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Music Media

MP3.com Nixes Decss.mp3 164

adric writes: "It seems that MP3.com has removed decss.mp3 (but its still available), allegedly for having "offensive lyrics". You can read a bit more here. The best part is the gallery of DeCSS showing the world of clever places this little bit of code has migrated to. T-Shirts, songs, poetry, non-existent languages, PNG comments, embedded in jpgs, gifs, and more. Even if the MPAA's lawyers can make source code illegal, they'll never remove DeCSS from the Net. Can everyone please just drop this now and let us have Linux drivers (and for that matter, let us fast forward through commercials on DVDs!)
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MP3.com Nixes Decss.mp3

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  • Can't we make use of the constitutional rights to exercise religion for this? If we formally worship the DeCSS code we have a constitutional right to spread it to other believers, right?
  • I never saw the site, but MP3.com leaves a place for lyrics - maybe they were posted.

  • Well, it's not really illegal to do any of these things until a Judge tells you not to. So, unless you're 2600 you're free to do as you please. Only problem is that if the MPAA decides that it doesn't like what you're doing they'll ask a judge to tell you that you can't do it and since they already succeeded in getting a judge to tell 2600 to knock it off they'll probably win against you too. Having them go and ask the judge is going to be exceedingly problematic for you and therefore probably something that you really don't want to be doing in the first place.

    While I think that it would probably be pretty difficult for the MPAA to actually have this song declared illegal, I also seriously doubt the MP3.com really wants to be named as a defendant in this month's round of lawsuits.
    ________________
    They're - They are
    Their - Belonging to them

  • Most laws aren't really fleshed out until there's a legal precedent, and Kaplan couldn't have reached his decision in this civil case without the existence of the DMCA.

    Excellent point. And precicely why I hate legislation like that. I suggest writing your representative [house.gov] or senator [senate.gov] about it as I have.

    --

  • Of course. They definitely have to obey the law and do their absolute best to turn a profit for their share holders, but they still aren't government. Unless it is adverse to the bottom line they can do pretty much anything they want to.

    In this particular case I wouldn't be surprised if their lawyers were the ones who suggested that mp3.com doesn't need any more expensive legal hassles and thus should do something about this.
  • The "offensive or otherwise inappropriate" wording used in mp3.com's "song pull" notification is pretty much generic. It covers anything they think they have any reason, usually legal, for not wanting on their site. "Appropriate", we may assume in this case, means "appropriate in the context of mp3.com trying not to get sued any more".

    I had a song called "I Don't Believe R Kelly Can Fly" pulled from mp3.com because of issues over use of a famous guy's name in the title. I got the exact same notification. Form letter, see?

    I wait with interest to see whether they find my song [mp3.com] which has just a URL [cyberspace.cz] as the lyrics similarly "inappropriate". That's assuming they even notice it; which I wouldn't bet on. Anyone wants to mirror it, tho', be my guest...


  • I find it difficult to comment on this with any degree of certainty...but

    ..oh to hell with it, is it necessary to be protected by the first ammendment?...If you by a DVD are you not being sold the promise of being able to watch it when ever you want to?

    If Governments create a special piece of legislation for just one player in one industry, they hold themselves to ransom for that industry if the legislation effects those outside the industry in question.

    My point, convoluted or not, is that the courts are setting precedents in this case that they will find almost impossible to live up to in the future.

    If you are a judge and you read this, think hard...what else are you going to have to do in the future to justify any ruling for the MPAA in this case...
    ??

    Q

  • Small-scale non-commercial distribution is clearly legal.


    Huh? Where'd you get this from? Just because you aren't selling it and you are only giving it to your friends or family doesn't make it legal. It just makes it less likely that the industry is going to come after you because the benefit of nailing your ass is less than the expense of doing it.
  • We have enough mirrors for the original, acoustic
    version (titled descramble.mp3). What I'm looking
    for is people willing to host the new version
    (titled _descramble_.mp3). It's more polished,
    for those who have not yet heard it...

    BTW, thanks for moderating that up so that people
    will actually SEE it! :)
  • The "offensive or otherwise inappropriate" wording used in mp3.com's "song pull" notification is pretty much generic. It covers anything they think they have any reason, usually legal, for not wanting on their site. "Appropriate", we may assume in this case, means "appropriate in the context of mp3.com trying not to get sued any more".

    I had a song called "I Don't Believe R Kelly Can Fly" pulled from mp3.com because of issues over use of a famous guy's name in the title. I got the exact same notification. Form letter, see?

    I wait with interest to see whether they find my song, Dee Ee Cee Ess Ess [mp3s.com], which has just a URL [cyberspace.cz] as the lyrics similarly "inappropriate". That's assuming they even notice it; which I wouldn't bet on. Anyone wants to mirror it, tho', be my guest...

  • Here is the Salon interview with David Touretzky [salon.com], the creator of the online DeCSS gallery. It's quite interesting. Here's a great Q&A: Has the MPAA threatened to sue you?
    No. They haven't contacted me. My gallery is still in place; in fact I've received a bunch of new contributed exhibits recently. I consider the gallery to be an academic publication; it's listed on my curriculum vitae. If the MPAA wants to start censoring academic works, they know where to find me.
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • "duel-booting"?

    I was about to correct your spelling, but then I realized that you may have hit on a much more appropriate term...
    ---
  • I'm getting tired of repeating this all the time, but if you want to read DVDs under Linux, grab a copy of xmovie [linuxave.net]. It comes with DeCSS integrated. And it works wonderfully (though it's a pain to compile). The author does not seem to have been harrassed by the MPAA yet (he did remove DeCSS from xmovie at some point, but then he put it back again).

    If you're not happy about the legal shit, just ignore it.

