A digital rights management (DRM) software maker is threatening to sue Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Real Networks for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by not using its product.
Media Rights Technologies said that Apple's iPod and iTunes, Microsoft's Windows Vista, Adobe's Flash Player, and Real Networks' Real Player are all knowingly enabling the theft of copyrighted material.
The company makes a DRM program called SeCure X1 Recording Control that prevents users from recording streaming audio broadcasts.
The product is so effective, according to Media Rights Technologies, that by not using it the vendors are enabling their products to violate the DMCA.
"These four companies are responsible for 98 per cent of the media players in the marketplace," said Hank Risan, chief executive of Media Rights Technologies.
"CNN, NPR, Clear Channel, MySpace, Yahoo and YouTube all use these infringing devices to distribute copyrighted works. We will hold the responsible parties accountable. The time of suing John Doe is over."
The company claims to have sent out cease-and-desist letters demanding that the companies stop production of the infringing devices or face a lawsuit claiming anywhere from $200 to $2,500 for each unit sold.
The assertions may, however, backfire. The DMCA also allows companies to file counter-suits when a false claim has been made.
If Media Rights Technologies files suit and has its claim discredited, the company may find itself facing legal action from four of the world's largest multimedia software vendors.
All four companies currently use proprietary DRM software with their products. Apple has even come under fire from several government bodies in Europe because its FairPlay DRM software is said to be too restrictive.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in February that the company would like to drop DRM protection from its iTunes store with the blessing of record labels.
Apple struck a deal with EMI in April to offer songs free of DRM at a higher download price.
Apple and Adobe did not return requests for comment, acording to www.vnunet.com. A Microsoft spokesperson told vnunet.com that the company had yet to receive the order.
A spokesperson for Real Networks could not provide comment nor confirm that the company had received a cease-and-desist letter.
Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Real in trouble over DRM software
By Shaun Nichols on May 14, 2007 2:49PM