Judge Rules that Circumventing DRM Is Not Unlawful
Excerpted from Download Squad Report by Sebastian Anthony
In what will surely become a landmark case - or at least a massive thorn in the MPAA and RIAA's feet - a judge hasruled that bypassing digital rights management (DRM) via hacking, reverse engineering, or any other means is not in itself unlawful. 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 (DMCA).
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 unlawful to rip your own DVDs or crippled audio CDs onto your hard disk. I think there might also be some implication for the DRM used on contemporary games like "Assassin's Creed 2."
In case you were wondering, this doesn't make copyright infringement lawful. 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.