Feeds

Germans hit HP with anti-piracy fine

It's official - your PC is a hi-fi...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Hewlett-Packard has been fined by the German courts for shipping hardware capable of creating pirate music CDs.

The company will have to cough up DM3.60 ($1.60) for each computer it has sold since February 1998. HP won't say how many machines that is, but it could easily run into the hundreds of thousands.

The case comes just a week after Compaq was hit with a $60 million lawsuit for shipping DVD drives without first obtaining an MPEG 2 patent licence.

We noted that Compaq was clearly being made a scapegoat - plenty of other vendors ship DVD drives with their PCs and we reckon they don't hold MPEG 2 licences either - and that seems to be the case with HP too. How many computer manufacturers you know ship PCs without hard drives, CD writers, floppy drives, or any other kind of storage?

Incidentally, HP was sent a letter demanding it license MPEG 2 technology, alongside Apple and Dell, so the company must be feeling pretty put upon right now.

German law imposes a levy on all equipment capable of recording music at home. Tape deck manufacturers, cassette makers, etc. all pay up and have been doing so for years. The levy is paid to copyright control agencies who share it among artists. It's design to compensate musicians - albeit in a small way - from the effects of piracy.

Only now has it occurred to anyone that CD-R and CD-R/W drives in PCs can also record music, and so HP has been singled out for treatment.

HP will have to pay DM12 ($5.40) for every machine it ships with a device that can store music - in other words, all of them.

"In essence, there is no difference between analogue and digital technology when it comes to private copying," is how Hans-Herwig Geyer, spokesman for GEMA, Germany's music copyright watchdog, put it today. ®

Related Stories

Compaq $60m lawsuit centres on DVD violation
Compaq sued for $60m over video patent

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.