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Is Microsoft Using RIAA Legal Tactics?

kdawson posted about 8 years ago | from the if-you-can't-beat-'em-sue-'em dept.

239

Nom du Keyboard writes, "CNET reports, 'Microsoft has filed a federal lawsuit against an alleged hacker who broke through its copy protection technology, charging that the mystery developer somehow gained access to its copyrighted source code.' Looks to me like since they can't figure out how else he's doing it, they'll sue on this pretense and go fishing for the actual method through the legal system. They clearly have no proof yet that any theft of source code actually happened. This smacks of the RIAA tactics of sue first, then force you to hand over your hard drive to incriminate yourself. Isn't this something the courts should be putting a stop to at the first motion for dismissal?" Viodentia has denied using any proprietary source code, according to CNET.

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Why is it so hard? (2, Interesting)

soft_guy (534437) | about 8 years ago | (#16218717)

Why is it so hard to believe that he read the assembly and figured out how to crack the DRM from that?

Re:Why is it so hard? (1, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 8 years ago | (#16218745)

Well... if Microsoft's coders were convinced it was uncrackable with access to the source code... of course they think it's impossible for someone to do it without.

Re:Why is it so hard? (4, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | about 8 years ago | (#16219601)

Which makes this more like Apple then the RIAA. Apple sued various rumor sites to try to fish out a leak in their own organization. MS wants to sue to figure out how their information was broken.

Although it's not like MS and Apple aren't, the RIAA is simply interested in money and control, not information. This isn't RIAA style extortion so much as Apple style ass-backwards investigatory tactics.

The real reason for this lawsuit (4, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | about 8 years ago | (#16219931)

Microsoft wants to convince its music partners that its DRM is unbeatable. Now that it's been cracked, they're trying to argue that the only way their "unbeatable" DRM could have been cracked would be due to access to the source code.In other words, along with being a fishing expedition, this lawsuit is a PR play to Microsoft's music partners to try to save face over their no-longer-unsinkable DRM scheme.

Re:Why is it so hard? (4, Interesting)

musikit (716987) | about 8 years ago | (#16218747)

because windows is so complex not even MS can figure it out. they dont think this dude could.

gnireenignE (3, Interesting)

burndive (855848) | about 8 years ago | (#16218817)

Wouldn't this fall under the category of reverse engineering for interoperability? As long as he isn't re-publishing copyrighted code, I don't see what their problem is.

IIRC, The program doesn't even circumvent the DRM, it just waits for WMP to do it, and then reads some of its memory.

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

psycln (937854) | about 8 years ago | (#16219145)

1) Find DRM enforcing dll/exe. 2) Reverse engineer the code with Win32 PE Disassembler [heaventools.com] or any other disassembler [wikipedia.org] . 3) Make a program that would decode the DRMed file using knowledge from (2). 4) Publish code 5) ???? 6) Pro^H^H^HGet sued

RIAA's Legal Tactics (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 8 years ago | (#16218755)

I've read a lot of cases about the RIAA in court and I have to say there's some common tactics that this article doesn't mention:
  1. Prior to the trial, make sure that the judge realizes that your wife, daughter and grandmother are available for him depending on his age preference.
  2. Have the only licensed copy of Photoshop in the world installed on your laptop and present at the trial. Ask the defendent for his IP address during questioning and then add it to a BMP screen shot of some file sharing application with "KAZAA" shakily written at the top of the screen. Make sure that you wipe the drool from the judges mouth when you explain to him that this list is dynamic but you're sure the defendent is guilty. Also, throw his IP address on the Berlin Wall, the cover of Chairman Mao's Red Book & Hitler's armband in his 1936 speech just so the judge realizes the pure evil he's dealing with .
  3. Remind the judge how much you and your industry mean to the American economy. Also remind him who's in charge right now and how important it is that the economy stays in full swing. Carefully explain to him that a successful lawsuit will not help the American economy.
  4. Bring in Senator Ted Stevens as an expert witness on computers and tubes so the judge can understand how both computers and the internet works.
  5. Act like the artists (or in Microsoft's case, developers) are the ones being screwed here. They are the ones that this hacker is stealing from and then show pictures of their families living in the cold run down mansions in Redwood. Also show a picture of Lars Ulrich with a measily pile of only 5 million dollars instead of 6.
  6. Rinse, wash, repeat above card.
  7. Use legions of lawyers to inundate the individual with accusations about his past and his profession.
  8. Bottom line: stear clear of the fact that people pay you money for instances of something that's easily instantiated. Try to blur the concept of physical property versus intellectual property and use bad analogies such as grand theft auto or gas station holdups to the case at hand.
  9. Oh, and stop at nothing to make sure the person is ruined for the rest of their life. Leans on paychecks are a sweel idea as well as restitution through house, car, possessions, etc.
So, as you can see, Microsoft has a ways to go before meeting the RIAA's stringent legal tactics. Don't worry though, I have faith in Microsoft.

