Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Court Opens Garage Doors, But Sets Murky Precedent

from the half-a-step-in-some-direction dept

The Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier ruling saying that it's not a violation of the DMCA to create garage door openers that get around manufacturer controls designed to force buyers to go back to the original company for replacement openers. A lot of analysis is coming out on this one for a variety of reasons -- but, basically both the case and the decision are both incredibly complicated and incredibly important. The court basically wants to establish some sort of balancing "test" for the DMCA. However, the DMCA and certain decisions associated with it are fairly problematic to begin with, so the test is somewhat convoluted and not entirely reasonable. The good part is that the court seems to recognize just how troublesome the DMCA is as written. The problem is that they don't really know what to do about it to bring it back in line with where it should be to avoid its misuse for anti-competitive purposes. It sounds like a bit of cognitive dissonance as the court tried to resolve the realization that the law really was as bad as some made it out to be with the idea that Congress couldn't possibly have meant for it to be that bad.

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