Hackers' DVD call to arms

The Internet community, civil libertarians and lawyers take on Hollywood over DVD encryption

Hollywood's much publicised efforts to clamp down on software that cracks DVD encryption codes, is being met head-on Friday by a protest organised by hackers and the open source community.

According to Hacker Webzine 2600.com, a massive campaign will be co-ordinated across 74 American cities and 26 other cities worldwide. Protests will take place outside cinemas and video shops.

The demonstrations are against lawsuits issued in January from the Motion Picture Association of America against Web sites distributing the DeCSS programme.

Last October, an international group of programmers published the source code to a program that broke the encryption protecting DVDs from playing on unauthorised platforms. One of the programmers, 16-year-old Jon Johansen of Norway, was charged with copyright violation and interrogated by police.

DeCSS, circumvents the Content Scrambling System embedded in DVD discs that block unauthorised players from playing certain DVDs.

A statement on 2600.com states:

"This is in effect a lawsuit against the entire Internet community by extremely powerful interests. The lawsuit and various actions being planned promise to be a real showdown between two increasingly disparate sides in the technological age. The consequences of losing this case are so serious that civil libertarians, lawyers and professors have stepped forward to help out."

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