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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Noah silva [mailto:nsilva@atari-source.com]
> Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 9:21 AM
> To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] Bunner wins DeCSS trade secret appeal
> This is stated pretty clearly in copyright office guidelines.  You can
> submit object code for copyright.  They can't verify it for 
> origionality,
> but how often do they really check for that with "human 
> readable" code?
> that's all there is to it.

Who says the copyright office got it right?  Perhaps they will
be required to change their guidelines ...

> Something doesn't need to be "speach" in the normal sense to be
> copyrightable.  I would say that is C code is speach, so is 
> Pascal code,
> asm code, and object code.  They are just different 
> compromises between
> human and machine readability.  All of them can be followed 
> by human or
> computer.

I'm with you there.

> Also, MPEG is data, I'm sorry, but it isn't a computer 
> "program" in any
> form of the word I know.  It's data interpreted by a program.  

Ah!  The good ol' program/data dichotomy.

Consider the case of self-modifying code.  In that case, the
program _is_ the data being operated upon.  Program=data.

Or consider the case of good old fashioned basic ... or an
MS-DOS batch file (or any interpreted language).  As these
are never compiled, you could consider them to be purely data,
interpreted by the program (e.g. the DOS command processor).
But I doubt that you would argue that a batch file is not a 
program.  Data=program.

MPEG data is merely a program for a different type of
command interpreter (the MPEG decoder) which together
(data & program ... or program & interpreter) produce 
the display of an image.  Conceptually no different
than interpreted basic or a batch file.

>To me,
> there isn't much difference between a movie DVD and a Video tape or a
> still photo.  

Technically there is tons of difference.  Even a video
tape is an analog representation of it's image.  Produced
purely in the physical world by fluctuations of magnetic
fields produced by hardwired inputs.  (i.e. it's a recording)

A DVD is digital ... and as the MPAA frequently says,
"digital is different".  Just not in the way they are
hoping ...

>Should it be copyrightable, sure.  Its speach 
> status should
> be the same as a video tape.  The fact that it's represented 
> with 0s and
> 1s has little to do with it's function or purpose.

Granted there ... but the law can frequently be consumed
by the technicalities.  

But again, function and purpos _are_ different with DVD.
Consider the DVDs produced w/ alternate viewing angles
for certain scenes ... or all of the "extras" which are
selectable from the opening menus ... or the opening
menus themselves.  DVDs carry _programs_, some of which
represent the same movie you might find on VHS ... but
there is much more there.

-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi./sec ... not just a good idea, it's the LAW!