Some of the tech world’s most distinguished names have filed amicus briefs in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the hacker publication 2600, both seeking to have a federal appeals court overturn a ruling that would punish Websites that link to DVD-cracking code DeCSS. The thrust of the arguments is that software code is speech and should therefore be uncensored in keeping with the US Constitution’s first amendment. The Motion Picture Association of America won a copyright violation case against 2600, which the EFF is now appealing.
Open-source guru Richard Stallman, artificial intelligence pioneer Eugene Spafford, cryptographer Ronald Rivest and Princeton professor Edward Felten have filed opinions as have the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. A journalists’ group that includes the Online News Association, Wired News and the Newspaper Association of America wrote that linking is necessary for online journalism. The Motion Picture Association of America must reply to the EFF by February 19. Oral arguments are scheduled for April with decision following.