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Re: [dvd-discuss] Bunner wins DeCSS trade secret appeal

On 5 Nov 2001, David Wagner wrote:
> I don't know.  If you start from the assumption that
> reverse-engineering object card is hugely difficult, it's not clear
> that the legal reasoning is unreasonable.

I absolutely disagree.  The court shouldn't concern itself with the degree
of difficulty or the speed with which someone accomplished a supposedly
difficult task.  This is an impediment to the gifted or skilled.

> And it seems to me that the difficulty of reverse-engineering is a
> factual matter that can be measured by specific tests: for instance,
> testimony that it took only five or ten hours to reverse-engineer the
> cryptographic mechanisms in Netscape Navigator 1.2, or X hours to
> reverse-engineer CSS from publicly available DVD players.

The systems and technologies (state of the art) available at the time of
the release of Netscape 1.2 (mid 1995) versus the state of the art in 1999
when CSS was reverse-engineered.

I don't see anything wrong with a person reverse-engineering something
that is described as incredibly difficult in a very short time and
claiming in court, "I can show it was reverse engineered, but it is a
newly developed process that I maintain as a trade secret."

Actually, how do such things pan out in court?  If someone has a secret
process for doing something and it becomes the subject in a court case,
how does one show the process to the court without revealing the secret to
the competitor?

     Jeme A Brelin
 [cc] counter-copyright