Microsoft's Best Response To Cracked Copy Protection? Sue For Stolen Source Code

from the seems-like-a-weak-response dept

rijit points out that Microsoft, after having failed to successfully patch their copy protection system that was recently cracked, is now suing the anonymous creator of the FairUse4WM system. They're not suing him for circumventing the copy protection, but rather claiming that he must have access to proprietary Microsoft source code in order to do what he's done. This is interesting in a few ways, including the seeming admission that Microsoft relied on security by obscurity in their DRM system, hoping that no one with malicious intent would ever get their hands on the source code. Either way, this seems like a rather pointless and expensive battle. There are plenty of benefits to Microsoft in leaving this crack out there. Sure, it will piss off some content partners (and, in fact, it appears BSkyB has stopped providing content until this gets sorted out). However, that's short term thinking. There's always going to be some crack or some workaround to get around copy protection -- and the ridiculous thing is those workarounds usually make the content much more valuable, by increasing the number of ways the content can be used. It makes me wonder if there's ever been so much effort and money spent on features that are only designed to making a product less valuable to consumers?

We certainly talk a lot around here about the backwardness of the idea of DRM. The public argument in favor of copy protection doesn't make much sense. It doesn't actually protect any content, and it doesn't stop any content from being available on file sharing networks. In other words, copy protection doesn't actually protect copies. It also makes the content it protects less valuable, by limiting its uses, and harms the promotional value of the content as well. In the end, what it really comes down to is an attempt by the recording industry to try to recreate the exact business model online that they've used for years offline. Copy protection sets things up to work just like their tangible distribution model works -- and that's why they like it. They understand it. However, the success of online apps is never about just taking what worked offline and moving it online, but in embracing what the online nature of the content allows users to do that simply could not be done offline. For content, one big aspect is the ability to share that content, and let your users promote it for you. So, while Microsoft continues this pointless and expensive attack on those who make the content that plays on their media player more useful, perhaps it's time to start talking about how much more value is added to content that isn't locked down.
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  • identicon
    claire rand, 27 Sep 2006 @ 1:21am

    pointless?

    but if they take this through the courts.. maybe they will stop taking it via the programmers...

    it becomes like decss, illegal in the states, varies elsewhere, but is availble everywhere thanks to the net.

    they still have 'DRM' despite the fact people who want to can get rid of it.

    MS are happy (ish), content providers get to point ot a court 'victory' and its business as usual for everyone else.

    plus the lawyers make money.

    it will cost MS some cash, drop in the ocean for them, and probably cheaper than actually fixing the problem.

    and the people who wrote the crack? well just stay out of the states and i don't see a problem their either.

    the looser? less control for the content compaines, but only regarding people who will proably rip the stuff DRM free and share it anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2006 @ 3:31am

    Microsoft have to keep the content providers happy. Got to be seen to be doing something.

    BTW, how do you sue an anonymous person?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2006 @ 4:50am

    "BTW, how do you sue an anonymous person?"

    I was wondering the same thing. Oh and I use FairUSE4WM and I love it. I feel like I get my money's worth now. I don't share my music. But wow does my MP3 player play my songs much faster (meaning when I go to the next song) then ever. Without having to decode that DRM it's like on crack now.

    Love it. And I can use the songs in my home movies now without having to play it back to my computer and re-record which I was doing before anyway. So either way I get DRM free, this just made it easier and faster for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2006 @ 5:03am

    Sounds like a fishing trip to me

    From TFA
    "The copyright lawsuit was filed in Seattle federal court last Friday, without a name attached. Just as in the recording industry's many lawsuits against accused file swappers, it targets an unknown individual or individuals, whose true identity will be sought in the course of the case."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2006 @ 7:07am

    access to proprietary Microsoft source code?

    To prove someone has access to proprietary Microsoft source code, they would have to cough up their source code. Something I know they won't do.

    Good luck M$

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sanguine Dream, 27 Sep 2006 @ 8:28am

      Re: access to proprietary Microsoft source code?

      This would be where MS would demand access to the code that the cracker used in order to examine it, on their own of course. Mind you if I were the one that cracked it and I actually did have some the MS proprietary code I'd publish out in the open on the web. Surely if I was able to get MS code and crack it I would be able to post it up somewhere without leaving a trace.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MicrosoftShouldDie, 25 Nov 2006 @ 9:45am

        Re: Re: access to proprietary Microsoft source cod

        Microsoft is blowing smoke here. This person is just smarter than the Microsoft developers that's it. The real reason they want to sue this person is to make an example out of him. You see every time any crack comes out for Microsoft products they look foolish and incompetent to their business partners and they loose money.
        They create their own problems by selling buggy overpriced software and trying to implement draconian activation,wga,and DRM schemes. Not to mention they have every mom and pop novice with a wal mart hp,Compaq,dell,gateway and etc computer
        running the said computer as administrator instead of teaching them how to use it properly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 27 Sep 2006 @ 7:18am

    DRM is useless

    I agree that DRM is totally useless. What are these people thinking? Obviously the creators of the content aren't going broke because of file sharing networks. The creators aren't even complaining, I think Microsoft and the big recording companies should try a new approach for a while and see how it works for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James, 27 Sep 2006 @ 8:24am

      Re: DRM is useless

      "What are these people thinking?" Are you kidding? Do you know how much $$ Microsoft probably makes from the idiots at the RIAA who think they "enabling" customers and "helping" artists??

      Sad very sad.... I keep hoping for the day when artists will simply sell high-quality mp3s via their OWN websites and give a BIG middle-finger to the RIAA.

