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Sony Uses DMCA To Shut Down Aibo Hack Site

timothy posted about 13 years ago | from the what-are-they-thinking dept.

Robotics 418

Therlin writes: "Victor Matsuda, Vice President of Sony's Entertain Robot America (makers of AIBO), sent a letter to Aibopet.com citing the Digital Mellennium Copyright Act. You can read the letter here. Aibopet is the website of an AIBO owner who enjoys researching AIBO. He also provides free software programs to improve and add features to the robots." I bet Sony won't increase their Aibo sales this way -- don't they like fanatical customers?

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First post (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | about 13 years ago | (#2488466)

Aibo is a great ass fuck!

Re:First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488494)

Osama gives great head too..

He has personally blown every Taliban soilder who pledges total loyalty

I have a penis (0, Offtopic)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | about 13 years ago | (#2488518)

Where do I sign up?

Re:I have a penis (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2488553)

Here [geekizoid.com] .

Allow me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488469)

To suck onto your penis. Many happy hours of joyous happy fun await you! Happy penis fucking sucking happy time!!

wrong spelling (1, Offtopic)

Bandito (134369) | about 13 years ago | (#2488474)

You know even the comment box tells you to preview your posts...

DCMA -> DMCA

C'mon!

Re:wrong spelling (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | about 13 years ago | (#2488495)

Digital Mellennium Copyright Act

While we're at it, its spelled "millennium", too.

Re:wrong spelling (0, Offtopic)

grammar nazi (197303) | about 13 years ago | (#2488550)

Your knew hear. Eye can tell.

Re:wrong spelling (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488559)

It amazes me how people can mix up two acronyms in a simple four acronym word.

During the IDSA [idsa.com] rampage on emulation and ROM sites, many people for no reason whatsoever turned against a consultant IBM AS/400 community [isda.com] , or, Innovative Systems Design Association as opposed to the Interactive Digital Software association.

No it's right! (1)

Daath (225404) | about 13 years ago | (#2488596)

It's DCMA!

Defense Contract Management Agency :) Makes perfect sense ;)

Re:wrong spelling (1)

N8Magic (196335) | about 13 years ago | (#2488605)

This reminds me of those two great games:

Dues Ex
Rainbow Six: Rouge Spear

The names of these two games are spelled incorrectly more often than not.

Two spelling mistakes in one article. Tsk, tsk.

worthless hack (2)

dattaway (3088) | about 13 years ago | (#2488476)

So can I take my Sony Aibo back since I can't use it for the hack value I got it for?

Now its useless as a Barbie Doll.

Re:worthless hack (1)

thogard (43403) | about 13 years ago | (#2488624)

return it citing license agreement issues.

question (1)

magicslax (532351) | about 13 years ago | (#2488477)

have EULAs ever been tested in court?
will anybody ever have the guts (money) to try?

DCMA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488479)

Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Digi Mill Copy Act.

Di Mi Co Ac.

D M C A.

DMCA.

Is it that hard? Jimothy, I epxceted better out of you.

Easy work around... (2, Interesting)

grammar nazi (197303) | about 13 years ago | (#2488480)

It asks him to remove that long list of zip files. He should just claim that Sony violated the DMCAA by circumventing his encryption when they unzipped those files. Otherwise, how would they know what the zip archives contain?

Re:Easy work around... (1)

magicslax (532351) | about 13 years ago | (#2488491)

why not?
which is a more secure encryption metod, zip or rot13?
heh. in a perfect world.

Re:Easy work around... (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | about 13 years ago | (#2488507)

Is the .zip file format registered as a type of file encryption, or is it a freely available, as in bubbly beer, type of file compression?

Re:Easy work around... (1)

Webmonger (24302) | about 13 years ago | (#2488538)

Registered with who?

Re:Easy work around... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488569)

who do you register with?? the gov't?? i assume there are copyrights, and all of these other associated b.s. DMCA or whatevers, have to be reg. with the gov't, otherwise, no TEETH!!!

Re:Easy work around... (1)

thogard (43403) | about 13 years ago | (#2488640)

The US govt uses zip encryption to protect files. Breaking zip's encryption with one of thouse files is clearly illegal now. The courts would have to decide if generally breaking the pathetic encription on zip files is a crime.

Re:Easy work around... (5, Informative)

grammar nazi (197303) | about 13 years ago | (#2488521)

OOPs. I hit submit instead of preview....

.

