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July 09, 2004

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference DMCA hammer comes down on tech service vendor:

» DMCA Violators from Raising Sand
When I read about things like this, I realize it is only a matter of time before the computer industry picks up and leaves the United States altogether. This just in: A district court in Boston has used the DMCA... [Read More]

» DMCA Violators from Raising Sand
When I read about things like this, I realize it is only a matter of time before the computer industry picks up and leaves the United States altogether. This just in: A district court in Boston has used the DMCA... [Read More]

» DMCA Violators from Raising Sand
When I read about things like this, I realize it is only a matter of time before the computer industry picks up and leaves the United States altogether. This just in: A district court in Boston has used the DMCA... [Read More]

» Yet Another Reason The DMCA Sucks from life - listed chronologically
Ugs, this just pisses me off. DMCA hammer comes down on tech service vendor This just in: A district court in Boston has used the DMCA to grant a preliminary injunction against a third party service vendor who tried to... [Read More]

» Digital Millennium Competition Avoidance (DMCA) from The Importance of...
EFF attorney and Copyfighter Jason Schultz has been on a roll recently identifying cases in which the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), codified at 17 USC 1201, have been used not to protect copyright but (... [Read More]

» More DMCA trash... from Wasteland
Well.. once again DMCA shows it's real face.. a company StorageTek has used DMCA to block service repairs done by third party company. this is just plain wrong, what about free competition.. it doesn't seem to exist anymore.. and even better.. soon we'... [Read More]

» All your tape drive are belong to us from ***Dave Does the Blog
Yet more DMCA delights. I've previously reported on how the DMCA -- ostensibly intended to protect copyrighted and encrypted media... [Read More]

» DMCA and vendor lock-in from Educated Guesswork
LawGeek reports that StorageTek has used the DMCA to stop a third-party vendor from fixing StorageTek's tape systems: How is this a DMCA violation? Well, it turns out that StorageTek allegedly uses some kind of algorithmic "key" to control access... [Read More]

» DMCA and vendor lock-in from Educated Guesswork
LawGeek reports that StorageTek has used the DMCA to stop a third-party vendor from fixing StorageTek's tape systems: How is this a DMCA violation? Well, it turns out that StorageTek allegedly uses some kind of algorithmic "key" to control access... [Read More]

» LawGeek: DMCA hammer comes down on tech service vendor from Payne's Playhouse
LawGeek commented on Friday about a preliminary injunction being granted to StorageTek, who are seeking to block third party service of their products with claims it violates the DMCA. Logically, and I'm sure legally, the judge is correct to issue t... [Read More]

» Digital Monopoly Creation Act (DMCA) from Moore's Lore
It was designed as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but while Congress debates making the law more draconian against innovation, the fact is that judges are systematically destroying the competitive American economy under the DMCA's current provis... [Read More]

» Digital Monopoly Creation Act (DMCA) from Moore's Lore
It was designed as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but while Congress debates making the law more draconian against innovation, the fact is that judges are systematically destroying the competitive American economy under the DMCA's current provis... [Read More]

» Digital Monopoly Creation Act (DMCA) from Moore's Lore
It was designed as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but while Congress debates making the law more draconian against innovation, the fact is that judges are systematically destroying the competitive American economy under the DMCA's current provis... [Read More]

» DMCA and vendor lock-in from Educated Guesswork
LawGeek reports that StorageTek has used the DMCA to stop a third-party vendor from fixing StorageTek's tape systems: How is this a DMCA violation? Well, it turns out that StorageTek allegedly uses some kind of algorithmic "key" to control access... [Read More]

» Digital Millennium Competition Avoidance (DMCA) from The Importance of...
EFF attorney and Copyfighter Jason Schultz has been on a roll recently identifying cases in which the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), codified at 17 USC 1201, have been used not to protect copyright but (... [Read More]

» Back to the 70's from Jim Flowers' Radio Weblog
Is it just me, or is everybody behaving as though Nixon is President and the Tech industry is dominated by IBM? [Read More]

» Quick Links from The Cardinal Collective
While I was in San Diego without an Internet connection, a lot of good posts showed up. Here's a list of quick links in no particular order: Bo Cowgill notes that Saudi Arabia is holding its first-ever elections for municipal... [Read More]

» Quick Links from The Cardinal Collective
While I was in San Diego without an Internet connection, a lot of good posts showed up. Here's a list of quick links in no particular order: Bo Cowgill notes that Saudi Arabia is holding its first-ever elections for municipal... [Read More]