Re:RIAA's Legal Tactics (1)

turgid (580780) | about 8 years ago | (#16219401)

Also show a picture of Lars Ulrich with a measily pile of only 5 million dollars instead of 6.

Lars said he was sorry. Poor man. Being bald is enough punishment for him. Leave him be.

Re:RIAA's Legal Tactics (1)

Cheeze (12756) | about 8 years ago | (#16219449)

Oh please, all the RIAA/MPAA/etc need to do is have one private sentence with the judge:

"Your honor, your home computer came up in our search, so if this case doesn't go well, we'll be searching your hard drive next."

Re:RIAA's Legal Tactics (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 8 years ago | (#16219659)

Methinks a judge would not look kindly upon blackmail.

Re:RIAA's Legal Tactics (1)

Cheeze (12756) | about 8 years ago | (#16219835)

It's not blackmail if a corporation does it.

Re:RIAA's Legal Tactics (2, Insightful)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | about 8 years ago | (#16219561)

I've read a lot of cases about the RIAA in court and I have to say there's some common tactics that this article doesn't mention:

10. File suit against 5 month old infants, senile great grandmothers, and the deceased.

I Am Spartacus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219745)

Since Microsoft doesn't wven know the true identity of the person they are suing, we should all stand up and shout (well at least send an email " I am Viodentia".

suprised? (0)

thedrunkensailor (992824) | about 8 years ago | (#16218761)

the article doesn't state anywhere, "the ethically superior and generous monopoly, microsoft..."

Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 years ago | (#16218787)

Microsoft has released two successive patches aimed at disabling the tool. The first worked--but the hacker, known only by the pseudonym "Viodentia," quickly found a way around the update, the company alleges. Now the company says this was because the hacker had apparently gained access to copyrighted source code unavailable to previous generations of would-be crackers.

Tenuous grounds -- Microsoft is in effect claiming nobody could have reverse engineered their code, or cracked it, so fast, therefore they must have cheated by having access to Microsoft's original sources. Sounds like a logical assumption, but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding, though there was no witness to the driver actually speeding.

I expect what Microsoft really wants is to find if they have an inside man leaking code. Have to get Viodentia to reveal that by poring over his/her drive, which may yield absolutely nothing and be fairly claimed as harrassment.

"FairUse4WM has been my own creation, and has never involved Microsoft source code," the developer wrote. "I link with Microsoft's static libraries provided with the compiler and various platform SDK (software development kit) files."

Sounds almost as if those at Microsoft pursuing this case do not even know what their own library routines may be capapble of.

SCO? (2, Insightful)

Sketch (2817) | about 8 years ago | (#16218877)

> Tenuous grounds -- Microsoft is in effect claiming nobody could have reverse engineered their code, or cracked it, so fast, therefore they must have cheated by having access to Microsoft's original sources.

Sounds more like SCO's tactics than the RIAA's...

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#16218887)

Sounds like a logical assumption, but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding, though there was no witness to the driver actually speeding.
It's more like claiming a driver who went from point A to point B must have stolen your car to do so, despite the fact that your car is still in your garage.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (2, Interesting)

fleck_99_99 (223900) | about 8 years ago | (#16218913)

Sounds like a logical assumption, but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding, though there was no witness to the driver actually speeding.
I see where you're going with this, and I agree that Microsoft's assertion is invalid, but your assertion would, in fact, be pretty darned compelling evidence. It's called the Mean Value Theorem [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#16219151)

Not really, unless they can prove there are no other means of transport available to him then he could have got there via alternative means (aircraft, helicopter, rocket etc)
I believe the speed limit of an aircraft over most land is the speed of sound, so he is ok all the upto ~750mph.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (2, Funny)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 8 years ago | (#16219811)

I believe the speed limit of an aircraft over most land is the speed of sound, so he is ok all the upto ~750mph.

You haven't been to an airport lately, have you? The speed limit through the security line is up to ~1 meter/hour.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (5, Insightful)

eric76 (679787) | about 8 years ago | (#16218917)

but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding

That's nearly right.

More accurately, it's like claiming someone who managed to cover the distance from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been driving and is therefore guilty of speeding.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#16219157)

Here's a more relevant quote:
Microsoft is also contacting other Web sites that have posted the FairUse4WM tool, asking them to remove the software, on the grounds that it contains copyrighted company code.

Company representatives declined to speculate on exactly how "Viodentia" gained access to copyrighted source code. The code in question is part of a Windows Media software development kit, but is not easily accessible to anyone with a copy of that toolkit, Microsoft said.
Anyone want to explain the logic behind that statement?

MS gives out the SDK
The SDK contains source code that is "not easily accessible"
Someone accesses the source code.
MS cries foul!

