Now this is a doozy. A company called “MRT” has decided to sue Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Real Networks because
MRT claims that Vista, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, iTunes and the iPod have been produced â€œwithout regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners.â€ The DMCA, signed into law in 1998, makes it illegal to manufacture products that are designed to circumvent copy protection. Accordingly, MRT has filed Cease and Desist letters against Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Real to stop production or sale of products that infringe on the DMCA.
MRTâ€™s X1 SeCure Recording Control has proven effective against stream ripping, the company said in a statement, and these companies have been â€œactively avoiding the use of MRTâ€™s technologies.â€
Oh that’s rich. That’s real rich. As if there weren’t enough examples that the DMCA is a terrible law, here we have a company essentially claiming that any media company not using their product is, in effect, not doing enough and therefore in violation of the law. It couldn’t be that perhaps those companies took a look at MRT’s offering, found it to be crap and decided to press on with their own copy protection schemes — that would be too simple! Conspiracy! Skulduggery! RICO!
Now, it seems plain to me that MRT is misreading the law and thus should have their suit laughed out of court at the first available opportunity. In order to pass the DMCA’s “anti-circumvention” sniff test, a product must be “designed to circumvent copy protection” (as referenced above). I find it a ludicrous proposition that any reasonably intelligent judge could possibly believe that Real Player, Windows Media, iTunes, Flash and the iPod were in any way, shape, or form “designed” to circumvent copy protection.
But perhaps I speak too soon. Perhaps I could counsel a few traffic light camera vendors to begin suing all cities that “refuse” to place their cameras at all stoplights. I mean, that obviously means that they are not only not interested in enforcing traffic laws but are in fact inviting and enabling drivers to break the law. They’re complicit in the lawbreaking, right? Same argument, as far as I can see.
The only solution I can see to the problem is to round up all lawyers, fire them into space and then lose the whole lot somewhere in the New Mexican desert ala Scotty.
Ars Technica has more on the subject.