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Microsoft Your Rights Online

BSA Accuses OpenOffice Mirrors 808

Posted by michael
from the premature-exclamation dept.
sqrt529 writes "A German university was accused by the BSA of pirating MS Office, because they mirrored OpenOffice.org. The scripts from the BSA only check for "Office" in the filename and then automatically send out notices to the ftp admins. Did any of you get similar notices from the BSA?"
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BSA Accuses OpenOffice Mirrors

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:55AM (#5405781) Homepage Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought robots.txt files were for websites, not FTP sites.
  • Problem solved (Score:2, Informative)

    by Trollificus (253741) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:00AM (#5405833) Journal
    From the linked list;

    "Hi
    We received this message from Christian Schild of Muenster. I immediately
    contacted the BSA and clarified the situation; they apologized for the
    misunderstanding.
    --
    Quote:
    Dear Mrs. Suarez-Potts,
    I apologize for the obvious mistake I made.
    Apparently our system detects the OpenOffice files as MS Office programs and
    alarms me, which in turn sends the notices. I failed my part by not
    reassuring clearly enough which property was infringed and now that I am
    aware of that fact we will try and fix the search terms of our system and of
    course be more aware of the possible mistake.
    Thank you very much for your e-mail.
    Sincerely,
    Corinna Beck"


    So the BSA rep apologized for the error and all was forgiven. At least they had the decency to rectify the problem before it got out of hand.
  • by sawilson (317999) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:14AM (#5405963) Homepage
    Time to add their mailserver to the spam filter.
    Everybody else should probably do the same. If you
    aren't mature enough to know when and who to email,
    you don't deserve to send email to any of my
    machines.
  • Re:Up for penalty? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sarcazmo (555312) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:48AM (#5406302)
    The are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holders listed above i.e., MS.
  • Re:Guilty of Perjury (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheMidget (512188) on Friday February 28, 2003 @11:33AM (#5406694)
    1) BSA did not impersonate anyone or show any signs of pretending to be a government agency.

    BSA did impersonate the owners of OpenOffice. And BSA likes to portray themselves as an organisation that has para-governmental rights (such as forcefully searching companies' premises).

    2) They did not say that anything was wrong with the files, they only said that they owened them.

    They said it was wrong to have the files on the ftp server...

    3) You're a dufus.

    Thanks. Same to you!

  • by repoleved (569427) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:07PM (#5407001)
    IANAL but (pay attention this is important!) ...

    Even though the legal claim is bogus, it is important that everyone that receives such a notice replies within 10 days to (in pretty much these words) respectfully agree to withdraw offending files, provided that the BSA can prove that there is a legal reason for you to do so.

    The alternatives:
    * To ignore such a notice is a strike against you should you ever go to court against the BSA.
    * To be disrespectful is also a strike against you should you ever go to court against the BSA.
    * (Strangely,) To disagree is a strike against you should you ever go to court against the BSA.
    * And finally, to admit any wrongdoing is a definite strike against you in court, and would give the BSA a good reason to bother you even more....
  • RICO (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbolden (176878) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:25PM (#5407153) Homepage
    Essentially RICO allows an enterprise to be defined as primarily criminal in nature even if it is involved in some non criminal activities. For example a massage parlor chain that makes 10% of its money from massages andd 90% from prostitution could be charged under RICO.

    The poster is suggesting that the BSA's abuses are so widespread that the BSA should in and of itself be considered a criminal organization and not a legitimate organization that has committed some crimes (though to the best of my knowledge the BSA has never been charged with a crime at all so the original poster is really off base here).
  • by luispo (158938) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:47PM (#5407344)
    I am the community manager for OpenOffice.org and replied to BSA, asking them to correct their obvious error. Here's their response, which came within an hour of my message.
    --
    I apologize for the obvious mistake I made.
    Apparently our system detects the OpenOffice files as MS Office programs and alarms me, which in turn sends the notices. I failed my part by not reassuring clearly enough which property was infringed and now that I am aware of that fact we will try and fix the search terms of our system and of course be more aware of the possible mistake.

    Thank you very much for your e-mail.

  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett @ g m ail.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:08PM (#5407522)
    If they went straight to the FBI with a false complaint like this, they'd probably end up in jail.
    Untrue. The FBI investigates, and thats that. You go the FBI with suspicion, they investigate. That is how it works.

