The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has brought down a verdict in the "Skylink" case. That's a DMCA case whereing a garage-door-opener company asserted that another company, which makes interoperable clickers (in case you lose yours or want a spare for your spouse) violated the DMCA by circumventing the protection on the copyrighted software in the garage-door-opener. Yeah, you read right. Copyrighted garage-door-openers.
Anyway, the court delivered the clearest and most ringing condemnation of the overbroad application of the DMCA yet:
The DMCA does not create a new property right for copyright owners. Nor, for that matter, does it divest the public of the property rights that the Copyright Act has long granted to the public. The anticircumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA create new grounds of liability. A copyright owner seeking to impose liability on an accused circumventor must demonstrate a reasonable relationship between the circumvention at issue and a use relating to a property right for which the Copyright Act permits the copyright owner to withhold authorization-as well as notice that authorization was withheld. A copyright owner seeking to impose liability on an accused trafficker must demonstrate that the trafficker's device enables either copyright infringement or a prohibited circumvention. Here, the District Court correctly ruled that Chamberlain pled no connection between unauthorized use of its copyrighted software and Skylink's accused transmitter. This connection is critical to sustaining a cause of action under the DMCA. We therefore affirm the District Court's summary judgment in favor of Skylink.
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