Buy Our Product Or We’ll Sue!!!

My first reaction was this was a new low for our legal system. But after reading the article I realized it’s still on the fringes and that system seems ready to laugh them out of court, should they decide to go there.

Two companies (one is a subsidiary of the other, so just one bonehead decision was made) sent cease and desist letter to Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and RealNetworks because they aren’t using their product. Since this is probably a publicity stunt I decided not to print the company names but here’s the CNet story on this insane company.

They claim that they have a DRM product that plugs the “digital hole” that these other companies leave open. The C&D letter claims the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requires those companies to use their DRM since it works. No specific info on the cost, but I doubt it’s a free offer.

I take solace in the that:

  • Legal action and lawsuits tend to be the last gasp of a failing company. One can only hope these companies are heading the same way and will soon be out of our misery.
  • Maybe these companies figure legal action is OK because DRM is losing traction with all the talk of DRM free music and their business is doomed without an artifical bump of a legal edict. These guys don’t seem to sharp so they may think it, but I doubt DRM is going away anytime soon. Just won’t be theirs.

Here’s what the CEO had to say…

We’ve given these four companies 10 days to talk to us and work out a solution, or we will go into federal court and file action and seek an injunction to remove the infringing products from the marketplace,” CEO Hank Risan said in a phone interview Friday.

I have to believe none of these companies will even return the call. RealNetworks is the only one to comment…

RealNetworks spokesman Matt Graves said he hadn’t yet seen the letter, but it appeared to be a ploy by a “desperate company” to get its product licensed. “That’s a rather novel approach to business development,” he said in an e-mail interview Friday.

Seems to be pretty much on the mark, if a tad understated. I would hope the companies never consider any of the companies products and other potential customers are wary of doing business with a company prone to legal harassment.

Of course, my fear is they’ll find a judge who actually entertains the idea at which point it it would be a new low. Maybe that’s a fear of the targeted companies too and they’ll settle, although I kind of doubt that. It’s not like they picked companies with limited resources that had an incentive to settle.

I realize that SCO (another company deep in lawsuits based on weak law) no longer stands for Santa Cruz Operations, but it did at one time. The company sending these cease and desist letters is located in Santa Cruz, Ca. Like SCO, there’s no one to vote out the management since it doesn’t seem to be publicly traded. Hopefully Santa Cruz doesn’t get stigmatized.