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The Almighty Buck

Stealware: Kazaa et al Stealing Link Commissions 684

Posted by chrisd
from the creeps-creepily-creeping-into-your-pocket dept.
goombah99 writes "We all heard about spyware, well now Kazaa, Morpheus and LimeWire are sneaking a new type of nastiness onto your computer, software that - without you even knowing it - redirects commissions for online purchases you make from other vendors you make back to them. For example, if you buy a CD from an affiliate of Amazon.com, say some charity, the software fools Amazon into crediting the commission to Morpheus, not the charity! The story quotes a LimeWire Developer who admits 'While I agree that this is really a bit of a scam, it is a way for us to pay salaries while not adversely affecting our users.' The insidious part is the stealware program remains even if you delete the original P2P software. And you supposedly gave your permission when you clicked through the EULA."
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Stealware: Kazaa et al Stealing Link Commissions

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  • by R2.0 (532027) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:32AM (#4343452)
    'While I agree that this is really a bit of a scam, it is a way for us to pay salaries while not adversely affecting our users.'

    "While I agree that slapping my wife around isn't very nice, it does get me my dinner on time."

    "While I agree that insider trading is against SEC rules, how else am I going to get the 2nd Aston-Martin?"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:39AM (#4343523)
      Score: 4 - funny

      WTF! This is funny it's serious and the poster is right this is dam right illegal, people are being defrauded and the government(s) should step in and shut these people down.

      Do they not have any morals? How can they do this sort of thing and sleep at night?? You're STEALING money from charities FFS.
      • by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday September 27, 2002 @11:06AM (#4344188) Homepage Journal
        What do you expect. They feel like their userbase are all criminals so they don't care about abusing them.

        Not much different of an attitude from the RIAA.
        • "What do you expect. They feel like their userbase are all criminals so they don't care about abusing them."

          They're not stealing from the users! They're stealing from miscellaneous affiliates who have not give ANYONE the right to take their commisions. The P2P software user doesn't have the right to give these companies permission to steal from affiliates!

          I really hope this stops a lot of people from using these P2P networks, and causes the government to shut them down. There was a point when Napster could claim that it was the end-user breaking the law by downloading and/or sharing copyrighted material. Now it's the P2P software companies that are commiting fraud and outrightly STEALING! If the government was able to shut down Napster for simply providing a means to an end, then the government should absolutely have the power to shut down these P2P software vendors for outrightly DEFRAUDING and STEALING from millions of innocent people!

        • by thomas.galvin (551471) <slashdot@@@thomas-galvin...com> on Friday September 27, 2002 @11:42AM (#4344466) Homepage
          Not much different of an attitude from the RIAA.

          You know, if this keeps up, the RIAA isn't going to need that pro-hacking bill; hacktivists are going to get so fed up with Kazaa that they take them down on their own.

          Seriously, the more I deal with the computer and related industries, the more disgusted I become. I miss the days when people basically did what they want, and were mostly harmless. And I'm only 22.
        • by Courageous (228506) on Friday September 27, 2002 @01:31PM (#4345314)
          The problem is, they made a mistake about who they were stealing FROM. They are stealing from the affiliates, this is outright fraud, and the shrink wrapped agreement is hardly relevant. Two parties cannot agree to relinquish the rights of a third party!!!

          C//
      • Does every indecent act require government action? I think it should be up to Amazon or whoever to police thier services, not the government. Let Amazon shut them down instead of an act of congress.
        • Hey, I'm a "big L" Libertarian myself, but I have to disagree with you here. There are certain areas where the government SHOULD get involved, and where we do need it's services. These include military defense, foreign relations, LAW ENFORCEMENT, and a few others.

          At the minimum, this meets the legal definition of fraud (IANAL, but the guy down the hall is, and he just told me that this meets the "legal yardstick"). At the most, we may be looking at criminal theft. Either way, this consitutes a real crime and is the kind of thing that governments were meant to deal with.
    • by TekPolitik (147802) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:44AM (#4343565) Journal
      Isn't Kazaa owned by a Sydney based company now? This is definitely illegal in Sydney under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). AustLII's misbehaving at the moment so I can't find the links online, but:

      s178BA - Obtaining money by deception - 5 years

      s178BB - Obtaining money etc by false or misleading statements (it doesn't require the statement to be in writing, false claim as to referrer will definitely count) - 5 years

      s180 - Causing payment etc by false pretence etc (the false referrer will count here too) - 5 years

      This could be prosecuted under any one of these.

