AfterDawn: Tech news

DeCSS trial continues on Tuesday

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 30 Apr 2001 3:20

One of the best-known court fights is going to continue tomorrow. The case between website 2600 and MPAA (Movie Picture Association of America) continues at 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York when both sides present their oral arguments within 20 minutes to the court.
The case is the first serious test for controversial DMCA law (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that was made to restrict digital copyright violations. The whole story is that MPAA sued bunch of websites back in 1999 that were posting DeCSS code (a program that decrypts CSS, the encryption format used on DVD discs) -- all but one website removed the code and avoided the legal problems. The one website that didn't remove the code was 2600 and MPAA sued the site for violating DMCA.

In the first round MPAA won -- New York Federal District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that 2600 was violating DMCA law and was guilty on charges. EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) which is representing the 2600, appealed the ruling in January 2001 arguing that the ruling violates the First Amendment (the very basic law in the U.S. that allows free speech for everyone).

Other issue that concerns lots of people, including programmers, journalists, etc, is the fact that 2600 didn't host the code all the time, but instead linked to other servers that had the DeCSS code. Now, EFF (and many others) are claiming that if the appeals court also rules against 2600, it could mean that very basic principles of Internet and World Wide Web are in danger -- whole web is basically built on links to other sites and resources.

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