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DVD CCA Preliminary Injunction Hearing Rescheduled 98

This came into my mailbox from drwiii this morning: 'The judge had a scheduling conflict this Friday, so he had to reschedule the Preliminary Injunction hearing for next Tues. PLEASE NOTE: The Preliminary Injunction Hearing is NOW set for Tuesday, January 18, 2000 at 13:30 (PST) at Santa Clara County Superior Court (Dept. 2).'
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DVD CCA Preliminary Injunction Hearing Rescheduled

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  • Lets use the extra time to build an air tight case...
  • Well, I'm very interested, so keep us posted. Also about the Lorenzo case.
    ------------------------------------------- -------------
    UNIX isn't dead, it just smells funny...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    the cynic in me wonders if the dvd group may try to arrange for no supporters to show up.

    so has anyone confirmed this with the court?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Trollers', meet the Trollers'
    They're the modern Slashdot family
    From the town of Flamebait
    We're a post right out of Natalie
    Let's ride the Karma down with MEEPT
    With the Postmastah at Llamas' feet
    When you're with the Trollers'
    Have a Moderate-it-down time
    A minus-two time
    You'll have Hot Grits time.

    .

    Trollmastah

    .

  • Maybe my memory just isn't what it used to be, or maybe I'm just out of the loop from being on vacation, but with no links to help me out, I wasn't sure what legal action was taking place here.

    But, after searching slashdot a little, now I'm pretty confident that we're talking about DeCSS and that stupid encryption scheme [opendvd.org] that protects the DVDs that we've already bought from being watched... Hrm. (I'm not too worried about them getting copied, don't have an extra 4.5GB lying around right now, or enough time to encode one properly, but someday I'm sure it will be commonplace.)

    So, now that I know what we're talking about... "Fair use". 'Nuff said.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @04:06AM (#1383215)
    The subject says it all.

    I and other are too far away to give any "on-site" support, but would like to help out if we can.

    Aside from joining the EFF (done), what if anything can those of us too far away to attend the hearing do to help out?
  • Excellent idea. It's unfortunate that DVD's less than completely robust security had to be protected through legal means. True security (after all) would protect itself.

    BTW, If I had moderator points right now I would moderate the parent coment up just for being an on-topic first post. I think that would be a nice touch /. administrators could apply in the future.


    "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
  • Hopefully the conflict did not arise from a tee time with the Plaintiffs and their lobbyists ;) "Whaddya say there judge? $1000 a hole? Boy, and our Willie over there has a wicked slice too. Wink wink, nudge nudge, knowhatImean knowhatImean?" m0ng00se
  • Yeah, the cynic in me growled a tad about this, as well... I think that the DVD consortium may have "informed" the judge that there would be hordes of seriously pissed off nerds congregating around the courthouse... Although nerds are not by nature violent. Vindictive, but not violent. So you have a bunch of nerds (or should it be a (Beowulf) cluster of nerds? :) with their laptops sitting outside the courthouse...
    And the news of a court case being dropped recently with one of the reasons being listed as the number of hack attempts on the litigating company...
    A nonviolent protest but they're all trying to outdo each other hacking? Hmmm, I don't know how good any of the protestors are... But I sure wouldn't want them poking at my servers... Worryingly, if I am correct, it just shows what side the judge is on already...
    I'm not advocating any h4x0ring of anything... But I wouldn't be surprised if there was an online backlash of more than empty rhetoric...
  • You know what?

    Call me slow, but I just now realized that most of the moderators here, supposedly my fellow geeks, have no sense of humor.
    ________________________________
  • 816 area code is a Kansas City, Missouri, area code. The above is a troll.
  • 816 area code is a Kansas City, Missouri number. The DVD CCA is in California. Its not cool to post people's phone numbers in a public forum, especially to harass someone.
  • This seems very rude. Hundreds of people from around the world are given a court date by a judge, and have to arrange time off, travel, etc. Then with just a week to go the judge discovers a "scheduling conflict". Does anyone know what the judge will be doing then? Or what the precedents are?

