December 3, 2020

More on the Insecurity of Door Locks

Seth Finkelstein has unearthed two previous mentions of the method used in Matt Blaze’s door-lock attack. It’s clear that this problem was known in some circles. Now the rest of us know too.

I wrote previously that I’m glad the DMCA doesn’t apply to door locks. Chris Smith, over at Mutatron, wonders whether the DMCA does apply to door locks. He seems pretty sure that it does, at least where the locked door is protecting access to copyrighted materials.

This use of the DMCA seems an even bigger stretch than the garage-door-opener case and the toner-cartridge case, but it’s not totally ridiculous. Does a door lock, “in the ordinary course its operation, require[] the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to [a copyrighted] work”? If most doors control access to copyrighted works, then the question boils down to the “authority of the copyright owner” clause, which has been a slippery one in past DMCA cases.