Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DVD Hearing Victory: We Won - For Now

emmett posted more than 14 years ago | from the I-love-it-when-the-good-guys-win dept.

News 443

Open Source community members breathed a sigh of relief at 4:50 PST today when Santa Clara County Judge William J. Elfving rejected the DVD Copy Control Association's request for a temporary restraining order that would keep Web Sites from linking to information about DeCSS.

Open Source community members breathed a sigh of relief at 4:50 PST today, as Santa Clara Judge William J. Elfving rejected DVD Copy Control Association, Inc.'s request for a restraining order.

Robert Jones was Defendant #15 in the filing, and he shared his thoughts after hearing the decision:

"It's good to hear that some sort of sanity won today. I'm sure we're all very appreciative to the EFF and everyone else who showed up to help and advise. I wish to personally thank, especially, all the lawyers who volunteered their advice and services pro bono to the defendants. There is still the hearing on the 14th, so the war is far from over, but the first battle has been won."

In the middle of the day, SVLUG President Chris DiBona called in, letting us know what happened after the courtroom's doors opened this morning:

"The courtroom opened up, we all filed in. we had about 50 people in there, two reporters inside, two waiting outside. [The Plaintiffs are] claiming it's a trade secret thing. They're claiming that to get the Z-key, they had to click on a license agreement. There's no reason why that's true. They inserted their arguments and they said that the hacker in Norway had to use the player, sign the agreement, and therefore it's an illegal thing. There's a law on the books in California that says if you publish a trade secret that is known to be stolen, or could only become available through theft, you have an obligation not to continue with the distribution of the trade secret."

Daniel Silveira, a student at San Jose State University, was also in the courtroom. He said:

"The expression on the judge's face looked rather enlightened when the point was made that you don't need the encryption key in order to make illegal copies of movies or DVD discs."

According to an E-mail we received from Defendant Andrew Bunner, there is no question that Allon Levy, Robin Gross and the rest of the team from the Electronic Frontier Foundation made major contributions to the good fight, but this was a strong community effort. Some of the characteristic playfulness of the community came through during the plaintiff's testimony; when the plaintiff's attorney tried to assert that DeCSS's only purpose was to promote piracy, the gallery laughed out loud.

Hopefully, the community will be able to stage yet another fantastic show on January 14th, the day slated for the hearing during which the DVD CCA will try to get a permanent restraining order preventing Web sites from publishing information about DeCSS.

The time between the recess and the judgment trudged on, as concerned Open Source community members everywhere waited impatiently. Many were hoping for a decision earlier in the afternoon, especially those in Europe who were staying up late to hear the decision.

Fortunately, those who went to sleep before the Judge made his decision will wake up to good news tomorrow. The never-ending war for the recognition of free speech in source code has won a battle today, while championing the efforts of Open Source aficionados the world over.

To be continued January 14th...

cancel ×

443 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Did Showing up Help? (4)

KOHb (16682) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434212)

I was one of those who woke up early, donned nice clothing, and showed up. Wonder if it helped.

Yay!!! (0)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434214)

Hooray for OSS! I wish I saw that judge's face! (I hope this stands up when this trial continues)

Massive Thanks to the Supporters that Showed! (1)

Aladdin Sane (98532) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434216)

Wish I could have been there myself. Thanks to all those that could make it!

In solidarity from Tokyo,

Aladdin Sane

Good News ! (0)

Ozric (30691) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434317)

I was/am really concerned about this issue. I glad that the Judge was reasonable about it.

Thanks to all involved. (5)

jammer (4062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434322)

Thank you to everyone involved in helping us make such a strong showing today. This makes me feel much more positive about our future chances in this case. Several people are considering making donations to the EFF [eff.org] for their help in this, you may wish to consider this yourself. I strongly urge the EFF to continue their support and provision of legal counsel for us in this matter.

One must wonder if the lawyers for DVD CCA Inc expected to be stood up to in this manner. You mess with the bull, you get the horns, or somesuch.

We can't relax now; plans must be laid for the next hearing. I hope to be able to be there this time, but I'm not sure it will be possible. We have two weeks to plan, now, so we can be sure to have an even stronger oupouring of support.

Eternal vigilence, and all that.

Anyway, I'm tired and babbling. Thanks, guys.

"Robert Jones, an Individual"

Copying vs Decoding (5)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434327)

I haven't seen that mentioned before. Am I correct that the statement in court refers to being able to simply copy an entire DVD bit-by-bit is all that's needed to copy a DVD?

So the decrypting method is only needed to use the contents of a DVD, while copies can be made without understanding the contents of the data.

Most judges.. (1)

Blue Lang (13117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434331)

Didn't get to be judges because they're stupid, I think.. Who knows, maybe one will come along soon to prove me wrong..

On the other topic, how's this for history in the making - has there ever been an effort like this? Thousands of people, around the world, called to action within hours to show up in court and fight a stupid attempt at a legal stifling?

If this sort of behavior can be maintained.. who knows..

Wishing something fun would happen in Raleigh..

--
blue

This definitely makes my day (3)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434335)

when the plaintiff's attorney tried to assert that DeCSS's only purpose was to promote piracy, the gallery laughed out loud.

God I wish I had been there.

The courts aren't that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434339)

Come on, after Microsoft and now this, the courts have been fairly friendly with regards to "Slashdot causes".

There's planty of sanity on the bench yet still.

Next step? (1)

ZMerLynn (129227) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434342)

Are they actually seeking damages and going for a full suit? The original looked like just a request for a restraining order. What's the next step?

One small blow for free speech (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434344)

Congratulations to the EFF and the other defendants on their victory. However, let's keep in mind that this is a small blow for free speech. In fact, there are still significant issues before the court. To wit:

  • Does a private individual have the right to make a program that executes a proprietary algorithm, if they used a clean-room method to find this algorithm?
  • Do individuals or companies have the right to keep data formats private?
  • Here's an important question: can you sue for damages, a person or group who released a product using your patents, if they gave that product away for free?

Let's hope that the good guys win this fight. Between this and the dropping of the etoy vs. eToys lawsuit, this has been a good day for free speach.

Congratulations (2)

PhiRatE (39645) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434360)

Congratulations to all those who were there, and were a part of such action. It is high time we of the community presented ourselves as a very critical part of the world we live in, and not as somehow a different entity altogether. The notion of Cyberspace has made a deep and lasting impression on many of us, as though once we stepped onto our computer, we are somehow not bound by the rules and laws of the real world.

