I disagree with Eric’s July 3rd. I’m not sure if I presented DeCSS and Napster as being analogous; my point was that them standing behind the argument of free speech is ridiculous, and that’s clearly true (to me) in the case of DeCSS. I wouldn’t argue that it’s totally “legit” either. They essentially took a trade secret and made it public, due to the stupidity of one company. Yeah, the lack of Linux DVD software is a gross oversight, but I still don’t know if dubious methods is justified. But whatever, I don’t even really care. It’s just not free speech at all.
I also disagree with his dismissal of arguments that DeCSS as a piracy tool. As it stands, yes it’s true, but it seems a bit shortsided. It’s less important what happens now, since DeCSS is relatively unused, but it’s more important to consider what will happen in the future, when it could potentially be more widespread (I’m assuming in other applications) if it isn’t controlled somehow now. And it’s clear that in the future, everything he says is less true, and it’s use as a priacy tool is a very real possibility. Rather, it is an inevitability. I don’t know whether DeCSS is right or not, but I think it’s clear that eventually, perhaps sometime soon, it will be used for piracy. Also, one should be aware that even now, you can download DVDs from the Internet, so it’s not so farfetched. Some people actually do have the time, space, and bandwidh.
Furthermore, you can’t ignore clips, rather than full movies. Yeah, having the whole movie is a little unwieldy, but you can get clips with perfect video and sound with DeCSS. And as numerous Iron Chef sites know, companies don’t like that, and it’s possibl illegal. That’s piracy also.
So, I don’t know if DeCSS is right. But it will lead to (and already has led to) piracy, without question. And it is most definitely not a matter of free speech.