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German Court: Open Source Project Liable For 3rd Party DRM-Busting Coding

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the damned-by-association dept.

DRM 178

Diamonddavej writes "TorrentFreak reports a potentially troubling court decision in Germany. The company Appwork has been threatened with a 250,000 Euro fine for functionality committed to its open-source downloader (JDownloader2) repository by a volunteer coder without Appwork's knowledge. The infringing code enables downloading of RTMPE video streams (an encrypted streaming video format developed by Adobe). Since the code decrypted the video streams, the Hamburg Regional Court decided it represented circumvention of an 'effective technological measure' under Section 95a of Germany's Copyright Act and it threatened Appwork with a fine for 'production, distribution and possession' of an 'illegal' piece of software."

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178 comments

"effective technological measure" (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#45616799)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Doesn't the concept of "effective" mean that code breaking the DRM cannot exist?

Re:"effective technological measure" (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#45616845)

One would like to think so; but the courts haven't (CSS is how broken now, and for how long?) I assume that the argument is that it's 'effective' because you still need a specially designed tool to break it, not unlike a lockpick. What isn't clear, under that reasoning, is why essentially all file formats of remotely nontrivial complexity don't count as 'effective technological measures', since virtually nothing in digitized form is remotely human readable without specialized software transformation. Your odds of turning an RTMP stream into video with your brain are basically as good as your odds of doing the same with an RTMPE stream, and neither are high.

Re:"effective technological measure" (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#45617063)

A book written in Greek and a book written in English using a cipher are both gibberish to me, but understanding one depends on a parser and the other on a decryption key. In short the understanding of "effective technological measure" seem to be that the protocol is trying to use a secret (CSS key, AACS key, HDMI key etc.) to protect the content. So if you took any file format and wrapped it in AES with a static key with no memory protection whatsoever then decrypting it in any other program would be a DMCA violation, geeks all get caught up in "effective" but in context it just means a measure intended to have that effect specifically to exclude all other attempts at interpreting a protocol as "cracking" it.

Re:"effective technological measure" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617155)

Meanwhile in the crypto world, if someone breaks a cipher, the creator will admit defeat like an honorable man, he won't go cry to a judge like a baby.

Re:"effective technological measure" (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#45617733)

I assume that the argument is that it's 'effective' because you still need a specially designed tool to break it, not unlike a lockpick.

Actually, in many cases, the "lockpick" is the original key.

Re:"effective technological measure" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616853)

German speaking guy here. You're absolutely right, I have the exact same opinion, but they really use this "wording" (sorry if I didn't get that expression right). It's stupid. I believe that it is written like this deliberately. So they can use any $drm scheme, doesn't matter how cheap, it could be as cheap as, any 12 year scriptkidde can circumvent it, if it says $drm, you can be sued for the circumvention of it. Or the other possibility is, they really just have no idea. Maybe they compared drm to the physical world. Burglers can smash in your window just like that, enter your house and steal everything of value/easily movable. Doesn't mean they couldn't be sued for it, because security doors + windows are an effective counter measure against burglars.

Re:"effective technological measure" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616875)

Yes, "wording" is the correct word :)

Re:"effective technological measure" (2)

advocate_one (662832) | about 5 months ago | (#45616945)

by their definition, ROT13 is an "effective" DRM scheme...

Re:"effective technological measure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617129)

ROT13 is a very effective DRM scheme. If it is anything but a plain text format and you don't know that it is encrypted with ROT13 you could have a very hard time decrypting it, unless you just assumes that anything you can't open probably is ROT13-encoded.

ASCII is an encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617561)

And by turning the ASCII decimal value 32 into the blank glyph, you've decrypted it to plain enlgish.

This problem would be solved if the acceptance of copyright DEMANDING a plaintext only version, since an encrypt never expires, and copyrights do. Therefore something encrypted is a trade secret at best and not copyrightable.

Re: "effective technological measure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617237)

Actually, nobody here has shown any indication of knowing what legal standard they use for the term. Good jorb Slashdot.

