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Washington Post: Hollywood to Home Viewer: We Own You

Aug 28, 2000, 14:04 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Pegoraro)

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"Any content-producing company, through the DMCA . . . can convert their ownership of content into control of the devices that play it back," summarized Eric Scheirer, an analyst with Forrester Research. "The Washington Post could decide to encrypt your articles and say, 'Netscape is not granted the authorization to play back these articles.' "

"Last week's ruling turned on this interpretation. DeCSS has legitimate uses--a group of programmers is using this code to develop an open-source DVD player program for Linux--but U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan disregarded them. "He simply chose to ignore everything we said," complained Jon Johansen, the Norwegian author of DeCSS, in an e-mail."

"Valenti argues that the movie industry is "a distinct economic asset to this country" and Kaplan's verdict is necessary to protect it. But copyright laws have limits; if we must choose between movie-studio profits and the Bill of Rights, it ought to be clear which one is expendable."

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