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
Google expected to be punished by the European Union for anticompetitive shenanigans, but it didn’t expect a slap this hard: €2.42 billion, the largest fine on record. The company says it “respectfully disagrees” with both the ruling and the amount and may appeal. The commission believes it has struck a blow for consumers and for […]
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Verizon’s using its purchase of Yahoo for more than undermining the fight for net neutrality: it’s also using its new acquisitions to make anti-competitive moves against its telcoms rivals, deploying the users of Flickr and Tumblr as hostages.
Despite the upfront cost, electric toothbrushes are much better at removing plaque than those freebies from the dentist’s office. For those who struggle to fill the American Dental Association’s recommended two minutes of brushing time, or anyone with limited dexterity, a sonic toothbrush can give your oral care routine a boost.To keep your chops healthy […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]