Re: "effective technological measure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617849)

Well all /you/ contributed to the discussion is a typo.

Re:"effective technological measure" (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 5 months ago | (#45617581)

Well perhaps, but to play Devil's advocate: this isn't a game.

There are two parts to DRM when combined with an anti-circumvention law. The first is the one that exists anyway: to attempt to make it as difficult as practically possible for someone to gain unrestricted access to the raw content. The other - which the DMCA (and its apparent German equivalent) adds - is to add legal liabilities for creating, possessing and/or using the tools, however easy, that break that encryption, should they ever come into being.

Us nerds have a tendency to misread laws and assume that rather than it being a reflection of the intent of the authors, that the language used is arbitrary and written by dolts to be interpreted in the widest possible context. Specifically we look at words like "effective" and rather than interpreting it in the context of the rest of the law, we go off on tangents and ask whether something is effective using other definitions within different contexts.

Is, for example, CSS effective? Well, I'd argue it is in context. It requires you use a specialized tool, designed specifically to break CSS, in order to access the content. It meets the definition in context. It doesn't meet the definition if you change the subject and say "Well, in 1998 it protected content, but does it now? Is it easy to find the tools needed to circumvent it?", but that's not the definition of effective that's implied by the context of the legislation - which is why better lawyers than us are not making that claim when protecting, say, Real Networks.

As for ROT-13.... well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. My guess is it wouldn't, because ROT-13 doesn't require knowledge of any secrets beyond the fact it's being used to begin with, and the "tool" used to decrypt it is already built-in to a billion email, USENET, and so on clients. At the very least, if SuperdooperRayVD 4K discs in 2020 are encrypted using ROT-13, they'd have great difficulty persuading judges that millions of pre-existing USENET clients from the 1990s are illegal.

Re:"effective technological measure" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616975)

Effective == "the judges in charge are too stupid to do something about it"

Re:"effective technological measure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617115)

It isn't the burglars that are getting sued. It is the toolmaker.
In this case it is a tool specifically made to break through windows.
I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with the court deciding if there are any possible legal use for a window-breaker or not. What if I ever need one for completely legal reasons. It would be unfortunate if creating those was considered illegal then.

Re:"effective technological measure" (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#45617325)

Here is how you get around it. Once you reverse engineer their effective device, create an app that uses the effective device and register the copright. Then expose how to defeate your effective device and their effective device will cease to be effective. Their device or measure will likely not be registered or protected as it is a trade secrete. Just don't advertise it breaks yheir stuff.

Re:"effective technological measure" (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#45617617)

"Here is how you get around it."

Save the tool to a thumb drive an slip it in the judge's pocket.
Sue him for possession.

Re:"effective technological measure" (4, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#45617299)

The law is a direct result of the WCT or WIPO Copyright Treaty. The judge is likely interpreting "effective" within respect to that. It is under article 11 I think but i'm on my phone right now and it is a bit hard to check.

Anyways, i believe effective would mean anything non trivial or ancillary at the time of creation. So if a cipher is so easy to break that they teach doing so as part of security lessons, using that couldn't be effective. But requiring something that isn't known or readily done could be if it isn't blatently obvious.

Re:"effective technological measure" (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#45617015)

It presumably has a technical legal definition which the article, according to its footnotes, doesn't have available.

Re:"effective technological measure" (3, Interesting)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 5 months ago | (#45617809)

I'm pretty certain that by "effective" they mean "something that is in effect", not "something that is very good at its function".

Re:"effective technological measure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617349)

Under the typical interpretation of these laws, ROT13 is considered 'effective'.

Re:"effective technological measure" (4, Insightful)

Kat M. (2602097) | about 5 months ago | (#45617953)

Section 95a (2) [gesetze-im-internet.de] of the German copyright law defines specifically what an effective technological measure is. It specifically includes "encryption, scrambling or other transformation". It does not require that the encryption etc. need to be unbreakable, just as a physical lock does not have to pose an unsurmountable barrier in order to make breaking it illegal.

