From The Verge:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is attempting to overturn a US copyright provision that can stop people from doing anything from remixing videos to fixing cars. In a lawsuit filed today, it argues that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s rules against circumventing copy protection — designed to stop people from pirating copyrighted works — places unconstitutional limits on free speech.
The EFF filed suit on behalf of Johns Hopkins computer science researcher Matthew Green and hacker / inventor Andrew “bunnie” Huang, both of whom argue that the DMCA’s rules are impeding their work. They’re seeking a confirmation that the framework is restrictive, over-broad, and a violation of the First Amendment. It would be a major blow against one of the most controversial, and most unnecessarily harmful, sections of the DMCA.
The lawsuit takes on what are often called anti-circumvention rules or “Section 1201” rules, which ban any attempt to bypass a system that protects copyrighted work. They’re intended to stop people from doing something like stripping out the DRM on a movie and uploading it to a piracy site, but that’s come with a host of unintended consequences. Green, for example, argues that he can’t investigate computer security vulnerabilities in without worrying about being held liable for breaking a copy protection system in the process. Huang, meanwhile, says that he can’t build tools for legally capturing and editing digital video because of a copy protection system that limits viewing video over HDMI.
These rules are the opposite of how copyright law should work
But the implications are much broader than these two cases. Because so many parts of our lives revolve around tools that run off copyrighted software, anti-circumvention rules can effectively ban people from tinkering with their own devices in ways that have nothing to do with preventing …