[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [dvd-discuss] The Grounds for Appeal

TWIKI topic? Topics? I'd seriously recommend the "vivisection" be done 
there with postings of results or notice of changes here. Otherwise, 
without a central location, this is going to get so fragmentary that 
nobody will be able to keep track of it.

Bryan Taylor <bryan_w_taylor@yahoo.com>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
11/30/01 03:27 PM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

        To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
        Subject:        [dvd-discuss] The Grounds for Appeal

I can find three solid grounds for appeal:
Error 1. Constitutional Powers
Error 2. Content Neutrality / Conduct vs Functional Capability
Error 3. Narrow Tailoring

I worry that the defense spent too much time arguing "code is speech" and 
enough time arguing the finer points of intermediate scrutiny. I think 
courts have said code is speech now to begin the analysis there. The three
points above are all part of the analysis that starts after that is

Error 1. Constitutional Powers

The Court's refusal to examine the requirement of "within Consitutional
powers", as argued by the law professors brief. They gave two reasons for 

First they said "arguments presented to us only in a footnote are not 
to appellate consideration" and ignored the law professors amicus for
"injecting new issues into an appeal". The O'Brien intermediate scrutiny
standard requires the appelate court to independently establish the planks 
the test, regardless of whether it was argued.  The burden for meeting
intermediate scrutiny is on the government and/or plaintiffs.

Second, the Court found the claim lacked a "properly developed record". 
This is
especially shocking because of their refering to "the evident legitimacy 
protection against unauthorized access to DVD movies" in [4. The Scope of 
Amendment Protection for Decryption Code]. If there is inadequate record 
*establish*, as intermediate scrutiny requires, then that is grounds to 
the lower court's decision and return it there to develop it. Of course, 
not sure what type of record is needed, since this is as pure a question 
of law
as I can imagine.

Error 2: Content Neutrality / Conduct vs Functional Capability

This court followed Kaplan's standard that "Restrictions on the nonspeech
elements of expressive conduct fall into the content-neutral category." 
But the
court did not find restrictions of "nonspeech elements of expressive 
Instead they found restrictions on disseminating expression with 
elements. They conflagration of functionality and  conduct oversteps the
standard set forth in O'Brien. Had O'Brien written a computer program to 
his draft card instead of burning it himself, O'Brien would have been in 

The court agreed that "the functional capability of computer code cannot 
a result until a human being decides to insert the disk containing the 
into a computer and causes it to perform its function". Said differently
"funcational capability cannot yield a result until a human decides to use 
to engage in conduct". But that conduct is the element required by 
scrutiny and the Court admits that standing alone, the software doesn't 

Error 3: Narrow Tailoring

The court recognized that the DMCA does not employ the least restrictive 
(and in fact gave examples of less restrictive means), saying "But a
content-neutral regulation need not employ the least restrictive means of
accomplishing the governmental objective. Id.  It need only avoid 
'substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's
legitimate interests.' "

This flatly contradicts their finding that code is speech. The speech 
of code (even if "functional capability" is a distict nonspeech component 
code) is the "substantially more speech" in this case. They also failed to
address the component of speech resulting from fair use that becomes 
do to access restrictions, despite the fact that this point was heavily 

Do You Yahoo!?
Buy the perfect holiday gifts at Yahoo! Shopping.