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DMCA Invoked Against Garage Door Openers

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the take-that,-evildoer dept.

News 563

boijames writes "In the latest bit of DMCA lunacy, copyright guru David Nimmer turned me onto a case that his firm is defending, where a garage door opener company (The Chamberlain Group) has leveled a DMCA claim (among other claims) against the maker of universal garage door remotes (Skylink)."

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fp (1, Funny)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093584)

So, when does the court case open?

Re:fp (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093609)

Won;t open... they're using a universal remote :)

This is obvious (4, Funny)

Merkins (224523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093588)

It's an open and shut case.

Boom boom

Re:This is obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093658)

Shouldn't this be under sequencing banana genes. ;)

This is good (5, Insightful)

Interfacer (560564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093590)

the DCMA should be invoke against as much ridiculus things as possible.

that way maybe legislators and voters will see the lunacy in all its perverted glory.

in Soviet Russia the DCMA invokes YOU.


Old Wolf (56093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093598)

They fight against US laws restricting freedom of speech...

Oh how the tables have turned

Re:This is good (5, Insightful)

frp001 (227227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093616)

Honestly... I pity you guys who live in USA, it seems that this stupid law (amongst others, like (C) length) and the dirty habit of sorting competition through court is going to kill off new business and innovation.
OTOH this is a good opportunity for emerging countries less regarding on these aspects.

Re:This is good (5, Informative)

jorlando (145683) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093695)

I don't think so... I think that US will try to force simmilar legislation on other countries (by means of commercial treaties, intelectual properties agreements, etc).

Since the US is such a commercial and industrial giant most countries will change laws to not loose commercial oportunities and we'll get at, some point in the future, a estagnation in inovation (or at least, innovation that doesn't pay royalties to some IP-only company).

Brazil has some of it's plants patented by foreign companies, that used breachs in their country of origin to patent these plants as medicines as if they had discovered it's medicinal properties... someday I'll discover that some IP fscked company has patented guava-tree leafs as a medicine for stomachache and that is an inovative use, but that is as fact known in Brazil since the days of my grand-grand mother (and before that, probably) and nobody patented it (how do you patent common-sense or folklore?).

This is dishonest from a ethical point of view? Yes, but companies aren't known for being ethical, they exist to profit.

IP laws are popping from everywhere. I think that some day you'll have to pay a tax for saying "Mickey".

I pity the guys living in US, but I pity them 'cause I see that as what will come to the rest of the world. They are only suffering first, we're the next in line...

Re:This is good (5, Funny)

$rtbl_this (584653) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093778)

I think that some day you'll have to pay a tax for saying "Mickey".

That's just taking the mick... er... piss! I meant to say "piss" (well, assuming that doesn't get me sued by the brewers of Fosters).

Re:This is good (2, Informative)

Gyan (6853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093809)

Brazil has some of it's plants patented by foreign companies, that used breachs in their country of origin to patent these plants as medicines as if they had discovered it's medicinal properties... someday I'll discover that some IP fscked company has patented guava-tree leafs as a medicine for stomachache and that is an inovative use, but that is as fact known in Brazil since the days of my grand-grand mother

The exact thing has happened to India. Ayurvedic medicine consisting of herbs has been patented in US whereas these compositions have been known in India for centuries.

The complaints are contradictory (5, Interesting)

The Monster (227884) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093628)

First they claim that the remote infringes on their patent for the 'Rolling Code' system, then they turn around and claim that the remotes do NOT in fact generate Rolling Codes, but instead send the same code each time.

You can't have it both ways.

Unless I'm really dense, the whole point of Rolling Codes is that there is an algorithm shared by the remote and opener that defines previously-used codes as invalid, so that a burglar who sniffs the code you use to open the garage today can't come back and use that code tomorrow. In that case, these devices should not be working, which should be grounds for the consumers to file a class-action, but it would be proof that they are NOT violating the patent on the Rolling Codes.

Re:This is good (1)

buzban (227721) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093638)

i totally agree. i was a little on the fence about DMCA up till now (sort of as if to say "what's the big deal...hasn't affected my life")
but this is truly ridiculous.
reminds me of this guy []

All Your Base Indeed... (5, Interesting)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093675)

Go read the pdf...

they want a permanent injunction
they want all profits from Skylink's device
they want to impound all Skylink's stuff
they then want to destroy all of Skylinks stuff
they want treble damages
they want attorney's fees

but my favorite phrase is the "trafficking in a device that is designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing the technological measure" (referring to their rolling code tech).

Cmon, ya jokers... It's a freakin' garage door opener, not an eight-ball of heroin...


OMFG (4, Interesting)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093593)

Give me a freaking break.

This is such BS. Please, someone take the authors and sponsors of the DMCA and shoot them out of a cannon into a brick wall.

Whats next? Crayon suing other "crayon" manufacturers for making colored wax pencils? Georgia Pacific for suing other companies that process wood pulp?

You certainly didn't see Chevy suing Dodge for making a 1500, 2500, and 3500 line of pickups. Dodge never sued anyone else for introducing quad cab doors on 1/2 ton trucks.

This is simply got to be the most asinine law on the books recently.

Welcome to America (0, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093725)

The best laws money can buy.

