Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Feb 2016 01:01 UTC
In the News

The primary weapon manufacturers wield to keep consumers running for the dumpster rather than the screwdriver is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Passed in 1998, its purpose was to bring copyright law into the digital era. Among other things, this law makes it illegal for owners and unauthorized repair people to break technical locks over copyrighted content, including software. Fixers have been fighting for exemptions to the DMCA, and in October 2015 the United States Copyright Office finally adopted a new set, making it legal to unlock carrier-activated phones, tablets, wearables, and mobile hotspots. Owners can also jailbreak phones, tablets, and smart TVs, and modify the software on 3D printers, cars, tractors, and heavy equipment. Nevertheless, software in many electronics, including game consoles, is still protected by the DMCA. At-home modifications or repairs can constitute a copyright violation. At the least, it will void a device's warranty, but it potentially carries up to a $1,000,000 fine and 10 years in prison, and numerous researchers, hobbyists, and companies have been taken to court.

Isn't the future fun?

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Comment by stormcrow
by stormcrow on Sun 28th Feb 2016 02:54 UTC
stormcrow
Member since:
2015-03-10

I think the article writer over looked something fundamental to copyright that the DMCA doesn't actually address. Tinkering with gadges and reverse engineering software and firmware in your basement or garage isn't really addressed by the DMCA. What's addressed by it is *publishing* that information, releasing the software and/or hardware hacks to the public.

You can tinker all you want in private, you just can't publish the results under the DMCA.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by stormcrow
by darknexus on Mon 29th Feb 2016 15:21 in reply to "Comment by stormcrow"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

As I understand it, you could still be in legal trouble even if you never publish your work if it later discovered. It's unlikely, but possible if, let's say, your home was searched for evidence in connection with another crime and your modifications were found in the process.

Reply Parent Score: 2