Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments

By friedo in News
Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:01:47 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

I know we don't like to talk about that other place here, but I thought this was too important not to post. It seems that Microsoft has asked Slashdot to remove comments containing Microsoft compyrighted material. Slashdot, naturally, has refused.


What does this mean for free speech on the net? The Digital Millenium Copyright Act has given corporations unprecedented power to control speech and expression. Looking at issues like DeCSS and the recent MP3.com rulings, it seems to me that digital media combined with the Internet will cause the fall of intellectual property as we know it. Whether morally correct or not, it will become impossible for anyone to protect their intellectual property, even with lawsuits. I think we're witnessing things move in this direction (look at the list of DeCSS mirrors, for example.) What do you think about intellectual property issues for the future? Will the net see their downfall? Can 300+ year old laws cope with modern technology?

Sponsors

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

Login

Related Links
o Slashdot
o that other place
o Microsoft
o remove
o Digital Millenium Copyright Act
o list
o Also by friedo


Display: Sort:
MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments | 163 comments (163 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Post it right now. It seems that Sl... (2.00 / 5) (#5)
by messman on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:08:04 AM EST

messman voted 1 on this story.

Post it right now. It seems that Slashdot has been Slasdotted!!

We have to vote this in. The impli... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by FoodMike on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:08:28 AM EST

FoodMike voted 1 on this story.

We have to vote this in. The implications are pretty important to the whole net community and free thought in general.

I'm getting timeouts from Slashdot.... (1.50 / 2) (#2)
by marlowe on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:18:30 AM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

I'm getting timeouts from Slashdot. How about adding an excerpt?
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

I was going to crosspost this mysel... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by warpeightbot on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:20:43 AM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

I was going to crosspost this myself, but looks like I've been beaten to the punch.

Methinks now is the time to teach old Borgy-Bill a lesson. The right to control what you can and cannot do with the software is one thing. The right to comment about the software (without giving away trade secrets, assuming you told them you wouldn't) lies squarely in the domain of the First Amendment.

The long and the short of it? HEY, MICROSOFT! GET LOST!
(and that's the G-rated version....)

Probably worth talking about, altho... (1.00 / 1) (#8)
by genehack on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:22:08 AM EST

genehack voted 1 on this story.

Probably worth talking about, although it would have been nice to lead with the questions posed at the end, using the current /. mess as an example, rather than the way the writeup is now.

on another weblog, we can read it t... (1.00 / 2) (#1)
by davidu on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:25:39 AM EST

davidu voted -1 on this story.

on another weblog, we can read it there.

regardless of what site it is, this... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by porovaara on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:30:30 AM EST

porovaara voted 1 on this story.

regardless of what site it is, this is an important event and test of the DMCA

Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.00 / 4) (#7)
by slycer on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:30:49 AM EST

slycer voted 0 on this story.

Actually looking forward to a more intelligent conversation than what has been going on at "that other site". One of the points here is that this document they are reffering was not encrypted (unless winzip is encryption), there was no reverse engineering involved. So hence the DMCA cannot come into play.
It will be interesting to see how this will play out.

Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (none / 0) (#16)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:18:51 PM EST

> there was no reverse engineering involved. So hence the > DMCA cannot come into play. I don't follow your reasoning. It's a simple case of copyright violation, isn't it? The DMCA, among other things, is the latest updating of US Copyright law, so of course it would apply in this instance.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.70 / 3) (#25)
by Demona on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:36:23 PM EST

Arguably MS may be able to control where it's posted and who has it, but the EULA is on shaky ground even under DMCA because you'd have to be a blithering idiot or a lawyer to argue that putting something in an archive is a form of 'protection' that it's illegal to circumvent. If opening this thing with WinRar/Winzip, infozip, whatever (and thus bypassing the EULA) is illegal, then so is de-rot13'ing something if someone doesn't want you to. I feel that if anything is removed it should be actual verbatim full copies, and nothing more. Certainly there are better potential testcases for DMCA.

However, I can't help but feel some sympathy for another poster's point: Extensions to an open protocol should also be open. And as someone else noted, it would be nice to have the gun of the law forcing people to use accurate terminology -- instead of it just being annoying when people call something X and it isn't, it's becoming downright harmful to developers and users. It just seems to me like a simple issue of fraud -- if you're offering a product for sale, you shouldn't be allowed to call it X when it is not X, be it HTML, Kerberos, TCP/IP or whatever. Hardly a free speech issue.

The traditional problem with this in a common law context (which I approach most of life with) is that when something is owned by "everyone" instead of an identifiable natural person or persons, nobody has any standing in the matter as far as the courts are concerned. Stuff like this was part of the rationale behind the GPL and FSF, I'm sure -- the FSF as a legal entity can hold and defend copyrights. However, I think it's high time the law showed its adaptability again. To do that will require participation by everyone, to help "take back" the law from the privileged class of corporations, lawyers and the like, and return it to its rightful place as being an instrument of equal justice for all.

-dj

always the optimist

[ Parent ]

Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (none / 0) (#26)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:38:48 PM EST

I'm beginning to feel a bit dim here, but... what's the EULA got to do with it? It's a copyrighted document, MS own the copyright, so according to the law no-one can publish it without their consent, period. Or what am I missing?
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by Demona on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:48:12 PM EST

I would think that even the EULA cannot grant any more rights than normal copyright already provides, in which case the only real thing MS could prevent would be unauthorized "publishing" -- but extracting, reading and possessing a document doesn't seem to fall under the category of "publishing".

Chromatic noted on /., in part, that their strategy consists of:

  • Wrap the paper in some sort of mechanism which presents the warning and a license agreement nominally waiving fair use, reverse engineering, and free speech rights.
  • Make sure the mechanism only works on platforms where your implementation is already present, and, thus, no clean-room version is necessary.
  • Distribute liberally, knowing that standard means of unwrapping the document -- on any platform but your own -- will not present the invalid license agreement anyway.
MS may have a leg to stand on regarding unauthorized reproductions of full, verbatim copies of their work. However, they have no grounds for any further demands. Another /. poster noted that they're trying to use copyright as a patent. Even without the DMCA this would be bad, and with the additional complications DMCA poses it becomes abominable.

[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:40:02 PM EST

Fair enough. I don't know what the legal status is, but I've always felt EULAs were a load of shite. If MS are trying to prevent disclosure of their changes to Kerberos, then clearly they are going to have to claim that it is a trade secret, or that everyone who had access and then gave out information had signed a non-disclosure agreement first. Naught to do with copyright, though. I think it's a pity /. didn't make this distinction straight away; no doubt this will be part of their lawyers' counter-attack.

Someone posted the text of the MS letter (I wonder is that copyrighted?;-)), and they make three demands:

  1. removal of comments containing the full text of the MS doc. That's a clear case of copyright violation, and /. don't have a leg to stand on;
  2. removal of links to such copyright violations; as far as I know about previous cases, precendents here are contradictory -- sometimes it's been adjudged "not a breach of copyright", sometimes it has;
  3. removal of posts which disclose features of their changes to Kerberos, presumably by "fair use" quoting of the disclosed doc. This I think is MS trying it on.

http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:47:34 PM EST

I could be way off here, but from what I remember Microsoft *was* declaring this to be a Trade Secret. IIRC, the evil part was that Microsoft was spreading around a Trade Secret in such a way that if anyone tried to implement the specs, MS could claim that they must have seen the info in the document and used that information in a way specifically prohibited in the license agreement.

This way, no one could ever produce a clean implementation, because (presumably) everyone would know about the specs from the document.

It's kinda like trying to find 12 jurors who didn't know anything about the OJ Simpson trial.



[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.50 / 2) (#51)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:55:12 PM EST

Hmmm, yes, I see what you're getting at. The question then is, is MS's silly "agreement" actually a legal instrument? I mean, you run an .exe, click "OK" when it tells you, and heh! presto! you've got the "trade secret". Now, you haven't signed anything to say you won't reveal this big secret, have you? But isn't a signature required to make an agreement like this legally-binding? Anyone know what the law is on this?
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:11:25 PM EST

The problem is not whether it's legally binding in the end, but rather that since it isn't immediately clearcut and obvious, MS can tie up and/or kill projects that use Kerberos with a simple threat of "We'll keep you in court till you run out of money."

They'd likely get plenty of settlements instead, for royalties for use of their Kerb specs.

[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:18:24 PM EST

Yes, that's a real danger. Except, MS aren't that huge, and a lot of other big companies don't like them at all. MS vs IBM, for example, would hardly be Godzilla vs Bambi, would it? I think both parties in that case would want to avoid such a battle.

Perhaps MS will prove to have bitten off more than it can chew. It may well be that they are presuming they can bully small companies in the way you describe; but I doubt whether they can frighten off an opponent of their own weight.

How do their changes to Kerberos tie in with the bigger picture, anyhow? Is this an attempt to kill samba, for instance?
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (none / 0) (#114)
by BJH on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:35:40 AM EST


Indirectly, yes, MS are taking a potshot at samba. The Kerberos "extensions" that MS included in Win2000 are necessary for authentication when Win2000 is used as a PDC (primary domain controller), an area that the samba team has recently taken an interest in. This move by MS effectively prevents the samba team from including PDC functionality utlizing Kerberos in any future versions of samba.

--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (none / 0) (#128)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 07:02:24 AM EST

It certainly does not. All it prevents is the Samba team doing it within the USA - increasing the American computing brain drain to Europe. I never thought I'd live to see the day when countries like France and Germany uphold civil liberty better than the USA. A lot of US law does not apply outside the US.

[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (none / 0) (#132)
by Camelot on Fri May 12, 2000 at 08:23:16 AM EST

According to this article, it would no longer be a trade secret:

Regardless of whether Microsoft is successful in getting the information removed from Slashdot, legal analysts say material that found its way on to the Internet may no longer be entitled to trade secret protections. It likely would be protected by less restrictive copyright protections, however.

"Most likely it's going to lose its trade secret status," said Ron Lemieux, a partner at Graham & James in Palo Alto, Calif. "It doesn't mean that Microsoft should try to do what its doing and get it pulled off."



[ Parent ]

What about GPL? (4.30 / 3) (#68)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 03:26:22 PM EST

When people talk about click-through agreements not meaning anything, I always think about the GPL. If clicking "OK" doesn't mean you agree to the license, then how does shipping the GNU license.txt file guarantee that someone who downloads GPL'ed code will abide by it?

Consider this scenario: someone downloads your GPL'ed code, and extends it, and then releases it without source. You complain and say that it was GPL'ed so they need to open any derivative works. They can say "We never saw the license". Then you say "But the notice is in the top of every source file!".

And they say, "We used an IDE that strips out all comments before showing the code. We still didn't see it, sorry."

That's not really any different from the people on slashdot saying "I opened the .exe file with winzip and never saw the license."

[ Parent ]
Re: What about GPL? (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 03:47:07 PM EST

The two cases are different. In one, the question is the legal status of a non-disclosure agreement that hasn't been signed -- is it still legally binding? In the other, the question is one of restrictions placed by the copyright holder on the redistribution of software. So, with GPL'ed software, we have a copyright issue. In effect, the GPL waives the normal copyright restrictions on "republishing" if certain conditions are met. This is not an agreement. With the non-disclosure agreement, on the other hand, it is not a question of copyright. The *information* contained in the document is not protected by copyright; only the document itself, the *expression* of the information. Therefore, there must be an agreement between both sides not to reveal the information, since copyright doesn't stop this. Now, an agreement, as far as I know, is only legally-binding if both sides have signed a contract. Is "clicking OK" legally equivalent to "signing a contract"? I think it might well not be.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: What about GPL? (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by Notromda on Thu May 11, 2000 at 04:10:52 PM EST

So... posting the file word for word is in violation, but if someone were to post a "summary" of how it all worked, then this would not be illegal. :)

[ Parent ]
Re: What about GPL? (none / 0) (#156)
by Mulad on Sat May 13, 2000 at 01:54:24 AM EST

Right, at least in certain situations. You can copyright a `presentation' of something, but not necessarily the thing itself. Think of Einstein's famous E=mc^2. You can't really copyright the equation -- it's basically a mathematical law. However, you could write a book about it, why it means what it means, etc, and could copyright that, but E=mc^2 is still public..