      • What I wonder about this is that the end user installed the software that is doing this, and agreed to an EULA that said that is was OK. Does this make the end user liable for any infractions?
  • by FirstNoel (113932) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:33AM (#4343462) Journal
    IF this is true...

    These guys are their own worst enemy. The RIAA doesn't need to do anything. These companies will end up destroying themselves. This is not the type of PR these guys need.

    Sean D.
    • This type of stuff probably won't kill them. I'm pretty sure a company can't go on forever when their sole means of income is banner ads and affiliate commissions. I'm sure at some point they are going to have to pay market salaries to some of the people, which their income model will likely not support. I know nothing about their staff or their qualifications, but I would guess they have a staff of developers that are more dedicated than they are interested in making a lot of money. As they grow older, the lean-and-mean startup atmosphere drags on them and they make their experience pay by going to another company for a market salary. This leaves the P2P software makers with less experienced people, and the turnover rate gets bumped up and so on.

      Its sad, but unharnessed P2P file trading is just too cool a thing to last forever. So my wife sits at home and tries to fill up our new 80GB hard drive while I'm at work.

    • by nanojath (265940) on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:45AM (#4344038) Homepage Journal
      The basic issue is pretty simple: free doesn't work very well as a business model for for-profit companies. You need to be able to provide some kind of value-add that people will pay for if you're going to make it. What are the alternatives? Pop-ups, Spy-ware, and Scum-Ware - of which this is the scummiest I've heard of yet. What's next? a software component that actually automatically programs your computer to steal candy from babies?


      Kazaa, Morpheus et. al. are a simple concept: try to take advantage of people's enourmous predisposition to violate copyright laws via digital technology to skim some cash by any means whatsoever. It's a rotten business model and a rotten way to behave and it isn't much of a surprise that the rotten people responsible for it are as dishonest to their users as they are about what their software is really used for ("now don't use this to illegally copy protected media, kids, wink wink nod nod").

    • The PR is irrelevant.

      15-year-old morons who have already destroyed their brains with drugs and alcohol (like, for example, my old bosses son) don't give a rip about this kind of stuff. They will still be installing Kazaa on their school networks, their dad's company's computers and where ever else they manage to get access to. It doesn't matter to them that Kazaa is stealing from the charity that their step-mom always goes to Amazon through. Hell, if they knew they'd probably think it was cool!

      So, no, since that's pretty much their target market, the PR isn't going to do jack to them. The charity finding out that Kazaa is stealing their commisions and sueing them and/or sicking the FTC on them for fraud, however, just might be the straw that broke the camel's back.

      It's a shame, really. There is so much legitimate possibility for P2P, it's really sad to me that it is now so tainted by this kind of scuminess.

  • by evil_one (142582) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:33AM (#4343467) Homepage
    'While I agree that this is really a bit of a scam, it is a way for us to pay salaries while not adversely affecting our users.'

    That's part of it, it does affect the users - money that they may have WANTED to go to a particular affiliate is now going to these guys. Yay.

    The other part is what about the affiliate contract? doesn't this violate it?
  • Kazaa Lite (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gildenstern (62439) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:34AM (#4343470)
    That's why if your going to use Kazaa you should really use Kazaa Lite. It's Kazaa without all the spy stuff installed.
    • Re:Kazaa Lite (Score:2, Interesting)

      by peptidbond (189705)
      I am not sure if this is scamware is removed in KazaaLite! I *think* normal Kazaa uses the Cydoor DLL for adware. Kazaa Lite replaces this DLL with a dummy. I can't see Cydoor putting this in their DLL. I think Kazaa probably added it to another part of the program. Just my thoughts. Anyone have clarification?
    • Re:Kazaa Lite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oconnorcjo (242077) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:56AM (#4343664) Journal
      That's why if your going to use Kazaa you should really use Kazaa Lite. It's Kazaa without all the spy stuff installed.

