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Microsoft is suing FairUse4WM

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  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    http://news.com.com/Microsoft+sues+over+source+code+theft/2100-1025_3-6119892.html?tag=nefd.pop

    From what I can tell, the FairUse4WM developer has figured out how to intercept the encryption keys in flight, enabling him to employ Microsoft's own binaries to remove DRM from WMA files for him, so instead of fixing its DRM to prevent this, Microsoft has decided to sue the FairUse4WM developer to stop the occurence of damages stemming from its own incompetence.

    I really do not think what Microsoft is doing here is right. If they do not want him to employ their binaries and publically avaliable documentation in the removal of DRM from WMA files, they should prevent him from intercepting their encryption keys in the first place.

  • User profile image
    Rossj

    They're also accusing him of breaking into Microsoft internal systems - not a smart move, not at all. It's a fishing expedition.

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    Shining Arcanine wrote:

    I really do not think what Microsoft is doing here is right. If they do not want him to employ their binaries and publically avaliable documentation in the removal of DRM from WMA files, they should prevent him from intercepting their encryption keys in the first place.


    Look, putting aside for a second the whole question of whether DRM is ethical, legal or moral, the point is simple. DRM is not the end, it's the means. The end is preventing people from illegal copying (regardless of whether that law is right), and the DRM schemes are only necessary because people break that law. Saying "It's Microsoft fault for not making the DRM strong enough" is silly - the very act of trying to break it is the illegal part. I don't have to put landmines and gun turrets around my house in order to make breaking and entering illegal. It's just as illegal if I just use a simple lock.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Yggdrasil wrote:
    ...and the DRM schemes are only necessary because people break that law.


    Actually, it's to "keep honest people honest".

    Yggdrasil wrote:
    Saying "It's Microsoft fault for not making the DRM strong enough" is silly - the very act of trying to break it is the illegal part.


    Only because of the DMCA and the EUCD

    Yggdrasil wrote:
    I don't have to put landmines and gun turrets around my house in order to make breaking and entering illegal. It's just as illegal if I just use a simple lock.


    It's illegal without a lock too, your lock is there to keep honest people honest, not to prevent determined burglars from entering (and also to get lower insurance premiums)

  • User profile image
    rhm

    Shining Arcanine wrote:
    http://news.com.com/Microsoft+sues+over+source+code+theft/2100-1025_3-6119892.html?tag=nefd.pop

    From what I can tell, the FairUse4WM developer has figured out how to intercept the encryption keys in flight, enabling him to employ Microsoft's own binaries to remove DRM from WMA files for him, so instead of fixing its DRM to prevent this, Microsoft has decided to sue the FairUse4WM developer to stop the occurence of damages stemming from its own incompetence.

    I really do not think what Microsoft is doing here is right. If they do not want him to employ their binaries and publically avaliable documentation in the removal of DRM from WMA files, they should prevent him from intercepting their encryption keys in the first place.


    I doubt you'd need to steal any source code or break into any Microsoft systems to devlop something like this. It probably pays Microsoft legally to add that to the accusation though because computer intrusion is a more serious crime so they can get a bigger response out of the police (who really should be working on the drugs and other serious societal problems, not doing Microsoft's dirty work, but anyway...)

    As for the program, Microsoft have tried to close down the hack by issuing patches to the Windows Media system, but it was modified to take those changes into account. It's pretty clear now that whatever patches Microsoft make, the party responsible will quickly get around them and publish a new version of their program. No DRM that runs on a general purpose computer can ever be secure from cracks like this. Even with TPM it would only take one bug in the kernel to let the hacker in. Hence the legal effort to take out the author.

    As for whether the program is justified... I don't think so. There might be some justification for breaking Apple's FairPlay (ironic name) DRM because lets face it, if you can decode the file for the program to work, you've paid for it, you should be able to listen to it on whatever you like - that's the "Fair use" the author is refering to.

    But Windows Media supports a 'rental model' for music that is used by subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody. You can make an argument that pay-per-download sites like iTunes don't really need DRM, but subscription services can only exist with DRM. And I like using subscription services, so I hope this program gets squashed personally.

  • User profile image
    stevo_

    I think Microsoft is well within their rights to do so- plus, this isn't just solely in their hands, they need to be heavily supporting their drm because they need to ensure their protecting whoever's music/video/whatever is using the drm.

  • User profile image
    Deactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Programous wrote:
    Hopefully we’ll see a rise in smart indie artists and eventually make DRM unnecessary, but that’s for another thread


    Actually, the very same indie artists can make DRM illegal[1]. Check Creative Commons.

