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2600 LOSES MPAA LAWSUIT - APPEAL PLANNED
Posted 17 Aug 2000 00:00:00 UTC

It wasn't completely unexpected. But news of this defeat has angered and shocked people throughout the net and its effects will be profound.

In the end, all of our concerns about the First Amendment and freedom of speech went right out the window. Because DeCSS exists to bypass CSS, its very existence violates the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). It doesn't matter that DeCSS wasn't created as a pirating tool whose purpose is to copy DVDs. It doesn't matter that DeCSS was created so that people could view their own DVDs on their own computer systems including those (such as Linux) for which no "legal" player had been developed. The DMCA says that anything that bypasses access control is in violation, regardless of how unfair that access control may be.

As we expected, this means we must now fight the constitutionality of the DMCA. The cost of not pursuing this would be extremely high for all of us. We would be handing a blank check to these huge corporate entities. They would be able to sue whoever they want whenever they want simply for figuring out how technology works, writing computer programs, or, as in this case, simply trying to view legally purchased material on a legally purchased machine.

But the cost of pursuing this will be great as well. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been footing the bill for the vast legal expenses we have incurred and the appeal will only bring these numbers up even higher. Please, show your support and encourage others to do the same. The address for online contributions is here.

There is some good in all of this. The court ruled against the MPAA's desire to have us pay their legal fees. And there were other indications that the court felt frustrated by the overbroadness of the DMCA.

"Each side is entitled to its views. In our society, however, clashes of competing interests like this are resolved by Congress. For now, at least, Congress has resolved this clash in the DMCA and in plaintiffs' favor."

But one very bad thing to come out of this is the order for us to remove all links to sites with the DeCSS code. By ordering us not to link, we're basically being told it's illegal to tell people where they can find the DeCSS utility. Search engines can, based on this ruling, be held liable if they link people to material deemed objectionable by a court. We find this to be a most frightening turn of events.

Since we are bound by the injunction, we are removing all links to other sites containing DeCSS. However, we will LIST the names of those sites in non-linkable form since it is not yet illegal to simply tell people the names of sites. However, this could also change with another ill-advised ruling.


THE THREE PAGE ORDER AGAINST 2600 [PDF]

THE DECISION AGAINST 2600 [PDF]

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