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Valenti on Fair Use

MPAA’s Jack Valenti (of “the VCR is the Boston Strangler” fame) was interviewed by a MIT student regarding fair use law. The result was a fascinating look at two opposing viewpoints.

The most amazing moment was when the kid showed Valenti a simple Perl script that would decrypt and play a DVD. Here’s the exchange:
[Winstein shows Valenti his “qrpff” DVD descrambler.]

Winstein: If you type that in, it’ll let you watch movies.

Jack Valenti: You designed this?

Winstein: Yes.

Jack Valenti: Un-fucking-believable.
The code (which Winstein didn’t actually design– he adapted it from existing code) was a simple perl script.
$=’while(read+STDIN,$,2048){$a=29;$c=142;if((@a= unx”C”,$_)[20]&48){$h=5;
$_=unxb24,join””,@b=map {xB8,unxb8,chr($_^$a[–$h+84])}@ARGV;s/…$/1$&/;$ d=unxV,xb25,$_;$b=73;$e=256|(ord$b[4])>8^($f=($t=255)&($d>>12^$d>>4^$d^$d/8)) >8^($t&($g=($q=$e>>14&7^$e)^$q
8^$q< <6) )<<9,$=(map{$%16or$t^=$c^=($m=(11,10,116,100,1 1,122,20,100)[$/16%8])&110;
$t^=(72,@z=(64,72,$a ^=12*($
%16-2?0:$m&17)),$b^=$%64?12:0,@z)[$%8]}( 16..271))[$_]^(($h>>=8)+=$f+(~$g&$t))for@a[128.. $#a]}print+x”C*”,@a}’;s/x/pack+/g;eval

I’m sure I’m going to get some sort of cease and desist letter for posting this… but the point I’m trying to make is that this doesn’t COPY a dvd, or assist the user in sharing it on the Internet– it allows the user to PLAY the movie. There’s nothing sinister about it.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.