"It was perhaps the most arcane statement in all the hours of
acronym-filled testimony, one that came on the last day of the
six-day trial. But it may have been a turning point in an important
battle over the limits of a new copyright law, a potential landmark
case that ended its trial phase last week in Manhattan and now
awaits a verdict by the judge...."
"I see this as having a chilling effect on my ability as a
computer scientist to express myself," Professor Touretzky said. He
was referring to the court's preliminary injunction that barred a
Web site from posting the underlying, or source, code for the
cracking program. "If the court upholds this injunction, what
would happen is that certain uses of computer language -- my
preferred means of expression -- would be illegal."
"Until that moment in the trial, United States District Judge
Lewis A. Kaplan had appeared to have little doubt about the
copyright law's constitutionality. In ordering the injunction, he
had noted that the First Amendment does not shield copyright
infringement, and that computer code was essentially "no more
expressive than an automobile ignition key."
"But in light of the professor's testimony, Judge Kaplan said,
he would reconsider his constitutional analysis. It would be hard
to make a case "that computer code of any kind has no expressive
content," the judge said. "Which then gets you to the question of
how then do you deal with it under the First Amendment?"
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.