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DeCSS Source Included in Public Court Records 184

doc_brown writes "I noticed on www.hackernews.com that the DeCSS Source is included in the lawsuit filings. As these are now public records, should the court's and district archive sites now be included in the lawsuits? The lawsuit (with source) is available at cryptome.org " Mirror early, mirror often.
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DeCSS Source Included in Public Court Records

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  • er.. well... if I link to the court documents am I in violation of the court order?

  • I am fairly sure that, unless the film industry can get them sealed under the industry/trade secret clause, all the court documents will be made public under the freedom of information act. Watch 'em scamble to try and stop it :P
    Matt Singerman
  • When the prosecution of Kevin Mitnick filed papers that were supposed to be "confidential", didn't they raise holy hell and accuse the defense of "leaking" confidential (that the DoJ made public) documents?

    Keep an eye on this one, could be the beginning of another "big brother" trick.

  • 40 years from now, when the court record are unsealed and all the information has been gleaned from such events as Roswell and the Great Scorning of 2004, people will begin asking for the records from the DeCSS trial. Included in the several-thousand page manuscript will be a lot of blacked out markings, deemed 'sensative' material and thereby concealed. This is our grand machine at work. Apparently no one thinks ahead anymore.
  • Some time ago, in (IIRC) Switzerland, CoS filed a lawsuit against an individual for disseminating their "trade secrets" (basically their 'doctrine'). They don't like people to read this 'doctrine' unless they've been properly prepared (they tell the members that if you read it before you're ready, that it will kill you - just a note to all you potential Scientologists... I read them, and I'm still around :o)

    Little did they realize that in order to do this in Switzerland, they had to enter the documents into the public record, so (in essence) anyone could go the the courthouse and get the full text of the documents.

    IIRC, the US allows such records to be kept confidential if the plaintiff's request this... so I have to wonder - why didn't the DVDCCA ask the judge to do this?
  • Little late for that, aint it.
    "oops!" DVDCSS lawyers
  • by Zurk ( 37028 ) <zurktech@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday January 24, 2000 @07:29AM (#1342840) Journal
    what i really dont understand is : [a] To copy a DVD one must be able to authenticate to the drive. decryption doesnt really matter. [b] The authentication code was posted to the livid mailing list waay before the decss code. [c] the 90 day period for DVDCCA to protest has passed for the *authentication* code. [d] DVDCCA is claiming the DeCSS code can be used to pirate DVD's but has not stated *anything* about the authentication code. [e] You must defend *all* violations not just one...so why hasnt the case been thrown out ?
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @07:30AM (#1342842) Homepage
    This is just great. It's the first time a Slashdot story had my laughting out loud at work.

    So now we no longer have to worry about distributing a "trade secret" that was obtained illegally, we are simply mirroring a public court document.
    Once again, stupidity has saved the day. Am I wrong in guessing that this pretty much destroys the case against us?

    earnestdesigns.com/dvd [earnestdesigns.com]

    Bill Gates: "Innovation"
  • This is just great. It's the first time a Slashdot story had my laughting out loud at work.

    I almost peed my pants laughing so hard at this one. Unless the lawyers can get an exception (probably a goddamn 0x00000001), then everything they're "fighting" against is in vain. Thi is the most ironic, yet utterly stupid thing I have ever seen done by lawyers. This should win a Darwin Award.
  • I really don't understand why this is such a big thing. Why do DVDs need to be encrypted in the first place, and why do they care so much that some people are able to unencrypt it. You can get mp3s if you rip your CDs. You own the CDs, so you own the mp3. Why can't you save the DVD on the computer? Some people with special knowledge figure it out and want to give themselves some credit and kind of shove it in the face of the companies that came up with this, and it's illegal? No.

  • by Byteme ( 6617 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @07:39AM (#1342848) Homepage
    Reminds me of Ed Meese's congressional report on illeagal pornography. It was a publc document also, and became one of the most requested publications from congress.

    James F. Bickford
    Sys Dev Assistant
    Electronic Interface Support

  • by dne ( 10173 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @07:41AM (#1342849)
    FWIW, it was actually in Sweden. Read all about it here [chalmers.se].
  • As I understand it, slashdot is one of the named defendants, and is covered by the injunction (CMIIW). What is slashdot's oficial response to the injunction? can Mirror early, mirror often be interpreted as such?
  • Given the importance of this issue, perhaps an "open source friendly" member of congress could be persuaded to read the DeCSS algorithm into the Congressional Record. The constitutional protections (see Article I, Section 6) to this variety of speech are far stronger than First Amendment protections. And can you imagine a court issuing an injunction against linking to the Congressional Record?
  • That's got to be among the funniest blunders I've ever heard of. Court records, as far as I know, are public, and have to stay that way. So by including the DeCSS code in their filing, the DVD-CCA managed to destroy its own trade secret! Probably without even realizing just what it had done! And while DVD-CCA may be able to argue that posting DeCSS on the Net didn't destroy the trade secret, certainly publishing it in a court document destroys it.

    Ooooooh, I get the feeling there's a lawyer who's going to be looking for a new job after news of this gets out...
  • IANALNDIPOOTV (I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV): If something's on the Public Record (which I assume Court Records are) are they also in the Public Domain?

    I read an update of the CA case from eff.org in which the judge ruled that posting information on the Internet does not destroy "Trade Secret" status as it would encourage all trade secret thieves to post ASAP.

  • And now, all involved will disappear in a puff of logic.

    It's very disturbing when a court filing actually negates the substance of the actual case. Maybe the military is involved here somewhere, 'cause I can't see any other way for things to get quite this stupid.

  • Because they can. When CD's came out, and before that, no one ever thought that people would be able to rip the cd into some digital format, and freely distribute it around the world over a vast "internet" with millions of people on it. This was in the days of 1200 baud modems and 300 mb hard drives, it wasn't feasible. Today though, everyone knows we have the technology to do such things, so they decided to encrypt DVD's. The only reason cd's aren't encrypted is because no one had thought to do it back then and it's too late to start now. Believe me, the record industry wants to stop this type of thing as much as the film industry, they just got caught with their pants down.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go scroll down a bit through that document. Notice something? Yep, that's right, they're quoting Slashdot comments. Apparently what we post represents the `mindset of the hacker community'.

