We're The US Government, So We Can Ignore Pesky Things Like The DMCA
from the isn't-that-nice? dept
The details of the case are pretty straightforward. A guy in the Air Force, in his spare time, developed some useful software that the Air Force started using, without any sort of contractual relationship established (and, apparently, unlike most companies, it didn't have any agreement with him that automatically gave them ownership of the software). He kept the source code secret, but the Air Force rewarded him with a promotion. But, then, the Air Force got worried that it was so dependent on this one guy, so it demanded the source code to the software. The guy refused, and received a pay cut and a demotion. The Air Force then hired another company to reverse engineer the software, and to get around the DRM that the guy had put on his original software.
No matter how silly the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision is, this would seem like a textbook case where it was violated. Except that the Air Force basically said "we're the gov't, so that doesn't apply to us" and the court agreed. It must be fun to be the government, where you get to pass laws and then can ignore them at will.