Anyways, here's the problem with the whole issue:
(i) the contents of your site contain Sony copyrighted software which you are
copying and distributing in violation of Sony's rights;
-- That sounds fair to me. He shouldn't be violating any copyrighting anything. Shut him down until he complies.
(ii) your site provides the means to
circumvent the copy protection protocol of Sony's AIBO(tm) Memory Stick(tm) to allow access
to Sony AIBO-ware software;
-- I have mixed views about if this is right or wrong, but this issue doesn't pertain to the DMCAA (according to the letter).
(iii) you site promotes the distribution of your original
software such as "Disco AIBO", "AIBO Scope", "Bender AIBO", etc. which appear to have
been created by copying and decrypting Sony's software.
-- It is my opinion that (a) he has the right to 'fairly use' the code as long as he does it personally, (b) Sony doesn't know that the programs were created by copying and decrypting the software. Sony would have a hard time supporting this argument in court. The Aibo isn't *that* complicated that it couldn't be easily reverse engineered.

However,
your site still contains information providing the means to circumvent AIBO-ware's copy
protection protocol constituting a violation of the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital
Mellennium Copyright Act.
-- Ouch. I tell you how to build an atomic bomb, do I go to jail? I teach your karate... do I get in trouble when you beat somebody up? I teach you how to fly a plane. Do I get in trouble when...? You get my point. I disagree with this entire line of B.S.. Of course, IANAL, but my armchair law experience tells me that O.J. is guilty and this wouldn't stand up.

Hopefully, the isp won't force him to shut down and he will continue to provide Aibo users an experience. I'll be sitting here at my computer offering my opinion to the /. masses the next time there is an Aibo story. ...even if they don't ask.

Re:Easy work around... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488639)

Keeping /. free of grammatical errors for ~5 years.

Heh... Have you even been reading your last couple of posts?

Re:Easy work around... (1)

Petter3 (532365) | about 13 years ago | (#2488533)

Yes, that would work. In Never Never Land! (That's spelled "workaround" for those who care :)

The problem is... (3)

VValdo (10446) | about 13 years ago | (#2488558)

1. zipping a file compresses it but it is not a technology primarily designed to protect copyright.

2. He is not disputing what is in the zipped files.

This is yet another reason not to buy Sony products...

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488567)

True. True. Thank you for the enlightening commentary Mr VValdo.

Not First Post! (-1)

TheLionMan (41076) | about 13 years ago | (#2488483)

This is not the first post so it doesn't matter.

Re:Not First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488529)

Hey Mr. TheLionMan,

You have a pretty low User # to be a troll. What's the matter? Too much karma gotcha down? Trying to waste away that valuable karma before /. screws up their userbase with subscriptions and intrusive advertising?

Please tell us, the other /. users, why you be wasting precious karma? Why weren't you bitchslapped many years ago as the other sub-100000 trolls were?

Please address any corresponance to "My Ass". Thank you.

I have a penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488484)

Kick me in the Jimmy!

They are not totally wrong (5, Funny)

SevenTowers (525361) | about 13 years ago | (#2488488)

In fact I think it is well within Sony's rights to express concern over the dangerous software this man is writing. Imagine all those little robots going mad and attacking cats and babies... How much money would they lose then?

Re:They are not totally wrong (1, Funny)

PhReaKyDMoNKeY (522192) | about 13 years ago | (#2488532)

Quite a bit, I'd imagine, but the resulting TV mvie would net them millions due to the intrinsic humor value in the image of cute little robot dogs gone mad. I know I'd pay good money to see that. What I'd be a little more worried about is a tech-savvy terrorist/anarchist/generally insane person rigging one of those bad boys to blow and running him into a crowd/building/whatever. A suicide bomber without the loss in manpower sounds like a good deal to me.

Yeah Sony will hurt because of this (2, Interesting)

narfbot (515956) | about 13 years ago | (#2488489)

Not too smart. If people can't do what they want to do with the products they buy, they might as well switch over to buying other products.

Sony's hurting a customer, and potential buyers and themselves. Say if someone creative takes a visit at the aibopet website, and finds its waay cool, they have a potential buyer... whoops it not there any more.

Too late Sony. DCMA is a virtual trap.

This isn't Sony's only problem... (2, Interesting)

SONET (20808) | about 13 years ago | (#2488565)

This just gives me one more reason to be glad that I stopped buying Sony products.

I used to buy their products religiously, everything the top of the line. My first fun experience was when I brought my $800 (at the time) Sony VCR to their repair center, which happens to be located near me. They wanted $240 just to look at it. Then they were charging $80/hr. plus parts to fix it. The person I talked to at the service center said he thought he knew the problem from the symptoms, and it was about $500 to repair it after the diagnosis, parts, and labor. It really rubbed me wrong when he reached over to a pile of Sony catalogs and handed me one and recommended a replacement model that I could order right then and there. Was this a regular occurance for them? All this when my VCR had about 8 hours of use, and it was just over a month outside of their warranty period.

