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DVD CCA Applies for Restraining Order

Roblimo posted more than 15 years ago | from the going-after-everybody-and-her-sister dept.

Encryption 895

Robert Jones writes "I have just received an email which I think will be of interest to many Slashdotters. Apparently, the DVD CCA [Copyright Control Association] has applied for a restraining order against myself and approximately 70 others to keep us from distributing 'any proprietary property or trade secrets relating to the CSS technology'. The hearing will be at 'the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, State of California, on December 29, 1999, at 8:30 a.m.' This will probably result in the bastards silencing us, but what can you do? If this goes through, I will never purchase a DVD player using current technology." Yes, the e-mail is real. Many people sent copies. We'll post an in-depth story within a day or two.

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Trade secrets vs. patents (4)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440222)

Is something still a trade secret if it has been reverse engineered? I thought this was the trade off between patenting and keeping something a trade secret. Surely they can't have it both ways?

Two words: (2)

Blue Lang (13117) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440223)

overseas mirrors.

Make the code ubiquitous, and it simply won't matter any more. :)


Who is Robert Jones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440224)

Seriously... who is this gentleman?

So where can we get the code *tonight* ? (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440225)

So where can we get the code *tonight* ?

slashdot also in the email (5)

~spot (5023) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440226)

slashdot is also mentioned in the email, which is mirrored here: http://douglas.min.net/~drw/css-auth/legal-info/ ~spot

Why not move offshore (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440227)

I mean not you personally, but the ideas and knowledge you have surely could be released?

Whack the mole! (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440228)

They didn't serve me, Who wants some DeCSS? I got source, I got source!!!!

Anybody ever play "whack the mole"? Watching these lawyers try to stop the flood of information is like playing the game - every time you smack one down with your mallet two more pop up.

If anyone wants the source, contact me [mailto] . Oh yes, and I'm making a dare to any of the lawyers out there - whack this mole.

paranoia (1)

donglekey (124433) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440229)

Why don't they just accept the fact that copying is going to happen. It has already been stated n here that if you can see it, it is in your grasp to copy it. I am surprised CD burners aren't getting more of a shaft, or is that a lost cause for copyright extremists. They go after mp3's and DVD's like mad.

Deep Pockets Don't Care... (2)

Royster (16042) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440230)

about the legal merits of the case.

For someting to be a trade secret, you need to take steps to keep it a secret. If the technology is reverse engineered without reference to protected material, I don't think that they have a case.

I guess they realized that they would be really up a creek if they tried copyright law on this one.

uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440231)

We're not trying to steal them, we're trying to play them.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440232)

because it needs to be cracked to make linux drivers smart guy....

You guys are missing the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440233)

The only reason that anybody had to mess with the dang CSS in the first place was because there was no DVD support for *n?x operating systems! I think companies can learn a lot from this. Everybody sees UNIX as an OS that only a handful of 'geeks' use, how come we're always causing sooo many headaches fighting for support?

CSS wasn't cracked to pirate DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440234)

CSS was cracked so that we could make DVD drivers for Linux.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440235)

If it easily cracked then the technology is flawed and should be replaced with better technology. And the people who cracked it in the first place weren't doing it to pirate the software.

These are 'secrets' (3)

dieman (4814) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440236)

The DVD algorithms that were found through some clever hacking were not found by rummaging through propretary documents or other blackops means, but through working with software. The software that they aquired the "method of decryption" from was not found illegally in the country it was found. That technology then was legally exported into the united states. These methods are pretty boring and were quickly incorprated into some nice pieces of software. Wheres the lawsuit, oh yeah, the DVD people DONT WANT YOU TO beable to use the technology yourself. That would give the consumer some rights to a product that could the copied and *gasp* pirated.

Sorry DSS guys, it was too late when you released the format.

pining for the old days? (3)

small_dick (127697) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440237)

remember the machine-breakers of england?

those were the good old days. if a company tried something like this, their buildings would be burned and the owner tarred and feathered in front of his house. sure it's dangerous, but how dangerous is it to let someone step on your freedom? is it really better to die on your feet than live on your knees?

are these companies paying me to allow their software and data run though MY computer and MY cables in MY house? do I have the right to put a logic analyzer or debugger on my system and look at the registers, memory and I/O or the various hardware and programs? can i use than information in turn for whatever purpose i choose? when will this become a "fair use" issue? reselling someone's app as your own is one issue, but using their protocols and command set should be quite another.

sometimes i think that the only reason corporations get away with this stuff is that we've become so acclimated to greed and selfishness that we have forgotten how to stand together and fight when we see it.

c'mon everyone, join me in a rousing chorus of "BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

they will lose in the long run. make it sexy, make it warez.

A sad note to end the millenium (4)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440238)

With only a couple of days to go, I think that this, more than anything else, personifies and highlights the fight we have ahead of us. Nothing is such a danger to the values that ANYONE who loves the Internet and the Information age holds highly then this fight of stupidity (armed with guns) against the progress of the mind.

I'm pretty much at a lack for words right now, so I will just send my moral support to anyone targeted by this outrage. However, this is a battle we can fight on our turf and they can fight on their's. The courtroom is definitely theirs.

There was never a revolution without somebody going under wheel, and there was never a meme to go under without a fight. And there has never been a fighter like corporate society.