      Ok so you are saying to not do it yourself but to endorse the community around it. If the community grows (whether from "Lite" users or not), it will be good for the Kazaa company. Do you really want to support a company that is twisting the internet in such an underhanded way? At first I was like you. They put in some spyware and they said that they would take it out (which as far as I am aware, they never did) and so I downloaded the Lite and thought 'mostly harmless'. Yet now they are showing thier true colors. The Kazaa company thinks that any underhanded way they can possibly make money is fair game in bussiness and war. I don't want to support a company with no moral standard and embraces such a corporate culture. I want the whole kazaa p2p to whither and die and to be never heard of from again.
  • by 403Forbidden (610018) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:34AM (#4343471)
    It's sort of a Catch-22 here. The user is using the software, agreeing to the EULA, and "illegally" (it's arguable) downloading music... What person out there would take a company to court that is allowing them to distribute and download music that a lot of the major companies don't want you to do?

    I'm uneffected by this because i'm a happy WinMX user. I've never had a problem whatsoever, unlike AudioGalaxy and Bearshare (this is awhile ago) that deleted some of my system files, thus making me have to reformat!
    • >What person out there would take a company to court
      >that is allowing them to distribute and download
      >music that a lot of the major companies don't want
      >you to do?

      Insightful.

      >I'm uneffected by this because i'm a happy WinMX
      >user. I've never had a problem whatsoever, unlike
      >AudioGalaxy and Bearshare (this is awhile ago) that
      >deleted some of my system files, thus making me
      >have to reformat!

      Yeah, isn't that something? It's faster to reformat a Window's partition than it is to deltree c:\windows and c:\progra~1. It takes hours to deltree and mere minutes (usually) to format.

      I just boot LOAF (Linux on a Floppy) if I have to rm -fR the windows and the program files dirs on a windows partition... much much faster.

      As for the stealing of commissions intended as charitable contributions, I have no first hand information on it but... if it is going on, it diminishes the spirit of charitable giving and probably breaks the law. Flame on!
    • by nolife (233813)
      What person out there would take a company to court that is allowing them to distribute and download music that a lot of the major companies don't want you to do?

      There is more to P2P then mp3 files. I have been using KaZaa lite for almost 6 months. I have NOT downloaded or shared a single MP3 file on it. I use it extensively for amature videos and pictures (not prOn either). Mostly car street and track racing and small movies. P2P is excellent for this as most people can not afford a monthly transfer fee from a hosting company, I do not have to browse through hundreds of pages with Google, and I do not have to use my monthly Giganews account.

      I am assuming that KaZaa lite does not have this ill effect.
  • by shaping_innovation (171598) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `revwah'> on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:35AM (#4343481) Homepage Journal
    "Now, the company said, the softwareoffers a choice to the consumer before each purchase: whether to give the commission to the affiliate or to himself in the form of a rebate, with a portion of the rebate going to Morpheus"

    What would happen if I walked into a car dealership, bargained a nice proce for my new Kia, and told the salesperson that instead of him getting a commission, I'm going to take that money as a rebate? Wouldn't that be stealing, or am I missing something here?
    • Now how is this not stealing?

      It's pretty funny to see everybody asking this, while they are only bitching because they can't get their free music without ads and spyware... Don't you think that that's the same thing the RIAA is saying? "how is this not stealing..."
      • by ShavenYak (252902) <bsmith3@charter . n et> on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:02AM (#4343713) Homepage
        Don't you think that that's the same thing the RIAA is saying? "how is this not stealing..."

        The difference: if the software tricks Amazon into awarding affiliate sales commission to Morpheus instead of the intended recipient, the intended recipient has lost money that they would definitely have received.

        When you download "See My Boobies One More Time", Britney and her record company are only being deprived of income if you would have bought the album without the P2P service. In fact, with P2P you might check out more of the album, like it, and wind up buying it when you wouldn't have done so if your only exposure was the two overplayed songs on the radio.

        To sum it up, what Kazaa, etc are doing takes the money away every time. The P2P user isn't always a true financial loss to the RIAA.

        Note that I'm not saying this makes copyright infringement ok, I'm saying it's a "lesser evil" than the fraud being perpetrated on Amazon affiliates.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:35AM (#4343482)
    In other news, Limewire captures credit card numbers on the fly and charges 1$ for every purchase you make.

    "We do think this is stealing, but they are stealing music anyways so it can't be wrong? Plus it pays our salaries."
  • Self Limiting? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:35AM (#4343485) Homepage
    One would think that the online stores would get wize to this:

    "Last week, Amazon cut off affiliate payments to Morpheus, one site that employs the shopping software, said an online executive. Coldwater Creek, an online clothing store, has also blocked Morpheus."

  • huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Iamthefallen (523816)

    How is this not fraud or theft?

    By the way, kinda strange that you can't really BUY many of the p2p apps, but rather they come only as ad/spy ware sponsored by the same few companies. The claim that the developers need to do this to make money is thus utter BS. Make a good p2p client and sell it instead of loading it with crap.

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:36AM (#4343491) Journal
    If it's in an EULA, it must be legal.

    I mean for crissakes - EULA is an ACRONYMN!
  • by Dog and Pony (521538) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:36AM (#4343498)
    Come on people. You of all should know better. If you really need P2P, there are alternatives like DC++ [sourceforge.net] that are free, open source and don't mess with you. Whatever you do, don't support *ssholes like these by using their products.

    • by Alan (347) <arcterex@uAAAfies.org minus threevowels> on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:07AM (#4343753) Homepage
      Sadly it really comes down to use... it sucks, but if everyone is using kazaa, then that's where you go, because there are huge numbers of files on the kazaa networks, and far far less on the leser known p2p networks. I haven't tried dc++ (yet), but it'll be hard pressed to beat the current standings of 2million users and 427million files (kazaa (lite) reports the size at 3.1 million gigs of data).

      There has to be some way to allow users to use other clients, and still access the huge resource of files, similar to what winmx (www.winmx.com) did when napster was still around, and had a unified interface to napster, opennap, and it's own network. Now that nap and opennap have died off, it's own winmx network seem to be flurishing.
  • "The story quotes a LimeWire Developer who admits 'While I agree that this is really a bit of a scam, it is a way for us to pay salaries while not adversely affecting our users.'"

    <satire>
    Well, hijacking truckloads of computers is how gangs and "the mob" pay their saleries while not adversly affecting others. You know, it is only those "mean old" insurance companies that pay.

    Offering protection to shop owners is another way the mob and street gangs pay salaries while promoting safer streets, right? The shop owners "agree" to the extra protection and the mob guys provide it.
    </satire>

    Yea, right! These guys are WORSE than SPAMMERS and the MPAA rolled into one!
  • by Ubi_NL (313657)
    "'While I agree that this is really a bit of a scam, it is a way for us to pay salaries while not adversely affecting our users.'"

    This is equally so for the charity, and they are doing better things with my donation. In fact I order through third-parties mainly because they get the bonus.
    If Kazaa needs the money they should set up their own system with amazon. There's just no excuses for this kind of malpractice.

  • by LordYUK (552359) <jeffwright821.gmail@com> on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:37AM (#4343507)
    people with KaZaA actually buy CD's from Amazon??? Hmm... Who knew?

    Humor folks, enjoy it. =)
  • i miss napster ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dlasley (221447) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:38AM (#4343511) Homepage
    the moral and ethical rape was at least directed at an appropriate target in the RIAA
  • Gnucleus (Score:5, Informative)

    by RailGunner (554645) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:38AM (#4343514) Journal
    It might not be as fast as the other p2p networks, but Gnucleus is free, open source, and not subject to any malware like Kazaa is...
  • Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tmark (230091) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:38AM (#4343518)
    Patrick Toland, a vice president for sales and marketing at TopMoxie, said that the company did not intend for its software to displace other affiliates' rights

    Like so many claims surround P2P, this claim is utterly unbelievable: how do you build a program that hijacks sales and NOT know you're doing this ?

    I just hope Amazon and whomever is affected by this sues their asses off.
  • You can beat them. (Score:5, Informative)

    by casio282 (468834) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:39AM (#4343524) Homepage
    This is more than "a bit of a scam" -- it's immoral and undoubtedly illegal. There are ways to get defeat all their little scams and still use the Fasttrack P2P network. You can try Kazaa Lite [doa2.host.sk], which is Kazaa without the spy/scumware. I'd also recommend using AdAware [lavasoftusa.com], a great little program that scans your registry, memory, and hard drives for spy/scum/adware components and gives you the option to delete them.

    Using AdAware to delete cydoor.dll will likely leave your P2P client not working. That's where the dummy cydoor.dll [cexx.org] comes in. It allows the client to start without providing any of the unwanted cydoor functionality.

    For more info on spyware and scumware in general, check out the quite wonderful Counterexploitation [cexx.org] site...

