Don Marti

Sun 17 Apr 2005 08:33:51 PM PDT

This is good news, dammit.

The Elcomsoft verdict is much better than DMCA-mongers are trying to make it sound.

This verdict clearly represents a giant glowing neon Jury Nullification of the anticircumvention provisions of the DMCA. A blanket anticircumvention law, no matter how logical it may seem to Bruce Lehman, is so unjust that if you pick 12 random citizens and present it to them, they'll reject it.

We The People say to the copyright cartels: this goes too far.

Whenever we get in to see Congressmen, they say, "Thank you, all we hear from is the MPAA, the RIAA, and the AAP." And in most cases they say, "We had a strong feeling there was something wrong with what they were telling us, but these are difficult issues, they're hard to understand, and now that we've heard your side we're beginning to get a sense that there's another side to the issue."

-- Jay Sulzberger

Not convinced? This should convince you: my hopeful interpretation is exactly the opposite of what DMCA proponents want you to think. They're desperately, frantically spinning it to say that the acquital is merely the result of fine lawyering by Joseph Burton, and an ever-so-exciting spat over the meaning of "willful", but fair use was never an issue. And innovators had better watch out because future DMCA prosecutions can come at any time.

They're wrong.

The acquital is something we can take to Congress. "Look, people don't think laws against circumvention should apply to non-infringers. Please reform the DMCA to reflect this."

Even if the next round of the Lofgren and/or Boucher reform bill, fails, it gets the "DMCA suppresses free speech and fair use" meme in front of the next group of potential jurors.

Anti-DMCA advocacy makes a difference. Making "the DMCA" into "the controversial DMCA" was worth the sunburn and sore throats. We can't stop now.

Specific recommendation: get in your Representative's face and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Boucher bill, or the Lofgren bill, whichever one gets introduced. (Maybe they'll get together this Congress -- that would be nice.) You can meet your Representative in person. Check his or her web site for a calendar and go where he or she will be. You should write a letter first, and send it, but the biggest effect this will have is to get the issues straight in your own mind so you can talk about them coherently. (If you can't explain something in one page of double-spaced standard prose in your own words, you don't understand it.)