    I think we should sue them for using our comments without permission. (When I say `our' I mean `those who were quoted'.) Sure, they could argue `fair use' because they're just quoting us, but when you look at the case where Janes paid Slashdotters for their insights a few months ago, you could build a fairly solid case. Let's see if the EFF will support us. It would make a kick-ass counter-suit.

    Be afraid. What you say here could be used against you in a court of law. IANAL.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Although I don't know under what Constitutional premise it is allowed, court records in the US are routinely sealed to prevent the public from seeing information that the government would like to keep from the people.

    For example, we are constantly bombarded with the message that we must worship Martin Luther King. However, because of Martin King's very unsavory lifestyle of adultery, plagirism at university, communinst party affiliation, and drug abuse, the US government has sealed all criminal files pertaining to Martin King until the year 2027. The American public is not allowed to see the criminal files on Martin King because the files contradict the image that the government wants to aclimate us to.

    Another famous case of sealed documents are the documents pertaining to the John F. Kennedy assasination. There are tens of thousands of photographs, FBI interviews, and eye witness accounts that are as yet unavailable for public scrutiny. Why? Because the file may call into question the findings of the Warren Commission and embarrass many still living politicians.

    The ax murder case of Lizzie Borden who "gave her mother 40 whacks" over a hundred years ago still has many documents sealed in a law office in Massachusetts. Although the documents in question are very likely to tell us if she was innocent or really guilty, a judge recently cited Lizzie Borden's "right to privacy" despite the fact that she is long dead and the crime occurred over a hundred years ago in the 19th Century.

    So just because information becomes part of the so called "public record" does not mean you will have a right to see it anytime soon ... if ever.

  • Hmm.. this begs the question: how would you prosecute trade secret theft w/out getting the "secret" into the public records?

    Forget about the DVD bullshit for a moment. Suppose Joe Schmoe breaks into my office in the middle of the night, shoots the security guards, blows open the safe, and takes a single sheet of paper that contains the formula for Miracle Ingredient #666. As the cops follow the blood-drip trail back to his secret hideaway, he places the sheet into a copy machine and presses copy.

    The cops nab him, and in addition to the various legal problems he's facing, I decide to prosecute him for trade secret theft. If I do that, then is the Miracle Ingredient #666 formula going to end up in the public record? Sounds like maybe I should just let it go.

    Suppose he didn't shoot anyone or blow up any safes. What if trade secret theft was the only crime he committed, so that I either had to nail him on that count only, or else watch him go free. What to do?

    It's fun to laugh at the DVD jerks, but it sounds like this current problem that they're having, could happen to anyone who has a secret.

  • Or if they're just stupid.
    Probably the latter, really - their whole approach to this thing reeks of businessmen more interested in their own power than in the realities of the matter, and snake^Wlawyers who can see a nice big pile of cash coming to them whoever wins . . .

    Actually, part of the problem is almost certainly the fact that the DVD standard isn't simply American - it's international, and thus the laws governing it aren't so much confused as contradictory . . . The businessmen who are running the show aren't at all sure of how much power they actually have, so they're trying to lay claim to whatever they can possibly get. The problem is, they haven't really thought through the consequences of their approach. This is _exactly_ like the Cult of Scientology's screwup in Sweden - they didn't think through the consequences (or didn't do their research - same thing, really), and basically fucked themselves over . . .
    Of course, this case being tried in the US, the DVD-CCA should have had a much better idea of what would have happened - they either have incompetent lawyers, or the lawyers have no control over the situation.

    Whatever the case, the DVD situation is becoming a farce. I can see these cases effectively defining copyright protections and rights (on both sides) for digital media, and I can't see it coming down on the side of the DVD-CCA. These cases are naked and incompetent grabs for power - I think even a place as politically corrupt as the US will eventually decide in favour of `reasonable' laws. At least, I hope so . . .

  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @07:56AM (#1342865) Homepage
    Did anyone catch the section of the suit where they quote a random (and probably hand-picked for maximum effect) collection of /. articles? I quote:
    For example, postings on slashdot.org as early as July 1999 clearly establish the state of mind of the hacker community. The following is a sample of posts made on July 15, 1999:

    I like the "state of mind" of the hacker community--like we have only one mind, and we all agree. Further, some of the quotes are offered to show that we all knew certain aspects of the law which frankly I, as a drone in the hive mind, was not made aware of by the hierarchy.

    Further, the declaration makes a bunch of assumptions about how individuals must have known certain things, because they were posted by anonymous cowards here on /. Now am I missing something, but part of the give and take here is that you wind up taking what goes on here with a large grain of salt, especially from anonymous cowards. So saying that "it was discussed on /. must necessarly make it true, and thus making individuals criminally liable" strikes me as a stretch.

    Ah, well. It's stupidities like this which make me a little, ah, itchy around some lawyers...
  • Ok, now all of us who want the source, rush to the courthouse and photocopy it! Ingenious!
  • I think we should revise results of the DeCSS distribution contest. Here's your bell ringer.

    On a more serious note, it looks like this form of DeCSS is refering to .dll files and "Win98" and "WinNT". I think the linux decrypter is CSS-auth or something (do I have this right). Anyway, this would appear to me to disallow the "DeCSS is solely for interoperability with linux" arguement under the DCMA 1201(f)(3) reengineering for interoperability exception. Perhaps CSS-auth is ok but DeCSS is not ;-] One more reason to use linux over windows.

    It looks like everything depends on the five keys which are called in DeCSS by the names CSStab[1-5]. I propose a new contest: Obfuscated code to produce these keys.

    I've heard it alluded to that subsequent to the original hack of the keys, a better understanding of the CSS methodologies has produced a more efficient key-producing algorithm that doesn't depend on any prior knowledge. Such an algorithm seems like it would meet the 1201(g) exception for cryptographic research. Can anybody provide more details on this?