I also had a similar experience with a camcorder I had spent over a grand on. That's when I decided to stop buying their products. They consider everything disposable, even after just a year of use (or no use for that matter). When I pay a premium for a product, I don't do it just to show other people the brand name. I do it because the company behind the name makes a good quality product and stands behind it. Sony used to make a good product, but they have never stood behind it for me.

Not that they care with their sales volume, but until their service practices change and their product quality returns to what it used to be, they lost me as a customer.

--SONET

Re:This isn't Sony's only problem... (-1)

tealover (187148) | about 13 years ago | (#2488629)

Sony stopped being a decent brand in the 80's. They're only successful because of marketing. Stupid people eat that marketing shit up.

Mellennium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488492)

You guys are retards.

I wonder (1)

peanutbadr (162513) | about 13 years ago | (#2488493)

What most people don't know is that the AIBO runs on a modified version of Windows CE.

Perhaps M$ was behind this decision?

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488496)

One man in such a large multinational corporation, supporting a one-country law. That's feeling secure in your job.

But don't you have to.... (5, Insightful)

TGK (262438) | about 13 years ago | (#2488499)

... demonstrate that damage was done? I mean, what you're talking about here is someone who's hacked an embeded device (basicly).

Does the DMCA ban reverse engineering as well? Is that technicaly constitutional? It seems that there's a lot of questions about this case that need answering. But the bottom line is that Sony isn't loosing any money from this site. None of these files are of any use if you don't HAVE an Abio right?

Re:But don't you have to.... (3, Insightful)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | about 13 years ago | (#2488512)

Does the DMCA ban reverse engineering as well

Yes, except for purposes of interoperability.

Is that technicaly constitutional?

Nope. But who knows if the Supreme Court will overturn the DMCA or not? We'll have to wait and see..

Re:But don't you have to.... (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | about 13 years ago | (#2488598)

Does the DMCA ban reverse engineering as well
Yes, except for purposes of interoperability


Sometimes not even that is allowed, depending on who's paying what judge. Remember, DeCSS case...

This guy sort of brought it on himself (5, Insightful)

lkaos (187507) | about 13 years ago | (#2488500)

I know I'll get flamed for this, but Sony did have a right to respond to the fact that he was distributing backup copies of their software.

The DMCA bs was probably just because they were already pissed. I absolutely agree that the DMCA is wrong but this guy didn't help his cause by putting copyrighted software on his site.

You can't scream about unfair laws and then break the ones that are fair.

Re:This guy sort of brought it on himself (-1)

tealover (187148) | about 13 years ago | (#2488621)

Welcome to the world of slashdot hypocrisy where grievances are forgiven depending on the name of the transgressor.

A perfect example of why this site is a shithole, along with CmdrTaco's bullshit that we have to put up with. And they want us to pay for this garbage?

Suck my dick you midwest faggots.

Magic Word (3, Insightful)

Saxerman (253676) | about 13 years ago | (#2488501)

I was expecting more of an automated form letter, so I was pleasantly surprised by the personalization of the complaint letter. Are we gun shy now and flinching whenever someone challenges their "property" rights? Obviously their attitude of "please don't be curious about things we own" backed by the DMCA smells like rotten fruit, but I'd rather see them hand pick their targets and send friendly "We're Out to Get You" letters rather than putting on the gorilla suit and squishing everything in sight. Until the world discovers a better way to handle "intellectual property" what more can we expect from large companies like Sony?

So? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | about 13 years ago | (#2488503)

well in this day and age we don't buy products, just the right to use them.

He's getting off easy (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | about 13 years ago | (#2488504)

Sony would sue this pants off this nerd, if he only had any money. This "hacked" software he has distributed has clearly made it harder for Sony to sell similar upgrades in the future. Pests like this twerp should be thrown in the slammer they minute they start in with this kind of parasitic crap. The monetary loss he has already incurred on Sony is immeasurable.

Roll over, play dead (2, Insightful)

WesBiggs (20360) | about 13 years ago | (#2488506)

Unfortunately, Sony is within their rights under the DMCA (a bad law in our quickly maturing police state). But wouldn't they be a lot more successful by co-opting this hacker's work and selling it to Aibo lovers? Copyright law shouldn't need to be used to stifle innovation.

Quick, while you still can, program your Aibo to bite the hand that feeds it...

Re:Roll over, play dead (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | about 13 years ago | (#2488609)

Copyright law shouldn't need to be used to stifle innovation.

