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DVD Decrypter Author Served With Take-Down Order 674

Posted by timothy
from the hold-your-breath-if-you're-surprised dept.
the-dark-kangaroo writes "The DVD Decrypter author has announced that he has been served with an order to cease his development of DVD Decrypter. The developer has been forced to hand over all source code and the domain that he was using. It is thought that it could be Sony who have served this notice, as it is rumoured that he broke their new copyright protection within 72 hours of its release."
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DVD Decrypter Author Served With Take-Down Order

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  • Not Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:18PM (#12739508) Homepage Journal
    from the hold-your-breath-if-you're-surprised dept.

    If I held my breath every time I was surprised by the abusive use of the abusive DMCA, I'd.... oh wait, I'd be breathing perfectly normally because it doesn't surprise me in the least that companies - which exist in a capitalist system for the sole purpose of taking money from people - are stomping all over people's rights for the purpose of fattening their wallets.

    Of course, many of the people responsible for the passage of the DMCA were re-elected, and few, if any, people raked Clinton over the coals for signing the damned thing. What amazes me most about all this is not that companies are using this +5 Tool of Corruption, but that nobody outside the technical circle seems to care.

    So fuck 'em. I say let the little bastard consumers wallow in their own shit until they're paying $11 every single time they want to watch the newest shitty hollywood flick that they can no longer obtain through any means but 24-hour-per-use download.

    Cracking this garbage isn't going to get rid of it, it's just going to get people dragged into court. If you want it gone, let them piss consumers off enough that there's a backlash and the distributors and producers have no choice but to strike a reasonable compromise between fair use and protection against theivery.
    • Re:Not Surprised (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jane_Dozey (759010)
      Perhaps they should stop developing dvd decryption in the US. US law doesn't apply to other countries and they'll have a hard time stopping it.
    • Re:Not Surprised (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jfengel (409917)
      I say let the little bastard consumers wallow in their own shit until they're paying $11 every single time they want to watch the newest shitty hollywood flick that they can no longer obtain through any means but 24-hour-per-use download.

      Actually, that's pretty much the way it is already. You pay $9, you get to watch it exactly once, when they feel like showing it to you. It's called "going to the movies".

      For a long time it was the only way that movie studios made any money. If they think they can't ma
    • Re:Not Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Captain Scurvy (818996) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:24PM (#12740070) Homepage
      ...it doesn't surprise me in the least that companies - which exist in a capitalist system for the sole purpose of taking money from people - are stomping all over people's rights for the purpose of fattening their wallets.

      Except that DRM enforced by legislation is about as far from capitalist as you can get. Let us not make a habit of associating free market capitalism with pro-corporate authoritarianism, if that is indeed what you were doing. The two are polar opposites.

      If you want it gone, let them piss consumers off enough that there's a backlash and the distributors and producers have no choice but to strike a reasonable compromise between fair use and protection against theivery.

      I am positive that they won't actually push consumers that far. They always stop right before the breaking point, let people get used to it, and keep going. The problem is that they have been allowed to go too far already, and as people become accustomed to the rising temperatures, they are willing to stomach even hotter waters.

      • Re:Not Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

        by The Only Druid (587299) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:01PM (#12740528)
        "Except that DRM enforced by legislation is about as far from capitalist as you can get. Let us not make a habit of associating free market capitalism with pro-corporate authoritarianism, if that is indeed what you were doing. The two are polar opposites."

        I'm curious: how exactly would you suggest, in a purely capitalist system, that the creator of a thing which can be copied (and thus re-sold without any money going to the creator) protect his product? Put differently, how would support the people who innovate?

        Easy example: suppose the existence of a molecular replicator on a small level, i.e. a device capable of "reading" medicine and generating perfect (i.e. digitally perfect) duplicates of the original at a significantly reduced cost. Now, there is a disease (it doesn't matter of what type). A developer (a person or a corporation, it doesn't matter) spends a few billion dollars to develop a medicine that perfectly cures the disease. The process is highly complex, and the procedure for making it is patented (like currently). However, the existence of the replicator means that anyone who obtains a microscopic sample can easily and cheaply replicate countless amounts. How is the developer to recoup his costs? He cannot sell the medicine for any more than it would cost to replicate it (assume that one person bought it at full price, but then sold a ton of it at cost).

        Basically, I'm curious as to what you think a capitalist system should contain to prevent this problem?
        • Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday June 06, 2005 @06:02PM (#12741229) Homepage
          Easy example: suppose the existence of a molecular replicator on a small level, i.e. a device capable of "reading" medicine and generating perfect (i.e. digitally perfect) duplicates of the original at a significantly reduced cost.

          You're talking about an end of (or drastic reduction in) physical scarcity, much like how there is very little scarcity in the electronic realm. Just like copying a bit is nearly free, copying a physical molecule would be nearly free.

          A developer (a person or a corporation, it doesn't matter) spends a few billion dollars to develop a medicine that perfectly cures the disease. The process is highly complex, and the procedure for making it is patented (like currently).

