Court Backs Dismissal of Digital Copyright Claim

Jul 26, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

An American judge has ruled that breaking a digital lock is not illegal if your end use was not illegal. Responding to a case filed against general Electric, which hacked through a security dongle to repair a client's power supply, the judge ruled, "Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act's) anti-circumvention provision." This ruling, if upheld, could have a significant downstream effect, specifically, as Download Squad suggests, "you're free to break DRM on media that you own. No longer is it illegal to rip your own DVDs or crippled audio CDs onto your hard disk." And Michael Geist suggests that this shows Canada's proposed new copyright legisliation will be more restrictive than that in the United States.
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