"EFF's DVD defense team rested its case on Tuesday in litigation
over the movie studios' attempt to ban DeCSS software that enables
people to play DVDs on their computers. David Touretzky, a computer
science professor at Carnegie Mellon University testified for the
defense explaining the inherently expressive nature of computer
code. Touretzky created a "Gallery of CSS Descramblers" on his
university Web site illustrating a multitude of ways that the idea
of DeCSS can be expressed using various languages - from plain
English to source code to assembly language, etc. He walked the
court through a step by step illustration, demonstrating how a
series of 1's and 0's taken from one rendition of the code actually
communicate a specific idea expressed in the English or C-source
code versions of the software."
"Touretzky informed the court that computer code is the means by
which programmers communicate to one another with precision so
banning DeCSS will inevitably have a chilling effect on his ability
to express himself. Touretzky explained how source and object code
really convey the same idea - only expressed differently, and
cautioned the court against differentiating between different forms
of speech (including computer code) for purposes of First Amendment
"Visibly moved by the compelling testimony, at one point Judge
Kaplan got out of his chair and paced back and forth, listening
intently to the professor's mind blowing explanation. When
Touretzky was finished, the judge thanked him for his testimony,
saying it had been "illuminating", "important", and that he was
"hoping to hear it" during the course of the trial. After both
parties rested their case, Judge Kaplan said that his DMCA analysis
had likely not changed since he issued the injunction in January.
However, "I think one thing probably has changed with respect
to the constitutional analysis," Kaplan stated, "I really find what
Professor Touretzky had to say today extremely persuasive and
educational about computer code."
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