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Monday, November 05, 2001
Court rules DVD code crack is free speech


A three-judge appellate court in California has ruled that a published DVD code crack is constitutionally protected free speech. In doing so, the court rejected the movie industry's claim that copy protection is a trade secret, striking a blow against the digital encryption of DVD content. The 6th District California Appeals Court opinion unanimously held that a lower court judge's injunction violated the First Amendment rights of defendant Andrew Bunner. The programmer was sued by an organization consisting of Hollywood studios and a DVD encryption group for publishing DeCSS, a DVD decryption code, on the Internet.

Free speech advocates who argued in Bunner's defense, such as First Amendment Project executive David Greene and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), hailed the decision as a "tremendous victory for freedom of speech on the Internet," but the DVD Copy Control Association (DVDCAA), a DVD licensing organization of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said it is appealing the decision.


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