Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory

2600 Court Asks For Further Briefing on First Amendment

For Immediate Release -- May 10, 2001


Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Director
+1 415 436 9333 x108

Kathleen Sullivan, Stanford Law School Professor

New York - The Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals today asked the parties in the 2600 Case to file supplemental briefs on May 30, 2001, focusing on the First Amendment issues raised in the case.

"This is good news," noted Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan who argued the case for 2600 Magazine. "It means that the Court took our First Amendment arguments seriously. They are asking for very specific answers about how the First Amendment should be applied here and we welcome the chance to tell them."

The text of the order is available at:

"Dean Sullivan did a wonderful job did in the argument," added Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "We credit her for focusing the Court on these issues. We are especially pleased that the Court asked specifically about the section of the injunction that prevents linking to DeCSS." During the argument the court asked questions about whether this kind of injunction could chill expression by the New York Times and other mainstream media publications.

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 GNU/Linux operating system.

The Movie Studios have sued 2600 Magazine under a 1998 law that prevents even the publication of programs that can decrypt DVDs or other digital media. Most recently the law was used to frighten a Princeton Computer Science Professor, Edward Felton, from presenting a paper describing how to break proposed watermarks on CDs at a scientific conference. For more information see:

An informal transcript of the oral argument and more information about this case are all available on the EFF website at:   http://www.eff.org/pub/Intellectual_property/Video/MPAADVD_cases/

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:

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