» Charles on Google and Weblogs from Josh's Log
Charles has a great post. Read it. The web does not exist to serve Google. The web should not stay... [Read More]

» Fed. Circuit Smacks Down Bad DMCA decision re: independent repair techs from Copyfight
Hurray! Justice delayed ends up being justice rendered. Over a year ago, StorageTek managed to convince a district court in Boston to misuse standard copyright law and the DMCA anticompetitively and shut down an independent service vendor who offered r... [Read More]

Comments

Timothy Campbell

Quote: "The Court also found, in a bizarre twist of logic, that while it is legal to load a program into RAM for repairs, it's illegal to allow it to persist in RAM while you fix it."

So you can work on it if it's in DRAM, but not if it's in SRAM? :-)

R Hyre

No, you're splitting hairs now. This has nothing to do with RAM technology. To prevent persistence in RAM, you just just have to disable caching of info from your hard drive. As long as you go to the disk each and everytime you need the data, you are fine :-) [I can't find a good registry setting to do this in Windows, though - maybe Linux has something]

Karl

>The DMCA was meant to stop digital piracy

No, it wasn't. The DMCA doesn't stop anyone from copying anything - it stops you from USING what you already have.

>not inhibit legitimate competition in the computer services market.

No, actually, that's exactly what the DMCA is for.

The DMCA was created to stop people from accessing what they've rightfully bought, without sanction from the manufacturer. It doesn't address copying at all, only accessing.

As this case shows, it's working exactly as intended.

I would not like to be the CIO that signs the PO for a new STK system today, THEN finds out about the ruling. Just how long till they are out on the street. New purchases are bound to be held up, as potential customers come to find out about this. Who will be the next OEM to try to assert the same position? Either this is stopped dead in its tracks immediately (by no new POs) or third party maintenance is over and the total cost of ownership just goes through the roof.

I wonder what it would actually take for the DMCA to be repealed?

Someone successfully prosecutes the Republican Party or a prominent Party Member for a DMCA violation? Microsoft is successfully prevented from coopting a market because of DMCA protection?

Am I optimistic in thinking it might be as easy as a massive terrorist act perpetrated against our electronic infrastructure that experts would agree could have been prevented if practicing security research were legal in the USA?

Or are we just completely fucked, for good?

I don't know if anyone has articulated it yet, but most of the participants in our "information economy" keep going on the waning belief that a law this absurd must certainly be struck down eventually. But will it? Really?

Donald P. Welker

While I can't speak for my agency you can be sure that I will be on the lookout for these issues when buying storage in the future; and we're not exactly the world's smallest customer.

davidwr

Can you say "restraint of trade?"
Sounds like grounds for a counter-suit for abusing monoply power with respect to maintaining StorageTek backup systems.

Existing StorageTek customers may have grounds for a class-action lawsuit to order StorageTek to give "permission" to anyone wanting to service StorageTek equipment.

whits-end

>What does this ruling mean? If it stands up on appeal, it means StorageTek has a monopoly on service for all of its machines. No independent vendor will be able to compete with them for service contracts because no independent vendor will be authorized to "access" the maintenance code necessary to debug the machine<

Wonder whether customers could get around this by having stronger contracts, perhaps expanding on the typical "no shutdown devices" term to include no devices denying maintenance? While I'm sure most buyers don't pay much attention to the terms of their purchase until there is a problem, this is certainly something potential buyers should consider. And of course, it would require great convincing to a maintenance provider that the contract in fact protects him.

We recently had a similar problem when moving from one software to another, and needed the data in the old software converted to the new. The new contractor (who apparently had done such conversions for other customers previously) was threatened that if he looked at the old software, he'd be sued. We had to end up paying the old contractor to export the data into a generic format, so the new contractor would clearly not be violating any proprietary rights when he picked up the exported data and imported it into the new SW. Vendors are trying to be clever and trying to force customers to remain beholden to them forever!

Neural

An interesting parallel to what's happening in the auto industry. A number of car nmanufacturers are withholding maintenance codes from independent auto shops (ie. non dealer owned and operated), claiming that the codes are proprietary. Since the codes are needed to diagnose problems, they're hurting the indy shops. I can't rememeber the act that passes a number of years ago (maybe someone can refresh my memory) that forced mfgrs to allow 3rd party repairs to thier vehicles. Hopefully some sane court will apply the same ruling to this case: If you purchased a product, you have the right to repair it as you see fit. The scary thing is that if this goes through, the auto mfgrs now can try to use the DCMA to limit access to thier codes and all us new car owners get the pleasure of a wallet reaming by the dealer repair shops.

