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GNU is Not Unix

NeoNapster's NeoAudio Rips Off CDex 550

Posted by Hemos
from the gpl-violations-are-not-nice dept.
mydoghasworms writes "There's an interesting thing going down at CDex. Apparently the CDex application has been ripped off by NeoNapster, replacing the logo and adding some spyware and adware. (For those not in the know, CDex is a very nice, very easy-to-use GPL (as in Open Source) Audio CD Ripper). The user comments at download.com make for a very entertaining read."
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NeoNapster's NeoAudio Rips Off CDex

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I love CDEX, especially it's built-in ogg support, and now it even id's them correctly. Makes for very fast, easy ripping of my CD collection to the wonderful ogg vorbis format.

    If they were going to rip someone off, atleast they picked the best one.
    • " If they were going to rip someone off, atleast they picked the best one."

      This has happenned before. The best freeware hard drive + data recovery tool out there, Drive Rescue [arcor.de] was ripped off. Although DR is not GPL, the source is available for educational purposes.

      Some Russian Company [onlimemedia.com] stole it and slapped a registration key on it and is now selling [onlimemedia.com] it.

    • by MikeV (7307)
      According to:
      http://www.neonapster.com/license.html they've retained the GPL.

      and:
      http://www.neonapster.com/download.html gives credit to the CDex project.

      Before you guys jump in and start flaming, do a little bit of homework. Could be easily a Galeon/Mozilla type thing. Heck - a Netscape/Mozilla thing. GPL software is there for the sharing - that's what the GPL is for. Linux is repackaged over and over again by many distro's - no one is whining about that, are they? "Redhat ripped off Linux from Linus!". "Mandrake is copying Redhat!". Come on guys, before you knock it, research it. They may very well have room for critisism, and I'm not endorsing them - but I'm not going to bash them until I know for sure.

      I develop code myself, and having a bunch of morons flaming me because they're too lazy to research my license and credits could very well encourage me to take the closed source proprietory route...I wouldn't blame these guys if they did just that. And what about all the potential developers watching the shark-fest from the sidelines. Do you think they'll want to jump into the fray after watching this? I know Slashdot tends to jump in before testing the waters, but please, reserve judgement before you make a fool of yourself.

      It seems the GPL community is very antagonistic and overly fanatical to the point of witch hunts. Let's not burn any witches yet until we've without a doubt verified that they're indeed witches!
      • I have no problems with their GPL tactics, I have problems with their spyware and adware, which has recently become the bane of my existence. This has to do with someone making a really awesome program and then having someone else come along and add some stupid spyware/adware, repackage it and call it "their version". If I had a tracking device and surveillance camera to your car that doesn't make me a fucking car manufacturer does it?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        >It seems the GPL community is very antagonistic and overly fanatical to the point of witch hunts. Let's not burn any witches yet until we've without a doubt verified that they're indeed witches!

        If it weight the same as a duck, it's a witch. Burn her! Burn her!
      • I develop code myself, and having a bunch of morons flaming me because they're too lazy to research my license and credits could very well encourage me to take the closed source proprietory route...

        People flaming you via e mail could cause you to go closed source??? I don't understand. Is it because no one ever flames MS? Just curious.

        Let's not burn any witches yet until we've without a doubt verified that they're indeed witches! If it floats, it's a duck and thus must be a witch...If it sinks......
      • by msimm (580077)
        Before you start getting worked up why don't you take a minute to reread the information on the CDex website [sourceforge.net]:

        "There is an application called NeoAudio, which is a straight CDex rip off. They changed some string (i.e. replace CDex with NeoAudio), changed the logo and added some nice SpyWare and Adware."

        Now maybe if they had added some new code or created some bug fixes..but as a developer maybe you can see why this has disappointed the real developer and sparked a bit of outrage in the community.

        Not that slashdot doesn't go a bit overboard. But if you feel like the "morons flaming" will stop this kind of parasitic "developer" then just maybe for once their doing the right thing?

        As far as "they've retained the GPL", they don't have a choice.

        If your considering going into business with someone else's software project it seems like it would be a very good idea to read the terms of the license, or if you can't understand it yourself hire an attorney to do so.

        What I don't understand is how did your post get modded up?