[ Parent ]
Re: What about GPL? (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:33:24 PM EST

There's one thing you seem to be missing - the license is not always shown. If you extract the file using Winzip, you never see any license. I always did this when I used Windows. EXE files can have viruses, etc, so I always open them with Winzip instead of running them. The documents say "this is a trade secret" on every page, and has a license at the beginning ("if you're not authorized to read this, don't read this"). But that could hardly be considered reasonable protection of the trade secret. While you still can't republish the document, if the trade secret is invalid you could publish information on the protocol obtained from that document.

[ Parent ]
Re: What about GPL? (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 05:20:18 PM EST

It is somewhat different, but in this case much of the results are the same.

The GPL is a license to distribute, if you do not agree to it, you remain bound by copyright law - which prevents redistribution. MS's EULA is a license to use a piece of information. If you bypass it, you can use it without worrying about the license. But, of course, you are still bound by copyright law.

This means that people who redistribute the document in question are violating copyright law, and that Slashdot may be forced to remove the one post that quotes the entire document verbatim. (I do hope that US law requires some proof that the copy is in fact a copy, and not just a discussion of...)



[ Parent ]
Re: Actually looking forward to a more ... (3.50 / 2) (#67)
by analog on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:48:01 PM EST

Another question to be considered is whether posting the specs in the manner they did is sufficient protection to maintain trade secret status for it.

If a company makes a trade secret publically known themselves, it no longer qualifies for protection. It seems to me there could be a good argument made that by putting the specs up on their website in such a way that anyone with a little computer savvy could open it up and read it, MS may well have forfeited any trade secret claims for it.

[ Parent ]

It's a big deal, and should be post... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
by StatGrape on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:59:47 AM EST

StatGrape voted 1 on this story.

It's a big deal, and should be posted.

NerdPerfect

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by Camelot on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:09:31 PM EST

I wonder if the story is a hoax and they posted it to test the new server - to see if they could get it slashdotted ;)

But seriously, this is heavy stuff. If they have any chance at all of winning, then they should enter the legal battlegrounds. Freedom requires it.

Oh, and there was one thing I never thought of seeing.. Jon Katz posting anything insightful. I doubt his upcoming, longer retort to Microsoft is going to be any less unreadable than his previous rants, though.

/. has /.ed itself (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by spiralx on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:10:02 PM EST

Well, I was involved in the discussion there but /. seems to have finally /.ed itself with this story. Some 400+ comments when it finally died. So much for the new servers :)

Anyway, /. will probably have to remove these comments in the end, but they have already been mirrored by /. readers, and links to these sites aren't illegal. It would not do /.s reputation any good for it to cave in, especially over an issue (the DMCA) for which its readers are so adamently opposed. That would pretty much ruin its credibility.

However MS will end up looking even worse over this, after all the whole issue over Kerberos was another instance of their "embrace and extend" policy. Considering the court case they're involved in at the moment you'd have thought they'd have left it for the moment. After all this will raise a lot of publicity, probably all negative for them.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Re: /. has /.ed itself (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:32:54 PM EST

A link to infringing material is itself a copyright infringement under the DMCA. Microsoft gives one explicit example in their letter:

Comments Containing Links to Internet Sites with Unauthorized Copies of the Specification:
"by ka9dgx on Tuesday May 02, @2:52PM EST (#133)"
The Microsoft lawyer also notes that the comments he refers to are only examples of the infringement. However, in this letter he asks that the eleven specifically mentioned be removed. Either this is meant to pave the way for a more exhaustive list, or the action is meant to be more symbolic than practical.



[ Parent ]
Stupid Lawyers Can't Read (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by Demona on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:51:20 PM EST

Another /. poster pointed out that one of the comments which Microsoft claims contains a copy of the specification not only contains no such copy, it doesn't have any links to the spec, or EVEN ANY INFORMATION ON HOW TO AVOID THE EULA AND GET A COPY OF THE SPEC. All it is is someone raising some questions about potential liability. This has to be the most egregious case of illiteracy I've ever seen.

[ Parent ]
Re: /. has /.ed itself (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:31:06 PM EST

Slashdot really sucks. I mean, it goes down all the time. Slashdot does get a lot of traffic, but so does yahoo and msn.com. I have never in the last year had a single problem with either yahoo or msn.com. Maybe it's linux.

[ Parent ]
Re: /. has /.ed itself (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by rusty on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:43:34 PM EST

It's:
A) Slash software inefficiency (I'm familiar with that problem myself) due to...
B) The extremely dynamic nature of slashdot-- nearly every page is generated at the time of the request...
C) Combined with insane amounts of traffic. Slashdot does, I believe, something like 2 million pages *a day* (Am I insane? Does anyone know what their traffic is?). Whatever it is, it's an insanely ridiculous amount of traffic. Yahoo is serving almost entirely static pages. I don't know how dynamic msn.com is. Regardless, it's pretty unlikely that linux has anything to do with it.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: /. has /.ed itself (none / 0) (#93)
by Commienst on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:26:42 PM EST

It would have been a lot faster if they coded slash in PHP4 instead of Perl.

[ Parent ]
Re: /. has /.ed itself (none / 0) (#111)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:41:08 AM EST

<P>It might also have been a bit more readable. Still I don't think that /. is that slow considering what it does and how many people use it. This is the first time that it's ever really died in the year or so I've been reading it.</P>

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Slightly OT PHP rant (none / 0) (#123)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 06:01:28 AM EST

spiralx: I apologize in advance for attaching this to your comment. I'm just following the thread. This is triggered much more by the post you're replying to, so don't feel flamed. :-)

<RANT MODE="mild">

You know...

I like PHP. I really do. I think it's groovy. It's fun to code in, the syntax is nice, for web apps, it's a powerful and easy-to-learn language.

BUT

Every day I want to use it less and less because people keep telling me that this or that or the other "should have been done in PHP". Enough! When I see someone's new PHP app, do I say "Hey, that's cool, but you should have written it in perl?" No. So why is it that everyone who knows a little PHP feels obligated to tell me what language I, and every other web programmer, should have used?

It's a great language. We know. Now go code, and stop telling everyone else to use it! If this keeps up, I really am going to have to start telling every PHP coder I talk to that they "should have used perl". And no one wants that.

</RANT>

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Slightly OT PHP rant (none / 0) (#135)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:49:06 AM EST

I apologize in advance for attaching this to your comment. I'm just following the thread. This is triggered much more by the post you're replying to, so don't feel flamed. :-)

Awww, I've never had someone really give me a good flame before, not even on /. :) Actually that sounds a bit funny come to think about it...

Anyway I don't think anyone likes a language zealot, but its one of those things were everyone loves to show that they're right and that their language is clearly more 3|33+ than everybody elses.

Now to my point - I've been considering learning PHP, since there's no way in Hell I want to have to learn Perl, and I was wondering if you could point out any good resources on the web? Thanks :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: Slightly OT PHP rant (none / 0) (#140)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:17:09 PM EST

The Really Good Thing about PHP is that The Manual is online. And really, it's all the manual you ought to need. Of course, that's easy for them, with their simplistic language... ;-)

BTW: perl isn't nearly as hard to learn as the PHP zealots would have you believe. Nor is it "line noise" or any of the other anti-perl FUD you're certain to hear. It is, in fact, an incredibly powerful and easy-to-learn interpreted programming language, and all the perl programmers I know wander around with dazed exressions of joy on their faces all day, cause they love what they do so much.

8-) <-- your standard perl programmer

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Slightly OT PHP rant (none / 0) (#146)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:38:29 PM EST

BTW: perl isn't nearly as hard to learn as the PHP zealots would have you believe.

Okay, I was exaggerating - I do know the basics of Perl coding, I just happen to prefer Python :) Probably because the things I code are generally less reliant on the things that Perl does well - regexps, simple CGI scripting and so on - and more on class heirarchies and algorithms, for which I'd say Python was better suited *looks around and ducks in case*.

Although really, you can do exactly the same things in Perl and Python, it's just a matter of preference and convenience. Anyway, thanks for the link, I'll check it out when I'm bored at work on Monday :-)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: /. has /.ed itself (none / 0) (#116)
by SlashDread on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:44:17 AM EST

Maybe your counting the +3 posts... Last time I looked, there were 900+ postings.. (this was within hours of posting the article yesterday) Greetz SlashDread

[ Parent ]
Re: /. has /.ed itself (none / 0) (#136)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 10:14:37 AM EST

Naah, I was reading /. when it was posted, my first reply was started when there were 11 posts - there were 120 by the time it was submitted. It started going funny about 3/4 of an hour later when there were only 300 posts. There's about 1300 at the moment :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Decommoditization of protocols (3.70 / 6) (#12)
by meldroc on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:10:16 PM EST

Considering that the copyrighted material in question is Microsoft's attempt at "decommoditization of protocols" to paraphrase their own words from the Halloween Documents, the correct response to this is to tell Microsoft's lawyers to stick it.

Extensions to an open protocol should also be open.

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:14:27 PM EST

I notice Roblimo is not above spreading a bit of FUD here. At least one of the posts in the thread the MS letter talks about -- this one here (good luck in getting to it, /. is *very* busy right now) -- contains the full text of a Microsoft document. That is a copyright violation, and it would still be a copyright violation if the DMCA had never been passed. "Fair use" is one thing, linking to a copyright violation is another again, but posting the full text of a copyrighted document is not at all ambiguous. So, let's get one thing absolutely clear: MS are not just reacting to parts of the document being quoted in critical posts (they may be doing that as well, but /. is too busy for me to get to the particular comments the MS letter cites); they are also, in at least one instance, objecting to the posting of the full text. And it seems to me they are perfectly within their rights in doing so.

Copyright, by the way, isn't simply a tool for evil corporations. Copyright law protects all owners of copyrights. Whether copyrights are a good thing or not is another question, of course. But please, let's not dumb the discussion down to a Katzian level by invoking the spectre of "the big bad corporations" everytime something like this comes up.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/

Is it a violation? (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by genehack on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:46:41 PM EST

contains the full text of a Microsoft document. That is a copyright violation, and it would still be a copyright violation if the DMCA had never been passed. "Fair use" is one thing, linking to a copyright violation is another again, but posting the full text of a copyrighted document is not at all ambiguous.

IANAL, but aren't there provisions that exist for extensive quoting of copyrighted materials for editorial use? Was the post commenting on the document, or does it just consist of the text of the document and nothing else?

[ Parent ]

Re: Is it a violation? (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:50:20 PM EST

It is the full text of the document. Yes, quotes from a copyrighted docuemnt usually fall under fair use; though what the status of quotes from a document that MS don't want to be quoted is, I don't know. As far as I know, they realised the spec under a non-disclosure agreement, but whether that's actually enforceable depends on what people had to do to "sign" such an agreement. Is clicking a link legally-enforceable? I don't know.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Is it a violation? (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 03:36:08 PM EST

At least one post that I saw had nothing but the text of the document. I don't know if that's the one referenced by the MS letter, though.

The amount of a work that can be excerpted under fair use varies considerably, but I doubt there are very many situations where copying the complete work would be considered fair use, even in editorial contexts.

[ Parent ]

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:31:01 AM EST

Copyright protects you if you have the money to defend yourself, otherwise copyright does not mean much.


[ Parent ]
Dirty Tricks? (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by Pinball Wizard on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:16:36 PM EST

Well I really wanted to see what /. had to say about this, but I cannot get to their site.

I know they have a new server setup, which will probably get the blame, but its still a mighty coincidence that they post their most anti-Microsoft story ever and consenquently go down.

Their new setup was working great. On a T1, the pages were loading several times faster than on the old setup. I suspect possible sabotage.

Of course we know the problem (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by End on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:17:40 PM EST

The site is apparently kuro5hin-ed.

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Dirty Tricks? (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Camelot on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:22:53 PM EST

If you call DDoS sabotage, then, yes, this is probably sabotage. /. is /.ed.

[ Parent ]
Could somebody tell me... (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by Zarniwoop on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:20:02 PM EST

Just what this is all about? Were api detals leaked? Was it an internal memo? Whats up? The story is kinda sketchy on details, and slashdot is unreachable from here...

