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DMCA Chill

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The DMCA is stifling the growth of our entire economy:

    Krause put together a compelling panel of executives and venture capitalists to tell their stories of how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has put a chill – or, worse, a stop – to their business plans. Perhaps most memorable was the case of Static Control Components, a producer of replacement toner cartridges for a number of printers, including Lexmark.

    Static Control Components reverse engineered the code that instructs Lexmark’s printers to print only with Lexmark cartridges so that Static Control’s replacement cartridges would work. Lexmark filed a lawsuit claiming that this violates the DMCA because it “circumvents the technological measure” that the printer uses to verify the cartridge is from Lexmark.

    The DMCA was meant to protect music and movies from being stolen, but as William London, Static Control’s general counsel, complains, “this has nothing to do with movies or music, but solely to do with interoperability of hardware.” Indeed, this case has attracted attention from many quarters, including the automotive parts industry where DMCA-protected chips could easily multiply and these types of suits could become commonplace.

    ….The entire economy is experiencing losses as a result of the DMCA chill. As SonicBlue’s CEO Greg Ballard noted, the $3 million his company spends every quarter to defend itself against the movie studios and television companies could have been used to hire 120 new employees or make investments for new innovations. So what’s the answer?

    ….Instead, the message participants took away was that the time has come to spread the word to consumers and other industry players that the DMCA has gone too far and needs to be reined in. At some point when there’s enough support, Congress will be forced to act. [Tech Central Station]

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