  • Someone go make a entry in Freshmeat for this. Rub it in, pour salt on the wound. Mirror it, do everything we can :)

    # David
    * ddn@nospam.hps.com
    # I live every day like it's my last. It makes doing my homework a little tough.
  • by DaveHowe ( 51510 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:02AM (#1342869)
    it's borderline - most computers use a C compiler that produces object code (and yes, it IS machine code, but you can't run it directly) then feed *that* into a linker that adds in standard libraries, puts "how to run me" headers and tailers on as needed, then saves it as a ready-to-run file. you might not see it directly (some compliers hide the passes they make) but most go though this two-stage process.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    > I think we should sue them for using our comments without permission.

    Even though you're being facetious, do you see how you're part of the problem?
  • Go scroll down a bit through that document. Notice something? Yep, that's right, they're quoting Slashdot comments. Apparently what we post represents the `mindset of the hacker community'.
    I don't really mind that - what I *do* mind is that they are pulling individual phrases (not threads, not even entire posts, but phrases) from a huge wad of posts and using them selectively to push their point of view. I am surprised the defense didn't insist they produce (and the court consider) the entire thing, huge as it was.

    As for payment now, I am not sure court evidence is bound by the same rules as a magazine.....

  • Perhaps those postings by the Anonymous Drones were really postings by the DVD association. :)

    I like the "state of mind" reference as well. Perhaps we should introduce the complete harmony of thought amongst RMS, Perens, et. al.

    Awaiting further directive from the Slashdot Collective.....
  • Also, since this is in essence a discussion, quoting A.C.'s is rather futile.

    Some people come out in favor of a given topic some come out against, its the nature of a discussion.

    Oh... and wouldn't they have to prove that an A.C. is knowledgeable enough to represent 'the opionion of the community'? (not saying some A.C.s may not be)

    How do you show something like that in the case of an anonymous comment? Its like picking some random person on the street and basing your case on their feelings.

    I'm glad the judge in California seems to be more open minded then the one in New York... almost makes me want to leave the Empire State for a warmer environment ;)

    Colleen:Its a black-hole.
    Hunter:Is that a good thing?
    C:It is if you want to be compressed into oblivion.
    H:Oh.. coooool.
  • by himi ( 29186 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:13AM (#1342876) Homepage
    I think the DVD case is a different matter - this wasn't a case of `theft of trade secrets', rather one of legitimate reverse-engineering of the technology.

    Which doesn't answer your question . . .
    ObIANAL, but it seems to me that you don't have to submit your trade secret in evidence - if you're prosecuting for theft of a trade secret, you'd have to completely stupid and incompetent to do so, actually. The court doesn't have to know _what_ was stolen, merely the fact that it was. If the defence tried to submit what was stolen as evidence, then they'd pretty much be admitting guilt - "Hey, we didn't steal anything! And here's your proof - this is what we didn't steal . . . Oh, er . . . ". And you could surely object to the tabling of the secrets - after all, the whole idea of prosecuting the theft is to retain control of your secret, and the court would have to be insane to ignore that.

    No, this is a stuffup extraordinaire . . . Someone in the DVD-CCA or their legal team did _not_ think before they wrote this, and will probably be fired quite soon after the head honchos catch on. I almost feel sorry for him/her - it's probably a bored intern (or whatever they call them) who didn't even think about it before writing the document. This intern might even have been a tad sympathetic with the defendants . . . Definitely not legal material, in that case . . .

  • by irh ( 27628 )
    Public domain and public record mean very different things. Patents are a perfect example to illustrate - a patent is information about an invention/mechanism/process that is publicly disclosed. Patenting such an invention/mechanism/process -specifically- excludes that information from the public domain - that's what a patent -is-.

    There is plenty of information that is on the public record but specifically not in the public domain - absolutely anything that is written and published, for example. You write a book - the information is public record - but the book is copyrighted. Unless you specifically place it in the public domain, the copyright gives certain exclusive rights to the copyright holder.
  • by kramer ( 19951 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:14AM (#1342878) Homepage
    So what's to keep someone from making a compilable version of these court documents?

    Just put all the excess text (lawyer-babble and such) into a comment block, and presto instant compilable court record.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:14AM (#1342879)
    In financial and entertainment news today, merger mania continues. Tackhead news services reports that the Cult of $cientology has recently been acquired by the MPAA.

    On the cult's side, reasons for the merger included $cieno infiltration into Hollywood for the past 20-30 years in order to provide a sheen of legitimacy for the beleagured cult, as well as a surplus of Operating Thetans out panhandling for money now that org revenues have crashed following the CO$'s "Operation Foot Bullet" and public buggering on the Internet in recent years.

    On the MPAA's side, they cited a need for individuals with experience in controlling the dissemination of dangerous information embedded in court documents, and "The Cult of $cientology was the obvious choice; they've got experience in these sorts of things that nobody else has."

    The MPAA appears to have already started to put the Cult's Operating Thetans to good use; at least one lover^H^H^H^H^Htrusted confidante of Cult Leader David Missedcabbage was quoted as saying

    "Look, Dave's desperate for money for the cult, and snce everybody
    knows the story about the volcanoes and Xenu, there's not much point in having most our OT3 through OT7s sitting around in court libraries pretending to read the court documents containing our Seekrit Skript00rz in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Anti-Religious Bigots (tm-CO$) who might check the documents out and copying them and spreading them on the 'net.

    It seemed only fair that we send our now-unemployed OTs where they can do what they do best - checking out DVDCCA lawsuits containing copies of DVD decryption source code and pretending to read those before Anti-Copyright Bigots (tm-MPAA) start copying the source and spreading it on the net. Besides, it's more fun than trying to levitate ashtrays."

