US court: reverse engineering is 'presumptively legal'

Monday, 1 March 2004, 4:10 PM EST

A California appeals court on Friday reversed a four-year-old order barring the publication of a DVD-cracking tool on the Internet, finding the injunction violated the defendant's free speech rights.

The case was closely watched as a test of how much protection companies can expect in California for trade secrets that become widely distributed online.

The plaintiff, the DVD Copy Control Association, had argued that Andrew Bunner violated its intellectual property rights by posting on the Internet code known as DeCSS that can be used to bypass Hollywood's encryption scheme for DVDs. Bunner's attorneys had countered that the code was no longer a secret by the time he posted it on his Web site.

On Friday, California's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, reversing a trial judge's order first issued in 1999.

By Evan Hansen at ZDNet.

[ Read more ]




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