    -Neal

    --Neal

  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @04:42AM (#1383225) Homepage
    Re, the worries about "bad nerds"--

    We pretty much impressed everyone there at the TRO hearing--I'm dead serious, I don't think the staff at the courthouse had ever experienced such a courteous crowd. Bruce Perens had alot to do with this, as he guided us as a mass quite effectively, but everyone there deserves credit for giving the Linux community a good name.

    In comparison, the plaintiffs pretty much walked in there like they owned the place, made arguments which were essentially "Not only did these guys post the code, but they were really really mean about it and made fun of us!", and talked about the hundreds of thousands of jobs the movie industry creates. There may have been less of them, but guess which group was more civil?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • Call me slow, but I just now realized that most of the moderators here, supposedly my fellow geeks, have no sense of humor.
    Actually this is considerably more amusing, inventive and damn clever than 98% of stuff you see on /.

    Maybe we need to start a /. troll songbook. then get together and record it sung in rounds.

    EZ
    -'Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log in..'
  • I don't know if I would call it rude. Inconvenient, certainly. The court may have had an emergency crop up. A scheduled hearing may have run long, etc. In any event, court's tend to try to manage their schedule as to not cause injury to anybody. In this case, a delay in the hearing only serves to preserve the status quo. The fact that the court is willing to delay the hearing means to me that the court doesn't view the DVD CCA as making out a strong case of irreparable harm. Good news in my book.
  • Those bastards! Now I have a dilemma: Should I skip the first day of spring semester and try to convince my instructors not to drop me from the courses?

    Also, I had wanted to go to the hearing because I forgot my jacket in someone's car during the TRO. Whomever gave me a ride to the Habana, do you have my dark blue jacket? Email me: ryanrs at altavista dot net.

    Ryan
  • Yes, the defeat of the encryption has nothing to do with verbatim copying. The data on the DVD disk can be copied verbatim without needing to be decrypted. What the DVD people are concerned about is decryption for conversion to different formats.

    And they do have the right to control what formats the content they produce is distributed on. "Fair use" is for quoting and limited reproduction, not redistribution of the entire body of material.

    You can say they don't, you can say "information wants to be free." We welcome you to share the entire contents of your hard drive to the net. Don't claim we don't have that right out of the other corner of your mouth.
  • I realize I am entering the fray a bit late here, but how can /. be held accountable for a link posted by a person? It clearly states all comments are owned by the poster.It is not as if the supposed "illegal" propietary information is being stored or served from the /. site itself. I wonder if there is any precedence in the case(s) the COS brought/brings/will bring against those who post their also supposed propietary information, specifically, if any of those with links to this informaiton have been prosecuted. And if so, what are the results?


    Going on means going far
  • Any chance a, preferably Live, Video Feed could be arranged from the proceedings? If /.-readers signed up ahead of time, you could even casually throw into the proceedings that they are currently being followed by a gazillion or so people. :-)
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @06:01AM (#1383237) Homepage
    And they do have the right to control what formats the content they produce is distributed on. "Fair use" is for quoting and limited reproduction, not redistribution of the entire body of material.

    So AvantGo, which converts websites(in as much detail as you like) to a lower quality, Palmpilot-viewable form is unfair use in your book?

    Hell, what about recorders? They downshift a high quality NTSC signal to a degraded--but still viewable--form for extended storage. Sony v. Universal was pretty clear that this was OK. RIAA v. Diamond even went so far as to establish the right to space shift--I have a 10GB hard drive, and with transcoding I could probably put a half dozen movies onto my 2.5inch platters. Give me a minidisc size device with a 10gb hard drive and eyeglass displays, and suddenly I can carry a small chunk of my movie library in my pocket.

    Who is the movie industry to tell me that I can't do that?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • Now that is decent. Shows promise. If I had mod points I'd give it another "funny", or maybe an "under-rated".
    --
  • An Anonymous Coward writes: "the cynic in me wonders if the dvd group may try to arrange for no supporters to show up."

    Information about the date change was distributed by the EFF's lawyer. Since the new date is right in the middle of the RSA conference being held within walking distance of the court, you can expect a substantial turnout.

    Get there early for a good seat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @06:23AM (#1383240)

    But DeCSS was not created for conversion to different formats. It was created as an offshoot from the development to produce a DVD player for Linux.