Does the copyright need an owner? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616811)

Is it legally possible to author and licence an opensource project without disclosing your identity? All the licences I've see have a place for the copyright holder (the person or other entity that is granting the rights detailed in the license). I presume its possible and legal to do this without including your actual name right? If you don't care about getting credit for it (or suing for damages), you can avoid this potential liability by having the project copyright controlled by some nameless entity. As long as you don't need to re-licence it in the future, I think that is safe.

I suppose you could have the copyright in some arbitrary name (your friend's dead pet, whatever), but still require the license to credit you. A lot of opensource projects really don't care who holds the copyright, so if its a liability, the developers shouldn't hold it. GPL type projects have to be careful, since the copyright holder could use it themselves however they want, or reissue it under some other license. This approach makes much more sense for permissive licenses like public domain, or MIT/BSD.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#45616825)

Open source licenses use copyright.
Only the owner of a copyright can enforce it.
If somehow copyright would be assigned to a non-existant entity, nobody could enforce it and it would effectively become public domain.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616969)

I volunteer Darth Vader as the entity in question. As soon as you can find and bring to court Darth Vader then I'm sure you can fine him.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (-1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 5 months ago | (#45617141)

Only the owner of a copyright can enforce it.

Please don't post legal advice without appropriate qualifications. The above isn't the whole story in many jurisdictions, as there are other factors such as exclusive licensing to consider.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#45617263)

Only the owner of a copyright can enforce it.

Please don't post legal advice without appropriate qualifications. The above isn't the whole story in many jurisdictions, as there are other factors such as exclusive licensing to consider.

You understand the exact same applies to what you just said yourself?

It doesn't change the simple fact that, even when exclusively licensed (which is pretty much never going to happen with open source licenses, but let's entertain your line of thought here), the entity it is exclusively licensed has to actually exist in order to be able to enforce copyrights.

Using open source licenses with absolute anonimity is still impossible.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (2)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 5 months ago | (#45617453)

I am a lawyer, and I am your lawyer and this is legal advice.

I advise you to not post your "legal advice recommendations" in an online forum meant for people to hold discussions about relevant topics. Please don't post to Slashdot without appropriate qualifications (an MSC should suffice).

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#45616873)

Section three of Article 7 of the Berne Convention states:

"(3) In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection granted by this Convention shall expire fifty years after the work has been lawfully made available to the public. However, when the pseudonym adopted by the author leaves no doubt as to his identity, the term of protection shall be that provided in paragraph (1). If the author of an anonymous or pseudonymous work discloses his identity during the above-mentioned period, the term of protection applicable shall be that provided in paragraph (1). The countries of the Union shall not be required to protect anonymous or pseudonymous works in respect of which it is reasonable to presume that their author has been dead for fifty years."

Virtually everyone is a Berne Convention signatory; but actual implementation in domestic law has been both spottier and more...complex... than the convention text itself. It seems unlikely that something of clearly recent authorship would find itself presumed to be uncopyrighted merely because an author could not be found; but I'd imagine that, in practice, the more risk-averse would be very, very, jumpy about taking 'anonymous coward' at his word that they are authorized to use a given piece of code under the terms of whatever license, that he is even the author, and so forth. That might hinder adoption.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (3, Insightful)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 5 months ago | (#45616971)

Easy, public key cryptography. Instead of using "anonymous coward" as the pseudonym, use "anonymous coward who posses the private key to the following public key.

-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----

MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQCqGKukO1De7zhZj6+H0qtjTkVxwTCpvKe4eCZ0

FPqri0cb2JZfXJ/DgYSF6vUpwmJG8wVQZKjeGcjDOL5UlsuusFncCzWBQ7RKNUSesmQRMSGkVb1/

3j+skZ6UtW+5u09lHNsj6tQ51s1SPrCBkedbNf0Tp0GbMJDyR4e9T04ZZwIDAQAB

-----END PUBLIC KEY-----"

Oh who am I kidding, we're talking about law makers who criminalized a piece of software. "public key cryptography" probably sounds like "thermonuclear weapons" to them.

