March 12, 2001

Weekly news wrapup: Dispatches from the Copyright Wars

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross

A pair of MIT programmers have
written a seven-line perl code
that descrambles DVDs, a
cousin of the DeCSS code that the Motion Picture
Association of America has been fighting so strenuously. The
shortened code is small enough to include in an email
signature, which could give the MPAA headaches in trying to
put a lid on its distribution.

Let's all have a moment of silence for those poor,
overworked MPAA lawyers.

Someone is starting to get the message that U.S. copyright
laws aren't exactly working. U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va.,
speaking at a conference recently, called
for changes
to the fair use doctrine in digital and
Internet media. In other words, the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act is too restrictive, Boucher says.

If a change in the law doesn't work, the co-founder of has another idea. Matt Goyer wants to move
the Napster -clone offshore
, potentially to HavenCo
Ltd., located in the Atlantic on an ocean platform called

Big Blue backlash?

OK, so not everyone in the Open Source community is fully
buying IBM's
new advertising campaign
that focuses on "peace, love
and Linux." A LinuxPlanet columnist doesn't
fault IBM
but suggests there's not a lot of peace in the
Open Source community these days, with a lot of infighting
and backstabbing going on.

The IBM ad campaign's only fault may be that it's a bit
naïve, but there are other signs that Big Blue isn't quite
up to speed on everything Open Source. NewsForge editor in
chief Robin Miller reported that an IBM recruiter sent
out spam email
to people as lowly as Linux journalists
while searching for programmers. NewsForge news editor Tina
Gasperson pointed out that
doesn't work
with popular Open Source browser Konqueror
1.9.8, and Linux Journal noted
that the Linux ad at
was not exactly Linux

Diplomatic ties

Tim O'Reilly of bookmaker O'Reilly and Associates reports
that it ain't easy
trying to mediate between Microsoft
and the Free Software Foundation in the recent round of
name-calling. OK, maybe it was a "round" to O'Reilly, but we
thought it was mostly a one-sided assault by Microsoft on
free software.

New in NewsForge this week

Stories you may have passed by:

  • Hardware reviewer (OK, in this case he's doing software)
    Jeff Field takes
    a look at VMware 2.0
    . He says it's a nice alternative to
    the not-quite-finished Wine.
  • Gasperson checks
    , a site dedicated to Slackware users.
    She says the site needs some more stuff, but it's a good
    start at a useful resource for Slackware.
  • We also report that Eazel
    people confirm that version 1.0
    of their groundbreaking
    Nautilus file and system manager will be available sometime
    this week.

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