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We're not their enemies, we're their customers.

On December 27th, 1999, a law firm for DVD CCA sent out e-mails to 93 individuals, noticing them of a temporary restraint order they were seeking against them less than 48 hours later in a california county court.
This page contains all about DVD CCA, and especially this lawsuit. Excuse me if I am a bit cynic in parts. I nevertheless try hard to stick to the facts as close as possible.

The Cast

DVD CCA Heroic defenders of the CSS trade secret and western civilization at large.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Lawyers of DVD CCA, knights of the realm. On the December 29th, 1999 hearing they made clear that they hate being "taunted", so I'll stop here. :-)
You might have to use this link since they insist on shockwave on their main page.
MPAA The Motion Picture Association of America. Or short: The guys who make all the money.
Sargoy, Stein, Rosen & Shapiro Lawyers of MPAA. Beat Weil &co by one on the lawyer-internal "who has the longest list of names on their business signs" contest.
The Superior Court of California, county of Santa Clara California court that for reasons only the plaintiffs understand has been chosen as the main location of this event.
Electronic Frontier Foundation Providing last-minute legal support, the EFF thwarted the DVD CCA's plans to come like a hurricane, striking before the victims know what hit them.
The defendants 21 named defendants and over 500 "does".

The Script

On December 27th, 1999 Weil &co sent out a notice to the named defendants informing them that they'll seek a temporary restraint order (TRO) in the Superior Court of California two days later. (Full Text). The majority of the defendents received this e-mail around 36 hours before the court hearing.
However, Weil messed up the mail sending. They used CC to include everyone in the mailing, instead of sending individual mails or using BCC. Which meant that with almost zero effort, all named defendants were in contact with each other. Two hours later, a mailing list was set up on Lemuria.org and the defendants started to organize a last-minute defense effort.
That effort created remarkable results in record time. Not only was the EFF contacted and came to support immediatly, but popular nerd news site slashdot and the quickly created Social Hacks, DVD Protest page managed to get around 50 supporters to show up at the court hearing.
A few pictures from that day are now here.
There are a few first-hand reports of the court hearing available, for example from Chris DiBona, from Lucky Green or from a slashdot posting.
The TRO was subsequently denied. A new court hearing was scheduled for January 14th, 2000. It was later rescheduled for January, 18th, 2000 (13:30 PST).
On January, 14th, 2000, the Global Internet Liberty Campaign and it's more than 50 members of civil liberty groups worldwide posted a declaration (local copy) named "In Defense of Free Speech on the Internet" that states among other things, that "DVD-CCA's lawsuit is in direct conflict with United Nations human rights accords and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.".

The MPAA joined on January, 17th, 2000 with a lawsuit of their own, filed in the federal courts of New York and Connecticut. This time, the Digital Millenium Act is tried instead of trade secret law.
John Young of cryptome wrote a good summary of the New York hearing. The MPAA also had some papers on their webpage, but it seems that they have removed them now.
Better so, if it turns out that they are sueing the wrong person in at least one case.

On January, 20th, 2000 the superior court of california granted a preliminary injunction until the complicated legal issues can be resolved, with the reasoning that in cases of doubtful nature, the court must rule in favor of the party that has more to lose. In this case, DVD CCA's potential damage appears to the court to outweigh the damage done to the defendants in temporarily removing the software from their webpages.

In reaction to the courts' decisions, not only have more mirrors appeared, but someone even put DeCSS up for auction at eBay (the auction and link have since expired).

In the New York case, Judge Kaplan issued his Memorandum Opinion on February, 2nd, 2000.

The california case, meanwhile, is very slowly moving ahead. Around the end of July, Weil &co was still bullying people around, threatening random defendants with "entries of default".
Not only does the form appear to be incomplete, it also repeats the earlier references to the "Hague Convention". It is interesting to note that there are two "Hague Conventions" - one is about 50 years old and contains nothing but some formalities about serving legal documents abroad. The other one, which would actually have some consequences for those served under it, has not been passed yet - it is still being discussed. The explicit mentioning of a minor technical detail makes it likely that Weil &co hope to ride on the confusion, leading people to believe they've been served under the other (not yet existing) treaty.

Merchandise and related projects

OpenDVD.org A site "dedicated to raising awareness in regards to DVD playing on personal computers and the CSS protection scheme".
Michael Taht's page A very good FAQ-like summary of relevant details, many of them nowhere else available.
DeCSS cries for your help Petition to vote against the cases in California and New York and the assault of Jon Johanson in Norway. (down)
Linpro Petition A second petition, specifically against the treatment of Jon Johanson. (petition is closed)
Ultimate DeCSS Resource Site DeCSS and lawsuit information.
Cryptome One of the best cryptography resource sites now contains a number of documents about the lawsuit, many of whom can't be found anywhere else:
Court Filing Documents (also available as a zip archive)
Script of the court hearing
the Harvey document
LiVid mailing list, CSS hack postings
VirtualRecordings "Defendant's authorities cited in oral argument".
EFF records The EFF documents on the case.


1. All of the original documents are unedited except that I have removed headers and attachments. Any crappy formating is (C) by Weil &co.