The truth however is very different. Much like the wild west of american brought together a society whose rules were less the result of tradition and more rules applicable to the world they existed in, we have the chance to reach out from Cyberspace with all the community, freedom and sharing that so many of us have created here and break down some of the traditional insanity much of the law and society in the real world represents, and to share with thsoe who haven't seen the incredible possibilities large scale generosity, sharing and collaboration gives us.

Thankyou all those who were there, for being a crucial part of the steps that so many advocates have been chanting for for so long, and which all this year we have been seeing play out in front of us.

The world will be a better place because of the people who saw a better place on the 'net, we are not withdrawing, we are, in the best spirit of open source, sharing everything we have found.



thank god :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434362)

Been waiting up for a while now..... :) GREAT BIG THANKS TO THE EFF FOR THEIR SUPPORT!!!!

We won the battle but the war is not over... (2)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434367)

Even though we won the battle today we will be always be attacked by corporations who think that it's their right to make money at the exchange of freedom.

For a long time this has been the case and I sincerely hope they will realize their wrongdoing. However nothing can correct the bad name the plantiffs have made for themselves in the open-source community. If they can make a name for themselves and support our efforts our lives may be made a lot better.

Moral of the story: there will always be greed and greed affects people's judgement.

The Team Effort Was Great (1)

Ernest_Miller (117710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434370)

Luckily, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit brought it where the defendants and their supporters (such as EFF) could easily attend and make their voices heard. Future plaintiffs will probably not be as nice (although nice is a relative term here). Unlike eToys which sued a group of international artists mainly based in Switzerland in Los Angeles.

Next time they will probably sue in Nebraska or something.

What is going to happen on the 14th?

Remember folks, it's only the first battle... (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434375)

The DVD Copy Control Association (whoa!) will rather have their teeth dragged out than loose few bucks over some petty pirates, and they will use every means to do so! Armour up, it's going to be tough, and laywers take no prisoners!

J.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434380)

The way this written, the right attitude was present in the court room. Show the fallacy of the others agruments. Good work.

Images/Video (2)

pirodude (54707) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434382)

Make sure that you file the paperwork to get cameras in the courtroom for the next hearing.

I gotta see this :)

P.S. Someone try to stream it too

Yay!!!!!!!! (1)

lythari (118242) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434384)

Glad to hear that quite a few people turned up. I wish I could have been there. I'd like to have seen the look on the DVD CCA people's faces. I hope that there will be as least as strong a showing on Jan 14th.

Re: Lawyers == Good?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434397)

Who are these lawyers? I'm of the opinion that most of them should be first up against the wall -- but some of them (our pro bono ones) sound like concerned members of the community, and not loser dick-heads, can we get some names/credit?

-- Ender Duke_of_URL

Re:Copying vs Decoding (1)

redled (10595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434402)

I believe this statement means that you could, with available equipment, easily copy the contents directly from an original dvd to a blank dvd, and be able to use the copy just as if it were the original. This, of course means that decrypting the dvd first is not neccesary in order to play the copy in a standalone dvd player or in your home computer, using one of the many programs available. As I'm sure most people know, the major reason for DeCSS was so that people could (eventually) play thier dvds without having to buy a new OS and program just to do so. In otherwords, decrypting the data first is not even needed to use the contents of the dvd, it is only needed to use the contents of the dvd without the afformentioned supported OS and program.

--

Local community... (1)

mitd (81156) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434404)

It is uplifting to see the 'local' community rise to the occassion to fight what are really global issues of freedom.

As we see more of these global battles being fought in American courts we outside the US should be vigilant in supporting our Yankee comrades who fight the battle on our behalf.

mitd -- riding the north end of the elephants back.

Re:Next step- yep, there's a next one... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434413)

A TRO's the initial step placed in a lawsuit that you plan to carry through on- it's to stop someone that is damaging you in a civil manner from carrying on with the same damage while you prepare for the actual trial.

Thing is, they never grant one unless there's a substantial show that they've got a substantive case. Simply put, at this point, the DVD Forum couldn't prove damages via trade secret "theft" (Wrong tack if I've ever seen one- trade secrets are only such so long as they stay secret; if they didn't breach an NDA or stole it from them or their licensee's own facilities, they're exonerated of that charge.).

Its about time... (1)

Inkey$ (115300) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434415)

Finally,after all the stupid judgements,one that at least bears the semblance of sanity.Lets hope this trend continues...

Re:Copying vs Decoding (1)

Ashen (6917) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434418)

I don't know about digital copying, but you could easily just use a video out on the graphics card either to another computer and make another digital copy or to a VCR and make a copy onto a tape.

Re:The Team Effort Was Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434420)

Maybe, but I think that there probably enough supporters around the country to provide at least a token showing anywhere. If they tried it around Chicago or Milwaukee I'd certainly be there.

Re:Copying vs Decoding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434422)

Yes, you're correct. And it should become obvious if you think about it. How is the player to know if it is playing an original or a bit-by-bit copy? The point of a bit-by-bit copy is the copy is digitally identical to the original.

Re:We won the battle but the war is not over... (3)

Tom Christiansen (54829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434425)

Even though we won the battle today we will be always be attacked by corporations who think that it's their right to make money at the exchange of freedom.
I get the feeling that you would have been happier to stop the sentence after the word "money". As written, that's a remarkably broad and needlessly emotional statement that you have there--wouldn't you agree? What would the American founding fathers say about this "freedom" you refer to? What would Adam Smith say?

I can't quite pin my finger on why, but I really do get the feeling that the word "freedom" is taking a beating here that it is doesn't deserve. Or if not a beating, then at least a stretching and distortion -- a spin. It's as though the word were being impressed into service for a job it was not really cut out for.

This is the kind of talk that gets people shaking their heads in confusion, if not, in fact, in abject disbelieve. Let us not thoughtlessly coöpt so important a word into our service without just and severe cause. There's been more than enough of that kind of despicable word games and devisive spin doctoring in our community already.

Maybe this use it justified. It really does seem extreme, even if the other side is whacked out (and yes, of course they are). But if we use the word "freedom" so lightly, we run the risk that,in the end, it may mean nothing much at all.

Hybris (3)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434437)

I find it strange that the DVD consortium are taking such extreme meassures against DeCSS. I mean, step back and look at the big picture:

No copyprotection on a widespread media has EVER lasted for long. Remomber the Copy2PC option board, that could copy the copy-protected PC-games? How many DAT-stations have the copy protection enabled? How hard is it to rip a CD? I am not embracing this tradition, but these are plain facts. All a copy protection can do is slow down pirating, not halt it.

