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Discovery sues Amazon over Kindle

Discovery sues Amazon over Kindle

Amazon's Kindle is in hot water again, this time over claims that its digital distribution mechanism violates patents held by Discovery.

Amazon's woes over its Kindle e-book reader continue to grow with the news that TV company Discovery - yes, that Discovery – is suing the company over alleged patent infringement.

As reported over on Electronista, Discovery is claiming that the digital distribution system used by both the original Kindle and the Kindle 2 to make e-books available from Amazon's website is an almost direct copy of the company's own system for allowing shows to be downloaded to computers and mobile devices.

In papers filed with the Delaware US District Court yesterday, Discovery called for an injunction banning sales of the allegedly infringing devices until such a time as Amazon agreed a licensing scheme – a scheme which would result in Amazon being made to pay royalties to Discovery for use of their patented technologies.

If the ruling goes in favour of Discovery, it could have a chilling effect on the digital distribution market: many mobile devices – including Apple's popular iPhone and iPod touch ranges – use a method similar to that employed by the Kindle to allow users to purchase content to be transferred to their devices, and the manufacturers could easily find themselves the next target on the list should Discovery's patents hold up to scrutiny.

This isn't the first legal problem Amazon has had with its Kindle device: back in February the company was accused of breaking licensing restrictions on audiobook rights by introducting a text-to-speech synthesis capability into the Kindle 2. The company responded to the accusations by adjusting the DRM applied to the system and giving publishers the right to opt-out of the text-to-speech system – something that doesn't appear to be possible in this case unless Amazon wants to stop selling content for the Kindle altogether.

Do you think that Discovery needs to get back to making popular science-related programmes, or does the company have a claim on Amazon's Kindle income? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

14 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
p3n 18th March 2009, 14:03 Quote
I think DARPA were first to invent the internet?
B1GBUD 18th March 2009, 14:40 Quote
Wasn't it actually Tim Berners-Lee ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee
[USRF]Obiwan 18th March 2009, 14:42 Quote
its crisis time again and everybody is suing everybody again for some free money in the pocket....
E7130 18th March 2009, 14:44 Quote
You can only patent one method of doing something, you can't cover them all Discovery. Like multi-touch, there a lots of ways of doing it that is why Apple isn't suing people over their touch interfaces.
ChaosDefinesOrder 18th March 2009, 14:53 Quote
prior art much?
Jenny_Y8S 18th March 2009, 14:54 Quote
I frigging hate patent law !
steveo_mcg 18th March 2009, 14:59 Quote
Still i can't feel too sorry for Amazon, just ask Earl about karma
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-231798.html
Mister_X 18th March 2009, 15:28 Quote
As someone who got a Sony E-Reader at christmas there, i hope the kindle crashes and burns. Not that i think it will.
I grudgingly admit its a fine wee device.
scarrmrcc 18th March 2009, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
I frigging hate patent law !

well, patent law is not hte problem...the law is good. it is the greedy idiots trying to say "i patented everything! pay me!!!"
pizan 18th March 2009, 20:20 Quote
Discovery is only getting back at amazon because amazon did it to them when they launched their web store.
ssj12 19th March 2009, 02:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarrmrcc
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
I frigging hate patent law !

well, patent law is not hte problem...the law is good. it is the greedy idiots trying to say "i patented everything! pay me!!!"

this shows a major flaw in the patent system...
scarrmrcc 19th March 2009, 12:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarrmrcc
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
I frigging hate patent law !

well, patent law is not hte problem...the law is good. it is the greedy idiots trying to say "i patented everything! pay me!!!"

this shows a major flaw in the patent system...

but those idiots rarely actually win.

it is kinda like how i could sue...you for the sky being blue. would i win? nope, but i could sue you for it.
steveo_mcg 19th March 2009, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarrmrcc
but those idiots rarely actually win.

it is kinda like how i could sue...you for the sky being blue. would i win? nope, but i could sue you for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Still i can't feel too sorry for Amazon, just ask Earl about karma
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-231798.html

Really Amazon did...
Farting Bob 19th March 2009, 15:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_X
As someone who got a Sony E-Reader at christmas there, i hope the kindle crashes and burns. Not that i think it will.
I grudgingly admit its a fine wee device.
Since you already own what is in your opinion the better product, why would you care if it fails?

Anyway, as far as i can tell Discovery is talking out their ass. They were far from the first to offer web downloads that contained DRM which allowed it to be played on a particular device. I hope they take this all the way and waste millions of dollars.
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