Kittyz Gotz Crackz; AACS Gotz Troublez

May 4th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, Streaming Video, Video, Video Podcasts


Responding to an Internet revolt over the censorship of sites that have posted a number key that can be used to unencrypt HD-DVDs,¬† Advanced Access Content System (AACS) head Michael Ayers said that they’ve received “good cooperation from most folk” in response to takedown requests intended to ban the information from the Internet.

It looks like the “lolcats” at I Can Has Cheezburger didn’t get the takedown notice, yet. (lolcat above). Neither did the people behind the 891,000 (and growing) Web pages that have published the forbidden number.

The situation pits free speech advocates against the copyright owners that want to use encryption to limit what you can do with DVDs. While copyright owners currently have the law on their side, they appear to be fighting a losing battle.

“It started out as a circumvention effort six to eight weeks ago but we now see the key on YouTube and on T-Shirts,” said Ayers. “Some people clearly think it’s a First Amendment issue. There is no intent from us to interfere with people’s right to discuss copy protection. We respect free speech.”

“But a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention,” adds Ayers. “You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then.”

AACS has already sent a cease and desist letter to Google, asking it effectively to ban any site that publishes the forbidden key from Google’s search results:

  • remove or cause to be removed the above-specified AACS circumvention offering and any other circumvention offering which is designed, produced or provided to circumvent AACS or to assist others in doing so, and/or any links directly thereto, from the URL identified above and from any other forum or website on which you have provided any circumvention offering; and
  • refrain from posting or causing to be provided any AACS circumvention offering or from assisting others in doing so, including by direct links thereto, on any website now or at any time in the future.

“Failure to do so will subject you to legal liability,” warns the AACS.
Can a number be banned?

The situation begs the question of whether or not discussing a number can be banned.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), discussing a number can be banned under current law. They note that the DMCA does not require that a circumvention technology (like decrypters using the “forbidden number”, be copyrightable to enjoy protection.”

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

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