Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Court Says DMCA Can Be Used To Block Add-On Innovation

from the misunderstanding-copyrights dept

Exactly 11 months ago, we wrote about a bad district court ruling in the Blizzard v. BnetD case -- where some programmers had reverse engineered a gaming server for legitimate owners of a game in order to play online without dealing with any of the problems the official server was having, and to offer additional features. The District Court ruling had some odd language in it, including saying that the action was a "circumvention of copyright" -- something that we still don't quite understand. We knew the case would be appealed, and we hoped that the Appeals Court would understand the issues a bit better, but apparently that was too much to hope for. The court has ruled against the programmers, and basically said that the DMCA can be used to block out any kind of add-on innovation. As some are noting, this seems to go directly against what the backers of the DMCA originally claimed about it: that it would protect copyrights without harming innovation. It's hard to see what this has to do with protecting copyrights however. Of course, given other recent rulings that seem to limit mis-use of the DMCA, perhaps some will finally realize that the law needs something of a rewrite.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Ben, 2 Sep 2005 @ 7:44am

    Not surprising

    I think it is pretty clear that the law makers, executors, interpreters, and lawyers are being left in the dust by technology. The had things pretty easy 50 years ago, at a much slower pace, but tech is moving at an absolutely breakneck pace now and it will only get faster.

    As a result, they simply do not have the energies and time, life experience, etc. to deal with stuff like this. They just DONT GET IT, and as a result we have things like this.

    I think, periodically, revolutions are necessary to replace political systems simply because such systems are not efficient enough to deal with the pace of the changing world. It has been a couple of hundred years here; maybe its time for another constitutional convention.

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

  • identicon
    Dan, 2 Sep 2005 @ 1:35pm

    I don't think that's quite right...

    I didn't have time to read the whole thing, but what I got from a glance at the judgement was that the Blizzard server was doing a check to see if a legit copy of thegame was being used to connect to the server. Bnetd didn't (and couldn't) do that check, so in effect, their server would let stolen copies of the game work. That's where the '"circumvention of copyright" comes in...

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

  • identicon
    Newob, 3 Sep 2005 @ 3:52am


    I am a legitimate owner of Warcraft 3, and I occasionally crack my own game so that I can play without the CD check. It's annoying and it slows down the game. has problems too. If I could log into Bnetd without all the hassle of then I would play the game a lot more often. And if my friends who don't own the game want to play but don't have the money to pay for a legit copy, I don't see how Blizzard is losing any money from them.

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.