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[dvd-announce] Research questions from the EFF

Robin Gross sends a series of questions that would help the EFF in its 
preparation.  If you have suggestions, or would like to join a sub-list for 
discussion of any of these issues, please share them with the dvd-discuss 
list or let me know.


Message from Robin Gross <robin@eff.org>:
Hello folks:

I have some specific questions that we need looked into and was hoping
this list could take them on.  Can someone please volunteer to take
responsibility for researching the following issues and presenting a
memo for each?  I will leave it to you all to self-organize.  My
suggestion is to post the draft so the rest of the list can critique it,
and then rework, based on the comments and post the final version.  If
we could have the first draft of each memo one week from today, it would
really be a tremendous help to us.  I'll be traveling in NY this
weekend, but available via email.  A lot of these issues have been
discussed thoroughly on this list with many insightful comments, but now
we need definitive and supported conclusions.

Thank you all for your energy and support on this project.  It is
greatly appreciated!

All the best,



1.  We need a memo on the issue of DVD as a computer program or data
file.  What was the legislative intent behind the DMCA exemptions for
DVDs?  Do they apply or was this only intended for "software"?

2.  DVD region coding and possible legal ramifications.  Does this
scheme violate antitrust laws as a cartel organizing a restraint in
trade?  Does this scheme violate a European  Directive regarding unfair

3.  Comprehensive Fair Use Analysis.  We need a memo outlining the most
important fair use cases (approx. 35) and discussing how they impact
this case.

4.  Comprehensive Copyright/First Amendment Analysis.  We need a memo
outlining the most relevant copyright cases that have involved First
Amendment defenses and discussing how they impact this case.

5.  Reverse Engineering Analysis:  We need a memo outlining the legal
cases dealing with reverse engineering and how they apply to this case.

6.  Click wrap licenses. a)  What is the case law supporting the
requirement for a manifesting of assent to contract? b) Does case law
support the creation of binding agreements through purchase only? c)
what is the impact of "hacking" around a click-wrap on the requirement
for assent to contract?

7.  What is the burden of proof standard regarding the weight of the
evidence needed to prove an initial misappropriation in a trade secret
case?  What is the burden of proof (weight) needed to prove
misappropriation by a republisher?

8.  What are case law examples involving the loss of trade secret status
through inadvertence?

9.  What cases have discussed the limitations imposed upon Congress
regarding Copyright?  How does the Constitution constrain what Congress
can do in fixing the rules for copyright?


1.  Region Coding.  How does region coding prevent playback?  What are
the different ways to bypass this technological measure and how easy are
they to accomplish?  Are there DVDs that are coded to play in all

2.  True or False: It is impossible to fast-forward past commercials or
FBI warnings on DVDs?

3.  What other operating systems are left unsupported by DVDs?

4.  What are other concrete examples are there of occasions in which
reverse engineering has been critical to achieving a technological break
through in an industry?  Are there examples of other attempts to prevent
such activity and what was the result?


I forgot to add a couple of the Tech Issues in the last email.  Please
append the following issues to list to of issues to be explored.

5.  Top five myths about DeCSS.  What are the top five greatest
misunderstandings about the DeCSS technology and why are they wrong?

6.  I'm not sure this is even possible: Can we determine the number of
copies of DeCSS found on Web Sites around the world on the following
dates? 10.31; 11.31; 12.26; 12/28; 1/15; 1/31; 2.29?  Please document
all findings.  If you can't find the historical figures, can we find
current figures?

Robin D. Gross - Cyberspace Attorney @ Law
Electronic Frontier Foundation
1550 Bryant Street, Suite 725, San Francisco, CA  94103
t: 415.436.9333 (x107)  f: 415.436.9993
e: robin@eff.org        w: http://www.eff.org
RDG direct line: 415.863.5459   direct fax: 415.863.7154
EFF's Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression: