EFF DVD Update: EFF Files Legal Brief in NY DVD Case (August 8, 2000)

EFF DVD Update: EFF Files Legal Brief in NY DVD Case

August 8, 2000

See related files:
http://www.eff.org/IP/Video (EFF Archive)
http://jya.com/cryptout.htm#DVD-DeCSS (Cryptome Archive)
http://www.2600.com/dvd/docs (2600 Archive)
http://eon.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/dvd/ (Harvard DVD OpenLaw Project)

EFF DVD Update: August 8, 2000
Universal City Studios et al v. 2600 Magazine

EFF Files Legal Brief in NY DVD Case:
DMCA Unconstitutional if Fair Use Tools Prohibited

EFF filed its legal brief today showing how the movie studios' interpretation of the DMCA impermissibly curtails fundamental First Amendment freedoms. In their attempt to ban DeCSS, the studios, "argue for an interpretation of the DMCA that would give copyright owners the power to eliminate fair use of their works, by giving them direct authority over all physical means usable to display or copy those works," the brief began.

EFF's defense team established that DeCSS does not violate the DMCA because people have the legal authority under copyright law to view (decrypt) the DVD when they purchase it, on whatever operating system they use. The movie studios are attempting to use the DMCA to dictate the terms under which individuals must watch DVDs in their own homes -- something entirely outside the scope of the studios' legal right to control.

The movie studios are attempting to expand the DMCA to grant them the exclusive right to distribute the only legal means of access to a DVD. EFF's Defense team established that DeCSS was part of a successful attempt to facilitate interoperability between platforms, something that the DMCA explicitly allows. Testimony at trial proved DeCSS was designed (and necessary) for the LiVid Project to create a DVD player for the Linux operating system that would compete with DVD-CCA's monopoly on players.

Uncontroverted evidence showed that DeCSS' only use has been as a fair use tool - to allow people to play the DVDs that they purchased on their computers. After ten months of investigation the studios failed to locate a single instance of illegal DVD copying related to DeCSS, despite the picture of eminent doom painted for the judge in January when he granted the injunction.

"In sum, the Court must find an interpretation that maintains fair use of technologically-protected works, and allows open publication of computer programs within the framework of the DMCA, or else find Section 1201 of that statute to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment," stated EFF's brief in defense of publisher Emmanuel Goldstein and 2600.com.

EFF's Trial Brief:

An index of EFF's DVD updates can be found at:

EFF's archive of MPAA v 2600 litigation including trial transcripts, legal filings, and deposition testimony: