Fred von Lohmann, expert and attorney at law, lays down the law of the land in relation to the HD-DVD decryption key... and it's disheartening:
This is the law of the land, and it stinks. If there was ever an example of why the DMCA needs to die, this is it. The idea that a sixteen-digit number is illegal to possess, to discuss in class, or to post on a news site is offensive to a country where free speech is the first order of the Constitution. The MPAA and RIAA are conspiring to unmake America, to turn this into a country where free expression, due process, and the rule of law take a back-seat to a perpetual set of governmental handouts intended to guarantee the long-term profitability of a small handful of corrupt companies.
I don't mean to sound pessimistic -- I got Fred to sound pessimistic for me. Anyway, to understand the finer legal points, read the linked article. Von Lohmann answers the following questions brilliantly:
- What is the AACS-LA's argument?
- Who can sue over the posting of the key?
- What about just linking to a place where the key is posted?
- What about the DMCA safe harbors?
- Is the key copyrightable?
For ecuadorians like me, the situation is "just a little bit" harsher, since there's no takedown procedure -- local "intellectual property" law basically says spread a "technological protection circumvention device", go to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.