    The merger has resulted in a shakeup on the board of the MPAA; the new board will be composed of executives who have all proven themselves "more capable" than conventional executives through $cientology training, which traditionally starts with a "Communications Course", and goes upwards from there. When asked for comment, the new Chair of the MPAA managed to splutter

    "Our lawyers now have full control over MEST: Matter, Energy, Space, and Time are ALL OURS! MUHAAHAHHHAHHAHH! The psychiatrists won't stop us! The Germans won't stop us! The anti-religious bigots won't stop us! The open-sourcers won't stop us! NOTHING shall stop us in our drive to Clear(tm-CO$) the planet! And Tom Cruise and John Travolta are straight, goddamnit, STRAIGHT! Anyone saying otherwise will be DISPOSED OF QUIETLY AND WITHOUT SORROW! We are INVINCIBLE! WE ARE THE NEW FACE OF THE CULT OF THE DEAD CLAM!!!"
    ...before lapsing into complete gibberish for several minutes, before concluding with something about how Scientology saved his life, got him off drugs, and if I'd only take one communications course... whereupon your faithful reporter concluded the interview and got the hell out of dodge.

    Members of the Cult of the Dead Cow, opon hearing the latter part of this outburst, are reputedly planning an IPO next week, proceeds of which will be used to sue the newly-merged MPAA-CO$ organization into oblivion on grounds of trademark dilution.

    The CdC has neither confirmed nor denied plans to use a portion of the proceeds to purchase a thermonuclear weapon, and in a joint venture with a new orbital technology from Gold And Appel Transfers, Inc., dust off from Occupied Clearwater and nuke the site from orbit.

    It's the only way to be sure.

    (Background: For those who don't know the story, yes, the CO$ really did send cult members to court libraries, and had them sit at desks all day long, looking at the cover of the library's sole copy of the court documents that contained their sekrit skripturez, in order to prevent "unauthorized" people from reading them, copying them, and posting them to the 'net. The effect this had on the distribution of the court documents in question was, of course, about as good as the effect the MPAA and DVDCCA's suits have had on the distribution of DeCSS.)

  • I agree with the sentiment, unfortunately Darwin Awards are only awarded to those people who remove themselves from the gene pool for the benifit of future generations :)

    (unless they feel so forlorn over this stupidity that they kill themselves they don't have a chance :)

    Now... the truth is that if it wasn't so late perhaps we could nominate them for a Beenie Award (Best contribution to Open Source software)... perhaps next year ;)

    Colleen:Its a black-hole.
    Hunter:Is that a good thing?
    C:It is if you want to be compressed into oblivion.
    H:Oh.. coooool.
  • by drwiii ( 434 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:19AM (#1342882)
    I got what had to be at least a dead tree's worth of legal papers in the mail from the DVD attorneys about a week ago. (Would've been two weeks ago, but they sent it via certified mail and I refused to accept it)

    People here might be interested to know that the DVD lawyers printed out an entire Slashdot discussion (comments and all) and included it in these legal filings.

    Couldn't help but laugh when I saw a slashdot forum among all these hundreds of papers full of legalese. :)

  • Umm...

    How are unsubstantiated, anonymous, paranoid ramblings 'insightful' ?

    Treat anonymous postings as writing on a bathroom stall - Don't belive every thing you read.

  • I love how you were able to cloud your racism as fact. My stepfather is in the clan and the propaganda material they produce wasn't as eloquent as this.

    The American public is not allowed to see the criminal files on Martin King because the files contradict the image that the government wants to aclimate us to.

    You state this as fact as opposed to the other two cases you cite as possibility.

    may call into question the findings of the Warren Commission and embarrass many still living politicians.

    Although the documents in question are very likely to tell us if she was innocent or really guilty

    I'm sorry but as much as I try to objective about your post as informative, I cannot. It is thinly veiled Oliver Stonish conspiracy thoery wrapped in KKK propaganda. I'm worse off for even responding to it.

    Side note..I'm caucasian, don't believe in affirmative action and don't think that MLK day should be a government holiday but I don't go around spreading false truths to influence others.

    Racism bites.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:23AM (#1342885)
    Assuming that you have never been anmed, You would not be in violation of the court order because you are not a defendant. The injunction does not apply to you. I'm surprised that the source is not under seal. Otherwise, it is a public document. Copy it. Note: any use might constitute violation of DMCA or some other fed statute. I don't know
  • by MattMann ( 102516 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:27AM (#1342888)
    They had to include the source in their filing, DeCSS was GPLed!

    "Your Honor, I present plaintiff's Exhibit A"
    "Yes, Mr. Stallman?"
    "DeCSS is copyleft, your Honor.
    "You know, it's free."
    "So what?"
    "That means the source must be made available. Here, read the GPL."
    "The GNU Public License?"
    "No, 'General'."
    "Please refer to me as 'Your Honor'"
    "Yes, Your Honor, no, I mean, yes... it's the General Public License, Your Honor."
    "Oh [reading]..., yes, you're right, it does say the source must be made available. Objection sustained. Plaintiffs? Where can I get the source?"
    "We charge for it, your honor."
    "But he says it's free..."
    "Yes, Mr. Raymond?"
    "He meant 'open', like a bazaar."
    "[wearily] Yes?"
    "No I didn't."
    "This is bizarre. 'No you didn't' what!"
    "No, I didn't mean 'open', I meant 'free'"
    "Overruled. Plaintiffs, the bailiff can't seem to get the source from this URL you gave him."
    "It's slashdotted, Your Honor."
    "What's 'slashdotted'?"
    "It means a bunch of people who should be working are listening to MP3s and downloading right now. They came from a free/open advocacy website called Slashdot."
    "Oh? Open? Can I get the source to it, too?"
    "Damn it, Your Honor, not for another day, now!"
    "Your Honor, the Bill Gate, sir, to present this amicus curiae sudsum, a friend-of-the-court [wink] free beer."
    "Now we're getting somewhere! Thank you. [grabbing beer] This court will stand in recess..."

  • >the Freedom of Information Act

    Actually, no.