There is nothing usefull to do with the darned program! HOW are you going to fing 5 GB of random access storage that cost less than the 20 dollar DVD you just ripped? Yes, this WILL come, but not for another year or two year. So DeCSS is meaningless today. And when it comes, it won't come in easy to swallow capsules. Only hackers need apply.

Did they really think they where safe? That they could win? That reverse engienering CSS whould be more difficult than rewriting UNIX. There is a word for that. Hybris.

Re:Did Showing up Help? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434439)

I also dressed up and showed up. Yes, I am sure our attendance helped a lot. The hearing otherwise would have seemed to be a very standard case of copyright infringement against a bunch of rogue crackers. When the judge saw the number of people, I could tell that he immediately realized that this was not such a simple case by the fact that he immediately suggested scheduling the preliminary injunction hearing on a day that was clear of other business. Having everybody attend helped establish the legitimacy of our side. I think it actually was a deciding factor in who won this hearing. I also think it was probably helped the lawyers who were working pro bono or on a favorable rate realize that they are allocating their pro bono time well by giving attention to this case.

Why did we win? (1)

lucky13 (123189) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434445)

There are two obvious points the judge could have used to rule in our favor.
  • The secret is out. No further harm will be done by these websites.
  • The suit is unlikely to be won by the plaintiff.
If the judge ruled on the first issue, this is just a minor victory. But if he ruled on the basis of the second point, that would be very good news. Do we know the basis for the judges ruling?

Re:One small blow for free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434449)

This has *nothing* to do with free speech.

Re:One small blow for free speech (1)

Zurk (37028) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434451)

duh. also :
is linking to illegal material legal ?
is blocking the copyright law which allows a person to make an archived copy of copyrighted material valid ?
is reverse engineering legal ?

Re:Copying vs Decoding (2)

Imperator (17614) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434455)

Right. You could make a bit-by-bit copy of a DVD without the slightest idea of its contents. You'd need the decrypting method to view the contents. However, the manufacturers of all "licensed" DVD players/software conveniently provide the decryption for you.

Wired article reporting the decision (3)

GnrcMan (53534) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434457)

Here [wired.com] is the Wired article anouncing the denial.

--GnrcMan--

Re:hope you like VHS quality- nice FUD... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434459)

That post was FUD, pure and simple. You know they're not going back (they'd have to explain to everyone that has them why there won't be any more of them- without resorting to blaming "hackers" cracking the lame encryption that's ostensibly to prevent copying (well, it does- of DVD players!).

They're stuck with this and now it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle. All this BS is just flailing about in denial, trying desperately to avoid acknoleging the inevitable.

Region encoding and encryption - difference? (2)

dustpuppy (5260) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434463)

Could someone please explain the difference between region encoding and DVD encryption. I'm realise that they have different purposes, but I'm hazy as to exactly what the differences are. My understanding is:

Region encoding - allow the DVD to be only viewed in the appropriate geographical location. The region code is stored on the DVD and is checked by either the DVD drive, decoder card or the software player.

DVD Encryptipon - encrypts (duh) the DVD data so that it can't be copied.

Okay so here are my questions (in no particular order):

  • On certain DVDs I can copy the contents to my hard drive and play them. On other DVDs I can't copy it to my hard drive - is the DVD encryption stopping me?
  • If I do copy a DVD to disk using DeCSS, does this remove the region encoding as well?
  • I don't understand the purpose of DVD encryption since I can already copy some DVDs straight to disk with DeCSS and even then, I can just copy a disc to VHS tape from my TV-out. Am I missing something?
  • Is the region encoding encrypted as well?

Thanks for any assistance.

Ben

OpenDVD.org (was: Did Showing up Help?) (5)

Rik van Riel (4968) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434465)

> I was one who ... showed up. Wonder if it helped.

The battle isn't over. The Open Source community will have to continue showing up. On the Internet, in the traditional media and in the strangest places imaginable.

Our story must be heard and made clear to the press, the general public and everyone else.

At http://www.opendvd.org/ [opendvd.org] the Open Source (OpenDVD) community will continue to "show up" for the next weeks, probably months. Please visit the site and point others at the site. Contact me if you're interested in helping out with the site.

Thanks,

Rik

Deirdre did it! (among other people) (5)

rickmoen (1322) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434477)

Credit goes to Bay Area Linux activist Deirdre Saoirse [deirdre.net] for noticing that the plaintiff was getting away uncontested with claiming that DeCSS was a tool for copying DVDs (which it isn't) as opposed to playing them.

Deirdre got the attention of defence attorney Robin Gross, during a court recess, and made sure they understood the very vital point that DeCSS has nothing to do with DVD copying, which was possible (but uneconomical) before DeCSS was written using other tools entirely. The defence team then explained this to the judge, who was visibly surprised by the news.

The plaintiffs may well have lost the day, right there.

-- Rick M.

Re:One small blow for free speech (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434480)

IANAL, but...

right to make a program that executes a proprietary algorithm

Depends on what you mean by proprietary. If it is covered by patents the answer is no.

Do individuals or companies have the right to keep data formats private

Generally the answer is yes. Many programs have private data formats. Depending on patent status and how they are licensed you might be able to reverse engineer the formats.

can you sue for damages, a person or group who released a product using your patents, if they gave that product away for free?

I am pretty sure the answer to this is yes. This is a huge threat to OSS.

Re:hope you like VHS quality (1)

robwicks (18453) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434481)

because DVDs are going to go away just like betamax

I don't think that likely, but if the cost of freedom were the death of DVD, I, for one consider that to be a paltry sum. Something better will come along.

Re:Copying vs Decoding (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434485)

One of the techniques used to prevent copying of certain cdrom is that a certain portion of a cd while readable with a cd reader, cannot be written by a cd recorder (atleast standard ones) but the high volume cd stamping machines have no problem writing to it. Then the software which installed can do a read of that region to see if it is a exact copy including the special area. I wouldn't be surprized if the same is done with DVD drives. It wont help much on a PC if you write your own software but it would work will with an on the shelf DVD player.

Exactly - but there is one detail (2)

tilly (7530) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434487)

Yes, if you can copy it, you don't need to read it.

However a lot of piracy concerns would be over other formats (eg MPEG) that are more easily copied/downloaded, and you do need to decrypt to put the data into those formats.

But the kind of professional thieves that they have to worry about for the most part won't need to decrypt a thing.

Cheers,
Ben

Re:Did Showing up Help? (5)

WebMistress (72354) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434488)

Yes, I think it did help!

