What's So Free About This DVD?

Friday, 28 March 2003, 12:40 PM EST

Go to any gathering of open-source developers and someone is bound to tell you that free software isn't free - not free as in "free lunch," anyway. Free as in "free speech."

Such politics have sparked another technological transformation, this time freeing a DVD from the constraints imposed by copyright-protection technology.

The documentary film Revolution OS was released Friday on DVD. The film features interviews with Linus Torvalds of Linux fame; Richard Stallman of the GNU/Free software project; Eric Raymond, author of Cathedral and the Bazaar (a treatise on marketing and open source); Rob Malda of hacker discussion and news site Slashdot; Larry Augustin, co-founder of VA Linux Systems; and others.

In the spirit of open source, the DVD was released without CSS, the content scrambling system used on most commercial DVDs.

J.T.S. Moore, the film's creator, said it's an experiment in going "CSS-free" -- one he fervently hopes won't blow up in his face. He hopes his film won't be pirated, and that his success will encourage other filmmakers not to use CSS.

According to the DVD Copy Control Association, a nonprofit corporation that licenses CSS to manufacturers of DVD hardware, CSS' primary purpose is to stop piracy.

[ Read more ]


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