Do You Have The Right To Open What You Own?
from the not-entirely-clear dept
Ed Felten has posted the news that a judge has denied a summary judgment in the DMCA case concerning whether or not a company could make a replacement garage door opener. The suing company claims that, by “circumventing” their encryption, the replacement device maker was violating the DMCA. That’s right: opening your garage door with an unapproved device may be a crime. The judge hasn’t ruled on the actual case yet, but does suggest that she thinks the DMCA does not apply since a homeowner should have the right to open their own garage however they see fit. Apparently, though, there’s some confusion on how to reconcile this ruling with previous DMCA rulings. That isn’t a surprise, since many DMCA rulings are problematic. If you go with this judge’s logic (and you probably should) that a person has the right to “open” a product they own, then many DMCA rulings get thrown out. In fact, the entire anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA could get thrown out. Therein lies the problem. The DMCA basically says, contrary to the judge’s opinion, that you don’t have the right to open up what you own. Unfortunately, too many lawyers (and politicians) seem to think this is perfectly reasonable.