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DRM Stupidness

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Date: Apr 19, 2012 - 10:16 AM
How statutory minimums made a mockery of the saga of the open Maple story server UMaple:

After a paltry copyright infringement damages award, the opinion turns to anti-circumvention damages. Dun dun DUN. 17 USC 1203 sets a statutory damages minimum of $200 per act of circumvention. UMaples' client, the "UMaple Launcher," allegedly bypassed the access controls in MapleStory's client software. UMaple had 17,938 users. At $200/user (assuming 1 act of circumvention per user), the tally reaches a total of $3.5M+ in statutory damages, but the judge doesn't think this is right:

even the minimum statutory amount awardable under the DMCA in this case [is] a significant windfall to Plaintiff far in excess of any amount necessary to deter future infringing conduct. Further, the minimum award here likely bears little plausible relationship to Plaintiff's actual damages.

Nevertheless, the judge had no choice based on the formula it felt was binding, so this produces a massive anti-circumvention award. If it were collectible, it would be quite noteworthy as one of the biggest anti-circumvention awards of all time. But, it's not collectible.
Emphasis added.



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