Losers Of Garage Door DMCA Case Try To Use Legaleze To Lock Up Your Garage Door Openers Anyway

from the sneaky-bastards dept

It's been over five years since garage door opener company Chamberlain lost its bizarre DMCA case, which tried to argue that anyone making competing replacement garage door openers was violating the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. If you believed Chamberlain, then it would mean that the DMCA could effectively be used to block out any competition in replacement parts just by using a bit of encryption. The court's ruling was a bit convoluted, basically saying that this simply couldn't be what Congress intended with the DMCA, even if it was sorta what the language of the law actually said. This was a victory, in that it did limit the DMCA against a ridiculous situation, but it was unfortunate in that the ruling didn't address what the law actually said. To get around this, the court did a few different things, including noting that what Skylink did with its competing garage door openers didn't really involve "unauthorized access," which is key to the anti-circumvention clause. As the courts recognized, how could Chamberlain tell homeowners that they couldn't authorize the opening of their own garage door?

Fast forward five years, and most tech/copryight folks haven't thought too much about garage door openers and their relation to the DMCA... until Ars Technica's Nate Anderson moved into a new house, and noticed his garage door opener manual (from Chamberlain, of course). The manual was from 2006... well after Chamberlian had lost its case. And yet... the manual contained clear DMCA-style anti-circumvention language, stating:
NOTICE: If this Security+ garage door opener is operated with a non-rolling code transmitter, the technical measure in the receiver of the garage door opener, which provides security against code-theft devices, will be circumvented. The owner of the copyright in the garage door opener does not authorize the purchaser or supplier of the non-rolling code transmitter to circumvent that technical measure.
What's quite clear is that Chamberlain is trying to legaleze its way around the court rulings against it, by stating in the manual that you are not authorized to get around its little bit of technical trickery. Basically, it sounds like Chamberlain's lawyers saw the loophole in the judges twisted reasoning to get around what the DMCA does state, and have jumped gleefully through that loophole. Of course, the lawyers Anderson questioned doubt that this would hold up in court, but the real question is whether or not this would ever go back to court. Chamberlain may just be hoping that enough people are scared off by the questionable legal language that it doesn't need to file lawsuits, and competing product makers probably don't find it worthwhile to file their own lawsuit either. But, in the meantime, we get to see yet another remnant of what the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause has created.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    DMCA, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    You are on notice

    If you are reading this then you are in violation of the DMCA because you have circumvented my encryption technique. The technique used is referred to as double ROT-13.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    Wait, What?

    "NOTICE: If this Security+ garage door opener is operated with a non-rolling code transmitter, the technical measure in the receiver of the garage door opener, which provides security against code-theft devices, will be circumvented"

    So, if I understand this right, if I use a *simpler device* I'll be in violation of the DMCA?

    The frak?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    The real question is "Has anyone other than this one person actually READ the manual?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    :), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

    Get and arduino.

    Get their circuit board out and put in an arduino(open source circuit board) :)

    Then you can claim you are reinventing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Dan, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

    This is the very same model as mine, that ground all the teeth off the plastic gears. I have an extra remote for anyone that needs one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    NoBody, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:26pm

    Re:

    Nobody RTFM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Punkie Punk, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:30pm

    Re:

    "ground all the teeth off the plastic gears."

    That is covered under a patent you thieving pirates

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 9:47pm

    Re: You are on notice

    I prefer AES

    j2x5pSUBITAhITAhLczGO0WmdnyeITkhgZgPFeVzvC2WPGjeqKYVkSExMSGy2qdSITExIWFgLbFH
    ciWRmt+MWwRJ6G+ No54td2wdQqlCVCCFBNFyj01B5y0hNDUhb3G4o97MSlzdb4OkVPc7Leokgdip
    2Bik0IbezVI0iH4t/vUFeLyVuvSGSPz8e3dVQ y1PJDbEobS8N+qw3d970e73LVhUnb1BVOJ1GCEx
    MSF/f9Zm3jktSN5NgCB8wcn5m0QUuoDury2Ol7+Sx7osFQ==

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: You are on notice

    That's funny!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 2:07am

    Their quaint little clause is irrellevant. Homeowners are still fully authorized to enter their own garages at *ANY* time... they do not require this company's permission to do so. If at any time the requirements of this clause effectively denies the homeowner their right to enter their own property, it is null and void under law in that instance. Thus, you still have the right to break their codes, regardless of what they might say or want you to think, as long as you only use it to enter your own property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    I'm not sure its the same thing.

    I have two replacement keychain transmitters and the HomeLink in my car... all of them are rolling code, none of them are manufactured by the same company as my garage door.

    This is an odd loophole, but one I didn't know was technically even possible: I've attempted to use non-rolling code openers on my garage door, and they don't work (well... occasionally they work once).

