By John Geralds, VNU
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
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.