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2600 withdraws Supreme Court appeal in DeCSS case

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Hacker magazine 2600 is to drop its appeal to the Supreme Court after concluding it had little chance of establishing its right to post links to the DeCSS utility.

In a statement on the case, 2600 said that after consulting with its lawyers it decided it had taken the case as far as it could.

The decision ends the publication's two-and-a-half year legal battle over DeCSS, which permits DVD owners to use players which the entertainment industry had not approved.

In December 1999, eight major motion picture studios sued 2600 Magazine for publishing an article containing the DeCSS computer software and linking to DeCSS.

Norwegian teenager Jon Johansen created DeCSS in an effort to develop an open source software player that would allow people to play their lawfully purchased DVDs on computers running the Linux operating system.

But since people may also use the DeCSS program as one step in infringing the copyrights of DVD movies, both the New York District Court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the DMCA as banning 2600 Magazine from publishing or linking to DeCSS.

Yesterday's decision means that 2600 will not take its appeal on this ruling to the Supreme Court.

Campaigners are putting a brave face on the defeat, saying that the case has done much to educate the community and pledging to continue opposing the stance taken by the entertainment industry in the case.

"We took several steps forward with this case, forcing the courts to recognise that freedom of speech was at stake," explained EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Later cases will provide a better foundation for the Supreme Court to act on the problems created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)." ®

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