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Date: 1998-07-08

U.S. Crypto/Urteil: Source Code ist keine Schrift

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Source Code für Kryptographie-Programme fällt nicht unter die von der U.S.
Constitution geschützten Rechte auf frei Diskussion, urteilt ein Gericht aus
Ohio, weil Quellcode keine Schrift, sondern funktionalistisch sei. Dies steht
in diametralem Gegensatz zum bekannten Urteil im Falle Daniel Bernstein von
1996. Die damalige Entscheidung eines kalifornischen Gerichts hatte die Basis
für den erfolgreichen Export von PGP nach Norwegen in Buchform gelegt.

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Cleveland, Ohio, July 8
On July 3, 1998 Judge Gwin of the United States District Court of the Northern
District of Ohio held that computer programs are not writings protected by the
constitution because they are ``inherently functional'' and granted summary
judgment dismissing a suit challenging regulations that forbid the publication
of encryption programs on the Internet or the World Wide Web.

The suit was brought by Peter Junger, a law professor at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland, to enjoin the enforcement of export regulations on
encryption software that prevent him from publishing his class materials and
articles for his course in Computing and the Law on the Internet because they
contain some encryption programs. Junger claimed in his suit that those
encryption programs were writings that were entitled to the full protection of
the First Amendment. ``Of course they are writings,'' Junger says, ``I know
because I wrote some of them. And I need to be able to publish them if I am
ever going to be able to explain to lawyers and law students how computers work
and how the law should be applied to computing.''

The government, on the other hand, argued that its export regulations, which
require that one obtain a license from the Commerce Department before
publishing materials containing encryption software on the Internet or the
World Wide Web, seek only to restrict the distribution of encryption software
itself, not ideas on encryption. And Judge Gwin agreed with the government,
finding that: ``the Export Regulations are constitutional because encryption
source code is inherently functional, because the Export Regulations are not
directed at source code's expressive elements, and because the Export
Regulations do not reach academic discussions of software, or software in print

Full Text:

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edited by Harkank
published on: 1998-07-08
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