Tektronix Uses DMCA Notice To Try To Stop Oscilloscope Hacking
from the freedom to tinker dept
Another day, another abuse of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions to stop things that have nothing whatsoever to do with copyright. As pointed out by Slashdot, the Hackaday site recently had a post about how to clone some Tektronix application modules for its MSO2000 line of oscilloscopes. The post explained a simple hack to enable the application module to do a lot more. And… in response, Tektronix sent a DMCA takedown notice demanding the entire post be taken down.
I am the Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at Test & Measurement group of companies including Tektronix, Inc.
I have been notified of a posting on the ?Hack A Day? website concerning hacking of Tektronix? copyrighted modules for use in oscilloscopes. Hacking those modules permits unauthorized access to and use of Tektronix? copyrighted software by means of copying of Tektronix? copyrighted code in those modules.
A copy of the offending posting is attached for your reference.
The posting includes instructions for how to hack our modules and thereby violate Tektronix? copyrights.
Tektronix has a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for this individual to provide such instructions to anyone, much less on a public forum.
I hereby submit that the above statements are true and accurate, and under penalty of perjury state that I am authorized to act on Tektronix? behalf.
In view of the above, Tektronix demands that the posting identified above be expeditiously removed from the website.
Very Truly Yours,
Hackaday didn’t remove the entire post, but did basically remove all of the details. While the takedown doesn’t say so, it appears that Tektronix is likely relying on a distorted reading of the DMCA’s Section 1201, which is the anti-circumvention clause. Of course, court rulings have not been kind to hardware companies looking to use Section 1201 in a similar manner, but it’s doubtful that a site like Hackaday feels like getting in a legal fight with Tektronix.
And, of course, that’s why the DMCA is such a dangerous and overly broad tool. It allows bullies like Tektronix to take down useful information that actually makes its own devices more useful, all because of misguided beliefs about the importance of “protecting” your “intellectual property,” rather than making your products more useful and valuable to a wider audience.