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DirecTV and Linux; Cool hack endangered

By h2odragon in MLP
Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 11:28:45 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

You may have seen the article over on slashdot last Tuesday, Hacking DirecTV over TCP/IP using Linux. Today (Fri Jun 29), the gentleman who coded pitou, the application discussed in that article, received notice from his ISP that his site will go away on noon Monday July 2, for copyright infringement, under the DMCA.

The news of VMU's cool new card emulation software hit his site an Mon June 25; the site has been active with other DirectTV related software releases and news for a few months.

I see nothing in the skie.net files that looks to be a copyright infringement, what's there is either authored by VMU or free to redistribute. I can see why DirecTV is distressed at the availability of access card emulators and activation scripts, however, the legalities of this action seem to me (in my ignorance of law) to be iffy at best.

Anybody got some non-US web space to offer?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


DirecTV for free
o is illegal, immoral, and fattening 21%
o Arrr, matey, we fierce pirates be! 21%
o is a chance to experiment with technology ("arr, matey") 17%
o is the only way to get all those local channels 3%
o PPV pr0n. 9%
o i don't watch TV 26%

Votes: 64
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Hacking DirecTV over TCP/IP using Linux
o pitou
o notice from his ISP
o skie.net files
o Also by h2odragon

Display: Sort:
DirecTV and Linux; Cool hack endangered | 12 comments (12 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Burglar's Tools (4.23 / 13) (#1)
by Blarney on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:04:32 AM EST

We have a real problem here in the land of "computery stuff", as Kibo would say. The problem is that the mere words you use to tell somebody how to do something with digital data are mathematically isomorphic to the tool needed to do that thing. And helping someone do something is, legally, the same as doing it yourself. And when you tell people how to infringe on the "intellectual property" of rich corporations, well, you'd better just shut up or you're no better then a burglar.

Yet most countries don't acknowledge that some people have a right to shut other people up in order to protect their property. We have, ladies and gentlemen, a contradiction which will only be resolved by prolonged litigation. In the meantime, perhaps someone could hire some server space on Sealand.

To get my car stereo: (4.66 / 3) (#9)
by jabber on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 02:15:57 PM EST

1. Break driver (optionally passanger) side window.
2. Unlock door.
3. Using flat screwdriver, pry away bezel surrounding head-unit.
4. Using philips screwdriver, remove the four screws securing same.
5. With angle-dikes, cut wires connecting same to wiring harness.
Note, I recommend cutting on the far side of the connectors, to allow
easiest reconnection into a new harness.
6. Run away.

Does this make me guilty of car radio theft?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Of course not! Here's why..... (4.50 / 2) (#11)
by Blarney on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 06:25:16 PM EST

The words "Using flat screwdriver" are not the same thing as an actual screwdriver. The words "XOR entry 5 of table A with entry 7 of table B" are exactly the same thing as the line of code A[4]^=B[6];

The description of a piece of computer code, if sufficiently complete, is equivalent to the code itself. The description of a flat-head screwdriver, no matter how perfect, is never useful for prying, unscrewing, or anything - it will never have any physical reality. In meatspace, you can't eat the menu instead of the meal, but in cyberspace the menu and the meal are identical.

[ Parent ]

Additionally..... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by Elkor on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 06:48:53 PM EST

You are giving directions on how to steal something that YOU own.

This is also called (in psuedo legalese) "Giving it away."

Although, if you want to give it away, don't lock your car. That will save you the cost of the glass. Just say in the police report that they jimmied the lock.

Uh-oh, I am telling you how to falsify a police report....


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
it's right there in black and white (3.50 / 8) (#2)
by physicsgod on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:11:41 AM EST

From the DMCA:
``(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, de-vice, component, or part thereof, that-- ``(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; ``(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effec-tively controls access to a work protected under this title; or ``(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in cir-cumventing a technological measure that effectively controls ac-cess to a work protected under this title. ``(3) As used in this subsection-- ``(A) to `circumvent a technological measure' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a tech-nological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and ``(B) a technological measure `effectively controls access to a work' if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, re-quires the application of information, or a process or a treat-ment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

So they are violating copyright law (remember the "C"?).

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
just a nitpick (3.25 / 4) (#3)
by h2odragon on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:16:11 AM EST

"marketed"? there's no charge for his circumvention measures...

[ Parent ]
"marketed" isn't the important word here (3.80 / 5) (#4)
by ubernostrum on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:27:27 AM EST

The important part is "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in." "Marketed" is preceded by an "or", which would imply that marketing it is not a required condition for violating the DMCA, but is a condition which will violate it. Giving it away is covered under the opening sentences. Besides, remember teh 2600 case - no one marketed or charged for DeCSS, and it was still found to be an illegal circumvention measure.

You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

Mirror now, mirror often. (4.00 / 12) (#5)
by Inoshiro on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 04:09:25 AM EST

Go and grab some of the files. I'm in Saskatchewan, providing this for Canadians. Because of how the internet is structured, there is no possible way I can stop yankees from grabbing these files. But then, the DMCA has no effect on my own systems run in Canada! Hahah.

[ イノシロ ]
welcome to the 49th parallel (4.60 / 5) (#6)
by eLuddite on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 07:15:50 AM EST

But then, the DMCA has no effect on my own systems run in Canada! Hahah.

You can still be tried in the US. If you do not show up or hire a lawyer to represent you there, the judge will hear uncontested argument and rubberstamp an expensive judgement against you. At that point you are advised never to step onto US soil. That's pretty bad but DirecTV can escalate your case even further by petitioning the Saskatchewan Courts to uphold their US ruling. Finally, DirecTV can simply decide to prosecute you under Canadian law in Canada. Canada is a member of WIPO and will likely have its own DirecTV friendly copyright act even if that act isnt quite as onerous as the DMCA.

God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Canadian Law (4.20 / 5) (#8)
by DrEvil on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 12:57:09 PM EST

Sadly a DMCA like law is in the works for Canada (forget the link, but I saw it on the government's website somewhere). But as it stands right now, it is legal for Canadians to pirate DirecTV broadcasts due to the fact that it is illegal for us to pay for the programming.

Then again you could always just put the files on Freenet and not worry about where they are located.

[ Parent ]
Usefullness (3.50 / 8) (#7)
by ucblockhead on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 11:28:09 AM EST

In the DVD encryption case, the DeCSS software had uses other than the copying of copyrighted materials. In this case, however, I don't see any other use for the software other than obtaining copyrighted materials for free that you would otherwise have to pay for.

I don't see how this is any different from those pirate cable boxes used to steal HBO, and frankly, I have no sympathy for those who make or use it.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Been there... (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by ipinkus on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 04:31:18 PM EST

This isn't illegal in Canada. The point was driven home repeatedly on /.

As well, DirecTV has accidentaly cut services from some legit customers lately (promptly reconnected however). Maybe these people would benefit from some shady alternate to DirecTVs own descrambling technology.

It's becoming reminiscent of software cracks... I own The Sims and all the addons. However I can't stand having so insert the original CD everytime I want to play, so I loaded up the cracks...


[ Parent ]

DirecTV and Linux; Cool hack endangered | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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