    I wonder about the true nature of this warning. Are they 100% screwing with us, or are they talking about a specific device?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    C'mon

    OF COURSE they are trying to screw us! Almost EVERY company wants a monopoly on their product and the parts thereof...business 101.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    David Allsebrook (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    encrypted garage door openers

    1) what is a 'rolling" code?
    2) Can owners sue the garage door company for trespass for excluding them from their own property the first time the remote doesn't work, or even for conspiring with each other and the dealer to do so?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:39am

    How many people actually read the manual to their garage door opener to actually be dissuaded from using a competitors device?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Note to self.
    Never buy a Chamberlain Garage Door Opener.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    Indeed. I'm still trying to understand the legal authority they are citing and the conditions they recognize under which they feel they have the right to prevent homeowners from entering their own garage, They'd actually have to put some kind of lean on the property to create this boundary, wouldn't they? Something as ridiculous and recent as the DCMA cannot be more binding than centuries of real estate and land lord common law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Dementia (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    Good luck with that, there aren't many other manufacturers out there. Most store branded ones are made by chamberlain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Oh, my, God.

    Really, is it this difficult to develop a non-DRM garage door opener that is still secure? Do we really need to stick with Chamberlain?

    Besides, stories like this just add to the growing sentiment that patents, copyrights, and IP are unjust and unworthy of compliance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    . . . and if they read it, will they even understand that this bafflegab was meant to translate to "no replacement parts"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    mark, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    thats ridiculous, there any many cars that have bulitin remotes, that means gm is allowing us to circumvent dmca oh no!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Homeowners are still fully authorized to enter their own garages at *ANY* time...

    Says who?

    they do not require this company's permission to do so.

    I beg to differ. I think it's very reasonable to think that the garage door company requires permission. You are required to get a key from a lock manufacturer, for the lock to be useful. I believe it's the same concept regardless if you like it or not.

    If at any time the requirements of this clause effectively denies the homeowner their right to enter their own property, it is null and void under law in that instance.

    Citation please.

    Thus, you still have the right to break their codes...

    According to what legal precedent?

    ...regardless of what they might say or want you to think, as long as you only use it to enter your own property.

    You seem to be angry. What's wrong with paying $.10 for each garage door opening cycle? Listen, you may not see things the way I do, but that's okay. If the house can save on energy costs by being closed, locked, and caulked, it can save the environment. After all, a garage door that's down all the time, can lower the cost to heat the house, thereby seeing a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gas.

    The problem is that you're not trying to save the world, asshole. I'm already working on my $3 Toaster. Because a toaster is incredibly inefficient, I'm going to make a toaster that literally debits your credit card $3 each time you make toast. And half of the money will go to provide clean drinking water and air to children in Africa and China.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Bear, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward wrote:
    > If at any time the requirements of this clause effectively denies the homeowner their right to enter their own property, it is null and void under law in that instance.
    > Citation please.
    > Thus, you still have the right to break their codes...
    > According to what legal precedent?

    According to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: "No individual shal be deprived of live, liberty, or property without due process of law."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    FWIW, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The post to which you responded was oozing with sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The post to which you responded was oozing with sarcasm"

    Maybe, maybe not. The weird thing with these discussions is that it's hard to distinguish the two.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Locks

    > > Homeowners are still fully authorized to enter their own
    > > garages at *ANY* time...

    > Says who?

    About 500+ years of common and statutory law.

    > You are required to get a key from a lock manufacturer, for
    > the lock to be useful. I believe it's the same concept regardless
    > if you like it or not.

    Bullshit. If the key to the lock on my front door stops working, I don't have to contact the manufacturer at all. I'm perfectly within my rights to call a locksmith and have them either fix the lock or make me a new key. Or, in the alternative, I can take a hammer and bash the lock off the door if I please. It's *my* house. No company can tell me what I can and cannot do with it.

    > > Thus, you still have the right to break their codes...

    > According to what legal precedent?

    About 500+ years of common and statutory law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:05pm

    OMFG all this over a stupid garage door opener?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:56pm

    Garage door openers in the 70s were pretty funny. Everytime an airplane flew overhead the door would open. And it would also open if you keyed up a CB radio on the right channel. Breaker breaker one nine, open says a me - hahaha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 11:35pm

    Re: encrypted garage door openers

    This should answer your first question.

    The idea is that your garage door transmitter will broadcast a 32 or 40 bit number to the receiver on the garage door opener. If the number is correct, the door is opens.

    In order to prevent the bad guy from capturing the code (the 32/40-bit number), the code changes every time the garage door is opened. Both the transmitter and opener uses the same pseudo-random number stream for the code.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Urza9814, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "According to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: "No individual shal be deprived of live, liberty, or property without due process of law.""

    No. The constitution applies only to the government, not to private corporations. A company that makes garage door openers is not bound by the fourth amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:21pm

    Once read

    I once read a joke about a blond standing beside her car crying that the door would not unlock because the battery was dead on her remote. The guy come by and stuck the key in the door and unlocked it.

    It seems to apply to a bunch of idiots here too.... Chamberlain is not in any way shape of form denying access to the garage, only to using third party remotes. You are free top simply lift the door, or walk in any other door you chose. You are just not free to open the door with a remote other than theirs.