  • Bandwidth enabled folks - PLEASE PUT UP MIRRORS!
    I've logged over 400 downloads today from my puny 1040kbps sdsl line of the acoustic version.
    Feel free to use these mirrors:
    Acoustic Version Mirror A [geek.net] or Mirror B [fuckthesystem.net]
    Electrified Version Mirror A [geek.net] or Mirror B [fuckthesystem.net] chris 'is that Code rock? turn it up man!'
  • ...Which is why I tend to offend everyone.

    Legal BS:
    The beliefs expressed herein this document are those of I and I alone. Not those of any of my friends, relatives or enemies, who are all probably very deeply offended




    Kris
    botboy60@hotmail.com
    Nerdnetwork.net [nerdnetwork.net]
  • I have made this point over, and over, and over again,and I will keep making it.

    The rulings so far are against the *distributiion* of DeCSS, and its distribution ONLY!

    Noone has been prosecuted for possession, and no ruling against possesion has been made, the law is rather specific in this regard, and it's rather doubtful that such a ruling could be obtained, or at least maintained past the Supremes.

    So, If I have DeCSS I can't legally give it to you, but I can use for my own personal use.

    If that personal use happens to be writting a complete DVD player, well, ok. Now, it's perfectly legal for me to give you that player *minus* the DeCSS code.

    And if you happen to have the DeCSS code. . .
  • by Bitter Cup O Joe ( 146008 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:50AM (#782846)
    ...is its firm rip on reality.

    The last time that blatantly ignoring laws and having them repealed worked on a large scale in America was probably the Prohibition. For Christ's sake, in Texas people still get arrested for sodomy!

    Look, I'm all for DeCSS being legal. Hell, I'd love to see the DMCA go down in flames. I think, much like most people here, I'd wager, that it's just another example of corporations beating down civil liberties in the name of progress. But this ain't the way to bring it down. Small acts of civil disobedience, nonviolent protest, these don't work anymore.

    Before you say, "But look at what Gandhi and MLK accomplished with nonviolent protest," let me remind you that the main reason that Gandhi's protest worked was that it was a massive PR black-eye for the British empire. No chance of that here, as the corps are pressing as hard on other governemtns, and through media outlets, painting us as outlaws with a wide brush. The civil rights moment worked because they found a way to make it resonate with Joe Verage (no relation).

    We haven't done that yet. And as long as we keep sneering at the laws as being outdated, playing up our role as technological rebels, and allowing the media to play us that way in turn, all we're going to cause for the average person is fear and confusion. Have you ever tried to explain the whole DeCSS thing to a non-techie? How often have you been told, "Well, hell, DVD players are cheap now, why don't you just get them at (insert chain store)"

    So what's the solution? Hell, I wish I could tell you. Maybe it's time we got smart enough to try to take them on their own terms. Send money to the EFF, write your senator (and not e-mail, half of them can't spell SMTP), interest name artists in the cause. Get the word out through outlets besides the net, no matter how dumbed down you have to make it. I know that's blasphemy to a lot of people here, but it's the simple truth.
  • So they're willing to host "gangstas" talking about capping people and pimping hos, but a geek singing about how the DMCA is puhing him down is "offensive".

    Not that they're not within their rights to do so, but it's a curious double standard.

    Maybe we need something more along the lines of:

    My name is Jack Valenti, I'm the baddest mofo in the MPAA
    You wanna watch a DVD? I'm the man you gotta pay typedef unsigned char byte;
    static byte csstab1[256]=
    Gonna cap you if you try to infringe my copyright
    Gonna make you take down DeCSS cause I got the lawyers and the might

    and so on. I know it's not good. But for a middle-aged white Englishman it's not bad, either, IMHO.

    --
  • Hmmm... intellectually these seem to go hand-in-hand. MP3s (er... that is to say copyrighted ones) everyone will agree are illegal because they contain copyrighted information. We all still love them... The MP3 bits and bytes themselves aren't illegal, but the information they contain is.

    DeCSS is something more -- this is using "illegal" means to get to right-fully owned copyrighted material. Sure you could rip the DVD data, but lets face it -- its not entirely practical to copy DVDs yet -- but its inevidable.

    I think I agree with something I read on Wired today -- we need special technology courts... because just like any good lie, there's a lot of honesty in MP3s and DeCSS, and I think that *intent* needs to be redefined in the information world.

    ----

  • That's a hillarious statement. Exactly how did Windows DVD players come to be? Follow the licensing trail like everyone else instead of complaining about not getting stuff for free. Hell, even QNX has a software DVD player.

    If more time was spent getting things done then fighting over self imagined free speech issue, Linux would've had full DVD support a long time ago.
  • by e_lehman ( 143896 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:53AM (#782850)

    On the money.

    The MPAA hasn't stopped distribution of the DeCSS source, but I think they've successfully chilled development of the tools DeCSS should spawn, players aside:

    • Extract images from a DVD and make them into screen backgrounds or screen savers.
    • Extract reduced-size clips for review purposes.
    • Extract the soundtrack.

    If DeCSS just sits there unused on 75,000 hard drives, the MPAA has won. The next move should not be further, somewhat pointless distribution of the source, but distribution of players and neat tools using DeCSS. If we don't move forward, we lose.

  • I've got songs on MP3.com that would make a sailor blush, so it's pretty interesting that they could take it down this song for "offensive language."

    Maybe I'll mention the MPAA or RIAA in my next track and see what happens....

  • by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:54AM (#782852)
    The point that has to be hammered home is the "...and for that matter, let us fast forward through commercials on DVDs". Everybody -- especially if they've already run into one of the DVDs that uses that trick -- understands, and is offended by, that.

    Pitch it in terms of "somebody cracked the fast forwarding lock, but the industry filed all these lawsuits so nobody can build it into a DVD player", and you can get Joe Sixpack as pissed as you are.
    /.