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (2, Interesting)

Fordiman (689627) | about 8 years ago | (#16218979)

Best quote:
'Analysts say that "Viodentia" hasn't proved that Microsoft's DRM tools are fundamentally flawed ... Any DRM out there is going to be cracked'

Sounds like it's not Microsoft's DRM tools that are flawed, but DRM itself.

Well, duh, guys.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (3, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | about 8 years ago | (#16219299)

You are correct as far as the current crop of security through obscurity DRM is concerned. The next crop coming with Vista and the next MS Office will tie DRM to a crypto module on the motherboard (available in 90% of the PCs coming down the production line today) or to a personal certificate (or both). These will not have these flaws. More importantly with Vista + Fresh MS Office it will be possible to use DRM on MS office documents so RIAA will no longer need to push DRM down our throats. 90%+ of the businesses out there will do that for them as this provides a measure to prevent information leaks and costly disclosures. The DRMless computer will become a rarity in the hands of enthusiasts and the market forces will wipe it out from free circulation. This is not far off - 2-3 years at most.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | about 8 years ago | (#16219531)

This is not far off - 2-3 years at most.

Excellent! I can almost guarantee that when this happens, that when DRM gets to be such a pain in the ass that regular people are bitching about it, a simple phrase uttered in earshot will move mountains:

"You know... Linux doesn't have any of this DRM shit infecting it"

... could be a whole new lease on life for that OS

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

r3m0t (626466) | about 8 years ago | (#16220069)

"Plus Linux can't play your HD-DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, Word documents edited in Office 2007 [perhaps employers will set it to add protection to all files of the new format], nor view many websites! You may not even be able to use your current files!"

TC -> the end of interoperability.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 8 years ago | (#16219055)

Sounds like a logical assumption, but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding, though there was no witness to the driver actually speeding.

Well, assuming no weird configurations (it's 100 miles by land but 4 miles by Ferry; points A nd B are airports; etc...), the laws of reality sort of confirm the guy has been speeding. I believe the French police just look at the time on your entrance/exit tickets on their equivalent of (pay-for) freeways...

Here, on the other hand, the cracker may have found 2 exploits originally, and MS only fixed one of them...

Simon

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219283)

When A and B are Aachen and Berlin (ok, more than 100 miles apart) it should be possible...

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (3, Funny)

multisync (218450) | about 8 years ago | (#16219121)

I expect what Microsoft really wants is to find if they have an inside man leaking code. Have to get Viodentia to reveal that by poring over his/her drive, which may yield absolutely nothing and be fairly claimed as harrassment.


I have a better solution: hire a private investigator to call his phone company pretending to be him, and get them to release his phone records. Do the same for all of your employee's phone records then match them up.

It's so simple, I'm surprised no one has thought of it already.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

Alchemar (720449) | about 8 years ago | (#16219125)

More like he got from Point A to Point B wich are 60 miles apart, but he must have been speeding because everyone gets slowed down somewhere your honor.

Re:Tenuous Grounds, IMHO (1)

AoT (107216) | about 8 years ago | (#16219191)

Sounds like a logical assumption, but it's a bit like claiming a driver went from Point A to Point B, 100 miles apart, in one hour must have been speeding, though there was no witness to the driver actually speeding.

Unless he took a plane, or a fast train.

Because, "My baby, she wrote me a letter." (1)

agent (7471) | about 8 years ago | (#16219599)

Lonely days are gone, I'ma goin' home!

Maybe that's the whole point of "shared" source (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 8 years ago | (#16219293)

That's probably the whole point of "shared" source, which is basically a plain old NDA wrapped in a shitload of marketing hype. The bottom line is it makes it easy to go after projects and people who reverse engineer MS' protocols and other problems from MS licensing and/or lack of documentation. The better job these people and teams do, the better show MS can make to the uninformed that their secret sauce was stolen. That sounds a lot better to shareholders than the product was so crappy that it was cracked in short order from the binaries alone.

Sounds almost as if those at Microsoft pursuing this case do not even know what their own library routines may be capapble of.

That's not unprecedented. The Samba team regularly has contact from MS developers asking for help with MS' own junk. In this case they're probably itching to get hold of the guy. First, because he's showing that even MS' patches are junk. Second, because he probably has insight into who to do it correctly and maybe they can entice or force it out of him. Getting hold of him in a court setting would allow MS to set the conditions of "employment".

rev eng against dmca... so why persist? (1)

chroot_james (833654) | about 8 years ago | (#16219303)

I think I agree that they're looking for a leak. Reverse Engineering is against the DMCA and should be enough to nail the guy, but they're persisting anyway.

well... (4, Insightful)

skogs (628589) | about 8 years ago | (#16218829)

What I take from this is the following:

Even WITH the source code microsoft cannot figure out how their code works and issue patches...so how would they be able to tell if some 'hacker' is really hacking their ultra secure corporate network? What do they do when third parties issue unofficial patches for IE? Are they going to start filing lawsuits against the white hats too as they might have figured something out on their own?

