The decision was made by 2600 after consulting with legal experts about the possibility of a Supreme Court decision in their favor. Almost all of these experts voiced the opinion that the Court would not hear the case, and that even if it did, the Court would find for the MPAA, setting an undesirable legal precedent. Confronted with this, 2600 and its editor, Eric Corley -- better known as Emmanuel Goldstein -- decided not to waste the time and money.
Amidst the air of disappointment, however, the staff of the magazine is optimistic, and confident that this was the best course of action:
While it's tempting to think of this as a defeat, we must look at the good that has come out of it. People the world over know all about the DMCA and are committed to overturning it. The amount of education that has occurred in the last two and a half years is simply phenomenal. There are many other combatants now in the fight and we have never been more convinced that we will ultimately prevail.
The war has not ended. Only the frontlines have changed. We are convinced that when all is said and done, this will be seen as the best strategy.
The case started in 1998 when the MPAA sought (and was granted) a preliminary injunction prohibiting 2600 from posting DeCSS on their website. This led 2600 -- with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an online rights group -- to retain Marvin Garbus as their defense attorney. Mr. Garbus has defended many political dissidents, among them Anatoly Sakharov and Nelson Mandela. Also on 2600's legal team was Katherine Sullivan, the Dean of Stanford Law School
The district court trial, which showed MPAA president Jack Valenti's total lack of knowledge about anything to do with DVDs or the defendants, ended in August 2000 with Judge Lewis Kaplan finding for the MPAA, and a permanent injunction was put in place.
2600 appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on May 1st, 2001. On May 30th, 2001, the Circuit Court affirmed the District Court's decision.
Further details about the case, as well as most of the DeCSS legal documents, can be found on 2600's website. For more about the general fight to stop the DMCA and its brethren, see the EFF's website.