Worst Case Scenarios - SPI and Lawsuits

Brian Ristuccia brian at ristuccia.com
Sat Jan 12 05:21:26 UTC 2002

On Sat, Jan 12, 2002 at 12:14:01PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 11, 2002 at 12:36:43PM -0500, Brian Ristuccia wrote:
> > Surely this is a prudent policy. But we can't take it too far. Today we're
> > omitting sofware DVD players because end users might use them to infringe
> > copyright or modify them into "circumvention devices." 
> We are doing no such thing. For a start, there's
> 	pool/main/x/xine/xine_0.4.3.orig.tar.gz
> in main, on ftp-master. 

That version of Xine plays very few DVD videos because it doesn't understand

> What we are doing is refraining from distributing
> software that appears to come directly under the provisions for a
> circumvention device, without need of any modification at all.

Last time I experimented with it, even CSS enabled versions of Xine wouldn't
make unencrypted copies of DVD videos. Calling the CSS playback capability
in Xine a circumvention device is a stretch.

I agree that we shouldn't distribute things like DeCSS. Even ignoring the
fact that distributing proprietary 'doze software is outside the scope of
Debian, enough folks have received nasty lawyer letters over it that we can
be pretty sure we'll receive one too. I agree that we should think twice
about distributing software that causes nasty threat letters to pour in.

However, the videolan folks have yet to receive any nasty lawyer letters at
all about their CSS capable DVD player, from which the CSS support in Ogle
and Xine are all derived.

Brian Ristuccia
brian at ristuccia.com
bristucc at cs.uml.edu

More information about the Spi-general mailing list