I would have done a writeup
about this earlier but I couldn't figure out a simple title. The full description is:
UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC.;
PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION;
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER, INC.; TRISTA;
PICTURES, INC.; COLUMBIA PICTURES
INDUSTRIES, INC.; TIME WARNER
ENTERTAINMENT CO., L.P.; DISNEY
EMTERPRISES, INC.; AND TWENTIETH
CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATON,
SHAWN C. REIMERDES; ERIC CORLEY
A/K/A "EMMANUEL GOLDSTEIN";
ROMAN KAZAN; AND 2600
has chosen 2600
to be the example in their quest to stop anyone from reverse engineering DVD encryption (CSS
). On one hand
, it's a good choice. The public won't look too kindly on a magazine known as "The Hacker
Quarterly" that publishes articles on how to break into computers, create fake IDs, and, of course, make free phone calls. But, Our Hero
, Emmanuel Goldstein
will point out that these are informational articles and that 2600
doesn't support illegal activities. That way, the case can be turned into a 1st Ammendment battle.
The funny thing is, I'm not sure what the actual charges are in this particular case. 2600 posted the code for DeCSS (the program that decrypts CSS), and was sent a cease and desist order. So, they took the code down but continued to maintain and greatly enlarge their list of mirror sites. I'm proud to say that I was once on that list myself until the University of Kentucky pulled my student computing account after getting a similar cease and desist order. Luckily for me, I got my account back, and kept my job as a lab consultant. So, the charge is either for posting DeCSS at all, or is an attempt to stop 2600 from posting the links (I think it's the latter). By reading the actual transcripts of the trial it's really not clear. The main arguments in the trial seem to be whether or not it's legal for someone to create DeCSS (through reverse engineering), and whether it's legal for 2600, as a journalistic publication, to post it.
IMPORTANT: This trial is going on now! You can check out the transcripts as they're released on 2600's homepage: www.2600.com. Many part of the transcripts are very interesting. I may actually create a Good Parts Version of the transcripts. For a good review of what happened everyday you can check out:
http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/dvd_updates_archive.html. The EFF is paying for 2600's defence, by the way.
Why should I care? This is the first real case to interpret the DCMA. If 2600 loses the case it could have major effects on our ability to reverse engineer and attempt to understand technology. The DCMA makes it illegal to circumvent an effective technology measure. That means that it would be illegal to tinker with a product that you bought as long as it has some form of encryption. This could very well provide the death nell for Linux by making it impossible to legally reverse engineer Microsoft file formats.
I know it's dumb to reply to soft links, but this is not plagiarized. What kind of journalist would write something as garbled as this? The only part that's cut and pasted
is the full description of the trial and that comes from any of the transcripts. I just thought that was obvious.
: The trial is over and it actually looks good for our side. It seems a final decision will be made around August 8th.