We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.

Re:Last Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440239)

DVD piracy isn't even cost-effective. What we seek to facilitate is fair use- namely, being able to play the damn things.

Re:Last Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440240)


Solution (3)

chuckw (15728) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440241)

Look folks, the only way to combat this is for everyone to distribute copies of this software and associated documentation. Go here [free-dvd.org.lu] and download all of the local files and host them in as many locations as you can. If possible mirror the actual page rather than downloading. Just get them in as many public locations as possible any way you can. Lets make 'em play whack-a-mole.

Remember, one ant won't make a bit of difference, nor will two or three, but millions can overcome any obstacle.

Another issue I am reminded of here is that this is a great experiment by the powers that be. It has long been held that you cannot regulate the internet because it is so distributed and decentralized. If they win, it will be proven that it is easier to control the content of the internet than was previously thought...

Good Luck!


Info (5)

drwiii (434) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440242)

Here's the nastygram [min.net] (was sent in MS-Word format, HTMLized [more-or-less] for your pleasure) that I got via email this afternoon. Expect my css-auth mirror [min.net] to close by midnight tonight. On the advice of legal counsel, I'm not at liberty to discuss matters further.

Douglas R. Winslow

Re:You guys are missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440243)

Oh so it's okay to create software that will cause widespread piracy? Just because no one cares enough to write software for your operating system?

Yet another boycott? (2)

alain (114463) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440244)

OK, let me see if I have this straight, so far we are to boycott eToys, Amazon, Google, and now DVDs?

Is everyone evil?


Re:HA (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440245)

Amen brother- Pay the 15 bucks if you like the dern movie and stop your whining ya big baby! -capt.

It's their own fault! (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440246)

It's their own fault!
they used a copy protection mechanism that offers no real protection (brute forcing the key is easy) and next they try to sue the people who cracked their code!
it's like putting a large bag filled with hundred dollar bills in the middle of a crowded street with a sign near it 'Big Bag filled with hundred dollar bills, please don't steal'
the DVD CCA people should have their head examined!
I don't know the US law, but isn't it illegal to evoke criminal behavior?
isn't it possible to sue the DVD company's for evoking criminal behavior ? :-))

Re:CSS wasn't cracked to pirate DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440247)

Oh yea... it was just a side effect. It still doesn't make it right.

WTF! They're threatening slashdot too? (2)

webslacker (15723) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440249)

Item 29 points out that slashdot linked to a site that had the DeCSS, and notes other sites that linked to sites with DeCSS. Is this a threat?

Oh, and get item 32. They're saying that because of DeCSS, the whole DVD industry is going to dry up. What a horrible joke.

DeCSS, LiViD, css-auth, link! (4)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440250)

Download this [mediaone.net] .

Let them try to call a few hundred thousand people into court... I'd like to see that. =)

The Hearing is Coming Up, not Passed (4)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440251)

I cannot be in Santa Clara on that day, but if there are as many activists within reach of this article as one is led to believe, and if they believe so fully in their views, go be heard in the courtroom venue.

If I read on Dec. 29th that the hearing came and went without a standing-room-only courtroom, with all sides of the issue having been clearly heard, I will stop caring about the intellectual property debate.

It's not as if the article was "they applied for AND RECEIVED a restraining order." There is still an opportunity to influence the court. If nothing else, a judge could be made to realize that this matter is not something that should be decided off the cuff, but rather has very significant implications. Simply having a few thousand people on the courthouse steps that day would probably be enough to effect change.

Do I think it will happen? No. Will I be there? No. When the rubber meets the road on these issues, the bottom line is we really don't care. We Email our congress people, but do we snail mail them? Are these issues even worth $.33 to us? Maybe not. History will tell.

Re:slashdot also in the email (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440252)

It was very helpful of them to include all the URLs of the defendants, so that I could finally track down a copy of DeCSS, LiViD and friends. I'd been meaning to for a while, but it was never high on my list of priorities... but it was so easy just clicking around the legalese...

Maybe I _will_ buy a DVD drive for my new box.


Section 47. (3)

elixir (21353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440253)

47. On information and belief, this proprietary information was obtained by willfully "hacking" and/or improperly reverse engineering
software created by CSS licensee Xing Technology Corporation ("Xing"). Xing's software is and was licensed to users under a license agreement which
specifically prohibits reverse engineering.

Re:umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440254)

Nobody in their right mind wants to dedicate enough storage to hold an illegal copy of a DVD- it'd cost more than the original! We just want to be able to play them, but the industry is doing their level best to see players made unavailable.

Re:umm... (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440255)

Hey, think about this, companies writing proprietary software, like Microsoft, have probably set the computing industry back about 20 years in the micro market. Anything we can do to prevent things from staying propriety is a good thing and will actually cause technology to advance. Think it through before you say it, man.

Re:Trade secrets vs. patents (4)

MrLizard (95131) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440256)

Heh. In case you missed it, there are no more such tradeoffs. A combination of techno-illiterate judges, brain-dead patent officials, and good old fashioned corruption has basically reduced the court system for IP issues to a modern form of 'trial by combat'. In Ye Olden Dayse, you see, issues could be settled by hiring a champion to fight for you. The richest man, obviously, could hire the best champion -- thus assuring himself victory, unless the person he was in disagreement with was named 'Volagr, Destroyer Of Towns' or some such.