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617651)

good luck trying to get anyone to comply with the license through any legal measures though (which is kind of the point of having a license in the first place)

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (1)

ImdatS (958642) | about 5 months ago | (#45617905)

As I understand, you can actually create something and immediately put it into Public Domain. You may need to use the right wording (ask a lawyer) such as "non-revocable", "unlimited", "unrestricted", etc., but your lawyer may be able to help.

Also, you could use something like this if you don't want to put it into Public Domain:

Copyight (c) 2013 by "KJDFOIQWEPOSODKFLKWE)(#I$KJLKDSFMNCVK" (GPG-Encrypted)

This could be use for situations where you might consider keeping certain rights (i.e. not putting into Public Domain) for future use. And the text in quotes above could be something like your name encrypted using your public key... (or such).

Just some thoughts...

Re:Does the copyright need an owner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45618027)

Well yes, everyone could just submit code as "Anonymous Coward"

Now we need to discard all of our google, apple and microsoft devices. Go to pure linux devices (so we can be in control of our own stuff), and form more 'dead drops' and 'dark meshes'. This may be the only way to get out from under the 'jack boot' that is employed by the billionaires.

ho humm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616831)

It seems the krauts are getting as as Pretentious and powdery as the freakin yanks ..

Re:ho humm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616981)

Getting? This is the Land of Fascism we're talking about.....they've been 'there' a long time now.

Re:ho humm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617007)

Silly, the land of fascism is Italy.

Re:ho humm (3)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 5 months ago | (#45617123)

Silly, the land of fascism is Italy

You forgot the US & UK.

" any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism"

Yep, sounds about right although some definitions mention merging of state and corporate power which is possibly more pertinant.

this is exactly why commits must be code reviewed (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616835)

An open source project that doesn't reject and delete every contribution made by outside volunteers? Idiots.

Re:this is exactly why commits must be code review (1)

game kid (805301) | about 5 months ago | (#45617175)

Code review is good, but a need to waste code-review time to whack DRM moles is a symptom of a diseased legal system that supports DRM in the first place.

contributions to open source products should be (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#45616843)

contributions to open source products should be just like posts to websites. If someone posts something illegal then the authorities should issue a "take down" notice to the project. If they remove it then only the original poster should be liable.

Re:contributions to open source products should be (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616883)

You're presuming law based on reason. German lawmakers are firmly in the pockets of publishers. The occasional win of the MPAA or RIAA is nothing compared to the systemic level of corruption in that country.

Re:contributions to open source products should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616973)

Illegal where? If its illegal in China then what I do with my software?

Re:contributions to open source products should be (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 5 months ago | (#45617043)

Illegal in the country where the site is hosted. If you host software in Germany that is illegal in China, nothing happens unless the illegality is covered in some treaty between the two countries. (What do you think the hubbub over ACTA was all about?)

Re:contributions to open source products should be (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617121)

Illegal in the country where the site is hosted. If you host software in Germany that is illegal in China, nothing happens unless the illegality is covered in some treaty between the two countries. (What do you think the hubbub over ACTA was all about?)

Exactly

Re:contributions to open source products should be (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 5 months ago | (#45617289)

But that would reduce the leverage of the big boys to shut out competition. This whole scheme of being liable for the acts of outsiders is specifically to discourage them from contributing, or the projects from accepting contributions. They WANT projects to be paranoid about accepting outside contributions.

Hamburg regional court (4, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 months ago | (#45616885)

is known for its cowtowing to the intellectual property holders. That is why they try to go to that particular court if they sue for copyright infridgement.

Re:Hamburg regional court (1, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about 5 months ago | (#45617131)

What property holders do with all those cows that court towed to them? Making hamburgers as side business?

Re:Hamburg regional court (2)

Hypotensive (2836435) | about 5 months ago | (#45617323)

Copyright infridgement is where the copyright has a cooling off period, amirite?

