Here's some remarkable news: a judge in a New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ban on breaking DRM only applies if you break DRM in order to violate copyright law. This is a complete reversal of earlier rulings across the country (and completely opposite to the approach that the US Trade Representative has demanded from America's trading partners). In the traditional view, DRM is absolutely protected, so that no one is allowed to break it except the DRM maker. In other words, a film-maker isn't allowed to take the BluRay DRM off her own movie, a video game programmer can't take the iPad DRM off her own game, and an audiobook author can't take the DRM off his own Audible book.
So this ruling is pretty interesting news, as it constitutes a circuit split with pretty much the rest of the nation's courts, which is often a precursor to a Supreme Court challenge. What's more, the defendants here are General Electric, not hackers in black t-shirts or sketchy offshore Xbox-modchip vendors (theoretically the law shouldn't care if the defendant is a hobo or a billionaire, but in practice, billionaires usually get better precedents, and not just because they can afford better lawyers).
It's up to the plaintiff, MGE, to appeal to the Supremes, but even if they don't, it's only a matter of time until there are new cases in the Fifth Circuit (or other circuits that follow its lead) that lead to highest court handing down some new law on this. Let's hope they see the sense of Judge Garza: "Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act's) anti-circumvention provision."
Court Backs Dismissal of Digital Copyright Claim
In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who’ll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you.
In 2013, Lavabit — famous for being the privacy-oriented email service chosen by Edward Snowden to make contact with journalists while he was contracting for the NSA — shut down under mysterious, abrupt circumstances, leaving 410,000 users wondering what had just happened to their email addresses.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]