Re: Could somebody tell me... (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:49:18 PM EST

The materials in question were posted as part of an end run around an EULA.

The background is that Microsoft recently released applications using the version of the Kerberos protocol with proprietary extensions. (I believe this is in Windows 2000, but not yet NT) Microsoft was predictably criticized. So far this is a fairly familiar story. Then last week they released their specs on the web in a self extracting executable with an EULA requiring users to treat the document as a trade secret. This is more novel.

Microsoft's complaint is about comments which reproduce the document, link to reproductions, or describe how to extract the contents without clicking on the magic EULA button.

Under the DMCA all these complaints are legit. Even without the DMCA, posts which reproduce parts of the document are clearly illegal. However Slashdot's responsibility (common carrier or what have you) is not well defined without the DMCA.



[ Parent ]
Additional EULA restrictions...and suspected motiv (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 03:31:09 PM EST

Then last week they released their specs on the web in a self extracting executable with an EULA requiring users to treat the document as a trade secret. This is more novel.

It was even more novel than that. I'd even call it inflammatory. The EULA also had a clause that restricted the usage of the contents to "security review" only, and explicitly forbade anyone to make an implementation of the protocol based on the "trade secrets" contained in the document.

Looks like a pretty blatant attempt to prevent anyone (read Samba) from providing a Kerberos implementation that uses the Microsoft authorization extensions that W2K clients will want/need/expect. After all, since the document has been spammed throughout cyberspace, it'd be pretty hard for any developer to prove that they hadn't seen it...

Handy way to try and recover the SMB server market, eh? And it's even better for Microsoft that the document was published widely...

[ Parent ]

Re: Could somebody tell me... (none / 0) (#97)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:19:43 AM EST

Reproducing PARTS of the document would be legal (without [and maybe with] the DMCA), if you are discussing them. It's fair use to quote small parts of a document for criticism/discussion.

As for bypassing the EULA, this can easily be done by accident. A lot of security-conscious users will open self-extracting files with WinZip/PKZip/WinRAR to avoid running an EXE. You never see the agreement if you do this.

[ Parent ]

Re: Could somebody tell me... (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by slycer on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:58:28 PM EST

I'm not 100% sure, maybe someone else could fill in on this (I never read the document) but here is the situation as I understand it.

Apparently Microsoft posted the technical details regarding their implementation of Kerberos on the web. This was contained in an executable file, that would pop up a EULA (basically a non-disclosure clause). However, it was possible to circumvent this using winzip (it was just an exe that was zipped), hence you could read the tecnical document without reading the EULA.

Some readers took this to mean that because they had not agreed to the EULA that it was public domain and they could post it where they wanted. One full copy of the document was posted on /. Microsoft sent Slashdot a letter threatening legal action if that post, as well as any post that linked to the document (unzipped, no EULA) be removed.

I think that Microsoft has a legit reason for requesting the removal of the full text of the document, but it puts Slashdot in a legal bind. What's interesting is the quote that all comments are owned by the poster on the top/bottom of the slashdot page. Slashdot however, has already proven that that is not quite true (ala Jon Katz book).

[ Parent ]
Re: WinZip (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by schporto on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:13:01 PM EST

And what if I don't run windows? Then how can I read this document? I can't run the exe on either my linux machine or the mac. So I can only read this doc if I run Windows? Seems rather exclusionary to me.
-cpd

[ Parent ]
Re: WinZip (1.00 / 1) (#50)
by slycer on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:53:42 PM EST

It is in fact very exclusionary..
Let's see, they mess around with the Kerberos protocol, making it so that only Windows 2000 can talk to other Windows 2000 machines (via kerberos) take flak for it, release the specs, but release them in such a way that no-one that has an operating system other than Windows can use it..
hmmm.. monopolistic attitude and tactics yet again.

[ Parent ]
strings, unzip -- DMCA circumvention tools (none / 0) (#82)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:56:00 PM EST

The self-extracting zipfile presented the user with a EULA prior to unzipping the files. Several of the posts pointed to (and complained about) by MSFT included descriptions of methods by which the content could be extracted from the download file, without in fact requiring acceptance of the EULA, or even of viewing it at all. Included are such common GNU/Linux utilities as strings and unzip.

The MSFT complaint appears to cite these posts (though I didn't track refs) as "circumvention" measures, covered under the anti-circumvention portions (17 USC 1201 ff) of the US copyright code, added by the DMCA.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: strings, unzip -- DMCA circumvention tools (none / 0) (#94)
by analog on Thu May 11, 2000 at 11:42:03 PM EST

Of course, it's interesting to note that the anti-circumvention portions of the law don't go into effect until October 28th of this year (a neat little factoid I found while poking around the links in the DMCA protest article).

With all the yelling and screaming all these companies are doing using this as a basis for their actions, why did I have to stumble across this on the Copyright Office's website? I'd have thought people would be trumpeting it from the rooftops.

If I may paraphrase your .sig -- What part of Ex Post Facto don't they understand? ;)

[ Parent ]

DMCA anti-circumvention effective dates (none / 0) (#102)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:55:26 AM EST

Depends on which portion of the law you're referring to. The prohibitions on reverse engineerins (1201(a)) doesn't kick in until two years after enactment of the legislation. Not sure of the specific date, but IIRC it's going to be sometime between October, 2000, and January, 2001.

The 1201(b) prohibitions on "manufacture, import, offer[ing] to the public, provid[ing], or otherwise traffic[ing] in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" that is principally aimed at circumvention of technical means of protection is already effective.

Legal code is on the Cornell Law Server.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: strings, unzip -- DMCA circumvention tools (none / 0) (#134)
by mattm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 08:48:49 AM EST

It's not a zipfile, though! It's in Microsoft's goofball .CAB (cabinet -- file cabinet, get it?) archive format -- that much I can tell from using, well, 'strings', yes. :) I'm not sure, but I think a page of shellscripts on tsden.org may help those of us who prefer operating systems (and programs) that don't suck -- the documentation is all in Japanese, though, so I'm looking over the scripts themselves to try to figure out exactly what they do. If anyone has any insight on this, please let the rest of us know. :)



[ Parent ]
Links to named posts (/. repost) (none / 0) (#125)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 06:24:49 AM EST

This was buried within the current Slashdot article (a mere 1239 comments posted...), post #364:

Here's my c*ckmonkey work for the morning:
Comments Containing A Copy of the Specification:
"by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday, May 02, @03:37PM EST (#197)"
"by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:09PM EST (#239)"
"by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:15PM EST (#248)"
"by smartin on Tuesday, May 02, @02:20PM EST (#86)"

Comments Containing Links to Internet Sites with Unauthorized Copies of the Specification:
"by ka9dgx on Tuesday May 02, @2:52PM EST (#133)"

Comments Containing Instructions on How to Bypass the End User License Agreement and Extract the Specification:
"by myconid (my S conid@ P toge A the M r.net) on Tuesday May 02, @07:27PM EST (#362)"
"by markb on Tuesday May 02, @05:47PM EST (#321)"
"by Sami (respect.my@authorita-dot-net) on Tuesday May 02, @01:47PM EST (#19)"
"by iCEBalM (icebalm@[NOSPAM]bigfoot.com) on Tuesday May 02, @01:52PM EST (#33)"
"by Jonny Royale (moc.mocten.xi@notners) on Tuesday, May 02, @01:59PM EST (#51)"
"by rcw-work (rcw@d.e.b.i.a.n.org.without.dots) on Tuesday, May 02, @07:12PM EST (#353)"


--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Links to named posts (/. repost) (4.00 / 1) (#127)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 06:36:17 AM EST

Ok, what the hell is up with the last comment in the "copy of the spec" list? Did they just screw up, or what? Anyone who hasn't looked at all those comments-- just read this one: "by smartin on Tuesday, May 02, @02:20PM EST (#86)" . Huh?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Copy of MS letter to /. (4.00 / 4) (#18)
by spiralx on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:21:36 PM EST

Sorry about this, but I doubt anyone's getting into /. for quite a while :)

From: "J.K. Weston"
To: "'dns_admin@andover.net'"
"'dns_tech@andover.net'"
Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement under the Digitial Millennium Copyright Act
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 07:08:49 -0700
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2651.58)

Andover Advanced Technologies
Andover.Net
50 Nagog Park
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: (978) 635-5300
Fax: (978) 635-5326
Email: dns_admin@andover.net; dns_tech@andover.net

Dear Internet Service Provider:

We understand that your website, http://www.slashdot.org, is a popular site for developers to discuss topical issues of interest. In that vein, it has come to our attention that there have been numerous posts of concern related to Microsoft's copyrighted work entitled "Microsoft Authorization Data Specification v. 1.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 Operating Systems" and we would appreciate your posting this email to the site to help relay our position to your users.

This notice is being sent under the provisions, and following the guidelines, of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

Included on http://www.slashdot.org are comments that now appear in your Archives, which include unauthorized reproductions of Microsoft's copyrighted work entitled "Microsoft Authorization Data Specification v.1.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 Operating Systems" (hereafter "Specification"). In addition, some comments include links to unauthorized reproductions of the Specification, and some comments contain instructions on how to circumvent the End User License Agreement that is presented as part of the download for accessing the Specification.

Although not intended to be an exhaustive representation, the specific comments below, categorized by corresponding activities, are examples of the misuse of Microsoft's proprietary information:

Comments Containing A Copy of the Specification:
"by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday, May 02, @03:37PM EST (#197)"
"by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:09PM EST (#239)"
"by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:15PM EST (#248)"
"by smartin on Tuesday, May 02, @02:20PM EST (#86)"

Comments Containing Links to Internet Sites with Unauthorized Copies of the Specification:
"by ka9dgx on Tuesday May 02, @2:52PM EST (#133)"

Comments Containing Instructions on How to Bypass the End User License Agreement and Extract the Specification:
"by myconid (my S conid@ P toge A the M r.net) on Tuesday May 02, @07:27PM EST (#362)"
"by markb on Tuesday May 02, @05:47PM EST (#321)"
"by Sami (respect.my@authorita-dot-net) on Tuesday May 02, @01:47PM EST (#19)"
"by iCEBalM (icebalm@[NOSPAM]bigfoot.com) on Tuesday May 02, @01:52PM EST (#33)"
"by Jonny Royale (moc.mocten.xi@notners) on Tuesday, May 02, @01:59PM EST (#51)"
"by rcw-work (rcw@d.e.b.i.a.n.org.without.dots) on Tuesday, May 02, @07:12PM EST (#353)"

Under the provisions of the DMCA, we expect that having been duly notified of this case of blatant copyright violation, Andover will remove the above referenced comments from its servers and forward our complaint to the owner of the referenced comments.

This email notification is a statement made under penalty of perjury that we are the copyright owner of the referenced Specification, that we are acting in good faith, and that the above-referenced comments, as part of http://www.slashdot.org, is posting proprietary material without express written permission.

We request immediate action to remove the cited violations from Andover's servers, in accordance with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

This email is not intended to waive any of our other rights and remedies.

Please confirm your receipt of this request by responding to this email. Also, confirm the status of this request either via email or via the following contact mechanisms:

By mail:
J.K. Weston, Designated Agent
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way, 114/2314
Redmond, WA 98052
By phone:
(425) 703-5529
By email: jkweston@microsoft.com

---------------------------

To: J.K. Weston"

From: Robin Miller

Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Dear J. K. Weston:

Per your request, we are posting your e-mail on this subject on Slashdot.org to help you relay your position to our users.

The balance of your e-mail's content is somewhat puzzling to us. I'm sure you agree that freedom of speech is at least as important a principle under American law as the freedom to innovate, so I'm sure that you personally, and Microsoft corporately, will understand our hesitation to engage in censorship.

Indeed, after reflecting on the nature of freedom for a little while, you may wish to withdraw your request that we remove readers' comments from Slashdot. Please realize that if we censor our readers's posts because they contain ideas Microsoft does not wish to have made public, we may set an unhealthy precedent for other online news outlets and online service providers, including those owned in whole or in part by Microsoft itself.

