In 2016, EFF sued
the US Government on behalf of Andrew "bunnie" Huang
and Matthew Green, both of whom wanted to engage in normal technological
activities (auditing digital security, editing videos, etc)
that put at risk from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium
EFF's lawsuit argues that Green and Huang's activities are
constitutionally protected, and that DMCA 1201 — which imposes a
blanket ban on bypassing Digital Rights Management (DRM), without adequate safeguards for speech — was unconstitutional.
The case has been sitting in limbo for over two years, waiting for the
judge to rule on whether our clients' claims could proceed, and, at
long last, the judge
has ruled and the case will go forward!
As my EFF colleague Kit Walsh writes,
the ruling is a "mixed bag":
The ruling is a mixed bag. While the "as-applied" First Amendment claims
will go forward, the court did not agree that rulemaking by the
Librarian of Congress is subject to judicial review under the
Administrative Procedure Act, even when the Librarian is performing an
executive branch function rather than a congressional one. The court
also did not agree that the Librarian's rulemaking is subject to the
First Amendment scrutiny that applies when a government official is
making determinations about what speech to permit. Finally, the court
saw no need to adjudicate the claims that Section 1201 is overly broad,
because it concluded that determining the constitutionality of the
statute as applied to the plaintiffs will turn on the same issues as
with other potential targets of the law.
The bottom line is that the case is going forward and we will continue
the fight to help you understand and modify the devices in your life and
remix the culture we all share.
First Amendment Case Against Restrictive Copyright Law Can Proceed, Says
[Kit Walsh/EFF Deeplinks]