Universal City Studios v. Remeirdes (the "DVD case")

July 2002: Defendants will not appeal to U.S. Supreme Court after Second Circuit denies request for rehearing by the full appeals court. For the announcement by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, see www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/

January 2002: Defendants asked the full appeals court to rehear the case.

November 28, 2001: U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the District Court's ruling against Remeirdes. See the court decision (pdf): http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/20011128_ny_appeal_decision.pdf .

January, 2001: ALA, ARL and ACLU-New York file "friend of the court brief" to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of 2600 Magazine, addressing the fair use and First Amendment issues. See the brief (pdf version) at: http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/20010126_ny_lib_amicus.pdf

Eight major motion picture studios brought suit under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act against several defendants, among which is 2600 Magazine. The studios sought to enjoin the magazine from publishing or linking to DeCSS, a computer program that circumvents the encryption on DVDs, called CSS. DeCSS was developed to help enable DVDs to be played on computers running the Linux system. The computer program also allows the constitutionally protected fair use of DVDs, which is otherwise prevented by the encryption. At issue in the case are a number of legal issues, including reverse engineering, fair use and First Amendment rights.

The federal district court for the Southern District of New York ruled against the defendants in August 2000 and enjoined the defendants from posting the computer information (called “DeCSS”) or even posting links to the information. The court held that DeCSS violates DMCA Section 1201(a)(2), which prohibits the unauthorized offering of products that circumvent technological measures that effectively control access to copyrighted works. The trial court rejected the defendants’ fair use defense to providing a circumvention measure.

ALA and ARL, together with the ACLU-New York, filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on January 2001, on behalf of 2600 Magazine addressing fair use and First Amendment issues.

On May 1, 2001, the appellate court heard oral arguments by the parties.  The court subsequently asked for supplemental briefs to be filed on May 30, 2001, focusing on the First Amendment issues raised in the case.