Meanwhile, in case Microsoft does not decide to have a happy change of heart and support a free and open Internet (which would certainly be in everyone's best interest), we have sought advice both from our attorneys and from our readers about what, if anything, we should do next.

Please expect a formal reply to your request that we censor our readers' comments, which we allow them to post on Slashdot as freely as Microsoft allows user-generated content to be sent through Hotmail and through chat facilities and discussion groups hosted on MSN.com servers, as soon as we receive wise counsel not only from our attorneys, but also from concerned members of the Slashdot community and other interested parties.

Sincerely,

- Robin "roblimo" Miller

Editor-in-Chief,
Andover.net


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Re: Copy of MS letter to /. (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by lachoy on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:31:24 PM EST

Does anyone else think it's hysterical that a lawyer's letter has the word "BlueUnderwear" in it? :)
M-x auto-bs-mode
[ Parent ]

Re: Copy of MS letter to /. (1.00 / 1) (#23)
by spiralx on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:32:51 PM EST

Definitely, and twice as well :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

What is going on here? (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by PrettyBoyTim on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:22:08 PM EST

Okay, as /. is down, I can't check out the exact details, but surely if someone is posting copyrighted materials onto Slashdot, they should be removed? Slashdot can hardly claim that is a 'Common Carrier' and should therefore have immunity from prosecution.

If people do not respect Microsoft's copyright, why should they respect the GPL? It doesn't seem to be that big a difference to me.

I surely can't be the only person who sees it this way... can I?

cheers,

Tim

Re: What is going on here? (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by dvicci on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:47:39 PM EST

I surely can't be the only person who sees it this way... can I?

Nope... I agree completely. My sense is that those most staunchly against MS (and I'm not in their camp, mind you), are letting their passions cloud their judgement. If we expect the law to protect our Open Source, then we have to respect the laws that protect another's closed source. We may not like it, or agree with it, but we have to respect it. If we don't, then we can't expect our own wishes to be respected. Don't like the current copyright laws, contact your lawmakers and take steps towards getting it changed!

It's not simple or easy, but just breaking copyright laws like this won't change the laws, it'll only increase the enforcement of them.

You don't have to like MS, but if you want people to listen to you, you have to show them you're worthy of respect by giving respect.

[ Parent ]
Re: What is going on here? (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:57:07 PM EST

It's not simple or easy, but just breaking copyright laws like this won't change the laws, it'll only increase the enforcement of them.

Much as I agree with you in principle, I can't think of a single instance in which a high-profile law was changed without some rather gratuitous civil disobedience beforehand. I am a big fan of nonviolence, but you really do need to stir thing up before the fat cats sit up and pay attention.



[ Parent ]
Re: What is going on here? (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by dvicci on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:13:59 PM EST

I am a big fan of nonviolence, but you really do need to stir thing up before the fat cats sit up and pay attention.

Good point. Civil Rights movements of the 50's and 60's are the prime example of our time. I'll have to think more on this... on one hand, it makes sense to use /. and other similar mediums to exercise your civil disobedience, but on the other hand, if you're going to do it, then DO IT, rather than hide behind the shield of Anonymous Coward as the original poster did here. If you're not willing to stand up for your beliefs and face your opponents (in cases where life and limb are threatened, more leniency in my stance is, of course, taken), then I can't help but wonder how truly committed you are.

I certainly wouldn't follow an Anonymous Coward.

[ Parent ]
Re: What is going on here? (3.50 / 2) (#133)
by mattm on Fri May 12, 2000 at 08:41:46 AM EST

You have to understand, most of slashdot's readership are corporate zombies who slave away under Lord Windows by day, and who run Linux and pretend to be 3L33T and revolutionary by night. Just look at the comments the Microsoft letter complains about, that tell how to extract the document without reading the EULA. What do they all have in common? Right -- they all recommend using MS-Windows programs! For a lousy .CAB self-extractor! (winzip and winrar, both quite bloated, crappy, redundant ... oh yeah, closed-source too while I'm thinking about it.) Cut-rate software isn't my point, though -- my point is that an awful lot of the so-called "News for Nerds" site's readership seem to be more worried about The Man Coming to Get Them than about standing up for their rights.

I'm getting incoherent from staying up all night following this. My only find on doesn't-suck software that handles .CAB archives seems to be a page of shellscripts on tsden.org, but the documentation is entirely in Japanese. babelfish chokes on it, needless to say. :)



[ Parent ]
Re: What is going on here? (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:26:10 PM EST

but surely if someone is posting copyrighted materials onto Slashdot, they should be removed?

If only it were as simple as that. MS is requesting that slashdot remove links to the work, as well as instructions on how to read the work without reading the license agreement. Some of the posts that they want to censor only discussed legal ramifications to samba. Surely it is wrong for a company to overstep its legal bounds and unilaterally censor speech, without the benefit of a trial.

As others have brought up, the legal ramifications are not clear: if slashdot only removes the copyright infringement, what is their liability under DMCA? And thus it only makes sense for andover to consult with their lawyers instead of kow-towing to Microsoft's bullying tactics.

[ Parent ]
DDOS, apparently (none / 0) (#80)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:28:27 PM EST

WiredNews (cited above) is reporting that Slashdot was hit by DDoS today, on top of the MSFT DMCA story.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (2.00 / 4) (#21)
by dvicci on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:30:42 PM EST

The first line of the post in question is "© 2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft Confidential."

While I've been losing faith in /. for a while (my faith is long gone in MS, btw), if they stick to whatever foolish guns they carry on this, and refuse to comply with the removal request based on some half-brained attempt at conjuring up the 1st, then my faith is gone.

MS's request was reasonable, to the point, and didn't seem to me as terribly antagonistic or threatening.

I fully believe in the potential the Internet has for the dessemination of information, but in cases of copyright, said information must be cleared with the owner first.

What is "roblimo" thinking?

copy of letter posted, as requested (3.00 / 1) (#76)
by maphew on Thu May 11, 2000 at 05:37:11 PM EST

see the last sentence of the first paragraph:
...we would appreciate your posting this email to the site to help relay our position to your users.


[ Parent ]
Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:25:03 AM EST

It would be reasonable for them to ask for the copyrighted material to be removed (although Slashdot may be able to claim "common carrier" status, which would absolve it of this responsibility). But MS is asking for links to the document to be removed also, which is unreasonable. They also want posts like "Open the file in Winzip" to be removed, because that would allow people to bypass the license agreement. This is just stupid - at least ROT13 the file or something so it's not that trivial (many peoplealready open all self-extracting archinves in Winzip). People should be allowed to talk about how to do these things, or tell you where to find the information. They have first amendment rights to do this, MS is trying to take away these rights. The DMCA may allow them to.

[ Parent ]
same thing happened to sunhelp.org (3.70 / 3) (#32)
by asad on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:51:17 PM EST

the guy who ran it Bill Bradford used to have rumor mill where he would post info about upcoming sun hardware and also rumors people had e-mailed him, he also linked to some internal sun documents that showed designs for future hardware. By the time the sun lawyers were done with him he changed the color scheme of the site as well. And now there is a big disclaimer on every page that you go to.

This is the wrong fight to fight (4.60 / 5) (#34)
by duxup on Thu May 11, 2000 at 12:53:51 PM EST

In my impression strong beliefs in internet privacy, open source, free software and a strong contingent of anti-MS feelings have built up an almost religious belief that one day there will be some sort of great legal or otherwise apocalyptic event where one if not all of these beliefs will be challenged. Iím concerned that people might use this occasion to try to fulfill their own prophecy.

Thereís always talk about the great GPL lawsuit where a company (the prophecy wouldnít quite be as nice if it was just an individual:-)) violates the GPL and a lawsuit is filed and GPL is tested in court. Thereís much rhetoric about how the government and corporations are trying to take away our privacy. Thereís always unsubstantiated claims about MSís conspiracy to destroy free or open source software. Personally I believe many people actually want some situation like this to occur to confirm their beliefs about MS, or corporate greed, or government oppression. Itís always easy to be the wounded hero.

Iím not saying I do not believe in some ways some of these beliefs are true. However I worry that this might be chosen as the great event. Itís simply the wrong fight to fight. Slashdot would lose, and for good reason. The information posted is clearly copyrighted material in itís entirety from MS. Itís a straightforward case. I would rather see questions of freedom be challenged where it can truly show that people need to pay attention and gather further support, not die a martyr in a dirty case.


Re: This is the wrong fight to fight (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by Demona on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:23:47 PM EST

Like the Apocalyptic fundamentalists, itching for Armageddon? (Though that truly describes fewer than get tarred with that brush.) I agree that this is far from an ideal test case, but it's not totally straightforward -- MS may have a case regarding unauthorized reproductions in toto, but I can't see their other demands having any merit or substance whatsoever, whether interpreted in the light of DMCA or without it.

In any event, the folks at MS had to have known they were whacking a bee's nest with this move, and they're doing it in public. Clearly they're unafraid of the court of public opinion, and consider themselves as ready to fight the "kulturwar" as much as any legal battle.

[ Parent ]

Re: This is the wrong fight to fight (none / 0) (#161)
by duxup on Tue May 16, 2000 at 07:38:59 AM EST

Just to note, Roblimo from /. made it public. Had he not posted it we would not have heard about it. Granted it is pretty obvious that /. would make it public (either for the benefit of it's users, or for profit).

As for the "kulturwar" (I'm not even sure what you mean specifically by that) your referring to. I doubt many of the people on /. who are angry and upset by the letter MS sent were friends of MS to begin with. As of now MS has sent a letter to /. little else has changed.

[ Parent ]
Re: This is the wrong fight to fight (none / 0) (#162)
by Demona on Tue May 16, 2000 at 12:16:32 PM EST

By 'kulturwar' I mean the court of public opinion, which includes the opinions of more than just Slashdotters (and this is not meant as a negative comment on that group, just an observation of fact). As for Roblimo making it public, if you look at the letter from the silly paralegal posing as an attorney (aka J K Weston), you will notice this quote:
...we would appreciate your posting this email to the site to help relay our position to your users.
There is no way they could have not known that the hornet's nest was going to explode.

I leave it to the reader to pose hypotheses as to Microsoft's motivation for this stance, but I think it clearly demonstrates that they're either utterly brain-dead, or completely confident that the negative backlash will be outweighed by whatever they hope to gain -- as others have noted, most likely a validation of shrink-wrap style licenses, DMCA or a slam dunk on a number of fronts at once.

(I also apologize for the collectivization of all MS individuals into a conglomerate which does not exist except as a concept in the minds of others -- who knows what kinds of screaming arguments they've been having with each other behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms?)

[ Parent ]

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (3.80 / 4) (#39)
by Alhazred on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:20:46 PM EST

The whole situation is indeed abominable, as another poster put it.

Microsoft is not the first corporation to do this sort of thing, the PC BIOS specifications were released in much the same way by IBM almost 20 years ago. The sad part is the tactic worked then and I doubt it will fail MS now.

Any attempt to add the MS "extensions" to Kerberos to other software is permanently and irrevocably poisoned. What's even worse, the posting on Slashdot of the MS document makes it even easier for them.

I suppose MS knew some fool would post the entire thing. Conspiracy theorists could even go further with this I suppose... :-)

People are playing right into their hands. First slashdot is the vehicle for giving the world a look at the spec (now NO developer can say they haven't seen it and defend that in court) and then /. goes and decides to pick a fight which they CANNOT and probably SHOULD NOT win.

This all makes my head ache :(
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (1.00 / 1) (#40)
by duxup on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:23:27 PM EST

*hand Alhazred asprin*

[ Parent ]
Quoting and Citing Sources (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by StickThing on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:23:41 PM EST

Let me start by saying that I have not followed the individual posts over at Slashdot that have the offending Microsoft text nor am I a legal wit when it comes to writing documents.

However, I think it would be fine to quote text as long as you cite your references. For the many papers I have written (both in my academic and professional life) I cite my sources with nary the permission of the copyright holders.

This seems like a reasonable and sane practice even on the Internet.

If my presumptions are indeed legally accurate it would be interesting to see how the DMCA would stand against, or rather cooperate with, cited sources.

/stick
--
Ultima ratio regum. - King Louis XIV
Re: Quoting and Citing Sources (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Pelorat on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:46:17 PM EST

Quotes are one thing, verbatim copying of the entire document is quite another.

