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Wired: Only News That's Fit to Link [DeCSS Trial Implications]

Aug 23, 2000, 19:24 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Declan McCullagh)

"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 DeCSS utility."

"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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