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VNU Net: MP3.com bans software pirate song

Sep 16, 2000, 14:40 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Geralds)

By John Geralds, VNU Net

Online music source MP3.com has confirmed it has banned a protest song that details how DVD films can be decoded, copied and played on Linux-based PCs.

Fears that the track, called DeCSS.MP3, would encourage copyright violation, led the portal to pull the song from its list of thousands of digital tracks.

Attracting attention to the issue of whether DeCSS is a legal utility or a cracking tool is reported to be the reason why artist Joseph Wecker released the track.

Posting the code or linking to direct downloads of the program violates copyright law, according to the courts, because it is an unauthorised way of breaking through the film industry's copy protections.

However, the developers of the code insist that DeCSS was designed to play legally bought DVDs on Linux-based computers, because that format is not supported by the film industry.

The code has been at the centre of a legal battle recently won by a group of Hollywood film studios. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled against the publisher of 2600, a magazine and website for hackers, after it posted DeCSS on its website.

MP3.com is embroiled in a legal battle of its own over its controversial My.MP3.com service. Earlier this week a US federal judge ruled that the company violated the copyright of the Universal Music Group and ordered it to pay damages of at least $118m. MP3.com said it will appeal the ruling.

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