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Cryptome.org: Friend of Court Brief: DeCSS is a copyrightable literary work; DMCA cited to prove it

Jan 25, 2001, 19:16 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marvin Minsky, Richard Stallman, Brian Kernighan, Et AL.)

"Copyright law already recognizes that code, both source and object, may be copyrighted as a literary work or an original work of authorship. 17 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). It does not take a leap of faith to say that a copyrightable literary work is a work entitled to full First Amendment protections, regardless of its functionality."

"The law does not allow for the copyright of abstract ideas, procedures, processes, methods of operation, facts, or even "sweat of the brow" compilations of facts. ... Stated otherwise, copyright is proper only for particular expressions of ideas, including ideas expressed in "literary works."

"The fact that computer code is copyrightable means that it is protected by the First Amendment. Copyright law, of which DMCA is a part, confirms the point:

In view of the First Amendment protections already embodied in the Copyright Act's distinction between copyrightable expression and uncopyrightable facts and ideas, and the latitude for scholarship and comment traditionally afforded by fair use, we see no warrant for expanding the doctrine of fair use ...."

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