafai7 (53671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436219)

Do we have it or not?

Do we actually fear speaking out against our government? I think many of us do, but we aren't supposed to.

These issues are vitally important. This is all about your and my *personal* freedom. It is important that we FIGHT if necessary to hold onto the freedom we know is right.

I'll step down from my little soap box for now. Just realize, there are plenty of us willing to get in some trouble for what we believe in.

Boycott the movie industry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436220)

This behaviour on the part of the movie industry is simply intolerable.
I propose that we institute a full boycott of the movie industry, not just DVD, but VHS, theater, rentals and cable.
If they feel that they can play hardball with their customers over freedom of access, let us show them what THEY stand to lose by it.
I am starting immediately whether anyone joins me or not.

Dan Taylor

statment = statement (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436221)

yeah i know, I can't spell.


Oh, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436222)

Come on, guy, you can Troll better then that! Put some effort into it next time. At least mention hot grits!

boycott (1)

heh2k (84254) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436223)

although i'm sure no one here is running out and buying dvd products, i think a formal boycott of all dvd products (drives/players, discs, and anything else) is called for.


A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436224)

IMHO, one of the lamest pieces of "sci-fi" in existence.

the css auth code... (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436225)

it's ~1400 lines. post it to usenet, put it on guest books, mail a floppy to the court house.

Re:The internet (1)

bibos (116554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436226)

lets take the case that linking becomes illegal some day.

will plain-text writing of the location still be legal ? i mean is linking defined as using A HREF tags ?

this is crazy

That is not the issue (your post is illegal) (4)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436227)

How many of you really watch movies on your computer?

That is not the issue here. The issues are:

- Can we legitimately try to implement such a player if we want to?
- Can we talk about that implementation?
- Can we link to it?

By posting about it here, by the way, you are covered in the restraining order. You just involved yourself in the legal fight.

Now do you understand why this is so serious?

Mirror list growing (2)

gbnewby (74175) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436228)

The mirror list at [] is about twice the size of when this legal fiasco started.

Consider setting up a mirror! I emailed '' to tell them of mine. One advantage for me is I included the DVD code & mirror in my online class materials at UNC - hopefully this will be a more defensible position, if the poop hits the fan.

give 'em hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436229)

Give 'em Hell, Rob... counter sue for frivalous lawsuit. Make 'em eat that code and weap !!!

I wasn't planning on reading the Satanic Verses... (2)

Paul Crowley (837) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436230)

...but I still think it's a bad thing when a man is threatened with death for writing it.

In other words, it's about a point of principle. It's about making sure the precedents go our way. It's about speaking out for the DVD people so they'll be there to speak out for us, and establishing now that we want the freedoms they're trying to take away from us, whether we were going to use them for watching DVD movies or for something else.

In that sense it is precisely a fight to save our individual freedom and no scare quotes are needed. It's a little disturbing to see how rare understanding of the very idea of a point of principle is.

Transcript? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436231)

Could someone post a transcript and/or summary from the hearing?

IOW: Shut up and be terrified (4)

tilly (7530) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436232)


They don't have a reasonable case or position. They can threaten - they are threatening, but the threat is much more of a bluff than a threat. If you back down the instant that someone says, "Boo", then what value does your right to speak up have?

Ben Tilly

Re:[OFF] MNSHO (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436233)

True, but it was meant more for a "warning" than an entertainment piece. That is the world we are moving towards.


Re:reverse engineering... off topic. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436234)

[I've given up on cracker/hacker debate, btw. I use words common folk can understand, since thats who Im preaching to.]

When I took my present job with a rural law enforcement agency which had basically zero computers and wanted someone to help them implement computerized systems (dispatch, case tracking, etc.), one of my deciding factors was that the newly elected Sheriff (who was, self-admittedly, computer illiterate) told me that he was well aware of the difference between the terms 'Hacker' and 'Cracker' and would do his best to respect the divergent terms and their associated pride/contempt.

If this sort of awareness is occurring in rural, isolated communities, now is NOT the time to 'give up'. Rather, it's the time to rejoice... and put a little more pressure on the media to use the terms properly.

Signed, A. Hacker

Re:Freedom of the Press? (1)

pest (24214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436235)

hey, thats a good point! let m$ lovers try it. :) pest

Re:A Serious Question? (1)

steven c (12676) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436236)

The big deal does not (IMNSHO) arise because of the putative content DVD's carry. In that, I agree with you -- I don't watch movies on my comptuer, nor do I intend to.

But does that mean -- if someone WANTS to do this? -- that we should allow the DVD CCA to trounce about proclaiming, "you can't do this, you can't do this!" even though, yes, in fact we can, legally?

That, my friend is the point -- DeCSS was written so that people could watch movies on their linux boxen. This lawsuit, and the reaction here, is about our freedoms.

I couldn't care less about the DeCSS (except to be impressed by a neat hacking job of a not-deserving-of-the-name encryption scheme), but I DO CARE, most fervently, about my rights.

- stevec

Re:Fight the power! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436237) has a what you're looking for at

Lawsuit FUD (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436238)

...lawyers representating the plaintiffs could be reading Any potentially damaging and/or slanderous comments could get the plaintiffs to ask for a court order for NSI to pull the registration of
If something like that happened it would be a definitive sign that corporate interests have completed their takeover of the government, and that it was time for the people to forcefully revolt and take it back.

But that's pretty unlikely; the corporate takeover hasn't preceded that far yet. Of course, the bastards want us to fear that it could happen. They want us to be afraid to speak against them, lest we be crushed beneath high-powered legal teams.

In fact, this smacks so heavily of FUD I must question the poster's motives. Are you involved with one of the plaintiffs?