    The Federal Freedom of Information Act applies only to federal records, not to State records, but the filing here was in the California state court case. The California equivalent is the Public Records Act, Government Code sections 6250 and following:

    In enacting this chapter, the Legislature, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy, finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this State. (Government Code 6250 [the Legislature's declaration of purpose in enacting the California Public Records Act].)

    In any event, without the need to resort to either FOIA (federal) or PRA (California) all court records are, by default, public, unless there is a specific seal order by the Judge. I do not believe that there has been one here. Anyone can walk into the courthouse and copy non-sealed court records to their heart's content, for only the copying charges set by the court.

  • If the DVD Assoc. hasn't filed the documents under seal, the NY docs become part of the public record in the case -- not a good way to preserve a trade secret. It would seem pretty effectively to moot the California claims.

    I guess that's what they get for having too many lawyers in the kitchen. (Different firms handling the NY and Calif. actions.)
  • Actually, according to the prelim injunction ruling, linking to the source is NOT prohibited, just hosting it.
  • This is the only post here that is actually more funny than the origional story.

    Great job :)


    Bill Gates: "Innovation"
  • by Anomalous Canard ( 137695 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:46AM (#1342896)
    It's called sealing court records. When the DVDCCA submitted the printout of the CSS source code into evidence at the original hearing, they asked that the court seal the record. That way, they get it their way. They get the evidence in the court record and they make it so that no one can go to the courthouse and retrieve a copy.

    I sincerely doubt that the DVD CCA or MPAA lawyers are so stupid as to allow unsealed CSS source into open court records. I looked at the site where the story came from and all I can suggest is that the people who posted it are misinformed.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • by Anonymous Coward
    DeCSS was a proof of concept code to crack the CSS algorithm. it was then ported to linux for css-auth. the keys are there for redundancy..you only need two, one for authenticating with the drive and one for decryption. you can get all 100+ decryption keys since where are only 2^16 combinations...less than a minute for decryption. anyway, if you loose this one case you loose the ability to reverse engineer which is the whole point of decss and this case.
  • When CD's came out...was in the days of 1200 baud modems and 300 mb hard drives...

    Seeing as how CDs came out in the mid 1980s, hard drives may have been as large as 20MB. My first personal computer (ie. not one my parents bought) was purchased in late 1991 with a whopping 106 MB HD. I certainly remember my parents' first x86 machine being a 286 with a 20 MB drive in either '87 or '88. Talk about truly infeasible!

    Also, as the original poster failed to note, you can rip CDs into mp3s, but it is wholly illegal to email/ftp/post for download/etc. that mp3 to someone else without consent from the music company (good luck getting that consent, BTW). Similarly, (IMO only) the DVD-CCA was trying to 1) prevent widespread piracy that is fairly commonplace with music CDs and 2) milk their cash cow as long as possible. 1) is certainly within their best interest. 2) however, is downright despicable, especially given their tactics (selective prosecution, attacking links to information, which, contrary to a certain NY state judge, is covered under the first amendment, etc).

    Take this all with a mighty big grain of salt. Most of this is certainly just my take of things (except the discussion of HD sizes, of course ;)


  • by andyf ( 15400 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:52AM (#1342900) Homepage
    I, the honorable Sen. Wellstone would like to read the following statement:

    unsigned int capital see capital ess capital ess tab zero left bracket eleven right bracket equals left curly bracket five comma zero comma one comma two comma three

    ad nauseam...

    And yes, I know, it doesn't have to be 'Read' but it's a funny thought...
  • Who's to say that the flood stories found in various cultures aren't actually recollections of a real flood? Anti-"bible thumpers" have for years now been claiming the Gilgamesh epic as a source for Genesis with no more evidence than an assertion. Mark it down to laziness. Not that I'm against laziness per se, it's a virtue in my line of bidniss....
  • I imagine they aren't reading the higher end of the comment spectrum (the area where they just might LEARN something), but instead focus on the bottom feeders that just make us look bad.

    "Look this guy claims to be an 3l33t hax0r and says '*uck the system, I'm going to copy dvd's now! they can't touch me'. I KNEW this was all a bunch of kids just breaking the law for fun."

    Perhaps if they had read the dead trees they sent you, they might realise how silly their case is...Nahhhh. As a rule, we aren't talking about bight people here.


    Bill Gates: "Innovation"
  • by cmuncey ( 66980 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @08:55AM (#1342903)
    IANAL (sigh) but there are two important points that I think everyone should consider.

    1) It doesen't look (to me) like this is legally "public" yet. The cryptome [cryptome.org] page says that the document is based on hardcopy from an anonymous source. Normally (if I remember from my time as a cop beat reporter way back when) all the documents in a civil case only become public at the end of the trial, if there is one, and still may not be completely released then.

    This is important as the argument that the judge is somewhat buying from DVD CAA so far is that, while the code has already been posted a lot of places, the information came from an illegitimate source that should have known better, and was posted by persons who should have known that this was not public information. If this is an otherwise confidential court document, posting it does not defeat trade secret protection for DVD any more than any other posting has.

    If this is actually a confidential court document, whoever released it doesn't just have DVD CAA to worry about, they should be consulting a lawyer on what the civil contempt rules are in California.

    2) FOIA is no help. The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not apply here at all. "The federal FOIA does not, however, provide access to records held by state or local government agencies, or by private businesses or individuals." [usdoj.gov] This is a civil filing in a state (California) court.

  • It's interesting, while discussing the assasination of MLK jr, to point out that many conspiracy theorists point at the govt. for being responsible. Which hardly goes along with the notion of the govt. trying to paint a rosier picture of King. Getting around to responding to you, rasicm sucks, but bullshit is bullshit. I think King was one of the finest humans of the century, but that doesn't mean he was flawless. I'm not saying he was a screwup or that whatever people say about him is true, but he was human, you know?

  • "You will be copylefted, and your technological distinctiveness will be added to our own."
  • The problem is that a court record can be sealed or edited by a judge, especially when the judge sees the purpose of the inclusion of the source code.

