Lawsuits : Microsoft's Weapons of Mass Distraction

Microsoft is reportedly sueing an anonymous computer hacker whose free software - FairUse4WM - allows users to by-pass the DRM (digital rights management) built into the software giant's Media Player.

The lawsuit is Microsoft's latest attempt to stop the programmer, `Viodentia' from releasing updates to the software in response to Microsoft's various update patches.

Microsoft claims that FairUse4WM infringes its copyrights, even though many experts say the DRM-baptising software clearly does not.

The real reason for the lawsuit is that Microsoft wants the courts to `go fishing' for Viodentia's real identity. Once it has this, it can squash him/her with a flotilla of lawsuits.

Microsoft is also ignoring a number of legal precedents that recognise `fair use' of copyrighted material for personal reasons. Many experts say that Medial Player's DRM is far too draconian.

Legal fishing like this is bad news as it puts the legal system into disrepute. It also doesn't do Microsoft any good.

Not that Microsoft's reputation is so hot - ask the European Commission for its' opinion. Microsoft does spend a shed load of money on lawsuits and legal defences though.