According to Media Rights Technologies (MRT), Vista, Flash, RealPlayer, and iTunes are infringing products under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and MRT has just sent cease-and-desist letters to Microsoft, Adobe, Real, and Apple. "Together these four companies are responsible for 98 percent of the media players in the marketplace. We will hold the responsible parties accountable. The time of suing John Doe is over," said MRT CEO Hank Risan in a statement.
Microsoft, Adobe, Real, and Apple make media player software which can tune into digital music streams, many of which are transmitted without any sort of DRM attached. These streams can potentially be acquired using streamripper software. MRT claims that all four companies should have used one particular form of DRM, MRT's "X1 SeCure [sic] Recording Control." The company is threatening the four with lawsuits that could lead to "statutory damages of at least $200 to $2500 for each product distributed or sold". The legal argument at work here is that, under the DMCA, "mere avoidance of an effective copyright protection solution is a violation of the act."
Hank Risan claimed that "Stream Rippers [sic] are growing at the rate of well over 15 million units per month, with over 250 million user downloads in the last few years, costing the entertainment industry $20 billion to $50 billion annually. The problem has now eclipsed P2P file sharing as the #1 form of digital piracy." He also claims that Vista includes a built-in ripper (Sound Recorder) which can "deaggregate performance-based streams of unlimited duration and convert them into unprotected WMA downloads, easily uploaded onto Zune players." MRT seems to suggest that even using DRM is not enough, as it can be removed via a stream ripper. It implies that every media player on the market would have to use MRT's technology, or else, lawsuit.
News source: Ars Technica