    Whatever DVDCCA's concerns about piracy (or copyright theft as I prefer to call it), the law wasn't broken. DVDCCA is saying that DVD information was distributed only to allow copyright theft, if that were the case there would be a case to answer for, they are wrong.

    Fair use includes reading/playing the DVD video that you have legally purchased in anyway that you wish. At least some, and I expect most, of the defendents (I am one, hence I'm posting anonymously) have no intention of breaking copyright law. I believe that copyright law is good and proper (some details could be changed though).

    Information wants to be free, meaning that information has a tendency to spread and onces its out its pretty much impossible to stop. See the theory of memes [whatis.com]. That's why we have encryption and copyright. People have different views on this, but none of it matters to this case (IMHO).

    In this case the encryption was very weak. The information avaliable is legal, it was not stolen and its not patented. Nobody that I am awear of is being prosecuted for copyright theft involoving the use of the DeCSS program.

  • Only speaking for USA judges (all levels), they really do not give a crap about anybody elses schedule or life, only their own. Expect more of this pontif-like behaviour to follow.

    For those of you that want the government to be involved in every aspect of our lives, this is just a taste of what to expect in that world.

  • Interesting, my professor for Computer Ethics assigned our first paper on this subject (the DVD encryption controversy) today. He gave out an article which referenced Slashdot, but in a negative way and of course took the side of the DVD people, "Oh, how evil to post this information on Slashdot, it will lead to nothing but piracy." I've decided to take the tack in my paper that "life is complicated when you have an industry, computer software, which is dominated by an illegal monopoly which has been shown to use thug-like tactics in the past to maintain and extend their monopoly" and note that the purpose of cracking DVD was not to encourage piracy (which, after all, is covered by the law) but to allow people to use DVDs under their OS of choice and not one created by an illegal monopoly operating out of Redmond, WA.

    Of course, I'm not sure what the legal ruling will be on this, I think the main problem is that this is not a case of reverse engineering but involves some proprietary code, and thus is the difference between Bleem! [207.71.8.31] and Virtual GameStation. [ign.com] I think if it had been true reverse engineering, the case wouldn't stand up in court, but because it involved looking at patented materials, it may be a problem. I still don't think Slashdot can be held accountable though, all they did was provide an open forum for people to express themselves on an issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    More time to prepare, eh? Remember the courtroom demo of disabling IE in Win98 during the MS case? How about a courtroom demo of a DVD copy--without use of an encryption crack? That prove that the issue of pirating should be out of the discussion...
  • That would be very kewell, 'cept lots of courts in the US have a policy that us "street people" cannot bring anything electronic into the building (no kidding, DC, VA and to some extent TN are like that).

    If CA, and this court "allow" for free live reporting it would be doubleplusgood!

  • I'm pretty sure, it isn't the IP of a Kentucky Fried Chicken...
  • ... maybe the judge is actually on our side.
  • Perhaps a demo like this for the clueless mainstream media that continue to report along the palintif party line?

    Might not do much good, but certainly will not do any harm. Sounds like a job for Ted Koppell.

  • My god it's early. When I first read that I was thinking about an enviornment chassis, ie., for factories or telephone poles.

    My brain -> "Hmm, that's an odd first post. Off-topic, and yet not a troll. Perhaps he has the wrong story."
  • Is there anyone out there who would be willing to start a petition suporting the defendants? I know that there would be no true legal value to such a document but it might show the judge/attorneys just how many people are concerned about the issues involved in this case.

    Someone that is attending might also want to bring printouts of the Slashdot discussions over about this subject from the last few weeks

    Hoping for the best, fearing the worst.

  • Looks to me like the IP address is for a firewall at Weil, Gotshal, & Manges (sounds like a law firm to me) whose service is provided by PSInet.
  • The judge had a scheduling conflict this Friday, so he had to reschedule the Preliminary Injunction hearing for next Tues.

    As I recall, it was originally scheduled for a Friday Afternoon. Now it is mid-day on a Tuesday. I might have been able to bugger off early on a Friday afternoon and show up. Tuesday mid-day is right out.

    How many other working stiffs (who aren't DVD CCA Lawyers) can afford to take the afternoon off to show up like that? Perhaps this was a move to lessen the number of people who show up to refute the DVD CCA's arguments?

