Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Category: Copyrights

Zen Magnets vs. Buckyballs or Buckyballs, meet the Streisand Effect

Buckyballs and Zen Magnets make nearly identical magnetic toys. Zen Magnets started a campaign where they sold both sets on eBay and asked customers to compare. Buckyballs CEO responded with a legal threat, and Zen Magnets posted a video on YouTube responding to their threat, showing how to compare the quality of both the toys. Buckyballs sent a DMCA takedown notice (a completely frivolous one) to YouTube and YouTube removed the video. Zen Magnets sent a counter take-down notice, but the video still hasn’t come back up.

But no need to fear. Buckyballs is quickly going to be educated on the Streisand Effect. Here is a mirrored video:

Also, here is an mp4 for download.

AACS-LA to take action against bloggers

BBC News is reporting that the AACS copy protection body is going to go after bloggers who posted the HD-DVD processing key.

“Some people clearly think it’s a First Amendment issue. There is no intent from us to interfere with people’s right to discuss copy protection. We respect free speech.

“They can discuss the pros and cons. We know some people are critical of the technology.

“But a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention. You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then.”

Michael Ayers, AACS

This is so much bullshit. I can’t believe that they are going to use the DMCA to stop people from publishing a number. Some people think it’s a First Amendment issue? You’re damn right it is! The DMCA is the most bullshit, unconstitutional law there is. I seriously can’t believe that it has come to this; where a body can tell you what not to say. I have every right; a right given to me by the constitution; to say what I please. The First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law restricting my freedom of speech. I know it’s not up to me to interpret the law. We have the Supreme Court Justices for that. However, I feel that prosecuting people for publishing this key sets a dangerous precedent.

This is not about piracy. This is about control. DRM is not going to stop large-scale piracy. What it does is annoy proper customers. If I buy a disc, I can do whatever I want. I can make how many ever copies I want, and play it on whatever hardware I want. I can do anything short of making copies to sell. It’s mine and I paid for it.

From the article: “The leak of the key meant that some HD-DVD titles could have their copy protection removed and then could be watched on two different software players. The leak of the key did not affect hardware players, he said.”

That’s what they don’t want. They don’t want you playing it on whatever you choose.

In some ways, this might be a good thing. Perhaps it will make the public more aware about the travesties perpetrated by these DRM groups in the name of “protecting intellectual property”. Perhaps it will make them more aware of the unconstitutionality of the DMCA. I seriously wonder how they are going to go after 700,000 people. Good luck. The more they try to silence us, the more we are going to revolt.

I remember when the DeCSS issue first surfaced. People were being sued for publishing the decryption algorithm. There were different forms of displaying the algorithm. Like, could you be sued for wearing a T-Shirt with the DeCSS code? In a similar vein, people are already finding different ways to represent the HD-DVD Processing Key (shirts, mugs, songs, videos). One of these is the Free Speech Flag (displayed below). It uses the hexadecimal codes from the processing key as hexadecimal color codes. Can we be sued for displaying that? I don’t know. I hope all of this results in a serious re-evaluation of DRM and the DMCA.

Free Speech Flag
Free Speech Flag

Spread this number

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

What do those numbers mean, and why are they so important? That number is the HD-DVD processing key for most movies released so far.

This means that using this key, you can decrypt and watch movies on Linux (if you have software available). But that’s not the most important part. The Movie Industry is threatening a blog for publishing this number. They claim “copyright infringement” (no doubt, under some ridiculous abuse of the DMCA). I had no idea that a number could be copyrighted.

This information is out on the web and it is spreading fast. The Movie Industry doesn’t like this and is trying to threaten people into silence. Digg deleted the original story, and then censored a second submission on the same topic. But there is a very interesting story in the Health section of Digg that deals with training your memory by memorizing a string of 32 alphanumeric characters…

SPREAD THIS NUMBER.

