Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,900+ case briefs...

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes

United States Court of Appeals for the Southern District of New York
111 F. Supp. 2d 294 (2000)


Universal City Studios, Incorporated (Universal) and other major motion-picture studios (plaintiffs) utilized an encryption system called content Content Scramble System (CSS) to protect digital versatile discs (DVDs) of copyrighted films. CSS required DVD players to provide certain codes to access DVD content and prevented copying of the content. A Norwegian teenager named Jon Johansen used a CSS-licensed DVD player to reverse engineer the encryption algorithm used in CSS. Johansen posted executable code, called DeCSS, to his website. DeCSS enabled users to circumvent the CSS limitations on viewing and copying. Although Johansen claimed he made the code available so that Linux users could view DVDs, the code was compatible with Microsoft operating systems. Eric Corley (defendant), a well-known hacker who published a magazine called 2600: The Hacker Quarterly (2600), posted a copy of the DeCSS code to the 2600 website for download. Corley also listed other websites where the code was available for download. The plaintiffs sent a cease-and-desist letter to Corley and filed suit under § 1201 of the Copyright Act. Corley removed the downloadable copy of DeCSS from the 2600 website after imposition of a preliminary injunction, but he did not remove the links to other websites offering the code. Additionally, Corley updated the 2600 website to actively encourage readers to download and spread DeCSS. Corley argued that the anti-trafficking provisions found in § 1201 violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The district court held in favor of the plaintiffs and issued a permanent injunction, preventing Corley from disseminating DeCSS. Corley appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kaplan, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 284,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,900 briefs, keyed to 201 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.