  • That said, I am a bit disappointed to see this kind of subjective judgement used when deciding what to host or not. I'd rather they said "Damn, we don't want to get sued over this." Then we could call them paranoid and get on with our lives. :)
    Get on with your life. :)

    I swear, does anyone actually read the linked text before posting? Quote from one of the letters on Joey Smith's page [joeysmith.com], sent after the initial form letter and reply:

    As you know, this is a hot legal issue right now. We're sorta being sued by enough people right now, I guess we'd like to keep out of court for a while, if that's okay....you'll need to fight the first amendment fight on your own on this issue, if that's okay.
  • Yea, and if the code doesn't work, just use the other half of the DNA strand. Silly A-T C-G bindings...
  • I bet the RIAA's lawyers are working 'round the clock to find an interpretation of the DMCA that makes cdda extraction illegal. If only they had inverted the bits, that would be a content protection system.

  • I have a Hitachi DVE525 (or something like that).

    I can fast forward by using the multi-speed option, on most previews.

    That's nice.

    (BTW. this is done with actual double speed de-coding (& double speed DVD drive inside))
  • Law is trying to catch up to the computer&networking age that we've been entering for the last 20 years.

    As such, it is entering new territory and the author's are making mistakes. Things are being made illegal now that shouldn't be.. Other things that should be made illegal haven't yet. (Look at the slow creation of various anti-cracking laws.)

    The law is still trying to fit this new age into an old mold. But there are holes in the mold. DMCA is one of them. People who like things as they are now are trying to preserve that. Other people want things to change.....

    And lawyers, congress, and judges can't straighten this mess out immediately and correctly.

    When was the last time you wrote a bug-free program under severe time pressure with people giving conflicting requests? That is what they are suffering from. As such, we live life as we want it and work to get things to settle out.
  • Now, Let me get this straight.

    DeCSS code in an MP3 is "offensive lyrics".

    But, having the nerve to publically claim on http://www.mp3.com/songworm [mp3.com] that God wrote the Earth in LISP is not as much of a crime?

    Clearly Christian fundamentalists do not run MP3.com. ;)

  • I agree that the issue is the RIAA/MPAA is trying to control everything they can. They have control a much larger percentage of the market than MS did in their area. How in the world are these not monopolies? They have too much power and have been abusing it to control the market and gouge the consumers. This has to be stopped.

  • Unfortunately I borrowed the disc, so I don't have it anymore.

    Calum

  • Do you find every article in a newspaper (hey, you even have to *pay* for newspapers...) interesting? didn't think so.

    This is news to some of us.

    If you dont like it, just ignore it..
  • Can everyone please just drop this now and let us have some new news?
  • This is trully unfortunate...

    At this point isn't it questionable what are the advantages of using DVDs instead of CDs, CD burners or VHS tapes?

    I mean the higher defenition of sound and image a DVD provides are highly conditioned by the quality ($$$$$) of the TV/speakers/amplifier you have.

    At least for me, the combination of CDs with CD burners and mp3 provides a level of convenience which makes DVD-audio redundant. As for video, I have invested a lot of money on my VHS collection and as my TV goes, I seriously doubt the benefits of DVD for me. Besides, I can always record TV shows and duplicate video tapes easily.

    Velho do Restelo.


  • MP3.com is being sued by just about everyone right now. Do you really think that they're going to risk a confrontation with the MPAA as well?

    Taking down that "song" was common sense, and nothing else.

    -- Floyd
  • Okay, I understand that watching DVDs would make me a criminal, but what about making DVDs. If I produce a DVD recorder, and my own software to do the CSS encryption, is that illegal? I didn't distribute any DeCSS code to do it, and I didn't watch any of the crap MPAA tries to pass off as entertainment... I didn't decrypt anything, I didn't subvert their copyrights.

    Where do I stand legally? Opinions? Is the encryption algorithm copyrighted, patented, or whatever? If I produce workalike firmware that creates a DVD compatible disk, what legal grounds do they have to prevent it from being marketed?

    Wouldn't that be a lot more damaging to the MPAA's efforts than having some number of disaffected DVD buyers decrypting lame Hollywood films? And think of the possiblities for independant film producers.

    $.02
    0x0000

  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:46AM (#782866) Homepage Journal
    I rather like MP3.com's response as to why they pulled the song:
    Actually, I didn't pull the song...but somebody here must have. As you know, this is a hot legal issue right now. We're sorta being sued by enough people right now, I guess we'd like to keep out of court for a while, if that's okay....you'll need to fight the first amendment fight on your own on this issue, if that's okay.

    Seems kind of appropriate, somehow.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Slashdot Open Mike night.

    Err, since this is Slashdot open mike night, I guess we can forget about
    ladies being the audience, yes it's stag night at Slashdot, just like every other
    day at Slashdot.

    Open Source software has been in the news a lot lately, heck, where would
    Slashdot be without Open Source? Even the man in the street is learning of it, one
    day I was barhopping in Cambridge with RMS, and we ended up in a nice place on
    Massachusetts Ave, between Harvard and Davis Square. The bartender says to RMS, "We don't get to many Open Source Advocates here."

    RMS replies "And at the exhorbitant prices you pay for proprietary drinks made with
    common ingredients, you won't get too many more."

    But seriously, how do you know when an Open Source advocate has stayed at your house?

    They're still there!
  • by RJ11 ( 17321 )
    Although it is now "illegal" to post the code or link to it, would it be illegal to write a song and link it? I mean, that really isn't the straight source code, first you'd need a lot of time and effort to write it all done so you could compile it, and secondly it's a song *about* the source. I mean, it's not illegal to sing about murder and other crimes? How is it illegal to sing about the way that you'd decrypt a DVD?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot: News for whiners. Stuff to complain about.
  • by cdgod ( 132891 )
    Once bitten, twice shy. --
  • I can understand not being able to fast-forward through the fbi warning. BUT, some dvd's are locked so you have to sit through the stupid comercials and trailers. One I have (can't remember the title) has approx 10 minutes of crap you have to get through. I mostly watch dvd's on my tv with a sony player. so I'm not sure if you can skip over it on a computer. I hate this facist intrusion into my living room, I bought the movie, they have no right to force me to watch their commercials every time I put the dvd in the player. I wonder if we could bill them for advertising in our living rooms? How much is a 60 second spot worth?
  • "Distribute DeCSS by all means - but do it openly and explain why it's good that this program exists..."