    If the source code were included in the congressional record, however (and it quite easily could, btw, by a friendly congress person or senator), then the courts would have no power to strike it there (thanks to the separation of powers doctrine). I'm not sure what the rules are in each house of congress, but I believe that it would be an significant event to prevent a congressperson's entries from being entered into the official record.

    The nice thing about this is that the congressional record is much easier to search and retrieve on the Internet than most District Court proceedings.
  • why didn't the DVDCCA ask the judge to do this?

    From all indications that I have, the DVD CCA lawyers did ask the judge to seal the CSS code that they submitted and he complied. I think that the report that they are in open court records is dead wrong.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • Members of the Cult of the Dead Cow, opon hearing the latter part of this outburst, are reputedly planning an IPO next week, proceeds of which will be used to sue the newly-merged MPAA-CO$ organization into oblivion on grounds of trademark dilution.

    Wow, the idea of starting a company just to sue someone. Ingenious! Kinda like Caldera... (Well, the Caldera that makes OpenDos, not OpenLinux. They are seperate companies.(but have the same CEO))

    [ c h a d o k e r e ] [iastate.edu]
  • That's great! Compiled Litigation! How could we get in trouble for that?
  • Funniest fatal business move.

    I can't believe this is really happening.
  • I was really amused to see the same "Anonymous Coward" that gets quoted in all sorts of mainstream media outlets, get quoted in a major court document.

    The first post they list is attributed to "root@megami.com". If it had been written by someone named in the case, it would be quite damning, but it wasn't. First off, www.megami.com is a page devoted to Japanese Animation. Besides that, anyone who posts to /. as root probably isn't the brightest bulb around. At least 50% of all slashdotters have root access somewhere, and it doesn't impress anyone.

    I don't mean to flame root@megami.com, but presenting his/her sloshdot post as representative of the entire "hacker community" state of mind is insane.

  • Reading through the record posted on cryptome, I saw an interesting note. In section 30 of the main declaration, the DVD CCA states that "The CSS License Agreement specifically prohibits licensees from reverse engineering the CSS technology." Here, the licensees are the groups that DVD CCA provide the 'secret' to. The DVD CCA then goes on to state that "Clearly, the end users of the products manufactured by the licensees under the CSS Licensee Agreement can have no greater rights than the licensees have under the CSS License Agreement."

    Am I reading this right, that they are saying that the end users are bound by this agreement which the end users have never seen?

    Edward Burr

  • by kinesis ( 13238 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @09:42AM (#1342916)
    When Kessler (counsel for the plaintiffs) started reading the comments at the last hearing it was all we could do to keep from laughing.

    "Your honor, we have evidence here that an 'Anonymous Coward' called us 'cocksuckers' on slashdot."

    I was reminded of a time when my little sister ran to my mother and said, "Andy called me a poo-poo head!"

    Kessler read (from the record) for about an hour and a half in a ferocious speech that left most of us wondering why he had bothered.

    -- Defendant #2
  • Well, the first 386's (Compaq Deskpro 386 was one of the first) came out in 1986. You could geta "monster" 170 mb HDD with one of these... but that's the ultra high end stuff.

    The usual would be a 12-mhz 286 with 1 mb of ram and a 40MB hdd (I had one of those!)

    That's not even enough to hold the unencoded WAV file for a typical 3-minute song, is it...

    BTW, 9600 baud modems were out then and the 19.2 ones were well in development (but they got surpassed by 14.4s? Don't quite know why, but 19.2s weren't very common.)
    I had a 2400 baud modem and I used it to connect to BBSs. I had FidoNet email. That rocked!

    The industry always knew it would be possible to rip the CDs... after all, they were digital in the first place, and any schmoe with a brain could see that software piracy was everywhere (yes, even back then). They just didn't think that it could be distributed so easily... they were more concerned about people taping their CDs and selling them to friends.

    (This is a complement, not a response, to it's parent post... in case y'all are confused :)

    Talon Karrde
  • Actually, the only word the judge spoke during the entire proceeding was "White".

    One of Judge Elfving's good friends is Judge White (it's spelled differently, though). The lead counsel for the plaintif mis-pronounced it as "Judge Whit".

    Elfving corrected him in what was a fairly awkward moment.

    PS - That was hilarious! Thanks.
  • I agree. My point was not to argue the merits of Dr. King himself. Mine was to note the obvious (or maybe subconcious) way we use slight trickery of words to get a point across. I have read that Dr. King had been unfaithful to his wife but I find the communist ties to be a bit of a stretch. Wether or not he did any of those things, his message was still one of great meaning and importance.
  • by deusx ( 8442 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @09:53AM (#1342924) Homepage
    I sincerely doubt that the DVD CCA or MPAA lawyers are so stupid as to allow unsealed CSS source into open court records. I looked at the site where the story came from and all I can suggest is that the people who posted it are misinformed

    Did you READ the blurb above, or just spout off? I would think that closed court records [cryptome.org] would not be publically available on the internet [cryptome.org]. In fact, if someone one posted the court records containing the CSS source [cryptome.org], I would have to say that either someone is about to be in big trouble, or the court records in question [cryptome.org] are indeed UNSEALED .

    In fact, I would say that this [cryptome.org] is the whole FREAKING POINT OF THIS STORY ON SLASHDOT! [cryptome.org]

    Thank you, please drive through.

  • Now, what if the defendants entered a different exhibit, containing also the source code, but without asking to seal it? Afaik, that was what happened in the scientology case: the secret was actually entered by the defendants
  • you can get all 100+ decryption keys since where are only 2^16 combinations...less than a minute for decryption

    Only 65536 = 2^16 Combinations!! That is truly, truly sad protection, if what you say is true. Can you provide a reference. I keep hearing things like this but nobody posts the source (pun intended).

    if you loose this one case you loose the ability to reverse engineer which is the whole point of decss and this case

    I disagree that losing this case destroys reverse engineering. For example, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act specifically includes a reverse engineering "solely" for interoperability clause. Perhaps some people post DeCSS on www.DVD-rip-off.org with encouragement and instructions on how to commit copyright violations, and get told they have to stop by a court. That means they didn't qualify for the reverse engineering exception. It doesn't mean there is no exception.

