[mythtv-users] tivo series 3 released

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Tue Sep 12 15:41:14 EDT 2006

On 09/12/06 14:10, Craig Partin wrote:

>On 9/12/06, Michael T. Dean <mtdean at thirdcontact.com> wrote:
>>Oh, and DeCSS is gray like speeding is gray.  It's very much against the
>>law--only you're not very likely to be prosecuted for doing it.  (True,
>>you're probably more likely to be prosecuted for speeding, but the
>>cost/benefit ratio is, again, very different--remembering that cost must
>>factor in both penalty (which is smaller for speeding) and likelihood of
>>prosecution (which is higher for speeding).)
>How is it then that I get the code from public repositories then?  I'm
>not being smart, but genuinely curios.  DeCSS is illegal under the
>DMCA but it is still distrubted openly.  Or am I downloading the code
>from offshore and breakin US law by using it?  I don't pay too much
>attention to what happens when I emerge xine.

TTBOMK, /all/ locations distributing libdvdcss are offshore.  However, 
regardless of whether distributing libdvdcss is illegal, its use in the 
US (currently) is.

 From the libdvdcss FAQ:

   3.3. Is libdvdcss legal?

   The use and distribution of the libdvdcss library is controversial in
   a few countries such as the United States because of a law called the
   DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). If you are unsure about the
   legality of using and distributing this library in your country,
   please consult your lawyer.

     Note: Beware: VLC media player binaries are distributed with the
     libdvdcss library included.

The use of vague terms ("controversial") was purposefully done as I'm 
sure the videolan developers didn't want to be accused of giving out 
legal advice.  However:


all have some good information.

IMH(non-lawyer)O, it's the legality of the the application of the 
law--not whether the use of libdvdcss is illegal under the current 
law--that's uncertain.

BTW, Wikipedia takes a, "it's not a copy protection scheme, so it's not 
covered under the DMCA" approach ( 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libdvdcss ), but the DMCA doesn't define 
what constitutes a technological protection for copyrighted material, so 
I'd call this a "chancy" stance--although I do agree with its argument 
that it can't be distributed in some distros for patent-related 
reasons.  The fact that you can make a copy of the encrypted content 
without bypassing CSS doesn't mean that CSS isn't a technological 
protection measure designed to protect copyrighted material, and, AIUI, 
bypassing these protection measures is what is illegal under DMCA.  Oh, 
and the fact that the body licensing CSS is called the DVD Copy Control 
Association (CCA) implies that they thought of the system as a copy 
protection scheme (and nothing in the DMCA says the technological 
protections measures must be well designed or implemented to qualify).


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