DVDs are protected by a security system called the Contents Scramble System, which prevents unauthorized use and copying of the encoded material. Thus, only devices that have the CSS key can play these videos. In this lawsuit, eight major movie studios sued Jeraimee Hughes for disseminating a software device, called DeCSS, that can bypass this protective shield. Hughes posted this application on his Internet site, advertising that DeCSS is a "free DVD decoder that allows people ot copy DVDs." This violates the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1988. Regardless of whether or not people utlize such a device, it is illegal to provide technology that circumvents a code that is intended for copyright protection.
There have been a series of other lawsuits against individuals who have also distributed DeCSS through the web. They argue that their actions are lawful under the First Amendment and constitute as fair use under the Copyright Act. Whereas the First Amendment right defense is more complex, the fair use argument is baseless. The defendants are not being sued for copyright infringement but are being sued for providing an illegal encryption decoder. In the case against Hughes, and generally speaking for most of these lawsuits, the defendant was found guilty.
Because my paper explores the digital advancements that pose a threat to the movie industry and how the industry has responded, this case serves as a perfect example of both. Piracy has become more advanced due to digital technologies. Individuals can create devices that can crack security codes and promulgate the information via the web. In order to counter these efforts, the movie industry must take legal action to prevent others from doing the same. Although the movie industry is also improving upon digital means for protection, it seems at this point that hackers will always remain a threat, and therefore must be stopped by the law.