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Promising Ruling In Lexmark DMCA Case

michael posted more than 8 years ago | from the morning-in-america dept.

The Courts 12

EvanKai writes "Jason Schultz writes, "This just in --- Static Control Corp. has won its appeal against Lexmark over the right to produce after-market replacement cartridges for Lexmark printers." You can find a PDF of the ruling here and more about the case on EFF's site." It's important to note that the case is not even close to finished; this was just a ruling on whether Static Control would be enjoined (prevented) from selling their replacement cartridges while the suit proceeded. The original court issued an injunction, and the Appellate Court felt that Static Control had a good chance of success in court and overturned the injunction. The case will proceed and in the end, either side may win.

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12 comments

Yay (4, Insightful)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 8 years ago | (#10634968)

So if i understand this right, this means they may continue selling their cartridges during the court case, which means it wont be so easy for lexmark to just keep them in court untill they run out of money.

Good news or bad news? (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635043)

It's basically a choice between expensive ink and expensive printers. The question whether one should consider it a good news or bad news depends only on the individual printing patterns, i.e. how much ink does one use on average in a printer lifetime. This is certainly a hard question to answer.

Re:Good news or bad news? (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635143)

Oh...and the minor issue of your freedom.

Re:Good news or bad news? (2, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635175)

it's good news for the consumer.

with cheap printers and expensive ink it's hard for a regular joe to make information based decisions on what he would like to buy(what will using some printer cost for him and will it be just cheaper to buy another piece of plastic and electronics than the refill..).

it's always easier if manufacturer doesn't try to make you a subscriber instead of a one time purchase...

Re:Good news or bad news? (1)

dago (25724) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635221)

Well, nonwithstanding impact on other cases where DMCA is waived and the consequences over innovations in/with the USA, this question may also have an impact on the environment.

At a time here, it was cheaper to buy a new printer box to get a new (then full) ink cartbridge ... Thus a lot of brand new printer trashing.

Re:Good news or bad news? (1)

saden1 (581102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10637355)

Have you guys seen a Lexmark cartridge? I don't know how people put up with that shit! Fleecing the public is what Lexmark. Print cartridges should have been "commoditized" long ago.

Appeal overturned in sub-court-case decision (1)

Chr1s-Cr0ss (743037) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635571)

Good to know that SCC is getting a fair and speedy trial.

As an armchair juror (1)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635602)

Sounds like Lexmark can't handle the competition and is using the law in a perverse way to uphold a monopoly by seeking to prevent SCC from manufacturing cheaper cartridges.

The DMCA was designed to protect copyrights and prevent IP theft, not protect monopolies and prevent competition.

Re:As an armchair juror (1)

alyandon (163926) | more than 8 years ago | (#10635980)

Lexmark is hardly a monopoly in the area of inkjet printers. However, I fully agree that they are intentionally abusing the DMCA in order to prevent competition from manufacturers of low cost ink cartridges.

Re:As an armchair juror (1)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 9 years ago | (#10637246)

Understand that protecting copyrights and preventing IP theft is exactly the same as protecting monopolies and preventing competiton. (Not that that's a bad thing - a copyright is a limited monopoly granted to promote the science and the useful arts. Which would be good, were there any balance currently.)

What you mean is, the DMCA is meant to protect copyright monopolies, not ink cartridge monopolies - let Lexmark buy it's own laws.

Re:As an armchair juror (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10637797)

Understand that protecting copyrights and preventing IP theft is exactly the same as protecting monopolies and preventing competiton.

A bit of yes and no here. Both copyright and Patent are supposed to let you prevent me from sponging off of your intelectual exercise -- but they are both designed to allow me to compete with a similar but improved/cheaper product that does not infringe on your own inventions.

What lexmark tried to do here was game the system and essentially make it impossible to compete in the provision of a service (printer ink cartriges) without violating copyright (kinda like the Sega (I think) scheme that forced cartriges to produce the company logo at the start and then went after anybody who produced compatible cartridges with copyright/trademark violations.

It's gaming the system beyond it's intended bounds -- and it's designed to cheat customers by luring them with cheap printers then sucking them dry on replacements. Most customers don't look at the cost of cartridges when they buy a printer, and presume that they'll be correspondingly cheap, so when they get charged $50 to refill the ink on a $40 printer, they are (rightly) upset, but dont feel any real choice in the matter -- this is especially the case if it's illegal to provide them with a realistic choice other than treating the whole printer as a disposable commodity.

Regardless of the outcome (2, Interesting)

chessnotation (601394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10637447)

Regardless of the outcome, it's too late for Lexmark.

Abuse of the DCMA and copyright by a company is not easily forgotten. I will never again purchase any Lexmark product, nor will I encourage or support their use by others.

For those who would consider buying any hardware from Lexmark and their ilk, consider this: you are only helping to pay the lawyers and others who promote abuse of the legal system.
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