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LawNewsNetwork: Mogul Movie Horror - Can law halt Web cracking of DVD code?

Mar 21, 2000, 20:57 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Thomas Scheffey)

"The quick-to-download free program that unscrambles DVD's protective Content Scramble System is known as deCSS. Its author, a 15-year-old Norwegian, Jon Johansen, said he and two Internet collaborators in Holland and Germany only wanted to be able to play DVD movies on their Linux-based computers. Johansen released it on the World Wide Web last summer...."

"From the movie industry's standpoint, the hackers' deCSS program is not just some whimsical artistic creation. It could have potentially devastating consequences for the industry and the commercial viability of DVD as a technology, especially as computers and DVD discs gain the capacity to store movie-length amounts of data on the next generation of storage disk."

"David B. Moskowitz, of Productivity Solutions, near Philadelphia, has the computer know-how to analyze the deCSS program, and has done so. He believes the movie industry "has its head in the sand" to believe an electronic lock on movies would not be picked."

"At best, he said, encryption tools merely slow down the decryption process. "The industry had the same kinds of fears [of wholesale piracy] when VHS was new," he said. But the huge subsequent success of the commercial home movie rentals, and lucrative additional market for Hollywood, boiled down to a matter of economic adaptability."

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