Today, the situation is similair, though less physical blood is shed. A court system that inflicts almost no penalty on those who file baseless lawsuits encourages such filings, and the victim often has no resources to challenge it.

The recent 'extension' to the 'limited copyright' granted in the Constitution is a prime example of this.

I tend to be in favor of IP rights as social convention -- they should be honored because it is the right thing to do. The last few years have seen so many attacks on basic rights in the name of protecting IP that I can no longer in good conscience claim that the current system is workable.

It doesnt have to do with pirating (2)

vipvop (34876) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440257)

The main reason this code (DeCCS) is important is it helps for writing DVD software for linux. And to the person who said blame the people who wrote the standards for allowing it to be cracked, as long as there are software players for any standard it will be crackable, without a doubt. For more information see http://www.counterpane.com/crypto-gram-9911.html#D VDEncryptionBroken , on why you will never have secure software.

Re:Whack the mole! (0)

vividan (38749) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440258)

Yes it could be alot like the whack the mole game, but keep in mind that whacking moles is what lawyers get paid to do. So, this could be just what they are asking for :)

BTW: I am just playing the devils advocate here, I have already emailed you asking for the source :)


Re:A sad note to end the millenium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440259)

Not only are we still a year away, there is no millenium. It's millennium. You want a thousand years, not a thousands arses. Won't the nimrods ever learn?

Re:So where can we get the code *tonight* ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440260)

well, the friendly lawyers have provided tons of links:

try http://douglas.min.net/~drw/css-auth/legal-info/ ~spot

They still don't get it. (1)

atlan (90790) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440261)

a) The DVD-Guys don't get it, this encryption-shit and Region-Code-Bullshit is just braindead. If a big-organized-crime-group would be interessted in pirating DVD's they would just do it. A 1:1 copy including all the encryption etc. is absolutely no problem for them. b) The guy's saying stop pirating DVD's don't get it too, how should I pirate a DVD? 1. Where should I store the xGB of data, CDROMs, no way. 2. At least here in Germany I do have the official right to copy them for private use. 3. If prices stay were they are now, 39,-DM for Matrix, there is absolutely no reason for copying them. Anybody with at least some grey stuff in the head should regonize that the whole Diskussion is a no-brainer and that the DVD-Copyright-Army will be the first on the wall when the war arrives.

They're not evil, they're just idiots (2)

lunatik17 (91135) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440262)

With all of this crap going on about the Linux DVD project getting shut down, I've been really pissed at these guys. Really. Not only are they calling a project with the pupose of watching movies piracy, they're attempting to take the DeCSS code off of the Internet.

Trying to get something off the Internet is like trying to get pee out of a swimming pool. Once it's in there, it's in there. The fact that they're trying to proves that they're not evil like I've come to believe, but merely idiots. They think any form of copy is illegal, the only purpose of decrypting a DVD is piracy, and that we apparantly shouldn't be allowed to watch DVD's in the operating system of our choice. (An obvious infringment of fair use)

Will someone ever come along with the money/time to take on these morons? Or will be doomed to be bullied by them? I'm really getting sick of hearing how they're taking away my rights.

Re:umm... (1)

OnlyNou (90455) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440263)

great, i buy it and then what will i play it on? i can't use it on my linux box.

the whole point is for us to be able to play DVD, but since we know how to play DVDs, we could also copy it. ; )

protest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440264)

I think if a few thousand showed up, it could have some impact on this issue, get some media attention on why closed dvd is a bad thing. And even if they get this restraining order in the end they will loose this fight because restraining orders, like most laws don't scale very well... eventually this issue will give way to unenforceability.

This sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440265)

I have no interest in pirating movies. But I always make a backup of all the movies I do buy and use the backup while storing the original in a safe place. This protects the investment that I made in the movies.

I will not buy dvd unless the capacity exists for making a duplicate of the movies that I buy.

When will they get it into their heads that trade secrets are not protected, only patents are?

Re:Two words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440266)

If you read through the letter at Spot's site it mentions a whole lot of people outside the USA. I'm not sure how they're bringing these people into it but they appear to want to bust a whole bunch of peeps. Do these letters usually have a "Prayer for relief" at the end? What's up with that. I don't get it, when did God come in to the legal system.

Re:umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440267)

Ok. i go out and buy it. now what do i do with it? Watch it, right? well, there's no software for that for my os. Someone has to write some. To do so, that someone has to know the ins and outs of the format. If the industry doesn't want to write the software, fine, someone else will.

Re:Whack the mole! (1)

ShinGouki (12500) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440268)

damn fine idea actually

just get the code out to as many places as we can
after all, they can't silence ALL of us, can they?

if anyone wants to send me the source, email it to
gouki@pwebtech.com or point me at a mirror :)


Go to court... (1)

PlaidSprayPaint (124050) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440269)

It doesn't seem to me that you violated any trade secret agreements. All you did was take advantage of a security leak on their part to decrypt the media. Is that against the law? I don't know. It does seem to me that all of this got started because some linux guys wanted to watch a DVD on their system and couldn't get any support from the companies. Instead of suing you, maybe they should hire you to help with their much needed linux drivers. Good luck guys.

