1 September 2004
More uplifting news
A Federal appeals court has ruled that you still have the right to open your own damn garage door.
If you missed this, the case in question is Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc. Chamberlain, miffed that Skylink had come up with a third-party remote that works with Chamberlain openers, sued under the the government's all-purpose harrassment tool, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, arguing that Skylink's remote sneaks around the computer program in its openers.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation published this summation of the appellate court's findings:
Chamberlain's proposed construction would allow copyright owners to prohibit exclusively fair uses even in the absence of any feared foul use. It would therefore allow any copyright owner, through a combination of contractual terms and technological measures, to repeal the fair use doctrine with respect to an individual copyrighted work or even selected copies of that copyrighted work. Again, this implication contradicts § 1201(c)(1) directly. Copyright law itself authorizes the public to make certain uses of copyrighted materials. Consumers who purchase a product containing a copy of embedded software have the inherent legal right to use that copy of the software. What the law authorizes, Chamberlain cannot revoke.
(Disclosure: I have a Skylink remote, though it's not being used with a Chamberlain opener.)