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[dvd-discuss] FWD: Supreme Court to Hear California DVD Case on May 29, 2003

EFF press release on Bunner hearing next week:

>From: Effector List <alerts@eff.org>
>EFFector        Vol. 16, No. 14        May 21, 2003        ren@eff.org
>* Supreme Court to Hear California DVD Case
>The California Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing May 29, 2003, on
>a key legal challenge to the publication of DeCSS, the software that
>decrypts DVDs.  In this case, called DVD-CCA v. Bunner, California
>resident Andrew Bunner was one of thousands of republishers of DeCSS
>throughout the U.S. and the world.  The Court will review an appellate
>court decision that held that a preliminary lower court order
>preventing Bunner from publishing the software violated his First
>Amendment rights.
>DVD-CCA, the organization that licenses DVD technology for Hollywood
>movie studios, originally filed the lawsuit in December 1999 and
>obtained the preliminary anti-publication order shortly thereafter.
>DVD-CCA named hundreds of people in the lawsuit, including those who
>printed DeCSS on T-shirts.  DVD-CCA contends that republication of
>DeCSS improperly discloses its trade secrets despite the fact that the
>program was widely available. It is uncommon for trade secret owners
>to attempt to restrict publication by members of the public with whom
>they share no contractual relationship or who had no involvement in
>the initial disclosure of a trade secret. Bunner had republished DeCSS
>on his website after reading about it on Slashdot and deciding it was
>"Trade secret protection stops once information is no longer a
>secret," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "DeCSS is obviously not a
>secret -- it's available on thousands of websites worldwide. Even if
>some of the information in DeCSS was once a secret, and even that is
>not clear, DeCSS is now publicly available.  If DVD-CCA had wanted
>additional protections, it should have used other legal techniques
>such as patent or copyright rather than trade secret law."
>"We're confident the Supreme Court will recognize, as the Court of
>Appeal did, that this is a classic First Amendment case. The trial
>court's order was a prior restraint on Mr. Bunner's speech.  The
>constitutional test for restrictions on the publication of
>'confidential' information that apply in numerous other contexts must
>also apply here," said David Greene, Executive Director for the First
>Amendment Project and main author of the groups' legal brief.
>Another branch of the case, DVD-CCA v. Pavlovich, ended this spring
>when DVD-CCA decided not to appeal a California Supreme Court decision
>that it was improper to force Matthew Pavlovich, another alleged
>republisher of DeCSS, to come to California to defend the trade secret
>In other DeCSS-related litigation, the original publisher of the
>program, Norwegian teenager Jon Johansen, was acquitted of all
>criminal charges.  The Norwegian government has appealed that decision
>and the case is currently scheduled for re-trial in December, 2003.
>EFF' s DVD-CCA v. Bunner case archive:
>The 6th Appellate Court's decision overturning the injunction:
>Pavlovich case archive:
>Jon Johansen case materials:
>EFF Board member and Boalt Hall School of Law Professor Pam
>Samuelson's brand new paper on trade secrets and the First Amendment:
>. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :


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Wendy Seltzer -- wendy@seltzer.com || wendy@eff.org
Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School