          Do they not have replicators? Just like pressing CDs, we can assume the procedure for making the drug is "take existing sample of drug and place in replicator; push go".

          Given a replicator, I would be amazed to find a drug that cost billions to develop. You would never need to run a reaction larger than what fits in a lab, and you would never need to worry about running out of rare materials or difficult to produce intermediate steps -- just replicate everything you need. If we assume that the replicator can make small changes to copied molecules, then there is no need to run any reactions at all. Just fabricate the molecule you need.

          Okay, there are still costs involved in researching the drug. How does the developer recoup these costs? By selling the drug at a reasonable price. Take, for example, music: most people do want to reward the creator. Even with a price disparity of $0 vs $15, most people choose to pay $15. Yet today, in a replicator-less world, pharmaceuticals still charge so much that they not only recoup their development costs, they also recoup their 2-4x larger marketing costs, and then still post profits that are the envy of every other industry.

          So how would a pharmaceutical survive in a world with replicators? Well, if they are as greedy as existing corps, they wouldn't. Good fucking riddance. If instead they wanted to charge a fair price, they would survive.

          Basically, I'm curious as to what you think a capitalist system should contain to prevent this problem?

          I do not consider the end of scaricity to be a problem. There are, of course, those whose power is based on scarcity and thus do see it as a problem. If the replicator is ever invented and runs as cheaply as we assume here (unlikely to put it mildly), then there will certainly be huge and horrible wars fought over the right to use the device. I tell you this right now: I will be fighting on the side that wishes to end physical scarcity and grant everyone access to replicators. Anyone who wishes to tell me I don't have the right to do this I will consider a mortal enemy.
          • Re:Problem? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by InsaneGeek (175763) <slashdot@insaneg ... m minus language> on Monday June 06, 2005 @06:56PM (#12741733) Homepage
            Do you really think the cost of raw materials are what makes them *so* expensive??? The raw materials cost is miniscule, so much it's probably thought of as an oversight. Mainly costs are 2 things:

            1) Paying a bunch of private-sector PHD guys (i.e. expensive salary) to spend years and years on an item that most likely won't pan out

            2) We've gotten the easy drugs out of the way, to do the stuff on the next level we are skirting the safety line and testing for a decade along with legal ramifications.

            For an example look at drug Tysabri 2 months ago, Biogen lost half of it's value (and it's a multi-*billion* dollar company) because one of the secondary drugs from another company that it combines with theirs to fight the affects of MS possibly caused a death after the decades of testing. They had a market cap of $22 billion, after that they had a market cap of $12 billion.

            I don't think you can just wave your hand and say "Okay, there are still costs invovled in researching"... especially when that is what 99.9% of the cost is in. Now saying exactly opposite of what you said i.e. waving your hand and nonchelontly saying "Okay, there are still raw material costs" would be more appriate since they are a tiny sliver of a fraction of the cost.
            • I don't think you can just wave your hand and say "Okay, there are still costs invovled in researching"... especially when that is what 99.9% of the cost is in. Now saying exactly opposite of what you said i.e. waving your hand and nonchelontly saying "Okay, there are still raw material costs" would be more appriate since they are a tiny sliver of a fraction of the cost. [emphasis mine]

              99.9%? Bullshit. Show me your source for that figure, or did you just make it up off the top of your head like the

          • Re:Problem? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Rich0 (548339)
            Given a replicator, I would be amazed to find a drug that cost billions to develop.

            Actually, most of the cost of drug development goes into clinical trials. In order to test a drug, you need 10,000 volunteers. They are not paid. However, their doctors are paid - handsomely. You see, for every company trying to recruit patients, there are three other companies also trying to recruit patients. Doctors sign patients up for the highest bidder (which is to say - the company paying them the most - not the
        • Re:Not Surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ummit (248909)
          Easy example: suppose the existence of a molecular replicator on a small level, i.e. a device capable of "reading" medicine and generating perfect duplicates...

          Well, if you're going to erect analogical strawmen, how about this one? Suppose my business model is, "I smile at you nicely, and you give me $1." When I discover that I'm not making enough money using this model, I get Congress to pass a law requiring you to give me the dollar.

          (In other words, I'm deeply suspicious of any newly proposed, auth

    • Re:Not Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sheepdot (211478) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:11PM (#12740662) Journal
      One needs to be careful defining capitalism with regard to the DMCA. The US has, at best, a mixed economy in which the government plays a huge role. What's funny is those that claim to hate socialism would call the US economic system "socialist", while those who hate capitalism would call the US economic system "capitalist". Ironically, the only difference between the two views is which side instigated the marriage first.

      One definition of capitalism [answers.com] states:
      capitalism, economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, in which personal profit can be acquired through investment of capital and employment of labor. Capitalism is grounded in the concept of free enterprise, which argues that government intervention in the economy should be restricted and that a free market, based on supply and demand, will ultimately maximize consumer welfare.
      The "government restriction", for many libertarians (often seen as the biggest promoters of true capitalism) at least, would include the argument that the government should not aid OR abet any enterprise, in addition to not restricting them.

