August 25, 2003

DVD-CCA v Bunner, technical information, and public concern

This part of today's decision in the DVD trade-secret case, deserves special note. It addresses what the court considers the unimportance of "technical information":

DVD CCA's trade secrets in the CSS technology are not publicly available and convey only technical information about the method used by specific private entities to protect their intellectual property. Bunner posted these secrets in the form of DeCSS on the Internet so Linux users could enjoy and use DVD's and so others could improve the functional capabilities of DeCSS. He did not post them to comment on any public issue or to participate in any public debate. Indeed, only computer encryption enthusiasts are likely to have an interest in the expressive content-- rather than the uses--of DVD CCA's trade secrets. (See Tien, Publishing Software as a Speech Act, supra, 15 Berkeley Tech. L.J. at pp. 662-663 ["Programming languages provide the best means for communicating highly technical ideas--such as mathematical concepts--within the community of computer scientists and programmers"].) Thus, these trade secrets, as disclosed by Bunner, address matters of purely private concern and not matters of public importance. ...

Only "computer encryption enthusiasts"? Not "matters of public importance"??

Calling Ed Felten ...

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal , security | on August 25, 2003 06:23 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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