Home of the Free my ass. Swept up in a wave of post 9/11 nationalism Bush still has a 58% approval rating. Notice the rumsfeld quote "The failure of U.N. arms inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction "could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's noncooperation" with U.N. disarmament resolutions, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

What a bunch of bullshit. Since you cannot prove a negative I guess we should trash our whole system of innocent until guilty. We really need to take a long look in the mirror before we send our military personel off to die. I guess it's good for North Korea they don't have oil reserves or we would have already invaded.

Bush is a fucking fool as are those that voted for him.

USA CENTRIC SHIT!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093798)

Fuck you /.! Slashdot has turned into USA centric bullshit site. Only american stupidos are interested to read CONSTANT articles about DMCA or RIAA. Slashdot frontpage is FILLED with articles about DMCA or RIAA _EVERY FUCKING DAY_! This USED to be a technology site. We, who live in India or elsewhere are not interested in this USA centric shit. We are free and we have the freedom to do things the way WE want to.

Re:OMFG (1)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093808)

You certainly didn't see Chevy suing Dodge for making a 1500, 2500, and 3500

Well something sorta similar did occur. Toyota had their T100 pickup, when they were coming out with it's successor, they were planning on calling it the T150, but since Ford had the F150, they were concerned about Ford claiming trademark infringement. I don't know if this concern was precipitated by an actual threat, or just thinking ahead on Toyotas part, but it did occur. One reason that Chevy doesn't sue Dodge could be that they didn't do it early enough. Trademarks and Copyrights have to be vigourously persued by the owners, if you don't do that, then you run the risk of not being able to do it in the future. Also, a ruling a while back in a Intel vs AMD case stated that you can't trademark a number (in this case it was the 486 cpu), this is why the 586 became the Pentium. Don't know about the quad cab door thing, could be that they couldn't patent it because of prior art.

This is good.... (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093594)

The sillier the lawsuits are, the faster the public (& politicians) will see the law needs revision.


Not so sure (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093637)

For crying out loud, the general public had seen this coming from the very first day the DMCA was introduced. Now do you think that the people who supported it will just turn around and abolish this law ? They have their positions to justify now... And while they're in power they will... 'nuff said.

"the general public"? (2, Insightful)

sirshannon (616247) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093697)

since when does the general public know what the DMCA is or that it even exists? The "general public" I know has never heard of it.

Maybe not (5, Interesting)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093643)

If the lawsuit is seen to be silly, it'll be tossed out, but people will say, "See, the system of checks and balances did the job. No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater -- it's still a good law."

There are too many powerful groups with a vested interest to let this go by the way. Minor revisions, perhaps, but it's not going to create a huge ruckus or make any major difference to the law. Even if this particular case gains some notoriety, it'll be forgotten in a month and the vested interest groups will have won. Again.

Not that I'm jaded or cynical or anything.

Re:This is good.... (0)

jeanluisdesjardins (577209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093667)

yeah... at this rate it will only be like 10 or 15 years before this law is revoked! So sit tight little buddies, everything will work itself out soon enough... :)

Or you could get off yer keister and do something about it today... whatever...

p.s. join my cause []

Re:This is good.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093692)

Not really... look at the McDonald's lawsuits, one idiot claims the coffee was too hot and burnered her lap. Next we discover eating McDonalds every day makes you fat. There's always plenty of idiots out there, unfortunately some of them are in a position of power and in a down economy want to make money with whatever laws pad their wallet.

fuc (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093595)

FuCk yOu CunTZ! you all eat the shit of dead rats and fuck rancid, decaying goats!

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093596)

The garage door opens YOU!

I wouldn't be surprised... (5, Insightful)

Mals (159840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093600)

If universal tv remote manufacturers are next on the list to be hit by the DMCA

Does actually make some sense... (5, Interesting)

boaworm (180781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093601)

... because it seems a universal garage opener could be used for ill purposes, like opening someone elses garage and steal his stuff, or close the garage port onto someones car when driving in/out. Sounds like making a universal key that can unlock any lock... that wouldn't be appreciated either, would it ?

Then again, i dont think you can make a universal key, so someone must have been doing some bad thinking if they designed garage door remotes like this.

Re:Does actually make some sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093634)

Err, no. There are thousands of combinations and most remote control circuitry have a "time-out", meaning that you can just park a van in front of someone's garage and cycle through every combination.

The universal remotes learn the codes from the existing remote. TV/VCR remotes use generic code sets as set by the manufacturer, but car and garage door remotes have quite unique codes.

Correction to my post above (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093648)

I meant to write "you can't just park a van"

Re:Does actually make some sense... (1)

Merkins (224523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093666)

I don't know if it is still the case, but you used to be able to be able to open doors with a 27mhz CB radio.

So, either they have done a whole bunch to secure them. Or there is nothing stopping you from opening someones door already.

insert wardriving joke here

Re:Does actually make some sense... (5, Interesting)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093703)

because it seems a universal garage opener could be used for ill purposes, like opening someone elses garage and steal his stuff,

Not really. Universal garage door openers have a bunch of DIP switches that you need to set to match the frequency and manufacturer of the receiver. I have a Skylink universal opener, and there is one DIP switch for the frequency setting, 8 for the manufacturer, and 8 for the code. Do the math. It would take a long time to try each combination, and I think most people, if they noticed some guy in a car sitting in front of their house for a while, would call the cops.