      • by THE ROCK (127208)
        I develop code myself, and having a bunch of morons flaming me because they're too lazy to research my license and credits could very well encourage me to take the closed source proprietory route...I wouldn't blame these guys if they did just that. And what about all the potential developers watching the shark-fest from the sidelines. Do you think they'll want to jump into the fray after watching this? I know Slashdot tends to jump in before testing the waters, but please, reserve judgement before you make a fool of yourself.

        Morons huh? HERE'S a little research, from the CDex [sourceforge.net] homepage

        Please don't download NeoAudio:

        There is an application called NeoAudio, which is a straight CDex rip off. They changed some string (i.e. replace CDex with NeoAudio), changed the logo and added some nice SpyWare and Adware. I contacted Richard M. Stallman about this issue, but unfortunately I can not do much about it, except for the fact that they are removing/changing copyright strings which they should not. So please do not download and install NeoAudio (they probably make quite a few dollars by shipping the adware) and also advice other people NOT to download NeoAudio either, and warn innocent users not to download this application but download CDex instead.

        The only morons are the people that moderated your post up.
  • by subgeek (263292) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:20PM (#4012935) Homepage Journal
    does this mean that we can get all of the source for the spyware and adware? that could make for some fun. or at least it would take less time to disable it.
  • by SimplyCosmic (15296) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:22PM (#4012947) Homepage
    Not only does this company's website [neonapster.com] point to NeoAudio, which uses CDEx code, but NeoNapster, which is straight out of any of the Gnutella codebases, and is Yet Another Gnutella Client, but with spyware added.

    I can't wait for their upcoming release: NeoLinux with the NeoGNOME desktop environment.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They aren't violating the GPL, you can download their source, which is a not-very-modified version of CDex.
    • They aren't violating the GPL, you can download their source, which is a not-very-modified version of CDex.

      It is a violation of the GPL in that they change stings in the source that credit GDEX devolopers.

      no sigs, not smoking
    • yes, and on the page it claims GPL, and yet in the file I downloaded, I can't find a single copy of the GPL. Not only that, but there is a file included named License.txt which has some seems to be slightly out of sync with the GPL. Text of license.txt whorishly posted below.

      on a side note, even their readme.txt is CDex's with the works CDex changed to NeoAudio

      NeoAudio version 1.20
      Copyright (C) 1998,1999 ALFA Technologies
      All Rights Reserved

      License Agreement

      You should carefully read the following terms and conditions
      before using this software. Use of this software you indicates
      your acceptance of this license agreement and warranty.

      Warranty
      THIS APPLICATION AND INFORMATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT
      WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
      BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY
      AND/OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

      ALFA TECHNOLOGIES DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE
      PROGRAMS OR PROGRAM COMPONENTS ARE FREE OF INFRINGEMENT OR
      ANY THIRD-PARTY PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS OR TRADE SECRETS.

      Distribution

      This application is freeware, which means you can make as many
      copies as you want, give it to friends or do whatever you
      like to do with it. However, You are specifically prohibited
      from charging, or requesting donations, for any such copies,
      however made; and from distributing the software and/or
      documentation with other products (commercial or otherwise)
      without prior written permission, with one exception:
      Disk Vendors approved by the Association of Shareware
      Professionals are permitted to redistribute NeoAudio,
      subject to the conditions in this license, without specific
      written permission.

      • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:48PM (#4013169) Homepage Journal
        Uh-oh. That's a no-no. It's bad enough to republish material without the permission of the copyright owner, but claiming copyright over something you know you don't have copyright to makes you liable for extensive damages beyond the usual "turn over all profits, cease distribution, destroy all illigitimate copies..." requirements.

        The CDEX people may be in for a financial windfall from this, if NeoNapster has any a$$ets to lo$e...

        They also apparently misunderstand the difference between GPL'd and "freeware". Someone's gonna fry for this one.

      • So this leaves us with two questions.

        1. What sort of diffs are there between the NeoAudio source and the CDex source? Is the spyware included? Are there hooks for the spy to be linked directly, or does NeoAudio's ripper launch a separate EXE to do the spyware thing? A separate EXE built from non-GPL src can be "bundled" with GPL binaries (think linux distros) with violating the GPL.

        And more importantly ...

        2. Is the binary that NeoAudio has available for download actually built from the src that they posted? Can an independent witness build from the NeoAudio source and get an identical binary? This is Win32 we're talking about here, so there aren't that many compilers to choose from.

      • Magically, they've since changed their site http://www.neonapster.com/license.html [neonapster.com] to include the unmodified GPL (as of this second, at least) and credit the proper source now according to http://www.neonapster.com/download.html [neonapster.com]

        Methinks the press caused some real heat from various places, and they quickly realized "Oh Sh*t."

        The latter page now says:
        NeoAudio is open source software based on the CDex engine, distributed under the GNU General Public License. To download the latest source code, click on the link below:

        NeoAudio Source Code : version 1.50.6 (.zip)
        It links to the code, and the GPL as hosted by them.. I woulda expected them to link to the actual GNU GPL license...

        .
  • Ummmm So what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spoons (26950) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:23PM (#4012967) Homepage
    What's the big deal here? They aren't in violation of the GPL. They have the source available for download [neonapster.com]. Why is this news again?
    • Re:Ummmm So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jobe_br (27348)
      Yep, looks like its legit (unless they've only recently posted these links, since the outcry). Either way, they're legit now - they even credit CDex, which indicates to me that they probably didn't change the copyright information in the source, as some have alleged.

      Granted, it sucks that someone takes a great GPL app and rebundles it with spyware/adware, but as long as they abide by the GPL, that's perfectly legit ... you cannot control how your GPL'd application gets reused, can ya? Don't think so ..
    • That's probably more interesting than the audio part.
    • This is what (Score:5, Informative)

      by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06.email@com> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:33PM (#4013059)
      While the source is available for download, they've removed/changed copyright strings. That is a violation of the GPL. That's what.
    • My reading of the GPL suggests that they can't be in conformance unless they also provide the source for the adware and spyware: a quick glance through their sources didn't show any. IANAL: YMMV.

      • Your reading of the GPL is wrong. They don't have to provide the source for the adware and spyware since they are separate programs that are just distributed with the program as well. The GPL does not prevent the distribution of closed-source programs with open-source programs. If it did, then no Linux distribution could contain any closed-source code.

  • by howardjp (5458)
    They at least made the source available [neonapster.com].
    • And if you read at the end of the page, they also give credit to CDex, saying:

      NeoAudio is open source software based on the CDex engine, distributed under the GNU General Public License. To download the latest source code, click on the link below:...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:24PM (#4012976)
    <silly_talk accent="japanese">
    Is this Legal?
    </silly_talk>
  • Did anyone notice the neoaudio screenshot? They didn't even bother to change the CDex screenshot. I've been using CDex for years, and it's sad to see some moron try to pass it off as his own work.
  • Notify CNet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:26PM (#4012994) Homepage
    Tell CNet Downloads to stop hosting this application as it is violating the original license.

    Their feedback URL is http://download.com.com/1200-20-750060.html?tag=su bnav [com.com]

    • Re:Notify CNet (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Burning*Cent (579896)
      Better yet, send CNet and NeoNapster's ISP DMCA notices. Because they are using someone else's copyrighted work but removing the notices, they are infringing on CDex's copyright, even if it free software.

      Even if you don't like the DMCA, there's no reason to let the RIAA and MPAA be the only ones to use it.
      • Also, you might want to go to CNET's download page [com.com] for this program and add a comment regarding the nature of this software. It has a 100% thumbs-down rating right now.
      • I'm sorry but the idea that we can hate the DMCA at times and use it at others is just plain wrong.

        By invoking the DMCA against their ISP any claim against the DMCA by us becomes void, because we have been helped by it. It must not be all bad, because look, it helped a community... Remember when the Scientologists told Malda to remove a post? It was wrong then, and having an ISP remove somebody's account would be just as wrong now.
    • moderators... where are you????

      this a most appropriate action
  • by DemiKnute (237008) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:28PM (#4013002) Homepage
    The problem is not so much that their taking someone's GPL'd program and redistributing it under a new name, but that they are removing the original author's (Albert L Faber) copyright notices. The author's copyright of the program must be maintained in order for the GPL to be effective, otherwise people (like these) could completely jack the code and release it under any liscense they want.

    But we should consider ourselves lucky that they're releasing it under the GPL and the source code is still available at the bottom of this page [neonapster.com].
    • I have looked through the sources available on the NeoAudio or NeoNapster page. All the copyright notices seem to indicate they are the property of Albert L Faber.

      I see no problem with the GPL

      Scott.
  • Copyrights... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phraktyl (92649) <wyatt@BLUEdraggoo.com minus berry> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:28PM (#4013003) Homepage Journal
    I contacted Richard M. Stallman about this issue, but unfortunately I can not do much about it, except for the fact that they are removing/changing copyright strings which they should not.
    If they are changing or removing copyright strings, doesn't that mean there is a lot he can do about it?
  • by DeadMeat (TM) (233768) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:28PM (#4013005) Homepage
    the source code for both NeoNapster and NeoAudio are posted on their download page [neonapster.com], and both programs are licensed [neonapster.com] under the GPL. Even if this is ethically wrong, legally it's fine.

    That said, it's still a nasty rip-off, and I hope people use CDex (a very fine piece of software, incidentally) instead.

  • Now, this is what the GPL is intended to protect against. Some company using code to make a product and then selling it for profit (at least from spyware) with no return to the community for what they used. Now, I'd love to see a full all-out-GPL-whack-a-thon against thier makers; but moreso I'd really love to see the source of all the spyware released under the GPL.
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:30PM (#4013021) Homepage Journal

    And this is exactly why everyone should be wary of using the GPL for their work! Look how it is going to hamper this nice American business in their attempts to add their contribution to the software economy. These people will probably be shut down, all thanks to the evil GPL. Richard Stallman is a fanatic! Don't listen to him!

    Just think: if the CDex developers had used a safer license, like the BSD license, then they would not now be in the unfortunate situation of hindering American business. It's tantamount to terrorism, I tell you!

    • by sbeitzel (33479) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:41PM (#4013126) Homepage Journal
      Sorta. I take your tongue-in-cheek sarcastic point, but you're not quite correct about the BSD license. It, too, requires that derivative works retain the copyright information -- which is the violation of the GPL that we're seeing.
  • by krugdm (322700) <(slashdot) (at) (ikrug.com)> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:30PM (#4013026) Homepage Journal

    ...it's a lot of free pub for CDex, which I had never heard of before this...

  • by mr_don't (311416) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:31PM (#4013032)

    Similar to the Perlmonks Vote for Paco [perlmonks.org] campaign, this might be a chance to give a spy/adware product the lowest cnet rating ever!!!

  • gnucleus too (Score:5, Informative)

    by tonys1110 (184221) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:32PM (#4013043) Homepage
    The CDex ripoff actually is called NeoAudio. But judging from the screenshots NeoNapster is an exact ripoff of gnucleus [sourceforge.net] (GPL gnutella client).
    • The Morpheus Rip-Off (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Decimal (154606)
      And Morpheus' is a rip off of Gnucleus, same thing. This is not a new concept, greedy companies using free source code and adding adds, with minimal or no recognition of who really made the code. MusicCity even eliminated the chat feature when they made the program from Gnucleus -- any surprise there? Can't have the users telling each other that the same program is available without all the annoyances now, can they? I'm worried that this is becoming a popular trend... Are there any popular open-source licenses out there that prohibit "commercial" use of code such as adding ads and spyware?
  • Positive rating? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wraithgar (317805)
    My question is, where did they get that positive rating on the download page? It doesn't show up on the ratings from the slashdot article link.

    Hmm...
  • Older versions of Adobe Premiere on the Mac would simply open an audio CD as an audio file. Newer versions don't do that. Of course, when Premiere did that, a CD-ROM drive cost more than a PC does now.
  • Are these guys just trying to make a buck off of CDex and Napster without much if any work?

    So when does Napster come out and beat on them for trademark violation?
  • For those not in the know, CDex is a very nice, very easy-to-use GPL (as in Open Source) Audio CD Ripper
    Ooooooohhhhhh... thaaaaat GPL. And here I am confusing an open source licence with damnit... can't come up with anything witty that GPL could be an acronym for. Damn you job, damn you.
  • CDex Acknowledged (Score:2, Informative)

    by semaj (172655)

    It's still not very nice, but at the bottom of "NeoAudio.rtf" in the source (available from their site [neonapster.com]) it says:

    Acknowledgements
    Based on CDex.

    I guess this and the GPL licence means they might technically be doing nothing wrong.

  • The exact same thing happened when Morpheus used Gnucleus as the basis for their new product. Much like MusicCity, NeoNapster isn't in violation of the GPL and offer source for their application. Isn't "ripping off" (derivative works) what the GPL encourages? There shouldn't be a problem here, if the project doesn't like someone else using their code, then they SHOULDN'T HAVE USED THE GPL.
  • by fognugen (237685) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:47PM (#4013166)
    The user comments at download.com make for a very entertaining read

    Yes they do. Especially this insightful gem from Rob Malda - about 35 comments down.

