Jack Ass?

On January 14, 2000, eight movie studios, all members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), sued famed hacker Eric Corley and two other defendants in federal court in Manhattan. Relying on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (which makes it illegal to strip out the encryption code that protects DVDs, or to offer decryption technology to the public), the plaintiffs sought an injunction barring Corley from posting a decryption code (DeCSS) on his website (2600.com) and from hyperlinking to other sites that do.

To help fund his legal struggle, Corley began hawking anti-MPAA T-shirts bearing a caricature of MPAA chief Jack Valenti as a mad scientist. The shirts also bore a catchphrase and a quote from Valenti ("If we have to file a thousand lawsuits a day, we'll do it"). The catchphrase? YOU DON'T KNOW JACK!

[Teenage hackers also arrived at court sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the banned DeCSS code. However, to the dismay of the free speech activists (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which argued for First Amendment protection for computer code), the trial was a rout: U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in favor of the studios on every point.]

[Among the topics once discussed on Corley's website (The Hacker Quarterly): stealing Internet domain names, accessing other people's e-mail, and hacking into Costco computers.]

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