LOS ANGELES – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today filed suit against 17 major companies that manufacture, sell, or distribute black magic markers. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the RIAA claims that black magic markers enable “music crackers” to defeat copyright protection schemes employed on newly manufactured audio compact discs.
Under the DMCA, tools or devices that aid in the disabling of a copyright protection scheme are illegal. Black magic markers, when written on the right place of a CD, disable the copy protection on the disc.
“We need to protect our copyrighted property,” said a spokesperson for the RIAA. “Those damn markers are everywhere and someone needs to put a stop to them.”
Among the companies that are being sued for manufacturing black magic markers, the PaperMate Corporation has expressed doubts as to their ability to fight the RIAA in court: “Others have tried and failed [to fight the RIAA]. We can’t afford a court battle that will go on for years… We may just stop making our line of fine black magic markers and replace them with an exclusively green magic marker line.”
Dr. Dre, a rap artist that has been extremely vocal regarding music cracking tools said in a press conference, “I won’t rest until every single black magic marker has been destroyed from the face of the Earth. Those who have made them must pay.”
Not all recording artists share Dr. Dre’s stance however. “I think we need to kill every <explicative> who’s ever used a black magic marker. People are the problem, not the <explicative> markers,” said Eminem.
This is not the first the time an industry association has sued the manufacturers of a common household item citing the DMCA. Last January, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed a suit against 9 major manufacturers of VCRs. According to the MPAA VCRs, when used in a “subversive manner,” can enable a “movie pirate” to copy DVDs illegally.
Nor is this the first time the RIAA has filed a suit using the DMCA. A Delaware judge is to decide the outcome of a high-profile case next month involving an RIAA claim that tape decks enable consumers to illegally copy compact discs. This case has been extraordinarily controversial because Sony Entertainment, a member of the RIAA, is suing Sony Consumer Electronics, makers of high-quality tape recording devices. If the case is won, Sony will end up paying an estimated $400 million in damages to itself.
Robert Rose of Corvallis, Oregon is not a writer but pretends to be one. Email him at rose at cafwap dot net