I am neither for or against hacking DRM and such, but honestly, assuming somebody hacked their way in and stole source code is a little bit harder to believe than simply figuring out a way around what I'm sure is an elementary DRM code. Poking and testing is easy to do, hacking, finding, downloading, and analysing source code is probably adding a bit more effort to the process than most guys trying to beat DRM are willing to go through.

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. If he just plain figured it out by trying several different things, I'm inclined to believe him.

sounds about right. (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 years ago | (#16219141)

so the only one who has any clue how the MS DRM works is some dude out in The Ether who watched bitstreams or something and reverse-engineered a patch for this.

or didn't know aught, but found the section of code or the registry points and routed them to his own routine, which could be as simple as

NOP
NOP
NOP
NEXT

to settle a timing issue.

the judge should get both explainations side by side on his bench and make a summary ruling. I expect it would take about 51 seconds to dismiss with prejudice. meaning MS can't chase this guy/gal/thing/commune any more over the issue.

Re:well... (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | about 8 years ago | (#16219637)

Even WITH the source code microsoft cannot figure out how their code works and issue patches...
I completely understand their position; I, too, have read the MSDN looking for sensical documentation.

Viodentia motive? (1)

Cybert4 (994278) | about 8 years ago | (#16218871)

Can some clue me in on the motive of Viodentia? Do they want donations? Do they have anything to sell? Ads? If they make any profit at all (donations are cool, however), then I will very quickly leave their side.

People don't usually crack things in record time without a motivation.

Re:Viodentia motive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219135)

People don't usually crack things in record time without a motivation.

Don't underestimate the 1337 factor here. Peer recognition has always been a primary motivator among fellow hackers.

Re:Viodentia motive? (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#16219227)

because it was there.

Re:Viodentia motive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219997)

hahaha fixed yer sig eh?

Re:Viodentia motive? (3, Informative)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | about 8 years ago | (#16219251)

Microsoft is after FairUse4WM, a lone programmer who calls himself Viodentia. FairUse4WMV was first released by Viodentia on the Internet on August 19. Engadget first broke the story on August 25th. Microsoft released its first fix on August 28, but that was thwarted three days later by the release of an updated version of FairUse4WM. As of this posting, no new Microsoft fix has been released. In the mean time broadcaster BSkyB has stopped its broadband movie download service until Microsoft secures its DRM system. Other content download services such as Movielink, RealNetworks and MTVs Urge service use Microsoft's PlayforSure technology and are equally vulnerable!!!

5th amendment? (1)

gfilion (80497) | about 8 years ago | (#16218907)

This smacks of the RIAA tactics of sue first, then force you to hand over your hard drive to incriminate yourself.

Wouldn't that violate the 5th amendment [wikipedia.org] ?

No person shall [...] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself

I'm not trolling about the RIAA violating the constitution, I'm really interested in knowing if the 5th would apply here.

Re:5th amendment? (1)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#16219079)

Generally, if the production of the documents would be "testamonial," then they cannot be discovered. Note that the contents of the documents themselves can never be testimonial: only the act of production can be. Furthermore, if the existence of something is a "foregone conclusion," then it is likewise not testimonial. Also considered is the doctrine of inevitable discovery; in this case, if other routes of investigation would have made the documents' existence a foregone conclusion, they would likewise be produced.

That's the short version of it, at least.

Re:5th amendment? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219123)

Since a hard drive is not a person, and more specifically, not a US Citizen, it does not have the right to refuse to testify, and may therefore be sequestered as evidence.

Re:5th amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219185)

Parent comment is funny. But consider if you had encrypted your hard drive. In the U.S. your 5th amendment rights state that you cannot not be compelled to produce the password on the grounds that you might incriminate yourself. In other countries, like the U.K., you're SOL.

Re:5th amendment? (1)

Si (9816) | about 8 years ago | (#16219369)

Which is why we're all using truecrypt [truecrypt.org] hidden volumes [truecrypt.org] , right? Right?

Re:5th amendment? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 8 years ago | (#16219777)

In other countries, like the U.K., you're SOL.

I'm not sure...

In a criminal case, being prosecuted by police, where the penalty is less than 2 years, then yes. They can use the RIP Act. But there is a protection from self incrimination in the Human Rights Act. It may well be legitimate to refuse to supply information in a civil case if that information may be used to incriminate oneself in a crime.

Of course, by doing this, you're removing some evidence that may be beneficial to yourself in the civil suit.

Re:5th amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219175)

Fifth amendment only covers criminal cases, not civil. In civil cases, you're really supposed to turn over all requested documents, except for privileged attorney-client communications. Otherwise you could never prove a case.

