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Diebold Loses Copyright Case Against Indybay ISP
by ----- Thursday, Oct. 07, 2004 at 6:21 PM


9/30/04: Electronic voting machine maker Diebold, Inc., today became the first company to be held liable for violating section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it unlawful to falsely threaten ISPs for copyright violation when the copyright holder knows that infringement hasn't occurred. US District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled [PDF] that Diebold had misused the DMCA and ordered the company to pay damages and fees to Indybay's internet service provider, OPG, as well as students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Last September, copies and links to some 13,000 internal Diebold company memos were posted to Indybay and other websites. The memos suggested that the company was aware of security flaws in its voting system when it sold the system to states. Diebold sent several cease-and-desist letters to OPG after the links appeared on Indybay, and also threatened the students with litigation. Diebold claimed the memos were stolen from a company server and that posting them or even linking to them violated the copyright law.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which took on the case for OPG, argued that the memos were an important part of the public debate on electronic voting systems. Wendy Seltzer, EFF staff attorney, said she hopes the decision will show colleges and ISPs that they shouldn't cave in because they think litigation will be too expensive and useless. Diebold will have to pay OPG and the students their attorney fees, court costs and various other damages, which Seltzer said will probably be in the "low six figures." Wired News Report

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