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[dvd-announce] NY DeCSS Trial Concludes With a Bang

Testimony concluded Tuesday in Universal v. Corley with Judge Kaplan's 
statement that he believed computer code, whether source or executable, is 
expressive speech protected by the First Amendment.  This is a huge advance 
for the defense, although the question remains whether the speech can be 
prohibited under a form of intermediate scrutiny.  Both sides will submit 
post-trial briefs by August 8.

Transcripts, links to news reports, and EFF updates from the entire trial 
are now posted at <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/DVD/>.

The movie studio plaintiffs conceded that they could not identify a single 
copy of a movie that had been created with DeCSS, but continued to argue 
that they were harmed by the inability to control the use of DVD movies.

2600's Emmanuel Goldstein described the journalistic value of dissemination 
of the DeCSS code, while computer scientists testified to the use of code 
in their own communication.  The defendants put on a series of witnesses to 
demonstrate DeCSS's role in the creation of an open source and unencumbered 
DVD player for Linux.  Additional witnesses testified to the continuing 
impracticality of distributing copies of movies, the reduced quality of 
further-compressed DivX files, and the research benefits that would be 
gained from fair-use access to unencrypted movies.

Post-trial briefs will address legal issues including the applicable First 
Amendment test, the likely futility of an injunction in stopping 
dissemination of DeCSS, and evidentiary and burden-of-proof 
issues.  Defendants continue to challenge the anticircumvention provisions 
of the DMCA on their face and as applied to 2600's posting of DeCSS.

Please join the discussion at <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/DVD/> and 
thanks for the tremendous help Openlaw participants have given so far.

Wendy Seltzer -- wendy@seltzer.com
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
Openlaw - DVD: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/DVD/