Re:You guys are missing the point (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440270)

Oh so it's okay to create XXX that will cause widespread piracy?

Better ban the photocopier then... those damn copies of books are overflowing my bookcases I tell you...

Those damn pirates! They hijacked my ship, pillaged my treasure, and raped the women! Someone must make a restraining order against them!

Re:amazing. Not truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440271)

I don't pirate, nor do I intend to pirate anything. I just want to be able to get open drivers so that I can use hardware that I've purchased.

What are they DOING? (1)

nitehorse (58425) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440272)

I'll have no problem with them releasing their own client that plays DVDs across EVERY version of Linux if they can produce one. If I've got a DVD-ROM and I have drivers for the board (Thanks, Creative!) then I damn well expect that I should be able to play some f*cking DVDs, whether I'm using Windows or not.

But if they're not offering anything, then they sure as hell shouldn't be putting down these guys who are just trying to simply provide for us when the big guys won't. Put up or shut up, I say.

DVD decryption is out... long out (2)

ajs (35943) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440273)

cvs -d :pserver:anonymous@cvs.on.openprojects.net:/cvs/li vid -z3 co css-auth

That's the command to download from the anonymous CVS repository.

Now of course, the code is out, this is just the mechanical yapping of lawyers. What would really make sense is for these industry organizations to come forth and admit that there's no holding DVD back, and open up the doors. They could release open source DVD code and their sales would rise slightly (as opposed to the doom that they predict). How can I know this? Bacause the pirates already have the code so we know pirating will not be increased.

And the DVD organizations would not slack off on prosecuting pirates just because there's an open source reader. Do book companies fail to sell because I could photo-copy the book and sell it? Of course not (books fail to sell because no one reads, but that's a separate issue).

Will they ever learn?

Re:umm... (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440274)

You have missed the whole point. This has nothing to do with piracy. The whole purpose of the DeCSS code is to give people a way to play the DVDs that they've bought. If you want the technology to prosper, then you should support peoples' right to read and play their DVDs.


Re:DeCSS, LiViD, css-auth, link! (1)

mountain (17902) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440275)

Let them try to call a few hundred thousand people into court... I'd like to see that. =)

The question on my lips is, "Will it be all expenses paid???" (Note the TLD).

Re:Yet another boycott? (1)

gnarphlager (62988) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440276)

of COURSE. And you forgot Microsoft (the big one!), Sun and Compaq float on and off the boycott list every now and then, and we all have our personal lists ;-)

seriously though, it's like shopping locally. You buy from the stores that give you good service. You don't from stores that piss you off. I feel strongly about supporting people I believe in. I personally won't buy any more DVDs until some sort of working linux player is available, and if the industry would have worked on it in the first place, this mess wouldn't have happened. It's a shame that the community had to be hurt by the lawsuit, but DeCSS was crippled not killed. If anything it forces anyone interested to work at it more on the individual level.

for the record, I have no intention of pirating. But I do miss when DVDs were $15-20 instead of closer to $30.

Re:Awww poor pir8s can't get free movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440277)

Troll, you're missing the point, which is "Awww, nobody can view movies they've legitmately obtained on their PC, unless it's running Windows!" Which is very different.

Re:amazing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440278)

Now You've trademarked that word too.

Fair Use (2)

Another MacHack (32639) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440279)

DeCSS can be used to -copy- a DVD. Not all copying is piracy. DVDs can get scratched pretty easily, but if you have a "color corrector box" you can record you DVD onto a high-quality VHS tape, and watch that until it wears out, keeping your DVDs safely in a safe deposit box or something. They're acting as if there's no legitimate reason to even copy a DVD, let alone that DeCSS has applications other than copying them.

So it comes down to Xing's ULA? (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440280)

Are the user license agreements valid in Norway?

Re:You guys are missing the point (2)

norton_I (64015) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440281)

Yes, exactly. You have hit the nail on the head. It explicitly falls under fair use to reverse engineer/modify software for the purpose of making it work with your system. This was decided years ago in some of the early computer software copyright lawsuits.

Re:amazing. (5)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440282)

Yes, of course they/we/whomever has an understanding of the real world.

In the real world, there's this new type of media called DVD, and this format in which it is stored, called CSS. CSS is an encryption format; it's not proprietary, really, as they (the creators) have published papers explaining how it works. What they haven't published, however, are the list of keys that can be used with CSS to decrypt DVD movies.

It is a perfectly feasible option to buy a product which will decrypt DVD movies (so they can be played) without having to know any of the keys.
Such products come in two forms: (a) hardware, or actual physical VCR-like devices that connect to a TV, and (b) software, which decodes the DVD format with the aid of a computer.

Although both schemes require a key to operate, the key is embedded - the end user does not need to know what the key is in order to use the product.

This would work well for any standardized environment; from the hardware point of view, as long as you had a standard 60-hz NTSC television, you could use a NTSC DVD decoder; if you had a 50-hz PAL television, like in Europe, you could use a PAL DVD decoder. Here, there are only two major standards that companies need to produce products for.

In the software world, things are much more complicated. Not only are there different standards for how a software product talks to the operating system, but there are different graphical standards, different standards for talking to the DVD drive, etc.

Software companies so far have fulfilled very few niches in terms of all the standards in use. This means that there is still a demand that is unfulfilled, and in the _real world_, demand and supply go together hand-in-hand.

In other words, in the "real world", by not providing enough supply to make everybody happy, you invite competing products.

The only illegal thing done here is to have reverse-engineered a poorly-written software decoder to extract a key. However, it would also have been possible to brute-force test keys until one was found, although it would have taken a while.

So, here (as I see it) are all the things going on here:
In the case of the company with the poorly-written software, negligence.
In the case of the program crackers, reverse engineering. (but is it really illegal to know what the processor knows? I mean, you *own* the damn processor after all!)

Just my $0.02.


The fellow sat down at a bar, ordered a drink and asked the bartender if he
wanted to hear a dumb-jock joke.
"Hey, buddy," the bartender replied, "you see those two guys next to
you? They used to be with the Chicago Bears. The two dudes behind you made
the U.S. Olympic wrestling team. And for you information, I used to play
center at Notre Dame."
"Forget it," the customer said. "I don't want to explain it five

Browbeaten into submission with lawyers, not thugs (2)

Convergence (64135) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440283)

I don't *think* so, it should now be public domain, but I by no means understand the nonsense known as law.

But my bet is that regardless of whether or not it is, these 70-odd people pissed off many very large companies that have vested interestes and lots of money. So they'll be browbeaten into submission. True, they won't have thugs marching up to their door to beat them up like the unionizers had 100 years ago, but is it really all that different to have 100 lawyers march up to your door and give lawsuits, restraining orders, police raids, and such?

Look at eToy/eToys, www.veronica.org, Scientology, or the DVD consortium 2 months ago.

Since my thoughts are shallow today, would someone else wonder about the historical precident of this. Is this deeply similar to the labor leaders from 100 years ago who risked being beaten up, sometimes even killed, for fighting corporations?

I await replies.

Cracking DVD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440284)

I suppose we should also stop doing terrible things like maintaining CERT and bugtraq, because they post information on cracking proprietary technology from Sun, IBM, Microsoft, etc. Can Microsoft sue some bugtraq poster because their security was weak, and Joe Hacker figured out how to get around it, and then posted it to a mailing list? The thought that distributing such a program is unlawful (and that's all the named defendants did was code or distribute the program) is ridiculous. Does the credit card company get sued when someone uses one of their credit cards to get past a locked door and steal something? Of course not. The analogy is the same.

Re:You guys are missing the point (3)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440285)

"because there was no
DVD support for *n?x operating systems"

When I mentioned that, I got flamed by people saying that there was in fact DVD support for Linux. What I have yet to see, however, is "enough" DVD support to justify it being a bullet point for what's supported by the OS. At best,
playing a DVD on linux seems to require:

1. Willingness to take a risk in a hardware purchase, for equipment that may not be usable on your OS.
2. Technical savvy enough to run a very experimental system (far beyond the usual requirement for the OS).
3. Willingness to be considered part of a criminal conspiracy by the DVD industry (if this court order goes through and follows to its logical conclusion).

That makes Linux a laughable alternative to Windows9x for the application of playing DVD.

Unless you can give me a cookbook solution (what DVD drive to buy, what software to run it on, works with all titles, totally legal to obtain and use in the USA), don't you dare flame me for saying this. Linux remains an unacceptable solution for the DVD player application.

Re:Awww poor pir8s can't get free movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440286)

We did kill ourselves.

Now we're coming back to get the likes of you.

Re:Two words: (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440287)

Do these letters usually have a "Prayer for relief" at the end? What's up with that. I don't get it, when did God come in to the legal system.

That is the general form. The use of prayer here is somewhat archaic but correct. Prayer does not have to be to god, in this case, it is to the court. It is simply a request for intercession from a higher authority.

DVD Trade Secrets aren't.... (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440288)

From my understanding, your point is totally correct. The purpose of a trade secret is to provide a legal means of prosecuting when somebody "spills the beans" and discloses stuff they've seen, such as what Xerox should have done with Steve Jobs at the PARC with their GUI interfaces.

In terms of DVD technology, this is a house of cards that is ready to fall apart from somebody trying to poke a hole at it.

Take a look at the DVD Licensing Agreement [dvdforum.org] if you want to look at some perverted licensing agreements. This IS the trade secret agreement the DVD licensing authority is going to try to enforce. The CSS agreement is a seperate license, but nevertheless it is still along the same lines of thought.

The authority of the intellectual property agreements come from Article I, Section 8, clause 8 [emory.edu] which says: "The Congress shall have Power...To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" Since trade secrets don't have a time limit (at least the DVD Forum's doesn't) I can't see how it can promote the progress of science or art.

Please let people know how silly the DVD licensing agreement really is, and how the DVD Forum is actually preventing the development of DVD technology as a video medium. You would be able to have your home movies on DVD for $1 + video transfer costs right now if it weren't for the stupid licensing requirement that are actually preventing people from exploiting the technology.

Imagine just what the WWW would be like if you had to pay $10,000 to obtain the specs for http, and deciphering shttp would get you into a similar lawsuit like this one over deCSS.