    You can explain why the program is good if you want--but that's only part of the issue. You should also explain that, even if the program was pure evil censorship (especially of quotes or links!) is still wrong.
    --
    Linux MAPI Server!
    http://www.openone.com/software/MailOne/
  • I won't cry 'censorship' -- that's not what this is. MP3.com is a private organization, and can make whatever rules they wish within the bracket of established law.

    actually, MP3.com is a public company. (see ticker 'MPPP')I would say their doing this out of fear of losing even more money and shareholders, not necessarily fear of legislation, however I guess one can lead to the other.
  • I won't cry 'censorship' -- that's not what this is. MP3.com is a private organization, and can make whatever rules they wish within the bracket of established law.

    Censorship!

    There I cried it so you don't have to. The government isn't the only one who can censor, nor is the term reserved for them. The fact that the legal definition changes from public to private sector is orthogonal.

    Something tells me you could go to mp3.com and find pussy all over the place, completely uncensored.

    I guess if I had spent the last year fighting The Man and trying to figure out how to save my home, I might be singing a different tune too.

  • A license that allows open source code to be included in a program that is distributed in binary form only. Let the MPAA prove that it's the verboten code if they can't get access to the source.

    "What's that you have, a warrant? I'm sorry, but my hard drive just crashed 5 minutes ago, have a look."

    LK
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:58AM (#782876)
    > DeCSS code in an MP3 is "offensive lyrics".

    Ah, but it does offend the MPAA.

    What matters isn't how offensive you are; it's who you offend.

    --
  • Linus was apparently frustrated by the slow progress that Minix was making, which drove him to start work on his own Unix clone.

    Read This USENET thread archive [kde.org] for more information about embryonic Linux. It wasn't just that Minix was crappy for practical use, it was that Andrew Tanenbaum wouldn't let anybody distribute modified versions of Minix.

  • Does your daily newspaper run a front-page story about the same thing, even containing some identical content, every day? didn't think so.

    And if I found the editorial of a newspaper that I liked so be getting a bit less quality, I'd write and make a comment. Maybe a bit less glibly, admittedly.

    Of course I have now decided to remove articles about DeCSS from my preferences now. But personally, I have found that the general quality of Slashdot stories has gone downhill over the last few months.
  • Just use a DigitalCamcorder as a VCR replacement, you can record full quality.

    Except digital camcorders like Digital8 and MiniDV have built in Macrovision detection. If you input a Macrovision encoded signal, the camcorder will refuse to continue recording after ten seconds.

    Calum

  • I won't cry 'censorship' -- that's not what this is. MP3.com is a private organization, and can make whatever rules they wish within the bracket of established law.

    Certainly. However, if reading of DeCSS has "offensive lyrics", why haven't they removed bands like Jerk [mp3s.com] or Testicular Flatulence [mp3s.com]? Oh, sorry, I forgot that it's purely politics again.

    (To those wondering, I found those bands by searching for "Anal Cunt", the most offensive band I could remember the name of. Though I have no records by them... :-P)

  • The RIAA and MPAA are not monopolies because the first 'A' in each acronym stands for Association. They're both composed of a group of corporations who compete against each other, but have formed associations as a truce so that they can do important things like invent standards, generalize licensing agreements, and sue college-age kids. ;)

    Here's a not-so-rhetorical question. Corporations are more powerful, legally, than individual human beings these days. A legislating group of human beings is called a government. What is a legislating group of corporations called?
  • Unfortunately, chances are that the warrant will have something like "we will also decrypt that which is encrypted and check there."

    Good for the warrant. It's a shame I "lost" my decryption key. ("Gee, officer, that little piece of paper I wrote it down on has to be around here somewhere...")

    One well-designed algorithm and one fairly-long key length later, the FBI starts the process of decrypting the the contents of my hard disk for the next several billion years.


    --
  • It's fine to interest 'name' artists in the cause, but take special pains to interest 'nobody' artists in these issues. _All_ 'name' artists were once 'nobody' artists. _All_ 'name' artists will eventually age and become historical footnotes, in time. This is really basic networking- establish relationships with next decade's 'name' artists _before_ they are 'name' artists, and make sure they have a clue.
  • But for a middle-aged white Englishman it's not bad, either


    Maybe it's the cheap £3 crack I had at lunchtime but this made me laugh my arse off...
    Oh, well, back to moderating... :)


    Note to Carnivore operators: I'm joking, mmmkay?

    Strong data typing is for those with weak minds.

  • So don't support it. Go and build your own worldwide standard for MPEG2 distribution and set up tooling to build your own players. Companies can only sell DVD players if people buy them and support the format.

    It's perfectly legal for a company (or group of companies) to make a product that suits their profit motive. This is capitalism. All sorts of other firms do this too. Car companies build autos with planned obsolescece. Glade Plugins only work with Glade perfume cartridges. HP printers only use HP toner-unless you buy a reengineered cart. (like DeCSS!)

    The alternative is to build a market full of 'open' standards which can all fail because there are no market differentiators. Have a government force a standard (like MITI and NHK's HiVision analog HDTV format in Japan in the 80's).

    You can be angry about it, but if you keep supporting DVD manufacturers, then you'll never stop it.

    Amusing: The FBI warning on the Fight Club disc is a treat. Completely ignored it the first time around, then on the second time around I noticed.

    Calum

  • No, it is a freedom of speech issue.

    If MP3 said "We don't want your song", it wouldn't be.

    "Offensive / Inappropriate" IMHO, makes it a freedom of speech issue.
  • If I've paid for a dvd, exactly what am I getting for free by using an open-source dvd player?

