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Microsoft

X-Box Flaw: MS Won't Use DMCA 435

80bower writes "Looks like Microsoft is going to allow an MIT student to display security flaws in the XBOX and won't use the DMCA to stop him. Read about it at EFF via Politech." Microsoft deserves kudos for this. But it is a sad state of affairs when people deserve kudos for NOT doing things.
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X-Box Flaw: MS Won't Use DMCA

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  • But... (Score:3, Funny)

    by C0LDFusion ( 541865 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @03:45PM (#4035558) Journal
    ...are we pissed at MS today or not?
    • Re:But... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by unicron ( 20286 )
      No shit, man. I read the line "Microsoft deserves kudos for this" and I think "oh, thank jebus, they're finally growing up" and then I read the last line and my relief was ripped away.

      6 months from now they'll post a story like "Bill Gates sacrifices self to save boat full of children and puppies" and the editors will find a way to make us hate him for it. Like his shoes weren't environmentally sound or some shit.

      Oh, and the reason they don't care is because no ones purchased an Xbox in 4 months.
      • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:41PM (#4036511)


        6 months from now they'll post a story like "Bill Gates sacrifices self to save boat full of children and puppies" and the editors will find a way to make us hate him for it. Like his shoes weren't environmentally sound or some shit.


        Yet today's headline is akin to "Bill Gates decides NOT to squeese trigger on gun aimed at puppy's head." A Slashdot editor points out that while this is all good of Bill, the real issue is the gun itself. You decide its further proof that Slashdot editors are out to get Bill.

        Grow up, indeed.
        • Re:But... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by unicron ( 20286 )
          My comment was just centered around the notion that they couldn't just make their compliment and leave well enough alone. They had every right to sue, and didn't, which was pretty nifty in my book.

          I cannot express in words the great feeling I get knowing that I have the maturity, perspective, and humility to know that should the day come that the DMCA gets everything it wants, and my warez collection goes bye-bye and I can no longer burn cd's for any purpose, I'll shrug, think about some people in the world that are starving or getting shot at or watching their parents hauled off to some death camp and think "Well, if I bitch about this and call unfairness, I'll really be nothing but a whiny bitch that thinks his problems mean shit in this world". It's a really awesome feeling, you should try it.
          • wow...what a great excuse for apathy!
          • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @08:25PM (#4036925)


            My comment was just centered around the notion that they couldn't just make their compliment and leave well enough alone. They had every right to sue, and didn't, which was pretty nifty in my book.


            Again - you miss the point. Its all good that Microsoft did The Right Thing but the issue at hand is that they had, as you put it, "every right to sue" in the first place. Its amazing how those with apparent pro-Microsoft leanings feel that this is some kind of dig against Microsoft. Re-read the comment. Its not.


            I cannot express in words the great feeling I get knowing that I have the maturity, perspective, and humility to know that should the day come that the DMCA gets everything it wants, and my warez collection goes bye-bye and I can no longer burn cd's for any purpose, I'll shrug, think about some people in the world that are starving or getting shot at or watching their parents hauled off to some death camp and think "Well, if I bitch about this and call unfairness, I'll really be nothing but a whiny bitch that thinks his problems mean shit in this world". It's a really awesome feeling, you should try it.


            I'm glad you feel great about it. Throughout history, there are always people who manage to justify the removal of theirs (or other's) rights. They come up with various justifications or label inaction as a kind of moral high ground. You can be rest assured that there has been a long history of your type logic. But don't kid yourself - its not maturity, perspective, NOR humility. It is the role of sycophant, apologist, or... at best... the tragicly passive.

