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Linux.com: DeCSS, Napster, and the Demise of Consumer DAT

Mar 29, 2000, 17:35 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Palmieri)

"In the past, products that had the ability to circumvent copy protection but also had other legal uses were upheld by the law as being legal to distribute. An example of this was the old disk copying utilities for the Apple II series. They had the potential to make illegal copies of software program complete with copy protection intact. They also could be used to create legitimate backup copies and were thus upheld by the law as being legal."

"This is analogous to a hammer. A hammer can be used to commit crimes such as murder but they also have many legitimate uses. Restricting the manufacturing and distribution of hammers would be ludicrous. Similarly restricting the use of software that would allow a user to view a DVD that they bought or distribute a song that they created, just because they have the potential to be used for other illegal purposes, is also ludicrous."

"What really is at stake here is not money as they would have us believe, but control and power. These programs take the power away from the entertainment industry and puts it squarely in the hands of the consumer. It is not only the illegal uses of these tools that scares the MPAA and RIAA, but also its legitimate uses. It will be interesting to see how courts deal with the DeCSS and Napster cases. Hopefully it will be to the benefit of consumers."

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