    If the BSA sent a false complaint to your ISP / hosting provider saying you violated copyright laws, there would be no harm? Even if they take down your site or cut off your internet access?
    There is a process for dealing with mistaken/wrong claims. They make a claim, you have a chance to refute the claim. The ISP is off the hook if you refute their claim, but if it turns out you are in fact wrong you are in a tight spot and are on the hook.
  • by Swaffs (470184) <swaff AT fudo DOT org> on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:13PM (#5407574) Homepage
    50 million people, eh?

    A friend of mine says his MS Office 2K Pro cd has 506 megs of data on it.

    506 megs x 50 million downloads = 25,300,000,000 MB transfered.

    25,300,000,000MB / 1,048,576MB/TB = 24,100 terabytes of data transfered.

    I would like to know what pirate can afford to transfer 24,100 terabytes of data.

    I guess that whole 50 million people bit was just bullshit.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett @ g m ail.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:19PM (#5407616)
    RTFA numbnuts. they had copies of OpenOffice.
    Exactly, so whats the big deal? They sent out a letter that was based on wrong information, the other people had a chance to respond, and the BSA apologized for the error.

    What's the big deal? What's the problem? Everything worked fine. No harm, no problems, no worries. No stormtroopers, no raids, no anything.
  • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:20PM (#5407624)
    "next time I install software and register it to "nobody@mindyourownbusiness.com".."

    Rather than indirectly harassing the innocent third-party that runs mindyourownbusiness.com, you're better off using an address the ends in example.com. That domain is guaranteed to always be invalid.

  • by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:25PM (#5407677) Homepage Journal

    I have been told by somebody that they can hold the equipment up to 5 years.
    I heard that aliens killed Kennedy. That doesn't make it true.

    I have performed forensic analysis on computer equipment held for 5 years related to a defense case where I was an expert witness. I have testified to these details under oath. You know nothing of the fuck of what you speak.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 28, 2003 @01:49PM (#5407933) Homepage
    Somehow, I doubt it serves as a real legal notice. Why? Because there's absolutely no proof of delivery. The email server could have choosen to eat it. Server-side spam filters could have stopped it. Client-side spam filters could have stopped it. I thought legal stuff, like supoenas and other stuff must be signed for, to have proof?

    Kjella
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday February 28, 2003 @04:25PM (#5409395) Journal
    If the FBI has a warrant, they will come in and search your computers and premises. If they find Office, and you dont have licenses, then you are guilty, and will be fined/prosecuted. If you have no copies of office, then nothing happens, you are innocent. Therein lies the problem. At a friends business, the BSA asked to search the premise. They told them that they only ran Linux and no, the BSA was not allowed. The FBI came that afternoon with a warrent and took the equipment. All of it. 3 computers, keyboards, monitors, 2 printers, a network switch, cable modem, speakers, CDs, and DVDs (all commercial movies and music). They still have it after nearly a year. They will search it and return it WHEN they feel like it. The FBI has not filed charges. Somebody told me that they can hold it for 5 years. Somehow, i find that hard to believe, but who knows in this day and age. I do know that when they call the FBI, that they say that it will be returned when they are done examining the evidence.
  • by Badanov (518690) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:18PM (#5410610) Homepage Journal
    Your friend himself or with a lawyer can file a writ of habeas corpus against the government on behalf of the computer equipment, forcing the government to either file a charge or return the equipment. The next step is a matter of asking the clerk which judge the application is assigned to and setting up an expedited hearing.

    Despite on the jerking off you read on slashdot about the Patriot Act, habeas corpus is still around and a time-honored means of forcing the government to obey the law.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:08PM (#5411008) Homepage
    You can't sue someone for perjury. You'd have to convince the US Justice Dept. to prosecute them for it. What do you think the chances are of that?
  • I've gotten numerous (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2003 @12:45AM (#5411773)
    BSA notices, I generally ignore them, and once even replied with a string of profanity. The licensing agreement by which they claim to have the authority to search your stuff is in fact NON-EXISTENT. The software vendors cannot CEDE control of your click thru agreement with them, or assign rights to a 3rd party without their entering into the agreement as well. Tell them to blow off and call the vendor directly and complain about harrassment. But of course, you'd BETTER be squeaky clean :) There is not much you can do if they go the law enforcement route with a search warrant, but they've at least had to go to a judget, and THEY ASSUME GOOD faith with the police.

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