Ruling that Likens Captchas to DRM

Mike Masnick at Techdirt explains a potential problem with a default judgement favoring an argument made by Craigslist in a case last year. The claim that ultimately went uncontested was that captchas are a form of technological protection measure and should be defensible as such under the DMCA.

I share Mike’s concern that this might yield unintended consequences down the road. I hope a savvy judge realizes anyone trying to cite this case is doing so on a flawed bases, that captchas are normally used for protecting services, not strictly content. There is also the question under the DMCA of whether they are actually effective as protection, the answer to which is increasingly no. The odds here are perhaps long but the DMCA is a bit of sticky nastiness to now be attached, even tenuously, to an otherwise useful bit of technology.

Once again, I am also left to wonder why the claim wasn’t reigned in by the judge or anyone else in involved when other, more appropriate mechanisms are clearly available in a case like this, such as breach of contract.

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