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non solum memento mori, memento vivere sed etiam
spreading the love... (yes, this is a joke. but it's a good one.)
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Keyboard Manufacturers Named in DMCA Suit

German-based media giant Bertelsmann Group has launched a 400 million dollar lawsuit against major hardware manufacturers, alleging they traffic in banned circumvention devices that can be used to illegally copy their music CDs. It says that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act entitles it to protection from devices that can be used to circumvent its technological protections against piracy. Specifically, it demands compensation for the inclusion of "Shift" buttons on standard computer keyboards.

Papers filed today in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, CA, allege that nine hardware manufacturers based in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and the US violated section 1201(c) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or DMCA by manufacturing and selling a variety of input devices containing the device, which BMG describes an illegal lock-pick specifically designed for its copyrighted works.
The lawsuit came after the revelation Wednesday that BMG's anti-ripping software for music CDs can be circumvented by depressing the Shift key while inserting the disc. An industry spokesman strenuously denied that their products were intended for such use, but BMG says that's not relevant. "The [DMCA] bans the traffic in any technology with no significant purpose other than circumvention," said BMG Public Affairs Director Martin Helmsholtz. When a reporter asked if writing capital letters was not a significant purpose, Hemsholtz replied 'WHAT DO YOU THINK CAPS LOCK IS FOR/'.

Legal insiders say BMG's case may be stronger than one might think. "The Universal v. Reimerdes decision is pretty clear," said Daniel Rueben of Harvard law school, referring to the first significant DMCA lawsuit. "You can cross the line just by explaining how something works, or telling someone where to find out how something works. I'm surprised that IBM wasn't named for its keyboard input standard, which includes the shift keycode."

The suit is supported by the Recording Industry Association of America, which includes all major music labels. RIAA president Jack Valenti slammed keyboard companies for what he called "the next thing to armed robbery", adding that "They even put two of these keys on each model, and make them two or three times as large so you can't miss it. That's not incitement to piracy?"

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for the 12th of December.
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