February 23rd, 2004

Fair Use Is No Defense

The California federal court ruled against 321 Studios today, which created DVD tools, ruling that:
This Court concludes that the challenged portions of the DCMA do not unconstitutionally burden the fair use rights of users of the copyrighted material. In reaching this result, the Court rejects as too sweeping plaintiff's claim that such users have a First Amendment right to make fair use of copyrighted works based on Eldred v. Ashcroft, 123 S. Ct. 769 (2003). ... This Court finds, as did both the Corley and Elcom courts, that legal downstream use of the copyrighted material by customers is not a defense to the software manufacturer's violation of the provisions of - 1201 (b)(1).
As the EFF press release puts it, we lost a good bit of our digital rights today. We are no longer able to freely use products we have purchased and own. Let's hope that this case is turned over on appeal.

(Thanks to Seth Finkelstein for the pointer.)