Bob Good

I love this stuff.. IBM Global Services supports and maintains STK products and so does Siemen's and GSSCS (Logicon). I wonder why STK hasn't gone after IBM or these other large companies. Obviously, the small business is an easy target and these other larger companies have other strategic OEM agreements with STK. I suspect a TPO of any sort who services these large storage tape systems must have access to the event codes otherwise they couldn't provide reliable service.

Again, a consumer is screwed because of less choices.

Seth

>What does this ruling mean? If it stands up on appeal, it means StorageTek has a monopoly on service for all of its machines. No independent vendor will be able to compete with them for service contracts because no independent vendor will be authorized to "access" the maintenance code necessary to debug the machine.<

This is partly correct. However there are many licensed StorageTek repair facilities in the U.S. IBM, Unisys, et al. have nothing to worry about as they have signed agreements with STK. STK was protecting their trading partners as well as their customers.

LDG

Indpendent auto repair shops faught for years to be able to do repairs on automobiles without having warranties voided by manufacturers. A law was finally passed to allow this. It also allows for third party parts to be used as long as they meet OEM specifications. Now comes the DMCA, which can negate any such law.

Until the consumer refuses to purchase products with this type of lock-out by manufacturers of equipment, we will see more of it until there is nothing left in the US but consumers who have no money with which to consume. We have already endangered our economy by moving manufacturing out of our borders. Now we will lose the service industry as well because it will be illegal to repair anything manufactured by someone else.

I refuse to purchase Lexmark because of their stand on third party cartridges for printers. I will refuse to purchase products from Sony or any other manufacturer that does the same thing. I choose my service repair companies for my appliances and will purchase those appliances based on my ability to choose who enters my home to fix them. I will not purchase CD's or DVD's I cannot copy for my own personal use or equipment that will not allow me to enjoy it as I see fit in my own home, car or RV.

I encourage consumers to take a stand now, before we find ourselves without the abiltiy to make choices for ourselves at all.

When will our (cough) leaders realize they are crippling this country?

Wylie

> When will our (cough) leaders realize they are crippling this country? <

Not just your country mate. Australia, has just signed a trade agreement with the USA, which forces various parts of the DMCA and other US laws upon us in order to protect US trade partners.

http://www.efa.org.au/Issues/IP/index.html#fta

Presumably other countries that sign similar agreements with the US will find themseleves in a similar position as the DMCA spreads across the globe.

I think I'll have a lie down... Ive just depressed myself thinking baout it.

Josh

The major concern I have here is I'm a repair technician for one of the world's largest companies and if my client wanted, since I'm a contractor, they could easily have me arrested for the same thing as what's described in this article.

As for the ability to change/modify laws, when does that become over-ridden by another law? If the DMCA is so vague about changing anything related to digital content and this law is for digital content, would that mean we can't change the law? In my mind, its like tossing your hard drive icon in the trash on Macintosh System 6.

Gordon Stevenson

We have spent 20 years developing both products and services which by-pass security on computer systems. In both our data recovery and computer forensic work we have had to by-pass password and other security systems on operating systems, hardware products such as disks, skipping past end-of-data on tapes which have been subjected to "secure" erasure and recovering data from disks which have been "securely" erased.

Most of our business in Europe and we are based in the UK. We of course have our own collection of possibly well-intentioned legislation which we operate around. It doesnt bode too well for our US subsiduary however.

The implication is that we need to approach the software and hardware manufacturers to look for a licence to by-pass their poor attempts at security.

I would doubt that the US legislation would get past the anti-cartel laws in the European Union.

Geoff Warmuth

Actually, there are many independant service providers who maintain StorageTek-manufactured equipment, and who manage to do so withing infringing on legitimate proprietary firmware. This particular service organization was singled out due to evidence of their having acquired and used copyrighted materials.

Ed Lisivick

The maintenance code in question was written by StorageTek engineers and is proprietary property. If CHE writes their own code and uses it to diagnose problems, they wouldn't be in this legal jam. If CHE wants to compete they should use their own code to compete not pirate the vendor code. StorageTek paid engineers to develop and maintain this code. Allowing CHE to pirate the code is no different than allowing a competing ballclub to use your bench.

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