Assistant Professor Matthew Green has asked US courts for protection so that he can write a textbook explaining cryptography without getting sued under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Green, who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, is penning a tome called Practical Cryptographic Engineering that examines the cryptographic mechanisms behind the devices we use every day, such as ATM machines, smart cars, and medical devices. But this could lead to a jail sentence if the manufacturers file a court case using Section 1201 of the DMCA.
Section 1201 prohibits the circumvention of copyright protection systems installed by manufacturers, and comes with penalties including heavy fines and possible jail time. As such, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has taken up Green’s case, and that of another researcher, to try to get the provision ruled illegal by the courts.
“If we want our communications and devices to be secure, we need to protect independent security researchers like Dr Green,” said EFF staff attorney Kit Walsh.
It’s ridiculous that a textbook writer could be jailed for copyright infringement. Good luck taking down the DMCA!