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[dvd-discuss] Fwd: Australian Court rules: Films aren't software
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: [dvd-discuss] Fwd: Australian Court rules: Films aren't software
- From: John Schulien <jms(at)uic.edu>
- Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002 20:35:56 -0600
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
> if you have a program whose one and only purpose is to display
> a fixed set of data, is there a reason to call it code? none, besides
I have a C program that performs a single function -- it calculates and
prints out the digits of the number pi consecutively. Is this program
code or data?
> now if the DVD would contain a general piece of code that would create
> a movie in runtime, or display different ones, depending on which
> I give it, then the issue might be open for discussion.
Isn't that exactly what a DVD program menu does?
The decision of the Australian court was, in my eyes, a reasonable
and practical solution to the general problem of having two different
sets of laws that govern what is in effect the same thing. As has been
shown over and over again, any differentiation between code and data
is arbitrary. Code is invariably expressed in the form of data, and
data in turn acts as "code" upon the machine that processes it, forcing
the machine from one state to the next.
When forced to classify a particular instance of code/data as code or
data, the court did a perfectly reasonable thing -- they examined the
social and practical use of DVDs and concluded that they more closely
resemble films than software -- but it was an arbitrary choice that
provides no insight into the "true nature" of DVDs.