Let the Movie Industry know that they cannot silence us. If one person or website goes down, ten others will spring up in its place. We cracked the copyright protection system on DVD’s and it’s only a matter of time before we do the same to HD-DVD’s and BlueRay discs. The fact that the encryption system was cracked on DVD’s is the only reason we can play DVD’s on Linux now. The Movie Industry will have you believe that we are a bunch of evil pirates. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, DRM does nothing to thwart piracy. The existence of a large supply of pirated DVD’s is ample proof of that. Anything that can be seen or heard can be copied. Once I buy my DVD, or HD-DVD or BlueRay, I can do whatever the hell I want to do with it. It’s my property. I paid for it. I can make as many copies as I want for personal use. They can’t tell me what to do. And that’s what this is all about.

Once again. Spread this number.

Here are links with more information. I initially found out about this story from Slashdot.

Update

Ok, so check this out. They sent a cease and desist letter to Google for providing search results that show the key. I seriously wonder how much more retarded these people can get.

You have 48 hours to stop the Broadcast Flag

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have 48 hours to stop the broadcast flag. If you remember, they tried this sometime ago, but it was struck down. What is the Broadcast Flag? Basically it is a way for the money-hungry bastards at Hollywood and the MPAA to control what you can view, and when. Today, you can easily download HDTV content to view at a time that’s convenient for you. If the broadcast flag is in effect, there are a few things that you will not be able to do. Restrictions can take the form of the following:

  • Flagged content cannot be saved. Even if you are able to save them, there will most probably be reduction in quality.
  • You will be unable to skip commercials. This is the same deal with the bullshit they show you in DVD’s these days. You have to sit through the previews and commercials before you can get to the actual movie.
  • You will not be able to burn downloaded content from the hard-disk into a DVD, if you wanted to save space.
  • Want to send the content to another node on the home network, or another TV? Nope. The broadcast flag won’t let you do that either.
  • Content can only be viewed by “authorized” devices. So suddenly you’ll have to replace all your hardware with ones that have been “blessed” by the assholes at the MPAA

End result? A big “fuck you” to consumer rights. Of course, the MPAA and Hollywood will tell you that this is all done to fight piracy. In addition to that, they will even tell you that you might be helping terrorists because of piracy, so of course, this is also helping “The War Against Terror”. It never surprises me how low these bastards can go. The broadcast flag is complete abomination. There is no way it will make a dent in piracy, especially large-scale. Current use of consumer electronics by American citizens to download and view shows at a later time, fall entirely within fair-use rights. If the flag is authorized, everyone will need Hollywood’s permission before they can create anything, or risk being sued. I can only see this stifling innovation.

This underhanded and cowardly tactic is not new for them. If you remember, they tried to sue VCR makers and MP3 player makers. If we had these kinds of laws 20 to 25 years ago, we wouldn’t have many of the things we take for granted today. Things like MP3’s and iPods. Hollywood and the MPAA have a right to distribute their content. But when that right encroaches upon my right to decide WHAT to do with that content, and how I decide to view it and when and where I decide to view it, I have a problem.

So what can you do about this? Go ahead and sign a petition, or call your senators. Make a stand now.

RIAA Retards

The RIAA gets a hard-on everytime they talk about DRM. Anyway, Hilary Rosen, formerly head of the RIAA, is complaining that she can’t get music for her iPod that doesn’t come from iTunes.

More details here.

What it comes down to, is that Ms. Rosen is bitching about a problem that she helped create. Talk about being a hypocrite.

FCC Broadcast flag struck down!

From C|Net News:

Court yanks down FCC’s broadcast flag

Published: May 6, 2005, 9:52 AM PDT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

In a stunning victory for hardware makers and television buffs, a federal appeals court has tossed out government rules that would have outlawed many digital TV receivers and tuner cards starting July 1.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn’t have copy protection technology known as the “broadcast flag.” The regulations, which the FCC created in November 2003, had been intended to limit unauthorized Internet redistribution of over-the-air TV broadcasts.