The biggest fuss is over an AC's post that has the entire text of the Microsoft Kerberos doc in it.

[ Parent ]
Re: Quoting and Citing Sources (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:58:59 PM EST

Yes, in certain circumstances you are allowed to copy extracts from a copyright without approval. The amount you can copy depends on a number of things, including the type of work , the context in which the extracts are used, the amount of the work that is quoted, and the effect of the use on the market value of the copyrighted work. Check out this BitLaw article for more detail.

The Slashdot postings included the complete text, so there's no way that they could be considered fair use.

[ Parent ]

Fair Use (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:42:13 PM EST

There are specific exemptions to the exclusive right of authors in the US copyright code. There are four common tests for fair use, they are neither sufficient nor necessary for determination, though virtually all court cases involving claims of copyright infringement in which a fair use defense is proposed, will analyze them.

In particular, attempts to use copyright law to attain patent-like protections (preventing use of ideas, not simple expression) are almost universally overruled by the courts. Most significant case is Sega v. Accolade, which concerned 40 bytes of code necessary for game console/cartridge copatibility. Copyright violation was overruled, even though reverse engineering code required multiple complete copies of the original work -- ordinarily an exclusive right.

In news, discussion, parody, or discussion, citing whole (or large portions of) works is often ruled fair use.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

News.com commentary (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by Camelot on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:37:12 PM EST

Well, it already made it to news.com. Here's the article. Expect it to make a big splash elsewhere too..

Re: News.com commentary (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by warpeightbot on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:58:08 PM EST

Well, I'll be. Some journalist outside the Open Source community actually got things dead-on right for once. Surely Armageddon must be at hand.

:)

--
Delenda est Microsoft

[ Parent ]

Tough decision... (4.20 / 5) (#48)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:48:03 PM EST

Okay, after the first rush of adrenaline wore off, I started trying to think more clearly about this. It's easy to jump to either extreme: that Microsoft is completely out of line here, or that they are completely within their rights [although I'd bet that the former opinion is more likely in the communities that I frequent].

But when I started giving the issue a closer look, it's not all that clear-cut either way [obdisclaimer: IANAL]. Microsoft is asking for three things:

  1. Remove posts that contain the complete copyright text
  2. Remove posts that link to the complete copyright text
  3. Remove posts that tell how to get around the EULA

The first request seems right to me -- this document is obviously copyrighted by Microsoft, and continuing to provide it for download in a public area sure sounds like contributing to copyright infringement.

The second request is pretty ridiculous, and is being tested in the MPAA vs. 2600 case right now.

The third request is patently ludicrous. Telling someone how to use a copy machine or a camera to photograph copyrighted material does not contribute to copyright infringement, because the process is so obvious. Similarly, telling us to use unzip/winzip to extract compressed data from a .EXE file is patently obvious.

But an unspoken assumption underlies these three requests: that Slashdot is responsible in some way for maintaining the legality of the postings on the site. This is what's connected to the DMCA, and where the danger lies. According to the DMCA, in order for an ISP to receive immunity from liability for copyright infringement by its users, it must (among many other vaguely-worded requirements) remove or restrict access to allegedly infringing material. (see this DMCA analysis at Whitmore & Markeley for some excruiciating detail).

Of course, it's hard to tell what's included in "removing or restricting access". It looks like the Microsoft letter is taking the widest view possible of this: that Slashdot must not only remove the infringing material, but also remove anything that allows a user to access that infringing material, whether that be a link to the material or a process that allows access to the material without accepting the EULA.

If I read the DMCA correctly, it looks like if an ISP does not remove material that allegedly infringes copyright, then they can be held liable for copyright infringements done by their users. This nauseates me: effectively, it allows any corporation to unilaterally issue an injunction against any copyright-related offense without any due process of law whatsoever. The allegation alone effectively removes any presumption of innocence.

This puts the ISP in a lose-lose situation: either remove materials upon the allegation of the copyright owner without any proof or recourse of the infringement, or become liable for any copying done through their systems by their users.

There's a lot of questions remaining in my mind, though:

  • Must Slashdot comply with all three of Microsoft's requests to keep their ISP immunity?

  • Would complying with some of the requests mean that Slashdot is acquiescing to the underlying assumptions and make them liable for complying with all of them?

  • If Slashdot does not comply, will Microsoft be able to sue them directly for the copyright infringement of their users?

And the biggest question in my mind now:

How can we get this obviously broken legislation fixed?

Re: Tough decision... (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:00:07 PM EST

I think you make a good, accurate summary of the situation. But I disagree with your analysis of that situation. Andover.net is not an ISP. They are, explicitly, a publisher. Slashdot can't lose ISP status because it doesn't have it; the cases are different. Slashdot are publishing reader comments, and, just as a newspaper or website that published libellous remarks in an article of mine would be liable, so slashdot are liable if their contributors breach copyright.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Tough decision... (3.30 / 3) (#62)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:29:39 PM EST

Good point. But I don't think I can agree. (And I don't think the Microsoft lawyers agree, either, since they explicitly mention the DMCA in their letter, as though it applies to Slashdot/Andover.)

The difference is simple. A newspaper is liable for what is published because they exercise editorial control over the content. Everything that appears in a newspaper (or other published work) appears because of an editorial decision to include that content. This decision makes them liable for the content.

Slashdot is completely different, as are any other unmoderated web/email/bbs/usenet discussion groups. There is no editorial control exercised at all. In fact, one of the goals of the Slashdot moderation system is to make sure that anyone who wants to can read anything that's been posted, so even the moderation system does not exercise editorial control.

One of the big difficulties is that there's nothing in the real world that is similar to open discussions on the Internet. Before the Internet, the very act of printing on paper meant that the publisher was able to exercise editorial control over the content. But that's simply a technical limitation rather than a requirement for publishing. The Internet has removed this technical limitation. Now the only one who makes a decision before publishing is the one who actually submits the content.

However, the body of law seems to still be mostly based on the assumption that something cannot be published until the publisher gives assent.

This leaves us with a big blank spot in both legislation and case law when it comes to these areas. The issues won't truly be solved until we get new law and precedents that acknowledge the new technological abilities, and realize that things now are fundamentally different from the way they used to be.

[ Parent ]

Re: Tough decision... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by rusty on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:29:59 PM EST

I think most lawyers would agree with you here, Paul. One of the reasons I don't make any effort to claim "common carrier" status, or in fact, worry that our anti-spam policy will invalidate that status, is that I don't think sites like this have such a status. We are publishers, with a very lax editorial process (i.e. none at all for user comments). As such, it is always going to come down on our heads when readers post illegal material or libelous comments.

FWIW, I'm still torn on this. I do not agree that /. has a responsibility to remove links to offending material. It has already been found (if I'm not misremembering) that linking is not considered publishing, and links to illegal material are not in themselves illegal. Similarly, descriptions of how to circumvent the EULA cannot reasonably be considered illegal or in breach of copyright, since no actual action is being taken. This is analogous to telling someone the technical steps to disable a security system-- it's not illegal until someone actually *does* it, and then it's the person who does it who broke the law.

The comments containing the full text of the document on the other hand, are pretty clearly in breach of copyright. As you point out, even without the DMCA, they would be copyright infringement. So, the law has been broken. Now the question is, MS is explicitly contesting these posts under the DMCA, so is it worth fighting all the requests in order to have at the DMCA in court? It's the civil disobedience question-- yes, it's illegal, but it forces a questionable law into the courts. If we all did nothing but follow the law no matter what, then laws would never get tested. Think Jim Crow here. So, what to do? I guess that depends on how far Andover is willing to push this. I'd be *very* interested to see it go to court though.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Tough decision... (2.00 / 2) (#90)
by Wah on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:10:55 PM EST

"The comments containing the full text of the document on the other hand, are pretty clearly in breach of copyright. As you point out, even without the DMCA, they would be copyright infringement. So, the law has been broken. "

There was a case kinda similar to this out in CA a bit back though. The one that said you could "quote" code as a form of artistic expression. As the discussion on /. naturally moved deeper and deeper, it became necessary to quote the spec to discuss it. ALSO, since TOS functions as a "press" they get a bit more leeway(sp) with "fair use". Or at least that's how I'd argue it in court. I'd post a link to TOS for the case, but it's been /.'ed. ;-)

Your opinion is pretty heavy on this, but I only think you can police a site until it gets to a certain size. Then it would just be too expensive, or too restraining.

whatever, I don't think about this much......:-)

--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Re: Tough decision... (2.00 / 2) (#66)
by jabber on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:40:57 PM EST

If an ISP allows the posting of and the access to Copyrighted material, then the ISP is accountable.

If a service provider enables, and does not do whatever is needed to prevent, committing of an illegal act, then the provider is responsible.

So then if a system allows an illegal act, then the owners of the system may be held accountable.

That makes sense.

MS, through the EULA, retains ownership of it's products. MS, through it's products, provides services to it's customers.

Now, Mr. Gates, about that ILOVEYOU VB script (a Microsoft language if there ever was one) and Outlook's complacent enabling of illegal activity...

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

Yet another question... (2.80 / 5) (#49)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 01:53:07 PM EST

Microsoft is claiming both copyright and trade secret status for this document. That seems to have an inherent conflict. How can something be both? I thought copyright was for documents that were "published", and that publishing a document removed the trade secret status...I must be missing something here...

Copyright and trade secret (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:28:09 PM EST

Copyright applies to "works of original authorship...fixed in a tangible medium", and takes effect at the time of fixation. US Supreme Court cases have found that computer RAM is sufficiently fixed and tangible that these words I write are subject to copyright protection at the moment of creation. Even unpublished works can be covered by copyright protection (this reflects a change in law since the early-mid 1970s, in the US).

Trade secrets law is a bit fuzzier, it's defined at the state, not federal level, and varies a bit, though the UCC (Uniform Commerce Code) tries to normalize this among a number of states. UCITA is a related state law also being voted through a number of legislatures.

The basics of trade secrets law is that there is in fact a secret, and that there be attempts to control dissemination of the secret. (I'm looking for a better definition, but Nolo Law's Trade Secrets page appears to have gotten really content free...). It's the second requirement that makes me think Microsoft as zero, zip, nill legs to stand on -- a freely distributable document, with or without a EULA, is hardly an attempt to guard or protect a secret.

My own suspicion is that Microsoft released the Kerberos data in the manner it did simply to spring a trap. Slashdot's walked into it. I suspect the Samba team was another intended target.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

a/k/a Halloween 2000? (3.50 / 4) (#55)
by Noel on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:05:57 PM EST

Just a reminder: we were warned. Microsoft's Halloween Document said:

De-commoditize protocols & applications

OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.

David Stutz makes a very good point: in competing with Microsoft's level of desktop integration, "commodity protocols actually become the means of integration" for OSS projects. There is a large amount of IQ being expended in various IETF working groups which are quickly creating the architectural model for integration for these OSS projects.



Re: a/k/a Halloween 2000? (3.00 / 1) (#73)
by Emacs on Thu May 11, 2000 at 04:31:28 PM EST

I'm inclined to agree with you here. Microsoft has never had any real leverage in the Internet arena because most of the servers running the show were not Microsoft products. So they were forced to "play nice".

Now with the maturity of NT/2000 and Microsofts leverage over the industry as a whole; we are in danger of seeing that change. MS would love to have the kind of dominance for high end servers that they do on the desktop. They are not there yet, but they are making progress. When that day arrives I think we will have to fork off the internet and start an "underground internet."

Although if you think about it, with the distributed apps gaining popularity, maybe the revolution has already begun.

[ Parent ]
Microsoft Attacks! (1.50 / 2) (#56)
by jetpack on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:09:06 PM EST

So, ummmm, is MickeySoft currently DDoS-ing /. at the moment? :)
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */
Re: Microsoft Attacks! (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by Paul Dunne on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:12:53 PM EST

But we will foil them with our Open-sourced Country & Western music! "Drop-kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life."
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (3.25 / 12) (#60)
by PresJPolk on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:24:21 PM EST

Remember when Bill Gates got a pie in the face?

