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Law News Network: Source Code is Protected under the First Amendment

Apr 11, 2000, 21:49 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brenda Sandburg)

[ Thanks to Rip Linton for this link. ]

"On April 4 the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that "computer source code is an expressive means for the exchange of information and ideas about computer programming" and is thus protected by the First Amendment."

"While ruling on the issue of First Amendment claims, the 6th Circuit remanded the case back to the district court to determine whether posting of the source code in question would violate government encryption export regulations."

""We recognize that national security interests can outweigh the interests of protected speech and require the regulation of speech," Chief Judge Boyce Martin Jr. wrote. "In the present case, the record does not resolve whether the exercise of presidential power in furtherance of national security interests should overrule the interests in allowing the free exchange of encryption source code.""

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