[linux-elitists] Lisa Bowman on DVD, DMCA, Linux
Mon Feb 28 17:12:13 PST 2000
> Attention Linux elitists:
> More DVD news:
You know, it would probably be kinda fun to do up the arguments in
a small, digestible-to-the-press "Facts and Myths" layout. Note use
of (of DVD) to distinguish from DeCSS for web page de-cruftification.
Btw, I am interested in seeing ReCSS which might regraft detached CSS
into a web page properly?
Anyways, welcome to add and/or shred this stuff, or even post it freely:
The DeCSS (of DVD) program described in the suit aids copying (thus piracy).
It isn't even -about- copying whole DVDs. To do that never needed
a program... just hardware usable for other purposes, and blanks that
(in the US) are more expensive than store bought legit copies.
It allows -viewing- of DVDs, whether legal or not. More devices
able to view DVDs should yield -more- potential users, whether
legal or not.
If it allows copying of parts (unclear) not all copying is piracy
(see copyright, below). However, for that, there are already laws
against piracy; use them against specific pirates.
The DeCSS (of DVD) program violates copyright.
It -enforces- copyright, specifically, the abilty to view the
item you purchased (without which you may as well not HAVE
the copy, even though it is legal) and -may- enforce subsections
on Fair Use which allow excerpts to be used for specific, protected
purposes (such as the press quoting it in a movie review, or a
teacher showing a fragment to students to illustrate a point, or
even making 30 copies of that portion, to send home with the
students as a homework assignment).
Some possible uses may not be protected Fair Use purposes. There
are already laws against piracy; use them against specific pirates.
Avoid using them on legitimate consumers, however.
The DeCSS (of DVD) program violates patent.
ARGUABLE - but not the defense selected.
Patent is about methods, if its method is sufficiently different
but gets similar results it -may- not fall under patent protection.
However the Industry is making its claims based on Trade Secret
which is a different type of defense.
If the encryption in question were under patent, any inclined
coder could request a copy of the algorithm (or probably, schematics
of a device implementing the algorithm) from the Patent Office.
It wouldn't be a question of Open Source, it would be a question
of Do We Want To Use This Source?
Jump to side topics
* QT licensing
We won for some medium value of winning; they
changed their license.
* UniSys (GIF file format)
The image industry lambasted them and uses JPEGs.
The web industry is changing to PNGs.
* and the soon (well, October) to be unencumbered RSA
People are already using products that don't need
their algorithms, and use newer ones.
If they want to take this route instead, they will probably take
several months to a year to lose in the open market; other filesystems
are being developed which more consumers will be able to use.
The DeCSS (of DVD) program is a representation of (the Industry's) Trade Secret
The main claim of Trade Secret is that it causes irreparable harm
to the entity if the secret gets out. Does the existence of one
or more open copies of DeCSS (of DVD) cause irreparable harm:
1) inability to sell DVDs?
Hardly - see item 1, they should be able to sell
more of them.
2) Or DVD hardware based players already under license?
As far as I know you still need one of those to
view DVD on a television set.
I would wager the sales figures don't show irreparable harm either.
Now would annoying their otherwise paying customers sufficiently
cause these harms? Maybe, if they got the press sufficiently
involved. They seem to be heading that way.
Since Reverse Engineering is illegal, the DeCSS (for DVD) program is illegal.
MYTH - valid logic based on incorrect assumption.
It may depend on your country but in the US many legal uses of Reverse
1) Reverse engineering to get to an unprotected idea is perfectly
legal. Ideas, unlike methods (patentable) and specific
representations of information (copyright) are not protected.
2) Reverse engineering to create interoperability is legal. (case
law, Sega v. a game manufacturer making compatible games w/o
We argue that we fall under case (2) - an onerous license and
the inapplicability of solutions existing required that we create
a new, interoperable version.
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