This issue has nothing to do with piracy (5)

Xeger (20906) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440289)

Although I'm sure 99% of Slashdot readers understand this point intuitively, I'm going out of my way to make it extra clear to those who don't know much about the subject or who haven't put much though into it:

The breaking of CSS encryption has absolutely nothing to do with piracy. Think about it for a second: how feasible is it to move around 5- and 6- gigabyte DVDs? How do you store them? Not on your hard drive, that's for sure! How many people do you think can afford a DVD burner capable creating true dual-layer DVDs (and not DVD-RAM discs, which are something completetly different?) And when DVDs can be bought online by a judicious shopper for as little as $5 per title, do you really think anyone's going to go out of his way to pirate them? It's far easier to hook a VCR to the video output of your DVD decoder card and videotape the damned things! The loss of quality is far less than if one were to recompress an MPEG2 stream using a lossier but higher-compression encoding.

No, the issue at hand here is that of free access to information--an issue that has traditionally been very important to the open-source community and very unimportant to the corporations that write your software and, to an increasing degree, control your life.

You see, when the DVD manufacturers came up with CSS, their goal was not to protect the intellectual property contained on DVDs; rather, they were establishing an ironclad grip on the entire DVD market. They control who gets to view DVDs, how, and with what hardware and software. They have accomplished this end through the use of a proprietary encryption scheme (CSS) about which they have released no information. Of course, if they'd bothered to consult with any security professional, they would have been told that security through obscurity simply doesn't work, as has been proven endlessly, usually at the expensive of the implementor of said obscure security.

Now, someone has broken their cute little encryption scheme, which they never patented and never published. In what is basically a panic response, they are wasting millions of dollars and contemplating turning the entire DVD market on its side just so they can maintain total control of the market.

As if this wasn't bad enough, they are threatening legal action against the people who cracked CSS, an activity that never was and still isn't illegal, and they are trying to block them from publishing anything else they find out about the non-patented CSS encryption algorithm. This is a violation of the CSS crackers' right to free speech which, if you'll recall, if a constitutional right.

This is an old story, of course. Those of you who have been around long enough can remember countless other occasions where some company's naive encryption scheme was broken and the corporate response was to attempt a legal assassination of the cracker in order to maintain security.

So, instead of whining irrelevantly about piracy, why don't you boycott DVDs yourself in order to protest the violation of someone's first amendement rights? Somebody might someday do the same thing for you when you find yourself against the wall.

Similarity to emulation arguement? (2)

Lycestra (16353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440290)

The whole situation reminds me of how companies see emulation. Reverse engineering to the point that you no longer need to use genuine hardware. While this is not piracy, it's seen as a promotor of it.

While I feel this should be legal, if someone could explain just why this should be and lock-picking isn't. its still illegal if you reverse engineer how to make a key that fits, right?

Re:Two words: t-shirts :) (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440291)

Print the CSS algorithm pseudo-code, and css-auth's code on a series of t-shirts. It's HOPEFULLY covered under the 1st Amendment here in the not so good USA. Anybody willing to do this? Thinkgeek? Copyleft? Anybody with a silk screen...

They harder they supress, the farther code spreads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440292)

Seriously, if they hadn't said anything about DeCSS, who would have it? My bet is far fewer than have it now.

The list of defendants (Are you one of them?) (3)

Money__ (87045) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440293)

The Defendants:(are you one of them?

(apologies for the length of post)

1. www.free-dvd.org.lu
5.www.homestead.com/_ksi0701961562917005/avoid.../ index.htm
17.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Campus/8877/inde x.htmlgeocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Cam pus/8877/index.html
36.angelfire.com/myband/decss/top.htmlangelfire.co m/myband/decss/top.html
37.www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/tylerbridge/679/dvd. htmlfortunecity.com/tinpan/tylerbridge/6 79/dvdcss.html
38.munitions.vipul.net/software/algorithms/streamc iphers/decss.tar.gz
39.munitions.polkaroo.net/software/algorithms/stre amciphers/decss.tar.gz
40.munitions.dyn.org/software/algorithms/streamcip hers/decss.tar.gz
41.munitions.cifs.org/software/algorithms/streamci phers/decss.tar.gz
42.uk1.munitions.net/software/algorithms/streamcip hers/decss.tar.gz
43.munitions.firenze.linux.it/algorithms/streamcip hers/decss.tar.gz
44.perso.libertysurf.fr/ortal98/dvd_rip/decss_12b. zip

Anyone actualy read the summons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440294)

I find item 50 particularly interesting. If you're gonna wrastle the bull, don't bitch if you get the horns.

Class Action Lawsuit! (1)

Ex-NT-User (1951) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440295)

What about filing a class action lawsuit against DVD manufacturers for stiffling competition. (From FREE players) harrassment of customers and breaking the fair use regulations? Hey I'm supposed to be able to legaly copy something I *OWN* to make an archive of it.. aren't I? Wasn't the big thing these same DVD companies using against DIVX is that with DIVX you didn't *OWN* the movie (only *RENTED* it) but with DVD you actually *OWNED* it???

One pissed off DVD owner.