    [1]Well, in certain uses. Some CC/CL licenses prohibit the DRMing of their content, if the rumours about the Zune automatically DRMing all content when sharing them are true then someone with content licensed under CC could file suit against MS or sometihng.

  • User profile image
    Deactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Programous wrote:
    They could only sue the user, they can't sue Microsoft (ex: you can't sue CD makers if the user illegaly copies a CD).


    Okay then, so why is the **AA suing Limewire & co?

    Personal responsibility has gone out of the window nowadays, especially as far as media corporations are concerned.

    Programous wrote:
    And the way the Zune works (according to rumers) is that it sets a  tag in the index saying the file was from wireless and stores the  play count, so is ok by CC. And I'm betting in under a week someone will find how to break into the index and "uncheck" the files.


    Perhaps it goes like that for "normal" files (i.e. MP3s and OGGs (MS: it does have OGG Vorbis support, right? Wink ) but if it's got WMA DRM then it'll do the usual stuff on top of the 3day/3play thing.

    Thing is, what if there was a license that says that the playback and distribution of the file cannot be altered without prior consent of the author?

  • User profile image
    Ambition

    Maybe one day we will finally see a world where artists distribute their own content through their own websites, DRM protected, and record companies will have to find some other way to make money. I wouldn't have anything against DRM if the money from my purchases was going 100% to the artist.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Ambition wrote:
    I wouldn't have anything against DRM if the money from my purchases was going 100% to the artist.


    I'd be less against it.

    I'd be 100% against DRM when/if it fully supports Fair Use.

  • User profile image
    Deactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Programous wrote:
    And as to the other quesion, that lic may be overly restrictive. For example if I transcode to OGG, and other people don't have OGG, have I "altered the playback and distribution of the file"?


    Transcoding doesn't change the content, just its quality. If it's for personal use (i.e. doing it only for yourself) then that's fine, but not for other people. I think the case against the companies that cut out the "naughty bits" in films (that the directors won) sets a precedent for this sort of thing.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Programous wrote:Hopefully we’ll see a rise in smart indie artists and eventually make DRM unnecessary, but that’s for another thread


    Actually, the very same indie artists can make DRM illegal[1]. Check Creative Commons.

    [1]Well, in certain uses. Some CC/CL licenses prohibit the DRMing of their content, if the rumours about the Zune automatically DRMing all content when sharing them are true then someone with content licensed under CC could file suit against MS or sometihng.


    I believe that rumour was dismissed, it will not wrap transfered via Wifi content in DRM.

  • User profile image
    Jorgie

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    [1]Well, in certain uses. Some CC/CL licenses prohibit the DRMing of their content, if the rumours about the Zune automatically DRMing all content when sharing them are true then someone with content licensed under CC could file suit against MS or sometihng.


    That is BS. It is up to the USER to make sure they have the right to use the media in a given way. It is the user who runs that program that puts DRM on CC/CL media that is breaking the license, not the company that made the tool. (BTW this has been clarified, the ZUNE only does this to *Already Protected Files*. It looks like it *does not* add DRM to non DMRed files.)

    In order to go after the tool maker instead of the tool user, you have to show that the *primary* use tool in question illegal. (This is why you cannot sure S&W if you someone shoots you with one of their guns.

    This is also the reason they can go after FairUse4WM. Under the DMCA you do not have any the *FairUse* right to remove encryption. So in the use there is no legal use for FairUse4WM unless you are the copyright holder of the media.

    Jorgie

  • User profile image
    Jorgie

    Shining Arcanine wrote:

    I really do not think what Microsoft is doing here is right. If they do not want him to employ their binaries and publically avaliable documentation in the removal of DRM from WMA files, they should prevent him from intercepting their encryption keys in the first place.


    That is just stupid. So you are saying that if someone breaks into your house, you should not have them arrested, you should get a more secure house?

    It just blows my mind that the same people that scream when a piece of GPLed code is found in a non GPL product think it is just fine to use music and video without a license. Idiots.

    If you don't have a license to use somone elses IP, you should not be using it. And if you chose to use it KNOWING you have no right to, you should be punished to the full extent allowed by law.

    Jorgie

  • User profile image
    Minh

    W3bbo wrote:

    Actually, the very same indie artists can make DRM illegal[1]. Check Creative Commons.

    [1]Well, in certain uses. Some CC/CL licenses prohibit the DRMing of their content, if the rumours about the Zune automatically DRMing all content when sharing them are true then someone with content licensed under CC could file suit against MS or sometihng.


    The Zune doesn't apply physical DRM to MP3s. They apply effective DRM through the tracking of wi-fi transfered files and do the 3x3d deal on them.

    Technically, they haven't alter the file and so should be OK with the CC crowd.

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