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Re: About MPEG2 and DVDs

Samuel Hocevar writes:

>    Hello,
>    I plan to package vlc [1], an MPEG2 player which can also play DVDs.
> There is no MPEG2 Layer 3 support, nor is DeCSS included, so I do not
> think there are any legal issues with including it in Debian (the
> license is 100% GPL, no parts of the MPEG group's reference decoder have
> been included), though I'd appreciate any comments about this.
>    My main concern is with CSS [2]. DeCSS [3] is not included, but (as I
> happen to be one of the main developers), I'd like to add support for it
> so that everyone can freely play all DVDs. I see several options :
>  - no CSS support at all
>  - integrate DeCSS. This would put it at least in non-US, or even into
>   non-free or (even worse) not be legal in most countries outside
>   Europe and would therefore not be possible at all. One of the problems
>   is that DeCSS includes a cracked key from Xing.
>  - implement a brute force algorithm that has been found and which
>   lets you crack the CSS key of a single disk in a few seconds. I think
>   this one would be legal everywhere, but not sure.

Not everyone agrees that DeCSS is illegal in the United States for the
Xing key reason.  (California lawsuit.)

On the other hand, not everyone agrees that the brute force
algorithm is legal in the U.S.  (Possible implications of New York

If you can wait a while, these legal issues might become a bit clearer.

Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

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