Agreed. And the ironic thing is that copyright law was originally intended to promote innovation. But the Founding Fathers had a far different view of what copyright should be than what the corporate bosses^W^W lawmakers of today do.

Purpose of copyright law (5, Insightful)

hearingaid (216439) | about 13 years ago | (#2488636)

the ironic thing is that copyright law was originally intended to promote innovation

Close, but no cigar.

Patent law was originally intended to promote progress in the sciences, which in modern terms translates to technological innovation.

Copyright law was originally intended to promote progress in the arts, which in modern terms translates to good entertainment.

Copyright law's got nothing to do with innovation, never has. Why it got applied to binary numbers meant to express a simple technological function with no human-readable content whatever, I'll never understand...

(Before the twentieth century, every copyrightable item could be processed by an unaided normal human. We have moved well beyond that: why we stick with the antiquated notion of copyright, I'm not sure.)

Just plain wrong. (5, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 13 years ago | (#2488509)

You know, there are some things that will someday seem obvious to any reasonably person as completely wrong and nuts, that at the times seemed completely rational. Racism, slavery, and the inferior status of women were all once taken mostly for granted by all except a few, but now are considered generally indefensible, at least in theory.

Someday, the true may be said of this idea: that corporate ownership of intellectual property takes priority over folk and grassroots enthusiasms (particularly nonfraudulent and not-for-profit ones); that the owners of popular culture enjoy the benefits of the ubiquity of that culture, a culture which has in some sense colonized our subconscious (I have dreams with Bugs Bunny and the Enterprise in it - but if I depicted one of my own dreams publicly, I'd risk a lawsuit) but refuse to allow that ubiquity when it doesn't serve them.

Unfortunate, there is no indication that the increasingly global plutocracy is going to become reasonable any time in the near future. But I still hold out hope. What would it take for that to happen?

Re:Just plain wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488627)

What would it take for that to happen?

An international democratic effort to create new direct democratic decision-making processes which combine the knowledge-evaluation with the decision-making through easy-to-use interfaces. The establishment of said processes can occur in several stages, starting on a strictly membership-based level (party) and slowly expanding to local and national governments. Democracy must be first created before we can enjoy it, for it has never been.

Sony vs. Lego (2, Interesting)

fossa (212602) | about 13 years ago | (#2488513)

While slightly different I think, it's interesting to contrast this with Lego's attitude toward hacking MindStorms.

Re:Sony vs. Lego (1)

c_jonescc (528041) | about 13 years ago | (#2488618)

Er, what did Lego do? Oh, I guess I should look it up myself. Here's the original /. post on the Lego response to hacks.

Toodles and poodles.

http://slashdot.org/articles/01/09/12/0327200.sh tm l

Not fair (1, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 13 years ago | (#2488519)

While I disagree with Sony's use of the DMCA to shut down fan websites, I have to say this to the group

GET A LIFE, GO OUT AND BUY A REAL FRIGGIN DOG!

DMCA? Cited where? (1)

aka-ed (459608) | about 13 years ago | (#2488522)

citing the Digital Mellennium Copyright Act

Even if you spell "Millenium" correctly there is no such citation in the letter. This is a standard copyright claim, that would be no less valid (or invalid, IANAL) prior to the passage of the Act.

Up until now, it's been remarked how surprisingly tolerant Sony has been of Aibo hacking, and the hacking of Sony's proprietary software. The fact is they weren't as tolerant as hoped, merely slow to act.

Frankly, it's a relief that Sony finally decided to assert their ownership. Perhaps now the recurrent nightmares of a loner Aibo terrorist-hacker unleashing an army of K-9 mechas on the White House will finally cease.

Re:DMCA? Cited where? (1)

lkaos (187507) | about 13 years ago | (#2488528)

Similarly, your response regarding the copy protection protocol does not justify your actions.
Your discontinuation of "Format AIBO" is certainly a step in the right direction. However,
your site still contains information providing the means to circumvent AIBO-ware's copy
protection protocol constituting a violation of the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital
Mellennium Copyright Act.


So, we can spell, but unfortunately, we haven't learned to read yet...

Sorry, I just had to.

Re:DMCA? Cited where? (1)

aka-ed (459608) | about 13 years ago | (#2488530)


Pardon, it does cite the "Mellenium" act. Maybe that's some kind of Japanese law?

hmmmm (1)

xbrownx (459399) | about 13 years ago | (#2488523)

Slashdot has been having a lot of spelling errors lately...

MS Frontpage has a spellcheck feature doesn't it?

