The DMCA vs. Video Jukeboxes

by on July 14, 2006

I sure wish I’d noticed the Kaleidescape lawsuit when I was writing my DMCA paper. Although not technically a DMCA case (they have a license from the DVD CCA, who is claiming its terms were violated), it’s clearly illustrates how the DVD cartel is wielding the power given to it by the DMCA. The dispute has nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with control: the DVD CCA wants to dictate what features DVD players are allowed to have, and Kaleidescape had the gall to include features that weren’t on the cartel’s list of approved features.

One of the weaknesses of the case against the DMCA is that there’s a limited number of concrete examples of innovations that have been chilled. I think that’s because most of them never got off the ground: their perspective inventors didn’t bother creating because they knew their inventions would be illegal. Of course, that’s sheer speculation on my part. But here’s a concrete example of a category of device that probably would exist right now if not for the DMCA: video jukeboxes. It does for DVDs what MP3 players did for CDs. If the iPod is 1000 songs in your pocket, a Kaleidescape is 1000 DVDs in your living room.

I think it’s almost certain that in the absence of the DMCA, there would today be a thriving market in home media devices that allow you to rip your DVDs and then stream them to your TV. Instead, there’s only one such device, it costs $25,000-$100,000, and the DVD CCA is doing its best to force it off the market.

I haven’t been able to find any news reports on the case in the last year. Does anyone know what became of the lawsuit? Kaleidescape appears to still be selling their product.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: