DVD playback

Graham oldrocker at f2s.com
Tue Jun 28 15:40:47 UTC 2005

On Tuesday 28 Jun 2005 15:09, Ben Novack wrote:

> In the United States, libdvdcss is a 'circumvention device', and
> therefore using it is illegal. I'm not sure of the specific wording
> of the DMCA, but I'm pretty sure that just posessing the code
> qualifies as breaking the law.

</getting on soapbox>

That's in the USA.  It means anybody downloading it or using it is 
breaking the law in the USA, not the UK or other parts of Europe.  Its 
doesn't mean it has to be excluded from repositories because gaining 
access to it is an offence; in the US it has actually been confirmed 
that people have a First Amendment right to post on Bulletin Boards and 
their equivalent.  This is more or less the situation in the early days 
of PGP, when Phil Zimmerman was hounded for years because he placed the 
code on a Bulletin Board in the US.  That wasn't illegal, but when 
users on the internet started downloading it, the FBI tried to 
prosecute him for exporting munitions.  It has now grown into the prime 
software of a large corporation and even GnuPG is based on it.

The fact is that the USE of dvdcss might be illegal in some 
jurisdictions (the DMCA does not have any validity in the UK), but 
holding it in a repository cannot be illegal in the US and is not 
illegal in the UK.

To restrict the availability of any software flies in the face of the 
prime tenet of the open source movement: that such software ought to be 
free (as in freedom) and available to all to improve or change.  I 
might be thought of as splitting hairs, but in my book the Ubuntu 
repositories OUGHT to be including libdvdcss, and if they are prevented 
from doing so by legal or economic sanctions, they OUGHT to be making 
it clear to the world why that is.

<getting off soapbox/>

Does anybody else share my point of view?




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