Talking tech since 2003

On Thursday, February 22, Microsoft was fined a record $1.52 billion for infringement of digital music patent. A court in San Diego decided that Microsoft breached patents, owned by Alcatel-Lucent, which enabled MP3 encoding. Microsoft annouced immidately after that they would appeal the ruling. Microsoft’s main argument is that they in fact licensed the right to employ MP3 technology from a German institute, and that 3rd party was originally part of the Alcatel-Lucent firm.

This ruling could have an enormous affect on digital music as we know it. It could open the door for Alcatel-Lucent to press legal action against hundreds of other companies who’s software has MP3 encoding abilities.

This isn’t the first that we’ve heard from Alcatel-Lucent. Back in 2003 they attacked both Dell and Gateway over many patents, including that of MP3s. The attention was eventually shifted toward Microsoft, blaming the operating system as the root of the issue.

While this is a shaking event in the Digital Entertainment Era, I do not believe that we as consumers will be personally affected. Lawsuits have been thrown left and right for years over similar issues, and just about every time it was resolved in courts. This may be a heavy blow to Microsoft, but I highly disbelieve this will “throw doubt into the future of the digital music industry.”

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