May the force be with your K-cups because some of them may no longer be welcomed by the Keurig empire.
Trouble started brewing for the popular coffee machine maker, Keurig, when consumers of the Keurig 2.0 coffee maker would only brew certain brands of coffee. The caffeine-induced controversy has been equated with restrictions for digital music sharing, in which a program is designed to restrict users from sharing or copying media.
DefectiveByDesign.org described digital restrictions management (DRM) this way:
Digital Restrictions Management is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. When a program is designed to prevent you from copying or sharing a song, reading an ebook on another device, or playing a single-player game without an Internet connection, you are being restricted by DRM. In other words, DRM creates a damaged good; it prevents you from doing what would be possible without it. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book burnings and conduct large scale surveillance over people's media viewing habits.
Keurig's coffee restriction has already prompted a total of 14 lawsuits just this year, USAToday reported.
Jim Rogers, who is the vice president of Rogers Family Co., a Lincoln, California-based business, makes its own K-cups and is involved in one of the lawsuits against Keurig. Rogers told USAToday that even if what the coffee machine maker is doing is legal, it's "certainly not friendly to the consumer."
TreeHouse Foods, based in Oakbrook, Illinois, is another company that's taking legal action. TreeHouse Foods chairman, president and CEO Sam Reed said his company's lawsuit is "fundamentally about consumer choice versus monopoly power."
"It's not just one piece of technology, but a long-standing pattern of anti-competitive behavior..." Reed said.
Meanwhile, Keurig's attempt restrict which types of coffee its machines brew, consumers have figured out a way around those limitations.
With just a pair of scissors, some tape and the lid to a Keurig-approved K-cup, the force will be with you – and your caffeine addiction.
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