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Re: [dvd-discuss] DMCA Twist

On Thursday, August 29, 2002, at 09:57  am, Michael A Rolenz wrote:

> but hey remember that reverse
> engineering is legal under the DCMA isn't it?

I believe what Apple was claiming is specifically that "reverse 
engineering" and commercial distribution of the resulting patch was in 
violation of the DMCA. I think Apple and many others know that this 
doesn't really stop the practice of 'enabling' software to function 
better than its creators intended (in this case allowing it to work 
with more DVD-R burners). It just extracts a cleverness tax. If you 
aren't sufficiently aware and clever, your software is less capable 
than it could be.

I remain stunned that the DMCA has not been thrown out by the courts as 
unconstitutional (no matter how many legislators you buy there should 
be some laws you can't have). Given that background I'm relieved there 
only seems to be an effort to inhibit commercial distribution in this 

There is also another, less sinister interpretation of the events. The 
software, iDVD, is "free" software that is bundled with Macs that have 
the superdrive (more than half of all shipping Macs currently). Since 
it includes MPEG 2 compression capability Apple is on the hook for 
licensing rights to the MPEG LA. I would imagine that Apple pays a 
licensing fee according to how many superdrives they ship (as many of 
you know these licensing fees are not trivial). If they don't make an 
effort to inhibit this enhancement they might be on the hook for a 
considerably higher licensing fee without corresponding revenue.