    Another exception under DMCA is for cryptography research. Somebody who was a credible cryptographer could publish a paper entitled something like "Weakness of the CSS playback encryption scheme" in a cryptography journal and include source code and it seems to me the DMCA 1201(f) would protect it. Of course just catching a glimpse of the unprotected key would not qualify as cryptographic research, but a demonstration that there were clever efficiencies that helped reduce the search space for a brute force attack WOULD be publishable.

    Free speach in acadamia is a very strong force - for example, you can look up the synthesis for LSD in chemical journals.
  • They'll probably move to have them sealed.

    There's already a floppy disk (sealed) with decss on it and a hard copy of the source (also sealed) in the court record.

    Go to http://sharedlib.org [sharedlib.org] for a list of mirrors (there's NO local copy) and download the css-auth or livid code for yourself. Put it up on a Geocities or Xoom page and then email me the URL.

    Don't bother mirroring the Windows binary... get the source, that's what we care about.

    And remember, "We're the MPAA's customers. Not their enememies" -- Chris Dibona

    Pro-piracy statements get us no where. Neither do "fuck the lawyers" rhetoric.
  • From the people who recite the phonebook... That'd be enough for me to watch C-SPAN!

  • you don't have to kill yourself to be removed from the gene pool. You just have to loose the ability to reproduce. There were a couple of Darwin awards given in this way to living people over the years.
  • It is implying that if the licences aren't valid, then the middlemen are in violation of their contract.

    Of course, it could also be read as an attempt to push US law onto the free world, which I regard as a shame.

  • Why was this post blank? :)
  • Then again, after posting this, I realized...

    Someone, indeed, could be in trouble. :)

  • This is the perfect oppirtunity to make a clean-room version of the DeCSS code.
    • Someone not involved with the current project should go through the code from the court documents, and write up a detailed explanation of how it works, without using any actual code. i.e. "the stream is XOR'ed with the Manufacturer Key for X bytes, and then..."
    • Someone else (again, not involved with any of the current projects) takes the explanation and write code that follows the explanation.
    • There aren't that many manufacturer keys, so just start brute-forcing keys until all of the working (or "sort-of-working") keys are found.
    • Refine and repeat.
    Suddenly, there's a version of DeCSS developed without stealing any trade secrets. The person who's explaining the code is merely offering commentary and explanation for a legal document, while the people writing the code are putting that non-copyrighted, non-trade-secret explanation into practice.

  • Look more carefully at the affidavit appendix and I think you'll note that Appendix A is not the source code for DeCSS, but notes regarding the same.
  • I see that you've repented of your rash statements, so I'll go easy on you. ;^)

    The link in the article dosn't lead to a court web site. It leads to someone's private site. The EFF would have received copies of the plaintiff's affadivits even if they were sealed and they probably shared them with some defendants. I think that someof the DVD CCA's filings were available on the EFF site though I don't remember seeing this one there.

    I suggest that someone got a copy of this from a defendant (notice that it says "Hardcopy from Anonymous" near the top of the cryptome page) and decided to post it.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • Another page I read (memepool) [memepool.com] had a link to CopyLeft which is now selling t-shirts with the DeCSS source code silk-screened onto the back side [copyleft.net] and includes hard copy of DeCSS code with each T-shirt purchased. Is something like this impacted in any way by this case?
  • it just sounds like the CCA is shouting "no fair, they cheated..." Come on, you're given a piece of software and you can't look at it in any way except it's intended use? I hope no one files suit against the makers of the BFPG-9000, i'm sure that pvc piping was supposed to be used for something other than a monstrous potato gun... Ishamael the devils of truth steal the souls of the free
  • In a US court, the plaintiffs would request that it be sealed and the judge would grant the request.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • The above post(the RSI is a Liberal Conspiracy one) should be moderated (-1, Flamebait).

  • Haha, I don't know why but I got a good laugh out of that. heh.
  • This is hillariously funny. Imagine If someone posted the source code in the comments here, whould that make those particular slashdot comments illegal?

    It's cool how they mention slashdot in the document.

  • Actually, IIRC, the CD was invented in 1978. The Apple II had only been around for a year. Hard drives didn't exist, at least not for personal computers. It would have been hard to imagine back then that in 2 decades, we'd have multi-gigabyte hard drives and a way to transfer music at near-CD quality (or even CD quality, if you have the bandwidth) to anywhere in the world. Although currently transferring a DVD at full-quality is hard to do, in only a few years, I'll bet it'll be as easy to do as transferring MP3s today. I'm not siding with the people who want to ban DeCSS; I believe that everybody should have the right to use their DVDs as they want for their own personal use. However, copyright protection is a bigger issue today than it was in 1978 because in the forseeable future, it'll be feasible to give pirated DVDs to other people, something that would have been almost science-fiction when CDs were created.
  • Since it is the Judge's duty to make the court proceedings public, including the evidence,
    perhaps Judge Elfin will qualify as Doe #499....
    Quick, somebody buy him a T-shirt.

    (Obviously, IANAL)
  • This is slightly OT.

    If anyone is interested in learning the truth about the of Cult^h^h^hhurch of Scientology, go here [xenu.net].

  • The cryptome page says that the document is based on hardcopy from an anonymous source.

    Does anybody else find this strange? Did somebody sit down and type this whole thing out (~45 pages)? I didn't see the sometimes-garbled words and punctuation I'm used to seeing with scanned text. Admittedly I haven't seen this done for awhile so maybe OCR technology really has improved that much. Still, I find it questionable. What about you?
  • It's always nice to see some quality original humor here on slashdot. My only suggestion would be to put in the names of the characters speaking the lines. Then again, maybe it's just best how it is...
  • What really pisses me off is that in the "president" of the DVD-CCA's little Affidavit, we get the following:

    23. Gilmore goes on to state that "[o]ne major reason [for making such copies] is to allow Linux developers and users to watch their DVDs on their non-Windows computers." (Id. at 10). Linux is an alternative operating system to Windows. It was developed as an "open" system which is available at no charge to the user. To date, no person or entity has taken a license from DVD CCA or its predecessor to use CSS in a Linux application. If a person or entity were prepared to take a license on the same terms as existing licensees, such a license would be granted. At that point, Linux users could lawfully view motion pictures on their non-Windows operating system. Until then, Linux users have no "right," via a "hack" around other software licenses, like the Xing license, to gain access to this proprietary technology.

