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ATI, Nvidia HDCP Legal Problem


After the reports that ATI and Nvidia were claiming their products were “HDCP-ready” when they actually were not, they seem to have noticed. Numerous stories are out that ATI was quietly modifying their web page to remove the “HDCP-ready” specification. Articles such as this one at DailyTech shows their web page both before and after the modification. Ten hours after their story was printed, they gave an update that ATI had reverted to the original wording.

Seems to me that ATI is scrambling. Nvidia must be as well. They have sold thousands of expensive video cards to people who very well may plan to use them in a situation where being HDCP-ready is a requirement. They will be extremely upset to find out that they do not have what they expected, and what was clearly mentioned in advertisments and on the box itself. And there is no simple way for them to fix this problem, since a firmware update is not a possible solution. What are they going to do to appease all their customers? Ship every person a replacement card? They can’t and would not do that.

This situation is just ripe for a class action suit. Unfortunately, I can already see what will most likely be the end result of such a suit. The lawyers will get a large monetary settlement, while ATI and others will admit no wrongdoing and be forced to give everyone a $25 rebate on their next video card purchase. The lawyers are happy with the cash windfall, ATI is happy that the whole fiasco only cost them a few million dollars and the customers get a small rebate in order to buy a new product from the company that wronged them in the first place. With all the talk about lawsuits hurting industries, this sort of cooperation between the trial attorneys and the companies they are suing is about the biggest scam going.

Posted by Jeff


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