Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech

Judge rules that circumventing DRM is not illegal

In what will surely become a landmark case -- or at least a massive thorn in the MPAA and RIAA's clubbed, pygmy feet -- a judge has ruled that bypassing DRM via hacking, reverse engineering or any other means is not in itself illegal.

The case itself ruled that General Electric, in using hacked security dongles to repair some uninterruptible power supplies produced by another company, did not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Why? Because the end goal was legal. If the hacked dongles had been used for the forces of evil, the story would be different.

While this doesn't sound immediately applicable to DRM-protected software, music and movies, bear in mind that the DMCA is the foundation for every spurious copyright claim made by RIAA, MPAA and the myriad of other digital rights groups. In essence, this ruling means that 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. I think there might also be some implication for the godawful DRM used on contemporary games like Assassin's Creed 2 (and if you're a lawyer, please leave a comment!)

In case you were wondering, this doesn't make piracy legal. It just means that bypassing DRM to reach a legal goal -- i.e. fair use of things you own -- is now protected by common law.

[via electronista]
Share submit to reddit StumbleUpon.com

Tags: copyright, digital, dmca, drm, lawsuit, mpaa, p2p, reverse engineering, ReverseEngineering, riaa, ruling

Comments

31