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P2P vs. The Clones 289

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hidden-payloads dept.
smash writes "Rebranding software then loading it with spyware and adware (or just selling it for profit) has become a recent trend with oversea individuals trying to make a few bucks. We all remember the KaZaA Gold, don't we? Shareaza, which recently went open source under the GPL, has been subject to a similar type of theft by a company going by the name RockSoft Development. Surprisingly enough, their software labelled as 'Go Music' hasn't been pulled from C|Net's Download.com after more than a week."
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P2P vs. The Clones

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  • Kazaa gold? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billobob (532161) <billobob@g m a i l . c om> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:17PM (#9953900) Homepage Journal
    If anything, this reminds me more of how Morpheus completely ripped off Gnucleus after Kazaa kicked them off their networks, leaving Morpheus pretty much screwed. They changed a few pictures, and originally presented none of the code to the public.
  • by nlinecomputers (602059) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:19PM (#9953914)
    How can you steal something that is free? I admit that I have yet to read the links. Off to do that now but that line in the story above sure seems incorrect to me.
  • by darth_MALL (657218) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:24PM (#9953949)
    I'm loving the negative ons like this:
    ""Virus Infected Shareaza Ripoff" Included malware: 1. Win32:Trojan-gen. {Other} 2. New.Net spyware 3. Search Toolbar adware "
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:26PM (#9953959)
    I think someone said that WinMerge has been stolen and sold as well (sf.net/projects/winmerge)
  • by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:26PM (#9953963)
    A quick read of the user comments pages on C|Net makes it pretty clear that all of those positive comments are written by the same person with the same fractured ESL English and the same misgivings about what is 'really cool' and how to make one's life 'complete'.

    Some might call this 'astroturf', but I reckon that even blind freddy could see that this grass is brown!

  • by mbrubeck (73587) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:34PM (#9954019) Homepage

    I work on the Audacity sound editor [sourceforge.net], a free software project that is being re-branded and sold on eBay under names like LuxuriousitySound [audacityteam.org]. Most of the sellers try to conceal the app's identity, and of course they don't mention that it's free and open-source. The same vendors are also selling rebranded versions of Open Office and GIMP. We get a lot of messages from angry users who find out that they payed $15 for software that's free for everybody.

    The vendors are obeying the GPL, so they aren't guilty of copyright infringement. They're careful not to use the software's real name, so of course they aren't guilty of misusing our trademarks. They might be in violation of deceptive advertising laws, or eBay's own "Brand Name Misuse Policy," but eBay hasn't yet acted on any of the buyers' complaints.

  • Re:Best P2P client? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Raagshinnah (670749) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:56PM (#9954171)
    giftcurs and Apollon are both quite good, both based on the gift daemon which has plugins for gnutella/openft/fasttrack/soulseek

    http://www.nongnu.org/giftcurs/ [nongnu.org]
    http://apollon.sourceforge.net/files.html/ [sourceforge.net]
  • by RPoet (20693) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @06:58PM (#9954180) Journal
    Look at the user comments [download.com] at download.com. The newest comments are shown first, which are users warning about the GPL theft and bundled spyware. Then there's a LOT of REALLY HAPPY users.

    Three different users actually say "This must be the best Thing in the world. Now my life is excelent!"

    "This is a great program, works well and easy My roommate and I both use this program and we think it's stupendous! Would recommend this to anyone"

    "I'm using only best well-tested soft, and here it is."

    "The speed is shocking"

    "It id very-very-very and one million more times very NICE stuff i ever had" ... and so on.

    The entire happy part of the user base seem to apply bad punctuation and similar spalling erors ;)
  • Not only open source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ad0gg (594412) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @07:01PM (#9954199)
    I've seen this all applied to public domain works by the government. I've seen the US Census data being sold for up to $750, when you can just download it from their site. I've also seen people selling access to NOAA weather images for a subscription rate of $100 a year. It all comes down to marketing, there's no way a producer of free content can compete against someone selling their stuff on the marketing side.

    Selling NOAA data for $100 a year [terrafin.com]

  • Re:Hahaha.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JPriest (547211) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @07:01PM (#9954203) Homepage
    Something I was thinking about the other day. It is pretty obvious that spyware is a gray area in legislation, but maybe there would be a loophole in this. Say I require anyone that develop software for my OS have a free license to do so. I could simply refuse less than credible companies a license. Instead of going after them for writing intrusive software, you could go after them for license violations.

    A big company like MS could never get away with this, but I wonder if one could build a Linux distro with a module or something that requires such a license. The idea would add another layer of security for people that use that distro again legit companies whose software is not considered malicious but should be. Is anyone doing something like this?

