"U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan last week surprised few
courtroom observers when he sided with the motion picture industry
and ordered 2600 Magazine to delete a DVD-descrambling program from
its website. But almost nobody expected Kaplan to agree with
Hollywood's request to ban the hacker-zine from even linking to the
"Kaplan's ruling, legal experts say, appears to be an
unprecedented expansion of traditional copyright law. No longer is
it merely illegal to distribute a potentially infringing computer
program -- but now even linking to someone else's copy could be
verboten. That could create legal problems for reporters and
editors at sites like Wired News, Slashdot, and CNET's news.com,
who have included links to DeCSS in news stories as part of their
coverage of the lawsuit."
"Even if there is no First Amendment right to put up the source
code, there is a very strong argument to include the URL to
anything you please," says Eugene Volokh, a UCLA professor who
teaches copyright and free speech law. "...in the long term,
there's a serious problem," he says. "If these cases become
precedent, then all sorts of things newspapers publish they won't
be allowed to because it makes them aiders and abettors, or
co-conspirators, or whatever else."
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