January 22, 2004

DVD DeCSS trade-secret case withdrawn

Today's big tech civil-liberties news is that the Bunner DVD trade-secret case, that is, about whether posting DeCSS violated trade-secret law, has been dropped at the request of the industry. After four years of litigation. See, for example, the EFF report.

This is a good thing. Victories are few and far between, and this was one. However ... it's also important to realize it's only one of many legal grounds, and there are many others. Way down, in the ZDNET report is the critical analysis:

The ruling in the Corley [DMCA] case ultimately made the California case redundant, since the code was already illegal to distribute, attorneys said. If it had pursued its case further, the DVD CCA would have also risked prompting a ruling against it, since the California Supreme Court had expressed skepticism in its last ruling that there were any trade secrets to protect.

In its statement Thursday, the DVD CCA said it will pursue other avenues in protecting its code, including possibly filing patent infringement suits. It also said several outstanding Hollywood cases against commercial publishers that offer DVD-copying software will help protect its rights.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , legal | on January 22, 2004 11:58 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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That doesn't count as a victory in my book.

Posted by: Aaron Swartz at January 23, 2004 11:07 AM

It's a small victory, not a big victory. It's certainly better than the reverse outcome. But it's also easy to think it means more than it does.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 23, 2004 12:32 PM