I don't know what the rules are in criminal cases -- I think law enforcement simply collects incriminating evidence; I don't know what the rules are involving compelling defendants to turn over evidence.

Is this case civil or criminal?

Re:5th amendment? (1)

brunascle (994197) | about 8 years ago | (#16219281)

Is this case civil or criminal?
since it's been identified as a "lawsuit", rather than "criminal charges", that would mean civil. So, yeah, i dont think the 5th amendment would apply.

Re:5th amendment? (2, Informative)

Nosajjason (613456) | about 8 years ago | (#16219277)

The 5th Amendment typically only applies in "criminal cases" (i.e. jail time and/or fine) but can be invoked in civil cases (i.e. injunction and/or damages suffered) when the testimony the witness is asked to offer would be incriminating against him.
Additionally, the production of physical evidence (gun, blood sample, computer, etc.) is not considered to be "testifying." Under the 5th, you cannot be forced to "testify" (verbally) against yourself. However, the government (in criminal cases) and parties (civil cases) can still obtain all physical evidence which is relevant OR is likely to lead to relevant evidence.

Re:5th amendment? (4, Interesting)

FellowConspirator (882908) | about 8 years ago | (#16219555)

The 5th Amendment would not generally apply, since it's a copyright infringement claim and thus not a criminal offense. The 5th Amendment pertains to crimes, not torts. Further, the 5th Amendment is understood to refer to the government compelling you to implicate yourself through testimony, not a third party or through evidence.

That said, the as-of-yet-unchallenged Digital Millennium Copyright Act clearly makes "access" to copyrighted works without a license illegal if they are "digital". Under that law, "access" to "digital" copyrighted works is indeed a crime. In that case, if the government got involved in the prosecution the 5th Amendment may very well apply with regard to whatever testimony you give.

Dismissal? (5, Informative)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#16218931)

Dismissal is only appropriate where the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. There is no evidentiary burden for a motion to dismiss, and before some discovery, a motion for summary judgment (which seems to be what the author is referring to) is premature. If Microsoft has a good faith belief that what they alledge happened actually happened, then they are entitled to discovery to prove their point, so long as they actually have a cause of action (in this case, they do). If discovery information does not support their claim, then the defendant can have summary judgment. Even if they are using the legal system to "find out how he did it," if someone committed a tort against them, they have a right to figure out exactly what happened.

Don't write about law if you know nothing about law, and don't make assumptions or claims about lawsuits based on second-hand information and bias.

Re:Dismissal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219585)

Even if they are using the legal system to "find out how he did it," if someone committed a tort against them, they have a right to figure out exactly what happened.

Yes, but if someone did not commit a tort against Microsoft, what right does Microsoft have to use the court system to find out how someone did something?

Don't write about law if you know nothing about law

The legal system continues to claim ignorance of the law is not a defense. Until the legal system owns up to the fact that this is bullshit because the laws themselves are contradictory, the people empowered to enforce the laws break the laws (who is spying on Americans?), and the judges don't even know all of the laws (they make the lawyers tell them what laws matter to the case and then hide behind this limited set of laws as being the laws pertinent to the case, unless they want to find another law on their own to rule the way they want).

Don't write about law if you know nothing about law

The Patriot act was passed without even a single legislator having read its contents. If the laws are passed without being known by those who pass them, why do you expect Slashdot to give a shit about your desire we not talk about the law?

Re:Dismissal? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 8 years ago | (#16220043)

Actually dismissal is also appropriate when the complaintant states a claim upon which relief can be granted but that claim isn't against the defendant. For example, if a store sues me for breaking in after hours and claims they've got video of a car in the parking lot so I must've been the perp, I can note that DMV records show I don't own a car matching that in the video and request a dismissal and I'll likely get it.

visual studio tattler (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | about 8 years ago | (#16218935)

Hate to put any ideas in their heads, but odds are that a lot of hacks/cracks are compiled with visual studio, and on machines with WGA or other identifiable data.

In away I'm simply amazed that .exe and .dll files don't already have embedded in them a little tag that gives MSFT a clue who compiled it, what time zone, what IP address, what domain, what ISP/routes it uses, maybe even wifi connection history (if it's on the move).

Re:visual studio tattler (1)

jacquesm (154384) | about 8 years ago | (#16219683)

welcome to vmware, where nothing is as it seems, and there's a place for everything.

Re:visual studio tattler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219685)

There's a simple way to check this: compile Hello World with the same compiler settings on two different machines with different networks, time zones, users, etc., and compare the results. If Microsoft is embedding this information in .exe's and .dll's, then it would become obvious.

Sounds a lot like SCO tactics to me... (3, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | about 8 years ago | (#16218937)

"This smacks of the RIAA tactics of sue first, then force you to hand over your hard drive to incriminate yourself."

This smacks of SCO tactics to me. Accuse first, offer no proof, sue so you can fish for evidence...

