Open Source community members breathed a sigh of relief at 4:50 PST today, as Santa Clara Judge William J. Elfving rejected DVD Copy Control Association, Inc.'s request for a restraining order.
Robert Jones was Defendant #15 in the filing, and he shared his thoughts after hearing the decision:
"It's good to hear that some sort of sanity won today. I'm sure we're all very appreciative to the EFF and everyone else who showed up to help and advise. I wish to personally thank, especially, all the lawyers who volunteered their advice and services pro bono to the defendants. There is still the hearing on the 14th, so the war is far from over, but the first battle has been won."
In the middle of the day, SVLUG President Chris DiBona called in, letting us know what happened after the courtroom's doors opened this morning:
"The courtroom opened up, we all filed in. we had about 50 people in there, two reporters inside, two waiting outside. [The Plaintiffs are] claiming it's a trade secret thing. They're claiming that to get the Z-key, they had to click on a license agreement. There's no reason why that's true. They inserted their arguments and they said that the hacker in Norway had to use the player, sign the agreement, and therefore it's an illegal thing. There's a law on the books in California that says if you publish a trade secret that is known to be stolen, or could only become available through theft, you have an obligation not to continue with the distribution of the trade secret."
Daniel Silveira, a student at San Jose State University, was also in the courtroom. He said:
"The expression on the judge's face looked rather enlightened when the point was made that you don't need the encryption key in order to make illegal copies of movies or DVD discs."
According to an E-mail we received from Defendant Andrew Bunner, there is no question that Allon Levy, Robin Gross and the rest of the team from the Electronic Frontier Foundation made major contributions to the good fight, but this was a strong community effort. Some of the characteristic playfulness of the community came through during the plaintiff's testimony; when the plaintiff's attorney tried to assert that DeCSS's only purpose was to promote piracy, the gallery laughed out loud.
Hopefully, the community will be able to stage yet another fantastic show on January 14th, the day slated for the hearing during which the DVD CCA will try to get a permanent restraining order preventing Web sites from publishing information about DeCSS.
The time between the recess and the judgment trudged on, as concerned Open Source community members everywhere waited impatiently. Many were hoping for a decision earlier in the afternoon, especially those in Europe who were staying up late to hear the decision.
Fortunately, those who went to sleep before the Judge made his decision will wake up to good news tomorrow. The never-ending war for the recognition of free speech in source code has won a battle today, while championing the efforts of Open Source aficionados the world over.
To be continued January 14th...