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My Response to the DMCA notice I received from Texas Instruments


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My Response to the DMCA notice I received from Texas Instruments
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:07 pm EDT, Aug 30, 2009

Mr. Foster,

This afternoon I received an email from you, attached below, which orders me to remove a post from my blog at about the cracking of the TI-83 OS Signing Key. Upon receiving your email I removed the post you reference from MemeStreams. However, I do not think that the post you referenced on MemeStreams violates Texas Instruments' intellectual property. Your email does not make clear what aspect of my post you object to, and because it was so vague I suspect you may have emailed me without taking the time to properly digest the context and purpose of my post.

I am a professional computer security researcher. My personal blog on MemeStreams is a place were I regularly comment on matters relevant to computer security in both the technical and policy realm. The purpose of my post about the TI-83 signing key was to report the fact that the key had been cracked, to explain why I felt that event was important and unprecedented, to discuss the implications of that event for the practice of computer security, and to consider potential events that might follow in the future.

Absolutely nothing about my post was intended to encourage or facilitate the violation of Texas Instrument's Intellectual Property. I did not include specific information, such as the numeric keys, which might have facilitated that. Frankly, I don't care about calculator operating systems and neither does anyone else who reads my blog. My interest in the subject is purely academic - its about the implications that this event has for the greater practice of computer security.

I did provide hyperlinks to the forums where the crack was discussed, but I did so only because those are the primary sources that demonstrate that the event that I was reporting on did, in fact, actually happen. While the DMCA has been used to prohibit people from providing hyperlinks in the past, this has only been done in the context where the purpose of providing those hyperlinks was to facilitate infringement. Nothing about my post encourages infringement. In my case the purpose of providing the links was to accurately report the news.

I have a constitutional right to report the news. I have a right to report that this event occurred, to explain what web forums it occurred in, and explain what implications I think it has. This is no different from a newspaper reporting that a murder occurred, reporting what street it occurred on, and explaining why their readers should care. The DMCA does not curtail these fundamental constitutional rights.

I sympathize with your position Mr. Foster. In fact, the post you asked me to remove predicted that Texas Instruments might pursue legal action against the people who are attempting to violate their intellectual property. However, I am not one of those people and I ever expected to receive a legal threat from you. As your email does not make clear what aspect of my post you object to, I've been forced to remove the post in its entirety. I feel this is a significant trespass upon my First Amendment rights and I presume that it could only have happened in error.

Please take a moment to carefully reconsider the position you've taken here.

Thank you,
Tom Cross

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