    You are gaining the ability to view content that you have legally obtained. Clear enough?

    =================================
  • Sorry, but I alredy posted so I can't moderate. He has already posted within other comments, but people are not seeing those.

    --weenie NT4 user: bite me!
  • "What's that you have, a warrant? I'm sorry, but the contents of my hard disk are encrypted. And since there's copyrighted material on my hard disk, circumventing the encryption on the disk constitutes a violation under the DMCA with regards to circumventing a technological method that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work or works."

    Unfortunately, chances are that the warrant will have something like "we will also decrypt that which is encrypted and check there." Especially if the warrant was signed by the likes of Judge Kaplan.

    =================================
  • Sorry, but this smacks of immaturity. Saying 'Nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah you can't stop us!!!' doesn't help the studios, the lawyers, the media at large or the general public to take this seriously.

    Yes, it does. The argument here is that source code is free speech. By showing how prevelant and pervasive source code is, we show how difficult it will be to contain. It's a form of non-violent protest; a directed disobediance of the law. It's also the only thing we, as individual citizens without law degrees, can do to help this case.

    It's as if a court outlawed the word 'quibble'. Once the lawyers notice that word being spoken by everyone on TV, everyone in the street, and in every home in America, they should begin to understand how ridiculous it is to outlaw something so simple and natural as a spoken word. Civil disobediance is a necessary means of making government understand that they have made an unwanted law.

  • actually, MP3.com is a public company. (see ticker 'MPPP')

    This used to confuse the hell out of me, so I'll explain it - MP3.com is a publicly held company, meaning anyone can own stock. It is a private organization, meaning that it is not funded by public money (i.e. government subsidy), but by private individuals and organizations.

    --

  • Hmmm... intellectually these seem to go hand-in-hand. MP3s (er... that is to say copyrighted ones) everyone will agree are illegal because they contain copyrighted information. We all still love them... The MP3 bits and bytes themselves aren't illegal, but the information they contain is.

    Where does it say on the CD that I can't rip the contents into an MP3? MP3s are inherently legal, it's the large-scale non-commercial distribution of them without the copyright holder's permission that's arguably illegal. Commercial distribution is clearly illegal. Small-scale non-commercial distribution is clearly legal.

    DeCSS is something more -- this is using "illegal" means to get to right-fully owned copyrighted material.

    DeCSS is not illegal. You may legally possess it. However, if you live in Lewis Kaplan's juristiction you may not distribute it or assist others in finding it by means of hyperlinking.

    --
  • The link didn't work at the time I checked it out, but i did find this [cmu.edu] decss to music. it's not THAT bad. you barly notice the guys reading code.

    -Jon

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @09:15AM (#782904) Homepage Journal

    DMCA doesn't say anything about licensing algorithms or anything like that; it really comes down to the issue of authorization to circumvent.

    Starting next month, DMCA is violated when the person who circumvents CSS (a necessary step for watching CSS-protected movies) does not have authorization from the copyright owner. MPAA claims that when you buy one of their CSS-protected DVDs, you do not have blanket authorization to watch it, but rather, you only have authorization to watch it on approved players. (Although nothing on the DVD packaging explains this, so it is unclear how their customers are supposed to know when they have authorization and when they don't.)

    By their line of reasoning, trafficking in players (as of October 1998) that are primarily intended for watching CSS-protected MPAA movies without authorization, is a violation of DMCA.

    There are a couple of amazing asumptions here:

    1. Customers are bound to MPAA's conditions for authorization, even though those conditions are not stated prior to the sale of a DVD, nor are they mentioned inside the DVD packaging or on the DVD itself. In other words, just because a customer has no way of knowing the conditions of authorization, that doesn't mean the customer isn't bound by those conditions. (The arrogance of this assumption should be obvious to anyone.) (Note: there's another, totally different, approach that MPAA could take with regard to this, see below.)
    2. It is assumed that the primary purpose of a DVD player is to watch movies that were made by MPAA members, not copyright owners who are not MPAA members. (This assumption is also arrogant, but unfortunately, I think it happens to be true. I would like to see this assumption get explicitly violated.)
    Since the primary purpose of all DVD players is to watch MPAA movies, and since users do not have authorization to watch MPAA movies except on players that are licensed by DVDCCA, then it is assumed that the primary purpose of an unlicensed player is to watch MPAA movies without authorization. Therefore, unlicensed players violate DMCA.

    BTW, since authorization is never explicitly granted, another approach that MPAA could take is to say that it is never granted. Therefore, everyone who watches an MPAA CSS-protected DVD after October 2000 would be a DMCA violator, and everyone who makes DVD players after October 1998 is a violator. It's just that since they are the copyright owners, they are free to select who to sue and who not to, and they have an agreement with licensed player manufacturers to not sue them. As for customers, they would all be hostages to MPAA's whim.


    ---
  • ..I have a cute little band I did back when I was in high school called "Bovine Ignition Systems" that I'm currently hosting [mp3s.com] on mp3.com. I figured, what the hey, it's somewhat amusing, and maybe even more people need to hear The Girl With the Biggest Hair [mp3s.com] and other timeless classics.

    Well, I uploaded 15 songs to them, and to my surprise, two were rejected! One, "Do Not Side Behind One Particular Band", has a sample from SOMEWHERE on it, of one person saying a sentence and someone saying "I know". They said this "possibly violated copyright". In other words, they premptively said it must be some illegal sample, and took it away. (It later showed up again [mp3s.com], don't ask me why.

    But the second song, "Fight to Your Right to Bovines", was also struck for "possible copyright violations". Great. The song is certainly reminiscent of "Fight for your Right to Party", except it's got COMPLETELY different lyrics, uses an actual band, which jams and interacts through the song, and which sounds like a rock tune more than rap. It's parody, people! The supreme court was unanimous that parody was A-OK!

