Mixed Ruling In Case Over Limitations On DMCA Anti-Circumvention Clause

from the will-have-to-wait-for-the-trial dept

John Stottlemire, who is being sued by Coupons.com in a case we've been covering, writes in himself to let us know that the court has ruled on various motions to dismiss (warning: pdf). If you don't recall, Coupons.com offers online coupons using some software. The software is designed to limit how many copies of a coupon each person can print, but Stottlemire figured out ways to easily get around that limit and both built a tool to do so, as well as explained how to do it manually -- at which point Coupons.com sued him for a DMCA violation, claiming he circumvented their anti-copying mechanism. The specifics of the case are pretty confusing, but basically Coupons.com is trying to stretch the DMCA beyond what it was intended for. The ruling dismisses some of Coupons.com's claims, while allows others to go forward.

It's not a complete win, but the court did deny Coupons.com's attempt to blur the line between "rights-control" and "access-control" which is a good thing. However, on the issue of whether or not just explaining how to circumvent the copy protection by deleting some files is a DMCA violation, the court is allowing that issue to move forward at trial. So while this is a good partial win, we'll still have to wait and see what happens in the next stages of this case to determine whether or not Coupons.com can expand the DMCA.
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Filed Under: anti-circumvention, copyright, coupons, dmca
Companies: coupons.com

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  1. identicon
    Mark Blafkin, 9 Jul 2008 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re:

    Also, the DMCA requires that it be a "technological measure that effectively controls access."

    I haven't read through the specifics of the case, but depending on how the access control is weak, Stotllemire's lawyers could argue that the measure was ineffective and therefore uprotected by the DMCA. Recent case law in the Lexmark case, the Agfa v. Adobe case, and the IMS case all reinforce the "effectiveness" requirement.

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