On your mark, get set, go! Start mirroring! (2)

Convergence (64135) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440296)

Was I not the only one to notice that the email gave a list of 30-odd URL's with CSS stuff? Lets everybody with a good connection start mirroring all the sites they convienently indexed and cataloged for us! :)

Your one stop shop for CSS information: Their court filing. :)

Sources for DVD code (2)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440297)

Several people have already taken on some aspects of this issue. The EFF indicated interest. Hopefully they will have the guts to follow up that interest with action. 2600 magazine are also mirroring all the DVD material and waiting for first amendmant fireworks.

But then the USA is the country that grew copyright laws 20 years because nice Disney asked and one that allowed home video taping by a single vote in the supreme court... thats how close it came to being the only place you couldnt do home taping....


"You are all under arrest.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440298)

...by my authority in the queen." I loved this line. It was from some old movie with a handful of Brits in Africa surrounded by tesn of thousand of armed locals. The hilarious statement was uttered monents before they were all slain. CSS is cracked. CSS will stay cracked. The genie is out of the bottle, if you will. Get used to it.

I'm LAUGHING at the lawyers. Ha. Ha. Ha. Tee hee!

Re:Class Action Lawsuit! (1)

Xeger (20906) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440299)

Unfortunately, you don't own the copyrighted material on the DVD. You only own the DVD media and the player. The entity licensing the material (in this case, the studio) may grant you the right to back it up--most software companies include a clause to this effect in their license agreements--but the studios have chosen not to do this.

/. is Doe 57 (2)

cabbey (8697) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440300)

apparently the lawyers aren't bright enough to figure out who runs /.

Doe 57 is listed as whoever is responsible for this /. article [slashdot.org] , so it's either Hemos or Rob... or maybe the legal guns of Andover.net are going to have to be brought to bear on this one.

Re:slashdot also in the email (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440301)

Thanks for the link, one part I found humerous was:

32. Without the motion picture companies? copyrighted content for DVD video, there would be no viable market for computer DVD drives and DVD players, as well as the related computer chips and software necessary to run these devices and, thus, there would be no DVD video industry.

So I guess without CSS we'd just pop DVD's in our existing CD-ROM drives and they'd work huh? I suppose you'd pop a DVD in your laserdisc player or VHS player and it'd work?

The storage capacity of DVD drives ALONE would MORE then make them a sought after product by computer owners, not to mention that you kindof need a DVD player to play DVD's on a TV....

Is it just me or are the IQ's of lawyers a direct inverse proportion to their price tag?

-- iCEBaLM

Most VHS pre-recorded tapes aren't copy protected! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440302)

Most VHS pre-recorded tapes aren't copy-protected and the VHS market is still a much larger one than DVD is. Hence, why scream blue murder at all?

Seems to me like the DVD consortium have got the wrong end of the stick - there's too much data on a DVD to make it worth storing on a hard disk and the DeCSS stuff only copies the movie part of the disc, not the added extras anyway !

Hence, we can confidently conclude that DeCSS is intended almost exclusively for playback and not for exactly cloning a DVD.

As other people have said, plenty of non-US mirror sites is what's needed. For every one that's shut down, 100 new ones need to appear. The DVD folks will soon get fed up chasing people.

Vlad The Impaler (1)

Little Brother (122447) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440303)

This reminds me of a story that I came accross while studying the historical figure Vlad Dracula, the role model for Stoker's Dracula.

Dracula was well known for his brutal treatment of theives. One of his prized accoplishments was to have a solid gold cup placed in the market square, he would have it watched and impaled (set on a large sharpened stake from through the anus untill the stake came through the head) anyone who tried to take it.

Sound about like these guys?

Re:CSS wasn't cracked to pirate DVDs (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440304)

So, nothing that can be used for a bad purpose should be done at all for any purpose? There goes nearly everything including fire, the wheel, and spears.

Re:DeCSS, LiViD, css-auth, link! (2)

bootsnehemiah (130048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440305)

I wonder how hard it would be to run these guys out of money or energy by making them continuely use their lawyers to attack us.

It would probably be hard to coordinate but if we just keep putting up web sites every time they sue one of us eventually they'll get tired of it or they'll go broke. Sure it will take awhile but it may be fun to watch.

/. Poll Suggestion: Who is Doe #57? (3)

Royster (16042) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440306)





DVD Consortium sux

DVD CCA folks posting on Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440307)

There seems to be an awful lot of people here (nevermind the fact that they have made themselves look like ignorant asses) supporting the DVD CCA in this matter.

This begs the question, is the DVD CCA spamming Slashdot with pro DVD CCA posts?

DVD Piracy (0)

Zagato-sama (79044) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440308)

Okay, someone explain this to me. The DVD association is angry at the folks who broke their encryption (and created a tool that would make dvd copying a reality to break loose)..and Slashdot is endorsing the cracking of dvd's protection schemes? So piracy is something that should be championed? Either I'm not seeing something here, or piracy has become a "good thing (tm)" Quite frankly I don't understand any of this. Of course it's easy to stand up for the little guy fighting the big corporation, but is dvd piracy really something that should be encouraged?

Re:The list of defendants (Are you one of them?) (4)

Oates (18921) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440309)

How does a State Superior Court have any impact or bearing on a citizen of Denmark, Australia, or whatnot?

It's not a US federal court case. As far as I know, the state of California does NOT have any extradition treaty with Denmark or Australia, for example.

