Shari Steele - EFF Executive Director
April 2, 2001, New York -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today announced that Kathleen Sullivan, noted Constitutional scholar and Dean of Stanford Law School, will join the defense team for 2600 Magazine. Sullivan will argue this landmark case about free speech and copyright on the Internet before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on May 1, 2001.
Sullivan, who is the Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law, the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford University and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet Society explained, "Maintaining a public domain for freedom of speech is one of the most important challenges of the digital information age, and this case is potentially a landmark in that struggle."
The case arises from 2600 Magazine's publication of and linking to a computer program called DeCSS in November, 1999 as part of its news coverage about DVD decryption software. DeCSS decrypts movies on DVDs that have been encrypted by a computer program called CSS. Decryption of DVD movies is necessary in order to make fair use of the movies as well as to play DVD movies on computers running the Linux operating system, among other uses. The Studios object to the publication of DeCSS because they claim that it can be used as part of a process to infringe copyrights on DVD movies.
Universal Studios, along with other members of the Motion Picture Association of America, filed suit against the magazine in January 2000 seeking an order that the magazine no longer publish the program. In the case, formally titled Universal v. Remeirdes, et. al., the District Court granted a preliminary injunction against publication of DeCSS on January 20, 2000. By August 2000, after an abbreviated trial, the Court prohibited 2600 Magazine from even linking to DeCSS.
"The District Court held that 2600's publication of DeCSS was illegal even though it was part of a news story, even though the program itself was protected expression, even though no copyright infringement had occurred and even though it acknowledged that the program has legitimate, even constitutionally protected uses," said Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the EFF, "Dean Sullivan understands how restrictions that may appear to restrict only technology can in reality restrict speech."
"I'm very pleased to have so prominent a scholar and appellate advocate as Dean Sullivan join the team," said Martin Garbus of Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit Kelin & Selz, P.C., who led the trial team.
"This is a thrilling development for all of us. Having the combined force of both Garbus and Sullivan not only increases our confidence but should aptly demonstrate just how important this case really is," said Emmanuel Goldstein, publisher of 2600 Magazine.
In its reply brief filed March 19, the EFF noted that the censorship of a news story is improper under the First Amendment. The Studios' claim that they were simply trying to prevent copyright infringement was undercut by their admission that the Studios believe they have the right to control the players for DVDs. The case is based upon a claimed violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which contains provisions that prevent the "providing" of technologies that can circumvent technical protection measures placed on DVDs.
For more information on Dean Sullivan see:
For moree information about this case see:
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