      Lesser known artists (w/o lots of $$ for a website to do such) could sell their wares on a site with perhaps a dedicated section to just that......hmm... Amazon? Walmart?

      In any case I refuse to buy music while the RIAA is lording over it.... I wish everyone else would refuse too, ... it would fun to watch them whine and die off. :-)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    unblock myspace, 27 Sep 2006 @ 8:37am

    oh i just love

    oh i just love quoting this

    "internet treats blocking and filtering as a malfunction and bypass through it"

    same is the case for all type of filtering , copyroght protections and so .... every thing has a crack ... another ( may be you call it illegal ) way around /....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 27 Sep 2006 @ 9:02am

    Theft?

    Unauthorised "access to proprietary Microsoft source code" counts as "theft"???

    Microsoft admits to "studying the hacker's tool and trying to update its Windows Media technology to block it" -i.e committing unauthorised access to the hacker's proprietary IP.

    So presumably they're going to turn themselves in to the feds?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lay Person, 27 Sep 2006 @ 9:17am

    I've looked quite a bit into this...

    I've looked quite a bit into this.

    This hacker never got a hold of any Microsoft source code.
    What he did was reverse engineer the code.

    He posted his methods on certain user groups. His methods are not new and are hardy proprietary. It is common knowledge/method in software engineering.

    I think Microsoft is just scared and is trying to bluff a lawsuit. If I were him I'd call their bluff and see hwat happens next.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sanguine Dream, 27 Sep 2006 @ 10:39am

      Re: I've looked quite a bit into this...

      Good. So that means that even MS gets this guy/girl in court he/she can very easily prove that he didn't steal any proprietary code therefore the lawsuit (which charges him with stealing proprietary code) is rendered false. Right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Lay Person, 27 Sep 2006 @ 10:54am

        Re: Re: I've looked quite a bit into this...

        Yup.

        I wouldn't worry about a thing.

        In fact, the groups of which he is a member know enough about the methodology, and him as a hacker, that they still offer the software. They aren't concerned about its availability because it was never ill-gotten.

        It was created by decompiling and disassembling the Microsoft executable code. Not by possessing the code itself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RareButSeriousSideEffects, 27 Sep 2006 @ 10:04am

    Re: Idiots at the RIAA

    The "idiots" at the RIAA do not think they are enabling customers or helping artists -- these are buzzwords for use in public to make their strategy palatable. They are not idiots nor are they ignorant; they are consciously pursuing an agenda which they know is diametrically opposed to the goals of enabling customers and helping artists. Their efforts have a single aim: maintaining absolute control of the media distribution industry.

    Refraining from purchasing RIAA-controlled media is a good start. Can you encourage 5 friends who still buy CDs and DVDs to do the same?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James, 27 Sep 2006 @ 11:08am

      Re: Re: Idiots at the RIAA

      I agree completely.........I was being sarcastic. If they had their way there would be no type of electronic distribution, and you would pay for each NEW way you wanted to listen/view the same thing. I mean heaven forbid I should want to listen to the song I just paid for on my computer AND my mp3 player.

      I am very vocal about my loathing for these people to my friends and attempt to discourage spending $$ on media such as CD, DVDs and crappy DRM-ed downloaded, but ultimately folks have to make their own choice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous coward, 27 Sep 2006 @ 11:04am

    why wouldn't MS go after this as a DMCA violation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lay Person, 27 Sep 2006 @ 11:59am

    The Battle is ON!

    Yeah it's funny, if we buy from an existing distribution source, people think that it's the right, law abiding way of acquiring the content.

    But what they fail to realize is that by accepting this as the (status quo) proper way, they are at the same time enabling, and supporting the XXAA to do whatever they see is fitting.

    If you question the status quo, we must be thieves and all punishments are what is deserved.

    I'm sick and tired of these damn sheep in this country. We the people have the power, still, but aren't willing to use it because we've been brainwashed by our government for so long that we actually believe the shit they throw at us for fodder. There is a most definite concerted effort to decentralize the power from the people and into the hands of government. These sheep are simply paving the fucking way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crashoveride, 27 Sep 2006 @ 1:52pm

    Amazing the number one soft drink's recipe can remain secret for decades but not Microsoft's new DRM KFC is on every corner but when is last time you heard their secret recipe

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Oliver Widder, 27 Sep 2006 @ 2:49pm

    Great Strategy

    Great strategy from Microsoft.
    See my small cartoon:
    http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2006/09/microsoft_will_.html

    Bye,
    Oliver

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bri, 27 Sep 2006 @ 11:43pm

    Copyright v. DMCA

    The reason that MS is attempting to prosecute this as a violation of copyright is that most countries recognize copyright violations so if they can actually identify the individual, they may have a chance of collecting damages, getting injunctions, and the like internationally recognized. To prosecute under the DMCA, the individual has to be in the United States, far from an assured thing apparently.

    Frankly, they haven't got a choice chance in hell of getting successful prosecution under copyright in my not so humble opinion unless they get one very sympathetic judge and even then it would get reversed on appeal. Decompiling software is as old as the hills in the computing field. Heck, I've been doing it for decades to peak-and-tweak code that I know can perform better with the right optimizations. At worst, you may, and likely are, violating your license agreement and those have never really been fully upheld in court so far as I know. Now if you distribute the recompiled software, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish entirely but I don't do that and that is irrelevant in this case. All this individual is doing is distributing a tool to modify data files. Even Adobe learned to back down on this issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zeroJJ, 28 Sep 2006 @ 1:08am

    The problem isnt DRM...

    The problem is this colossal media machine that cranks out garbage movies, tv, music, and most importantly, NEWS.

    It's really f*$%ng up everything that is good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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