I'm wondering about the legality of making DeCSS for Linux (such as libdvdcss) available on the Pirate Party website.
I think this is the relevant section from New Zealand law:
Copyright Act 1994 wrote:
226 Definitions of TPM terms
In sections 226A to 226E, unless the context otherwise requires,—TPM
or technological protection measure
TPM circumvention device
- means any process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system that in the normal course of its operation prevents or inhibits the infringement of copyright in a TPM work; but
- for the avoidance of doubt, does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that, in the normal course of operation, it only controls any access to a work for non-infringing purposes (for example, it does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that it controls geographic market segmentation by preventing the playback in New Zealand of a non-infringing copy of a work)
means a device or means that—
- is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of a technological protection measure; and
- has only limited commercially significant application except for its use in circumventing a technological protection measure
means a copyright work that is protected by a technological protection measure.
I am given to understand that CSS doesn't make it impossible to copy (as some malformed CDs did), but rather prevents playing copies (legal or illegal) except in a capable player, am I right? It seems to me that where the section says "prevents or inhibits the infringement of copyright", we could read this one of two ways. We could either say CSS doesn't prevent or inhibit copying, because it is still possible to make copies, but rather CSS prevents or inhibits the playback of copies, or we could say CSS does prevent or inhibit (certain kinds of) copying (i.e. copying to something other than another DVD), because such copies would be unusable (and therefore people will not bother doing it). Does the clarification suggest the former interpretation (i.e. that CSS does not qualify as a TPM)? Region control could, by the latter interpretation prevent or inhibit copyright infringement (for a time) if a DVD had staggered release dates. (Are staggered release dates common? If so, is there generally much of a gap between release dates?) Or am I reading too much into this?
Also, although this is neither here nor there, I think this might be within the spirit of the law anyway, if DeCSS on Linux is "primarily designed, produced, or adapted" for playing legal DVDs on Linux.
I guess this is probably too risky. Anyway, just a thought.