May 15, 2003


So, in the continuing story about the cease and desist notice with respect to my linking directly to a publicly available store of journal articles, a lawyer told me to

"revise your website as your publication of the means by which you illegally obtained access to our website is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
As you may know, the DMCA imposes both civil and criminal penalties on those
who circumvent or assist others in circumventing technological protection
measures applied to copyrighted works. Our online system is protected
through various authentication methods and your publication of any type of
work-around for others to follow in avoiding having to be properly
authenticated as an authorized user of our copyright protected products and
services is a violation of the DMCA.

So, I've "unpublished" my last post. Because the last thing I need to do right now is have arguments with lawyers.

What I found odd, though, is that it's supposedly illegal to write about a publicly-available workaround. Now, for argument's sake, let's say that instead of linking to a publicly accessible article, I robbed a bank. Now, to the best of my knowledge, it would be perfectly legal to write about the details of how I went about robbing a bank -- scouting the place, disarming security systems, etc. etc. People have written about the details of committing crimes forever.

Yet, as this lawyer is having me understand it, it's not legal for me to write about how I stumbled upon a trove of publicly accessible, though copyright-protected, information, because of the DMCA. Is this true? I don't know.

I do know this. I just donated $500 to the EFF. I ask that you do something, too.

Posted by peterme at 10:41 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack


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