  • Your use of the of the phrase "copyright theft" and the word "theft" in this context is confusing. Consider alternatives such as "making unauthorized copies of" or "sharing".

    Copying information or art is very different from stealing physical goods, so the word "theft" is inappropriate for use when referring to copying or copyright infringement. If I steal your bong, you can't use it to smoke anymore. But if I make a photocopy of few pages in a book you own a copy of - or a make a MP3 of a song you own a copy of, you can still read that book and listen to that song. Using the words like theft and steal is almost as confusing as using the word piracy to talk about copyright infringement. If you mean copyright infringement, say copyright infringement. These other words serve only to color or mislead. See http://www.fsf.org/philoso phy/words-to-avoid.html#Piracy [fsf.org] for details.

  • Maybe you forgot to read my post before replying. Let me direct your attention to that stupid encryption scheme that protects the DVDs that we've already bought from being watched.

    If I bought a DVD, I'd want to play it. That constitutes fair use.

    I can say that information wants to be free. I wasn't, but I'll happily share most of the stuff on my hard drive that is mine to share, to my friends. If the laws ever change enough to let us legally share everything, so be it. But I don't think anyone else really wants to read my e-mail, and if they do, I probably don't want to hear from them. I don't have a problem with the information, just some of the people. :)
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • senrik wrote:

    Lets use the extra time to build an air tight case...

    Unfortunately, this also means that the other side gets more time to build their case. Given the performance at the initial hearing, it looks like they need the time more than we do.

    ----
  • /. posters don't seem to understand the difficulties with bit-for-bit copying of DVDs. It can't be done with consumer hardware and without CSS. A consumer DVD drive will not read all of the sectors physically present on a DVD without doing part of the CSS dance.

    I've heard speculation that equipment is available to read and write these sectors without a CSS hack, but I'm still skeptical. Perhaps professional equipment exists to do this, but I don't see the need or for it to exist. If it does, it's likely custom engineered hardware that would not be available to the defense without out them building it themselves. People speculate that the firmware could be reprogrammed on consumer DVD drives to skip the CSS steps, but I've yet to see anyone claim to be able to do that. On the write side, DVD disks are mass produced, not written in drives.

    Notwithstanding the cost and difficulty of obtaining the requisite hardware, demonstrating the means and ability to pirate DVDs is not really where this case needs to go.

    The demo which is needed is to show a non-infringing use such as playing a legally purchased DVD on a laptop running Linux.
  • Actually, the encryption was a trade secret, and thus it is fair game for anyone who figures it out to distribute it. If they had patented the DVD encryption process, then it wouldn't have taken nearly as long to get a decoder written! It does sound like the reverse-engineering wasn't completely "clean-room", but on the other hand apparently that isn't an issue in the country where DeCSS was written. Can a case be made against those who live in a country with restrictions on reverse engineering, but distribute code RE'd by someone in an unrestricted country? That seems to be the plaintiff's strongest legal leg.

    I wonder if they might also make the argument that they have the copyright to the encryption keys themselves, and thus the redistribution of the keys would be illegal in most countries. That would force DVD viewers to crack the keys for themselves, rather than getting a key list distributed with DeCSS. In a way, this would be security through legal obscurity - it wouldn't stop the spread of unauthorized DVD viewers, but it might slow it a bit.

    Contents of this post are subject to my uncertain recollection of all the facts of this case - flame away!

  • If we can't show that pirating doesn't rely on DeCSS (or other use of the encryption algorithm), then we've got an uphill battle.

    I don't think so. The landmark VCR case (sorry I don't have a link or even a proper reference to it) seems to say that any non-infringing use means that it can't be banned. We need to demonstrate a non-infringing use much more than demonstrate alternative pirating schemes.

    The weakest part of the case is that it all depends on trade secrets. It's a real stretch to infer that the writers of CSS had any kind of a duty to maintain the trade secret as it can not be shown that they were ever contractually required to maintain the secret. Once it fails to be kept a secret, all protection is lost. The DVD CCA would have to show that each and every one of the 500 defendants either knew or should have known that the material was a protected trade secret -- a nearly impossible task --especially considering the substancial doubt surrounding that claim in the case of the writers of CCS.