    So my opinion, based on this, is that after MP3.COM got sacked with their possible huge judgement coming shortly, and while they negotiate like mad to get out of the impending mess, they are being WAY overcautious and WAY hesistant to take on anything that might even smell of copyright violation, even if that's being judged by someone with too much coffee and 1,000 songs to review through that day.
  • Y'see, there's two things here.

    On one side, there's the censorship angle. We can have this argument until the cows come home, talking about whether restricting speech is right under certain circumstances. I'm not coming down on either side of the fence - but notice I'm in the UK not the USA.

    On the other side, there's the issue of DVD control. I don't think you're going to find many people who will argue that it's legitimate that the studios can control who makes DVD players, recorders - or even _movies_. Which is really what CSS is about, after all, so DeCSS is (amongst other things) a way of stopping them from exerting this unfair influence.

    Pick your battles. I'd have to say I think the second one is more likely to get people to agree with you that it's a Good Thing. The censorship argument is more open to personal opinions so harder to win.
  • by mach-5 ( 73873 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @06:09AM (#782910) Homepage
    OK, we can get really secret here.

    A or T=1
    C or G=0

    Encode the binary version of any of the digital DeCSS representations in a strand of DNA. Put the DNA into bacteria as a plasmid.

    Any biochemist's out there?
  • I figured this out within a day or so of owning a DVD player. It's really *Not* tough to avoid the commercials.

    The commercials, FBI warning, etc, come up when you hit "play", yes? Stop hitting "play".

    Hit "Menu", go to the scene selections, select the first scene. Voila. No commercials.

  • by joemaller ( 37695 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @06:13AM (#782914) Homepage
    Operation Currently Prohibited by Disk

    The first time I saw this crap spewing from my DVD player I nearly exploded. I read fast, I don't need the FBI warning onscreen for 30 seconds, it's what, 40-60 words? Oh yeah, 40-60 meaningless, completely ignored words. Let me fastforward through it, or go to the menu, I have chosen to forfeit a few hours of my time, which is valuable, don't waste it by locking me out of my own stuff.

    The very idea that someone can decide how I will view something I've purchased makes my blood boil. Yes it's a viewing license, no I don't technically "own" the movie, but damn it, I want to be able use this on my terms, in my house, in any way I see fit.

    Actually, besides the excellent picture and sound, there is a lot on DVDs that sucks:

    Viewer control Can't skip or fastforward through the FBI warning and studio crap, effectively creating an arbitrary "boot time".

    No bookmarks on players? Come on, I've got more memory in my cel phone then the computers that landed men on the moon, how about a meager scrap of memory to bookmark timecodes for the last 20-30 disks?

    Macrovision Yes it prevents casual taping of disks, but it is mostly just a nuisance for owners with non-standard hookups. Try running your DVD signal through a VCR, and you're hosed. There are plenty of reasons to do this besides piracy. Old TVs, TVs with one input, TVs in two different rooms...

    Region encoding Words fail me. Create a huge management and manufacturing overhead to prevent users in different parts of the world from seeing anything other than that which is sanctioned for their particular area. This verges on mind-control.

    Built in obsolescence The (NTSC) signal is 480 lines tall. Of course the MPAA did this so you will have to re-buy everything again whenever the industry finally switches over to HiDef TV. Jay Leno shouldn't look better than the movie you just purchased, but if you have a HDTV, he does.

    If only VHS didn't look like crap and wasn't tape...
  • Ri ght here [detonate.net], buddy!

    If you need a mirror :).

  • A hardware player would only be in violation of the DMCA if it provided a way to pirate the DVD (for example, digital output.) However, just making a regular unliscenced DVD player would not violate the DMCA.

    Piracy and digital output are unrelated issues. Those things are part of the terms of license that DVDCCA sells to manufacturers. It has nothing to do with DMCA, except indirectly:

    In DMCA, the only thing that matters is whether or not the user is authorized to circumvent the protection. If the user has permission to watch the movie, then it's legal. If the user doesn't have permission to watch the movie, it's illegal. In the case of MPAA movies, that permission depends on whether or not the player is licensed. (That's where the DVDCCA's licensing terms then come in.) Therefore, as far as they are concerned (beware: other copyright owners may have very different conditions for authorization), it is legal to watch their movies on a licensed player, and illegal to watch their movies on an unlicensed player.

    Since MPAA has a large share of the movie market, it is assumed that the primary purpose of a player is to watch their movies. Therefore, trafficking in a licensed player is legal, and trafficking in an unlicensed player is illegal.


    ---
  • For a laugh, post all the keys you extract from the disks... Force the MPAA to recall all of them. Then watch the lynch-mob form when nobody can watch the new DVDs on their existing players.

    It'd be amusing if the only players that worked were ones that got around the protection.
  • Isn't that the point? Not everyone wants to run Windows. Nobody's saying you can't run Windows, but people should not be prohibited from viewing DVDs that they've legally purchased, simply because they don't run the most ubiquitous desktop OS in existance.

  • Read on down my post.

    Distributing DeCSS itself is good - especially with a good argument as to why you're distributing it alongside. It's still civil disobediance (well, for Americans) but it's directly usable as DeCSS and hopefully informs people, too.

    Distributing a song, a T-shirt, image file headers - anything of that form - just makes this issue look like it's only supported by a bunch of kids trying to annoy people without any good reason. I don't want them to be able to paint this dispute in that way and I suspect you don't, either.
  • by joeysmith ( 171833 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @06:24AM (#782927) Journal
    Once again, I beg everyone reading this story
    to please mirror the song and send an email
    to webmaster@joeysmith.com telling me where
    they are...this is a 386 with 32 MB of RAM,
    and it is absolutely dying!

    (Not to mention saturating the pipe it's hosted on)
  • The very idea that someone can decide how I will view something I've purchased makes my blood boil. Yes it's a viewing license, no I don't technically "own" the movie, but damn it, I want to be able use this on my terms, in my house, in any way I see fit.