Thieves do exploit automatic garage door openers, but there are more sophisticated devices that simply scan and capture the signal from a legitimate transmitter and use that to open the door. (That's why most new garage door openers have rolling codes - so the same signal isn't accepted twice in a row).

i dont think you can make a universal key

Yes you can. It's called a master key. You have to be a locksmith, or be really good at social engineering to get one. And it only works for a subset of models of a specific brand of lock. But, yes, if some guy goes to your house, and recognizes that you have a Yale lock, model $foo, then he could likely get a master key for it.

Anyway, back to remotes. This is ridiculous. Skylink is filling a market that wouldn't otherwise exist. When the remote for our garage door opener crapped out (well, it broke in half, but that's another story), I went to get a new one. Quoth the company (after about an hours worth of phone tag) "No, sorry, we don't make replacement remotes for those anymore. Why don't you try a universal remote?"

I think The Chamberlain Group doesn't actually give a shit about patent infringement (which is what this is about - go read the case). I think what we're seeing in this case, and with Lexmark, and with the many more cases that will come, is the result of desperation. These companies are looking for a quick buck in hard economic times and understandably so. The DMCA has given them a great tool with which to make this quick buck. Now, if Skylink was some new fly-by-nite company from China that was ripping off these remotes, I'd have a little more sympathy for the Chamberlain Group. But they're not. Skylink has been around since _at least_ 1993 (that I know of), and probably longer. There are Skylink products on the shelf of every Home Depot in the country, and they've been there for 5 years (that I know of). I sincerely hope the judge tells The Chamberlain Group to fuck off, but I suspect he won't.

Re:Does actually make some sense... (2, Insightful)

Izang (569135) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093715)

Universal does not mean that it can open any garage at will. Universal means that it has the ability to be securely trained by different systems. Unless you have access to the garage door opener (the motor and circuit board in the ceiling in the garage) then you cannot program any kind of remote.

Garage door openers use code hopping and many other kinds of security. The days of CB and dip switch hacking to open garage doors are over. So, yes, this lawsuit is pure bull. It is not about making remotes that bypass the security. It is about making cheap universal remotes that compete with the $67.00 Gene(tm) replacement remote that you lost somewhere in the landscaping.

Re:Does actually make some sense... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093741)

Hmmm.... my opener has a 10 digit authentication code, somebody will have a cool time hacking that one. Even if that only leaves 1024 possibilities the burglar would have to try every combination which translates into sitting in front of my garage in the freezing cold for a few hours. My garage door opener is an old one of course and I suspect the security on modern garage door openers is much tighter. The point here seems to be that this universal remote the manufacturer of the garage door opener feels so threatened by will work with most kinds of opener and not that it will work like a master key to open every garage door at random. If this suit suceeds the manufacturer of the garage door opener could set him self up as the only supplyer of remotes for his own openers. This in it self is not so bad, if he sells the spare remotes at a reasonable price. Unfortunately businesses of any kind, once in a monopoly position, have a sorry history of charging obscene prices. This translates into you the consumer paying a lot more than you have to for a spare remote. What's more he could sue anyone who tries to elnbow in on his little monopoly out of business. All thanks to DMCA. The more time that passes the more DMCA is being discovered not as a copyright protection tool but a general purpose profit generation and competition elimination tool of hitherto unknow potential. I somehow dont thik that eliminating competitors was the idea behind DMCA. If it was this piece of legislation should not be called DMCA (Digital Milennium Copyright Act) but DMCIA (Digital Milennium Competition Inhibition Act)

Nice troll, Michael (-1, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093605)

(Oh, and by the way, we don't use commas in the pseudo-department section of each Slashdot article. It just looks plain stupid. Talk to Rob, your boss, and I'm sure he'll agree with me.)

Now, onto my original point. The DMCA is a law, and as faithful American citizens, it's our duty to obide by it and cherish it, as all laws must be cherished. Laws prevent lawlessness, which in turn prevents a nice society in which folks live nicely, which, finally, prevents a happy life.

Re:Nice troll, Michael (5, Interesting)

benevold (589793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093631)

"The DMCA is a law, and as faithful American citizens, it's our duty to obide by it and cherish it, as all laws must be cherished." I don't completely agree with you on this point. It is also the duty of the citizens of this pseudo-democracy to hold officials etc. responsible for the laws to make, it is supposed to be the will of the people isn't it? For example if for some bizarre reason a law was passed requiring you to cut off your big toes for the government would you? There comes a point when laws and regulations go too far, in other places and other times too many controlling laws (among other things of course) of been cause for revolution. Obviously the U.S. is nowhere near that point but the reasoning is the same. Just because the law is made we don't have to blindly believe it is for the best of everyone, don't let the lawmakers decide for you, decide for yourself.

Universal Remotes (2, Insightful)

attobyte (20206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093608)

Well I guess Universal remotes are next. So when are the retards in DC going to wake up. That should be the next poll.

Secure Harddisk Eraser (GPL, single floppy) (-1, Offtopic)

infolib (618234) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093612)

what you need to do is overwrite the whole harddisk several times with different patterns. Peter Gutmann recomends 35 passes with different patterns. The DoD 5220.22-M NISPOM recomends 3 passes.

Secure Harddisk Eraser implements these 35 or 3 passes on a single floppy. Just boot from the floppy, wait 60 seconds and the harddisk will start to erase.

