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Activist defends DVD hack

Activist defends DVD hack

November 8, 1999

Web posted at: 8:43 a.m. EST (1343 GMT)

by Ann Harrison

(IDG) -- The co-founder of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation said Thursday that what was learned in the reverse engineering and cracking of a DVD copy-protection scheme will be used to make future intellectual-property protection methods stronger.

"The software that resulted is fully appropriate," said John Gilmore of the online civil rights organization. "It is in fact the Linux open-source software for playing movies on your computer screen." Gilmore is well-known within the security community for building the DES cracker machine that broke the 56-bit Data Encryption Standard algorithm once in common use by the government and others.

Gilmore noted that until now, movies on DVD couldn't be played on Linux because the DVD Forum wouldn't release specifications for how to do it. He said that now, or in the near future, Linux users will be able to play DVDs, which he believes is entirely appropriate.