District judge issues injunction to take down DVD Hack

A U.S. District Court has ordered three people to remove from their Web sites the software program DeCSS that could allow copying of DVD movies. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York issued a temporary injunction late on Thursday forbidding the Web sites from carrying the DeCSS program that would allow users to bypass the encryption scheme used on DVDs to prevent unauthorized copying. The issue has been a hot topic for the past weeks with heated discussions flaring up among DVD users.

The three defendants in the case were Shawn Reimerdes, Eric Corley, a well-known figure in the hacker community who goes by the name Emmanuel Goldstein, and Roman Kazan, all three of them webmasters of weel-known cracker websites. Major Hollywood movie studios that filed the lawsuit said the software, written by a teenage Norwegian programmer, would let people illegally duplicate their movies. A provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids distribution of products designed to crack copyright protection schemes, the studios argued.

“I think this serves as a wake-up call to anyone who contemplates stealing intellectual property,“” Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement. Internet civil liberties groups that have opposed the lawsuit on freedom of speech grounds said they would continue to fight in court. They said the program was meant to allow viewing of DVD movies on computers running the Linux operating system and therefore did not violate the copyright law. The law provided an exception for security-cracking if the product was intended to allow interoperability.

The ruling did not affect other sites that might have the DeCSS program or sites that linked to sites with the program, the EFF attorneys said. The studios that filed the lawsuit included Buena Vista Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney Co., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., a unit of Viacom Inc., Sony’s Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Universal Studios Inc., a unit of Seagram Co., and Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

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