    I think this is a common misconception. There is no license involved in buying a DVD movie, unlike when you "buy" (actually license) software.

    These ideas have been touched on by RMS in "The Freedome to Read."

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

    (site seems to not be responding at the moment though)
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @06:53AM (#782936) Homepage
    Oh yeah, DeCSS will not last on the net if it's outlawed....

    Just like warez, illegal MP3's, cracks, illegal stolen passwords to porn sites, Illegal copies of books....etc etc..

    Man, get your head out of the sand and look at all the illegal stuff on the net. Just because something is illegal in the US doe snot make it so in the rest of the world.
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:33AM (#782940)
    I'll say! He xor's, like, four arrays, full of random-looking hex numbers, and that always offends the critics.

    ...but they just don't understand true art; sensitive programmers are always misunderstood, and held to arbitrary 'style guidelines', and expected to conform...
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • AHRA explicitly permits this.

    --
  • by deander2 ( 26173 ) <{public} {at} {kered.org}> on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:37AM (#782945) Homepage
    I disagree. DeCSS will not last long after it is outlawed. The only reason it is so prevailent today is because distributing it is a fad. This, like all fads wil die down. News ways of posting it will no longer hit the news sites, people will stop getting the publicity, and it'll quietly fold until it becomes almost impossible to find someone still mirroring it. Now that won't be this month or even this year, but in a year or two mark my words - you had better have gotten it while you can.

    And let's not forget the real problem here. DeCSS by itself is not a threat to the MPAA - it's the threat of players being built with it. As long as DeCSS is blacklisted, no players (OSS or otherwise) will use it, meaning they won. We have to make this 100% legal, or we'll be stuck duel-booting forever.
  • IANAL, I believe that this would be termed libel or slander, no? They *are* claiming things which are patently false. They are free to remove it, if they want, but they must provide a real reason instead of "offensive lyrics."
  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:37AM (#782947) Homepage Journal
    I won't cry 'censorship' -- that's not what this is. MP3.com is a private organization, and can make whatever rules they wish within the bracket of established law.

    That said, I am a bit disappointed to see this kind of subjective judgement used when deciding what to host or not. I'd rather they said "Damn, we don't want to get sued over this." Then we could call them paranoid and get on with our lives. :)

    I guess this is what frivolous lawsuits bring about -- we don't need censorship, because companies will censor themselves out of fear of legislation.

    --

  • I don't think he was referring to Windows as the alternative. I think he was talking about Minix, a free(?) Unix clone that was available for the PC platform at that time. Linus was apparently frustrated by the slow progress that Minix was making, which drove him to start work on his own Unix clone. I believe BSD was available at this time for the PC, but I think they were charging a fair amount of money to send out a tape. Mac and Windows were toys when Linux was first being developed. They were not serious OSes. Linus apparently started writing Linux as a hobby and to fulfill his own needs for a unix clone. IIRC, he did end up using it for a thesis or some such thing, but I don't think that's why he began writing it. Of course I'm no expert on any of this, this is just some stuff that I seem to remember reading. I could be wrong.

  • > What matters isn't how offensive you are; it's who you offend.

    Which is in itself pretty fucking offensive :)

    I s'pose technically it should be Jack Valenti who needs a judge to pull the skin of 'is ass over 'is head and turn 'im into a fuckin' wheelbarrow, but Jack's so old there's probably not enough skin to work with. 'Sides, he's already got his head up his ass. But Hilary's got plenty of ass to go 'round. A judge with a little clue could really go to town.

    > What matters isn't how offensive you are; it's who you offend.

    Well, at least I didn't traffic in a device used to circumvent a technological measure. Unless you XOR my comments on Jack, Hilary, and Michael with... oh, wait, that's the CueCat hack. ;-)

    Interesting thought - what happens when the CueCat folks start handing out the audio version of the thing, which will turn blips and bleeps during TV commercials into keyboard streams that send your 'puter to a web site. (Leaving aside the fact that if you're watching TV, you're not looking at the screen, and if you're looking at the screen, you don't want it hijacked by some ad.)

    Since we all know it'll be hacked in a few hours after release, I point out that while an audio encoding of DeCSS would sound like crap in a Bach cantata, it'd fit perfectly into some industrial dance music...

  • Freedom will not last long after it is outlawed. The only reason it is so prevailent today is because having it is a fad. This, like all fads will die down. New ways of being free will no longer hit the news sites, people will stop being noticed for being free, and it'll quietly die away until it becomes almost impossible to find someone who is still free. Now that won't be this month or even this year, but in a year or two mark my words - you had better have had it while you can.

    And let's not forget the real problem here. Freedom by itself is not a threat to the Man - it's the threat of what people will do with it. As long as Freedom is not allowed, nobody (American or otherwise) will use it, meaning the Man won. We have to make Freedom 100% legal, or we'll be stuck in hell forever.
    --
  • Re-read my post. :)

    Distributing DeCSS as a t-shirt, as images, on fortune cookie notes -- as *anything*, shows just how simple and easy an idea it is. The more forms in which it is used, the more it resembles speech...and like speech, it should not be subject to unnecessary regulation.

    The purpose is to show that open source code is free as in 'air' -- it is as pervasive as language itself. Only then will courts realize that how futile it is to attempt to keep it in check.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:03AM (#782960) Homepage
    There already are programs that do this, but DeCSS does not infringe on the copyright of the DVDCCA or the MPAA members, nor are any of the keys sufficiently original to qualify for protection in and of themselves.

    The case against DeCSS is predicated on the stupid idea of contributory infringement; that is, DeCSS is illegal even though it's an original work and deserving of copyright protection, because it _can_ be used to infringe on other copyrighted works (even though there's no proof of this being done by anyone other than the MPAA and it's agents, a point that they conceeded in court)
  • I think we're talking private as opposed to government. Not privately owned as opposed to publicly owned. Even publicly owned companies are private entities and can make their own rules in their own playground.
  • The RIAA, the MPAA, the makers of the CueCat and many other corporations out there would love it if this were a nation of AOL users, happy to plug their internet appliance in to the network and use it only for an orgy of consumerism. Those corporations are trying to manipulate our IP laws to state that THEY can control how you use stuff that YOU bought with your own money.