Re:Hamburg regional court (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617353)

You must feel very smart for criticizing the linguistic skill of someone who doesn't speak English as their native language.

Re:Hamburg regional court (1, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 5 months ago | (#45617459)

And I feel very smart for criticising the critical reasoning of an Anonymous Coward who doesn't understand a joke when he/she sees one.

Re:Hamburg regional court (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 5 months ago | (#45617485)

"is known for its cowtowing to the intellectual property holders. That is why they try to go to that particular court if they sue for copyright infridgement."

How wonderfully American of them. (barfs)

Re:Hamburg regional court (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617663)

Or to put it differently: Hamburg is the East Texas of Germany.

Re:Hamburg regional court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617715)

So they're the East Texas of Germany?

Just post the name of the judge (0)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 5 months ago | (#45616893)

Just post the name of the judge, and be done with it. Other will contribute home address, place where his kids go to school, etc, and from there we can move on.

Re:Just post the name of the judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617195)

Although most of it is whited out in the published decision [raschlegal.de], this appears to be public information, as can bee seen on page 27 of this document [hamburg.de].

Of course, this is only speculation and should not result in anyone doing illegal things.

good decission (3, Interesting)

SuperDre (982372) | about 5 months ago | (#45616899)

Maybe it's not great because this time it's about busting DRM, but ofcourse it shouldn't be like an opensource project wouldn't be liable for any illegal activity while a closed source project would be fined.. Open source doesn't mean it doesn't have to obey laws..

Re:good decission (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#45616963)

Your exactly right. Unfortunately far too many people on here have already decided that anything open source is perfect and thus anything negative being reported, happening to or being linked to open source must be attacked.

Being open source isn't an excuse for breaking the law. Open source advocates will often highlight the fact that the code is available as meaning that it can be checked to ensure there's nothing hidden in there after all. You wouldn't have people on here defending Microsoft if they got sued for including a piece of freely distributed software in their product containing illegal functionality even though there's no difference (except they don't like Microsoft and love open source).

Re:good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617077)

Your exactly right.

What is an exactly right? Can I have one too?

Re:good decission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617117)

No it's the law's fault.
Either you let people host forums, open source repos, and stuff, and if something bad enters you first NOTIFY, and sue only if they not comply, or you first proclaim "Sorry people, from now on you can't host other people's stuff", make one big state ISP, and then you sue.
You can't proclaim you defend freedom and democracy while acting like a terrorist (because the threat of legal action towards people outside the top earning 10% is plain terrorism). It may be lawful but it is not right.

As for the rest of your post, please cite where somebody says open source is perfect and without negatives, because I sure don't read about such concepts very often.

Re:good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617001)

I couldn't disagree more. Isn't it strange that the court decides that way while it is not at all illegal to produce and sell lockpicks [amazon.de]?

I think the makers of software should not be liable to any illegal activity conducted with their software, just as a knife maker shouldn't be held liable for knife killings.On the other hand, software makers, just like engineers, should be held liable to some extent for grave software bugs or security flaws (e.g. ones that lead to loss of millions of credit card numbers), yet they often face no consequences at all.

One potential problem to me is that I have a strong sense of justice, inherited from my mother who cannot even lie when it would make sense, and nevertheless have the impression that laws all over the world become increasingly injust - especially patent and copyright related laws. I guess that means that I have sort of a criminal mind :-(

Re:good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617179)

I think the makers of software should not be liable to any illegal activity conducted with their software, just as a knife maker shouldn't be held liable for knife killings

The slight difference here is that they aren't being punished for someone using the software in a way which it wasn't intended for ("our knives are for legally hunting animals, not stabbing people!"), they're being punished for distributing software containing code which deliberately does something illegal ("this bit of the knife helps you kill people. Ya rly!"). I can entirely understand why this is a problem.

The twist here is that Appworks didn't put that law-breaking code in themselves. So, what kind of responsibility do they have? On the one hand if they didn't include it and wouldn't have done so the responsibility lies with the individual who did put the code in, but at the same time don't they have a responsibility to make sure their code is clean of things which shouldn't be there? Like you said, "engineers, should be held liable to some extent for grave software bugs or security flaws". Or indeed code which does illegal things.