            The world's issues of human rights, hunger, and power struggles have little to do with the issues surrounding the DMCA. True. But then, giving up your right to copy a CD will not end world hunger. And the fact that there is civil war somewhere in the world does not detract from the importance of fair use - its still all about money, control, and power. Try to maintain some of that perspective you claim to hold.
            • Re:But... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by unicron ( 20286 )
              Please don't speak to me of the moral highground. 99.9% of these self-proclaimed slashdot freedom fighters who love to speak of the evils of the DMCA are so misguided it's sad. They, possibly you, love to ramble on about something boils down to something as pathetic and trivial as the inability or lack of desire to purchase their software and music. People, like me, who can afford to buy pretty much an cd or software package we desire(which isn't a lot, I maybe buy 1 game/software app and 1 cd a week) really don't care about the DMCA. I look at all these warez groups with their extremely clever and impressive tactics and then I see them get out-done by the DMCA they start bitching about unfairness. It's like watching 5 year olds throw dirt clods and then whining about sand in the eye.
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vectus ( 193351 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:20PM (#4036404)
      We don't have to hate _everything_ they do.. I mean, I dislike Windows for asthetic reasons. I dislike their business practices. That doesn't mean I have to hate everything about them, or disapprove of them when they are doing something good.

      If we mock and hate them when they do good things, then they will feel that there is no pleasing us, and will thus ignore everything we have to say. I'd rather have a small voice than none at all.
    • if( (day_of_week == monday || day_of_week == wednesday) ||
      (day_of_week == friday || day_of_week == saturday) ){
      RIAA.setEmotion(hate);
      MPAA.setEmotion(love);
      telcos.setEmotion(hate);
      MicroSoft.setEmotion(hate);
      for(int i=0; i<666; i++){
      attemptSpoof("www.microsoft.com",
      "www.goatse.cx");
      }
      } else {
      RIAA.setEmotion(love);
      MPAA.setEmotion(hate);
      telcos.setEmotion(love);
      MicroSoft.setEmotion(hate);
      if(MicroSoft.getTopic() == "input_devices"){
      cout << "Oh, yeah, but those are good";
      Apple.mice->setEmotion(hate);
      }
      }
  • Ok, what does microsoft have to gain from this? Surely not the sympathy of the slashdot crowd... that's impossible!
    • Re:What the? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by edrugtrader ( 442064 )
      you are obviously not a marketing major...

      they are getting FREE PUBLICITY to the slashdot crowd... you know, the people that actually OWN these game systems?

      and WHAT slashdot reader, WOULDN'T want to buy an M$ product to bring it home, run the exploit, and LAUGH at how dumb those M$ coders are?

      plus, M$ gets the bug described IN DETAIL, DEMONSTRATED, and probably a solution described or maybe even created... all for FREE?!

      WHAT DOES MICROSOFT HAVE TO GAIN FROM THIS??? what DON'T they have to gain from this?
      • by rmohr02 ( 208447 )
        Yes, I want to buy an xbox just to find the security flaw, exploit it, and laugh, but I'm just a poor college student.
      • Re:What the? (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Pxtl ( 151020 )
        This comment would be really insightful if not for the caps. Instead you just look retarded. Congratulations.
    • Re:What the? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Danse ( 1026 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:11PM (#4036354)

      Well... I suppose that by not attempting to sue this guy, the DMCA won't get struck down yet for being an unconscienable threat to legitimate study and free speech.

    • Re:What the? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uncoveror ( 570620 )
      Microsoft gains some good PR, and avoids bringing the test case that could topple the DMCA in the Supreme Court, in case they do want to use the DMCA someday. They aren't stupid, like the RIAA.
    • Re:What the? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PD ( 9577 ) <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:17PM (#4036384) Homepage Journal
      They probably have been paying attention to the HP fiasco of a couple weeks ago. That was a marketing disaster for HP, and if Microsoft is anything they are good marketers.

      If you want to be cynical about it, then you can guess that Microsoft wants to make some truly egregious use of the DMCA further down the road, and they don't want to risk getting the law overturned on a trivial use.
  • But it is a sad state of affairs when people deserve kudos for NOT doing things.

    Just can't avoid it, can ya?