Say, didn't Microsoft indirectly fund the SCO fishing expedition? Nuff said...

Re:Sounds a lot like SCO tactics to me... (2, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | about 8 years ago | (#16219323)

The difference here is that, unlike IBM (even with donations) I doubt Viodentia can afford a four year plus lawsuit costing tens of millions of dollars. Personally, I think the objective is to send a message to any other hacker with the same idea: if you try to circumvent our copy protection (legally or not) we are going to financially cripple you. It works as far as I am concerned.

How about... (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | about 8 years ago | (#16218939)

the MPAA and RIAA sue Microsoft? Since nobody could intentionally make software this insecure, it's obvious that Microsoft is in league with the pirates.

Re:How about... (0)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | about 8 years ago | (#16219071)

the RIAA is going after only flagrant copyright violators. But ultimately, for similar situations thousands of lawsuits could be filed. Also RIAA is offering amnesty from lawsuits to P2P users who voluntarily identify themselves and pledge not to illegally distribute files again...

Re:How about... (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 8 years ago | (#16219935)

Also RIAA is offering amnesty from lawsuits to P2P users who voluntarily identify themselves and pledge not to illegally distribute files again...

and signing that document is likely a very bad idea, unless they changed it recently. it only offers protection from a lawsuit filed by the RIAA. it offers no protection from lawsuits filed by the individual labels (the RIAA members).

Re:How about... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 8 years ago | (#16219509)

Of course they are in league with the pirates, otherwise why would they object to this guy "having an unfair advantage" over the rest of the pirates?

FTA:"Our own intellectual property was stolen from us and used to create this tool," said Bonnie MacNaughton, a senior attorney in Microsoft's legal and corporate affairs division. "They obviously had a leg up on any of the other hackers that might be creating circumvention tools from scratch."

See, even MS is concerned that the pirates are all on level ground...er, I mean decks.

Ah, nevermind...I gotta go, things to take care of...
Arrrghh! Thar she blows....P2P off teh port bow! Heave to, maties, this one looks like rich plunder!

Exhibit A, for the defense... (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 8 years ago | (#16218967)

A disassembler.

I mean come on! Really! Read this from TFA:

Microsoft has released two successive patches aimed at disabling the tool. The first worked--but the hacker, known only by the pseudonym "Viodentia," quickly found a way around the update, the company alleges. Now the company says this was because the hacker had apparently gained access to copyrighted source code unavailable to previous generations of would-be crackers.

Um, hello? People have been disassembling code to disable copy protection since the first days of the warez scene. You don't need the source. All the source does is speed things up a bit.

Not that I'd know anything about that. *ahem*

Re:Exhibit A, for the defense... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#16219203)

I remember a program for CP/M that disassembled the OS and emitted comments into the code as to what was going on...

Re:Exhibit A, for the defense... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 8 years ago | (#16219775)

That's fantastic. =)

Best one I've personally spent any time with is IDA. Check out all the stuff this thing can do. [datarescue.com] I'm especially fond of those wingraph charts in the large gif they have there.

Source code? Pfft. Who needs it?

Re:Exhibit A, for the defense... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 8 years ago | (#16219827)

or a Hex editor... I have "fond" memories of examining z80 binaries for particular opcode sequences and non-opping them out... ah, the good old days of cracking Spectrum programs to remove the manual "code" check failure jump so that it always passed...

The system works. Why are you bitching? (2, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | about 8 years ago | (#16219161)

Our congressmen and senators look after the welfare of their constiuancy (sp?), and the courts come to a fair and balanced ruling which takes the best interests of the citizens into account and comes to a verdict which is most just for their citizenry.

It's just that now corporations are the only real citizens-- a situation no different than the late 1700's/early 1800s when only the rich white landowners were considered citizens.

Again, I'll ask --the system works; why are you bitching?

Re:The system works. Why are you bitching? (1)

DeusExMalex (776652) | about 8 years ago | (#16219575)

Again, I'll ask --the system works; why are you bitching?


You answered your own question:
corporations are the only real citizens


In the United States, individuals are supposed to be citizens as well. I'd like to remain one since I pay taxes into a bunch of services I'll never see a return from. The least my government can do is still consider me a citizen, even if only a second-class one.

Re:The system works. Why are you bitching? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219785)

>In the United States, individuals are supposed to be citizens as well.

Whenever I scratch a lotto ticket, it's "supposed" to be a winner. Modern Americans are nothing more than smug, fat, indolent and apathetic consumers, who serve no purpose other than to feed cash into the system. They have no worth beyond the number of eyeballs which view the corporations' ads, or the number of tickets which by the corporations' movies, or the numbers which buy the corporations cds.

You are viewing your status through the lens of an early-20th century mindset, but that doesn't change the truth. You -as a citizen of the EU or US- are nothing more than a serf whose place it is to channel your economic allotment to the content industries you are told to, and to be used as pawns in a larger game which is -in all honesty- not your place to worry about.