Now he's going to get some hot grits down his pants, if he's not careful.

Story on Wirednews.com (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by drivers on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:34:07 PM EST

I would just like to let you all know that there is also a story about it on www.wirednews.com now. Nice that kuro5hin is running well. I can't get to slashdot anymore.... I'm going into withdrawal... and it's all MS's fault! :)

Declan McCullagh article link (none / 0) (#79)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:23:53 PM EST

The story is by DeclanMcCullagh, titled Call it Slash-and-Burn.org. Apparently Slashdot's been hit by a DDoS attack to boot. Last I checked the /. discussion was approaching 1000 posts.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Declan McCullagh article link (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:59:46 PM EST

The /. front page I have open says 1041 comments. That was the last I got. I am highly skeptical that /. is suffering a DDoS other than that caused by a very large number of users trying to post and refresh at the same time. eg. story first posted at 10am, and /. was reachable for an hour or so. Then for about 4 hours it was mostly dead, but if you were persistant you could get posts through(and had 1 sec pings, but 0 dropped). Now, just as Australia woke up, it is thorougly dead(no replies at all). Just a FYI.



[ Parent ]

Re: Declan McCullagh article link (4.00 / 1) (#144)
by drivers on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:29:29 PM EST

No, I read a story on one of the "real" news sites and they had talked to Rob Malda. At first they thought it might be a problem with their brand new servers, but then they did identify it as a DDoS attack.

[ Parent ]
Crackpot Theory (4.18 / 11) (#65)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 02:38:07 PM EST

Slashdot's a little slashdotted right about now, but it looks like only one of the posts listed by MS contains any copyrighted content. The rest either contain links to offsite sources of the document, or are descriptions of how to open the file without having to click OK to MS's EULA.

With one exception

One of the comments MS requested be yanked was discussing the potential legality of using this code in Samba, with some subtext hinting (to me anyway) that the whole point of MS's releasing this with such useless copy protection was to use it as a club against the Samba team. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that MS hoped that these messages would be yanked unthinkingly, and the important info RE: Samba would be pulled without anyone noticing.

Or maybe they just mistyped a post number.

But I don't think so.

Samba is already better than MS's own offerings, and MS needs a legal club to stop it's distribution. In my opinion MS would not hesitate to sue Samba into the ground if they thought they could get a judge to agree that Samba's reverse engineering was tainted.

Then again, they did say that posts with only links contained the full text of the document, so maybe I'm attributing to malice what is adequately explained by malicious ignorance.

Correct me if I'm wrong/ignorant/etc.



Call to Action (4.60 / 9) (#74)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 05:15:19 PM EST

  1. Send an email to Mr Weston with the following text:

    Dear Mr. Weston:

    I certainly do not appreciate Microsoft's attempt to use existing laws to censor unfavorable comments made in a public forum. From all the postings that Microsoft asked to be removed, there is only one which might have infringed Microsoft's copyrights. I believe Microsoft took advantage of just one post to try to supress lawful and valid critique, and I am very unhappy about that kind of disrespect to the Constitution and the laws of this country. I would also like to warn you that you made some claims under penalty of perjury that are unmistakenly deceiving and suggest a retraction by Microsoft of some of those false claims.

    Sincerely,
    ....... your name here ......

  2. Email to the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice with the following text:

    Dear Mr Klein:

    I would like to inform you of a new antitrust practice of Microsoft Corporation regarding its new Windows 2000 operating system.

    Microsoft Corporation has purposedly broken interoperability with preexisting secure networking standards in an attempt to grab the portion of the server market currently held by Unix (TM) and Linux operating systems. To this goal, Microsoft has implemented an extension to the widely used Kerberos protocol that is incompatible with all existing implementations and keeps the specifications as a trade secret.

    Recently, Microsoft made a restricted release of the specifications of their proprietary extension that requires the licensee to agree to use the information only for security auditing and not for implementing interoperable Unix protocols. However, when this information was leaked to the public Web forum known as Slashdot, Microsoft began an attempt to not only suppress possibly copyrighted information but also criticism and explanations of how the protocol works.

    It may be of your interest to investigate this new demonstration of antitrust behavior by Microsoft Corporation.

  3. Write your congressperson with the following text:

    Dear Mr/Ms ....

    I am writing you to inform you about some portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that are clearly being used for a purpose that I am sure is not what Congress intended when it enacted it. I would like you to consider an ammendment to this Act to clarify some points.

    In particular, Microsoft Corporation is attempting to use the DMCA to suppress free speech in the public Web forum known as Slashdot. While there was a leak of copyrighted information posted to that forum, Microsoft Corporation is using the DMCA to try to also suppress criticism and technical advice offered by some posters. While that technical advice might be unwelcome to Microsoft because it concerns proprietary protocols that Microsoft is unwilling to publicly discuss, this by no means is a copyright infringement, just a possibly unqualified opinion.

    I am sure the intention of the DMCA was to prevent and punish illegal acts on the Internet, and not to be used as a vehicle to suppress criticism or dissenting opinions.

    Thank you,

  4. Email the New York Times with the following text:

    The new attempt of Microsoft Corporation to suppress public criticism and dissenting viewpoints in the forum Slashdot shows that Microsoft is continuing its monopolistic practice without regard to the current antitrust trial in which it is involved.

    It seems that a breakup of Microsoft Corporation is fully justified, given that in the current situation Microsoft is big enough to just ignore the United States government and judiciary and disrespect the United States Constitution.

    The new embrace and extent tactic is using proprietary extensions to a widely used secure networking protocol in order to grab the Unix server market. When the protocol was made public, thus allowing Unix and Linux servers to interoperate with Windows 2000 machines, Microsoft claimed copyright infringement and is attempting to erase the information (and with it also some criticism and technical explanations) by threatening with lawsuits. The basis of its claims is the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was enacted to fight pirates, not to suppress freedom of the press. This outrageous demonstration of contempt must be stopped now.

Re: Call to Action (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Pelorat on Thu May 11, 2000 at 06:14:05 PM EST

Normally, I don't give a damn about spelling errors, but in this case it will make a better impression to be accurate, in the event that someone does a cut-n-paste on these otherwise *well-written* letters.

First letter: it's 'suppress', not 'supress'.

Second letter: 'purposefully', not 'purposedly'.

Third letter: 'amendment', not 'ammendment'.

Fourth letter: 'extend', not 'extent'



[ Parent ]
Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (2.00 / 1) (#78)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:22:38 PM EST

I cannot read this discussion using netscape. Every time I try, netscape hangs.

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (none / 0) (#81)
by rusty on Thu May 11, 2000 at 07:54:01 PM EST

if you're set to "nested" you might want to reconsider that for stories with a lot of comments. This will get fixed soon.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (none / 0) (#83)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:17:51 PM EST

The same thing happens to me, I use threaded mode.

[ Parent ]
This is not a meaningful subject line (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by kmself on Thu May 11, 2000 at 08:34:51 PM EST

Mindless "Re:" propogation is also a problem -- change your subject line to reflect the content of you post. I'd recommend that mindless subject line propogation (auto "Re: $prior_topic" concatenation) be a removed feature. It actually makes browsing in "minimal" mode much more meaningful.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

This is now a meaningful subject line. (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:54:16 AM EST

Fixed. Responses to user comments still get the default "Re: ", but initial story comments do not. You also now get the full text of the story you're replying to, if you're posting a top-level comment. And, the comment interface does some nice "page cueing" to get you to the spot on the page you're probably most interested in. And did you look at "Interface Preferences" yet? :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Interface prefs -- Coolio! (none / 0) (#101)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:48:37 AM EST

Sweet. First thing I did was unset fonts -- first time a blank field didn't seem to take so I entered a quoted space (" "), with the quotes. Now it seems a blank field is ok. Whatever.

Blanked out the font sizing as well, that didn't work, so it's "+0".

I've been trying to figure out what's breaking table presentations in Netscape 4.72. Not quite sure, but it's an interesting bug, and appears to affect a persistant stack value or something, because it then makes all pages which use a large number of tables die. LinuxToday, for exampele.

I'm currently viewing with NS Navigator 4.05/Linux (I've got versions 3.03, 3.05, 3.05g, 4.05, 4.72, 6.x (I think -- it doesn't work), and Mozilla installed on my system). So far, so good.

One of the things I tried was stripping out all the table tags:

#!/bin/sed -f
/<[Tt][Aa][Bb][Ll][Ee][^>]*>/s///g
/<\/[Tt][Aa][Bb][Ll][Ee][^>]*>/s///g

...as a sed script will do the trick. Run it against a downloaded file in "nested" mode. Result is slightly munged, but loads up one hell of a lot faster than the tabelized version of the page. If you can work out a way to minimize use of table elements (particularly large table elements), browser rendering will speed up markedly. Using list elements (<ul> and <ol>) will stagger/indent text nicely, as does <blockquote>.

Smaller table elements such as nav bars and comment heads should be OK -- they'll render within the page, and don't hold up full-page rendering.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Interface prefs -- Coolio! (none / 0) (#104)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:17:24 AM EST

The reason your blank font prefs didn't work is because blank values will leave you with a bunch of <FONT FACE="" SIZE=> tags all over the place. I don't know if that's likely to break things or not, so I pseudo-required you to enter something. The other reason was that blank values were screwing up my INSERTS. Yeah, ok, it's beta. ;-)

About nested mode-- I know the problem is with too much table stuff. Fixing it and maintaining the current look is a tad tricky. I'll work it out eventually, though. It's interesting to note that mozilla has no problem at all rendering large pages in nested mode. I pray they finish that soon so that we can send navigator to the dustbin of internet history. Netscape: "Where was it you wanted to go again?" :-/

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Interface prefs -- Coolio! (none / 0) (#113)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:35:08 AM EST

Well, that sort of fixed it. :-)

I just successfully rendered this page in nested mode-- What I did was make only the title bar a table, by itself, and the rest is just text. Before all the replies were embedded in the table of each comment (leading to some tables that were getting nested like 18 or 20 deep). In trying out different solutions, I discovered a(nother) bug in netscape, where if I set the title bar tables to WIDTH=100%, they get sized, and then indented by <UL>'s, which makes them spill over into the next column in a very unsettling way. Again, mozilla does not do this.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new style.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

LoL & misc comments (none / 0) (#124)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 06:06:58 AM EST

Get some sleep, man. Well, since you're not flying anywhere....

Yeah, I was looking at this and going...y'know, it seems different somehow. Actually, reminds me a lot of the old InfoWorld look, in Minimal mode. A whole lot, as a matter of fact. Renders really quickly. Deeply nested tables are not a good thing, this is much better.

Hmm.... I'm running 1280x1024 resolution, tried running page at max width. Pretty good, though the links bar on the right constrains the table width. InfoWorld used to have a problem with threads that got massively right-shifted (the term used was "Bryced", for historical reasons...) would have subject lines
that
wrapped
at
every
word
...which could get annoying after a while. I don't think there's a good way to preserver both the nav links (HotList, user tools, Admin tools, related links) in the current configuration, and allow for forum growth, at the same time. I'll think about it.

The other thing that's happening is that there's a lot of vertical whitespace between list. AFAIK, that's a rendering artifact of Netscape, though it could be the <p> tags you're putting between lists. Might try replacing them with <br>'s for a more pleasing look. Hmm... I think I was pulling out the right tags, and no, it doesn't seem to make a difference.

Also -- think again about the interface preferences. Thinking about it, you're allowing user-specified code to be entered raw into your HTML. My blank font goes in as:

<font size="" "" ...>
...and could probably end up being all sorts of weird stuff. I don't think that's a good idea. Maybe better to have a set of radio buttons or checkboxes to specify things -- you then know the values. Probably also more intuitive for people, they know what they can/cannot put in.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: LoL & misc comments (none / 0) (#126)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 06:25:21 AM EST

About the page width constraint: I do plan to move the comments below the link bar, eventually. It entails a small overhaul in page assembly, which I've put off doing, but it can be done, which buys us back at least that much space on the right hand side. Eventually you're always going to run into the excessive-wrapping problem, if threads get deep enough. At some point there's nothing that can be done, really.