    • Maybe everyone would have given the editors their own Kudos for not knocking Microsoft in the post, just this once. What a sad state of affairs.
  • Is this a decision that MS can make on its own? I thought the DMCA was a federal law. If it's illegal to, for example, smoke dope, then I can't say, "Well, he said it was ok" and be let off. How is this different?
    • Re:Is it up to MS? (Score:3, Informative)

      by JCCyC ( 179760 )
      Is this a decision that MS can make on its own?

      No, and that's exactly why they're playing nice. The Sklyarov case taught them that the Feds will per^H^Hrosecute DMCA violations no matter what -- even an anonymous tip may be enough. And they end up looking cleaner than Adobe did.
    • IANAL but I believe that Microsoft would still have to file charges under the DMCA. No charges => no prosecution.
    • I belive DMCA violations are held in civil court, in which case it is a private party. Unlike criminal court, where it is "the people vs. _____". But I'm not a lawyer.
    • Good point. I'll file a complaint because as an investor in MS (yeah right!) I don't want my starving company to die!
    • Re:Is it up to MS? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Danneskjold ( 122198 )
      The DMCA provides for both civil remedies and criminal offenses and penalties. The civil remedies are in 17 U.S.C. 1203, the criminal offenses and penalties are in 17 U.S.C. 1204.
    • Since MS owns the federal government, it gets to decide on the criminal aspects of the case too.
    • Is this a decision that MS can make on its own?

      Well, yes and no. Yes, because the person is not violating the DMCA "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain," so there is no criminal law being broken. But no, because the person isn't violating the DMCA to begin with.

  • Step one: Place X-Box on secure platform.

    Step two: Place drink on X-Box

    Step three: Turn on Gamecube and enjoy.
  • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:10PM (#4036343) Homepage
    They're changing the keys for the Xbox right now. That means that anything he comes up with is only relevant to the boxes already on the market. They've stopped the bleeding and patched the wound, so they can afford to take off the pressure.
  • bad juju (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jormurgandr ( 128408 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:10PM (#4036349)
    This is bad. The only reason i can imagine that microsoft would do this is to solidify their argument for Palladium, or whatever the next incantation of it will be. By showing how the DMCA is ineffective in protecting against reverse-engineering and such, microsoft is trying to sneak their version of copyprotection in the "back door". Those guys (M$) don't do anything unless it will get them money. Never forget that, lest you be become assimilated. Remember....

    Resistance is futile
    • Re:bad juju (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @08:24PM (#4036922)
      Those guys ... don't do anything unless it will get them money


      http://www.gatesfoundation.org
  • by unsinged int ( 561600 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:11PM (#4036352)
    Flying pigs! Help! I'm being attacked by flying pigs!
  • I have noticed that MS rarely sues, my guess is that they hate lawyers and don't feel like getting involved in dumb lawsuits.

    Hope that'll teach companies like HP, Apple, Adobe, etc. another lesson or two.
    • They don't hate lawyers; they hire lawyers.

      Maybe instead of rarely suing they are rarely noticed in courtrooms--all this takes is the bullying of several lawyers and strongly-worded cease & desist letters.

      • Microsoft got sued by Apple Computer in the famous Look and Feel lawsuit.

        Microsoft won. In effect, Microsoft set the legal precedent that prevents a company like Apple from suing anybody who makes a desktop theme that looks like an Apple desktop.

        It's been said more than once that Microsoft paid the legal bill for everybody else to copy their GUI. Because they don't believe in competing in the courtroom. They're far better at competing in the marketplace. Esp. when they have the kind of control of that market that they presently hold.

        It's a mixed bag, but believe me, if Apple had won the suit, you'd be lucky to be allowed to use the Tab Window Manager on your X desktop.
    • Just in case it may have escaped your attention, Microsoft's legal department has been somewhat busy with other issues for the past year and a half.

      Also, communist Russia has fallen and there's now only two Beatles left.
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:16PM (#4036379) Homepage

    in 1997: freedom of speech was understood by reading the following:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

    in 2002: freedom of speech is understood by reading the following:

    With the help of Boston College law professor Joe Liu, EFF worked with Huang, Abelson, and MIT administrators to analyze the legal issues and draft letters notifying Microsoft of Huang's research findings and intended publication...

