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'Storage Technology Corp.' decision

Cathy Kirkman at the Silicon Valley Media Law Blog has an excellent discussion of the the Federal Circuit's decision in Storage Technology Corp. v. Custom Hardware Engineering & Consulting. As Cathy says, "The case is noteworthy for a number of reasons -- it takes a limited view of the scope of the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions, and it takes a broad view of the rights of third party agents to access software for maintenance purposes under copyright law, as well under software license terms."

Custom Hardware is a company that fixes data libraries. The court found that the maintenance and repair of computer systems that Custom Hardware performed was not a copyright infringement, so its actions did not trigger the DMCA.  For DMCA minimalists, this is a great decision because; as Cathy says, "It  suggests that if a technological control were circumvented for a noninfringing personal or fair use, the DMCA circumvention could be permissible." The court also concluded that the license allowed third party access to the code, even though it did not explicitly say so.  For licensing attorneys, this means you need to be really careful in your drafting, and as Cathy advises, "License agreements need to be drafted with precision and clarity, and should be drafted from an all rights not expressly granted are reserved standpoint."

Posted by LaurenGelman on August 30, 2005 at 02:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


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