Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hope, as Courts Hit the (Lex)mark

It took several years to pan out but we're approaching the end of what appears to be a small blow to the oppressive DMCA. Though enacted under the seemingly benign guise of digital protection, the DMCA is more a weapon of leverage used by companies to create monopolies by "lawfully" warding off potential competition. Whether it be forcing ISPs to turn over personal information or keeping others from reverse-engineering the code embedded in your printers, the DMCA is really designed to make the rich richer - not protect digital rights.

A prime example of this has been Lexmark's case against Static Control Components. As reported a couple of years ago, things looked rather bleak for SCC as Lexmark pursued litigation instead of challenging themselves to create a better business model. And when laws such as the DMCA place a vicious pitbull on the side of proprietary coders, one can only expect the beast to be unleashed.

However, even the most ferocious of canines apparently can't withstand an educated 6th Circuit US Court of Appeals. Yes, the dog was recently sentenced to sleep setting a precedent hopefully curtailing future negligent lawsuits. In this case, the time-honored tradition of reverse-engineering was upheld allowing for innovation and competition to reign.

Perhaps awareness of such DMCA-related issues is actually increasing within the arena of law thanks in part to individuals seemingly more interested in questioning unjust laws whilst pursuing what they love passionately, rather than simply cashing in on their credentials in any way possible. The question still lingers...

What if no one went after the girl?


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