|By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - A man accused by the motion picture industry of trying to sabotage its efforts to prevent DVDs from being copied on computers says he is a journalist, not a computer expert, and provides a public service.
"I've never taken a computer course or anything like that," Eric Corley told U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan during two days of testimony that concluded Friday in a civil trial in Manhattan. "I consider myself a journalist."
The judge, hearing the case without a jury, must decide whether the eight major movie studios can stop Corley from making software available online or posting links to it so that people can copy DVDs.
Kaplan already has issued a temporary restraining order that forced Corley to remove the software from his site, but the software is still available elsewhere on the Internet.
Corley, 40, testified that he did not know if the program worked but felt an obligation to provide it to the public as the editor and publisher of the Web site 2600.com and the print publication "2600: The Hacker Quarterly."
"Honestly, if someone had given me 20 random numbers and said, `This is the program,' we would have printed the 20 random numbers, if that's what everybody was talking about," he said.
Corley said his magazine has published articles on how e-mail can be spied upon and how cellular telephone calls can be intercepted. The articles keep corporations and the government on their toes and help to identify weaknesses in electronic security, he said.
"We don't have a big moral discussion about what is going to happen with information we print because the information is already out there," he said. "We like to think by printing this information, we wake people up."
On Monday, movie studio attorney Leon P. Gold told the judge the industry would never have issued movies on DVDs if it knew they would wind up being copied on computers.
Gold likened what Corley was doing to Napster, a California company that facilitates the trading of music files over the Internet. Millions of people use Napster, which is being sued by the recording industry, to exchange bootleg music in the MP3 digital form.
On cross examination, Corley conceded to Gold that he used his Web site to encourage others to also publish the software that can descramble the code meant to protect DVDs from being copied.
"Was it described as a free DVD decoder that allows people to copy DVDs?" Gold asked.
"Yes," Corley answered, though he added that the software actually was much more complicated than he had made it seem in his description of it on the Web site.