Hacker magazine calls for movie business protest
by Jack McCarthy
(IDG) -- A hackers' magazine has called for a worldwide protest outside movie theaters Friday against the Motion Picture Association of America's aggressive attempts to keep its members' DVDs protected from unauthorized users.
In recent months, the MPAA has filed several lawsuits against Web sites and programmers who posted a formula that decrypts the content-scrambling system (CSS) of DVDs.
Some civil liberties groups and hackers objected to the MPAA's legal blitz, saying the posting of the de-encryption software is protected by free speech entitlement.
"The MPAA, the organization that plays a major part in nearly every movie made, is shutting down thousands of Web sites worldwide and suing countless individuals simply because they offer information on DVD technology that the MPAA wants to keep out of your hands," says a notice announcing the protest posted on the Web site of 2600 Magazine.
Calling itself the "hacker's" magazine, the publication says protests will take place and leaflets will be handed out outside movie theaters and video stores in 74 cities in North America and 26 cities in other parts of the world. No specific protest sites were named. Efforts to contact 2600 Magazine were unsuccessful.
In its legal actions, the MPAA has cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which prohibits unauthorized use of copyrighted materials.
"The CSS is there so you can't make illegal copies," says Emily Kutner, MPAA's manager of public relations for worldwide antipiracy. "Whether or not these people actually took the next step and made copies is not part of our complaint. Our complaint said it is illegal to traffic in anticircumvention devices."
Joining the MPAA as plaintiffs are Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Tristar Pictures, Columbia Pictures Industries, Time Warner Entertainment, Disney Enterprises and Twentieth Century Fox Film.
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