No, we did not have picket signs or a lot of press, but I think it helped in the following ways:

1. The judge and council seemed quite surprised at the number of people in the gallery and interested in this case. Because such a majority of the onlookers were wearing Linux shirts, it gave creedence to the defense's arguement that the DCCS is more important to Linux users than to piraters. (The Linux users felt it was important enough to actually show up en masse and pay attention to even a preliminary hearing.)

2. Whoever was resourceful enough to spend the time passing out the source code on paper and floppies (yes, he sat and copied dozens of his own floppies), rattled the plaintiff enough that they asked to admit this into the evidence for the case. This action will obviously have *some* affect on the outcome of the case. Had he not done this, and had we not been there to receive the code and stand in the hallways, that evidence would not be part of the trial. Do I think this will help us? Yes! It will support the argument of the futility of attempting to regulate the net (because the Court will see, firsthand, how data can spread like wildfire!)

Just my two cents! :)

Boycott the verb "to rip" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434492)

It's time for us stop using the verb to rip. It looks very, very bad, because anybody on the outside isn't going to hear "copy" or "use" or anything of that order. They're going to hear "to rip off". And ripping something off is piracy. It's stealing. It's illegal and immoral.

Please, please, please: banish "rip" from your active vocabulary. Or do you like being thought of as criminals?

Small victory for free speech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434494)

This is a good first step. It would have been better if this case was dismissed.

The problem with litigating free speech issues is that it still costs to fight.

Mattel is trying to litigate me into silence! After Mattel paying me over $140k in a judgment, they still continue with a countersuit for libel because I posted my case against them [sorehands.com] on my website [sorehands.com] . At no time prior to them filing the suit, the told me what was factually incorrect about the site.

It seems a pattern that companies have been using large legal teams and deep pockets to quiet dissent and to get advantage.

It's just the first battle... (2)

farrellj (563) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434496)

Congrats on the Win! This is just the first in a line, I hope! But this whole fight is just one theatre of an ongoing battle that we are fighting over intellectional property, privacy and free speech in a planetary context.

Many organizations are running into this problem, through the Internet there are no borders. What may be a death sentence in one country may be perfectly legal in another. National Laws are being laughed at. And it is the whole globalization challenge again.

Organizations, companies and nations have to realize there is a big blue planet we all live in, and that in the end, unless something must remain secret for the public good, it is going to come out...no encryption is unbreakable, esp. when the human factor comes into play. All it takes is one lone protestor in a government or company that feels that something shouldn't be secret, and suddenly, it is in the public domain.

All groups must consider how their actions will be interpreted in other countries, esp in regards to electronic information. And we
need watchdogs to prevent others from hiding vital information from us.

That is the challeng ofthe next 20 years...and it may come down to the old Cyberpunk battle of Hackers on one side, and MegaCorps on the other.

I hope not. But then again, I retain some sense of optimizism about the highest primate inhabitants of this planet.

ttyl
Farrell

Re:One small blow for free speech (2)

aqua (3874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434497)

Read EFF's summary (as posted in EFFector) -- they make the case quite well that as source code is protected speech (see the Bernstein decision), and all the code written sofar (DeCSS, css-auth, et al) was written by the OSS community, the norwegian reverse-engineers, and so forth, it's their speech and it's protected under the first amendement. Accordingly, it's protected against BS injunctions like this one.

I would also infer that in a courtroom, freedom of expression likely takes a higher precedence than protection of trade secrets, which would tilt the case in our favor with minimal effort, and give the prosecution a much harder case.

Can they show the industry snubbed Linux? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434507)

Can the defendants show any evidence of the industry directly refusing to support Linux DVD-Players? Were requests made for legit/official/liscensed decryption keys that the industry turned down?

It might help the argument in court if they could show that not only were Linux players nowhere to be found, but that the DVD industry had specifically refused to enable the legit creation of a Linux DVD player.

Probably isn't necessary to win the case, but it would certainly help, I imagine. $.02

Re:Most judges.. (1)

WebMistress (72354) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434510)

We hardly had thousands showing up... but at least a few dozen! ;)

Let's start organizing the next one. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434512)

Unless the Y2K thing is real, and we are preparing for the dark reign of the beast lord or something, a lot more of us will be available to do stuff. Seeing as how a lot of people are travelling, on vacation, etc, and the short notice, I bet we could get a much bigger turnout to the next one.

Re:One small blow for free speech (4)

chazR (41002) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434513)

IANAL but....

Does a private individual have the right to make a program that executes a proprietary algorithm, if they used a clean-room method to find this algorithm?

Yes, unless the algorithm is patented.

Do individuals or companies have the right to keep data formats private?

Yes. They can keep it secret (trade secret). It's unlikely that they could copyright or patent a data format.

Here's an important question: can you sue for damages, a person or group who released a product using your patents, if they gave that product away for free?

Depends. If it's your patent, nobody can use it without your agreement. If they do, you can get your lawyers to point this out to them. With big sticks if needed.

The key points (as I understand them) are these:

A trade secret is yours until it leaks, then it's everybody's. Tough.

You have a copyright on anything you create, without having to register it. But anyone can "clean room" reproduce it. They can't just copy it.

If you get a patent, then it's yours. Your competitors will just have to smile sweetly until the patent expires. If they use your patented stuff without your approval, then they're stuffed. Unless they're richer than you.

Please remember that all court cases are determined by the judge examining the wallets of the opposing parties. The heavier wallet always wins.

Feed the hungry. Save the Whales. free() the malloc()s.

Reverse engineering? only bad b/c of EULA ... (2)

wuzoe (28694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434517)

The only reason the DVD people can maintain that CSS is still a trade secret is the info was inappropriately obtained. i.e. reverse engineered.

But, reverse engineering of Xing's software is "wrong" because the EULA said it was a no-no ... after windows refund day, I have to wonder: What can the hackers do *without* agreeing to the EULA?

Obviously they can't *run* the program, but can they still *reverse-engineer* it?

Also, I doubt the Xing *installer* had an eula, although it contained all the data of the program -- could decompiling-decompressing-and-decompiling the installer binary be a work around for the EULA??

I appreciate anyones input. 8-)

Re:hope you like VHS quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434519)

What does freedom have to do with anything?

Re:Copying vs Decoding (2)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434521)

So the decrypting method is only needed to use the contents of a DVD, while copies can be made without understanding the contents of the data.

Yes, and the logical conclusion is that the decryption method is just a tool with a perfectly legitimate purpose. Knives are also tools with a legitimate purpose and despite the fact that they can be used to cause bodily harm nobody would ever think to try to make a knives illegal, let alone making it illegal to publish information about how to make a knife.

