AfterDawn: Tech news

EFF filed its briefs to Californian Supreme Court

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 23 May 2002 13:55

Electronic Frontier Foundation and First Amendment Project today filed briefs to Californian Supreme Court asking the court to uphold the appeals court's decision that distributing DeCSS code on the Internet doesn't violate Californian trade secrets laws.
EFF's briefs were a response to DVD CCA's briefs filed in March to Californian Supreme Court. DVD CCA obviously wants to overturn the decision made by appeals court in November.

DVD CCA's case at least looks weak, because they've based their legal action on Californian trade secrets laws and claiming that DeCSS violates these laws. But reverse engineering, which would have been normally the best method to build DeCSS-type of program, doesn't violate this law. Nor does the method how DeCSS actually was built -- by a mistake made by Xing Technologies. Xing simply forgot to encrypt the CSS encryption keys that were stored within their XingDVD software player and DeCSS uses those keys (which is also the reason why original DeCSS doesn't work with new DVD discs anymore -- DVD CCA has changed the encryption keys since beginning of 2000).

Anyway, the case, which was filed two years ago against Californian resident Andrew Bunner, is closely related to the other high-profile DeCSS case in New York, where movie studios have sued hacker mag 2600 over distributing DeCSS. Only real difference between cases is the fact that courts' decisions have been completely different in each coast -- recently appeals court in New York decided that posting DeCSS actually violates notorious DMCA law (which is the basis of the East Coast case, unlike in West Coast, where DVD CCA is using other legal arguments).

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