Microsoft Demands "Screen Shot Royalties" From TV Stations

Fake News written by Ann Oneemuss on Wednesday, November 13, 2002

from the you-got-a-license-for-that-powerpoint? dept.

REDMOND, WA -- In a study commissioned by the prestigious Microsoft Department For Finding Ways To Separate More People From Their Money, researchers discovered that an average of 87% of TV news programs feature an interview with a person sitting in front of a Windows computer showing the desktop or the flying Windows screensaver.

As a result of these findings, Microsoft has retroactively changed the End User License Agreement for Windows to require TV stations to fork over $0.01 per second per viewer each time a Windows computer is shown in a broadcast.

"You see it all the time," one Microserf explained. "TV reporters love to interview somebody in the presence of a computer -- it makes them and the interviewee appear smarter. Some clueless idiot suddenly looks like an expert when they're being interviewed with the Flying Windows screensaver running in the background. We want to capitalize on this phenomenon."

In a press release, Microsoft argued that all of the standard Windows screensavers represent "dozens of man-hours of programming effort" and an "extremely valuable form of intellectual property" that must be protected. The Windows desktop -- another background fixture of TV broadcasts -- is "universally recognized as the most ingenious human-computer interface ever devised". TV producers should not be allowed to take advantage of this "pinnacle of technological achievement" without first compensating Microsoft.

The Microsoft legal team has already been deployed against one TV station which inadvertantly showed a computer in the studio's background displaying the Blue Screen of Death. "The 'Illegal Exception Error Screen' is one of the most widely recognized symbols in the history of mankind and yet is also the butt of countless jokes propogated by low-budget online humor sites," stammered one lawyer. "When a TV station broadcasts such a screen, it compromises the Windows brand and harms Microsoft's reputation. We simply can't allow that. Either TV stations will need to upgrade their on-screen computers to Windows XP, which doesn't crash [as much -Ed.], or they will be forced to set aside 5% of their airtime for Microsoft commercials as compensation."

TV stations aren't the only businesses that might find themselves paying "screen shot royalties". College professors and businessmen that give PowerPoint presentations to large audiences might also be forced to pay. Explained one company lawyer-vulture, "Just as the MPAA disallows public exhibitions of videos, we might prohibit the public display of Windows or other Microsoft products without additional licensing fees."

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