About the whitespace: I put a <P> between top-level comments, to make it easier to see where threads begin and end. The space between the top-level comment and it's subsequent thread is due to netscape (and I believe most browsers) putting a linebreak before and after <UL>'s. Again, without resorting to &nbsp; shenanigans, there's not much I can do about that. I could hack it so that in minimal mode, the top-level comment is part of the <UL>. Maybe...

Prefs: I have wavered between wanting to let users put anything they like in their font tags, and constraining it with lists. The Size pref could easily be done with a list. The face one is not so easy though. I'd like people to be able to put any font face they have installed in there, so a drop-down is not that useful. Also, the worst you can do is screw up your own page. That stuff gets plugged into the html at the very last step-- it's never stored or displayed to anyone else, anywhere. I could probably get by with just filtering it to only allow letters, numbers, and commas. You think? I also thought about providing a list of common fonts for people to choose from, and also a text box for the adventurous. Maybe that would help.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: LoL & misc comments (none / 0) (#129)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 07:17:55 AM EST

Pagewidth intentions sound good.

Don't worry about the whitespace. I tried some edits but didn't see a visible difference. It's fine as-is. Mostly affects short threads.

WRT introduced content, I guess what I'd look out for is anything that turns into a string delimiter (such as my quotes <g>), or dynamic interpretation markers -- PHP, for example. Not sure where/how/when things get interpreted, but there's the vague possibility of something running on the server. A regexp and maximum buffer length on the input field should work for most of it.

A fontlist would be a good thing -- user guide. One thing not clear to me was what the effect of listing fonts was -- were these all just body fonts, selected in order, on a first-found basis, or do they effect fixed/monospace fonts as well?

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: LoL & misc comments (none / 0) (#130)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 07:41:57 AM EST

I can't think of any way anything users enter could get interpreted on the server. It's just a perl search 'n' replace-- your values get put in the string <FONT FACE="$face" SIZE=$size>, then, when the page template is finally assembled, all instances of %%norm_font%% in the html get replaced with the string above, then the whole thing is printed to you. I never treat data as code, and the webserver isn't even involved anymore by that point (it's all mod_perl).

Nevertheless, I agree that there needs to be some explanation or guidance. FYI, the font faces should be listed just the way you would list them in a font tag, as described above. So, it's a comma-separated list, which will fall-through until it finds a valid font. It doesn't affect monospaced fonts or other stuff, except where it does (browsers are funny about what get's font-ifyed and what doesn't).

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments (none / 0) (#99)
by meldroc on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:45:00 AM EST

I have the same problem. I worked around it by switching from Nested mode to Flat mode - I think the tables that make the indents in Nested Mode confuse Netscape in some situations.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm.... (2.67 / 3) (#89)
by KuroiNeko on Thu May 11, 2000 at 09:06:41 PM EST

It seems to me that by `playing lawyers' on public fora, or, God forbid,
sending letters to MS or various authorities we only prove society
unable to adopt as fast as technology changes.
First of all, this is the Internet, and it's international. I don't have my
congressperson, and I don't find it possible (fair) for me to refer to the laws
of the United States of America.
But that's just a minor point. The major one is that as soon as we engage
ourselves in politics, business or PR, we are forced to play on a field where
the rules are set by Big Boys. And there's no bigger one than MS these days.
Whatever they say or you think, this company has been successful for decades,
it's still in power and it's owned by the richest man in the world. This is
their field, these are the rules they set, and we're just bound to fail.
We can't defeat them in court, we don't have funds to coup the market. All
we have is our skills and quality of our work. At present this is the only
sane way to change the world. Convince People Who Pay that there's more than
one way, and what we offer is viable, fast and robust. Help them out, change
their minds so that marketing hype no longer works. To succeed, we need
educated users, enlightened admins and convinced IT suits.
What to do? Shut up and work. Present becomes past as soon as we realize it.
There's no fight in this /. issue, because there's no lost. MS loses nothing
just because their EULA was published, /. got their hitrate sky-high. Freedom?
Mailstorms and rants won't make us free. What is freedom, anyway? Move your
server to Another Country and sleep tight.
Nuff, back to work :)
KuroiNeko
Re: Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#95)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:00:34 AM EST

Mr KuroiNeko: Did microsoft pay you to lower the morale of the community?

No matter how much money the Big guys have, they can be won. It has been proved countless times, and each time a new right has been won in the US. And then that right has trickled down to other less developed countries.

The fight can be won if each of us does our part.

Remember: think globally, act locally.

[ Parent ]

Re: Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#145)
by KuroiNeko on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:32:10 PM EST

>It has been proved countless times

I'd like to hear about any such victory.

>The fight can be won if each of us does our part

Wrong. Everyone must do what he's best at.

>Did microsoft pay you

Lemme see.... No, nothing from them. Should I inform
you if they decide to pay me?

In general you seem to be so keen to ask this brilliant
and provocative question, alas you missed the point of
my whole posting. Try again, Mr. Hero.
KuroiNeko
[ Parent ]
Remember: think globally, act locally. (none / 0) (#152)
by error 404 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:40:55 PM EST

With current communication technology, that saying can be compressed:

Think. Act.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#106)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:08:56 AM EST

It seems to me that by `playing lawyers' on public fora, or, God forbid, sending letters to MS or various authorities we only prove society unable to adopt as fast as technology changes.

I prefer to think of it as: The law is an ass, let's kick it. Letters to Microsoft -- arguably a lost cause. Letters to the media, congressional representatives (if you're in the US), other appropriate governmental representatives. Very worthwhile. Hear about a bunch of folks in Seattle last year, and DC about a month ago? The WTO and World Bank/WMF certainly stood up and took notice.

First of all, this is the Internet, and it's international. I don't have my congressperson, and I don't find it possible (fair) for me to refer to the laws of the United States of America.

If you live in one of the Western democratic countries -- Canada, EU, Oz, NZ -- you've got a rough analog. Get them on the horn and rant about what's wrong with repressive intellectual property laws. One of the problems in the US is that we're being told that it's the European tradition of copyright that we're normalizing with. Bullshit. If you live in a less enlightened country, figure out another way to knock heads together.

But that's just a minor point. The major one is that as soon as we engage ourselves in politics, business or PR, we are forced to play on a field where the rules are set by Big Boys. And there's no bigger one than MS these days.

Or more bloodied. Guess what. Politics isn't a completely level playing field, but there have been some awesome upset victories from time to time. The good old Revs of US and France, the sufferage movement, civil rights, gay rights, anti-apartheid, resistance to oppression in Chile and Argentina, protests in Burhma and South Korea. The people have ways of getting themselves heard. And a few of us might even have a couple of IPO dollars left over.

Whatever they say or you think, this company has been successful for decades, it's still in power and it's owned by the richest man in the world.

Wrong on three counts. Microsoft's major success started in the mid-1980s, and the company only really emerged in the 1990s. Call it a decade and a half at the outside. It's been in decline for the past three years. And Mr. Gates is no longer the richest man on the planet. Such are the shifting sands of Fortune, my son.

This is their field, these are the rules they set, and we're just bound to fail. We can't defeat them in court, we don't have funds to coup the market. All we have is our skills and quality of our work. At present this is the only sane way to change the world. Convince People Who Pay that there's more than one way, and what we offer is viable, fast and robust. Help them out, change their minds so that marketing hype no longer works. To succeed, we need educated users, enlightened admins and convinced IT suits.

End-user education is a good thing. And guess how it happens: letters, email, media coverage, political action. Sure, wildly successful businesses and technical ventures are a good thing, but they're far from the only thing. Microsoft's legal acumen is greatly overrated, IMO. They've had a mediocre record at best -- some spectacular losses, including Stack, and two DoJ cases, a couple of wins. Microsoft's forte is bullying tactics, not legal finesse in court.

What to do? Shut up and work. Present becomes past as soon as we realize it. There's no fight in this /. issue, because there's no lost. MS loses nothing just because their EULA was published, /. got their hitrate sky-high. Freedom?

Tell ya what, let's make a deal. You shut up and work. I'm going to get to work and make some noise.

The case, such as it is, that Microsoft has against Slashdot is weak on many counts -- a dubious trade secret, no real damages, intent, or financial gain for Slashdot (they gain far more from this event). Microsoft could recover a few grand and a couple of servers and backup tapes if it was really lucky. I don't think they'll get that far.

Mailstorms and rants won't make us free. What is freedom, anyway? Move your server to Another Country and sleep tight.

...and when there are no more countries to move my server to? I'll stand my ground and fight now, thank you very much.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

The Commienst Perspective (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by Commienst on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:55:23 AM EST

If Microsoft is going to ask slashdot to take down posts that link to copyrighted material they may as well ask yahoo, hotbot, google, lycos, webcrawler and a thousand other sites to do the same. The fact that of all the sites that have a link to Microsoft copyrighted material they pick slashdot, which is among the most anti Microsoft bigoted sites on the web, makes it seem as somewhat of an attack against slashdot itself.

Microsoft was totally right in asking slashdot to remove the post containing the copyrighted information. If they are smart they will at least compromise and take down that post which would probably happen anyway if they went to court and even maybe worse.

Thats all for today's Commienst perspective.

Another DOS attack on slashdot? (2.50 / 2) (#103)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:17:05 AM EST

It looks like some foo is doing A denial of service attack on slashdot again? 1 * * * Request timed out. 2 155 ms 130 ms 124 ms 207.217.148.33 3 123 ms 135 ms * f9-1-0-cr01-pas.neteng.itd.earthlink.net [207.21 2.97] 4 137 ms 129 ms 129 ms f5-1-0-br01-pas.neteng.itd.earthlink.net [207.21 1.33] 5 138 ms 135 ms * ibr01-s5-1-0.irvn01.exodus.net [216.32.132.33] 6 133 ms 124 ms 135 ms bbr02-g3-0.irvn01.exodus.net [216.33.164.2] 7 141 ms 130 ms 118 ms bbr01-p3-0.elsg01.exodus.net [209.1.169.230] 8 189 ms 175 ms 157 ms bbr01-p6-0.dlls01.exodus.net [209.1.169.73] 9 182 ms 180 ms 192 ms bbr02-p5-0.atln01.exodus.net [209.185.9.38] 0 185 ms 180 ms 174 ms bbr01-g6-0.atln01.exodus.net [216.35.162.19] 1 202 ms 197 ms 214 ms bbr02-p5-0.stng01.exodus.net [209.185.9.42] 2 214 ms * 207 ms bbr01-g4-0.stng01.exodus.net [216.33.96.163] 3 240 ms 215 ms 202 ms bbr02-p5-0.jrcy01.exodus.net [209.185.9.97] 4 * * 213 ms bbr01-g3-0.jrcy01.exodus.net [209.67.45.125] 5 228 ms 220 ms 220 ms bbr02-p5-0.wlhm01.exodus.net [216.32.132.50] 6 231 ms 214 ms 220 ms dcr03-g2-0.wlhm01.exodus.net [64.14.70.65] 7 220 ms 224 ms 225 ms 64.14.80.154 8 240 ms 215 ms * 64.28.66.203 9 * * * Request timed out. 0 * * * Request timed out.

Re: Another DOS attack on slashdot? (none / 0) (#154)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 09:01:10 PM EST

I was wrong it was a broken router. Should have known from the 2nd timeout on the trace route.

[ Parent ]
MLP: Press Coverage Roundup (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:44:17 AM EST

Well, this is getting some good coverage, largely in the industry press at this point. Stories I've located currently:

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

Time to buy VA/Andover shares now! (2.00 / 1) (#115)
by nictamer on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:39:48 AM EST

They can only go up ... LOL
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Re: MLP: Press Coverage Roundup (additional link) (2.67 / 3) (#157)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 13, 2000 at 03:02:09 AM EST

nofuncharlie: Gates Slashdots Slashdot?

[ Parent ]
Start a DDOS attack on MS (1.00 / 3) (#107)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:26:18 AM EST

Some fool is DDOSing Slashdot - time to DDOS MS, if you ask me. Theire Web Servers mainly run Solaris (hypocritcal fucks, aren't they), so there must be a few documented holes. C'mon people, get to it!

Re: Start a DDOS attack on MS (2.50 / 2) (#110)
by PrettyBoyTim on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:38:38 AM EST

And you really think it is Microsoft?