The homepage []

Oooops!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093618)

Accidentally posted to the wrong story :( Hit it with -1 Offtopic

This sux ..... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093617)

..ass bigntime. What is next? Universal TV remotes? I recently had the misfortune that a child (Somebody elses btw) broke my TV remote After trying for ages to get a new remote out of the manufacturer, they finally sent me to his subcontratctor who sent me still somewhere else with the general result that I did not get an autheintic brand remote with all the channel setting features. So I bought a Universal one which after a bit of hacking turned out to have all the features of the old one. If this suit is won We will have a nice Kafaesqe situation where you cant get a replacement remote or at best can only buy a universal one at hugely inflated prices.

With all the voices here on /. defending the righ of big buisinesses to screw us consumers over with DMCA they will probably suceed.

Re:This sux ..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093652)

./ defending the dmca? You got your glasses on?

Re:This sux ..... (1)

volsung (378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093704)

Hahaha. The last sentence of the parent comment seems to be a vivid example of the "Everyone's against me" syndrome on Slashdot. I've seen a lot of people (myself included) over-focus on the comments that are contrary to their opinion, and assume that everyone on Slashdot disagrees with them.

I suggest you go back through the comments in this article and count the number of pro-DMCA posts. Even if you include the trolls, I don't think you'll hit more than 30%. :)

Re:This sux ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093745)

And the vast majority of them prove to be anti-DMCA if you have a grasp of irony and sarcasm...

Re:This sux ..... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093768)

Ya.. well.. that comment was a blooper, I accidentally hit the Submit button when I meant to hit Preview. I intended to edit the post further before submitting it. I wish they would move the Submit button to the other side of the combo box. Ahh well .. Karma burns .......

Sure, you can have guns... (-1, Offtopic)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093620)

Isn't it ridiculous how people can have lethal weapons without reprecussions, and some company gets sued above garage door openers...

It's not like you can't use a gun/knife/shoestring for abusive purposes...

The DMCA is beginning to seems like some kind of farse... Correction: already is one.

Re:Sure, you can have guns... (1)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093680)

Just don't open a Garage door with those weapons, or you'll get sued.

Re:Sure, you can have guns... (3, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093693)

Isn't it ridiculous how people can have lethal chemicals, like Dihydrogen Monoxide, and yet the DMCA is around?

Dihydrogen Monoxide kills more people per year than any other chemical.

Re:Sure, you can have guns... (-1, Troll)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093707)

Isn't it ridiculous how people can have lethal weapons without reprecussions, and some company gets sued above garage door openers...

It's called the Constitution. See on.billofrights.html#amendmentii [] .

According to the founding fathers, I have a right to own lethal weapons.

Re:Sure, you can have guns... (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093736)

I'm not questioning the right to have guns. I'm all for guns in responsible hands. I'm not for ridiculous legislation and abuse of it.

I was using the comparison to illustrate how jilted the situation is with the DMCA. Someone seems to think I was offtopic... so mod me down then ;)

Re:Sure, you can have guns... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093787)

According to the founding fathers, I have a right to own lethal weapons.
Acciording to the founding fathers, you also have the right to own slaves. They just didn't make it explicitly clear in the constitution, although it is alluded to in the census provision. My point is that those founding fathers shouldn't be considered the epitome of wisdom applicable to all times and circumstances.

The Facts (0, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093625)

1. Amount Cornell University Library pays for subscription to "Journal of Applied Polymer Science": $12,495.00

2. Amount charged to University Libraries for subscription to "Journal of Economic Studies": $13.40/page

3. Number of people who find the $13.40 per page ironic: 3 out of 4

4. Number of Project Gutenberg Etexts converted by voluteers: 3,551

5. Current "Cost" per Etext based on 3,481 texts: $2.87 per text

6. Number of Scientists worldwide boycotting Corporate Science Journals beginning September 2001: 26,000

7. Number of college and research institutions "Declaring Independence" by publishing themselves: 200

8. Number of days DMCA arrestee Dmitry Sklyarov spent in jail: 13

9. Number of jails he spent them in: 4

10. Amount charged to taxpayers for those 13 days: $4,000

11. Window of time Microsoft and the American Association of Publishers (AAP) can engage in
their cooperative Internet surveillance program: 24x7x365

12. Number of AAP members who apparently support the Internet surveillance program: 250

13. Number of "companies" which control the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA): 4

14. Number of Executive Directors who appear to control the DVD Copy Control Association: 1

15. Amount one company charges for eBook encryption security: $3,000

16. Number of letters one must rotate the alphabet to decrypt that book: 13 (ROT-13)

17. Amount recovered in recent "software raid" conducted by against Minneapolis Company: $260,000

18. Number of disgruntled employees who may report you to the BSA resulting in a "software raid.": 1

19. Number of Irish software companies currently being sued by 7

20. Companies BSA represents in those cases: Adobe, Autodesk, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec

21. Number of cities included in July 2001 BSA "Truce" Campaign: 5

22. Number of states which experienced Raids conducted by FBI on July 24 commended by BSA: 9

23. Number of proported jobs lost from software piracy in study conducted by 109,000

24. Amount an eBook customer may be fined for a backup not permited by the Publisher: $250,000

25. Amount of time that customer might spend in jail: 5 years

26. Number of restrictions placed on "Alice in Wonderland" (public domain) eBook: 5

27. Maximum penalty for reading "Alice in Wonderland" aloud (possible DMCA violation): 5 years jail

28. Maximum penalty for having a "pirate" copy of "Planet of the Apes": 10 years jail/$2M fine

29. Average sentence for commiting Rape: 5 years

30. Yet another Slashdot editor Hell-bent on a crusade against laws that don't have anything to do with them -- Priceless

Re:The Facts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093656)

Fuck off - arsehole

Re:The Facts (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093665)

30. Yet another Slashdot editor Hell-bent on a crusade against laws that don't have anything to do with them -- Priceless

If you live in the U.S. EVERY U.S law has something to do with you.

