Adult Sites Fight Patent Holders: Apple & Others Could Be Next

OK, what does Apple, Microsoft, CNN, your local cable company, and Web based adult movie sites have in common? (This is not a trick question.)

They all use technology to deliver digital content to you, and that is the reason why one company, Acacia Media Technologies, believes that its ship has come in.

Who is Acacia Media Technologies (AMT) and why do you care? Well, if you enjoy watching movie previews, listening to Internet Radio, or using your iDisk to stream movies to your friends, Acacia Media Technologies claims to own the patents for the technologies that make those conveniences (and more) possible. More importantly, they have begun suing companies they say are violating those patents, according to an article from Wired News. Currently AMT is going after porn sites, but the article points out that this likely just a first step on the way to suing companies like Apple, Microsoft, Real, and large content providers. From the article Web Porn Pusher In Patent Fight:

Executives at Acacia Media Technologies say theyive got patents on streaming, downloading and just about every other form of delivering movies and sounds electronically.

Now the firm is enforcing its legal claim -- by going after Internet porn pushers.

Twenty-one blue content providers are actively grappling with Acacia in U.S. District Court. Several firms have agreed to settle rather than risk a lengthy, possibly crippling legal battle.

Just last week, adult webmaster affiliate house, agreed to license Acaciais patents.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. But, generally, Acacia has been asking for 1 to 2 percent of a companyis gross revenues in return for calling off the wing-tipped attack dogs.

Internet eroticists are "scared," said Tom Hymes, editor of AVNonline , the online porn trade magazine. "Theyire furious at this company," he said. "And theyire afraid theyire going to be run out of business."

Itis a fight with more than the fiscal health of a few smut sellers at stake. If Acacia can line up enough legal victories against the triple-X adversaries, patent experts say, the company may have legal grounds to go after the giants of digital content distribution, like Apple, Real and Microsoft -- and just about every other major media and communications player, too.

"If you could establish good law against someone who canit spend a lot of money to crush you," said Margaret Jane Radin, a professor at Stanford Law School. "Then in the next suit you could rely on that law, to some extent."

The article also offers some comments from those fighting the companyis patent claims, as well as other related information. You can find the full article at Wired News.