copy protection - was: Re: Is it time for playing games on WINE?

Alexandre Julliard julliard at
Thu Nov 6 14:11:40 CST 2003

Shachar Shemesh <wine-devel at> writes:

> If the code in Wine still doesn't allow unprotected CDs from running,
> there can be no problem.

No, it's not that simple. By providing a replacement driver, you are
circumventing a technical measure controlling access to the work. The
fact is that without the driver you don't get access, and with the
dummy Wine driver you do; since the dummy Wine driver is not an
"authorized" way to get access it's circumvention. It doesn't matter
at all whether it lets you use copied CDs or not.

Besides, I don't see how you could possibly prove that our
implementation does exactly the same thing as the original one. Maybe
the original doesn't only prevent copied CDs, maybe it also checks the
phase of the moon or whatever, you have no way to make sure the
protection is implemented correctly.

> That's because of what DeCSS does. DeCSS is the circumvention device
> itself. It takes an encrypted DVD and produces unencrypted MPEGs. For
> example - I'm pretty sure that if you statically link Xine with
> libdecss, you will get a binary that is perfectly legal (region codes
> non-withstanding).

I'm not so sure. Since it decrypts DVDs in a way that is not
authorized by the copyright holder, technically it's circumvention. It
doesn't matter whether it lets you infringe copyright or not.

> Remeber, the "chilling effect" is when we let the DMCA control what we
> do further than what it was meant to do to begin with. I can't see
> anyone taking you to court saying "look, it's true that with Wine you
> can't do anything that you can't do without, but it's an unlicensed
> version, so it's a DMCA violation".

Actually I think this is pretty likely. Nobody is going to go to the
trouble of investigating exactly what the driver does, when it's much
easier to simply send the lawyers and get rid of it; especially when
we are dealing with a company like Macrovision that makes a living
selling this snake oil^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcopy protection stuff. This is why
it's important to not only make sure it is legal, but also make sure
it looks obviously legitimate to a casual observer. The dummy driver
fails that test.

Alexandre Julliard
julliard at

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