    Microsoft told Huang and Abelson that while it might prefer that the paper not be published, it would be inappropriate to ask MIT to withhold the paper.

    "I was afraid to submit my research for peer review until after the EFF's efforts to clear potential legal restraints."

    Welcome to America kids! If you're lucky, you'll get permission to publish your paper too!

    Perhaps if you wear a colorful, fanciful hat, decorated with bells and chimes, and prance about most amusingly, the King will pity you and grant your wish.

    • "if you wear a colorful, fanciful hat, decorated with bells and chimes, and prance about most amusingly"

      Or more likely because MIT has better lawyers then Microsoft can dream of. I believe the word inappropriate meant illegal.
    • So a researcher fears that a law might restrain him from making a speech, he contacts Microsoft who says that they'd prefer he doesn't make the speech but can't stop him, and somehow this means the law is unconstitutional?
      • It makes perfect sense if you look at it from the Slashdot perspective: everything Microsoft does is Evil, and free speech means anything I want it to mean.
      • >> Microsoft who says that they'd prefer he doesn't make the speech but can't stop him

        That's just it. Microsoft perfectly well can stop him, using the DMCA. They just choose not to in this instance, for whatever reason. The law that gives them the ability to make that choice (Let's see, do I or do I not feel like abridging the freedom of speech today...) is obviously unconstitutional.
        • Microsoft perfectly well can stop him, using the DMCA.

          No they can't.

          They just choose not to in this instance, for whatever reason.

          "Microsoft told Huang and Abelson that while it might prefer that the paper not be published, it would be inappropriate to ask MIT to withhold the paper." "Inappropriate" is Microsoft's way of saying "we're not allowed by law". Otherwise why wouldn't they stop Huang and Abelson, since they clearly want to.

          The law that gives them the ability to make that choice (Let's see, do I or do I not feel like abridging the freedom of speech today...) is obviously unconstitutional.

          Agreed. But the DMCA is not such a law.

    • Welcome to America kids! If you're lucky, you'll get permission to publish your paper too!

      Go back and read the first amendment. Note the subject.

      CONGRESS--and by extension, the government--cannot abridge your freedom of speech, aside from military or criminal reasons. And for a lot of things, not even then.

      PRIVATE PARTIES, like MIT and Microsoft, can do whatever the hell they please, up to the point where they're a goverment.

      If Microsoft owns a town, they can't made a law abridging speech there. They can only let employees live there, and make the employees know that they're fired if they belittle MS (and deal with the PR backlash that does), but they can't make a law.

      Think this is bad now? Try living under a real king, who can kill you just on a whim. Corporate politics are a light cold compared to the absolute void that we might find if the government wasn't restrained as it.

      Private people--heck, if we make it so no one could tell anyone else to shut up, life would be like an early AOL chatroom that you could never log out of.
      • >Try living under a real king, who can kill you
        >just on a whim. Corporate politics are a light
        >cold compared to the absolute void that we might
        >find if the government wasn't restrained as it.

        With soft money contributions still legal, I cannot see any difference, can you? I honestly belive if the RIAA wanted to make it a death penalty for breaking the DMCA they would have succeeded.
      • by dR.fuZZo ( 187666 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @08:50PM (#4037001)
        CONGRESS--and by extension, the government--cannot abridge your freedom of speech, aside from military or criminal reasons.

        Uhm, well, something is considered criminal if the Congress passes a law saying it's against the law. So, in other words, what you're saying is: Congress can't abridge your freedom of speech, except for when they abridge your freedom of speech.

        I wanted to mock your post, but, unfortunately, it seems to be dead on.

      • As two other respondents have noted, you are exactly wrong.

        You are correct: private parties are not bound by the declaration of independence. You are incorrect: Microsoft really can't restrict your freedom of speech.