Work. Consume. Die.
That is your place.
If you are not a corporation, you're a serf; remember your station and do not attempt to rise above it.

If I write something in hex... (1)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | about 8 years ago | (#16219223)

...does that mean I can sue anyone who opens it in a text editor for stealing copyrighted source code?

Part of the MS DRM strategy (2, Interesting)

rlp (11898) | about 8 years ago | (#16219263)

DRM is an arms race that the defender is going to eventually lose. Microsoft realizes this and is using the legal system to try to intimidate their NEXT adversary in the DRM battle. If they can successfully make an example of the person who bypassed their DRM this time, the next person may think twice. And yeah - it stinks.

Shouldn't the headline be... (1)

bitrot42 (523887) | about 8 years ago | (#16219295)

Is Microsoft Using RIAA Illegal Tactics...?

MSFT using RIAA (0, Redundant)

Ice Wewe (936718) | about 8 years ago | (#16219319)

Is Microsoft Using RIAA Legal Tactics?

I don't know, are they?

Arrogance. (4, Insightful)

Dogun (7502) | about 8 years ago | (#16219321)

"I don't know how GuyIDontLike did something, therefore he must have cheated."

Some developpers are extremely slow to realize that things which seem nigh impossible to them are in fact, run-of-the-mill easy for talented hackers, crackers, upper-teir skr1pt k1dd13s, and others. Code obfuscation is not by any means adequate protection.

Neither is sticking anti-debugger crap in your code, for that matter.

Re:Arrogance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219649)

upper-teir

Is this some kind of language obfuscation?

Let's sue Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219325)

We should create a standards-compliant website, which contains links to copyrighted material.

BUT these links use copy protection technology, so that they are never displayed.

Only Microsoft, that bad evil hacker organisation, gives all script-kiddis in the world an easy tool to break through this copy protection technology by just ignoring the RFC-standards!

Let's sue them, and forbid them to provide Internet Explorer! :)

This is not really about Microsoft (2, Interesting)

glomph (2644) | about 8 years ago | (#16219383)

despite their DRM being yet another monopolistic trap.

It's about DRM being like gun control (don't get me wrong, I HATE guns and private gun ownership):
DRM punishes the honest, and does nothing about people who are going to steal.

Make 'legal' online music consumption easy for the consumer, and they will be happy, and you will make money.
Treat them like criminals, and... well, you'll just be cultivating this behaviour.

Re:This is not really about Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219619)

I HATE guns and private gun ownership

I disagree with you, but I'll give you props and the respect you're due for just coming out and saying what you really feel, instead of trying to be sneaky and underhanded about it like the Brady folks and others.

Users are beta testing M$'s DRM implentation (2, Insightful)

metoc (224422) | about 8 years ago | (#16219403)

Personally this is another great M$ beta test. They can't hope to find the flaws in their DRM design, and Windows Media software, so they get users to do it. If the flaw is not obvious and no one will volunteer the info M$ needs to correct it, they send in the lawyers. Makes me wonder if they will take HP's lead and get some PI to do a black bag job on someone's house. Hey, computers get stolen all the time :)

If they do end up in court, at the very least only third party investigators should have access so as to protect the defendents trade secrets and IP. Afterward, to top it off, M$ should open itself up to verify that it isn't secretly using anything it learned in the trial without paying compensation.

omgwtf! WALLH4X! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219405)

omgwtf? pwned again? j00 h4x0r. l4m3.

Defining Micorsoft's Role (1)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | about 8 years ago | (#16219443)

On the DRM tool in Windows Media software there's virtually no way to make it fully hack-proof. Any protection that's just software can always be broken by other software. Some attacker was bound to be able to do something like this. This won't be the last time Microsoft has to contend with this type of problem. Or maybe Microsoft put out this code that would be cracked quickly so they could the world at how fast they are at beating back the crackers? Good way to show the entertainment industry how much they care about protecting the industry.

Why is it so hard to believe? (1)

un.sined (946837) | about 8 years ago | (#16219451)

The MPAA and RIAA have shown that their way of litigation works! Why is it so hard to believe that other companies would try to mimic that behavior?

Microsoft are so arrogant. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 years ago | (#16219497)

Microsoft are so arrogant.

Even though they have a perfect track record of inability to develop a single truly secure product, they presume this guy must have stolen the source in order to use any of their gaping holes.

Microsoft's own track record on security is this guy's own perfect legal defense.

Solution: Countersue (2, Interesting)

coinreturn (617535) | about 8 years ago | (#16219499)

Hacker just needs to countersue, saying Microsoft could not have issued a patch that undid his DRM-removal without access to his source code. The arguement is the same, and with the time for Vista to ship as evidence that Microsoft cannot turn around updates quickly, source-code or no.

