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How the Car Industry Has Hidden Its Software Behind the DMCA 126

Lucas123 writes: The DCMA has allowed carmakers to keep third parties from looking at the code in their electronic control modules. The effect has been that independent researchers are wary of probing vehicle code, which may have lead companies like Volkswagen to get away with cheating emissions tests far longer than necessary. In a July letter to the U.S. Copyright Office, the Environmental Protection Agency expressed its own concern of the protection provided by the DMCA to carmakers, saying it's "difficult for anyone other than the vehicle manufacturer to obtain access to the software." Kit Walsh, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the legal uncertainly created by the DMCA "makes it easier for manufacturers to conceal intentional wrongdoing. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA for embedded vehicle code so that independent research can be performed on electronic control modules (ECMs), which run a myriad of systems, including emissions. Eben Moglen was right.

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM" 769

FuzzNugget writes "Apparently seeking to lock competitors out of the burgeoning single-serve coffee market, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of the popular Keurig coffee machines, will make their new machines work with licensed pods only. GMCR's CEO confirmed this in a statement: 'The much-anticipated ‘Keurig 2.0’ single-cup brewing system with ‘interactive readability’ (that doesn’t work with unlicensed/copycat pods) will offer such “game-changing functionality” that consumers - and unlicensed players - will want to switch.'"

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July 304

Nate the greatest writes "Whether it's EA and SimCity, the Sony rootkit scandal, or Ubisoft, we've all read numerous stories about companies using DRM in stupid ways that harm their customers, and now we can add Adobe to the list. Adobe has just announced a new timeline for adoption of their recently launched 'hardened' DRM, and it's going to take your breath away. In a video posted to Youtube, Adobe reps have stated that Adobe expects all of their ebook partners to start adopting the new DRM in March. This is the same DRM that was launched only a few weeks ago and is already causing problems, but that hasn't stopped Adobe. They also expect all the stores that use Adobe's DRM to sell ebooks (as well as the ebook app and ebook reader developers) to have fully adopted the new ebook DRM by July 2014. That's when Adobe plans to end support for the old DRM (which everyone is using now). Given the dozens and dozens of different ebook readers released over the past few years, including models from companies that have gone under, this is going to present a significant problem for a lot of readers. Few, if any, will be updated in time to meet Adobe's deadline, and that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks."

Apple Starts Blocking Unauthorized Lightning Cables With iOS 7 663

beltsbear writes "Your formerly working clone Lightning cable could stop working with the latest iOS update. Previously the beta version allowed these cables to charge with a warning message but the final release actually stops many cables from working. Apples Lightning connector system is locked with authentication chips that can verify if a cable is authorized by Apple. Many users with clone cables are now without the ability to charge their iPhones."

Millions of Blogs Knocked Offline By Legal Row 162

another random user writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "A row over a web article posted five years ago has led to 1.5 million educational blogs going offline. The Edublogs site went dark for about an hour after its hosting company, ServerBeach, pulled the plug. The hosting firm was responding to a copyright claim from publisher Pearson, which said one blog had been illegally sharing information it owned. ... The offending article was first published in November 2007 and made available a copy of a questionnaire, known as the Beck Hopelessness Scale, to a group of students. The copyright for the questionnaire is owned by Pearson, which asked ServerBeach to remove the content in late September."

PlayStation 4 'Orbis' Rumors: AMD Hardware, Hostile To Used Games 371

silentbrad writes "Kotaku reports some 'details' about Sony's next console given to them by a 'reliable source.' They say that the console's codename is Orbis, and it is planned for release by the 2013 holiday season. Developers are reportedly being told to plan for an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU. Further on, they mention that there will be no PS3 backwards compatibility and, like rumors about the next Xbox, will have anti-used game DRM. Specifically, 'new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account. ... If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. ... it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game.'"

