Oz Court rules against Kazaa

Court rules against Kazaa [pdf]

An Australian court ruled on Monday that users of the popular Internet file-sharing network Kazaa were breaching copyright, and ordered its owners to modify the software to prevent online music piracy.

Slashdot: Australian Court says Kazaa Users Breach Copyright; CNet: Australian court rules against Kazaa; NYTimes: Australian Court Finds File-Sharing Violates Copyrights; WashPost: Court Orders Kazaa to Stop Pirates [pdf]

Resources here: Kazaagate, including the current decision (also here)

From the judgement:

A question arose as to the form of relief that might be made against the six respondents that I hold to have authorised infringement of the applicants’ copyright. The applicants are entitled to declarations as to past violations of their rights and the threat of future violations. They are also entitled to an order restraining future violations. However, I have had to bear in mind the possibility that, even with the best will in the world, the respondents probably cannot totally prevent copyright infringement by users. I am anxious not to make an order which the respondents are not able to obey, except at the unacceptable cost of preventing the sharing even of files which do not infringe the applicants’ copyright. There needs to be an opportunity for the relevant respondents to modify the Kazaa system in a targeted way, so as to protect the applicants’ copyright interests (as far as possible) but without unnecessarily intruding on others’ freedom of speech and communication. The evidence about keyword filtering and gold file flood filtering, indicates how this might be done. It should be provided that the injunctive order will be satisfied if the respondents take either of these steps. The steps, in my judgment, are available to the respondents and likely significantly, though perhaps not totally, to protect the applicants’ copyrights.

bnetd Loses Blizzard Appeal

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

Spy v. Spy, Part N

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

Lessig on the End of the Public Domain

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.

OT: Krugman Sticks It To This Administration

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?

A Spooky Tale

The joys of laissez-faire: Theft You Don’t Even See [pdf]

How’s this for a one-two punch — software that secretly alters your Google search results, then tries to drop nasty programs on your computer by luring you to a bogus eBay link?

That appears to be what is happening with a new program documented by security software vendor Webroot Software Inc. Called 2search, the program secretly hijacks some Google searches by presenting fake results in the midst of legitimate ones. Because the pages shown look identical to regular Google results, most victims would have no clue anything is amiss.

[…] Spy software is going mainstream as it becomes big business, generating about $2.4 billion in annual revenue, according to a report issued last week by Webroot. Eager to make money by installing advertising and spy programs on more computers, the purveyors are using clever new tactics, such as pretending to be a Yahoo page or a music file from iTunes.

[…] If such standardized programs aren’t to your liking, a group of Russian programmers called Rat Systems will take your order at their site and write a custom spy program for about $600, Moll said. While spy software has legitimate uses such as defending a corporate network, Moll said it increasingly is being used for electronic robbery.

Something To Think About

Shouldn’t this be a part of a broadband policy? Bush Should Bear Blame For Communication Breakdown

According to some government types, the Bush administration does have a national broadband policy. But as Hurricane Katrina rudely pointed out this week, there’s still no coherent, nation-wide first-responders communications network, a technology failure that must fall, in part, at the current leader’s feet.

As some of us have said before, it’s appalling that nearly four years after the terrorist attacks on this country, our elected officials still haven’t found the political will to build communications networks that could help make us all safer in times of need.

Note that parallels are being drawn for the bigger picture, too: Give ’em hell, Jack; also the LATimes’ A warning sent but left unheeded [pdf]

Any Hope For A Serious Re-examination Now?

How many of these fights will it take to demonstrate the need to revisit (and eliminate) software patents? Apple Is Accused of Violating Software Patent

The patent [6,928,433], which the company calls the Zen Patent, covers Creative’s interface for portable players, which allows users to select a song, album or track by navigating a succession of menus. The patent office awarded the patent on Aug. 9.

Later: Slashdot’s Apple Is Accused of Violating Software Patent