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Thursday, March 08, 2001
DeCSS 2? DVD code broken again


"...Is code published on the Web protected by the First Amendment? A pair from MIT claims it is as they release a seven-line program for decrypting DVDs. MIT student Keith Winstein and alum Marc Horowitz say they're out to prove a point: Publishing code that decrypts and plays DVD movies is not a crime. In their case, they assert it's about teaching copyright issues and is thus protected under the First Amendment. Last week, a Web site published the pair's seven-line program, which unscrambles the protection around a DVD so quickly that a movie can play at the same time, although the film appears choppy. It's the shortest program to break DVD defenses to date.

During the course, Winstein used the short program to illustrate that breaking DVD encryption is trivial, he said. "It was definitely not a copyright-circumvention course for DVDs." The new code could add another ripple to the legal waters, said Gross, underscoring the assertion that the code is instructive. In addition, Winstein said that today no one would use the program for routinely watching movies. The unscrambling takes so much processing power, he said, that even on a 933MHz processor, movies appear choppy.

The act, however, may make the duo a target of the Motion Picture Association, the collection of Hollywood studios gunning for anyone who tries to break the digital fence surrounding the content on digital video discs. The MPA is looking into the new program, spokeswoman Emily Kutner said Wednesday..."



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