[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [dvd-discuss] [OT] elcomsoft/sklyarov jury denied text of law?

At 04:45 PM 12/16/2002 -0500, Ole Craig wrote:

>         The premier IT fishwra^Wrags report that the jury in the
>Elcomsoft case wanted a copy of the DMCA text, and the judge denied
>the request. WTF?
>     Wired reports that since retiring the jury has requested
>     clarification on the DMCA from the trial judge. Initially, the
>     jury requested a copy of the 100+ page Act to assist in their
>     deliberations. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte declined
>     this request, instead offering to answer questions on parts of the
>     law they need to consider in order to reach a verdict in the case.
>         How in hell are the jurors supposed to understand the law and
>whether it applies if they're not allowed to READ it?
>                 Ole, in complete disbelief

Folks, you know I'm not exactly a DMCA apologist, but as far as I can tell, 
this is being blown way out of proportion.  Here's what I wrote elsewhere 
(easier than retyping):

My guess (and it is only that, I have no special info) is that there is
more to the story than the blurb in the Wired piece, "The jury asked U.S.
District Court Judge Ronald Whyte for a full copy of the DMCA to assist in
their decision-making. But he declined to provide a copy of the document,
which is over 100 pages long.  Instead, Whyte said he would answer specific
questions jurors had about portions of the law they must consider in
determining ElcomSoft's guilt or
innocence."  http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,56853,00.html

The DMCA is a fairly large law, most of which has no relevance to the
Elcomsoft trial.  First, there are a number of conforming amendments to
other sections of the U.S. Code which have no particular
applicability.  Second, if one focuses on the "guts" of the DMCA, 17 USC
sections 512 and 1201-1205, most of those have no applicability either.

Section 512 primarily concerns the notice and takedown provisions, not at
issue here.  Then, if memory serves, the indictment only is under section
1201(b) - and, necessarily, section 1204, the criminal provisions of
DMCA.  There is no charge under 1202 (copyright management information);
necessarily, the criminal trial does not invoke 1203, the civil
liability/remedies section of the DMCA.

If I were the judge, I'm not sure that I would give the jury "a full copy
of the DMCA", if, in fact, that is what the jury really requested.  Using
an extreme analogy, it would be akin to giving the jury a full copy of the
Internal Revenue Code when the sole charge against the hypothetical
defendant is tax fraud by virtue of claiming non-existent charitable

The question, to which I do not know the answer, is what portions of the
DMCA the jury already had by way of the jury instructions.

James S. Tyre                               mailto:jstyre@jstyre.com
Law Offices of James S. Tyre          310-839-4114/310-839-4602(fax)
10736 Jefferson Blvd., #512               Culver City, CA 90230-4969
Co-founder, The Censorware Project             http://censorware.net