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Re: ITP: oms -- Open Media System DVD Player

On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, Brian Ristuccia wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 06, 2000 at 02:55:40PM +0100, Martin Waitz wrote:
> > On Wed, Dec 06, 2000 at 07:18:14AM -0600, Sam TH wrote:
> > > On Wed, Dec 06, 2000 at 02:03:26PM +0100, Martin Waitz wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > OMS and all librarys are licensed under the GPL.
> > > > For software dvd playback, it needs libcss, which can't be included legally,
> This is an unjustified assertion. There's no precedent indicating that
> libcss is illegal.
> > > > but oms itself doesn't depend on libcss, so it shouldn't be a problem for debian.
> > > > 
> > > 
> > > libcss can certiainly go in non-US.  It's only the US where we pass
> > > laws that restrict the ability to actually use the products you
> > > purchase.  The css decryption routines are only illegal here (and
> > > currently, only for a few people).  
> > i'm not sure about this,
> > we should continue this thread on debian-legal.
> > 
> > would it be ok to include libcss in non-us?
> > 
> Yes, it can go in non-us. But I see no reason why it can't go in main
> either.
> > Background:
> > libcss itself is distributed under the gpl, but is considered illegal
> > by the DVD-CCA (dvd copy control association) and 
> > MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).
> > 
> libcss is not illegal, nor is its legality being contested. You're confusing
> it with another program called DeCSS that's the subject of civil lawsuits by

By the SDNY's injunction being as broad as it is, I would submit that
libcss is under injunction.  You know the text of the injunction,
Brian--I've seen your comments on it on the harvard list.  In fact,
you could read that the injunction applies to every warm body on Earth and
every program that looks like it could possibly transfer a bit off a
DVD.  The MPAA picked a good judge--he stayed bought.  However, this is
needless worrying about probability.  The fact now is that nobody's
officially told Debian that libcss is illegal to distribute, and I really
doubt that this will register on the MPAA's radar: they've dismissed the
entire open source meovement in open court, so I doubt that they pay much
attention to us.  If and when they do, it may be too late.  Make no
mistake about it, the MPAA WILL make a try: if they got Johansen arrested,
and sued a member of the press to stop it, I have no doubt that they're on
"full court press" mode, and the minute we show up on their radar, we'll
be in the mess.  

> copyright cartel industry groups in CA and NY. DeCSS is a program for PC's
> running Microsoft Windows that enables users to copy raw mpeg data from a
> DVD to a storage device on the PC. DeCSS is not a DVD player nor is it
> designed to be easily used as a DVD player component. Even DeCSS isn't
> illegal for most people in the US - only a handful of people named in
> injunctions issued by courts in CA and NY.
> Note that it's quite possible the MPAA will contest the legality of libcss
> or the OMS player in the future, but this hasn't happened yet. Even when it
> does happen, Debian and Software in the Public Interest are not nearly as
> attractive targets as "2600, The Hacker Quarterly." Copyright cartel
> industry groups won't get good press for suing a charity. Even so, in any
> such event the maintainer could always move the problem package to non-us or
> if necessary, orphan the package and allow it to be adopted by someone
> outside the jurisdiction of the problem court who will then package it for
> non-us. We've already done similar things to work around stupid software
> patent and crypto laws in the US.

The only issue here is the patent we worked around was a crypto patent
(RSAREF), so it would have gone into non-US even if it weren't encumbered
by a patent--it's still in in non-US...  I'm not too hot with using non-US
to distribute something that becomes illegal the minute it resides on a US
based computer.  Basically RSAREF was imported from Canada, where the RSA
patent didn't apply, and imported patented things are usually stopped at
the border.  If the border patrol fails, the worst case to the user is
that they lose whatever they paid for the item: it gets siezed and the
citizen goes about their business unless they were one of the
importers: even then, there's often an allotment of things you can cross
the border with that fall into this category for personal use.  Now we get
to the enjoined stuff.  If a court finds you covered by the injunction,
you may go to jail.  No ifs, ands, or buts: no "personal use" allowance,
just an order to show cause and a date with the jailer.  A Debian system
should be a statement for free software, it should not be an arrest
warrant in the making.  


Pardon me, but you have obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a
email galt@inconnu.isu.edu

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