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A California appeals panel reverses a 4-year-old injunction preventing publication of code that breaks Hollywood's DVD encryption scheme.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by the motion picture industry in a closely watched case aimed at blocking distribution of DVD-cracking code on the Internet. The DVD Copy Control Association has sued hundreds of programmers who published the code, known as DeCSS, arguing that the postings violated state trade secrets law. The appeal seeks to overturn a lower court decision in favor of the defendants that found banning the code was an illegal crackdown on free speech. In a separate federal case in New York, an appeals court has ruled that posting or linking to the code violates copyright laws.
The editor of hacker publication 2600 is asking the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to review an earlier decision prohibiting the magazine from linking to or posting DeCSS--code that can be used to crack DVD security. In November, a three-judge panel of the court sided with the movie industry, which had sued the publication, saying the posting of DeCSS would lead to rampant piracy. The court is expected to decide whether to review that decision sometime in the spring.
Hollywood reaches into Norway in an attempt to bust the creator of code that can be used to crack DVD security.
A California state appellate court heard oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit aiming to stop publication of a program, dubbed DeCSS, that makes it possible to decrypt DVD security. The DVD Copy Control Association is arguing that the program violates trade secrets. Last year, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Elfvig granted the association's request for a preliminary injunction, causing Andrew Bunner and other defendants to halt online publication of the source code. Bunner, who is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the First Amendment Project, filed an appeal. At Thursday's hearing, the advocacy groups argued the court had made a mistake in issuing the injunction. "What the injunction did was it forced Andrew Bunner to edit his Web site," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Our argument is whenever you are forcing somebody to edit their Web site, the First Amendment has to be applied--and the Superior Court didn't apply it." Cohn said a ruling is expected within 90 days.
A request by the DVD Copy Control Association to California courts marks the close of the last prominent legal battle over DeCSS code.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says the dean of Stanford Law School will join the defense team for a hacker magazine in an Internet free-speech and copyright lawsuit. Kathleen Sullivan, a law professor at Stanford and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet Society, will argue the case May 1 in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. The case targets underground hacker magazine 2600, which posted DeCSS, a program that makes it possible to decrypt DVD security, in November 1999. The Motion Picture Association of America sued 2600 last year, alleging the magazine violated copyrights by publishing code that could potentially enable people to copy movies. A federal judge agreed and banned 2600 from linking to or posting the code. The EFF, which represents the magazine, appealed the case in January.
A mixed cast of characters, including the National Football League and Major League Baseball, is backing the movie industry in its fight against an underground hacking magazine.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer calls DVD-cracking software DeCSS a tool for "breaking, entering and stealing" during a hearing before the California Supreme Court.
Hollywood's efforts to keep DVD cracking software off the Internet has taken another twist, with the California Supreme Court agreeing to review for the second time an appeals court decision in a closely watched trade secrets case. Earlier this year, the 6th District Court of Appeals found that Illinois resident Matthew Pavlovich can be tried in California, potentially setting a far-reaching precedent for jurisdiction in the Internet age. Pavlovich appealed, arguing a violation of the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. Pavlovich is one of dozens of defendants sued by the DVD Copy Control Association for posting computer code known as DeCSS, which enables people to copy DVDs and play them on computers. The group argued that the postings violated California's trade secrets law. A parallel federal suit targeting Eric Corley, publisher of the 2600 Web site, was filed in New York.