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Re: EFF misstatements in DeCSS brief



In article <[email protected]>,
lcs Mixmaster Remailer  <[email protected]> wrote:
> First, it is not at all reasonable to read the EFF brief as saying that
> reverse engineering is simple.  The sentences immediately before the
> excerpts quoted earlier read:
> 
> : Plaintiff alleges on information and belief, and without giving any
> : additional facts to support its contention, that the unknown third
> : parties who originally disseminated the information about the CSS and its
> : weaknesses must have gained that information by "reverse engineering"
> : a particular piece of software, made by XING Co. (Complaint, para 43).
> : As we show through the affidavits of highly competent informants
> : accompanying this brief in opposition to their motion, there is no basis
> : whatever for their conclusion.
> 
> The EFF is therefore trying to cast doubt on the "reverse engineering"
> theory, not endorsing it.

That's an interesting reading of the brief.
That's not at all what I got out of the brief when I read it, but now
that you explain your reading in more detail, I can also understand where
your interpretation is coming from.

My reading of the above paragraph was that the EFF is trying to cast
doubt on the claim that it was necessarily the XING DVD player which
was used to reverse engineer the DVD algorithms, not that they were
trying to cast doubt on the fact that reverse engineering was the
modus operandi.

Or, more precisely, the EFF was trying to suggest that the plaintiffs
have not met their burden of proving that some reverse engineering took
place, that the reverse engineering was targetted at the XING player,
and that the reverse engineering was illegal.  (There's a subtle
distinction here: casting doubt on the plaintiff's claims is not quite
the same as saying `they failed to shoulder their burden of proving
their claims'.)

Did you notice anything else in the brief which suggests that the EFF
brief was aimed specifically at casting doubt on whether any reverse
engineering occurred, rather than merely casting doubt on whether the
XING player was the target?  I might have read too quickly to notice
any such signs.

> It's not clear, it may simply be that EFF misunderstands the situation.

Ok.  Fair enough.  I can see now why you hold this view, given your
reading of the brief.  But, again, if my reading is correct, then I don't
see any misunderstandings in sight.

I should say up front: It is certainly possible that my reading of the
EFF brief was skewed by my knowledge of what makes sense (from a
cryptographic perspective) and thus was unconciously biased towards an
interpretation that fits the facts of the matter.