        The reason for this apparent contradiction is that Microsoft cannot make laws. How would Microsoft limit your freedom of speech? By arresting you? All they could do would be to sue you if you damaged them, or make business arrangements to mess with your life. That's what AOL does. They kick you out of the chat room. They can't stop you from swearing on someone else's dime.

        In this particular case, Microsoft is not the party accused of restricting freedom of speech. Since this student isn't using MS resources to make his speech, they would have no grounds at all. The DMCA is a law passed by the federal government. The federal government is restricting freedom of speech. Just like copyright. The constitution makes allowance for both the DMCA and regular copyright, however.

        Article 1, section 8, clause 8: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"

        So I think it's pretty clear that the DMCA has grounds in the US Constitution. But it's not because MS can limit your freedom of speech. They can't. Of course, I don't think the DMCA has good enough grounds in the Constitution, given the absurd ramifications. Some day, we may see what the Supreme Court thinks.

  • Embrace (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Martin Marvinski ( 581860 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:18PM (#4036390)
    Extend..You know the rest.
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:19PM (#4036395) Journal
    In 800A.D., Charlemagne was crowned by the pope, which showed that the pope had the power to put Charlemagne in charge. Microsoft is simply saying, "you are able to publish this information only because we, the generous and wonderful empire of Microsoft allow it." For them to come out and openly state that they will allow it to be published serves only to make them appear ever more powerful to the general public, in that they make the subtle claim of having power over free speech.

    Perhaps they would have won in court and silenced this person, but the flaws he speaks of would have still made it to the net pretty quickly. If they had lost the court battle, the flaws would have been released to the public in about the same amount of time. Either way, Microsoft comes off looking like free speech-killers (Read, bad PR) and the flaws are published. By not challenging release of the information, (and doing so about as publicly as possible), they appear powerful, yet merciful. (Read, good PR).

    Unless I'm mistaken, Microsoft did something right here; at least something that's right for them - doesn't make a difference for us.

    • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @07:01PM (#4036578)

      You said:

      For them to come out and openly state that they will allow it to be published serves only to make them appear ever more powerful to the general public, in that they make the subtle claim of having power over free speech.

      The article said:
      Microsoft told Huang and Abelson that while it might prefer that the paper not be published, it would be inappropriate to ask MIT to withhold the paper.


      It seems to me that "it would be inappropriate to ask MIT to withhold the paper" is quite a bit different than "we'll allow you to publish the paper". Microsoft did the Right Thing (tm), in that they recognized that Huang's paper can and should be published without restraint due to the principles of Free Speech. Is it so hard to give kudos where kudos are deserved, even when it's a company that you "hate" ("hate" is rather strong, don't you think? but oh well ...)? Why must you try to make Microsoft look bad even when they've done good? If Redhat (for example. Or Sun, or any other Slashdot-favorite company) had done the same thing, you'd be lauding them for doing the Right Thing (tm) by saying it's "inappropriate" to block this, even though they could legally block the paper (hey, it's not just Microsoft that has that kind of power). Then again, if Redhat/Sun/Oracle/IBM/whoever had actually said, "We'll allow you to publish this, even though we could block it legally," I bet you'd still be crazy nuts happy about it without trying to say that they're doing so only to make themselves look stronger.


      • You've got to be kidding...

        "it would be inappropriate to ask MIT to withhold the paper."

        If they were doing the right thing, they'd simply say, "we don't feel it's appropriate" or "we do not believe we would be within our rights to.."

        The language used assumes that Microsoft is the sole arbitor of what is or is not appropriate. Read between the lines; it's not supposed to jump out at you. This isn't something we usually don't see from Microsoft, in that it's subtle (unlike their new licensing).

    • by wfrp01 ( 82831 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @07:13PM (#4036633) Journal
      If they had lost the court battle, the flaws would have been released to the public in about the same amount of time.