Re:The Facts (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093717)

27. Maximum penalty for reading "Alice in Wonderland" aloud (possible DMCA violation): 5 years jail

Why can I already see "The Million Geek March" where massive crowds of geeks stand in the mall in Washington reading Alice in Wonderland at the top of their lungs.

Re:The Facts (1)

ksw2 (520093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093721)

28. Maximum penalty for having a "pirate" copy of "Planet of the Apes": 10 years jail/$2M fine

29. Average sentence for commiting Rape: 5 years

Comparing the maximum penalty of one thing with the average penalty of another seems a bit biased, doesn't it? Why not quote the max of both...

Someone on the other side of your argument could easily quote the 'average' penalty for both, and cite that the former is zero, as no one on record has been sentenced to jail for pirating that crappy movie.

I'm on your side, just playing Devil's Ad. You could quote facts in an unbiased manner and still be just as convincing.

unfortunately (0, Redundant)

exspecto (513607) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093635)

i actually read(well, skimmed) the summary judgement paper for the case. the device does circumvent an encryption based routine. the intent of the original manufacturers was to keep criminals from "sniffing" the transmissions, and therefore to keep them from breaking into your garage and stealing your pinto. it's a good thing. making a device that allows anyone to come up to YOUR garage and open it is bad. and although i am against the DMCA, this case will be pretty simple as far as the letter of the law is concerned.

this would be like having a key that doesn't need to fit your actual lock. i doubt anyone would HONESTLY want the general public to have this.

i feel so dirty for agreeing with the so dirty.

Re:unfortunately (3, Interesting)

dismentor (592590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093730)

er...Key Gun (Rakes the pins automatically)? Lock Picks? Sure, the general public can't get those. For a start, copyrighting the encyrption algorithm effectively gives the company controlling the door openers a monopoly on the remotes, once you have installed the actual door opener in your garage; does this sound similar to anything at all (Hint: starts with an 'M')? Secondly, as cryptoanalysts well know, the security of a message should not depend on the secrecy of the algorithm, only on the secrecy of the keys involved; copyright is no protection, because obviously the criminals that try to break it will abide by that.

If you do agree, you are just not thinking hard enough; this is a stupid law; don't be convinced otherwise

Re:unfortunately (1)

Guillermito (187510) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093762)

If someone can successfully "sniff" the transmissions and open the door I would say that the product was flawed in the first place.

If manufacturers really cared about the consumer they would improve their product instead of sueing.

Is the DMCA retroactive? (3, Interesting)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093636)

The recent rash of DMCA cases have involved actions taken before the statute was in place. I mean, before too long tech companies could start suing each other claiming one company's processor is a copyright infringement on another. I guess the next thing on the list is el-cheapo TV remotes being removed from the market.

This is steadily going beyond ridiculous, making our country an even larger laughing stock.

The DMCA.... (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093639)

bringing us entertaining lawsuits since 1998.

Sue the DMCA (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093641)

On the grounds that Fucking Stupidity has been around for ages, and the DMCA fuckwits are ripping it off??

HAND? (2, Funny)

Doctor Hu (628508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093642)

Admittedly, the hand I use to open my own garage door could be considered a digital device, but I thought that living organisms could only be patented, not copyrighted.

"Observation collapsed the wave function of the experimental subject to a deceased state" - Schroedinger

What's next? (1)

Zayin (91850) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093644)

Banning universal TV remote controls? (TV manufacturers "protecting" communication between remote and TV)

How about computer peripherals? (No, you'll have to use a GreedyCorp(R) keyboard with that GreedyCorp(R) computer. And don't you try to circumvent the "protection" mechanism!)

Patent Law (1)

jlrowe (69115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093647)

Hmmm. This comes along just as my son is considering a career in Patent Law. Now that Silcon Valley work is at a near dead stop, the traffic seems to have gone to folks grasping at straws to make or keep a buck. Innovation such as universal remotes can and should be done. I just bought one that work my entertainment center equipment for instance.

But leave it to some company who wants all the pie to nail down all the loose ends and give the consumer less innovation

Hardly Informative (4, Informative)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093650)

The link is hardly informative. It gives no extra information at all.

I was able to find a website for The Chamberlain Group [] (the garage door manufacturer). Skylink [] (the remote manufacturer) also has a web site. Neither appears to have any information about the lawsuit.

I called Chamberlain's tech support number and got the number for their corporate offices: 1-800-282-6225. They said to ask for the legal depatment. If somebody with better journalism skills than I would like to follow up and ask all the questions that people have raised here, we would all appretiate you.

The transition (5, Insightful)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093657)

Things like this show the transition in IP usage. When the Patent office can't or won't grant someone a patent (as if that ever happens), then the submittor changes to copyright law, and claims whatever they have is copyrighted instead. The standard for copyright has been streached to cover soo much, so just about anything can be claimed to be copyrightable.