  • Re:SFW? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mbrubeck (73587) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @07:30PM (#9954427) Homepage
    "So, whats your point? Are you saying you disklike people re-branding your software and selling copies of it? If so, might I suggest you do not release it under the GPL." To clarify, I don't mind people re-branding and selling our software. One Linux distributor did this for a while, and I didn't object (although I did point out some practical problems with it, and they later stopped re-branding their version of Audacity). I know that the vendors are not stealing the software, and that I have given them full permission to modify and sell it. However, I think that these particular vendors are being unethical and deliberately deceptive in a way that is harmful to their customers. I wanted to point out the problems they cause, but I recognize that these some of these problems are unavoidable with free licensing. I'm interested in finding ways to prevent some of the harm while preserving the freedom of the software. One answer may be eBay's Brand Name Misuse Policy, which requires sellers not to use a different brand name than the product's manufacturer.
  • by Handpaper (566373) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @07:47PM (#9954538)
    Here [suprnova.com] and here [suprnova.net]. The genuine article [suprnova.org] has even changed the title of its home page to draw attention to the problem.
    Mind you, when somebody can't even look [google.com] for [google.com] the [ask.com] site probably deserves to be scammed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2004 @08:16PM (#9954733)
    Don't rely on ratings on tucows. They can be bought. I used to work at a company that did this. 2 cow raiting changed to 5 cows after a particular person made a phone call.

    (The company is now out of business and I don't see the program listed on the site anymore)
  • by kgroombr (608645) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @08:40PM (#9954891)
    It mispronounces giga as in gigabyte. Although most people say it as a hard "G", it is pronounced (correctly) with a "J" sound. Derived from the greek word gigantikos. Example: Pronounce: gigantic, giant Same root word.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @08:51PM (#9954946) Homepage Journal
    I'll bite - grabbing a mp3 and selling a GPL app as your own are different - I say that 98% of every mp3 downloaded are never resold. The difference is in the profit. People who close source GPL software and sell it for a profit are taking the work of those who have already decided to donate their time and code for the common good and using it for their own selfish gain.

    It's the difference between photocopying a book, and plagiarizing one.

    All statistics are from here [outofmyass.com].

  • Another one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zjbs14 (549864) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @09:27PM (#9955140) Homepage
    Here's another one, looks like the same folks doing it:

    http://www.download.com/Music-Master/3000-2196_4-1 0306583.html?tag=stbc.gp [download.com]

    The negative review are stacking up for Go Music, let's add some to Music Master too.

  • What can I say (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar&gmail,com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @10:25PM (#9955433) Homepage Journal
    a friend of mine told me that he paid for a subscription to Kazaa Lite network. I tried to tell him that Kazaa Lite was no longer being made, and never had a subscription model, but he didn't listen. Besides, I told him, it is based on Kazaa without the spyware/adware, and thus illegal. I am not sure what exactly he got, but it is some Kazaa named P2P program that you apparently pay a monthly fee for.

    P2P file sharing is full of such scams, because people are gullable. Apparently file sharing, to them, is illegal, unless you pay a monthly fee for access to the files, and then it is legal? Internet Pirates with a business plan, who'dathunkit?

    Once he wises up, I'll have to uninstall the malware from his system for him.
  • by djeca (670911) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @10:35PM (#9955477)
    Yeah, this stuff may fall under the 'aggregate' clause that covers proprietary-enhanced Linux distros. That's the sort of thing a court needs to decide, but in all honesty I think that if SuSE Linux is OK (and was back when YaST was proprietary), then so is this form of bundling.

    However, the point isn't whether or not you can sue them, it's whether or not you can force download.com to delist them with a DMCA takedown notice. And to do that, all you need is evidence that the scumbags aren't following every last letter of the GPL. Clause 3b. is the main one, but you can check the other clauses as well.

    Of course, if they are compying with the GPL, then what's the harm? If a few people are idiots enough to only use software that is backed by fancy advertising that just screams 'malware', then it's hardly a high priority for the Free Software community to reeducate them, even if it's possible.
  • Re:Hahaha.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Froboz23 (690392) on Friday August 13, 2004 @02:22AM (#9956371)
    If you don't like spyware hackers doing this to GPL projects, you can voice your opinion of the software by going to the download.com link mentioned above [download.com] and submitting your own review using the "rate this title" link.

    The download.com submission review procedure is odd. It delays submissions for a couple hours, but I don't know what the heck they do during that time. They sure aren't checking the review content. My test review submission got through, no problem:

    Claria Corporation 12-Aug-2004 09:08:21 PM

    "Herbal Viagra! Peepee Enlargement! Video Professor! Hair Replacement Ointments! Work from Home!"

    As a reseller of dubious online advertising, I highly endorse this software product. As soon as the half-witted user installs this "utility", a tidalwave of beautiful pop-up advertising will fill the user's screen. Every ad generates revenue for our company, so we're very excited about this product. Plus, even if you uninstall the Go Music software, the spam advertisements keep coming! Highly recommended.

    ;)

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