    Hope this helps...
    • by CapnGib (31274) <dgibson@@@alumni...rutgers...edu> on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:18AM (#4343827)
      I'd also recommend using AdAware, a great little program that scans your registry, memory, and hard drives for spy/scum/adware components and gives you the option to delete them.

      I used my brother's computer the other day to show him how to crossfade tracks in Nero. Anyway I went to search something at Google and upon hitting search button was redirected to some shady search engine site for my results. The best part is that it lists the same shady porn/hacker links no matter what you search for (albeit in different order each time). So I tried Yahoo Excite and other sites, same hijacking. "That's it I'm downloading AdAware to fix this!" I go to www.lavasoft.com and wouldn't you know the bastardware re-directed me to the same friggin search engine site.

      OK, now I go into Control Panel and removed at least 10 apps that I never heard of (suprised that they even show up in there) each time confronted with scary/threatening warnings about how removing this software will damage my computer or break my software etc. I installed Ad-Aware, Kazaa-lite and cleaned it up.

      I assume these bastard-apps came bundled with the plethora of naked girl screensavers, dancing strippers etc. he installed. (He's 14 what do you expect)
  • Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dcavanaugh (248349) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:39AM (#4343527) Homepage
    Full disclosure of affiliates at the time the transaction is concluded. If Amazon and the others actually showed which affiliate was going to get a commision, people would spot the monkey business right away. The consumer doesn't have to know the amount, but knowing which affiliate is getting the credit would make this a self-policing situation. If the stealware people are so bold as to falsify Amazon's message back to the constomer, then it's time for the laywers.

    I don't know if the big online retailers actually care about affiliate programs or not. If they do, then stealware is intolerable. Otherwise, the programs are useless.
    • Amazon write there affiliate program code so that you can't frig it; It's a piece of piss to do:

      each affiliate has a key that they encrypt there product numbers, a hash and a few other standard authentication bits and bobs.

      When you buy a product from an affiliate Amazon looks up the affiliate's ID in a database, un-encrypts the product ID and checks the hash.

      The problem isn't that there's 'spy ware' spoofing Amazon, more like Amazon's shopping site has piss poor security.
      Anyone fancy posting to Bug traq on spoofing affiliation with Amazon?

  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:40AM (#4343530) Homepage Journal
    New York (AP) -- KaZaa executives, insisting on anonymity, admitted today to sneaking into pediatric wings of at least three hospitals to steal lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, and Mars Bars in an effort to keep programmers on staff and happy.

    "We knew it was wrong," said one vice-president, "but we had to keep the free snacks flowing for the programmers, or else we were screwed. We couldn't stop -- they'd all jump ship."

    The executives insisted they had done nothing wrong. "Those kids are sick! What the hell are they getting candy for, anyway?" he asked rhetorically. "We left them instant cous-cous and bean soup. They've got it pretty good, if you ask me."

    FSF founder and computer guru Richard Stallman was unavailable for comment. "He's out redirecting CDNow affiliate refferals to pay for his movie rental late charges," said an anonymous source close to the programmer.

  • by sdavid (556770) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:40AM (#4343532)
    I'd imagine that Amazon et al will be chaning their contractual terms specifically preventing this sort of behavior. The whole 'affiliate' program is dependant upon the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets by helping out a site you use, giving additional sales to Amazon. If users begin to question who will get the commission, then it fails as a marketing scheme for Amazon (and the others, presumably). I don't think this will be around for long.
    • by Koos (6812) <koos@kzdoos.xs4all.nl> on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:36AM (#4343974) Homepage
      I'd imagine that Amazon et al will be chaning their contractual terms specifically preventing this sort of behavior. The whole 'affiliate' program is dependant upon the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets by helping out a site you use, giving additional sales to Amazon.
      I am in the amazon affiliate program with The Virtual Bookcase [virtualbookcase.com] and I recently checked the whole operating agreement again. A search in that agreement gives:

      you may not: [..] read, intercept, record, redirect, interpret, or fill in the contents of any electronic form or other materials submitted to us by any person or entity;

      This should be enough to boot any account from amazon that has transactions coming from altering affiliate links. I'm starting to wonder how much my site 'lost' due to things like this.

  • Kazaa (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CTRamsden (461135) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:40AM (#4343535)
    I absolutely do not comprehend why people continue to use this software.

    The very fact that it WAS spyware has kept me from using, even since they had supposedly gotten rid of it. Of course, I am a fairly paranoid individual. I see this as a good thing, however.

    There are plenty of alternatives out there that are not spyware and don't go screwing with things they shouldn't be.
    • (While I have no idea what level the offending software is implemented at...)

      If you're running OS X, you can get the Ultrapeer/swarm-downloading goodness of LimeWire without that bitter SpyWare aftertaste. Have a look at Acquisiton [xlife.org]. It uses the LimeWire core with a Cocoa front-end. While still very early, using Acquisition after using LimeWire is like... using OS X after Xp (oooh! Bad troll! how'd you get in here?!?)

      I don't know the guy who writes it or anything, but he's a fellow Canadian so I feel the need to plug.

  • I've installed and removed Morpheus on my machine. I installed Limewire, and it's still installed at the moment.

    I can uninstall software; that's no problem... if I can find it. Can anyone direct us on how to remove the stealware from our systems? Oh, and I have Limewire installed on both Linux and Windows machines.

  • Furthurnet.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bullschmidt (69408) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:41AM (#4343542)
    I'd like to point people's attention to furthurnet.com. I'm sure it won't have the popularity of the other sharing systems, but its a legit system and you get unique material.

    Furthurnet.com is a system where fans of bands which allow bootlegging of live concerts post full sets from those shows.

    Pros:
    *Free, no ads, no spyware, nothin
    *Legal - music is only by bands who approve
    *New stuff - you can get stuff no on CD's yet
    *Live stuff - could be a plus or minus depending on the artist, but its a new perspective.

    Cons:
    *Bigger - they're recorded in a non-lossy format shn, so a full concert is anywhere between 200-600 meg
    *Recording quality not as good - depending on the band, the recorder and show, the acoustics and equipment aren't as good as live CD's and certainly not as clean as studio.
    *Fewer artists

    I just discovered this a few days ago looking for Jack Johnson stuff. I love it. Take a look. Its on Win and linux (maybe Mac too, not sure)

  • Wow, that's a pretty shocking accusation, but how did all of the P2P folks get this without anybody noticing?

    How does it work? How do you detect if you have it on your system?

    While I normally trust the NYT (as much as I trust any paper), I'd kind of like to have some verification of these claims from the hacker commmunity because this sounds way too much like some sort of industry scare tactic.
  • by mccalli (323026) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:43AM (#4343556) Homepage
    Every so often I post this when P2P comes up, but it always seems relevant.

    File sharing companies are, at the very best, a dubious bunch. Experience has shown tht they will try to screw up your machine in some way.

    So...let them. They'll find some way of doing it eventually anyway. The trick? Just make sure the 'machine' is a virtual machine. I personally use Virtual PC for Windows [connectix.com], but VMWare [vmware.com] would do just as well.

    Make a blank virtual machine, install your P2P clients on it and take a back-up of that file. Then use that machine for nothing but P2P. The result? Spyware is useless, because there's nothing happening to actually spy on. The machine gets too spyware-ridden? No problem - delete the current machine and restore from that fresh backup you took.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sdjunky (586961) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:43AM (#4343557)
    "And you supposedly gave your permission when you clicked through the EULA."

    You may have given somebody permission as far as your browser goes but that doesn't give you the right to change a link on a persons website... You can agree all day long but it isn't *your* link nor is it *your* commission being stolen.

    I find this rather repulsive but I have to admit this is rather ingenious ( in an evil scientist kind of way ). However, the fact that a user accepts it in the EULA doesn't remove the fact that they don't have a contract with the website owner giving them permission to do this.

  • Use vmware (Score:3, Informative)

    by qarnage (572321) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:43AM (#4343564)
    For all the crapware i use vmware [vmware.com]. Sure, you've got to pay for it, but then it'll save you lots of headaches dealing with this stuff. Just use a virtual machine for the crap, and the main one for the real stuff. Probably bochs [sourceforge.net] would also do, though i didn't test it.
  • How to rid of it (Score:2, Informative)

    by yadayadayada (568840)
    From an article [speedy3d.com] at Speedy3D.com:
    1) First run a search on your C: drive for the file bpboh.dll after the search has completed it should return one result.