Please...

[ Parent ]
Huh? All MS sites use Win2K (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:49:06 AM EST

It's part of MS's policy to go live with their new software on their own systems about the same time that they release it, in order to boost "consumer confidence" :)

If you go to Netcraft, you can see that www.microsoft.com, msdn.microsoft.com and www.windowsmedia.com are all listed as running "Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000". Please stop the FUD.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: Huh? All MS sites use Win2K (3.00 / 1) (#121)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:55:08 AM EST

The poster was presumably thinking of hotmail, and the well-publicized Solaris use there. I know I wouldn't want to migrate X hundred thousand email accounts either. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Huh? All MS sites use Win2K (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by drivers on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:17:17 PM EST

My understanding was the hotmail runs on FreeBSD.

[ Parent ]
Re: Huh? All MS sites use Win2K (none / 0) (#142)
by rusty on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:21:10 PM EST

Right you are. My bad. In that case, I have no idea what the original poster was talking about. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Huh? All MS sites use Win2K (none / 0) (#155)
by Inferno on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:50:52 PM EST

IIRC, they've tried to migrate to NT4 in the past, and it crashed constantly for hours until they gave up and went back to FreeBSD.

[ Parent ]
It would be so easy for them to edit the string re (2.00 / 1) (#139)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:04:41 PM EST

After all, Apache is Open Source

[ Parent ]
Wonder why MS is doing this? (2.50 / 2) (#109)
by skim123 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:36:35 AM EST

Why is MS picking on /.? This can't be good for employee morale. I know a lot of Microsoftee's visit /. regularly (they are geeks too), and this can't be making them feel too cheery about their current employer.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Re: Wonder why MS is doing this? (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by Camelot on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:44:29 AM EST

Well - I know some people who are working at Microsoft, and they are pissed off - not because of /., but because of the way they have handled the case from the start, like putting the the spec on the web with a license like that.

Oh yeah - they are pissing off a lot of people.

[ Parent ]

Re: Wonder why MS is doing this? (1.50 / 2) (#150)
by skim123 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:29:29 PM EST

So why are they doing this? Just a boneheaded corporate decision?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder why MS is doing this? (1.50 / 2) (#151)
by Mulad on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:10:18 PM EST

It must be.. There really isn't any other explanation (especially in light of the ongoing MS v. DoJ)

[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder why MS is doing this? (none / 0) (#163)
by skinhead on Wed May 17, 2000 at 06:23:17 AM EST

You can't really be serious. The same reason that is behind almost all corporate decisions.
They think that in the end they will make more money this way.

[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder why MS is doing this? (1.00 / 1) (#159)
by Commienst on Sat May 13, 2000 at 08:21:07 AM EST

Are this geek employees you are refering to the same type of Microsoft geek employees that thought of taking open protocols and changing them so they can dominate the market. You know they only work at Microsoft for the money and stock options anyway.

[ Parent ]
So...what can they to to Slasdot anyway? (4.70 / 3) (#112)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 04:41:08 AM EST

Question came up as to what Microsoft could do to Slashdot. IANAL (but I play one on the Net). I've also read some of the copyright statute....

Microsoft is requesting that copyrighted (and other) material be pulled from Slashdot, pursuent to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The DMCA has two principle components as effects this issue: takedown measures (17 USC 512), in which ISPs have liability waived if they remove allegedly infringing materials on request, and anti-circumvention provisions (17 USC 1201), which seek to block use, development, and distribution of means for circumventing technical copyright protections devices and measures.

If this is an anti-circumvention case, then what's the technical means being circumvented? The EULA itself? WinZIP compression? I recall fragments of a fascinating conversation I once had with Eben Moglen, in which he suggested that some rather mundane conventions we tend to consider harmless might be construed as "technical means of protection". I don't know. I'd like to think not.

What are they trying to gag? The Kerberos specification? Instructions on circumvention? I can see suppressing the full text, but not the links or commentary. Is discussion of methods for circumventing technical means of protection itself a covered activity (this was a question asked by Don Marti at a panel this February on DVD/DeCSS -- and the response from a lawyer who'd helped author the DMCA legislation was not encouraging), or do we merely intend to apply bad law the way it is written (1201(b)):

any technology, product, service, device, componenet, or part thereof

...again, unless compression algorithms or EULAs themselves are considered technical means of protection, the case would seem to fall to simple copyright violation, a 106 issue. In this case, an 107 fair use defense seems eminantly plausible, as the post was made for the purposes of discussion, with no personal or financial gain on the part of the person posting, or of deliberate intent on the part of Slashdot or Andover.

So we're stuck with the question: what parts of DMCA are they applying to what parts of the request? 17 USC 1201 ff applies to technical means of protection, but doesn't address ISP takedown, which is covered seperately in 512. Both laws are bad -- 1201 is a legal blot on the principles this country was founded on), 512 bypasses legal tests for copyright fair use exemptions by blackmailing the ISP in question. Then there's sections 106 and 107 -- 106 establishes what an author's (more accurately, copyright holders) rights are, and 107 is the fair use exemption to this right:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Beyond all of that, where is the trade secret and intellectual property? I'm less familiar with trade secret law (and it varies by state), but it seems to me that Microsoft set out deliberately to create a legal trap by publishing its document in a freely available manner -- there were no restrictions on who could access the information. Rather, the only restriction was in the terms of use under the EULA -- status of which is currently debatable. Claims to have wronged Microsoft by disseminating its valued technology are weak at best.

So we turn to remedies. What can Microsoft claim against Slashdot and Andover.net? These are addressed in Chapter 5 of the statute:

  • An injunction is possible.
  • Ditto impounding, and this would be problematic to Slashdot, presumably. Especially given the tendency for the Feds to be really ham-handed when it comes to electronic criminal enforcement actions. Things tend to get broke or disappeared.
  • Provable damages and profits are in all likelihood nil. Microsoft is quite arguably doing itself move harm in pursuing the case than it would have been in allowing the infringement to occur. Again, the material was being distributed freely, and its status as a trade secret is debatable at best.
  • Unless Microsoft has (or is) filing copyright registration on the items in quesiton, then statuatory and additional damages are entirely out of the question. Even if the registration is filed, some courts may not recognize the validity of the filing if it is an after-the-fact event. Filing requirements and impact on infrigement actions are covered in 17 USC 411.
  • Costs and attourney's fees -- possibly.
  • Criminal Infringement -- likely not applicable, as the posting was not done willfully by Andover, or for commercial advantage (no direct revenue generation). The retail value of the work is quite arguably less than $1000, preempting 18 USC 2318 remedies.
    Copyright notice was neither removed nor fraudulently claimes, nor was copyright falsely represented, or attribution withheld from Microsoft (much the opposite, in fact).
  • Statute of limitations (5 years for criminal, 3 years for civil) has not expired. Microsoft can act.
  • Seizure and forfeiture, again, might apply, and would be problematic for Andover and Slashdot, but likely not life-threatening.

...so: Possibly physical seizure of media, including, presumably, servers, disks, and backup tapes. Monetary damages possibly ranging to a few tens of thousands of dollars. Attourney's fees. Not a huge liability for Andover/VA (who is driving some of this, BTW, as they're in line to aquire Slashdot/Andover). Pretty small potatoes. And a huge publicity upside.

Thanks, Bill, we needed that.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

Thanks, Karsten (none / 0) (#117)
by pwhysall on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:44:23 AM EST

Your lucid commentary once again enlightens me where others have failed.

Bit of a win for Andover/VA/Slashdot, then?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

You call that lucid? (none / 0) (#122)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:55:20 AM EST

Warmed over hash cobbled together out of I've been dishing out to some other sources. But I wouldn't want to waste the good stuff on this crowd. <g>

Cheers.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

More lucid than the conversation I was having last (none / 0) (#131)
by pwhysall on Fri May 12, 2000 at 08:15:02 AM EST

About the fact that 90% of a certain mutual friend's co-workers are female. Unfortunately the topic of thongs entered the conversation and it all spiralled down from there.

Your post was most certainly lucid by comparison.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Re: So...what can they to to Slasdot anyway? (none / 0) (#119)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 05:44:52 AM EST

Great post, some excellent points made about the consequences. It already seems like /. has had a huge amount of publicity, currently only in the "tech" press, but it'll probably branch out soon into the more mainstream media. Microsoft, even if they are in the right about the /. comments are still going to come out of this looking really bad.

And as for the damages which Andover could acrue from this whole incident? Probably not as much as the extra publicity for /. is worth to them in both advertising and general reputation. It appears as though the huge amount of people trying to read /. after having been pointed to there by news.com, Wired, Salon et al. has killed their fancy new servers, and they're still totally dead - I can't even ping them at the moment.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: So...what can they to to Slasdot anyway? (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by puppet10 on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:37:25 PM EST

Sorry but I can't resist, does this mean /. has been Saloned (or Wired, or Newsed...)

BTW they were fine at 8:00 MDT this morning but have been down most of the day since.

[ Parent ]
Re: So...what can they to to Slasdot anyway? (2.00 / 1) (#149)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 02:11:36 PM EST

Well as of whatever time it is when I'm posting this they are pretty much dead, and have been for the last few hours. I managed to get through once and there are 3 stories posted after the latest MS story with no comments on them at all. Funny how it goes down twice, each time after posting an MS story... :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

BLFH: Register's legal spin (none / 0) (#153)
by kmself on Fri May 12, 2000 at 03:53:26 PM EST

Compare and contrast the above to the Register's legal analysis (bastard lawyer from hell?) on the situation. Core point, IMO:

The DMCA does prohibit measures to circumvent security features like encryption or an anti-copying feature, but it is lawful for security measures to be circumvented if the sole purpose is to identify and analyse the interoperability aspects - but here's a possible catch - only if this does not involve the infringement of copyright. But since Microsoft is not trying to stop disclosure, but merely to impose licence conditions, then in the absence of some judge-made law, the risk of an unfavourable outcome and adverse publicity of any case might well result in Microsoft baring its teeth but slinking away from a fight.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

/. is down again + new MS story posted - coinciden (2.50 / 2) (#137)
by spiralx on Fri May 12, 2000 at 10:39:39 AM EST

Okay, /. has just died again as far as I can tell - I can't even ping the site anymore. And just before it died guess what I see - a new story - "Media on MS Asking Slashdot to Remove Comments". Is this a coincidence or not? Depends on how paranoid you are I suppose... :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Now we know who is really behind all the DDOS atta (1.00 / 1) (#138)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 11:15:58 AM EST

Microsoft. Where do you want to go today? Sorry, that site's not available. They said something bad about M$FuckThis

Sensible article on the affair (4.00 / 4) (#143)
by Paul Dunne on Fri May 12, 2000 at 12:28:51 PM EST

Best commentary on the affair so far is this latest from The Register.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
Re: Sensible article on the affair (3.00 / 1) (#148)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 12, 2000 at 01:58:17 PM EST

I find it amusing that next to the article at the register was a microsoft banner ad.
(at least when I clicked on the link, that was the ad up in the rotation)

[ Parent ]
Re: Sensible article on the affair (none / 0) (#160)
by Tr3534 on Mon May 15, 2000 at 12:53:13 PM EST

Eh? M$ ad there? Sorry, i didn't see it.
maybe it has something to do with the fact that redirect ads to a guarenteed 404 server.
Sigmentation Fault: Post Dumped.
[ Parent ]
Heey, what if... (1.00 / 2) (#158)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 13, 2000 at 07:35:00 AM EST

Hello. I've been wondering....

What if a payed microsloth agent logs in to /. as Anonymous Coward and posts a comment where he links to _illegal_ content ?
Should be such forum sites be killed to death?

There are two options:
1- A Law thas forbids forums with anonymous posters
2 - A Law that leaves forums alone

It's a matter ot basic human rights!

Let me demonstrate....

Microsoft is a Registered Trademark of Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a Registered Trademark of IBM

If you use the above trademarks without my permission you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law :P



I love you (none / 0) (#164)
by Joh3n on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:29:15 AM EST

potty mouth
---------------------------------
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came.
-terpy
MS Asks Slashdot to Remove Comments | 163 comments (163 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!