[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[FYI] Legal battles: DVD Crypto War
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: [FYI] Legal battles: DVD Crypto War
- From: "Axel H Horns" <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 19:40:36 +0200
- Comment: This message comes from the debate mailing list.
- Organization: PA Axel H Horns
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sender: email@example.com
------------------------------ CUT ----------------------------------
Movie trade group tries to block DVD cracking tool
By Courtney Macavinta
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
November 18, 1999, 12:50 p.m. PT
In a major test of a new copyright law, the Motion Picture
Association of America is hunting down and eliminating from the Net a
program that cracks the security on DVDs.
The motion picture industry was rocked earlier this month when
programmers discovered a way to remove anti-copying features from DVD
versions of hundreds of copyrighted works.
But the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which lobbies
for the major U.S. studios' political and financial interests,
appears to be having success in convincing Web sites to remove the
utility. Called DeCSS, the program can crack the encryption code in
the DVD Content Scrambling System, allowing people to make
unauthorized copies of digital movies to play on their computers or
The MPAA has sent cease and desist letters to numerous Web sites,
citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which passed last
October. The DMCA made it a crime to create, sell or distribute any
technology that could be used to break copyright-protection devices.
"The MPAA takes seriously any unauthorized compromises of encryption
technology," said the association's spokesman, Rich Taylor, who
declined to comment further on the issue.
For now the MPAA is not going after people who actually use DeCSS to
make illegal copies of DVDs because the law is not on its side--yet.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act did make it a crime to crack
copyright-protection devices, with violators being charged up to
$2,500 per act of circumvention. But that part of the law hasn't gone
into effect yet, because it created exemptions for research,
engineering and education that still have to be worked out by an
interagency rule-making group.
"The rule making will begin shortly, and after that is when you could
face criminal penalties," said Skip Lockwood, spokesman for the
Digital Future Coalition, which wants to ensure that the new law
doesn't infringe on educators' "fair use" rights to access
In the meantime, many of the Web site operators the MPAA has
contacted have complied and removed DeCSS, according to their sites--
including DVD Utilities Network and a DVD information site in Norway
where there is a similar law.
CNET Download.com also published the program. Almost 5,000 copies
were downloaded before the site removed DeCSS yesterday in response
to the MPAA's letter, the company confirmed. (CNET is the publisher
Some who published DeCSS said they don't promote piracy, and the MPAA
shouldn't attack those who are building the market for DVDs and
"rippers" that allow consumers to make legal copies of the discs in
"We all know that those rippers are available at 300 different sites
over the Internet," the DVD Utilities Network stated on its site.
"The MPAA should be more careful when attacking trendmakers and
Movie fans agree. Andrew Markham, who cracked the security on his DVD
copy of "The Matrix," argues that he owns the disk and should be able
to make copies of it for his own use.
-------------------------------- CUT ---------------------------------