"Computer giant Hewlett-Packard has become the first company
to be snagged by a German law requiring firms to pay fees for
making CD burners that are being used to illegally copy the latest
hits off the Web. The case sets the stage for other European
countries to possibly adopt similar rules to stem an epidemic that
cost the music industry an estimated $5 billion last year. But
analysts blasted the agreement reached Thursday as another example
of Germany's notorious thatch of regulations."
"The manufacturers are scapegoats," said Robert Labatt, a new
media analyst at research group Gartner. "It's the individual works
of art, books, songs, videos, that need to be protected."
"Many of Germany's neighbors, including France, Italy and
Greece, have similar laws meant to protect authors and musicians by
nailing makers of equipment used to violate copyright laws. But the
laws date back decades and focus on devices like tape recorders and