    Their failure to receive a preliminary ruling should be a big clue to them of the fundamental weakness of their case. A preliminary ruling is fairly easy to get. You need to show a prima facie case and substancial harm in the lack of a ruling. The temporary nature of a TRO tends to lessen the burden of proof to the plaintiff. They had no problem showing potential harm, but the judge obviously felt that their claim was something of a stretch in the first place.
  • I wonder if they might also make the argument that they have the copyright to the encryption keys themselves, and thus the redistribution of the keys would be illegal in most countries.

    This is a very interesting point and possibly a very strong case. Of course, in reality, it would be extremely difficult to police the distribution of this piece of information.

    The point that distribution of the code in areas where reverse engineering is illegal is similar, but far less powerful on both sides. The information *other* than the keys themselves - that is, the source code that results from the reverse engineering - seems to me to be really a trade secret uncovered; reverse engineering is an action, not a thing. On the other hand, restricting source code distribution would be more effective in reality. But only a real IP lawyer would know the fate of the fruits of reverse engineering.

  • I would be interested in hearing (or watching) the proceedings, but judges aren't supposed to encourage "playing to the crowd, so any pleas that "the whole world wide web is watching" are likely to fall on deaf ears.
    It's also likely that the streaming audio server will experience the wrong end of the Slashdot effect.
  • Sony v. Universal [findlaw.com] (464 U.S. 417), the 1983 case that essentially legalized the recording of TV broadcasts for home use, has been often cited by various posters, since it establishes the principle that

    Accordingly, the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses. Theoretically, since DeCSS has a substantial non-infringing use (allowing linux users access to DVD content), it is not an infringement. Interestingly, this argument was derived from patent (not copyright) law.

  • CNN Headline News just had a blurb (6:25PM ET 1/11) covering "DVD pirating". They displayed
    one of the Linux DVD pages while talking about pirating and deCSS. I'd think that page-owner has a good libel (slander?) case against CNN for defamation of character. Heck, at the time, Linux DVD was the only thing readable on the screen, so the whole Linux name is degraded. They'll probably loop around and show it again at 6:55PM ET. Maybe they'll put up the transcript on their webpage.

    main(O){10<putchar((O--,102-((O&4)*16| (31&60>>5*(O&3)))))&&main(2+O);}
  • This is just a quick note to say that the DeCSS utility is listed in the NoNags [nonags.com] software archive (in the Multimedia section [datascribe.com.au]) - automatically mirrored on hundreds of servers around the world. I tripped over it the other day. I don't know if this info helps. (For all I know they were listed as one of the sites in the original nasty-gram.)
  • That's one of the things that drives the copyright people absolutely batty. Thanks to the Internet, once something is out there it's almost impossible to get rid of. You might be able to drive it out of the general public's eye (eliminate it from normal search engines and the Web), but it never goes away completely (ftp servers, IRC, newsgroups). That's probably why they resorted to suing in the first place, because they knew they could never undo the "damage".

    Of course, with all the non-pirating uses for this software, I can just see this suit sinking like the Titanic. It's too hard to prove that everyone involved was specifically interested in illegal activities. If they were smart, the lawyers would have went after the ones responsible, Xing. If Xing had encrypted their stuff properly, we wouldn't be having this discussion now :)

    Final note, if Slashdot's to blame for DVD piracy, then we need to sue every news outlet in America for telling people where to get guns without background checks. That's right, the networks and every local station promoted the illegal acquisition of guns by telling everyone where it happens. After all, if you're responsible for the behavior because you reported it, then ... (huge-evil-grin).

  • > Does anyone know what the judge will be doing
    > then? Or what the precedents are?

    On 10/04/98 the San Jose Mercury News ran a front-page article which described exactly how our Superior Court judges *were* spending their Fridays. Search their database at www.sjmercury.com for "superior court AND judges AND golf". The full article will cost you, but the headline "JUDGE'S FRIDAY: WORK AN HOUR, OFF TO THE LINKS" pretty much sums it up.

