Score one for the good guys

For the uninitiated, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a controversial bit of legislation passed by Congress a couple of years ago, supposedly designed to provide copyright protection in the newfangled world of the Internet. In actuality, it’s a draconian bit of legislation, ram-rodded through Congress by the entertainment industry (more accurately, the $$$ of the entertainment industry) to protect their monopolistic interests at the expense of users’ rights. Taken at face value, the DMCA provides more copyright protection in cyberspace than is afforded in the “real world”, yet its backers see nothing wrong with this. And the vast majority of the American public has been too preoccupied (and a bit too dense) to notice.

Well, good news, folks: the DMCA just got smacked around a little. In a much-publicized case brought against a Russian software company, where the DMCA was brandished as the weapon of choice by the prosecution, the jury for the case returned a verdict of not guilty. This case has been considered a test of the limits of the DMCA’s powers, and the loss by its backers may not bode well for future legal successes. Darn.

A telling (perhaps?) snippet from the article:

Some lawyers speculated that the jury might have been rendering an opinion on the law itself, as well as on the strict legality of ElcomSoft’s activities.

“The jury has the flexibility to think about (ElcomSoft’s motives) and essentially nullify the law if they think it is overreaching[…]”

Which it is (overreaching, I mean). Glad someone else noticed, though.