Re:good decission (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#45617191)

Lock picks are a bit different in they have the legitimate use of opening locks when keys are lost. The streaming decryption has no use other than decrypting information the user has not paid for. Therefore its only use is for copyright infringement. Also, in some jurisdictions, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Alberta for example, one must have a license to carry lock picks.

Re:good decission (2)

xvan (2935999) | about 5 months ago | (#45617423)

The concept of "legitimate use of a tool" isn't inherent to the tool... A tool has a purpose: a weapon kills , a lock pick opens doors, and stream decryption software decrypts streams.

Legitimate use is subjective: Being able to access the decryption key, means the user had legal access to play the content.

Stream decryption might not only be only used to infringe copyright... It may be used to play the content with whatever combination of hardware/software that the user wants to use.

If the content is deleted after being viewed, it wouldn't be morally different from the several temporary copies made in different memory levels of the computer, and thus, should not infringe copyright...

TOS might limit how and where the content is displayed, but without signing any legal contract, a TOS infraction isn't a legal infraction. The content provider has the right to deny their stream, but not to determine what is or isn't the legitimate use of their stream.

Re: good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617479)

These tools can also decrypt content that the user HAS paid for, so they do have another use. DRM is annoying and prevents perfectly legal uses of purchased content. That's not a flaw, it's a feature, and that is why making tools illegal is wrong every single time.

A just court would see that. What we have in this world is not just.

And when you need to exercise fair use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617643)

You need to decrypt the works.

Since the work is "licensed, not sold", and copyright does not restrict copies for personal use, you need to decrypt it to view the work, fully licensed, on some other application or device, and that requires decryption.

"Piracy" doesn't require decryption. You can sell an encrypted file just fine.

Fair use, turning copies, and personal backups all require decryption.

Re:good decission (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#45617565)

True, but unjust laws should not be obeyed by either FOSS or proprietary code.

Re:good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617653)

True, but unjust laws should not be obeyed by either FOSS or proprietary code.

Drug dealers think laws against selling drugs are unjust. CEOs think laws against insider trading are unjust. Nerds think laws against breaking DRM are unjust. Does that make it so?

Society is the ultimate decision maker on unjust laws. That comes about when society is no longer willing to mete out punishment for breaking the "unjust" laws. Until that occurs, the law breakers must be willing to accept the punishment. It's not "fair", but that's the way the real world works. Call these guys martyrs if it makes you feel better.

Re:good decission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617739)

The concerning bit is that they're being held responsible for a bit of code that was uploaded to their repository without their knowledge. That's pretty concerning, as it could give rise to an effective weapon against any open source project.

1. Get a plausibly deniable minion to upload illegal code to your target open source project.
2. Take the developers to court under the DMCA or whatever this German equivalent is.
3. Profit! (Or shut down the competition.)

I don't even need the ??? in step 2, it's that obvious.

Not 3rd party code (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45616907)

It stopped being 3rd party code the moment Appwork accepted the contribution and started spreading the code itself. That is the moment they became liable. If they do not like that, they should not spread "just anybody's code" without verification.

We may not like it, it makes the life of open source projects more difficult, but that is the way it works. For good reasons.

Re:Not 3rd party code (1)

3247 (161794) | about 5 months ago | (#45617527)

How is that different from hosting a web forum where anyone can post content.

If I post illegal content here, should Slashdot become liable because it "accepted the contribution and started spreading the [content] itsself"? Shouldn't Slashdot stop spreading "just anyone's" content "without verification"?
Even worse, Slashdot allows posting as "Anyonymous Coward", and thereby facilitates such abuse.

Re:Not 3rd party code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617961)

Appwork took the code, compiled it, added their copyright message and released the binary.
They choose to blindly include "3rd party" code and make it theirs.