Full Article

Let me be the first to say, take that you bastards! Time and again, I’ve seen how consumer rights are being stamped on by the RIAA, MPAA, and the FCC and by such bullshit laws like the DMCA. Finally we have something that actually helps the consumers. A major victory, for sure.

The court was absolutely correct in this ruling. The FCC has no constitutional authority. They overstepped their bounds, and had no right imposing their authority over consumer choice and the private industry.

However, I don’t know if this is the end of the broadcast flags, since the courts have basically said that the FCC needs to go to Congress. So I’m pretty sure the MPAA is lobbying pretty hard right now and calling in some favours. But at the very least, you have people in the Congress who are accountable and answerable to their constituencies, which wasn’t the case with the FCC. I hope this pans out well in the end.

There were also some funny remarks from the judges about the case:

“You’re out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?” asked Judge Harry Edwards. Quipped Judge David Sentelle: “You can’t regulate washing machines. You can’t rule the world.”

Heh. Right on the mark. The story is also on Slashdot.

California Rules, P2P Rocks, Metallica sucks even more

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I’m in California right now and I’m having loads of fun… yeah… it feels great to be away from that searing Arizona heat. I’m looking into creating a new message board which looks nicer and has a lot more stuff. Work on the webpage is going to be delayed (as usual =( ) because next semester looks to be a lot of work. Anyway, the main issue here is Napster. As you might already know, it is most probably going to be shut down at midnight on Friday. The issue here is how to keep it going… Well, there are many ways… first of all, there is a service called Napigator that’s available and it lets you connect to other servers. There are also other services like GNutella, ScourExchange and iMesh that allow peer-to-peer connection. The recording industry may have won the battle, but for all purposes, it has lost the war. There is no way it can stop services like GNutella because unlike Napster, GNutella is de-centralized and there is in effect, nothing to shut down. Well… I’m assuming that it’s going to be a while before the idiotic heads of record labels finally understand this. And as for Metallica, I’ve lost all respect for them… their “campaign” against Napster was nothing more than a publicity stunt. And Lars Ulrich can go to hell. Well, anyway, they pretty much destroyed themselves with Load and ReLoad… but oh well… I’m thinking that in a way, shutting Napster down will actually help this new technology… Alright then… time for me to go… cy’all later!

Metallica Still Sucks

Hmmm… apparently the proposed solution to avoid Metallica’s ban doesn’t seem to work. I think that they put a file on your machine somewhere that they can identify and hence label you as “banned”. The IP/Username theory doesn’t seem to be the answer. A change or IP and username seems to have no effect on the ban. I’m at a loss to explain how they have done this, but bottom line is THIS SUCKS! I’m sure someone somewhere is going to come up with a hack for this pretty soon. And Metallica still doesn’t know absolutely anything about iMesh…

Metallica Sucks

Hey! How’s it going? My exams get over tomorrow… actually TODAY!!!… YESSSSS!!!! HAHAHAHA! Free at last… three glorious weeks of doing what I like most – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Except playing StarCraft and watching TV and partying and stuff like that… Oh yes… So Metallica has gone and tattled on Napster. Publicity stunt. Well, a certain someone I know, got banned because of that. But I there is a way to get around it. I believe Napster has banned people based on the IP/Username combination. If you have a dynamic IP then I guess you should have no problem. First of all, uninstall Napster and then re-install it (Beta 6 is out). When it asks you if you want to use the existing user, click “No”. Now use a different name. It should let you log in. This certain someone I know, couldn’t at first so he unplugged his DSL modem (yeah… he has a DSL modem too) and plugged it back in so that he got a new IP adress. That got him through. As a disclaimer, this information is for educational purposes only and you agree that you will not hold me responsible for the legal consequences (if any) that might arise from the use of this information. Well… I guess that’s it. So I’ll see you all after the exams… I’ll put stuff here… If I’m not having too much fun that is! 😉 Adios!

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