Fujitsu should move to the US

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Most European countries have been very sympathetic to open software ideas, like Linux. With that in mind, I would think they would turn a blind eye to the piracy concerns that the RIAA and the MPAA have. However, German courts recently handed down a ruling against Fujitsu, stating that the company now has to pay a $16 piracy fee for every computer they sell in Germany. Why, you ask? Because Fujitsu computers can be used to copy and distribute copyrighted music and movies, therefore Fujitsu gets to pay for part of the loss the multi-billion dollar media companies may face.
While US courts haven’t completely ruled in file trader’s favor, the understanding that a recording machine isn’t illegal (stemming from earlier court cases against VCR manufacturers) has usually been applied in the computer world as well. For example, Kazaa won a ruling in the US because their software is not intended to be a piracy vehicle and it has legal uses.
The case was brought by VG Wort, the German equivilant of RIAA/MPAA. VG Wort claims it will now bring suit against other German computer makers. Quick, everybody flee to the US! 😉 BTW, there are similar rulings on the books in the UK and other European countries, dealing with blank CD/DVD media and such.
Update: Jim informs me that the US actually has fees attached to blank media as well. He also notes “When RIO introduced the first portable MP3 player the RIAA tried to extort a royalty fee from them as well. That didn’t happen though. It is interesting how they distinguish digital copies from analog copies at a legal level.”