Re:hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488580)

They do that on purpose to get the posting started. Va linux is in serious financial trouble, they need all the posts and pageviews they can get. So posting a flamebait story chock full of spelling errors is sure to hook in some self righteous nerd that thinks he outsmarted someone by catching the blatant error. This raises up the post count. They need as many hits as possible. Also notice how since tacos little "i'm selling out" announcement they haven't been modding down posts as feircly, why not? becuase if you mod down every to -1 they get banned and can't post. Less posts means less pageviews and less pageviews means less profit.

Not really a DMCA issue (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 13 years ago | (#2488524)

I'm not familiar with the software that Sony wanted removed. Sony seems to think that that some software was copied or modified Sony product, and the site owner doesn't contradict this. If that's true, than any DMCA issues are secondary.

The site owner's logic seems to be, "OK, I'm violating Sony copyrights, but by doing so I'm helping them sell hardware, so it's in their own interest to overlook my violation." He's obviously ignorant of a basic fact of copyright law: if you own a copyright, you must enforce it, or risk losing it. This was true long before the DMCA came along.

Sony might seem to be less enlightened than hacker-friendly outfits like TiVO and Lego. But these companies have merely refrained from prosecuting people who reversed-engineered their systems without trying to rip off software or content. That's not a "prosecute or lose it" issue. If you started distributing modified TiVO or Lego Mindstorms software, they'd be on you in a flash.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488551)

That's a trademark you dumbass. You have to defend trademarks like Kleenex or Band-Aid or risk them becoming common language that you later can't force people to avoid.

You can't lose a copyright on anything, ever, period. Authoring a creative work automatically generates copyright protection for whatever the hell the current limits are (author life plus 75? 105?).

If you are going to mindlessly repeat cliche stuff like this at least get it right.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

fossa (212602) | about 13 years ago | (#2488555)

He's obviously ignorant of a basic fact of about copyright law: if you own a copyright, you must enforce it, or risk losing it.

Are you sure about this? This is definitely not the case with patents, and definitely is the case for trademarks, but copyrights? If it was the case for copyrights, wouldn't the RIAA be outa luck by now?

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (2, Informative)

djmoore (133520) | about 13 years ago | (#2488571)

He's obviously ignorant of a basic fact of copyright law: if you own a copyright, you must enforce it, or risk losing it.

*weary sigh*

No, you're thinking of trademark laws. Copyright can be enforced or not, now or later, entirely at the whim of the copyright owner.

The fundamental difference is that copyrights protect the interests of the creator, by allowing the creator to decide who can and cannot duplicate the item in question. Trademarks protect the interests of the consumer, by preventing "inferior" knockoffs of a product from being marketed as the original. If a trademark holder ignores infringement, the damage is irreparable, and the mark loses force in fact.

Sony could play nice by granting a license to select hackers' sites, and thereby remove even the appearance of neglecting their interests. In this case, they could have asked that actual copies of their software be removed from the site, while permitting, even encouraging, the how-to files and
new software, akin to what we've seen with Lego Mindstorms. Instead, they've killed a potentially fanatical market. They're within their rights (as defined by the evil DMCA) but by doing so, they've proved themselves idiot bullies.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 13 years ago | (#2488644)

Well, there are two caveats with your post:

1) Copyright enforcement may or may not be possible if the copyright holder has done certain things. This is a _narrow_ exception, but IIRC (IANAL) there have been applications of latches and copyright abuse theories to certain copyright holders who, for example, led someone to believe that they were allowed to infringe with license, in order to make them a target for a lawsuit.

2) Copyrights do not exclusively protect the interests of the creator. They also protect the interests of society and the interests of the public domain. Congress too has great latitude in deciding who can and cannot copy a work in question. (e.g. by simply denying copyright to code, as was done until the 70's) There was a nice appellate decision recently that reinforced this point.

I agree though, it's stupid for Sony to do this. They should've ignored it, or perhaps even granted him (or all Aibo owners, or everyone) a limited license.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | about 13 years ago | (#2488573)

"Prosecute or lose it" does not apply to copyright. You're probably thinking of trademarks, which can pass into the public domain if they become terms of common use. Nothing of the sort can happen to copyrighted material.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

m0nkyman (7101) | about 13 years ago | (#2488574)

He's obviously ignorant of a basic fact of copyright law: if you own a copyright, you must enforce it, or risk losing it. This was true long before the DMCA came alon

BZZZT. Wrong. You're thinking of trademarks. Copyrights don't have to be enforced.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

Hairy1 (180056) | about 13 years ago | (#2488587)

The ignorance is yours, because it is Patents and Trademarks which must be enforced, not Copyright. If you write and publish a book, and some individuals copy the book without your permission, you do not have to sue them in order to retain your rightfull copyright in future.

