Abstract - The Information Society 20(2)

Software as Protest: the Unexpected Resiliency of U.S. Based DeCSS Posting and Linking

Kristin R. Eschenfelder and Anuj C. Desai

This research tracked web sites posting or linking to software known as “DeCSS” over a 26-month period coinciding with a U.S. lawsuit which found posting and linking to the DeCSS software to be illegal. Results showed a decrease in the number of web pages posting the DeCSS software, and a decrease in the number of web pages linking to DeCSS. Seven web sites retained their DeCSS posting for the entire 26-month study period. An increasing number of sites posted non-executable forms of DeCSS, and results show a large percentage of web sites contained political speech. The persistence of DeCSS linking and posting was surprising given the prohibition on linking and posting within the United States and given the obsolescence of DeCSS as a DVD decrypter. We suggest that DeCSS linking and posting persists primarily as a political symbol of protest.

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