What is it with digital music and patent disputes? Following the hoo-ha around MP3 patents earlier this year, it seems playlists are the latest feature that could land tech firms in hot water.
At least, that’s what a company called Premier International Associates hopes.
It claims to have patented the idea of playlists – “A plurality of works… collected together in a list for purposes of establishing a play or presentation sequence” – in 1997, and it’s just filed suit against a huge list of tech firms to try and squeeze money out of them.
Under the cosh are Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Viacom, RealNetworks, Napster, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, SanDisk, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Gateway, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Apparently the PC makers are in there because their machines run Windows Media Player, which allows playlists.
Premier claims to have already settled with Apple, which is the only thing stopping me from wondering if this is pure lunacy. It’s only a matter of time before some unheard-of company emerges to claim a patent on Music, and sues everyone who’s ever held a tune. Which at least means the Spice Girls are safe, I guess.
(via Ars Technica)