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RE: DVD legal maneuvers (decss and the lawyers)
> At 02:02 AM 12/30/99 -0800, John Gilmore wrote:
> >Even properly-agreed-to licenses that purport to use copyright laws to
> >deny people rights that copyright laws do not control, have been ruled
> >unenforceable by US courts -- see Sega v. Accolade in the 9th Circuit.
> >In that case the court ruled that a license prohibition on
> >reverse-engineering was unenforceable, because the copyright law
> >underlying the license gives the seller no control over whether the
> >buyer is permitted to reverse-engineer.
> Um, are you *positive* of that? Cuz I worked at Accolade, and the
> restitution payments being made to Sega over that incident were common
> knowledge internally. Perhaps the ruling was later successfully appealed
> by Sega? Case law null and void then, I believe.
According to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, not only was Accolade's
reverse engineering of Sega's game cartridges legal, but so was the use of
the letters "SEGA" in the initialization code. Which was the only way
Accolade could get the games to run.
Below are some timely quotes from that decision:
"the fact that computer programs are distributed for public use in object
code form often precludes public access to the ideas and functional concepts
contained in those programs, and thus confers on the copyright owner a de
facto monopoly over those ideas and functional concepts. That result defeats
the fundamental purpose of the Copyright Act - to encourage the production
of original works by protecting the expressive elements of those works while
leaving the ideas, facts, and functional concepts in the public domain for
others to build on".
"The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an
"author's" creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to
stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.'" Sony Corp., 464
U.S. at 432, 104 S.Ct. at 783 (quoting Twentieth Century Music Corp. v.
Aiken, 422 U.S. 151, 156, 95 S.Ct. 2040, 2044, 45 L.Ed.2d 84 (1975))".
DVD Copy Control Association, take note.