      If they had lost the court battle, it may be because a court finds the DMCA unconstitutional. That would be much more harmful to MS than letting some insignificant techno-trifle out of the bag. When people openly defy the DMCA, they are challenging the law. Someone is picking a fight with an 800 pound gorilla, and the gorilla is sitting this one out. Microsoft's lawyers have decided to avert risk. That alone speaks volumes about the precariousness of the DMCA's standing.
      • Another good point, and well stated. To more simply put things into perspective, Microsoft has nothing to gain and everything to lose by using the DMCA in this case. And they have nothing to lose, and a small bit to gain by publicly stating that they will in fact not use the DMCA in this case. Hey, if nothing else, it got them into a story on the front page of a website where a quarter of a million IT pro's read every day.

  • Just a shot in the dark, but could this have anything to do with the decision in Australia that mod chip makers don't violate the Australian equivalent of the DMCA? IIRC the court decided (among other things) that because the protections in the ps2 aren't meant to stop copying, only make it so you can't play copied/imported media, it didn't fall under protection of the law.

    Could it be that Microsft just doesn't want to fight it in court, and lose. Thus setting the precedent that such hardware protections are not protected under the DMCA?

    David
  • Is it for real that M$ is really putting some serious efforts in softening its image in public.

    For e.g. they dont totally favor the "chip-in-all-hardware-to-prevent-copying" strategy. They are in favor to an extent, but they have carefully removed themselves from going all out in support of this approach.

    Then this. They know that this doesnt amount to all that much, but coming from them, it would clearly garner a lot of public attention.

    I for one would like M$ to wisen up a bit and learn to co-exist with the rest of the world.
  • Remember the explosion of the psx popularity after all the mods and hacks came out? Perhaps they are hoping for something like that to happen with the xbox. When I saw how easy it was to install the mods it made me wonder if they made it this easy on purpose.
  • Microsoft is conducting a campaign to actively reach out to the Linux-using geek crowd. This may be designed to make us take a second look at them in a more positive light.

    The real test will be whether they use DMCA to clamp down on vulnerability research on their .NET and XP technologies. If they don't, then it's good evidence that they're dedicated to becoming good citizens.

    • "Microsoft is conducting a campaign to actively reach out to the Linux-using geek crowd. This may be designed to make us take a second look at them in a more positive light. "

      doubtfull for 2 reasons.
      where still small, and since they are using legislation to implement there millenium plan, we don't matter. we will have to accept them, or not use any computers.
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:34PM (#4036468) Journal

    But it is a sad state of affairs when people deserve kudos for NOT doing things.

    Especially things that they can't legally do anyway. The DMCA does not outlaw displaying security holes.

    If it's sad to give kudos, why put someone who gives them on the front page? I guess it passes the "grep Microsoft story.txt" test.

  • Don't cheer yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KenCrandall ( 13860 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:35PM (#4036472) Homepage
    I wouldn't quite start cheering yet. I'd be awfully wary of what comes out of this. MS gets a FREE security check of XBOX, and look what they can do with all this:
    • They can see where all the holes that hackers/modders are exploiting in the console are.
    • They can "slipstream" secutity updates into future games and break the above.
    • They get some PR karma for not going after an academic/researcher who is doing benefit for the "public good" (i.e. fixing security holes that could "JEAPORDIZE NATIONAL SECURITY"
    • They know what works and what doesn't for security in future products.
    On the plus side, since they are chosing NOT to invoke the DMCA, they prove that the law is subject to the whim of the very corporations who claimed to be harmed and sponsored the bill in congress (proxied by our loyal Senators, of course!) This kind of ruins the legitimacy of the law, as it transforms the DMCA from "reverse-engineering decryption schemes is always harmful (and hence, illegal) and is a copyright and security threat" to "reverse-engineering decryption schemes is only harmful (and hence illegal) when I SAY it is a copyright and security threat". This is a subtle, but quite big difference. Hopefully, the EFF and ALCU (or other socially-responsible organizations) will pick up on that fact...

    With this in mind, I like the fact that MS is doing this. However, I'd hate it to kill the mod-chip business. I'm fully in-favor of us being able to do ANYTHING with ANYTHING we buy (and dammit, if I pay $300 for the XBOX, I own it!) -- Imagine if you couldn't hop-up your car if you wanted to? The DMCA just sucks, in-general, and it sucks even more if companies can just CHOOSE when things are illegal and when they are not.

