Do We Look That Stupid?

We’ve heard this song before: Remember the ripoff artists who tried to get broadcasters to pay royalties for their EAS systems? They caused a lot of consternation in their day, but broadcasters stood up to them and they slunk into the night. (Yes, that is indeed the past tense of “slink.”)

Now here comes another bunch, Mission Abstract Data, now known as Digimedia, who bought up a bunch of patents with the express purpose of exacting tribute from people and companies who use technology vaguely similar to what the patents represent.

At least that’s how I interpret what they are doing. And I am far from alone–albeit with far less legal eloquence–in fervently believing that this is a big steaming pile of crap.

If it’s legal eloquence you want, read the opinion of broadcast attorney Kevin Goldberg earlier in this issue. I think I can sum up Mr. Goldberg’s thesis thusly: “Get an expensive attorney. He or she doesn’t know the answers any more than you do, but in the end, he/she will have money and you won’t.”

What makes all this big fun indeed is the fact that the courts could just as easily interpret the matter in the opposite way. After all, they don’t have the answers, either.