AfterDawn: Tech news

Twist in DeCSS case

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 May 2001 7:32

One of the best known on-going DMCA cases, the trial that tries to solve if it's legal to distribute DeCSS, got a weird twist this week, when appeals' court three-judge panel requested both sides of the case, website 2600 and MPAA, to answer 11 questions that seek to determine how to apply the First Amendment to computer code.
The judges also asked for arguments on the validity of lower court's decision to determine whether banning an online publication from linking to other sites infringed on the right to free speech.

"I've never seen this happen before," said one of 2600's lawyers, Martin Garbus of the law firm of Frankfurt Garbus Kurnit Klein & Selz. "What's clear is that neither Judge Kaplan's decision nor the briefs nor the oral arguments have given them the answer to the questions they think are the most important."

Mr. Garbus said the detailed questions indicated that the three judges Jon O. Newman, Jose A. Cabrenes and Alvin W. Thompson were preparing to write a definitive opinion on the case, rather than limiting themselves to ruling on lower court's Judge Kaplan's decision. The questions also suggested that the judges were thinking beyond Mr. Corley's (owner of the 2600 website) specific circumstances to how the ruling might apply more generally.

Problem is that making it illegal to link to certain type of sites and/or files might violate the right for free speech (First Amendment in U.S.).

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