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Is Microsoft Using RIAA Legal Tactics? 239

Nom du Keyboard writes, "CNET reports, 'Microsoft has filed a federal lawsuit against an alleged hacker who broke through its copy protection technology, charging that the mystery developer somehow gained access to its copyrighted source code.' Looks to me like since they can't figure out how else he's doing it, they'll sue on this pretense and go fishing for the actual method through the legal system. They clearly have no proof yet that any theft of source code actually happened. This smacks of the RIAA tactics of sue first, then force you to hand over your hard drive to incriminate yourself. Isn't this something the courts should be putting a stop to at the first motion for dismissal?" Viodentia has denied using any proprietary source code, according to CNET.
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Is Microsoft Using RIAA Legal Tactics?

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  • Dismissal? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:16PM (#16218931)
    Dismissal is only appropriate where the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. There is no evidentiary burden for a motion to dismiss, and before some discovery, a motion for summary judgment (which seems to be what the author is referring to) is premature. If Microsoft has a good faith belief that what they alledge happened actually happened, then they are entitled to discovery to prove their point, so long as they actually have a cause of action (in this case, they do). If discovery information does not support their claim, then the defendant can have summary judgment. Even if they are using the legal system to "find out how he did it," if someone committed a tort against them, they have a right to figure out exactly what happened.

    Don't write about law if you know nothing about law, and don't make assumptions or claims about lawsuits based on second-hand information and bias.
  • Re:5th amendment? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:26PM (#16219123)
    Since a hard drive is not a person, and more specifically, not a US Citizen, it does not have the right to refuse to testify, and may therefore be sequestered as evidence.
  • Re:Viodentia motive? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aditi.Tuteja ( 1004231 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:32PM (#16219251) Homepage
    Microsoft is after FairUse4WM, a lone programmer who calls himself Viodentia. FairUse4WMV was first released by Viodentia on the Internet on August 19. Engadget first broke the story on August 25th. Microsoft released its first fix on August 28, but that was thwarted three days later by the release of an updated version of FairUse4WM. As of this posting, no new Microsoft fix has been released. In the mean time broadcaster BSkyB has stopped its broadband movie download service until Microsoft secures its DRM system. Other content download services such as Movielink, RealNetworks and MTVs Urge service use Microsoft's PlayforSure technology and are equally vulnerable!!!
  • Re:5th amendment? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nosajjason ( 613456 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:35PM (#16219277)
    The 5th Amendment typically only applies in "criminal cases" (i.e. jail time and/or fine) but can be invoked in civil cases (i.e. injunction and/or damages suffered) when the testimony the witness is asked to offer would be incriminating against him.
    Additionally, the production of physical evidence (gun, blood sample, computer, etc.) is not considered to be "testifying." Under the 5th, you cannot be forced to "testify" (verbally) against yourself. However, the government (in criminal cases) and parties (civil cases) can still obtain all physical evidence which is relevant OR is likely to lead to relevant evidence.
  • by xiphoris ( 839465 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @07:01PM (#16222033) Homepage
    Shouldn't DRM be uncrackable even with access to source code?

    Quite the contrary -- all DRM should be crackable even without access to the source code.

    Ultimately, if you have the ability to "play" the content, you can beat the DRM -- because that's what playing the content is, decrypting it. If you (your computer) can decrypt the content, then you can decrypt the content. Simple!

    The distinction between which program on your computer can decrypt the content is *solely* one of obscurity and not one of encryption at all. You have the encryption key -- you can decrypt the content -- the only thing that's preventing it is obscurity of the location of the key, and the methods of the encryption algorithm. Both of those are Security Through Obscurity and are a bad thing. It's also why DRM will never actually work until the hardware gets on board.

    Because you always have the key, you can always decrypt it.
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:07PM (#16223231)
    ": Vista has to generally remain bug-for-bug compatible with every piece of software written for the overall Microsoft platform since MS-DOS 2.0."

    Why? When I go do download some software from MS either it's only available for XP/2000 or it offers different downloads for 98, NT, XP, XP SP2, NT 3.5+, 2000, 2003 etc.

    Clearly every version of windows is slightly incompatible with other versions. Even service packs break backwards compatibility requiring separate downloads for XP and XP SP2.

    I think vista will not be fully backwards compatible with any other MS operating system. Some things will work but I would expect everything to be either completely or partially borked.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas