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Illegal Numbers Why the DMCA has the right to outlaw numbers.

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Presentation on theme: "Illegal Numbers Why the DMCA has the right to outlaw numbers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Illegal Numbers Why the DMCA has the right to outlaw numbers

2 What is an illegal number? 09 F D 74 E3 5B D C C0 Hexadecimal Advanced Access Content System (AACS) encryption key  A number containing information deemed “illegal”.  Any digital information may ultimately be represented as a number.  Often are encryption keys.

3 What does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have to do with this?  DMCA makes criminal:  Copyright circumvention  Distribution of circumvention technology  Possession of circumvented works outside fair-use or licensed guidelines.  Does not make possession of circumvention technology illegal  Thus storage of circumvention technology in the form of base-10 or base- 16 numbers, via the DMCA, makes that number an “illegal number”.

4 If the DMCA says circumventing copyright systems is illegal, how is this controversial?  Copyright law allows for limited fair-use of copyright material  Education  Parody  Criticism  The DMCA prevents fair-use by outlawing copyright system circumvention carte blanche.  No limited/no exceptions.  The power is left with the copyright holder to determine fair-use at the time the copyright system is circumvented.  Prior to the DMCA, non- authorized personal back-ups were neither illegal nor specifically legal.  DMCA effectively makes all circumstances illegal.

5 Advanced Access Content System (AACS) encryption key controversy  AACS first appeared on HD DVDs and Blu-ray Disc players in  Content encryption based upon two layers of on-media encryption.  Key to first later based upon specific media player model groups.  This allow individual model keys to be revoked in future produced media upon being compromised. Model KeyMedia Key Unencrypted Movie Decryption

6 Cracked and Crack again  Encryption keys pulled from unsecure HD DVD / Blu-ray players began appearing online the same year.  First key model group revocations were issues on April 16 th  New model keys were cracked in less than a month – even before the updated DRM was pushed.  DMCA takedown notices were issued by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to various websites requiring the hexadecimal keys be taken down.

7 Backlash at Digg.com  Digg.com, a user driven tech and social news website, begins to remove posts containing the key and close related user accounts.  User community reacted by flooding the user submission feed with user generated content containing the key.  Inserting into other media.  Parody of the situation.  Allegory of the key.  Key reposting.  Unable to control the situation, the administration switches sides:  “We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be,”

8  Dramatically increased the number of postings of the key.  9,410 webpages worldwide to over 700,000 webpages worldwide.  Streisand effect ‘Free Speech’ flag containing the AACS decryption key in RGB color values: 09 F D 74 E3 5B D C C0

9 Content Scramble System (CSS) and DeCSS  Content Scramble System (CSS) began appearing on DVDs in  40-bit key stored in the player to authenticate discs.  Legal restrictions and licensing limited availability of compatible software.  Entirely unable to play on certain OS, such as Linux.  First cracked in 1999 using a key acquired from a disassembled Xing DVD player’s object code.  Released under the name DeCSS.  One of the three programmers involved in DeCSS was tried and acquitted under Norwegian Law.  A perfectly legal program that strips Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) tags from HTML pages of the same name was created to bait the MPAA.

10 The infamous illegal prime  Sought for an intrinsic property to distribute a form of DeCSS to be printed on shirts, ect.  Very large prime number based upon the binary of the DeCSS code.  In the forms:  k·  k·  The first form was large enough to be mentioned in the list of largest known primes.  Since the prime is based upon the binary of DeCSS’s code it is, in theory, possible to convert the prime and run DeCSS.  Thus, the number is illegal.  It would still be much easier to get the already compiled version off the internet.

11 Quick, write down this computer code!

12 Questions on bomb making ethics.  Why are these numbers, essentially pieces of information used for whatever their purpose, illegal? Specifically what makes them an illegal number?  They contain information which may be used to circumvent copyright protection systems.  Without very specific know-how, they’re simply intangible numbers.  Suppose the number ‘5’ and ‘150’ was now illegal because it was used in some part

13 Questions on bomb making ethics.  Should users be given full access of their content, even if it means breaking the law?  Digital content vs. physical content.  Violation of an individual’s rights of legal access?  Personal back-up of digital vs. physical content.  Should users be given access to media behind copyright DRM for fair-use purposes?


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