Hollywood Drops DeCSS Case
Hollywood now wants a lawsuit it brought against Andrew Bunner for carrying details of Jon Johanesen's DeCSS on his web page, dismissed.
CSS equals Content Scrambling System, meant to encrypt DVD data so it can be read only by 'licensed' (ie, Hollywood-approved) DVD players. However, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) CSS licensing section, the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD-CCA), refused to license CSS to projects such as LiVid (Linux Video), an open source collaboration aimed at creating interoperable software tools.
And then along came Jon - Jon Johansen who had the abhorrent (to Hollywood) idea that if you buy a DVD, you should be able to use it on anything, and in any way, you like - for instance on a system running Linux. But under CSS, he couldn't. So he developed DeCSS which both unlocks DVDs and lets users fast-forward (through commercials, for example), or copy.
In 1999, Bunner and several others were singled out for prosecution as This is what'll happen to YOU! examples in much the same way the RIAA is now victimizing file sharers.
It was all a waste of time because DVD-CCA president John Hoy Revealed All in the movie industry inspired California lawsuit against Bunner and several others.
Asking for the dismissal was a "surprising retreat" and in doing so, DVD CCA effectively, "gave up a multi-year effort to have the republication of the program ... declared a violation of trade secret laws," says the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).
"DeCSS has been available on hundreds if not thousands of websites for 4 years now," said EFF legal director Cindy Cohn in a statement. "We're pleased that the DVD CCA has finally stopped attempting to deny the obvious: DeCSS is not a secret."
Hollywood also went blue trying to prosecute Johanesen, but failed.