Link Ban Threatens Free Speech


Wired has a disturbing Story on a recent court ruling.

\"Experts speaking in defense of hacker magazine 2600 say a ruling that prevents sites from linking to a
controversial DVD-descrambling utility imperils traditional free speech.

A federal judge should not order to yank hyperlinks to the DeCSS program from its website
because it \"would constitute a gross prior restraint of speech,\" 2600 magazine says in court documents filed
Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York. \"As part of its role as an organ of the media, 2600 took the same actions as other media
outlets such as the San Jose Mercury News,, Wired (News), and ZDNet, which all
at one time also linked directly to DeCSS,\" wrote Martin Garbus, a well-known civil liberties
attorney at Frankfurt, Garbus, Klein and Selz who is representing 2600.

After being sued in January by motion picture studios for distributing DeCSS, 2600 deleted
the program from its website but continued to link to mirror sites. The plaintiffs include
Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Disney Enterprises, and 20th Century Fox.

In response, the movie studios in early April asked U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan to
order 2600 to delete the links. The studios argued Kaplan should \"prohibit the 2600
defendants from deliberately \'linking\' to other Internet websites offering DeCSS,\" saying it
was a contributory copyright infringement.

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