    As for precedents, never expect anything to happen on time in the legal system. If it does, that's a bonus.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    David Wagner is going to be an expert witness in the DeCSS case. Here's his deposition: http://www.eff.org/pub/Intellectual_property/DVD/2 0000107-pi-motion-wagnerdec.html #31 is pretty amusing... Cracking DVD would be an excellent homework assignment *grin*
  • by VP ( 32928 )
    I hope you read the articles on Slashdot and other places before you write your paper - trying to link Microsoft to this won't help your case. Make sure you explain the purpose of the encryption, point out the fact that copying of DVDs can be done without breaking the encryption, and on that background explain the legal and consumer-benefitting uses of DeCSS.
    Another thesis for your paper could be the Free Speach implications of trying to prevent linking.
    Good luck on your paper, and do your research.
  • CNN rarely bothers to learn both sides of the story before airing it, especially when the DVD forum is so willing to talk about what it's "lost", and there's not really a central organization on the other side of the fence. Besides, the more time they take to research, the more likely one of their competitors will beat them to the story.

    Besides, this lawsuit is pointless. The DVD industry won't dry up and cease to exist because of DeCSS, and the DVD forum, no matter how hard they try, cannot make CSS a secret again, now that the cat's out of the bag.

  • they dont really have a case do they ?

    so whats the big deal ?
  • DeCSS has got to be the worst way to do that kind of conversion. First, you need that 4GB of space to copy and decrypt the stream, then you need space to hold the temporary files during compression and the compressed file, too. I have a feeling that most people who would do something like that would hook a DVD player up to a MPEG or other kind of compressor device. I'll bet that decrypting, software decoding the MPEG2 stream, downscaling the frames and recompressing the video stream would be prohibitly time consuming.

    Doesn't matter anyway. No matter what kind of protection you employ in these things, the pirates will ALWAYS find a way around and a way to defeat the protection. The discovery of DeCSS gained pirates very little or nothing, because if they want to duplicate the discs, they've always been able to do that without decrypting. The ripping pirates can still rip and encode movies, they don't get anything new or better from this either.

    I really don't see what the big deal is. Especially since none of the defendants did the reverse engineering or anything. The only piracy related situation I can see DeCSS being useful in is if you happen to have 4GB of space sitting around and want to "extend" your rental period for a DVD by copying it to your harddrive. Pointless, yes, and it's not like it's going to be perm storage.

  • We welcome you to share the entire contents of your hard drive to the net.

    You're talking about reading somebody else's personal data on their hard drive. I'm talking about the generic ability to read your own drive.

    Big difference!


  • If Xing had encrypted their stuff properly, we wouldn't be having this discussion now



    True. We'd probably be having it about a year from now.



  • This is slightly off-topic.

    Anyhow, people keep saying you can copy DVDs without cracking the encryption. A lot of people refer to this link:
    http://opendvd.org/rickletter.html

    Yet, to my knowledge, *nobody* has actually done this. If anybody has actually successfully copied a DVD, I'd like to hear about it, because there seem to be a lot of misconceptions on this issue.

    Of course, whether or not DVDs could have been directly copied without DeCSS is irrelevant to the legality of this case; the defendants are well within their rights regardless.
  • This is very off topic - I appologise but I figured that the people reading this group would be the ones ho could help me out.

    I have a creative labs DVD kit (drive and dxr3 card).

    Is it possible for me to make (and play) my own AC3 sound files?

  • My apologies if someone has already pointed this out.

    There is a discussion on DeCSS on CNN at this URL

    http://community.cnn.com/cgi-bin /WebX?13@@.ee71559 [cnn.com]

  • Yes, here's how to make normal cdrs with AC3 content [soundav.com]

    It's nice to have 74 minutes of 5.1 music per disc, playable in the living room.

  • The information avaliable is legal, it was not stolen and its not patented. Nobody that I am awear of is being prosecuted for copyright theft involoving the use of the DeCSS program.

    There is ONE party who has broken a law/contract. That's XING. Their contract with the DVD association states that they will keep the algorithm and keys secret, even though they are allowed to distribute a software-only version of the DVD decryption algorithm.

    XING broke that contract.

    The law in the EU states that even if you signed a contract not to reverse engineer a program, that condition in the contract is invalid. You can legally ignore that clause! Thus the reverse engineering was legal. Of course, the distribution thereafter of legally obtained information cannot be prosecuted.

    Whatever XING did or didn't do to make it harder, that's their problem: they promised the DVD club that it wouldn't be done.

