November 28, 2001
11:20 PM   Subscribe

Court of Appeals upholds ban against DeCSS. More significant than the banning of DVD cracking is the edict directed towards 2600, which has been forbidden to post any links related to DeCSS. My concern with this decision is whether the current decision may be interpreted in a broader context, preventing others from linking to sites that aren't as sexy as Mom and Apple Pie to the powers that be. Maybe I'm overreacting. But could we see bloggers forced to remove certain links and led to the Tombs if they refuse? Discuss.
posted by ed (15 comments total)

 
oh shit.

: |
posted by manero at 11:51 PM on November 28, 2001


I linked and mirrored DeCSS on my site on April 28, 2000 before the first ruling came down. I've never touched the page since then, mostly because I'm afraid that if I modify the page it will be seen as worse than linking before it was illegal.

What's far more interesting than DeCSS are the offshoots and responses that have popped up since. My favorite is qrpff, 472 bytes of Perl which can decode a DVD in real time. It turns out that CSS (DVD's content scrambling system) is about as secure as latching the doors of your home with a paperclip and some masking tape.

I've never actually ripped a DVD. Once I extracted a scene from one, just to see if I could. Mostly I'm just curious. As for trying to stop the spread of information, no one could rebuild Humpty Dumpty and Pandora's box was never closed.

Oh, and this all seems incredibly trivial these days.
posted by joemaller at 12:34 AM on November 29, 2001


My favorite DeCSS spinoff is from their 'steganography' wing:
"There are two tiny facts about GIF files and ZIP files you might like to know about: GIF files have their length defined at the start of the file; any bytes after are ignored. ZIP files have a table at the end; anything at the start of the file is ignored. The result is that a file can be both a GIF and a ZIP, just change the extension."

And it's a picture of a stegosaur and unzips to the DeCSS code.

On another note, Eraserhead was released in region 2 but not region 1, and I had to break the region coding on my drive. I had to.
posted by j.edwards at 1:10 AM on November 29, 2001


What's hilarious to me is that there are still people in the world, even on this very site, who will defend the corporate feudalism which now passes for citizenship in this country. Here is a perfect example of how little regard the courts of this nation have for the rights of an individual when those rights are at odds with corporate interests. The individual loses nearly every time. The corporations have more money, and the courts and the congress know who got them their phoney-baloney jobs to begin with, and who they had better appease if they want to keep them.


Information age, indeed.
posted by Optamystic at 1:52 AM on November 29, 2001


If tomorrow I were to hack yahoo.com and include qrpff in the source would linking to yahoo.com be illegal?

A friend of mine put the source code on the front of his site for a few months and I was linked to it all that time.
What's hilarious to me is that there are still people in the world, even on this very site, who will defend the corporate feudalism which now passes for citizenship in this country.
You write for The West Wing, don't you?
The individual loses nearly every time. The corporations have more money, and the courts and the congress know who got them their phoney-baloney jobs to begin with, and who they had better appease if they want to keep them.
If anything I'd say it's ignorance of the internet and that 2600 were trying to defend the greater issue rather than trying to just win the case.
posted by holloway at 2:03 AM on November 29, 2001


You write for The West Wing, don't you?

That may be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.
posted by Optamystic at 2:53 AM on November 29, 2001


I'd agree with holloway that the ruling just shows a general ignorance and/or fear of the internet and things 'techie.' Sure, while the Court might use e-mail and even surf around and buy on the 'net, they're also probably scared by all the doomsy-sounding news reports that begin:

"Tonight at 11 - how safe are you buying online? Theives are waiting behind the scenes to steal YOUR information."

I doubt that anyone with a personal blog has to worry too much, unless they get super-linked by everyone and attract a lot of attention like 2600 did, or Jason Koetke did with Simply Porn. (Can you believe I still have that archived?)

And also, the Court hasn't a clue of the difference between 2600, some underground hacker/phreaker site where people trade credit card numbers, and Yahoo.
posted by rich at 6:33 AM on November 29, 2001


the Court hasn't a clue of the difference between 2600, some underground hacker/phreaker site where people trade credit card numbers, and Yahoo.

You can say that again. It's one of the most fundamental problems that we have in our legal system right now (with respect to technology law).

corporate feudalism

Bwahahahaha. You're in college, aren't you? (Except, somewhere I picked up the notion that you were a lawyer. Which is it, Optamystic?)

Now that I've insulted Optamystic, -- which he will hopefully take in the spirit it was intended, given my tremendous respect for his past posting -- I'm forced to admit that he does have a bit of a point in one respect: money buys you better legal work. In that sense, then, corporations generally have a major advantage over individuals.
posted by gd779 at 6:51 AM on November 29, 2001


We should all incorporate ourselves to give us the same uber-rights that corporations exploit, er, I mean enjoy.

Catch me tomorrow as Fleener, Inc.
posted by fleener at 7:02 AM on November 29, 2001


Whoa. On a second read, what I though would be good natured bantering comes across as barbed sarcasm. I guess I owe Optamystic a bit of an apology.

"Preview button? What's that?"
posted by gd779 at 7:04 AM on November 29, 2001


j.edwards: Ph33r not! Region 1 Eraserhead comes out in December!

For those who can't wait that long, get a mod chip, as I've been trying to persuade my dvd-player-owning friends to do for a year now. (Do it even if you don't like lynch.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:10 AM on November 29, 2001


"I've never actually ripped a DVD."

I have. Got Princess Mononoke on two CDs (could have done one, but the quality wouldn't have been very good). Took three days of on-and-off work to rip the video and audio and recompress it all on my 400mhz comp.

And yes, I own the DVD, and no, I haven't given away the CDs to anyone, they're still in my CD binder. I really just wanted to see if I could do it. Not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it's easier than a lot of things too.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:18 AM on November 29, 2001


Er, let me 'splain...

They could have taken the easier road and argued that linking should be protected as it is part of speech online.

Instead they took their defence in the direction that the EFF often do and defended the higher issue of whether DeCSS should be illegal. That's not a fight they're gonna win (right now).

(Yes, I am being an armchair lawyer. I've been founded these opinions from reading the 2600 site and court documents. EFF were being arses.)
posted by holloway at 10:50 AM on November 29, 2001


No offense taken, gd779. I actually got quite a kick out of it. Actually, I'm a techie at a law firm, and I live near a college, so you were sorta right. :)
posted by Optamystic at 2:32 PM on November 29, 2001


free speech?

posted by fuq at 3:11 PM on November 29, 2001


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