When they unveiled the stupid idea of locking out competitors' coffee-pods, I predicted this would happen, and I still wonder if Keurig will be dumb enough to bring a test-case that makes some good law; after all, they are a good candidate for Battle Station Most Likely to Have a Convenient Thermal Exhaust Port.
The DRM has been broken by two of Keurig's competitors: Treehouse and Realcup. The law that makes it illegal to break DRM limits itself to "circumventing effective means of access control" to copyrighted works, and coffee pods are not copyrighted works. Ten years ago, there was a small run of companies claiming that the DRM itself was the copyrighted work -- Lexmark claimed that about the software that checked to see whether you'd refilled your print-cartridges -- but the courts told them to pound sand.
But Keurig -- whose business model is to sell you coffee-makers below cost, then make a profit by using the law to force you to drink overpriced, shitty coffee out of it -- may not be able to resist the temptation to sue, and as far as test-cases go, this is about as perfect as it's likely to get, and could potentially generate some great judicial opinion that will scare others off the same tactic.
It appears that Keurig competitors have already figured out ways to crack the DRM. TreeHouse Foods very quickly announced that it would be able to break the DRM. Meanwhile, Mother Parkers' RealCup has just announced that its pods are compatible with Keurig's DRM. It's a little unclear from the press release if Mothers Parkers cracked the DRM or came to a deal with Green Mountain, though it sure sounds like it was internal work.
Keurig's Coffee DRM Already Cracked By Competitors; Will There Be A Lawsuit? [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]
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