This is only really useful now because there was no real legal teeth for this sort of thing in copyright law until the DMCA. It specifically references technological issues, it is vague as to what it covers, and it carries criminal penelties.

Look for more patent style/interoperability contests to be faught through the DMCA.

Does this make my palm pilot illegial? (2, Interesting)

xombo (628858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093663)

I can use my palm pilot as a TV remote, is this illegial too now? The DMCA is getting a little ridiculous. Next thing you know, we will sign an EULA when we buy a TV or garage door opener. I don't think we can stand for this, somthing needs to be done to overthrow the DMCA, it is getting worse and worse over time. I can understand (not agree with though) why microsoft would want copy protection on the XBox, but now garage door openers? Somthing needs to be done.

Re:Does this make my palm pilot illegial? (2, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093705)

If would be if the the signal from remote to the tv was encrypted. As it is currently tv companies don't encrypt thier signals.
And when this case is wrong by the company bringing the case, I don't think many tv manufacters will bother to do so since the market for additional remotes is not big enough to hassel the customer about.

I think this case could help my mother understand (5, Interesting)

GeekWithGuns (466361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093671)

Not to be overly optimistic here, but I think this case could show just how bad the DMCA really is to Joe Public. It is not being used as intended (Take my copyrighted material off your website now! or Your taking my crapy "digital protection" off my copyrighted work, stop it!), but instead it is being used as a bully tactic. Right or wrong the copyright holder should be able to protect what he thinks are his works, but with the DMCA he has been given a club that is far to large.

Just being a little less optimistic, my bet is that one of the following happens:

  • The DMCA charge fails because of the reverse engineering parts of the law. - DUH!
  • The plantif drops that charge and goes after something else and wins on that. DMCA dosen't get its day in court like it needs.
  • This whole thing gets thrown out because it was just silly to begin with.

But what I would like to see happen is that they loose a battle with the DMCA and it goes all the way to the Supreme Court. (Where in a 7 to 2 decision they decide that the Congress can extend copyrights indefinitly because that is a limited ammount of time - oh what wrong thread.)

I just seems like nobody wants to test this new law, but everybody wants to use it like the club it was designed to be. Somebody need to fight this thing in court, but that will take years and lots of cash.

Re:I think this case could help my mother understa (1)

videodriverguy (602232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093795)

But surely the point is that 'Joe Public' will never see or hear about this case. Us on /. are aware of it, but let's face it, we're not exactly 'Joe Public'.

JP only notices things that are on national media (if they even watch the news), so unless this becomes the story of the day, they will never hear about it.

As far as Congress (and the corporations) are concerned, ignorance is wonderful, and to be exploited as far as possible.

Who needs a universal garage door remote, anyway? (2, Funny)

algernon7 (552572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093678)

What did they do, lose the REAL garage door opener in the couch?

I mean, really - LOOK IN YOUR CAR.

Or was it that lugging around all the remotes for the ever present seven car garage was getting tiresome?

Re:Who needs a universal garage door remote, anywa (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093794)

Or if you broke the one that came with the system or you have multiple cars.
Also price wise the non-manufacters remotes are cheaper then the "official" remotes.

Scrap (0)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093679)

Just another reason DCMA should repealled, scraped, shot to death, buried in 100 tons of concrete and dropped into the ocean.

Hmm... (5, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093682)

After reading the motion for summary judgement, what it looks like to me is this:

The manufacturer effectively implemented a OTP (one-time password) scheme in their remotes and receivers.

As anyone who has used OTPs knows, you have to know which password comes next in the sequence to get in.

Because the manufacturer couldn't think of a good way to get around this problem, they made the receiver accept a reset code that forces it to resync on the next code received.

Now they're bitching because someone else figured this out and using the reset code to allow their third-party remotes to activate the receiver.

There's a lot of bullshit about burglars and stuff, but what it basically comes down to is they thought up a great new security scheme, and then drove a ten-ton truck through it in the name of convenience. Tough shit for them, I say.

Re:Hmm... (1)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093737)

i agree that it sould be tough shit for them. i don't have my copy of the DMCA handy today, but it sounds like this could be a violation. it could be interpreted to be electronically circumventing technologicals measures... etc, etc.

Re:Hmm... (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093760)

The funny thing is, they're not really circumventing and technological measures - the universal opener sends exactly the same signals as the original one. That's not circumvention, just plain old imitation.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093748)

Exactly what I was thinking.

The 'message' to reset the code is being used as it was designed. It is not circumventing anything. It is using an available interface.

~The keyboard is mightier than the pen.

Different look (2, Insightful)

IgD (232964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093686)

It is fun to criticize silly cases like this however we need more of them! Cases like these are much more likely to result in rulings against the DMCA. I suppose for most judges it is easier to visualize a garage door opener then a complex software proggie.

Encryption Escalation? (3, Interesting)

Cheap Imitation (575717) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093696)

Does this mean each garage door manufacturer is going to come out with their own unique remote signal? Will we soon hear television ads proclaiming the new DoorUp2005 supports a 128bit encrypted remote to keep terrorists out of your garage?

What happens then if you lose your remote, and you can't get a replacement except by mail from the manufacturer? And if you open the door manually, circumventing the (now lost) encrypted remote, are you violating the DMCA?