Otoh. websites usually make it a point to state that the comments are owned by the commentators. They certainly do not take a comment with illegal content and promote it to a full-fledged front page article.

The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (4, Insightful)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 5 months ago | (#45616933)

In the world of athletics, the athlete is responsible for verifying beforehand that any substances entering their body are free from performance-enhancing drugs and a range of other substances. In this case, that same rule seems to have been applied to software - the admins are responsible for code entering the body of the application.
Aside form anything else, my opinion is that someone on the project should have oversight of new code submissions before they are committed to the main codebase. If that is not happening here, then this is a lesson in stupidity for the admins. If it is happening, then the admins really are facilitating, because they have explicitly allowed that functionality into the application. Flipping the coin again, if the admins explicitly allowed the content without realizing what it does, then they have commited code without understanding the purpose or impact of the code, and we are back to the lesson in stupidity again...

Re:The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (2)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 5 months ago | (#45617213)

I did wonder about this. How does any code get into the release branch of any project (Open Source or not) without some form of code review or understanding of the functionality behind it? How is it tested? (I assume it is tested!). This is not a problem of Open Source, this is a problem of poor Configuration Management!

To compare - I expect nothing gets into the Linux kernel main branch (as maintained by Linus Torvalds) without being discussed, agreed, reviewed by someone, tested, and signed off.

Re:The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617219)

So, Wikipedia should have someone read each edit before it is committed?

Re:The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617301)

If Wikipedia edits were able to alter / pull information off my computer and execute random code, yes.

Re:The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617309)

Ideally, yes.

Re: The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617615)

Are we still talking about Germany here?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Flagged_revisions/Sighted_versions#Sighted_versions_on_German_Wikipedia

Re:The owner/admin is (broadly) responsble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617469)

This, code should always be reviewed; and in the event the developers are unable to make out its purpose, rejected. It's also a way to prevent malcode influx. JDownloader is a buggy mess, seing how the developers weren't even aware what given contributions to their code base did, I am no longer surprised.

unreviewed code (5, Insightful)

feds (3005861) | about 5 months ago | (#45617003)

Actually this is worrisome for the open source community not because they ended up in court but because Appwork accepted code without reviewing it and actually without even knowing what it does. How can they assure users that installing the application they don't become part of a 15 million users botnet?

Re:unreviewed code (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617345)

Did they actually accept the code? Is it a fork? We don't seem to know and I suspect that this was more along the lines of code being submitted, not yet reviewed by core contributors, etc. But because it was public... the court decided to convict. The code probably would not have ever gotten into a binary or official / stable release of the code.

Re:unreviewed code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617411)

Maybe they reviewed the code, verified it didn't send out anything but could download something they couldn't previously, and weren't aware of the legal ramifications.

They could counter-measure this problem by further fracturing their downloader to become plugin-based. Once installed, an "app-store" \ package manager of sorts would be available, offering hosters and protocols.

Re:unreviewed code (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#45617575)

It's not bad code. It might have been reviewed by someone who knows security and someone who knows functionality and stability but doesn't know arcane laws.

Re:unreviewed code (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 5 months ago | (#45617763)

Actually this is worrisome for the open source community not because they ended up in court but because Appwork accepted code without reviewing it and actually without even knowing what it does. How can they assure users that installing the application they don't become part of a 15 million users botnet?

I'm betting that they knew exactly what the code did and this is a legal excuse to try to get them off the hook because they know they can't pay the fine. I know nothing about the German legal system, so I can't comment on how likely this ruling is to stand, but I am sure that they are just trying to get out from under the ruling by claiming ignorance. That excuse wouldn't work in the USA, but again, I don't know how the German legal system works. By the way, we have a rather infamous court here in the USA in Texas where patent infringement cases like to be filed because they have a very high degree of success.

Entartete software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617011)

Burn it!

I FIND A FINE FINE TO BE RARE A FIND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617021)

I rather find fines not to be fine at all !!

An 'illegal' piece of software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617079)

We live in a very sad world that such a concept even exists.

