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Copyleft copied DVD biz trade secrets, allegedly

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Programmer-oriented T-shirt supplier Copyleft has fallen foul of the DVD Copy Control Authority, the movie industry-sponsored body that oversees DVD anti-piracy technology.

Copyleft's sin, it appears, was to sell a shirt printed with the source code to DeCSS, the controversial utility that cracks DVD movies' copy protection system. And that's a violation of our trade secrets, claims the DVD CCA.

It has a point. A US court recently granted a request from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to prevent Web site 2600.com from posting DeCSS' source code, and putting something on a T-shirt is as much an act of publishing as putting it on a Web site.

Not so, claims Copyleft founder Steve Blood, who told IDG Newswire: "This is not about breaking the law. I wouldn't do a Napster shirt. Napster is a public forum for doing something illegal."

Ironically, the DeCSS shirt was offered to help fund Internet pressure group the Electronic Frontier Foundation's representation of Web sites hit with lawsuits for posting the utility or publishing its source code. So sales of the shirt will ultimately fund the defence of the shirt. ®

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