I got a chance to speak to Tom McGuire, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications for the EFF, who provided part of the pro bono team of attorneys at court today.
"As I understand it, both sides presented arguments, and it sounds like both sides did a good job, although I'm hoping we did a much better job than they did. As far as I understand it, the Judge is going to review the arguments and written briefs that were submitted and hand over a decision in the next few days."
I also got to speak to Matthew Pavlovich, Defendant #13 in the case.
"I think we put together a solid defense. I don't think we're in the wrong. Most of these people are not under the jurisdiction of the California court. There's 15 year olds in Europe. There are real inconsistencies in the way that the prosecuring attorneys have handled this. We really appreciate the support from the computing community. Most of these people really understand what's going on, and their support has been really helpful. This is step one. There are two more cases, and these are federal cases. The fight's not over."
Today's hearing was a much-anticipated event in the Open Source community, but it was just another drop in the DVD encryption bucket. The MPAA filed two federal lawsuits on January 14th, promising that the legal debate over DVD encryption will go on for a very long time.
UPDATE by Andrew Bunner, defendant and courtroom observer:
On the implications of this case:
It would be a tragic blow to consumers and the constitution if the DVD CCA is allowed to win this case.
Consumers want to be able to watch DVDs on their Linux computers. The DVD CCA wants you to only watch DVDs through one of their pre-approved players.
The first amendment will be seriously eroded if Judge Elfving sets a precedent restricting our freedom to distribute the CSS algorithm. I'm wearing a T-shirt that has printed on it a copy of the decryption source code. If this injunction is granted, it will be illegal for me to wear this T-shirt. It will be illegal for you to photograph me wearing this T-shirt. In fact, it will be illegal for you to link to a photograph of me wearing this T-shirt.
On the trade secret argument:
Last night, I found 245 sites that make the supposed "trade secrets" available for download. At the Temporary Restraining Order hearing, one individual handed out printed copies of the "trade secrets". Another had the same material available on floppy diskettes that he was giving away. The algorithm and how to obtain the master keys has been widely discussed on mailing lists, in class rooms and in court.
It's not much of a secret anymore.
A list of mirror sites can be found at http://www.humpin.org/decss/. Be careful, though. By including that link in your story, are you making yourself a defendant?
(*) As we understand it, the phrase "trade secrets" in the plaintiff's filings refers to the master keys and the CSS algorithm.
On the misappropriation of trade secrets:
Yesterday, the counsel for the defense claimed that I should know that the Linux DVD player was based on stolen trade secrets. I don't believe anything was stolen. The DVD CCA underestimates the skill of the software development community. I know that these programmers are capable of reverse engineering and decrypting DVDs without resorting to theft.
On how I think the case will go:
There's only one way Judge Elfving can rule without re-interpreting the First Amemendment.
Movies are already protected under copyright law. No one disputes that it's illegal to duplicate and redistribute movies... in any format. That's not what we're trying to do. By making the decrypting algorithm available we want to let consumers play their legitimately purchased movies on their Linux computers.
On the hopelessness of the MPAA's situation:
It's impossible to restrict consumers from making private copies of their legitimately purchased movies through any technical means. If you can play a movie, you can capture it and copy it. And as long as that copy is for personal use only, this is perfectly legal. We think the MPAA will eventually come around and recognize this truth.
It would take about 16 days to download a full-length DVD over a modem. I'd rather just buy the disk.
(*) The math... 4.7 GB * 1024 MB/GB * 1024 KB/MB / 3.5 KB/sec = 1,408,087 seconds to download a 4.7 GB movie over a 28.8 phone line that gets 3.5KB/sec. That works out to over 16 days of continuos downloading.
How I felt after the hearing:
We had a fantastic showing of support from the Linux community, cryptography experts and free speech advocates.
Our defense team did an excellent job outlining the absurdity of the plaintiff's position.