On the "best defense is a good offense" front, please tell me why the RIAA's promotion of a closed proprietary playback method with the necessary secrets disclosed only to a select club of manufacturers and a certain large vendor of PC operating systems does not constitute restraint of trade? Isn't the RIAA looking kind of like a cartel here? Is that legal in the U.S.?

Re:Wired article reporting the decision (2)

aqua (3874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434524)

Here's [wired.com] the other, from somewhat earlier today. Pretty flattering. :)

Re:Did Showing up Help? (2)

Dacta (24628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434525)

Like a lot of other people, I was disappointed I couldn't be there.

Has anyone thought of anything good we can do to influence this case?

Is all we can do mirror the code? I'm visiting all the stories I find on this topic, hoping that the increased popularity of those stories will make sure mainstream Journalist cover this more.

Any more ideas?

Ding! (2)

drwiii (434) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434532)

As defendant #8 [min.net] , this makes me very happy. The EFF will definitely be getting a donation from me very soon. I'd like to take a moment to thank Chris DiBona, everyone at the EFF, the mirror community, Emmett Plant (they get you that new keyboard yet? :), Roblimo, Slashdot, and especially everyone who showed up at the courthouse today. I'd also like to give special thanks to the Slashdot community (that includes you), without a doubt the most supportive and vocal community on the web today.

Awaiting the 14th...

Beating the Arrogant (5)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434533)

I have much to write about this topic, but I'll say this much for now:

The DVD Consortium sent in a serious legal strike team...and they struck out, against two EFF lawyers with nothing but 48 hours to prep and a strong sense of justice.

This is amazing.

When I say a serious legal strike team, I'm talking two lawyers flown in from New York, a local lead counsel, and a senior counsel that didn't even speak--she showed up, looked important, and charged a couple hundred bucks an hour. These guys didn't mess around--their level of preparation was astounding, and they attempted to turn every action of the Open Source community against us. Fortunately, their arrogant use of more than a few smoke and mirrors / straw man tactics was likely seen for what it was.

We don't know yet why the judge ruled the way he did--the ruling basically consisted of three large X's through the plaintiff's proposed order and a blunt denial of any such order.

Most interesting thing of the day? Can't tell you. Second most interesting thing of the day? We won over the sheriff's department. I'm serious--not only were they immensely cooperative(though they did request us to move when we were creating a fire hazard by sheer numbers ;-), but the ones I spoke to were genuinely interested in why so many people were converging on their usually much quieter workplace and on the issues that we were there to support.

This was a good day, people. If you plan to come on January 14th, be civil--we stood in marked contrast to the disturbingly insistent lawyers for the plaintiff, and shined beautifully.

A great time was had by all.

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research
http://www.doxpara.com

Proposal: DVD Boycott. (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434535)

People have already suggested a DVD boycott. Allow me to repeat this proposal, and lay out my arguement for such a boycott.

I'm aware that a boycott would not affect our legal standing on this matter. However, let us consider that DeCSS was created, in the first place, as a step towards a DVD driver for Linux. With this lawsuit, the DVD people are essentially telling us, "We don't want the Linux business."

If they don't want our business -- to the point where they'll sue us for trying to enable ourselves to get their business -- why the hell should we support them?

There's another principle at stake here though: while the content of DVDs, and the hardware, is (and should be) covered by copyright, the format of a DVD is currently a closed standard. In computer terms, it's closed source, and proprietary. If you consider a DVD player to be a dedicated computer, then a DVD player violates open source. To be consistent, we should keep away from this closed source standard.

Therefore, I suggest that we stop using DVD's immediately; not purchase any more DVD's; not purchase any DVD players; sell DVD's and DVD players that we have, or return them to the store or manufacturer; and simply not use any DVD technology, period, until they

  1. drop this stupid lawsuit
  2. allow us to write a DVD reader for Linux
  3. apologize for being insensitive pricks about this whole thing.

Comments? Questions? Rude remarks?

Re:hope you like VHS quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434536)

Indeed i do. I'd rather watch VHS quality than be bullied around by a bunch of monopolistic C's who are trying to take away every INCH of consumer freedom away.....

Reason to Celebrate! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434539)

Amen.

It's good to see principles win over fear and uncertainty. We should be celebrating; but we should also remember that the war is just beginning.

At last count, just a bit shy of 200 mirrors of the code were up. We need to double that, and then we need to double *that*. The more copies there are, and the harder the owners of those copies are to track down, the less significant any one site becomes and the more futile legal action becomes. 20 individuals are easier to sue than 2000.

If you create a mirror, remember we are still under battle conditions. Things to remember:

1. Unless you have the resources and willpower to make a personal political stand (i.e., show up in court if it comes down to that), post via a "free" web site rather than your own ISP, and make it as hard to backtrack to you as possible. We need wide distribution, not martyrs.

2. Post both the CSSDVD code and the LIVID package code, if you can. Pack them in .ZIP format so that they can be easily read cross-platform; if you can include the Postscript file detailing the algorithm, do that as well.

3. Mirror the most recent list of mirrors. This is most important; many people still don't know where to find the code. By internetworking lists of mirrors, the code becomes that much more public. A very recent list of mirrors can be found at www.humpin.org/decss/ [humpin.org] .

These guys are taking this very seriously. We won this time, but the main thing we gained was time. Let's make good use of it.

Defendent #46, just another AC.

Appeal? (2)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434540)

Can temporary restraining orders be appealed? Can they also be appealed by the plaintff if they are denied?

Re:Copying vs Decoding (3)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434543)

Regarding the RIAA, MPIA, etc. as monopolies, you are exactly right. IIRC, there was legislation back in the 30s or 40s legalizing them because they were considered to be necessary.

Re:Let's start organizing the next one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434544)

I'll be there with an imported carload of LUGgites if the date and time are posted. I think this falls into SVLUG's organizational jurisdiction, so to speak (same ones that arranged the Fry's and Refund Day protests, yay).

what if someone else accepts the EULA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434546)

Just a guess:

what if your buddy "accepts" the EULA, and you borrow his computer while he's not looking?

does that work?

Re:Thanks to all involved. (5)

adraken (8869) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434548)

Yes, I (named defendant in section 20) would like to personally thank the EFF attorneys who helped represent me in that ominous Santa Clara courtroom.

I don't know what we would have done without the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am elated with the fact that we have such a fine organization designed to protect the rights of those unable to find representation.

Thanks also goes to the numerous people who spent so much of their time and effort to support the effort. Even though the few of us were specifically named, you many made the effort. (Especially the disks and paper sources)

This comes from me and all of the people named that were unable to represent themselves.