Re:An 'illegal' piece of software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617143)

We live in the world that RMS predicted in 1997.

The Right to Read [gnu.org]

Welcome to the bad future. It's a shame that we don't even have moon colonies yet.

Hamburg Court (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 5 months ago | (#45617135)

he Hamburg Regional Court decided

You can stop reading there.

This particular court is the laughing stock of the german legal system, and its decisions are routinely overturned at the higher courts. They are famous for "creative" interpretations of the copyright laws.

Source: I live in Hamburg, Germany and I've been following copyright-related civil rights matters for more than a decade.

Re:Hamburg Court (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617513)

That is interesting. A friend of mine, German lawyer specializing in defending people that got attacked by automatic copy right knights told me few things about such cases of which none was actually comforting. It seems legal entities hunting for IP criminals often send letters demanding a fine or be treated in court. He claimed that often it is not beneficial to fight such cases because some of the companies using legal system to get money sucked out of citizens can actually sue and then they chose their jurisdiction which is often in friendly court. I did not what he meant but he said Hamburg is such a place where a citizen has hardly a chance.

Re:Hamburg Court (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617579)

Yeah, that would be Hamburg, Cologne and Munich. They could sue wherever they want, because the infringement happens "everywhere in Germany," when you "commercially" offer some recent, still commercially exploitable (i.e. 6 months old tops) work. That is, in the view of some Cologne court (AFAIR) downloading something like this via torrents (without capping your upload at 0kb), is commercially distributing it.
However, recently a law came into effect supposedly capping the cost for "first-timers" to 124 Euros.

Quick fix: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617157)

Get the copyright holder to assign copyright of that plugin to the judges.

Then sue them in their own court to MAKE THEM PAY!!!1! and take it all the way up to the highest courts in Europe to make it stick. Sauce for the goose, etc. IIRC it was this Hamburg court that thinks it has world-wide jurisdiction in copyright cases, and that isn't the only... peculiar view they hold. Time to take them down a peg or two.

Ok You Clowns Here is the scoop. (4, Interesting)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about 5 months ago | (#45617185)

The warez in question is a java app with binaries available to be loaded at time of install from a script. So the setup starts with a set of jars that get extracted. YOU CAN INSTALL IT TO /HOME and view the entire process which downloads more binaries as the install takes place, at least on Linux if you install unpriviledged it will just install in a created directory and do everything from $ directory without requiring logging elsewhere or so you can easily track everything the software does.

I ran Wireshark on it and it does not do the ET phone home crap that most spyware does so it is what the writers say it is.

If you boot it up and do not leave it in the sys tray it does not leave active processes hanging around. HOWEVER you can run it as a background process to snoop your RTMPE and have them automatically download the vids. On youtube it downloads the whole smash including the webM html5 streams and all available vid size pieces of a vid including any mp3 or other audio files.

Best stream ripper out there IMO. EAT MY SHORTS MPAA, RIAA and all your ill begotten drm bullshit nonsense. This video is a great one and as a result I will order her works online she is one hot guitarist! Fantasia la Traviata [youtube.com] a little beyond the reach of most musicians, eat your heart out if you like guitar!

Re:Ok You Clowns Here is the scoop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617601)

she is one hot guitarist

Mod +1 sexbomb!

Re:Ok You Clowns Here is the scoop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617721)

ok, I've read this post, nothing makes sense, can we have that in English please?

How can software be illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45617587)

Software is bits and bytes sitting on a computer. How can it be illegal? There are many uses of software... if this is stream ripping software, wouldn't it be completely legal for me to rip a stream that is public domain? Even if the act of "ripping a stream" is illegal (which would be amazingly silly) -- software doesn't run itself. Can't I download the source to study it..? What if I am interested in stream compression technology, and am writing something comparing streaming technologies, and want more information.

This is all just silliness.

So? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 5 months ago | (#45617697)

If the original authors didn't put that feature in and never intended to then just show the different in code revisions from version a -> b. Once the court sees the authors didn't do it they are ( or should be ) off the hook.
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