In this case Sony seems to have totally lost the plot. The idea that a large number of Aibo's are purchased for hacking means that they are actually harming their customers with this action, even if they are legally correct (which I actually doubt).

Perhaps in future we should suggest to robotics companies that they apply for a mark like the OSI Mark, which indicates they are happy for people to play with the hardware. This way robotics people will know up front that they will have no legal worries.

This could be backed up with release of the software specifications, and even developers kits. I think Lego has the right idea. I purchased Mindstorms myself. I will now never consider purchasing an Aibo.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 13 years ago | (#2488632)

Patents also do not need to be enforced.

Not even patents. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | about 13 years ago | (#2488634)

You do not have to enforce patents, at all. Only trademarks. Patents remain in force.
It is the patent holder's right to enforce his patent or not.

There are probably some procedures regarding knowing someone is using your patent but not telling them, and then later trying to stiff them... but maybe not.

Re:Not even patents. (2)

hearingaid (216439) | about 13 years ago | (#2488643)

If you know that your patent is being infringed, and fail to sue, you lose the right to damages for the intervening period: ie if you discover your patent is infringed in 2003, and sue in 2006, you lose three years of damages.

This is intended to prevent patentholders from blackmailing innocent infringers by waiting until the patent has nearly expired before filing suit.

However, that's it.

Re:Not really a DMCA issue (1)

hilker (69291) | about 13 years ago | (#2488595)

He's obviously ignorant of a basic fact of copyright law: if you own a copyright, you must enforce it, or risk losing it. This was true long before the DMCA came along.
IANAL. This has never been true of copyright. You're thinking of trademarks. Not defending your copyright can make it more difficult to sue for damages. That's it.

Old-school copyright violations too (5, Informative)

Argy (95352) | about 13 years ago | (#2488526)

While Sony's letter did invoke the DMCA in regards to instructions on circumventing copy protection, most of the files that were requested to be removed were due to standard copyright law. If the author performed edits on Sony's binaries, and redistributed them, then that is a pretty blatent copyright violation. (Not positive that's what he did, but it sounds that way from the letter.) If he published only binary patches, I think he'd be in the clear on copyright law, and probably be safe from the DMCA if he didn't say how to install the patches.

On the other hand, I don't blame him for saying "screw it." Sony ought to lighten up and figure out how to support fans like this while maintaining their intellectual property rights.

Slashdot Uses IP Bans to Shut Down Dissidents (-1, Troll)

jamie on (532230) | about 13 years ago | (#2488531)

That's right, at the same time Slashdot is proclaiming the death of "Your Rights Online", Slashdot is contributing to that very death, by way of tracking and banning controversial users based on IP adresses. In fact, slash code is tracking all of you as we speak, and Rob can censor any of you at the drop of CowboyNeal's hat. Look forward to further explorations of this and other pressing issues this forthcoming Tuesday. Slashdot's dissidents ("Trolls") will be staging a "be-in" on an unprecendented scale. Regular business on Slashdot will come to a standstill as the dissidents educate Slashdot civilians on the evils of the Slashdot power structure.

Re:Slashdot Uses IP Bans to Shut Down Dissidents (1)

c_jonescc (528041) | about 13 years ago | (#2488633)

Why worry about the evil corporations (hmm, SONY comes to mind right about now) and bad governmental actions?

I am so glad that someone is taking the time to fight the injustice of /.

Just wait until Linux starts destroying the rainforests and enslaving third world children to code.

Oops, I got troll-tricked to offtopic.

DCMA (5, Funny)

rbright (54766) | about 13 years ago | (#2488534)

The DCMA makes me embarassed to be a citizen of the UAS.

Re:DCMA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488614)

ROFLOL

Lego Mindstorms (1)

codepoetica (521978) | about 13 years ago | (#2488541)

Come on people! Sure the programs were copyrighted. So? Sony was making money off the hardware, not the software. Lego [lego.com] showed us the way with Lego Mindstorms.

Without the customer community, there would bo no company. I for one will not by buying from Sony this Christmas. Promote fanaticism of your user base, it's the only way for a company to survive.

no shit! (0)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | about 13 years ago | (#2488542)

YES shit.

Any Petitions to Sign? (1)

Ashcrow (469400) | about 13 years ago | (#2488543)

Are there any petitioms to sign against Sony and it's half way war against it's coustomers? First they refused to provide source with a shipped GPL program in one of their products, and now this! Of course lets not forget other things they've done in the past (Fake critic?).

