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EFF.org: DVD Update: Universal City Studios v. 2600 Magazine, Day 3

Jul 20, 2000, 16:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Gilmore)


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[ Thanks for this link to Bryan Taylor, who notes that the transcript of day 3 is at http://www.eff.org/pub/Intellectual_property/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/20000719_ny_trial_transcript.html. ]

"Wednesday morning in the New York DVD trial began with continued examination of Marsha King, a VP in Time-Warner. She explained how terribly hurt the studios were by the mere loss of confidence in CSS, let alone the millions of dollars they could also potentially lose from illicit copying. She described her participation in creating the DVD format, deciding on security standards for it, and negotiating with the consumer electronics and computer industries on a common position (which was enshrined in the CSS and the CSS license agreements)."

"Interestingly, Judge Kaplan refused to allow questioning in any area related to when and whether buyers of Warner DVDs receive the "authority of the copyright holder", which is a critical element of whether the buyer is circumventing when they play a DVD. The judge thought it was obvious, and eventually facetiously asked Ms. King whether Time-Warner authorized buyers to play their DVDs on players which have never signed a DVDCCA license, to which she said "No". But this begged the question of exactly how a consumer knows what authority they have been granted, where that authority is defined by a company, whether the company can change its mind later or for specific consumers, whether this authority is general or can have limitations such as "you are authorized to play this Sony movie only on Sony's DVD players", etc. It is our position that the authority to play a DVD is granted to the buyer at the time of purchase, without limitation. Any other reading of the statute produces chaos in the market, since after selling a single copy of a technically-protected work, any copyright owner would have the legal right to decide what players are permitted to exist in the entire market (by withdrawing their authority for some drives to play their work, and then suing drive distributors, as Time Warner sued 2600, to ban them as unauthorized circumventers)."

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