    Cheers,
    Ken
  • Thanks, EFF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:35PM (#4036474)
    Ok, that's it. I just donated 25 bucks to the EFF (took about 1 minute). Maybe that's a drop in the bucket, but I wanted to say "thanks" to the folks who actually DO something that everyone else is just talking about.
  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:38PM (#4036494) Homepage
    Perhaps MS deserves a non-bill-the-borg icon for this story today?
  • Felten Shockwave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:39PM (#4036503) Homepage
    Microsoft might be driven solely by their obligation to their shareholders (as any company is, unfortunately), but they're not utterly without intelligence.

    Suppose someone dies and you know where they stashed $1,000 in cash. You might take that money, but later return it. Why? Did you return it because stealing it was wrong, and you came to this realization? Did you return it because you were afraid of being caught? Maybe you returned it out of guilt. The point is that honor and "good behavior" comes in many flavors which are not immediately obvious to the casual observer.

    So do I think that Microsoft did the "right thing?" No way in hell. Do I think they did the "smart thing?" You bet. I think they took one look at the Felten debacle [eff.org] and knew to not play with the academics. I think they know the power of public relations, especially this year.
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @07:00PM (#4036575) Homepage
    Maybe Microsoft did try to use the DMCA to stop this via the DMCA, but they picked the wrong venue.

    "All rise! The US District Court is now in session. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson presiding!"

    MS: "Oh shit!"
  • So, Microsoft does something half-decent - they don't try to exert any legal force to prevent the disclosure of information they don't want to see public, and pretty much every /. post is digging to find some sort of evil ulterior motive.

    Why should this surprise me? This is the only place where the population can try to portray someone as being evil for donating a few billion dollars to charity....

    Come on, people. Give credit where credit is due. If you can't do it to be fair, then do it because it ruins your credibility for when something bad does happen.

    • I agree that they this was a decent thing to do. I also agree that, as business villians go, MS is not the worst of the bunch. (Just see "The Insider" for a look at real corporate evil.)

      But as the article said, despite Microsoft's restraint, the effect of the DMCA on this research was still chilling. Credit to Microsoft for not going after this, but the net score is still negative . I mean, look at the basic absurdity. This guy was worried about getting in trouble for figuring out a flaw in a game console. It's not as if he was publishing a way to launch nuclear missiles.

  • Dr. Evil (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @07:05PM (#4036604)
    "Those damn hack3rs just don't stop. Now they've focused their attention on our XBox. What should we do?"

    "Hmmm... let's see... To hack XBox they have to buy it from us, and then they'll be busy on it playing video games instead of hacking our products... is that correct?"

    "That's correct sir."

    "Okie dokie then... give 'em the greenlight so I can take that vacation I've been wanting to take for the longest time..."
  • Notice how the EFF press release names HP as a company that issued threats under the DMCA.

    Having retracted it after the shitstorm doesn't change the fact that HP will be on the list of DMCA-wielding thugs from now until the end of time.

  • Looks like Mad Dog McCree is going to allow an MIT student to announce the fact that he's impotence and won't use the GUN to stop him. " Mad Dog deserves kudos for this. But it is a sad state of affairs when people deserve kudos for NOT shooting people.
  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @09:11PM (#4037065) Homepage Journal
    Really I do. On a Ps2, I'd really think nothing of it. But on a quasi-computer such as the X-Box? There are so many changes you could make by invisibly integrating them into the latest game release. Running a chipped X-Box? Run the latest game of Quake 12 only to find out it changes the bios/firmware/on-drive software that checks to see if that chip is intact and disables the unit if it has been tampered with. It really wouldn't be that hard, I don't think... Sure, modders could pitch a fit, but what is their case going to be? We modded the console, voided the warrenty and now MS has made the games incompatible with our system? Of course, the uproar would be deafening...

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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