Sanity 1, DCMA 0

This is very good news for consumers. The potential for abuse of the so called digial copyright are very real, and must be fought at every turn.

CHICAGO (AP) – In a closely watched technology lawsuit, a federal judge has ruled that a garage-door opener designed as a replacement for a model made by a rival manufacturer does not violate the nation’s digital copyright law.

“Consumers have a reasonable expectation that they can replace the original product with a competing universal product without violating federal law,” Judge Rebecca M. Pallmeyer said.

Pallmeyer’s 10-page opinion came Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Chamberlain Group Inc., with offices in suburban Elmhurst, Ill., against Skylink Technologies Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario.

Chamberlain claimed Skylink garage-door openers that can interact with Chamberlain’s digital security technology violated the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The dispute has been closely watched because there have been few court decisions to date that outline the limits of protections the digital copyright law affords manufacturers, said Gwen Hinze, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.The next battleground is Lexmark’s suit against replacement toner cartridge manufacturers.

Attorneys said the other federal court major case being watched for clues as to the limits of the digital copyright law is an effort by Lexmark International Inc. (LXK) of Lexington, Ky., to bar Static Control Components Inc. of Sanford, N.C., from selling computer chips that match remanufactured toner cartridges to Lexmark International printers.

If Lexmark previals anything with a computer chip in in it could become subject to DCMA litigation. This was not the original intent of the law, although it could be argued that the whole DCMA is so poorly written that no one can determine the original intent…

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One Response

  1. The Bartender November 18, 2003