DRM Broke Dragon Age: Origins For Days 214

Martey writes "Ars Technica reports that a server problem with the DRM authentication servers has caused Dragon Age: Origins players to be locked out of any saved games that include downloadable content. Quoting: 'Thanks to a combination of DRM idiocy and technical and communications failures on the part of EA and Bioware, I (along with thousands of fellow EA/Bioware customers) spent my free time this past weekend needlessly trapped in troubleshooting hell, in a vain attempt to get my single-player game to load. The problem, it turns out, was the Bioware's DRM authorization servers.'" An update to the article indicates the problems have finally been resolved.

Avatar Blu-Ray DRM Issues 376

geekd writes "Once again, DRM only hurts legit content purchasers: 'An unusual glitch has angered some Avatar Blu-ray owners. For these unlucky people, since the disc won't play on their Blu-ray players, their new Avatar DVD serves no real purpose other than to sit idly on the coffee table. ... It appears the main culprit concerning playback issues with Avatar is, ironically, the disc's DRM (digital rights management). ... Even with updated firmware, a lot of Blu-ray players weren't prepared for these security measures. Despite the security problems, bootleggers are having a field day. Pirated copies of Avatar, according to Los Angeles Times, were available as early as January.'" Reader Murpster adds that this problem isn't specific to the Blu-ray version: "Got a regular Avatar DVD and it won't play on either of my DVD players. It will play on one computer DVD drive, if I want to watch it on a 12-inch screen."

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."

Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day 678

Colonel Korn writes "Ubisoft's recent announcement that upcoming games would require a constant internet connection in order to play has been discussed at length on Slashdot ('The Awful Anti-Pirate System That Will Probably Work'). Many were of the opinion that this new, more demanding DRM would have effectiveness to match its inconvenience, at least financially justifying its use. Others assumed that it would be immediately cracked, as is usually the case, leaving the inconvenience for paying customers and resulting in a superior product for pirates. As usual, the latter group was right. Though Ubisoft won't yet admit it, Skid-Row managed to crack the new DRM less than a day after it was first released."

DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of Avatar In Germany 386

Fraggy_the_undead writes "According to German IT news site, yesterday several 3D showings of Avatar couldn't take place (German; Google translation to English), because the movies were DRM protected such that there had to be a key per copy of the film, per film projector, and per movie server in the theater. The key supplier, by the name Deluxe, was apparently unable to provide a sufficient number of valid keys in time. Moviegoers were offered to get a refund or view an analogue 2D showing instead."

Office 2003 Bug Locks Owners Out 247

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Microsoft Office 2003 bug is locking people out of their own files, specifically those protected with Microsoft's Rights Management Service. Microsoft has a TechNet bulletin on the issue with a fix. It looks like they screwed up and let a certificate expire. There's no information on when the replacement certificate will expire, though, or what will happen when it does."

BBC Wants DRM On HD Broadcasts 267

NickFortune writes "The EFF's Danny O'Brien has pointed out that the BBC has asked a UK regulator for permission to add DRM to their high-definition broadcasts. Apparently, this is at the behest of content providers. 'BBC is proposing to encode the TV listings metadata that accompanies all digital TV channels with a simple compression algorithm. The parameters to this algorithm would be kept secret by the BBC: it would ask manufacturers to sign a private agreement in order to receive a copy. This license would require the implementation of pervasive DRM in the equipment they build.' Ofcom, the regulatory body in question, has detailed the proposal asked for comments, but the window closes today."

Using Speed Cameras To Send Tickets To Your Enemies 898

High school students in Maryland are using speed cameras to get back at their perceived enemies, and even teachers. The students duplicate the victim's license plate on glossy paper using a laser printer, tape it over their own plate, then speed past a newly installed speed camera. The victim gets a $40 ticket in the mail days later, without any humans ever having been involved in the ticketing process. A blog dedicated to driving and politics adds that a similar, if darker, practice has taken hold in England, where bad guys cruise the streets looking for a car similar to their own. They then duplicate its plates in a more durable form, and thereafter drive around with little fear of trouble from the police.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.