I use to be a fan of Sony.

Re:Any Petitions to Sign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488589)

Yeah. They're called checks to their competitors when buying consumer electronics in the future.

~~~

the usual.... (2)

elmegil (12001) | about 13 years ago | (#2488546)

So does anyone have any mirrors of this software? Unlike similar past situations, it would appear that it was removed from the main site before the big splash; but you'd think some other Aibo owner may have copies....

Anyone?

oh who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488554)

the aibo is a fucking peice of shit anyways.

it's only a few steps above one of those teddy ruksbin peice of shit stuffed bears.

Strategy to Deal with the Enslavement of Ideas (2, Insightful)

dh003i (203189) | about 13 years ago | (#2488556)

Here's a general strategy to deal with the overzealous "intellectual property"(more appropriately, idea enslavement) views that the government, corporations, and private "information owners" take.

1. Copy all such useful things to your hard drive -- the files, and the website.

2. Redistribute these files on Kazaa, LimeWire, Usenet, the Internet, etc etc.

3. Repost these files on to-the-point(no graphics) websites using servers in countries which do not respect copyrights.

4. Pursue any other viable means to liberate information and to better give consumers the RIGHT to obtain maximal utlity out of the products THEY own. Inform people about THEIR right to have access to backup copies, to modify/tweak their software, and to offer such modifications/tweaks to the public. Inform people that this right -- say, for example, to publish a texture "patch" for Quake -- which they take for granted, is something companies are trying to eliminate.

This is, in short, a non-traditional civil disobediance approach. No, we are not doing this in public, and letting the police come and arrest us and beat us down. For one thing, we should not have to be treated so horribly for simply exercising OUR rights; for another, that type of approach only works when you have an issue which is simple, and which the vast majority of the public can easily sympathize with(i.e., like segregation). If the issue is too complicated, such as is intellectual property, the general public will not be able to sympathize.

So our approach is use civil disobediance in an anonymous manner. No, we will not be wrongfully scapegoated for doing this. This form of civil disobediance will bring down the laws, ultimately, by making them infeasible and non-workable. If enough people disobey a law, it will go away. Prime example is the ill-informed "prohibition" law. Examples of laws that will eventually go away due to mssive disregard of them and disobediance of them include laws against sodomy, laws against prostitution, laws against stripping, laws against milder drugs such as pot, laws against abortion, laws against assisted-suicide, and laws which enslave information.

Re:Strategy to Deal with the Enslavement of Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488560)

Shut up you communist swine.

Re:Strategy to Deal with the Enslavement of Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488635)

Maybe if you actually went outside and interacting with other normal non-nerd people you'd realize prohibition is alive and well, against marijuana smokers.

There was no CIA, NSA, FBI, Mi6, etc. in the days of the boston tea party.

Martin Luther King brought civil disobedience to new heights in america and what happened? he got executed by the CIA.

If the founding father tried that today i'm sure one would die of a "drug overdose", another would have suddenly commit suicide out of the blue, and another would be caught with a load of cocaine that somehow fell into his trunk at a traffic stop and sentenced to 25 years in jail.

People fighting cuases alot more important than tinkering with a toy dog have been stopped in their tracks and made no progress against the government.

Downloading a bunch of warez isn't gonna change anything.

Times they have a changed. That revolutionary hero shit won't get far into today's america.

Well done Sony... (1)

RupertJ (520598) | about 13 years ago | (#2488557)

You've just gone and alienated a substantial number of future Aibo purchasers.

When we pay out $1500 for a robot dog, it is ours to do with as we please. Sure, enforce copyright, but it's not as if the software will run if someone hasn't bought the AIBO to run it on in the first place!! Either way, Sony still get their money for the unit, and anyone who downloads "hacked" software will still have to buy an AIBO to make any use of it. This was mentioned in the letter, but this is illogical under the circumstances as I can see aibohack.com only generating further interest in the AIBO product for people interested in robotics programming projects etc etc

OTOH, copyright law is quite specific, so there are arguments against everything I've just written. Still, an opinion nonetheless.

Re:Well done Sony... (1)

noizefloor (171163) | about 13 years ago | (#2488625)

The only cogent reason to get an AIBO in the first place is to make it more than what it is. The people who stand to lose from Sony's pursuit of this guy are a) people who have an AIBO or were thinking about getting one, and b) Sony, who now may not sell as many. They are chasing away customers with a stick, bottom line. If you disagree, you're wrong.

lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488563)

I'm so bored of the slashdot editor purposely making obvious spelling mistakes in a way to get the discussion started.

