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DVD Copyright-Breaking Code Published in Songs, Poems

12 Apr, 2001 By: Hive News


Computer programmers and First Amendment advocates areturning a software code that can break copy protection of DVD movies into poems and songs to circumvent copyright law, Bloomberg News said the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The software code, known as DeCSS, breaks the encryption language protecting DVD movies from being copied and makes it possible to treat DVD movies like any other digital file and download them on the Internet.

In August, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan banned a hacker Web site called 2600.com from posting DeCSS or linking to other sites that post it, the newspaper said.

Programmers and civil libertarians say that software code deserves the same First Amendment protection as any artistic work. A computer programmercreated a 456-stanza haiku with a detailed explanation of the DeCSS algorithm to show how difficult it is to classify computer programs and technical information as something other than speech, the newspaper said.

Since the code is "functional," it can be regulated more strictly that other forms of expression, Kaplan said in rejecting the free-speech argument. Hisruling is now on appeal, the newspaper said.

(Source: Bloomberg News)

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