Will this mean more highly encrypted garage door systems won't be able to be exported? After all, we wouldn't want terrorists and rogue nations to be able to protect their SUVs from the prying eyes of espionage!

Can I use the DMCA? (2, Interesting)

milktoastman (572643) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093699)

Let's say I go to radio shack and buy a blue project box, a few indicator lights, and a couple logic gates, a couple of push switches, and digital audio recording chip.

Then, I build a little device out of the parts consisting of the "black box" with two buttons and two lights. When you press one button, one light comes on. When you press two, two lights come on and there's sound.

Now, since this is technically a digital device, if I throw a price tag on it is it illegal for any one to come by and open it up?

Re:Can I use the DMCA? (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093802)

No, and that's a silly analogy with no application to the topic.

What about the retailers of the Universal Devices (1)

Astralmind (120317) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093701)

Where is Home Depot and Lowes?

Why aren't they also listed as defandants?

Afterall they are selling or offering to sell the device.

Re:What about the retailers of the Universal Devic (2, Interesting)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093749)

Easy. They're going after the manufacturer because they haven't the funds to sue Lowe's, Home Depot, Furrow's, etc.

If they win, I assue you that the products will be pulled fom the shelf by each location for fear of being targeted in a lawsuit.

All this will do is force us to buy openers from the manufacturer. Have you ever priced a remote for a Chamberlain garage door opener? They're something like $30.

Seems to me that the DMCA is being used to recoup profits for companies that have a seriously flawed business model or are generally greedy.

I can't wait for the backlash. It may take several more lawsuits and all the after-market stuff drying up before Joe Q. Public wakes up and sees how screwed we really are.

What's next? I'm going to be forced to buy only Genuine Dodge parts for my 2002 Durango? You mean I have to pay [insert insanely bloated OEM price here] for brake pads when I could've got after-markets for 1/2 that? I can only use Geniune Dodge oil and air filters (the latter of which is $30) when I could've gotten a FRAM filter for $9 at WalMart?

If thats going to be the case, I'll pay someone to total it and buy a 20 year old car that is

1. Easier to repair
2. Has a plethora of universal parts available
3. Gets really shitty gas mileage in order to thumb my nose at the tree-huggers
4. Is made of Pittsburgh steel and not fiberglass and tinfoil
5. Is so old that no one in their right mind would want to steal it or cut me off in traffic for fear of having me in their back seat

Assuming that the plaintiff wins... (1)

NotTheNickIWanted (614945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093708)

...where will this leave people who own automobiles with an integrated universal garage door opener I wonder?

Garage Door Opener ... GDO? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093713)

That always confused me on Stargate - what the hell did GDO stand for? Now it all makes sense.

Re:Garage Door Opener ... GDO? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093775)

Yep. The other one is DHD - Dial Home Device.

Has anyone read the pleading by Chamberlain? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093727)

I'm calling upon the Swiss under the Geneva Convention to investegate Chamberlain.

They've taken logic and common sense and tortured them beyond all recognition. They claim the rolling code (which is used in ever modern garage door opener) is a form of encryption that protects the computer program that enables the garage door to go up and down. At this point, logic is tied down on a wooden table and they're shoving bamboo shoots under logic's fingernails.

This is not a DMCA matter; its simply a matter of a far east competitor coming up with a cheaper universal remote control; they've lost the Lowe account and the Home Depot account is threatened.

If judge doesn't throw this out, then he/she is an utter moron.

Master Lock vs. AA Locksmith (5, Interesting)

Froobly (206960) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093739)

I skimmed the brief, and the DMCA claim seemed to boil down to this:

Plaintiff makes a garage door opener that is keyed to Plaintiff's remote. Defendent creates garage remote capable of being keyed to many different garage door openers, including Plaintiff's. Purpose of garage doors is to secure property inside garage. Therefore Plaintiff's device is an anti-piracy (as in nautical theft) device, which is "circumvented" by an "unauthorized" (third-party) key (remote control).

This seems analagous to a lock company suing a locksmith for duplicating keys (assuming these keys don't say "do not duplicate" on them), since the company made the locks and keys to go with them, making the existence of a key not made by the lock company a circumvention device.

I wonder how long before we see such a suit filed?

Bleak outlook... (2, Insightful)

BrodieBruce (575127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093740)

From Declan's email:

Not, I think, what Congress had in mind when enacting the DMCA.

Sadly, I think the only thing going through Congressmen's minds when they pass laws is somthing along the lines of:

  • What the hell is DRM?
  • Why didn't we use the word paradigm at the end of DMCA? The more buzzwords, the fewer calls from constituents I'll get.
  • Alright, let me pull up my sleeve so I can see the note on my arm regarding which way the lobbyist told me to vote.
  • Man, we need some more hot, permiscuous interns.
  • Oh crap, my ass just fell asleep. I'd better get up there and filibuster for a while to get it to wake up.

Yes, I am an American, and proud to say so. But, I am also embarassed by so many of our politicians, or should I say, our corporate-controlled politicians. Sad but true, Corporate America is the aristocracy of the new world.

I went through years of school where I was taught that we fought for independence from Great Britain because of taxation without representation and a lack of other such basic freedoms.

And now we're faced with pretty much the same thing. Sure, we elect politicians. But the corporations pay for their campaigns, shower them with "perks" (aka: legal bribes), and tell them how to vote. Sure, frivolous claims such as this garage door crap is going to make people realize the DMCA is stupid. But it's most likely corporations, rather than constituents, will control how the DMCA is modified.