Personally, I hope to make it on the 14th.

David M. Chan, an Individual;

Re:We won the battle but the war is not over... (3)

Tom Christiansen (54829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434549)

What a wonderful world it is when a controversial posting that disagrees with our pet little religious philosophies get plonked as flamebait. The Jesuits would not be please.

Wait. I shall redeem myself....

Thanks be the FSF! All glory, love, and honour to them! All praise to Richard Stallman, Our Lord and Saviour. He has sacrified His wrists to deliver us from bondage! He is the way, the truth, and the light -- no man cometh unto Free Software save through the FSF! Bill Gates is Lucifer Incarnate, who enslaves the minds of children and rapes the bank accounts of the parents! Those who have touched Windows are ritually unclean. Let them be cast from the highest precipice into the deepest pit. Maybe Saint Richard smite the Archdevil Bill on Judgment Day.

There, is that good enough for you rabid lunatics? Now that I've blathered my absolutions, may I please speak up now?

The word "freedom" is too important to be watered down into a rallying cry for every single cause célèbre that occurs. And thwapping anyone who mentions this fact is about as far from freedom as you can get.

And go read the moderator guidelines.

Re:hope you like VHS quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434550)

Not likely. The studios are making too much money off of DVD now as everyone replaces their VHS copies with DVD versions.

THIS POINT CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434551)

"If you plan to come on January 14th, be civil--we stood in marked contrast to the disturbingly insistent lawyers for the plaintiff, and shined beautifully."

One way to make a favorable impression on judges, legislators, law enforcement, and other authorities is by not living up to the stereotypes we've all been exposed to for years.

Just ask anyone from Seattle who tried to raise serious, rational objections to WTO policies and practices a few weeks ago. Acting like an unwashed and out-of-control wacko plays right into the hands of our opposition. Acting like a civilized human being is more likely to get your argument heard where it counts.... as long as the aforementioned wackos aren't drowning you out, that is.

This preliminary hearing was an excellent case in point.

Re:We won the battle but the war is not over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434552)

Hee. That one deserves a "funny".

Linux Laptop Player (was Deirdre did it!) (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434553)

Credit goes to Bay Area Linux activist Deirdre Saoirse for noticing that the plaintiff was getting away uncontested with claiming that DeCSS was a tool for copying DVDs (which it isn't) as opposed to playing them.

Perhaps for the hearing on the 14th the 'our' lawyers should be provided with a linux laptop that plays DVD's thanks to DeCSS code to show the judge.

(bonus points for also bringing a typical Windows one that tends to give a blue-screen-of-death every time you touch a player control during the movie - as several of the ones I tested did)

And in the might be good but would require thought department, how about a personal backup copy of the DVD on some current technology media, such as 60 zip disks or even 10 CD-roms to show the fallacy of the piracy argument. Along with the sales receipt for the far cheaper bonafide DVD.

The remaining question: what movie clip would be most appropriate?

Re:Copying vs Decoding (2)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434554)

So the decrypting method is only needed to use the contents of a DVD, while copies can be made without understanding the contents of the data.

I've very concerned about this statement. It is my understanding from reading the livid-dev archives that the disk keys are stored on a sector that the hardware will not read until the CSS authentication process has been begun. See this message [openprojects.net] for example.

Based on this, I do not believe that it is possible to make a bit for bit copy of a DVD disk with standard hardware without a player key.

Ok, you guys convinced me (5)

agravaine (66629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434555)

I have to admit, I've known about the EFF for a while, and while I agreed with what they were trying to do, for one reason or other I was never, I dunno, impressed enough by what they were doing to get involved.

This victory changed my mind. I guess this was an issue that I cared enough about, and one that I thought for sure the 'bad guys' were gonna squash us here, too, but they didn't. I just took the plunge and joined EFF, and made a $500 donation besides. [don't worry, I won't starve :^)

They are doing good work, they are doing important work, and they need and deserve our support. You don't have to give big $$ - heck, student memberships are only $20 (== 1.5 large pizzas.) And they have lots of ways you can help by donating time, or getting involved in letter-writing campaigns, etc.

Get involved. It affects us.

-(--

Re:Beating the Arrogant (1)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434556)

What did they say? I'd really like to see a transcript.

Transcripts have been ordered, and DiBona said he'd scan 'em ASAP.

--Dan

Don't kid yourselves (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434557)

If you go pretending that there is no element of piracy and illegal copying involved in any of this, you're fooling yourself and nobody else. There does exist illegal copying of music. There does exist illegal copying of software. And if you don't think it's going to happen with videos -- or that it isn't happening right now -- you're not being honest with yourself or others.

Please try to grow up enough to admit that. Now, whether you condemn or condone these acts, I leave to you. But they do occur. Stop hiding from that fact.

It's Good News But.... (1)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434558)

IIRC today's court appearance is the result of the suit passed by the DVD-CCA against the 72 websites and 21 individuals who posted links to DeCSS. This case was destined to be thrown out for a variety of reasons.
  • Let's not forget that the lawsuit failed to name download.com as well as others that may have had the money to fight this suit and show up the DVD-CCA up to be the conniving bastards we all know them to be. This indicates that the lawsuit was targetted more at open source advocates, linux users and "hackers" in general for daring to go against the DVD-CCA's wishes...this makes it a candidate for
  • anti-SLAPP legislation [sirius.com] .Check out the Anti-SLAPP project [sirius.com] if you have been SLAPPed by a corporation.
  • The restraining order was trying to make certain forms of linking illegal...yeah right. Sarcastic Courtroom Analogy:"Your Honor, that's like saying that it's illegal for TV reporters to use phrases like 'a murder was committed with a kitchen knife bought at WalMart'...that is the same as linking in a web context.

So I really don't see this as a big victory.What bothers me is what steps are the DVD-CCA going to take now; Lobby to ban reverse-engineering? Switch player formats and leave everyone with DVD players S.O.L.? Press on with more frivolous lawsuits targetted at developers who can't afford court battles? Allow linux players to develop on their own or develop a proprietary linux player? Change licenses so that we are no longer buying the actual DVDs but instead permission to watch the DVD, meaning we can't do whatever we want with them (of course they'll have to change it for VHS to)?

Another question I have is "What's up with a countersuit?", the DVD-CCA's entire case is based on the supposition that cracking the algorithm enables pirates to copy DVDs. We all know this is not true...firstly pirates can pirate DVDs with a bit for bit copy and not worry about the encryption, secondly the primary purpose of DeCSS was to play DVDs which is not illegal (that's why MP3 players, cassette players and CD burners are legal) and there's plenty of precedent on DeCSS's side. Does this mean DeCSS will now be available on the original site [mmadb.no] ?

