CASE LAW

1) University City Studios v. Reimerdes (Famous DeCSS case)

       - Three main arguments

                    i) Reverse Engineering - DeCSS was necessary to develop a Linux version of a DSS

                         player.

                       HELD:  Argument fails because the source can only be made available to

                                       others by the person who acquired the information; the right to make

                                        information available extends only to dissemination "solely for the

                                        purpose" of achieving interoperability, not public dissemination; DeCSS

                                        was written for Windows a more popular OS.

                    ii)  Fair Use - DeCSS was necessary to allow fair use of the material

                             HELD:  Court acknowledges that legal uses will also suffer; Congress created

                                         the exemptions it thought "fair"; "The fact that Congress elected to leave

                                         technologically unsophisticated persons who wish to make fair use of

                                         encrypted copyrighted works without the technical means of doing so is a

                                         matter for Congress."

                    iii)  First Amendment - Code is protected free speech and the DMCA is overbroad to

                           it's limit free speech. (Read the opinion, the Court finds this particularly difficult to

                           deal with.)

                                HELD:  "Just as computer code cannot be excluded from the area of First

                                         Amendment concern because it is abstract and, in many cases, arcane,

                                         that long history of the First Amendment jurisprudence makes equally

                                         clear that the fact that words, symbols and even actions convey ideas and

                                         evoke emotions does not inevitably place them beyond the power of

                                         government."  {The Court basically equates the DeCSS code to yelling

                                         FIRE! in a crowded auditorium}  A computer program does more than

                                         convey a message . . . it does more than express the programmers

                                         concepts.  DeCSS has a distinctly functional, non speech aspect in

                                         addition to reflecting the thoughts of the programmers."  The DMCA as

                                         applied to the posting of computer code is a valid exercise of Congress'

                                         authority.  Relief granted.

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