Judge’s decision imminent in DVD hacker case

Final legal briefs were filed yesterday in the DeCSS hacking case that Hollywood studios say could determine the future of the DVD industry. ‘The briefs were the last step before the judge’s decision, ’ said Charles Sims, a lawyer for the studios and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). ‘He hasn’t indicated when he’d rule, but all the parties expect Kaplan to rule within a week.’

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan issued a preliminary injunction barring the defendant, Eric Corley, from posting the code that enables users to circumvent copy protection on DVDs. David Atlas, an attorney for Corley, said Corley will appeal if a permanent injunction is issued. “No matter who wins, this case is going to be appealed, probably all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Sims said the studios believe Corley is responsible for most of the decryption utility currently out on the Web. ‘We expect a strong decision against him to be very effective in reducing and preventing film piracy on the Internet,’ he said.

This court case represents just one facet of the entertainment industry’s growing dilemma with protecting copyrighted material on the Internet as millions of users increasingly share music, movies and other digital information, often without paying for the privilege, via MP3, Napster and other technologies. The Napster case itself has been in the forefront of the news lately as well.

Considering the importance of this case, we’re watching closely and will post the results as soon as they’re available.

For full court protocols of this case please check here.

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