    They fear DeCSS and MP3s and Linux drivers because they fear losing their control over how you use their products that you bought. They don't want you to OWN anything anymore. They want you to lease a license to use their hardware, to view or listen to their content. They want you to make it easy for them to track your habits so they can insert ads into every conscious moment you have (And probably your unconscious ones, too.)

    And this WILL be the future we have, that our children grow up in, if we let them have a single inch now. If they win, I may as well hang up the keyboard and become a chef because I won't be able to code ONE LINE without worrying about getting sued for violating someone else's IP.

    And yes, this is effectively killing the goose that laid the golden egg. It was people who do this stuff for a hobby who drive this industry and have the most creative ideas. It was the guys running the old Heath kits, it was the guys inventing a computer in their garage, it was the finnish college student writing his own OS because he didn't like the only other choice.

    If we'd been in this environment 10 years ago, 12 companies would have sued Linus because they thought he was violating some piece of their IP. If we'd been in this environment 10 years ago, your computer would have come with an EULA stating that you could only use the hardwdare for approved of purposes with the approved of operating system -- no substitutions. And the government would have been fine with that because a private company can demand that you surrender any rights you may have had in return for the right to use their product.

    Now... if you'll excuse me... I have a bunch of guys to meet. We're going to dump a shipment of DVDs into the Boston Harbor.

  • by Mark F. Komarinski ( 97174 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:41AM (#782966) Homepage
    I got thinking last night:

    What if someone (Apex?) were to build an unlicensed DVD hardware player using the DeCSS code? Is that breaking the DCMA? Does it apply to hardware devices? What about a PC card that did the decoding in hardware, but was unlicensed?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At some point in the far future, people will be able to use the prevelance of DeCSS to learn how to read all the old languages.
  • Well, there are ppl outside the USA.
    I guess, a DVD player based on deccs is bound to appear and the I will expect it to show up in the non-US section of Debian.
  • by xercist ( 161422 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:24AM (#782984) Homepage
    no no no, you're wasting precious data space!

    A = 00
    T = 01
    C = 10
    G = 11

    This way, you can fit two bits into each dna segment.
    (what? you were just making a point? Oh :P )

    --
  • by GregWebb ( 26123 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:45AM (#782987)
    Sorry, but this smacks of immaturity. Saying 'Nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah you can't stop us!!!' doesn't help the studios, the lawyers, the media at large or the general public to take this seriously. In fact, it probably does the reverse.

    DeCSS should be legal and the studio's attempts to control manufacture, use and hardware related to DVDs should be recognised for the abuse of cartel power that it is. But doing this doesn't help.

    What we need are eloquent defenders explaining this one and justifying the existence of this sort of software - along with explaining why the MPAA members are abusing their position here. They help, they change people's opinions. Playing whack-a-mole like this and saying that it doesn't matter how illegal they make it because they'll never get rid of it anyway only harms the cause and convinces others that it's only supported by silly kids who want a toy without having to pay for it.

    In other words, this plays right into their hands. We shouldn't do it, we shouldn't encourage it. Distribute DeCSS by all means - but do it openly and explain why it's good that this program exists, and why the current situation is wrong. If you can't provide a good enough explanation yourself, link to someone else's. That helps our cause, this harms it.
  • Things which approach the speed of DeCSS distribution across the net:

    Tech rumors

    Warp Speed

    Spam

    True tech rumors

    Legal gnomes with C&D the minute they detect someone having a better life

    True tech rumors which are relavent to anything useful

    Latest gossip on Natalie Portman [natalieportman.com]

    RIAA Greed rays

    News of anything Star Wars [thumb.com] related

    MPAA Greed rays

    Vote [dragonswest.com] Naked 2000

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @05:46AM (#782990)
    Lemme get this straight.

    DeCSS code in an MP3 is "offensive lyrics".

    The Cocky Sticks' [mp3s.com] tracks, "I'm a Catholic Girl, of course I swallow!" (featuring samples like "OK, whoever hasn't had their dick in my mouth, form a line over here, uh, I mean at all today", from what appears to be a gangbang video), and "Fuckin' Wheelbarrow" ("I'll pull the skin o' yer ass o'er yer head and turn ya inta a fuckin' wheelbarrow!", which sounds like something I'd pay good money to see a judge do to Hilary Rosen, come to think of it)... don't contain offensive content. We won't even get into Adolf Hitler (oops, thread's over!) being sampled into "House of the Rising Sun".

    Personally, I think the Cocky Sticks are great. I love 'em. Got a (paid-for!) CD of 'em. But while I'm not personally offended by their samples, I'm willing to say that many might be. But a bunch of goddamn code expressed as speech?

    But it seems to me that Michael Robertson really has become Hilary Rosen's bitch as a result of his my.mp3.com trials.

    And that is far more offensive than anything I've heard or seen in the music on MP3.com.

    "Wisen up 'cuz on Election Day, we'll see who's banned in the USA"

    - 2 Live Crew, from "Banned in the USA", a parody of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" - and endorsed by Bruce - written in response to Tipper Gore and the PMRC's attempts to eradicate them in the late '80s
  • you say that no players (OSS or otherwise) will use it. the way I'd work this (if I was writing a dvd or VOB player, which I am not) would be to allow a patch to my source that adds this functionality.

    I would not be a target for a lawsuit since I am not directly or indirectly distributing decss. but if some wise and clever person came up with the proper .patch file - and since my player would be in source form - it would be trivial to apply the patch, rebuild from source and get what you want (and what should have been there all along).

    --

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