Re:One small blow for free speech (2)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434559)

Does a private individual have the right to make a program that executes a proprietary algorithm, if they used a clean-room method to find this algorithm?

It is my understanding that clean room implementations are done to avoid violating copyright on code that needs to be emulated.

For example, when the IBM PC BIOS needed to be emulated, clean rooms were set up so that the people seeing the code where not the same people writing the code. That way, they wouldn't unintentionally copy the exact expression.

One of the CSS documents purports to be a clean room specification. Someone could write a C program from that description, but I don't think it would help in this case where the claim is misappropriation of trade secrets.

Do individuals or companies have the right to keep data formats private?

Sure. Don't show them to anyone.

Here's an important question: can you sue for damages, a person or group who released a product using your patents, if they gave that product away for free?

Yes. Patents grant exclusive control over any process. They are stronger than copyrights in that even independantly developed implementations are covered. Patents are also for a much shorter duration than copyrights. Patent holders can sue for royalties from anyone utilizing their patent.

Re:Thanks to all involved. (2)

babbage (61057) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434560)

I'm glad to see that an average guy, not much older than myself (right Robert? I forget) can have such a positive impact on things. Let this be an object lesson folks. The activism of the sixties ain't dead -- it's dormant, but we can wake it up, and the 'net can be a great alarm clock do wake it up with. Go to it kids. Make a difference. Save the world. Pirate DVDs. Whatever. I'm all for it.



Yes! (5)

ikluft (1284) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434561)

I was also one of the 40-50 who attended. When I went this morning, I knew that one purpose of attending was just to let the DVD CCA know what they were getting themselves into.

When we discussed this at lunch, I realized there was more. For Andy Bunner, the one defendant who was able to attend on such short notice, we were a morale boost he really needed. And he was thanking people at lunch just for showing up.

Looking forward to the January 14 hearing on the permanent injunction, I think our support has strengthened EFF's credibility.

But did we have an effect on the judge's decision? In an ideal world, one would hope a judge should be 110% impartial to such influences. And Judge Elfving may have been that impartial. But if it's possible that we contributed in any way, then our presence added some power to EFF's well-researched presentation. After all, as several people there pointed out, there isn't usually much attendance for a hearing on a temporary restraining order!

So let's make sure to be there again on January 14 at 1:30PM.

Re:Copying vs Decoding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434562)

That's how Playstation copy protection works. Some sectors are completely zeroed, including the EDC and ECC.

Let's hope CNN is reading today (1)

skip277 (24541) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434563)

Like the title says. CNN seems to pick up a lot of /. stories. So CNN reader(s), PLEASE pick this one up and write a concise, clear article about our views and why we are doing this. The more people who know what is going on and why, the better our chances are. I guess this would apply to everyone else as well (C|Net, ZDNet, Wired, etc.)

Skippy

Re:Copying vs Decoding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434564)

Hmmm, interesting. Sounds alot like the old copy protection schemes of the 5.25"/3.5" era.

In most of the 'technically-hard-to-break' protection schemes, they'd flash a laser on a section of the disk. That would cause that region to be read unreliably - so multiple passes of the head would result in different datasets read. And when you copied it, the copy that you made could be read reliably all the time since the disk drive is going to write only encoded binary values.

Tom

Re:hope you like VHS quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434565)

DVD won't go away until it costs more to manufacture, store, distribute, sell and rent than VHS. I don't think this will happen. You copy VHS tapes right now, have VHS movies stopped being made?

Re:We won the battle but the war is not over... (1)

cheese63 (74259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434566)

Bill Gates is Lucifer Incarnate, who enslaves the minds of children

No, television is the devil incarnate. Bill Gates is just some rich guy.

A for Anything (2)

Tom Christiansen (54829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434567)

From a book review (or perhaps, the back cover?):
The day started like any other for retired bank VP Harry Breitfeller until he found the box on his doorstep. His name and address were on the label, but no return address. When he opened the box, he saw two objects unlike any he'd seen before. The box held two Gismos.

A device so simple, so pervasive, it could even clone itself. No more work. No more want. No more need.

The end of life on Earth as we know it. It was only a matter of time until someone duplicated people...

In 1972, Damon Knight publisher a book entitled A for Anything. The premise was that two machines were found that could copy anything--including each other. (One, obviously, wouldn't have sufficed :-). This book identified many issues that occur when anything is infinitely copiable. Traditional society breaks down.

Now, we haven't gotten to Knight's endgame--copying people--but as increasingly large sectors of our world becomes infinitely copiable, some of the same issues begin to apply. I doubt whether I've read it in twenty years, but I think I'm going to see whether I can't dig it up.

Re:Boycott the verb "to rip" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434568)

So what if ripping is stealing? Don't be lame. Everybody does it. There's nothing wrong with getting copies of your pal's MP3s. You'll never catch me. CDs are too expensive as it is, and I don't have the money to buy all the ones I want. This isn't stealing anything important. It's information that's meant to be free. I'm just helping its freedom along.

Let me get this straight... (4)

RyanGWU82 (19872) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434569)

OK, let me see if I understand the facts and law here correctly... please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this. This could be the basis of a comprehensive defense.

1. Given sufficient resources, the data stored on a DVD can be copied to hard drives or DVD-RAM discs. However, this raw data is in encrypted format, and it is useless without being decrypted.

2. Ignoring media incompatibilities (i.e. "stand-alone players can't play data stored on a hard drive"), these copies can be played using commercial DVD players (stand-alone players or computer software) because these commercial products include the appropriate decryption mechanisms.

3. No member of the DVD CCA has produced DVD player software for Linux. As such, the open source community began developing open source DVD player software for Linux. In order to play these DVDs, though, they needed to decrypt the data. This decryption portion of the overall project was known as DeCSS.

4. Following a traditional Unix/Linux programming habit, the DeCSS code is "modularized" -- it can be run without the DVD player running. A side effect of this modularization is that it becomes extremely easy to save the unencrypted movie data to your hard drive, rather than just show it on your monitor/speakers.

5. DeCSS developers used published information to learn the encryption algorithm used on DVDs. However, the encryption keys were considered "proprietary" by the CCA, and not published or previously disseminated to the public in their raw form.

6. Xing Technology Corporation was licensed by the DVD CCA to ship software to decrypt and play DVDs under Microsoft operating systems. Xing was under a non-disclosure agreement, barring them from sharing the encryption keys with third parties.