In related news... (4, Interesting)

KeyserDK (301544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093747)

I can actually start Simcity 4 with my original Battlefield 1942 CD.
It even shows a nice Battlefield 1924 logo when starting simcity 4.
I'm not lying :=)

So is my bought battefield 1942 cd a circumvention device?

And can EA sue EA for making a curcumvention device that breaks EA's copy protection?

profit.... (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093756)

It all comes down to profit, doing a quick search the average cost of the company bring the suit is $35US. However for the same functionality and size you can purchase one from Skylink for under $20US.

The tech... (3, Interesting)

mt-biker (514724) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093757)

I'll leave the outrage at the stupid use of a stupid law to other posters.

The summary judgment motion is the more interesting document, which (partially) describes how the technology works.

What it doesn't say is how Chamberlain's (the plaintiff) remote control resynchronises with the receiver. This is interesting, since it's this resynchronisation that Skylink's (the defendant) remote control uses to trigger Chamberlain's receiver. By doing so, Skylink circumvent the rolling-code mechanism that's supposed to protect the Chamberlain device from code-grabbers.

I wonder how Skylink have done this - does their remote control learn how to resynchronise from an original remote control? Have they also needed to crack Chamberlain's code to be able to do this? If so, that's a second circumvention, isn't it?

Lastly, you have to wonder how buggy/weak Chamberlain's code/system is if it can be so easily circumvented. But I guess that's not relevant under the DMCA. :(

(Anyone got a Skylink RC? Can you comment on the process of teaching it to open your door?)

And lawyers have the nerve to... (1)

Windcatcher (566458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093770)

act puzzled when people place them among the world's most utterly despised professions.

Notice to lawyers: start policing your own profession or you'll NEVER shed your image problem. At least doctors take the Hippocratic Oath. When they act in a dishonorable or unscruplous manner, they catch hell for it--from their own. You guys need to start doing something like this.'s wintertime; when does lawyer hunting season begin? We seem to hunt every other thing here in PA...and the deer aren't going out of their way to make life harder >:)

Damn.. (1)

Gyan (6853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093774)

I had a new controller coming up...

So, I guess its back to "Open, Sesame" now.

Bad laws are bad laws (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093776)

Bad laws are just that, bad laws. I don't disagree with all of the intentions of the DMCA, I mean protecting copyright is important. But bad laws can be made to protect good things. This is one of those cases. The only remedy for this, is to revoke the bad laws, and create new, good laws.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093777)

Fuck you SLASHDOT! Slashdot has turned into USA centric bullshit site. Only american stupidos are interested to read CONSTANT articles about DMCA or RIAA. Slashdot frontpage is FILLED with articles about DMCA or RIAA _EVERY FUCKING DAY_! This USED to be a technology site. We, who live in India or elsewhere are not interested in this USA centric shit. We are free and we have the freedom to do things the way WE want to.

What is this world coming to? (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093779)

You evil remote-controlled garage door hackers you!

All of you should be strung up, you're wrecking this great country and letting the terrorists win.

(humor, sarcasm, or something close to that)

DCMA violated, garage receiver insecure! (2, Interesting)

chiark (36404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093785)

The plaintiff is claiming that the DCMA has been violated because the device is circumventing security.

It is.

However, this is closing the door after the horse has bolted and the plaintiff should be facing a class action for claiming that something is secure despite having a massive loophole that allows someone to force the door to open without the right, programmed remote control!

The DCMA is being used to try to get these things off the market because of the stupidity of the manufacturers in creating a basically insecure device and marketing it as secure.

The manufacturers shoudl be strung up - this stinks...

Can you spell (1)

arikb (106153) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093788)


Aren't you forgetting something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5093800)

I don't have a garage, you insensitive clod!

Initial Musings on Commerce and Property (5, Insightful)

Effugas (2378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5093804)

I own a garage. It has a door.

I own an opener for that door. I even own the remote.

By, "I own", I mean it's my property -- it's not like I'm in some strange "leasing" arrangement, where, say, I need to ask permission from the last person who owned the garage door if it's OK now to open it on up.

See, it's mine. I can do with it what I want. If the guy who sold me the door says I can't do what I want with it, I say, he shouldn't have taken my credit card. It's not his property anymore, it's mine.

And if he says the door was his idea, his "intellectual property", I'll kindly point out that, er, that's nice, see that door? It's my door. Not your door. My door. My very nice door, sure -- great ideas behind it, I don't usually buy products with crappy ideas behind them. I think the goodness of the idea was inherent in me providing that money the guy so happily accepted.

So, er, bugger off.

Ah, now it comes time to paint the door. Excuse me. Paint *my* door. What the hell? There's some "anti-stick" teflon coating on my door?

It's illegal for me to remove this stuff? Isn't it mine?

I'm supposed to buy a new door, whole new color? But I already own a door, and the paint on that door. Isn't it all mine?

If I remove the surface, I go to jail?

If someone removes *my* Teflon (I may not want it, but I sure got it -- sort of like excessive packaging) and paint *my* door the color *I* want it, *I've* got a cellmate?

Now how exactly is this door mine?

And if I don't really own the door, do they really own the money I paid for it with?

I bet if I move, I have to burn the door down and leave the next owner to buy one of their own...

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research
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