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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: keydmca.txt

Keyboard owners to be sued for including Shift key which allows piracy of CDs A tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the RIAA's reaction to the discovery that holding Shift while inserting a CD will bypass the new anti-ripping copy protection in audio CDs


Keyboard Manufacturers Named in DMCA Suit (Politics)

By wji
Thu Oct 9th, 2003 at 05:33:55 AM EST

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 

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 

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 

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

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