Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, April 6, 2003

How Does the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) Affect Computer Hardware?

As companies like Lexmark have been suing other companies for DMCA violations (like the manufacturing and sale of compatible ink-cartridges for their printers) concerns have been raised about where the boundaries of what is good for all should be drawn.

So far Lexmark has been granted an injunction preventing other companies from selling such compatible ink-cartridges. So, apparently, the third-party market for cartridges for this type of Lexmark printers is being effectivley closed off. You can only buy a Lexmark cartridge for your Lexmark printer.

Is this what you truly want?
Are these consequences of the use of DMCA affecting you in any way?
Are you going to pay more for these cartidges now?
Can Lexmark establish its own prices and put you in a difficult situation?

Not yet.

There are still many alternatives on the market and you don't need to buy a Lexmark printer now that you know about this. But what about if this type of approach takes hold and spreads to other product manufacturers like for example fuel cell laptop batteries. Toshiba is marketing such new technology and hypotethically a cartel of authorized Toshiba fuel cell resellers could form a cartel and set a fictitious and totally controlled price for this product.



The DMCA would apply also to these types of cases because Toshiba or others could be designing fuel cells batteries that contain a patented controller chip inside, thereby fully preventing others from creating compatible products.

If that would ever happen and prove to be successful you would have no more Duracell, Eveready or Superpila batteries, but only fuel cells from Toshiba at Toshiba prices.

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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, April 6 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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