    My guess is that XING has already had a serious talk with the DVD club, and, for example, their fate may depend on the results of this court case. e.g. if the court case succeeds, XING may get off with a reasonable fine. However, as things stand I expect they will be fined an unreasonably high fine, and go bankrupt. (but then again, I don't know their financial status... )

    Roger.
  • The weakest part of the case is that it all depends on trade secrets.

    and XING is the one who spilled the beans. Trade secrets are just that. You keep them secret.

    For example, I don't want you to know how much I'm charging for the new driver for the Specialix SX+ multiport card. So, I'm not telling.

    Now if a guy named "Linus" needs to know, and I'd want to tell him, but I don't want him to tell everyone else, I'd make a contract stating that I'm going to provide the party "Linus" with information that is considered a trade secret and that this information is only provided that he won't tell anybody else.

    Now if Linus DOES put this info on his website, the contract states what happens next. Usually the terms "irrepairable damages" occur in those sections of the contract. Sometimes a "fine" is named. Sometimes not.

    Rumour has it, that the fine in the DVD contract is one million dollars. That's not much for Microsoft, but quite a lot for a startup. Damages are really much more in this case.

    IANAL.

    Roger.


  • I hate to burst people's bubble, but it doesn't work like this. You can't just copy a DVD by using a DVD-ROM disk. That's because the (fixed) sector that contains the disk keys is pre-burned out on a DVD-ROM.

    However, if you use the LIVID code to decrypt the VOB files, and then create an unencrypted DVD-Video disk burned on a DVD-ROM, I believe that will work. So there is something to the the DVD Consortium's claim that the LIVID code could be used for piracy, and you can't just do a bit-for-bit copy to copy DVD's, at least not using commercially available DVD-ROM media.

    This doesn't change the fact that the main intended use of LIVID is to view DVD's under Linux, and it so many of the arguments still hold. But let's not say that you can just use a DVD-ROM burnder to pirate DVD's. It's not true; the DVD designers thought about that, and spiked the system to prevent at least trivial copying.

  • Rumour has it, that the fine in the DVD contract is one million dollars.

    Why do I hear Dr. Evil as I read that sentance?
  • The idea of sending a petition around, especially if you could "scan" in your signature (not just a .sig file) and send one in with the petition is a particularly good one.

    I would like to start to organize a group that would be willing to prepare petitions to take to trade shows, geek events, ect. and come up with some show of support that demonstrates just how many people are really interested.
  • Thanks for the link. The various documents posted on the parent site [eff.org] provide what appears to be an air-tight defense. The EFF lawyers have done an marvelous job with this.

    CSS is dead.
  • He is and I am too. Copying all of the VOB files does not copy the (hidden) area of the disk where the CSS keys are stored. The resulting disk is not usable as described.

    Copying DVDs is more than just dd if=/dev/dvd of=/dev/dvdrw count=BIGNUM
  • Yes, Yes, No, Yes.
  • How could converting to different formats possibly be illegal?!

    Consider this: say I bought an LP back when they were popular. Then the album is later released on cassette; I want to switch so I buy it again. Then it comes out on CD--again, I buy the same album. Now I own the same freakin' album three times over. Is this neccessary?

    By buying a movie or CD, I'm not actually buying the content, I'm buying the rights to view/hear it--the medium in which I do this is irrelevant. The recording and movie industries don't want this, obviously, because then they can't stick it to us every time they change formats. This is why they're so upset about digital media--we can copy or compile the content without any loss of quality. They're not squirming because we're cheating them out of money that should be theirs; they're mad because now they gotta play fair.

  • Actually, the DVD package for Linux comes with four programs: reset (used for error-checking), tstdvd (unlocks the disc and saves title keys), dvdinfo (displays various info about the files), and css-cat--this is the little bastard that actually does the decrypting.

    All you need to do a verbatim copy of a DVD is one of the utilities: tstdvd. This program does nothing more than read the title keys and unlock the disc so the contents can be accessed--no decrypting is done.

    Once this is done, you could use css-cat to decrypt the .vob files, but you could also unlock the disc with tstdvd and copy the still-encrypted files.

  • Thats the Windows version!

    Sure, I suppose it has an application for converting formats... but this stuff was meant for Linux playback.

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam

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