Coupons.com Drops DMCA Case Against Guy Who Told People To Delete Files On Their Hard Drive

from the legal-issues-left-unsettled dept

We’ve been covering the DMCA lawsuit filed by Coupons.com against a guy, John Stottlemire, who figured out that if you delete a few files on your hard drive you could make extra copies of the coupon. Coupons.com tried to greatly stretch the DMCA to claim that this was circumventing copy protection — but simply telling people to delete files on a hard drive hardly seems to be an circumvention tool. Plus, there were some legal issues over whether or not what Coupons.com was doing was really “copy protection.” In many cases, Coupons.com’s arguments seemed to contradict itself, though Stottlemire (who defended himself) was quick to point that out to the court.

It looks like Coupons.com recognized that this lawsuit was going to end badly, and has now agreed to dismiss the case. This is a big win for Stottlemire, though it’s unfortunate that there was no legal ruling on this attempt to stretch the meaning of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause. It will, undoubtedly, come up again in the future in other lawsuits.

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Companies: coupons.com

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Comments on “Coupons.com Drops DMCA Case Against Guy Who Told People To Delete Files On Their Hard Drive”

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8 Comments
chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Removing ANY file from YOUR computer would be considered a violation of the DMCA ?
it would only apply to cookies ? What about macromedia “cookies” ?

this is why anti-circumvention laws are so wrong. it is physically impossible to stop a computer from copying bits, so it is now illegal to copy or enable the copy of some bits that someone has made an attempt, however poor, to protect.

the real danger is that if a company’s DRM system causes problems on your computer, removing it could be considered a violation of the DMCA and would therefore be illegal.

i am waiting for the day that a widespread malware package attaches itself to itunes or the software from some other popular music service.

how quickly would these companies patch their software? how receptive would they be to bug reports? how long would you have to be locked out of the media that you purchased before the vendor responded?

given that some services have pulled the plug on their DRM servers and left their customers out in the cold, i wonder if the vendor would respond at all.

it takes a while for huge companies like microsoft to recognize and fix problems. any third party research into the problem (the source of most security bug reports) could easily be considered anti-circumvention.

Donald says:

DRM causing problems

@Chris

Perform a search on Sony Rootkit to see bad DRM on steroids. This was done in 2005, and I had to format customers computers as a result of it. A good source of info about this ‘nasty’ is a netcast called ‘security now’ episode 12 (grc.com/securitynow). As a result of this I have boycotted all sony products.
In detecting and analysing this rootkit, Mark russonovich technically violated DRM legislation. More info can be found on him and rootkits at:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445.aspx

annono says:

the issue

all of the websites you print coupons on are just a service, They get their limits from manufactorers. We already have a bad economy do we really need to spend tax money on this? I just wish they would eliminate coupons all together and just drop the prices so that companies made only 10 cents over cost.
If I had a grocery store and a lady came in and bought a box of cereal for 1.99 and had a coupon for a dollar off and had 12 of them. I the owner who bought the box of cereal bought each one for 1.25. Now the first two coupons she uses I get reinbursed for fine. But the other ten dollars who is going to pay that? My business would soon go out of business. So yes you might be getting a deal but think of the store,
I understand with the economy people want to save money, have a budget, and want a good deal. Do we want to do this at the expense of turning into a socialistic economy where we will be stuck with one grocery store?

ImTheNana (profile) says:

Re: the issue

If you had a grocery store, you would know that the manufacturer reimburses your store the face-value of the coupon plus 8 cents to process that coupon. So if you had your cereal for $1.99 and she paid 99 cents and the manuf paid $1.08, you would get $2.07 on each box, MORE than the $1.99 you were asking.

That’s the problem with people who don’t understand how coupon reimbursement works, even those who work retail in the stores. They don’t comprehend that the customer is not stealing (when coupons are used correctly) and they are NOT out any money. They actually make 8 cents more on each and every coupon. When you consider that the one store a friend of mine works at processes approx 10k a month, that’s an extra $800 a month that couponers brought into that store!

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