Re:Solution: Countersue (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | about 8 years ago | (#16219807)

Yeah, sure. A single guy can really afford to go against a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Mozart's Memory (5, Insightful)

adamdrayer (1006631) | about 8 years ago | (#16219511)

From an article I just started reading: ...when Mozart was a boy he traveled to the Vatican with his father. Since they happened to be there at Easter, they were able to take in a performance of Allegri's Miserere. The Miserere is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. It is so beautiful, in fact, that at the time the Pope allowed no copies of the score to be made, and it was only performed at Easter, and only at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Only the choir was permitted to see the score, which was otherwise kept under lock and key.
Mozart, being the prodigy he was, heard the piece once and memorized it in its entirety. When he got home he wrote down the score without a single missed note. When Church authorities heard that Mozart had an unauthorized copy of the Miserere they took him to court, accusing him of stealing a copy of the score. The young boy was able to prove that he had not stolen the work only by writing down the piece again, perfectly, from memory in the presence of the court.

Obviously this probably isn't the case here, but isn't this a good example that you should not be allowed to sue somebody for copyright infringement unless you have some proof they obtained what they got thru illegal activity?

Re:Mozart's Memory (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | about 8 years ago | (#16219707)

Not that I necessarily disagree, but just to play the devil's advocate here... in your example, wasn't Mozart copying the score? Wasn't he infringing copyright by writing down a copy of the piece?
Just because it wasn't through printed medium, but rather through memorization, doesn't mean he wasn't copying it.

In professional music, it is a requirement to learn how to write down a piece of music upon hearing it -- musical dictation. Writing down a piece that you heard on the radio is still an act of making a copy of that piece, isn't it?

But of course that doesn't take away from that fact that it was an absolutely amazing feat. I hadn't heard that particular story.

Re:Mozart's Memory (1)

adamdrayer (1006631) | about 8 years ago | (#16219841)

You're right. I guess the point is that back then it wasn't a problem that he copied and performed it. It was the fact that they assumed he must have stolen it or gained illegal access to it, which is what he was on trial for. Its the labeling of this guy a hacker that I object to, considering they don't know how he got it. Depending on the judge, the word "hacker" can mean bad things in a court of law.

Re:Mozart's Memory (1)

Br00se (211727) | about 8 years ago | (#16220005)

I don't know if this is true or not, but assume that it was. They assumed that he stole a copy of the score, not that he produced his own copy from memory. I don't know what copyright law was like in those days, so I don't know if what he did was considered illegal. Breaking in and stealing a physical copy was certainly illegal.

I'm no expert on the brain or on memory, but I beleive that our brain stores every sight, sound, smell, taste or feeling that we ever experience. We just don't know how to access those memories as fully as we would like. So, if I'm right, everytime we experience a song, book or movie, we make a copy in our head. Just don't tell the RIAA or the MPAA.

Another good reason not to have anything to do wit (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 8 years ago | (#16219553)

Another good reason not to have anything to do with Microsoft.

Did you need another? Don't worry, they'll come up with one for you.

Download - Thanks, Microsoft! (4, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 8 years ago | (#16219779)

So, what did I get from this article... There's a new tool available that can strip new Windows Media DRM! Thanks, Microsoft!

It took a bit of searching but I found the program and mirrored it [uberm00.net] if anybody's interesting. Please be sparing on my bandwidth. :^)

And like the rest of the slashdotters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16219875)

*** Viodentia has denied using any proprietary source code, according to CNET. ***

And all Slashdotters will deny ever downloading music illegally...

Any and everyone can deny something. Why should anyone believe someone who's sole purpose was to get around a security/anti-piracy/whatever measure just because they didn't like it.

Again, if you don't like it - don't use it...don't buy it...whatever. It's that fucking simple.

Microsoft can't win (1)

natebizu (960267) | about 8 years ago | (#16219927)

Microsoft can't win the lawsuit. If you knew Microsoft was after your hard drive and they have no idea who you are, you have plenty of time to backup everything and wipe your hard drive(the right way). Just put the backups in a safe place. There you go, no evidence. This is all assuming you WERE guilty. And if you are innocent, and want to really piss off Microsoft, post the source code on the net. :)

The bottom line might be (2, Insightful)

Spiked_Three (626260) | about 8 years ago | (#16219929)

that by forcing someone into the courtroom and accusing him of stealing the source code, his probable defense as everyone has pointed out is "I didn't steal the code, I reversed engineered it."

Guess what else is against the law? His/her best defense is an admission of guilt to breaking the system/scheme of protection. It is probably a win win for Microsoft.

And regardless if you are for or against the law(s), it seems as if some law has been broken.

I wouldn't say Microsoft is adopting RIAA tactics because that would be crediting RIAA for inventing the use of the courts to stop something they don't like. Companies have doing that for a long time.
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