Here we have the latest in a long stream of evidence that the intellectual property system in the US is broken.
A company named Media Rights Technologies (MRT) is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to sue the publishers of the four major web media players – Adobe, Apple, Real, and the Big Monopoly.
And what is their crime? Not using MRT’s product to secure the media being played.
The legal argument is a bit complicated but goes like this: Microsoft, Adobe, Real, and Apple make media player software. That software can tune into digital music streams like Internet radio stations, many of which are transmitted without any sort of DRM attached. Although streams are designed to be ephemeral, it’s trivial to use streamripper software to snag copies of the songs being played through such services. MRT claims that all four companies should have used some form of DRM to protect streams–or rather, they should have used one particular form of DRM, the “X1 SeCure [sic] Recording Control.” And who makes X1? MRT does.
Now that’s a company with more lawyers than technical creativity.
However, the flood of big media chutzpah on display this week doesn’t end there.
The chief technology officer at HBO says he doesn’t like DRM (digital rights management).
Oh, he has no problem with putting all kinds of digital locks on their content, making it difficult for their customers to legally use it any way they see fit.
It’s the phrase itself he wants to change. He’d like something more customer friendly.
Zitter’s suggestion? Digital Consumer Enablement, which he believes would more accurately communicate the concept that DRM helps consumers enjoy content in ways previously not possible.
Is anyone really buying that pile of crap?
The media companies can apply whatever Orwellian name they like, but the more the public learns about these restrictions, the more they will search for paths around them, legal or not.