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Perhaps foremost on the minds of concerned industryites are technological innovations such as DeCSS, a program that cracks the encryption of commercial DVDs and makes it possible for users to copy them.

VALENTI OUT TO STOP THE SWAP

MPAA Exec Marshals Copyright Posse
To Fight Net Movie Piracy
MPAA chief Jack Valenti is pissed about file-sharing.

"Napster is killing us," the diminutive film-industry advocate told the Los Angeles Times this week, explaining his crusade to rally the biz to the cause of copyright.

While reliable information about the affect of file-swapping on movie revenues is even more scarce than definitive studies of its impact on music revenues, digital technology has allowed the free, unofficial distribution of full-length features via the Net.

Valenti has been lobbying among industry bigwigs to amass a force to oppose unauthorized distribution of content via MP3 and other compression codecs. He recently assembled the "Copyright Assembly," an affiliation of industryites who will target legislators.

Perhaps foremost on the minds of such advocates are technological innovations such as DeCSS, a program that cracks the encryption of commercial DVDs and makes it possible for users to copy them.

The software has been a lightning-rod for controversy and is at the center of a potentially historic lawsuit. Monday (7/17) should see a decision in a Manhattan Federal court regarding complaints by major film studios against Web sites that offered links to the program. The plaintiffs charge the sites providing the links with contributing to piracy; the defendants counter that posting links qualifies as free expression.

Film studios are now learning what record labels discovered not long ago—that stopping file-swapping is only slightly less difficult than stopping the rain. But just as the RIAA has won some dramatic victories in court, the MPAA is undoubtedly a litigious force to be reckoned with.

"Hey, at least it'll distract the press from the ‘X-Men'," observed one studio exec.

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