by Mike Masnick

Bogus DMCA Threats As A Marketing Strategy

from the impressive dept

We've seen all sorts of misuses of the DMCA over the years, but this one probably wins the contest, hands down. It's a company (who I will not name for reasons I explain later) that makes DRM technology. Today, the company put out a press release saying that it had sent out cease-and-desist letters to Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Real for violating the DMCA. And, just how do they claim that these four companies violate the DMCA? Well, in the twisted logic of the press release, "mere avoidance of an effective copyright protection solution is a violation of the act." This isn't actually true, but in a press release you can claim whatever you want. Therefore, the fact that the DRM used by these four companies isn't "effective" (by which the company means not using its own DRM solution) supposedly means that they're violating the DMCA. This is really sneaky for a few reasons, but we're not going to name the company involved because this is clearly a marketing stunt, rather than anything serious. They're abusing the DMCA to get press coverage.

First of all, notice that they didn't actually file a DMCA takedown notice or file any actual lawsuit. They simply sent a cease-and-desist (and, of course, their own press release) -- which is effectively meaningless. Cease-and-desist letters can be (and often are) completely ignored. The recipient is under no requirement to follow. In normal circumstances, where a cease-and-desist actually has some weight behind it, it's because the sender of the cease-and-desist will file a lawsuit if the recipient doesn't comply. Of course, in this case, the company in question cannot file a DMCA lawsuit, because it has no standing. Even if it were true (and it's not) that having bad copy protection was a DMCA violation, you have to be the copyright holder to file the DMCA notice (otherwise you can get into trouble). This company is not the copyright holder... they're just some no name maker of DRM software that thinks a cheap publicity stunt abusing the DMCA will get them attention.

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  • identicon
    Xanius, 11 May 2007 @ 12:13am

    yeah about the not mentioning them...

    Even linking to the articles about them gives them the publicity they want because the articles have the name and regardless of saying the name you are still talking about them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2007 @ 12:50am

    Pissing off your (potential) customers is NOT the best way to do business.

    Why is this so difficult for some people to understand ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 11 May 2007 @ 2:03am

    Need I say it...

    ...perhaps they're trying to exploit the Streisand effect...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wolfger, 11 May 2007 @ 5:17am

    not naming the company is just dumb

    You should definitely name evil out loud wherever you find it, so that people can more easily recognize it.
    Like AMZ*Prime... It would be so nice if anybody contemplating using this company for DRM would do a Google search and find this article instead of the company page.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 11 May 2007 @ 5:29am

    Note to self:

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dosquatch, 11 May 2007 @ 5:57am

    FTFA: It makes illegal and prohibits the manufacture of any product or technology that is designed for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure which effectively controls access to a copyrighted work or which protects the rights of copyright owners. Under the DMCA, mere avoidance of an effective copyright protection solution is a violation of the act.

    OK, anti-circumvention clause, sure. But "the mere avoidance of an effective" blah, blah... if it were "effective", then "mere" avoidance shouldn't be possible. Nevermind, though, what they're saying here isn't too far out of the fold, they're just restating (poorly) the intent of the anticircumvention clause.

    Where they really fall down the rabbit hole is here: without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners, actively avoiding the use of MRT's technologies.

    BWAAAHAHAHA! OMG, this is almost as funny as HBO trying to rename DRM!

    Look, I don't care how effective your new content protection crud is, I don't even care if it's the best DRM ever and is completely uncrackable, there is no, NO, NO requirement in the DMCA or elsewhere that requires anybody to ever use your product. They can use whatever they want, including none at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 11 May 2007 @ 6:46am

    Last I checked

    The DMCA was put in place to make sure no one used your product without contacting you first, right? If I just simply decide not to use your product (nor do try to copy your product) then what legal course do you have?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon-i-mouse, 11 May 2007 @ 7:12am

    Bogus bogus

    Too bad one can't sue these a??holes for wasting our time! What dren.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    YogiFish.com, 13 May 2007 @ 6:30pm

    Times Up

    Many companies and their technologies are starting to lose their value because it was hyped to begin with. All of these software based audio and video protection codec have created presentation limitations, and added extra cost to the public, developers and streaming server host.

    Take away DRM or any type of copy protection concerns, and the bottom starts to fall out of all of these companies that have profited solely because of regulations. It has become a production tax no one wants to continue to pay, or can continue to afford.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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