Re:Who is going to be affected? (1)

danb35 (112739) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436239)

Perhaps a lawyer would care to explain how a restraining order issued in the United States affects a website hosted outside the USA and/or a website owned by people who live outside the USA???

It would depend on the laws of the country in which the site is hosted and/or the owners reside. If the court has jurisdiction in the first place (questionable in this case, I think, but hardly impossible), then the judgment will usually be enforcable in most other countries because of international treaties.

If you do something in California, a California court has jurisdiction over you, at least regarding what you did there, just about anywhere (even if you're a foreign national, and have left California before the suit is filed). If you've never been to California, it's a lot less certain.

Re:Hey, the Boston Globe link doesn't work! (1)

qmrf (52837) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436240)

Please don't de stuff like that. It really doesn't help the cause. In fact, it probably actually detracts from it. I know it's been said before, but it doesn't seem to sink in.

Consider: The DVD folk are saying that DeCSS is piracy. Theft. Criminal activity. Generally Bad Shit. They want the DeCSS people to look like Bad People.

If we, claiming to support open source and free software, send nasty letters to journalists and the press, we're only going to help our image as Bad People. By harassing the newspaper, even if they are factually wrong you're helping the DVD people's case. Is that really what you want to do?

A nice letter, pointing out the fallacies in the article and with links to reputable sources with the true information, works a lot better. For one thing, they're more likely to pay attention, admit that they may have been wrong, and correct their error. I know that when some flamebag sends e-mail to me ripping me up and down for some mistake he thinks I made, I ignore him. Generally, I apply the delete key before I've even read the whole message. No one likes to be attacked. In addition, a nasty message only helps promote the image of shadiness that the DVD contingent is trying to throw on us.

Re:I would be VERY careful what you say here (1)

stanislaus (128287) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436241)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin, 1759)

Who is liable? (1)

MattMann (102516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436242)

Hey, if someone makes Slashdot delete messages, doesn't that mean that they are assuming the role of "editor", and that they then become liable for everything said on Slashdot? Sorry if I sound confused, but I've been trying to actually listen to what the lawyers say...

Can we get a petition going or something? (3)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436243)

Like most of the people in the world, I do not live anywhere near California. So I cannot go to the court house to protest it.

So, I want to know: Is there anything the rest of us can do to support the opposition to the repression of the DVD Forum? Can we start an Internet petition to indicate our support? Something along the lines of the Blue Ribbon Campaign of the EFF?

Are people contacting their local news agencies, and explaining why the DVD Forum is in the wrong?

Is there an address (snail mail) at the DVD Forum we can write to complain? (I want snail mail because email is ignored too easily.)

The DVD Forum will only win if this stays small. A hundred thousand angry consumers will fold them right quick.

We need to move on this, people.

Re:A Serious Question? (1)

handorf (29768) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436244)

Well, I do, for one. I only own 1 television and my Wife likes to watch... [shiver] cable.

Personally, I'd rather kick back with a bottle of root beer (or real brew, depending) and watch some high-brow entertainment like Evil Dead 2 or Ranma 1/2.

It also keeps me away from the evil History Channel, which seems to devour all my time.

Re:Radio Show (1)

The Iconoclast (24795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436245)

P.S. If they don't consider Slashdot the real "PRESS," They damn well better consider my FCC Licenced Radio Station The Press, goddamit!!!!

A wealthy eccentric who marches to the beat of a different drum. But you may call me "Noodle Noggin."

Re:A Serious Question? (1)

lee (17524) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436246)

Well, i don't want to buy a DVD player at home now, but my work will soon provide a laptop with a DVD player in it. I will watch DVD's on it.

It seems all the new laptops and most of the Desktops are coming with DVD. I would not want to pay for that and not be able to use the DVD in my operation system of choice. This is also another snag for Linux acceptance. Jane user goes and buys a new computer and it has DVD. She is tired ofwindows crashing and has other uses for Linux, but doesn't want to make the move because DVD is then deadweight. She either goes dual boot, or doesn't switch.

So some of us forgot about timezones (1)

davstott (92067) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436247)

Hmmmm. I was wondering when details about what's going on were going to surface.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm seriously sorry that I'm in the wrong country to be able to attend personally. Actually, I've been flicking from news site to news site periodically today and wondering why there's nothing new breaking. Of course, PST is somewhat behind GMT and all the key people were soundly asleep at the time. But I digress.

What I really wanted to chat about was the lack of media coverage so far. Obviously, there'll be details about who and what turn up at the courthouse itself later on, but I've not seen linkage on any front pages of any news sites so far. I'm just hoping that such a fundamental legal battle gets television coverage this evening.

Good luck for the proceedings and hopefully someone will have brought a nokia communicator or somesuch to enable them to give a slightly live feed of their 'notes' from the court room. Or isn't that sort of behaviour allowed over thar.


Dav Stott

The Next Step (1)

Eric Seppanen (79060) | more than 14 years ago | (#1436248)

I hope everybody realizes that if by some miracle they were to get an injunction the lawyers would be on the phone to ISPs today attempting to shut down the sites, and the linkers. Remember all those stories about ISPs that are easily bullied? Who cares about the jurisdiction of the courts-- if they get an injunction, it strengthens their argument to the ISPs. If they can keep this code in the underground indefinitely you'll never see a Red Hat distribution that includes a DVD player. I sure hope the EFF lawyers know their stuff...

Never Buy a DVD player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1436249)

To shaft the A*holes, I will never buy a DVD player till they stop their "ENCORRUPTION"... I bet we are seeing something going the BETAMAX (Remember the SONY Betamax Video Player?) path. Let see...Long live free speech! Freedom to create something from anything!!!
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