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LinuxWorld: DeCSS trial wrap up - Kaplan finds in favor of MPAA; defendants appealing

Aug 21, 2000, 23:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Deborah Durham-Vichr)

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"Round one of the fight over DeCSS is over, but the matter is far from settled. The defendants are warming up for an appeal that may decide the issues of whether computer code can be considered free speech and whether outlawing reverse engineering on the Web should be possible."

"It came as no surprise that a federal judge granted a permanent injunction yesterday against Eric Corley and 2600, his hacker magazine. The ruling, which prohibits posting the DeCSS code that decrypts DVDs, ends the suit in favor of the plaintiffs, the Motion Picture Association of America. What did come as a surprise was that Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York also enjoined the defendant from linking to Websites that offer DeCSS or otherwise trafficking in the code, and broadened the ruling to enjoin those acting in concert with 2600."

"[The ruling] does chill linking and, in the long run, it chills the Internet," commented Meg Smith, a fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defense. "Certainly linking will become a key issue for an appeal now," said Wendy Seltzer, also a fellow at the Berkman Center."

"While piracy was the reason the filmmaking giants gave for the suit, the trial also raises issues of free speech and fair use, uncharted territory in the digital age. "The court's ruling is a victory for consumers and for legitimate technology," said Jack Valenti, MPAA chair and CEO."

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