    This languange is most likely there to deter people from making copies of their remotes by trying to deter people from buying those copies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:28pm

    Of course, if Chamberlain's lawyers smarted up, they would stop selling the openers, but instead license them. Then, a quick in-the-box, don't read it before you buy it EULA and they're all set.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Where's the Justice Dept, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Sounds like a monopoly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Grrr, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Once read

    Yes, they are all idiots because they did not think of that as an option ... get real. You ignore the issue and attack the obvious. Nice play DB

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Once read

    What bigger issue? Some sibling little crybaby that has no clue or respect for the amount of work that goes into R&D for products? Or someone crying and whining over not being able to copy something that someone else owns?

    My guess is most of the people crying over how Copyright is hurting society have absolutely no clue what it takes to develop a product from start to finish.

    This pathetic dribble crying over DCMAs and Copyrights and Patents. Maybe if just a fraction of that energy went into developing something of your own you'd be more of a benefit to society that the drain on it that you are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Locks

    About 500+ years of common and statutory law.

    As is often the case, you're full of crap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Offbeatmammal (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    where's the list of non-Chamberlain garage doors?

    let market forces sort this out.

    If I can't open my own garage door from a remote that I fit to my car (one came with HomeLink - which I guess licenses technology from Chamberlain, one has an aftermarket opener wired in that may or may not... I don't really care)

    Looking for a new motor for the second garage and keen to know which ones are not covered by this stupid game playing

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Grrr, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Once read

    Fact: You do not know me, at all.
    But dont let that stop you from making ridiculous statements about me as if you did. This in itself says a lot about your credibility.

    You have ignored the topic at hand and instead have attacked some imaginary people for things that you guess they are upset about. You sound angry, maybe you should change your moniker to "Angry Dude" and yell at all the techdirt lemming punks.

    One more thing, you do realize that Chamberlain lost their case, right? Maybe the judge and possibly the whole court system are "sibling little crybaby that has no clue or respect for the amount of work that goes into R&D for products" ? I do not understand the brother/sister reference, but what the hell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Uzra9814,

    Thank you for your clarification.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly.

    Perhaps Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad needs to be revisited so that the corporate entity shouldn't have the same grouping as "A Person", but rather, seen as a separate entity, recognized separately and their input rolls up completely and fully under that fantastic Idiot Department of Commerce person that President Obama picked.

    Corporate input should be limited to commerce. It should have no input to the "Normally Accepted Congressional Lawmaking Process", as their role in society is commercial in basis, and should be limited as such.

    Now, if the IRS wants to amend it's code to include societal impact in addition to profit, then it presents a very interesting Schrödinger thought experiment.

    Point is, the IRS recognizes companies as long as they create a profit for their shareholders. If a corporate entity deserves Congressional and Representative-level influence, they should be recognized by the Government as such, but instead of under The House of Representatives and Congress, their input should be forwarded to The Department of Commerce instead.

    Any other practice just messes things up. Over time, Companies will relocate to wherever they can get the best rate for the job. The question is if that's the best new foundation and mentality for the company, and if it's the best example for others.

    I hate to be an asshole on this, but you have to almost ask if loosing 100 good employees are going to give me the quality those 200 employees would give me, and will I break even.

    Considering the current set of environment variables, I will still consider the $3.00 toaster a great idea because even though it's the worst solution we need at this time, it will pay the bills.

    As you probably know, these All American Rejects you may find are going to "Give You Hell".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Locks

    No company can tell me what I can and cannot do with it.
    see Apple iPhone v consumers.

    you don't own your property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Finish the article

    Actually, if you finish the article, the author describes having to purchase a new remote some time after intallation of the original opener. In the end he bought an OEM remote instead of a third party remote, because, in his words "I found them ugly and kludgy."

    Finishing the article, the author provides words of wisdom that should strongly resonate with those of us who follow this site...
    "I bought from Chamberlain because the product looked good, worked well, and could be had at a good price. Competing on those grounds, rather than using DRM law in an attempt to lock out competitors, actually worked"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Locks

    you don't own your property.

    The bank does

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Locks

    > > About 500+ years of common and statutory law.

    > As is often the case, you're full of crap.

    Behold the irony.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Locks

    > > No company can tell me what I can and cannot do with it.

    > see Apple iPhone v consumers.

    > you don't own your property.

    Actually, I do. Apple can't tell me what I can do with my phone. They can void the warranty if they want but I can still do whatever I like with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    pete, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 6:18pm

    Put an EULA shrinkwrap agreement on the door opener. Same as the iPhone. You own the hardware, but not the software in the circuit board.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Alejandro Grande, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:53am

    Garage door opener

    If they are right about what they are saying then I guess there is nothing wrong with that. I just want the suppliers of garage door remote controls in Perth to continue producing their products because I really like the quality of their products. I see other sellers of garage door openers online, how can they apply this on online businesses?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Garage Doors Brampton, Apr 20th, 2013 @ 1:09am

    Garage Doors Brampton

    I agree with you, garage door openers are useful for our house. People will get informative information about garage doors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Ontario Garage Doors & Openers, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 12:42am

    Ontario Garage Doors & Openers

    Garage door equipments add safety and convenience to your door with fingerprint identification system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Neil Roy, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 6:00am

    Garage door openers are very useful for the house. Please keep many valuable things in their apart from their cars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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