7. Standard practice is to encrypt the encryption keys, to prevent users from copying the keys from legal, licensed applications. However, Xing departed from standard practice when they shipped their DVD-playing software with the encryption keys in their raw format.

8. Users of Xing software entered into a "shrinkwrap license agreement" which prohibited "reverse engineering."

9. Certain users of Xing software found the raw encryption keys within the Xing product. They may or may not have breached their agreement with Xing when doing this.

10. Given this one key, it was extremely simple to find many other keys. These additional keys were found by examining the code on a DVD. DVDs do not require you to enter into a "shrinkwrap license agreement" before using the disc.

Given these facts, the DeCSS people seem to have generally acted ethically, and should be in pretty good standing legally. Potential legal issues therefore include:

A. Should "finding the raw encryption key" be considered "reverse engineering"?

B. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act says reverse engineering is legal for purposes of interoperability. Given the above facts (and the conclusion that DeCSS was therefore designed for interoperability), was it outside of Xing's authority to prohibit this type of reverse engineering? If this is inside Xing's authority, then (for example) Microsoft also has the ability to prohibit Corel from reverse engineering Word file formats to enable WordPerfect to read Word files.

C. Users of Xing software were not asked to agree to the license until after the transaction was completed. Is this even legal?

D. Assume that Doe #200 did not directly participate in the reverse engineering, was not an licensee of the Xing product in question, can he still be prohibited from posessing or distributing keys obtained via reverse engineering?

E. Is anyone other than Xing allowed to pursue this lawsuit? It seems that the only contract the DVD CCA had was with Xing, and the only contract the users had was also with Xing. Under this logic, the DVD CCA should be suing Xing, and Xing should be counter-suing the users of their product who performed the reverse engineering.

F. Are the encryption keys "trade secrets"? Are they "stolen"?

What do you all think? Have I forgotten anything? Will this summary of facts and legal questions be useful to anyone?

Ryan

Instead of yet another ridiculous boycott... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434570)

...which is 100% guaranteed to have no effect other than depriving you of a good way to watch movies, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] instead.

These are the guys who stood up in the trenches and won a (small, but important) victory for consumers' fair-use rights today. Make no mistake: this case is not about DVD. It is not about the mechanics of viewing or copying any particular video format. It is about the right of you, the honest American consumer, to make fair and reasonable use of media content you've bought and paid for.

Recent US legislation, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, has placed your fair-use rights in jeopardy. Someone is going to have to fight the good fight -- read: the long, expensive, and legally-risky fight -- all the way to the US Supreme Court. And right now, the EFF is looking like our best hope for victory.

All consumers -- even international ones -- have a lot to lose if the DVD Copyright Control Association wins this war. Annoyed by region coding, Macrovision, and other artificial stumbling blocks to enjoying a flick in your own living room? Either support the EFF's efforts now, or prepare yourself for a long and fruitless "boycott" that will end when your last $99 VHS deck gives up the ghost in the year 2025 or so.

Re:Don't kid yourselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434572)

It's all just information. It shouldn't be illegal to copy *any* information. I'm just doing my civil duty.

Re:Proposal: DVD Boycott. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434577)

i have allready returned my DV-525 back and replaced it with a new video player(VHS). If they don't want my business i don't want theirs.. SImple.... The problem now is that i am stuck with a bunch of DVD's i have no use for and can't return :/

Re:Proposal: DVD Boycott. (2)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434578)

I'd like to see DVD's go the way of 8-track tapes. The whole idea was wrong from the start. We do not need DVD's in our computers. What we need is lots of digital storage, we don't need stupidly designed, error-prone, heat generating, overpriced decryption hardware hanging off it that does nothing of any use to us, and for which we are forced to pay.

If we had an open, Digital Disk alternative designed by our engineers and manufactured for us by manufacturers anxious to please 10,000,000 penguinistas, we'd buy it and use it, wouldn't we? We'd see our favorite Linux distributions available in this format wouldn't we? All it will take is unified action.

So yes, let's boycot DVD, but lets also give ourselves an alternative so we don't have to suffer for it. In the meantime I'll get by with my CDR, thankyou, and I'm not so desperate to watch Starwars on my laptop that I have to get a DVD player today.

Re:Most judges.. (1)

reflector (62643) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434579)

Wishing something fun would happen in Raleigh..

If something like this did happen in Raleigh, would you Raleigh to the cause?

Open Source legal defense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434580)

With a few pro bono folks who understand the intracacies of the system working on the 'code', and a horde of interested users checking for bugs.

Re:Beating the Arrogant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434581)

Fortunately, their arrogant use of more than a few smoke and mirrors / straw man tactics was likely seen for what it was.

What did they say? I'd really like to see a transcript.

VCDs (1)

Infe (52681) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434582)

I could be wrong, but when I heard about this case, I automatically assumed the reason they don't want you to decrypt DVDs is not because they're afraid you'll copy the DVD bit for bit, but because they are afraid you will decode it, encode it in some other format, and save it to a CD-ROM (ala VCD). Is this even part of the case at all? There are DVD rips all over the internet, which is what it seems like they would want to stop.

Re:One small blow for free speech (1)

DunLurkin (125146) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434583)

Can't say about 1. or 2., but the law is very clear on 3. :
A patent gives the holder ( or licensee) an exclusive right to "make or use the invention" - there is no exception for freebies.
Of course, this case was based on trade secret disclosure, not patent infringement. With only a very few exceptions (mostly nuclear/ defense tech), patents are NOT secret - they are public documents and may be freely reproduced and transmitted.

Re:A for Anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434586)

In 1972, Damon Knight publisher a book entitled A for Anything. The premise was that two machines were found that could copy anything--including each other. (One, obviously, wouldn't have sufficed :-). This book identified many issues that occur when anything is infinitely copiable. Traditional society breaks down.

"Traditional" society is only another way of saying, "the way it's always been" or something to that effect. In a society of truly infinite copiability, personal values would shift to compensate as people still fight to find meaning in their lives. A new social order would evolve. Infinite copiability doesn't necessarily equate to social anarchy.

Society is as much about finding meaning in community as it is about mutual survival. Infinite copiability wouldn't change that.

Re:Reverse engineering? only bad b/c of EULA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434588)

Sure you can! Just reverse-engineer the executable to the extent that you can run it without invoking the EULA. The rest is obvious.

Re:It's Good News But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434589)

The cat is out of the bag; there is nothing they can do about CSS being broken. There are way to many DVD players around for them to abandon it now. I think that they will just have to deal with it, just like the recording industry has to deal with MP3's.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>