Sea of Noise

Thu, 17 Nov 2005

More Info on Sony's Rootkit

The Sony rootkit saga continues to unfold...

Sony has released a list of CDs containing the XCP software. Yes, the company that wants to p0wn your computer apparently carries titles by "Billy Holiday" [sic] and "Dextor Gordon" [sic]. O', the humanity. And, apparently, not buying Sony products is "Healthy in Paranoid Times".

Meanwhile, Dan Kaminsky has used queries of DNS caching to determine that at least 568,200 nameservers have witnessed DNS queries related to the rootkit, which means the damage Sony has wreaked likely extends to millions of hosts, all over the world. Talk about your international terrorism...

[via EFF]

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The EFF Wants You!

The good folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are collecting information from and considering legal action on behalf of those who have purchased Song-BMG CDs and installed the XCP "rootkit" or SunnComm software. [via craigblog]

Support Bloggers' Rights!
Support Bloggers' Rights!

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Mon, 14 Nov 2005

User Friendly on Sony

I knew we could count on Illiad to capture the whole Sony brouhaha in a single strip:

Panel 1: Hello. Welcome to Sony's enhanced and secure content system!

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Thu, 10 Nov 2005

New Malware Walks Through the Door Sony Opened

I can't exactly say I'm shocked that new trojans are already taking advantage of Sony's rootkit.

[via Ron]

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Fri, 04 Nov 2005

Buy a CD, Rootkit Your Computer!

I don't buy music with DRM, whether on CD or via iTunes. But, hey, even though I'm a DJ who spends $1000+ on music each year, companies like Sony BMG probably aren't quaking in their boots about losing my business. Hopefully, thanks to a detailed analysis of Sony's DRM crap on a Van Zant CD (ironically titled Get Right with The Man) by Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals, your average consumer will think twice before buying "copy protected" music, too:

The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.

Maybe musicians will think twice before signing with a label like Sony BMG, too.

For those who find Mark's analysis a bit too detailed, Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte have a nice discussion of this and related problems in episode #12 of their Security Now! podcast. (Though, please Leo, Mark Russinovich is a "hacker"; scriptkiddies aren't "hackers"!)

There is one humorous side of all this brouhaha: Sony's rootkit is making it possible for World of Warcraft players to circumvent Blizzard's anti-cheating software. In fact, in the ultimate irony, some are apparently even pirating the Sony DRM software!

[via Security Mentor]

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Mon, 27 Sep 2004

Take Action to Stop INDUCE

The following alert re: the progress of INDUCE comes from Public Knowledge. You can take action on their site to send a fax to your senators:

This Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is about to take the first step to do away with the court ruling that allowed the VCR, the iPod, computer hard drives, and event he Internet, to be developed and to flourish. You can help stop it.

The Committee is considering a bill, S 2560, that gives the music and movie companies control over the kinds of products and services you will be able to use to listen to your music. Even products that are legal today, like the iPod, or digital recorders, could be taken to court.

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Thu, 12 Aug 2004


The controversy over JibJab continues, and Ernest Miller has a nice summary of the story so far...

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Mon, 09 Aug 2004

Former Intel VP on INDUCE

Kudos to Ernest Miller at Corante for his thorough, ongoing coverage of the INDUCE Act! For those of us who don't venture behind the subscription page of news sites, he's reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal "A Bill That Chills" by Les Vadasz, a former director and executive vice president of Intel.

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Who Sets the FBI's Priorities?


Infringe copyrights and the FBI will come after you, weilding the "Patriot Act". Attack mail servers with your spam and ... well, nothing, actually. Who sets the FBI's priorities, anyway? The MPAA and RIAA?

Update: The DOJ has this press release about the case. [via boingboing]

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Entertainment Lawyer Blasts INDUCE

Fred Wilhelms, a Nashville entertainment attorney, is no fan of piracy, but he's dead-on when he says that "No Matter What You Call It, The Inducing Infringement of Copyright Act Spells Trouble".

The fundamental problem I have with P2P is that the creators don't get paid for the distribution of their work, and I don't really buy the arguments that this "free" dissemination encourages people to buy CDs, or that it builds a fan base, or that it promotes their live appearances. The hard numbers really don't bear these contentions out. INDUCE, however, attacks the wrong part of the problem by attempting to stop technology in its tracks. As the VCR proved, the MPAA's position in the Betamax case was shortsighted at best, and the current bill proves they and their allies haven't learned anything in the intervening 20 years.

[via The Importance Of...]

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Wed, 04 Aug 2004

Should Parliament Use Creative Commons License?

Richard Allan (Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam in the UK) points out that is technically in breach of Parliamentary copyright and suggests that the Creative Commons license may provide a solution. [via boingboing]

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Sat, 24 Jul 2004



MIT has made good on its promise to put its course materials online with OpenCourseWare. 700 courses are already available. Kudos, MIT! This is both a smart and a good thing to do, and I'm looking forward to exploring the offerings.

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Corante on the RIAA on INDUCE

Corante presents the (heavily annotated) text of the RIAA's letter to Congress about INDUCE. Give 'em hell, Ernest! See also Brad Hills' abridged version.

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Tolkien Estate Bullies Shiremail

More trademark nonsense, this time perpetrated by the Tolkien estate. How sad. [via boingboing]

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Fri, 23 Jul 2004

Outfoxed and Fair Use

Instead of linking the growing collection of stories about the controversy over Outfoxed's use of unlicensed clips, I'll point you to the summary at Corante.

I'm no expert, but it appears that there's a case to be made for fair use here, and Lessig is making it. A case to watch...

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More on INDUCE

Corante brings us another summary of recent coverage of the INDUCE Act, including a spot-on quote from David P. Reed that begins as follows:

I'm not any kind of expert on construction of legislation, but the proposed INDUCE Act (S 2560) seems to be rationalized on the most ignorant and stupid intellectual basis I have ever encountered since the Tennessee legislature attempted to declare by law that pi was equal to 3....

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Publishers Whine About Used Book Sales

Publishers are whining about used book sales again. (Oh, great, that means it must be time for musicians to get up in arms about used CD sales again, too. Remember that?)

It always amazes me that publishers haven't thought this through: demand for first sales is higher because books can be resold. But the Napster-Amazon analogy is just plain dumb: when a song is pirated, an unlimited number of copies may be made from one legitimate copy; by contrast, every used book starts out as a first sale for the publisher.

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The DMCA: Delighting Monopolists Since 1998

The EFF has compiled an excellent summary of the ways the DMCA is being used to stifle competition.

Since they were enacted in 1998, the "anti-circumvention" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act . . . have not been used as Congress envisioned. Congress meant to stop copyright pirates from defeating anti-piracy protections added to copyrighted works, and to ban "black box" devices intended for that purpose.
In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright piracy. As a result, the DMCA has developed into a serious threat to several important public policy priorities . . .

One may well wonder whether this consequence was truly "unintended", but either way the EFF's summary makes an excellent case.

Corante also links to several more examples of anti-competitive behavior due to the DMCA.

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Comic Book Law

Corante brings us a summary of interesting intellectual property and free expression cases involving comics.

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Wed, 21 Jul 2004

Wikipedia of Free Culture?

Creative Commons is planning a free culture wiki and they'd like your help. [via boingboing]

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