    So right there the truth comes out, this is what they're after all along. We have the right to buy the fucking DVD's, but we have no right to PLAY them without also buying a fucking player? We can't make one ourselves? What kind of logic is that? Why isnt the FSF legal team helping the EFF in this? Why isn't many other organisations helping in this effort? It affects us and them alike!

    Next thing you know we wont have a right to make our own OS for our computers.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Next thing you know, we'll be getting posts here such as:

    "Judge Elfving, I want yout body naked and petrified"

    In an attempt to get it entered into court documents... Now isnt that a thought...

    -- iCEBaLM
  • by root ( 1428 ) on Monday January 24, 2000 @11:47AM (#1342966) Homepage
    The first post they list is attributed to "root@megami.com".

    Actually, it's root@megami.ORG.

    If it had been written by someone named in the case, it would be quite damning, but it wasn't. First off, www.megami.com is a page devoted to Japanese Animation.

    See above, but the .org page serves the same purpose.

    Besides that, anyone who posts to /. as root probably isn't the brightest bulb around.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'posting as root'. On /. root is just a nick like any other. How is this better or worse than someone who calls himself CmdrTaco? I fail how to see how this justifies decreeing me to be 'dim'.

    At least 50% of all slashdotters have root access somewhere, and it doesn't impress anyone.

    "Impress anyone?" Who said anything about that? My nick matches my email address, which gets routed automagically to my regular (non-superuser) account anyway. You're making a *lot* of assumptions here. Lighten up! It's just a nick!

    I don't mean to flame root@megami.com, but presenting his/her sloshdot post as representative of the entire "hacker community" state of mind is insane.

    The lawyer made that tie, not me.

    I don't think there *is* anyone who represents the entire "hacker community". We're all going to differ on some issues. As far as my comment, I stand by it. Even if MoRE hadn't came up with DeCSS, someone, somewhere, and regardless of local law[*], would've reverse engineered or just plain extracted the css code from one of the software players and posted it to some public forum. Once that happens, its supression would be impossible. Had the secrets of DVD crypto stayed locked exclusively within hardware decoders, it would probably still be a secret today. Allowing software decoding at all, meant puting the code to do it on every software player sold. That is the true distribution and disemmination of the knowledge that led to DeCSS. MoRE just turned it into something a bit more readable.

    [*] It is, of course, this "someone, somewhere" who possesses the "f*** the law" attitude I mentioned, and will rip the css code from some player and repackage it as a module, source, or incorporate it into something like DeCSS, and not an attitude fitting my own personal beliefs. Yes, I'm backpeddling a bit, but if I'm gonna be quoted in front of judges here, I wanted to clear that up. I still do support, and think that it is not too late to do, a proper "clean room" reverse engineering of the css code, just as Compaq did with the IBM BIOS code, that enabled them to produce the first PC clone. IBM sued, much as DVD lawyers are sueing now. They lost. Hmmmm. DVD clone players? Would there be any difference?

  • Color me cynical, but has it occurred to anyone yet that the DVDCCA may not *want* to win this case? I'm sure the lawyers that are arguing the case are trying to win. But, do the people they report to, further up the chain of command, really want to win???

    If they do win, DVD goes the way of DAT. It dies.

    But if they fight a lengthy, *losing* court battle. They've got headlines in every paper. On all the TV shows. They've branded the DVD trademark. And they have encouraged the geek horde to embrace DVD technology.

    Consider how many people owned VCR's last year and didn't know what DVD's were. Or thought, "Why should I buy DVD's, when video tapes are so cheap..."

    Now run a search at the New York Times, or your favorite local paper on "DVD". How many articles have there been in the past month? Even Microsoft can't buy marketing like this.

    So for the life of me, I can't tell if these are ignorant old-schoolers fighting a losing battle against technology. Or some really brilliant marketers trying to insure that DVD succeeds where DAT failed.

  • I see that you've repented of your rash statements, so I'll go easy on you. ;^)

    Indeed, and thank you. :) I apologize for the possible flame content, I was trying to be funny mostly.

    Seems like it'll be very interesting to see, really, where this came from.

  • by / ( 33804 )
    There's this page [eserver.org] which has a lot of commentary (ranting) about the Meese report. An online copy of the actual report is elusive.
  • Just that it makes general sense that if you assign specific rights to licensees and they sublicence it, they can't give those end users more rights than they themself have.
  • That's not "cocksuckers". It's cog-sarging bastiches!

    Oh, I do so love our legal system. And all I wanted was to watch my Matrix DVD after hours at work. Was that so much to ask?
  • That won't work when trade secret is at issue, as long as the original person describing what the code does has access to what's alleged to be a trade secret. (It wouldn't work for patent either.)

    It does work for copyright, but only because copyright inheres in the exact representation of an idea, not the idea itself. So if you can write a piece of code that's compatible with something copyrighted, without reproducing the copyrighted code, you're free and clear of copyright concerns. (The clean-room technique basically is to make sure there's no legal question that the implementor used copyrighted code, because in the clean-room situation the implementor never *saw* copyrighted code.)

    But this case isn't about copyright - no one alleges DeCSS is actually a copy of someone else's software - it's about trade secret. And a trade secret is still a trade secret, whether it's described in C or English. So doing a clean-room clone of CSS won't help here, there'll still be a trade secret problem.
  • This is further proof that CSS encryption has nothing to do with copy protection and everything with controlling the player market.


He's like a function -- he returns a value, in the form of his opinion. It's up to you to cast it into a void or not. -- Phil Lapsley