September 2, 2005

bnetd Loses Blizzard Appeal [1:47 pm]

Blizzard wins lawsuit on video game hacking ; the opinion

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled Thursday that federal law–specifically, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act–disallows players from altering Blizzard games to link with servers other than the company’s official Battle.net site.

[...] In a 3-0 decision, the court upheld a trial judge’s ruling from October, concluding the programmers’ “circumvention in this case constitutes infringement.”

The DMCA broadly restricts circumventing, or bypassing, antipiracy measures. Blizzard had included such measures to tie its games to the Battle.net site and detect pirated copies.

EFF coverage

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Spy v. Spy, Part N [1:40 pm]

DVD Jon hacks Media Player file encryption

Norway’s best known IT export, DVD Jon, has hacked encryption coding in Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, opening up content broadcast for the multimedia player to alternative devices on multiple platforms.

Jon Lech Johansen has reverse engineered a proprietary algorithm, which is used to wrap Media Player NSC files and ostensibly protect them from hackers sniffing for the media’s source IP address, port or stream format. He has also made a decoder available.

[...] His latest hack was done to make Media Player content available to the open source VideoLAN Client (VLC) streaming media player. VLC is available for download to 12 different operating systems and Linux distributions and has seen more than six million downloads to Mac. Apple is even pre-loading VLC on some Macs destined for high schools in Florida.

Later: Slashdot’s Microsoft Windows Media Player Encryption Hacked

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Lessig on the End of the Public Domain [12:33 pm]

From Foreign Policy [via Slashdot] The Public Domain

There is no doubt that piracy is an important problem—it’s just not the only problem. Our leaders have lost this sense of balance. They have been seduced by a vision of culture that measures beauty in ticket sales. They are apparently untroubled by a world where cultivating the past requires the permission of the past. They can’t imagine that freedom could produce anything worthwhile at all.

The danger remains invisible to most, hidden by the zeal of a war on piracy. And that is how the public domain may die a quiet death, extinguished by self-righteous extremism, long before many even recognize it is gone.

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OT: Krugman Sticks It To This Administration [9:37 am]

Justifiably: A Can’t-Do Government

At a fundamental level, I’d argue, our current leaders just aren’t serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don’t like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can’t-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.

And, as they’re asking over at AmericaBlog — Where’s Dick Cheney? Omigod: DICK CHENEY Has Been On Vacation! and Is Cheney ill?

Finally, from the Washington Post: When Government Is ‘Good’ [pdf]

It turns out that our individual striving goes on within a web of social protections that we take for granted until they disappear. We rely on each other more than we know. The rich, the middle class and the poor — all of us — bank on law, government, collective action and public goods more than we ever want to admit. The dreaded word “infrastructure” puts people to sleep at city council meetings and congressional hearings. But when publicly built infrastructure — those levees that held for so many years — breaks down, we realize that the things that seem boring and not worth thinking about are essential.

[...] How can we look Katrina’s victims in the eye, say we care and yet not take account of how their needs should affect the other things government does? I’m sorry to raise this, but can it make any sense that one of the early issues the U.S. Senate is scheduled to confront this month is the repeal of the estate tax on large fortunes when we haven’t even calculated the costs of Katrina? And why do we keep evading a national debate over who is bearing the burdens of a war that has dragged on far longer than its architects promised?

Katrina is the work of nature, but what happens from this point forward is the responsibility of political leadership. Is it possible that in the face of a catastrophe of this magnitude, Washington will not even bother to rethink our nation’s priorities?

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