    "read the other comments"
    they speak for themselves

    Thanks for the tip Rob!! I almost forgot what I was doing while reading the comments.

    • I didn't find that comment - but I did find this one, about 35 comments down:
      [Thumbs Up] Commander Taco ---- 05-Aug-2002 11:17:21 AM

      Features ........ O O O O O (5)
      Ease of Use ..... O O O O O (5)
      Output Quality .. O O O O O (5)
      Speed ........... O O O O O (5)

      "Wow! The best of its kind I have seen!"

      This is an incredibly well made piece of software. It completely outperforms CDEX and the SpyWare is only enabled if you request it, and in return, you get 100+ free songs. This completely rocks. Don't use anything but this!

      I didn't know Taco was using Windows now. Good to know he endorces this great piece of adware.

      :)

  • on their site ( http://www.neonapster.com/download.html ) :
    NeoNapster is open source software based on the Gnucleus engine, distributed under the GNU General Public License. To download the latest source code, click on the link below:

    NeoNapster Source Code : version 2.4 (.zip)

    NeoAudio is open source software based on the CDex engine, distributed under the GNU General Public License. To download the latest source code, click on the link below:
    NeoAudio Source Code : version 1.50.6 (.zip)
  • by haukex (229058) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:48PM (#4013174)

    NeoNapster has been around for quite a while, amazing it took so long for Slashdot to notice. All they have ever been is a rip off of the GPLed Gnucleus [gnucleus.net] client, just like Morpheus and the whole series of other clones [gnucleus.net].

    The issue here is that this is GPLed software linked with non-free libraries (spyware) and riddled with other GPL violations (missing copyright notices, incomplete source distibutions, etc.). Most of the above mentioned clones do this, some going as far as linking their clones [atomwire.com] to obviuosly commerical libraries while at the same time pretending to "embrace" the GPL. The Gnucleus author, John Marshall, has been extremely tolerant on the issue, mostly because his interest lies in coding, but if you wanted to, this could be a huge legal case.

  • Taking someone else's creative work and claiming it as your own isn't very ethical to say the least... not to mention the fact that they added features that make the software *less* desirable to the end user and make the original author look bad if someone confuses the "stolen" software with the original. This is no different than knock-off imitations of major name brand retail products... Everyone usually gets hurt here: the end user gets poor quality product, the knock-off company gets a bad name or gets sued by the real company, and the real company gets hurt by the brand confusion and their reputation may be damaged by the inferior imitation products.
  • I have been using FreeRip [tucows.com] for about a year, with no problems whatsoever. Even has CDDB supports, and can rip to wav's and Ogg as well. Enjoy!
    • Yeah, well, I've been using CDex on Windows for months now. Even has FreedDB and CDDB support, and can rip wav's and Vorbis and MP2 and VQF and WMA and AAC and supports multiple MP3 encoders, including LAME. In fact, it's so good that other companies are repackaging it as their own. Enjoy!
  • Am I the only one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stubear (130454)
    ...who see the irony in this? Is this the very same group stating publicly that they don't care about artists copyrights and violate them regularly? Sucks when it happens to you huh? Perhaps you'll learn from this and grow-up? Nah...this is Slashdot afterall.
  • find out which ad suppliers their spyware uses and take out an ad for CDex?

    That way someone using NeoDex or NeuNucleus will have an ad pop up with some text like
    "Tired of all the pop ups, use CDex instead of NeoDex. It's the same thing without all the ads!"

    "CDex - always ad-free!"
  • If you use CDex... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhsx (458600) on Monday August 05, 2002 @01:33PM (#4013473)
    Please Support them [paypal.com]. I'm sure every bit helps, I've just sent my $5USD.
  • by Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) on Monday August 05, 2002 @08:20PM (#4015667) Homepage
    I understand that the reason of the icompatibility between GPL and BSD with ad clause code is because (old) BSD forces you to mark the copyright of Berkeley regents.
    I understand that GPL doesn't involve copyright strings. The reason is that if you take small pieces of code from 100 GPL projects, it's uncomfortable to include 100 notices of copyright.

    Am I wrong? Must (legally) the author that copies bits of GPL code include the copyright of the previous authors?

    I thought it was just a thing of manners and reputation, not legal duty.

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