What do non-US nationals have to fear? Also, what about US residents who have given up their US citizenship and live only as citizens of another US state? (Yes, I've seen a few--it's a good way to get out of Social Security and the IRS.)


Re:Nah, (1)

webslacker (15723) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440310)

I think they're just gonna come after you. Be careful, man.

yeah, i got one too (5)

emmons (94632) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440311)

Yeah, I recieved one of those lovely letters also... you can read it here [frozenlinux.com] . Contrary to what was written in the email, it's perfectly legal to distribute the notice.

I promptly called my lawyer (actually a close friend) after recieving the email and he said I have nothing to worry about. Firstly, such a notice must be mailed to me, not emailed. And even by post is not legally binding. Secondly, if they do get their little restraining order, it must be delivered to me in person... hehe, I'm in germany right now. Based on what I told him he said (gasp) that they're just trying scare tactics. I forwarded the email to him, he will review it and give me more advice tomorrow morning.

This sure is a fun, isn't it?


Re:CSS wasn't cracked to pirate DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440312)


Re:The Hearing is Coming Up, not Passed (3)

grot (57003) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440313)

I'll be there. Unfortunately, I don't have a "Team Slashdot" t-shirt, but maybe we could get Andover to fed-ex a box of 'em to distribute to anybody who shows up and finds the Official Slashdot T-Shirt Distributor? I'd even be willing to pay for mine, but I think it'd be a good idea for as many people as possible to be both present and recognizable.

Web hosting sought: US & overseas (1)

gbnewby (74175) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440314)

Seems like the hacker community needs to identify some good Web hosting services (for most of us that can't affort our own 24x7 dedicated connections). Especially non-US services.

Get a domain registered with a (real) corporation, host outside the US, and make sure the Web hosting service has the balls to not cave in to pressure from the man.

The mirror list for the code is heavily US-based, and you'll notice that many of the "defendents" in the letter are US-based. Presumably, making it harder (and more expensive) for the lawyers to find and bully us will help. How the heck will this have any impact on non-US residents, anyway? Can someone explain this?

Any ideas or suggestions for setting this up? Personally, I'd like to be able to just throw stuff in a public mirror whenever something like this happens, but somehow adding it to my .edu doesn't seem like it's making me any harder for the lawyers to attack (I'm working on my .edu mirror anyway...).

The "Other" DVD Copy Protection (3)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440315)

We've heard a lot about CSS, its being cracked, and various vult^h^h^h^hlawyers getting involved. DVD is turing out to be a real mess. So, at the risk of getting sued for talking about another way in which DVD is screwed, here goes...

I got a DVD player for Christmas today. It's the regular console-type thing with composite, digital audio and s-video outputs. I have a somewhat older 27" TV that takes only RF input. So, I hooked the DVD player to my VCR, which takes composite in and emits RF out. Problem solved, I thought... but no. The video goes through a cycle of great->flickery color->crap in color->crap in monochrome->great, repeat. Funny enough, in the troubleshooting section of the manual, under "I can't record DVD video to VHS tape," it pretty much says, "that's right." It seems that they have screwed around with the hsync signal coming out of the box, such that any intermediate device, like a VCR, degrades the video. Short of buying a new TV with s-video or composite inputs, or a timebase corrector (which would probably cost more than a new TV), what can I do? This seems to be a common problem with DVD players. I've got a perfectly legal TV, perfectly legal HiFi VCR, perfectly legal DVD player, and a perfectly legal copy of the Matrix ("DVD killer app"), which I can't use together because of a very stupid, artificial problem. Little help here?

Re:The Hearing is Coming Up, not Passed (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440316)

It's a Court... For everybody's sake, maybe
you should make that a Slashdot "Tie"...
We want freedom, not to get the defendents hanged :-)

25 of the sites only have *links* to the software (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440317)

in addition to the individuals named, there are 1-500 more *unnamed* people being sued - they state that they're going to fill in the names later! did you notice this: 29. DVD CCA is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that each of the Doe defendants 55 through 72 operate Internet web sites, at the below addresses, which provide "links" to other web sites which disseminate confidential proprietary CSS information:

actually (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440318)

I'd really like to see this as a poll...



Re:Similarity to emulation arguement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1440319)

Lockpicking isn't illegal. Picking a lock guarding others' belongings (without their permission) is probably good evidence of attempted theft, but so is walking out their door with their stereo under your coat.

CSS decryption has legitimate uses- namely, making DVD players. If they want to ban legitimate tools because illegal uses aren't impossible, they should be consistent and ban everything.

Re:Class Action Lawsuit! (1)

paitre (32242) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440320)

Actually, they don't have a choice in the matter:
IIRC, they MUST allow for some form of ability to copy the material on the specified medium for personal home use - ie. a backup. This falls squarely within fair use laws, and that the DVD Fucks are trying to PREVENT this from happeneing should get the case thrown out per lack of merit.

It also helps that not every country in the world recognizes the fucked up American copyright system :)

Re:The "Other" DVD Copy Protection AKA Macrovision (1)

Ripp (17047) | more than 15 years ago | (#1440321)

Macrovision has been around forever and a day. If that's indeed what it is there are macrovision 'removers' out there
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