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Why the DMCA has the right to outlaw numbers

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

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

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

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 Key Media 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 16th 2007. 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, 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: 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. Seeking to give a representative form of DeCSS an intrinsic property to allow open publication, Phil Carmody generated a 1401-digit prime number in the form k· and then a 1905-digit prime in the form k· based upon the binary representation of the DeCSS C source code.

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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