December 22, 2002

Elcomsoft verdict as jury nullification?

I've been pondering some of the recent techie muttering about the Elcomsoft verdict as jury nullification

Wins are good. We needed a victory. But I'm uncertain it was the sort of People Power victory some would like to see.

Hmm ... Seth Schoen has just commented:

Don argues that the jury's decision to acquit -- after Judge Whyte rejected jurisdictional and constitutional arguments -- shows that ordinary Americans think the DMCA has gone too far. It's hard for me to know what the jury was thinking, but that interpretation seems especially plausible since the jury foreman said jurors were troubled at the lack of rights afforded to readers under the law.

Could it be that they believed that "reading is a right, not a feature"?

What bothers me is that these comments seems to proceed as if the jury had affirmative views, and then acted to enforce them over the law. That story just doesn't sound likely to me. The DMCA is not an easy law to understand. I find most people go through a phase where they don't grasp how draconian it is. I wonder if the jury's reaction might be better rendered that they couldn't understand it, and since Elcomsoft didn't seem to be doing anything wrong ("fair use"), then Elcomsoft certainly couldn't have been willfully violating the law. That's good. But it's not the Nerd Militia either.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in dmca | on December 22, 2002 11:58 PM (Infothought permalink)

Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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