[rumori] EPIC urges DeCSS fair use

From: stereogab ...... (stereogabAThotmail.com)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 06:13:39 PST

>From EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) News Alert 8.02:

[2] Groups Urge Court to Protect Free Speech in Copyright Case

EPIC joined the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups on
January 26 in a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal appeals
court in New York to protect the balance between copyright law and the
First Amendment. The case, Universal Movie Studios, Inc. v. Corley,
pits the entertainment industry's attempts to control its digital
properties against free speech rights. At issue is the distribution
of software called DeCSS that allows users to bypass the security
system used to prevent copying of DVD movie disks. Last year, eight
Hollywood movie studios filed suit to prohibit the posting of the
software on Web sites or providing links to other Web sites that post

The studios claimed that DeCSS violated a provision of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), which prohibits manufacturing
or offering technology -- such as DeCSS -- that allows users to bypass
measures that protect access to copyrighted works (see EPIC Alert
5.10). The defendants argued that software like DeCSS should not be
made illegal because it allows DVDs to be used in a variety of ways,
some of which would traditionally be protected under the "fair use"
doctrine. As the ACLU/EPIC brief explains, the doctrine has
traditionally limited copyright liability by protecting the use of
copyrighted works in criticism, parody, comment, news reporting,
teaching and scholarship.

The lower court ruled in favor of the studios, effectively abolishing
"fair use" for technology like DeCSS. The court also imposed
liability under the new copyright law for merely providing links on a
Web site to another site containing DeCSS software. The ACLU/EPIC
brief argues that links are simply "digital footnotes." Since Web
publishers have no control over the content on linked sites or users'
decisions to follow links, imposing liability for links violates the
First Amendment.

In addition to the ACLU and EPIC, the amicus brief was endorsed by the
American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries,
Computer & Communications Industry Association, Music Library
Association and National Association of Independent Schools.

The amicus brief is available at:


EPIC's 1998 testimony on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is
available at:

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