    2) Delete the file
    3) Next it's a good idea (but not necessary) to run a search through the registry for all references to Morpheus and bpboh.dll.
  • The few users that do actually hear about this will, in the majority of cases, not care.

    All of them know they are stealing already. The fact that the software they are using is also stealing from others wont faze them in the slightest.

    BTW the mentioning of 'a charity' in the article was cheap as almost all affiliates will be merchants. It was mentioned to draw emotion, when the reality is different. Poor form.

    ------
    smokey the bear loves wallpapers australia [wallpaperscoverings.com]

  • I installed Lime Wire for Linux a couple of days ago. It is such a piece of shit, 1/15 of the downloads even start (and now I find out that the piece of shit is riddled wit spyware). Is there a descent GNUtella client for Linux that doesn't include any spyware.

    I tried gtk-gnutella and it wouldn't connect, I liked bearshare when I was using windoze, and setup my firewall to prevent spyware traffic.
  • by evil_one (142582) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:47AM (#4343596) Homepage
    Here's the link: http://associates.amazon.com/exec/panama/associate s/join/operating-agreement.html/104-2963693-286633 7 [amazon.com]

    Section 5, at the end:
    In addition, you may not: [snip] (b) read, intercept, record, redirect, interpret, or fill in the contents of any electronic form or other materials submitted to us by any person or entity;
  • Limewire on linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ^chuck^ (131444)
    Is there any proof that Limewire on linux does this? I've just started using, and suggesting people use it (it is a quality app). But this will seriously piss me off its mangling my mozilla browser in anyway. I love my mozilla the way it is.

    Bastards
  • Killing the Goose. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by A. Brate (588407)
    Sad, really. You'd think that these companies would realize that their only defense, in the long term, from the giant established corporations that would love to see them disappear, is public good will.

    So being sneaky and nasty is really not in their best interest.

    It's truly strange to think that the age of Napster was not a portent of the future, but an aberrant burp; that we might be going toward K. W. Jeter's Noir [amazon.com] , in which copyright "pirates" are tracked down by bounty hunters who suck out their brains, which are then embedded into radios or toasters for an existence of infinite torment and given to the artist whose works were infringed, instead of Distraction [amazon.com] , in which infotech-based gift and reputation societies rise to pre-eminence in a United States, its copyright-dependent economy reduced to rubble when China flooded the world with copyright-free copies of the U.S.'s bounty.

    Okay, either future would be strange, but they're excellent books.

    Wonder who will get the commission on these links?

    Adam Brate (ab at adambrate dot com)

  • Shocked! (Score:5, Funny)

    by cgreuter (82182) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:52AM (#4343638)
    I am shocked--shocked, I say--to hear that Kazaa, a fine purveyor of music-stealing software, would behave in such an unethical manner.

  • by Deton8 (522248) on Friday September 27, 2002 @09:53AM (#4343647)
    Since this comission theft is apparently legal, I'm going to modify our GL system here at the office to re-code all our product sales as being sold by me, so I get all the commissions. Why should those pesky sales people get any of the money, anyway? If they want money, they should become c++ programmers instead of salesmen.
  • Given the recent whiff of legitimacy [slashdot.org] KaZaA just garnered from it's partnership with Italian ISP Tiscali, I'm more interested in how Tiscali is going to react to this. Afterall, Tiscali is a paragon of virtue when compared with KaZaA, so I imagine they will be none too pleased with being the sponsor of a company that rips off charities.

    Then again, when has ripping off/exploiting the impoverised ever stopped a corporate entity in its quest for an extra dollar of profit?

  • I run LimeWire straight from console in Linux (and Windows) using "java -jar LimeWire.jar", mainly cause I don't trust their installer to not install spyware. You can download this platform-independant .jar from their website [limewire.com] using "LimeWireLinux.tgz" or "LimeWireWinNoVm.zip". Does this spyware exist in the .jar version, or only in the .EXE installer version? And if it is in the .jar file, does it function in Linux (I seriously doubt it)? If so, how?

  • What if you have installed Morpheus, and Kaaza? How does it decide which program gets to steal the comission?