Throw in a few blatant spelling errors and that garentees a few posts almost immediatly to kick off the story.

Have it your way Sony... (1)

evil-beaver (15985) | about 13 years ago | (#2488568)

If you don't want me to use it the way I see fit then I won't have anything to do with your robot dog, I needed an excuse NOT to buy one anyway. Keep it up and I'll personally extend my boycot to your entire line of products.

Re:Have it your way Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488572)

sure you will, haha, not.

You know you can't go without cd, dvds, playstations, video games...

i love these slashdot boycotts...

Re:Have it your way Sony... (1)

Ando[evilmedic] (199537) | about 13 years ago | (#2488594)

In order:

Panasonic, Hitachi, Nintendo Gamecube, other game developers.

Re:Have it your way Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488606)

i didn't say cd players dippy, sony is a member of both riaa and the mpaa. So go ahead use your hitachi dvd player to play that movie owned by sony.

And they own several game development shops.

So you'll be selling out faster than commander taco can say "zdnet ads".

Re:Have it your way Sony... (1)

evil-beaver (15985) | about 13 years ago | (#2488617)

I don't own a DVD player. I don't have any DVD's. WHY???? Why give a corporation that believes in the DMCA my money which they will use to hire lawers to sue me or others with? Why empower those assholes? Let Sony learn the hard way in the market place, either do business fairly and learn to play nicely or get shut out.

Sweet Revenge (1)

Arcturax (454188) | about 13 years ago | (#2488577)

I know! Reprogram your AIBO to kill DMCA and threat letter wielding Sony Execs and then return it saying its defective. With any luck, one of them will be doing a site visit on the factory that tries to recondition it.

Boston Content Party (1)

Googol (63685) | about 13 years ago | (#2488590)

It is clear that the "content" industry is the implacable enemy of civil liberties.

The only moral course of action is to boycott content that isn't open. Don't go to movies, buy
videos, or listen to music--unless it is produced
by those who support liberty and not those who
tread on it.

There comes a time when you can't drink tea
and be patriotic at the same time.

Re:Boston Content Party (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488601)

get real slashdorks can't boycott sony.

Remember the DVD boycotts, gee that lasted till what? till some japanese childrens television shows came out on dvd.(like 2 weeks later)

Remember the Audio CD boycott? That lasted till guess what, napster was shut down and it was hard to get mp3s again, once the convenience was gone everyone went back to buying cds.

Get real, it ain't gonna happen.

Re:Boston Content Party (1)

Googol (63685) | about 13 years ago | (#2488631)

"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

--Alan Cox (quoted at http://www.cryptome.org)
George Orwell said something very similar in
_1984_

Just because it "won't work" doesn't mean we
can avoid doing it. Define what you mean
by "work". Repeal of DMCA as a direct result?

We could get that repealed if Linus would just
make salt: encode the next Linux distribution
with a public key. Let someone leak the private
key. Then we all become DMCA violators. Let
'em arrest us all.

God damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2488610)

My eyes are sore from reading the comments in that GAY FUCKING COLOR!
/("&%!")%#"%(#"
DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE

Useless (1)

Tha_Zanthrax (521419) | about 13 years ago | (#2488613)

Did anyone put up a mirror ?!

Why are they closing this one site down ?
Things like this can't be helped, another site will soon rise and with a little bit of searching on Google you can still find all the programs that used to be on the site.

This is the same crap as trying to shut down Napster, filesharing isn't dead. Look at download.com's Top10 downloads list, 5 out of the 10 are filesharing progs !!

Well.. (5, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | about 13 years ago | (#2488628)

I read the letter.
It seems very clear that sony is only trying to prevent this guy from
a) Distributing software that sony definately has the copyright on
and
b) Telling people how to break sony's copy protection mechanisms to get such software.

They have no problem with him writing his own aibo software... only with him stealing theirs.

Now.. their use of the anti-circumvention stuff might be a stretch.... but this is a lot less draconian than many things we've seen.

They also go into great detail to explain exactly what it is that bothers them, and exactly why (as opposed to some companies who simply make vague threats)

Uhhh.. What? (2)

RAruler (11862) | about 13 years ago | (#2488630)

I might be not understanding this.. but when you think about it, in order to hack an Aibo you need to have one first.. so thats one sale, and when you think of all the things that can go wrong when you start messing around with software/hardware sony either gets another sale, or service charges. While the software may be the real problem here, its not like Sony's competitors don't already have it

. Think of how many people bought the I-Opener when they found it could run linux (the fact that the company went bankrupt is of no concern to us :) but when people find out they can use their expensive toys in ways not imagined by the company that made them, it makes a better and happier fan/customer base.
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