  • Gnucleus (Score:2, Informative)

    by C4-GodH8sMe (67047)
    Has nobody heard of Gnucleus?
    http://www.gnucleus.com/
    http://gnucleus.sourceforge.net/

    And it's Not Evil. :)
    Unlike many file sharing systems, Gnucleus is not run by a company. This project has been active for over a year and no one has made a dime of it. We do not want your money, we want your support in development and making this program something great. Few windows programs are open-source, this is one of the few, because of that it is impossible for us to ever charge you for this program or future versions. I make this program out of my need for a honest file sharing system.
  • Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:03AM (#4343721) Homepage
    It may not be illegal, but it's undoubtedly immoral, and I think we should be emailing Amazon [mailto] asking them to terminate their affiliate accounts. I know I will.
  • by zaren (204877) <holdthis@mail.com> on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:32AM (#4343934) Homepage Journal
    There is no honor among thieves...

    and bonus points to anyone who pictures the artwork with that caption from the old D&D books (Dungeon Master's Guide?) when they hear that phrase :)
  • Just use winMX (Score:3, Informative)

    by an_mo (175299) on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:54AM (#4344094) Journal
    www.winmx.com [winmx.com]
    It's a much better client than morpheus/kazaa, its network size has passed the threshold to be useful.
  • by Kirby-meister (574952) on Friday September 27, 2002 @10:59AM (#4344130)
    ...all the bad things about KaZaa go in one ear and come out the other with freshmen college students. As the local "computer guy" for my hall, I've had to uninstall and regedit kazaa out of so many freshmen comps that it's not really funny. When a user calls and tells me something is wrong with their connection, I no longer ask if their ethernet cord is plugged in - I ask if they have KaZaa installed.

    I've gotten quite a workout on my legs from running up and down the stairs getting to each computer in a 7 story building, though.

    But seriously - I've gone so far as to do a free-pizza-if-you-come-here-and-listen-to-me presentation on how KaZaa is bad, and I'll still see KaZaa on every desktop I touch (except mine, of course).

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday September 27, 2002 @11:28AM (#4344363) Homepage Journal
    Reputable merchants should refuse to pay ANY sales commissions to Kazaa, Morpheus, and LimeWire.

    Further, they should warn the user when one of those firms attempts to get a commission for the sale. Included in the warning should be links to pages that show how to remove the software that is attempting to hijack the commissions.
  • Finally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chetmurray (216997) on Friday September 27, 2002 @11:29AM (#4344374) Homepage
    I submittes stories on this last spring when they first started. How big of scum are these guys? After speaking out on affiliate boards against this company and personally talking some merchants into dropping them, wurldmedia/morpheus sent a goon to my house and threatened me. I am not kidding. They kept saying what I was saying was libelous and that one of their biggest investors was the second top cop in NY state and he could fast track any legal action against me.

    Nice!

    The idiot Kirk did create my favorite juxatposition of quotes:
    Morpheus referred inquiries to Wurld Media, which operates its shopping rebates program. Kirk H. Feathers, the chief technical officer of Wurld Media, said that it had been wrongly accused of stealing and that the company would readily go to court to defend itself.


    He acknowledged that an earlier version of the company's software did divert commissions away from other affiliate sites but said that new versions dealt with that situation.
    So now he is threatening to sue people who quote him? He is a complete ass.

    The stupidest thing out of all of this. The merchants who go with them see an increase in affiliate sales - sure, because they are paying affiliate comissions now even if someone just typed the site name into the browser! These companies do not drive traffic or promote the companies, they leave that to webmasters, they just step in at the last minute and grab the sale. In the long run this seriously impacts merchants and causes them to see a lower return on their affiliate programs, and then as affiliates leave since their commissions are being taken, the merchant is left with nothing.

    The ad networks love this because they are paid a % on each comission. So what do they care? Comission Junction has gone from trusted third party, to scam that will do anything not illegal. I guess the idea of being ethical is beyond them? Phww.. Surprise, they are an idealab company.

    Chet
  • Are they idiots? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Courageous (228506) on Friday September 27, 2002 @01:28PM (#4345287)

    Why do they believe that the user's agreement makes this legal? An agreement between two parties cannot, as a general rule, relinquish the rights of a third party. This is almost certainly felony fraud, earning the players 5-10 in the clink. I hope the players have good attorneys. As soon as the victims (hint: not the user) hear about this and file a complaint, charges will be filed. They're not going to be civil charges, and it's not going to be judge Judy.

    Some people are really stupid about the internet! "Oh, this is the internet, therefore if I do something unethical, they must not have passed a law against that yet." Not so. God. DUMB!!!!!

    C//

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