      The real issue comes down to why corporations feel that "trampling our rights" is okay. Well, you needn't look any further than the myraid of government licenses, regulations, and tax laws to see why businesses feel justified in harming the citizens that work for them. Our "us vs. them" mentality has only turned competing businesses to do the same back to us.

      What we need to see is a seperation of corporation and state. We need to have a government that doesn't exist to promote any corporate policy just like our government doesn't (or at least, shouldn't) promote any religion. Unfortunately, there is a false belief that government intervention and regulations on businesses actually work for any real change in this direction to occur.

      I had high hopes that our generation would be the one to establish the seperation of corporation and state, but I continually see this misconception of the US economic system as being "capitalist" as detrimental to any real progress. The US economy is FAR from capitalism, there is HEAVY government intervention and involvement.

      About the libertarian comment: There is the start of a revolution in libertarian (note, small "L" to indicate philosophical as opposed to political party) thinking that copyright laws actually serve to "harm" rights of the individual. I belong to this group of thinking and if you're interested, I would encourage you to read up on it [libertariannation.org].
      • Re:Not Surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hast (24833)
        The "government restriction", for many libertarians (often seen as the biggest promoters of true capitalism) at least, would include the argument that the government should not aid OR abet any enterprise, in addition to not restricting them.

        The real issue comes down to why corporations feel that "trampling our rights" is okay. Well, you needn't look any further than the myraid of government licenses, regulations, and tax laws to see why businesses feel justified in harming the citizens that work for them.
    • by Shihar (153932)
      Why in the hell do you people watch this shit if you are so offended by the manner in which they practice their business? I just personally don't get it. I AM offended by the MPAA and the RIAA. What have I done? I have not bought (or pirated) a DvD or a song years. The last thing I bought was on E-music back when they had a flat rate no DRM mp3 service. The second they changed their service I stopped paying.

      People spend so much time complaining, but very little time backing up their complaints with a
      • by demo9orgon (156675) on Monday June 06, 2005 @07:33PM (#12742037) Homepage
        There is a shade of consumerism which should serve as a compromise to the hard-line "just don't buy anything" vibe.

        I buy my entertainment "used" whenever possible.

        The MPAA doesn't see any additional licensing fees from me.
        The RIAA doesn't count me, and I pay considerably less by being patient.
        This works really well for video games and computer hardware too. I don't need to show anyone how cool I am by having the latest and the greatest because I'm patient.
        The entertainment industry is all about shiny things and intensity, and immediacy. They market shiny things to people who crave them.
        I don't crave any "manufactured" entertainment so much that I can't wait...but then I don't feel the need to buy an H2/H3 to prove my penis is large either. :-)
      • Amen brother! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crovira (10242)
        I dropped out of the 'BUY NOW!!" rat race years ago and I am not suffering for it. (I'm even prospering a bit. Go figure?)
      • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Monday June 06, 2005 @07:40PM (#12742105)
        Wait until you get married...
  • Say no? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:24PM (#12739548) Journal
    Why not just say no? you can't sue a guy for making a crowbar which broke into your house, so why sue a guy making a program which someone used to break (some may say unfair) DRM bullshit?
    • Re:Say no? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kwirl (877607) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:28PM (#12739591)

      The main reason for a lawsuit in a case like this is to attack the defendents perseverance. While the courts will ultimately uphold him in the long run, in the short term he has a lengthy and very expensive court battle in front of him. Even with recovery of costs at the end of a trial, it will severely damage his means in the short time. Unless he has a healthy savings account, the big guys are going to wear him down financially throughout the case, hoping he will give up or surrender without a fight.


      I for one hope this guy gets some backing to put up a fight, and while we are at it, lets throw him some punitive damages from a corporation attempting to bully a guy using quasi-legal methodology.

    • Say no, goto jail (Score:5, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:43PM (#12739699) Homepage Journal
      Its pretty simple. Its illegal to create ( and distribute ) code that can be used to break DRM. However, its not illegal to build a crowbar.

      Is this morally right? No, of course not. But its how the laws that the media bought are written.

      Sometimes its easier to comply then go to jail or be sued into oblivion. You may be against it morally, but you still have a family to feed and have to cave in to 'the man'.
      • Crowbars.. (Score:4, Funny)

        by StikyPad (445176) on Monday June 06, 2005 @07:32PM (#12742028) Homepage
        It's legal, but it ain't a hundred percent legal. I mean you can't walk into a restaurant, whip out a crowbar, and start swingin' away. I mean, they want you to crowbar stuff in your home or certain designated places.

        And those are crow bars?

        Yeah, it breaks down like this: okay, it's legal to buy it, it's legal to own it and, if you're the proprietor of a hardware store, it's legal to sell it. It's legal to carry it, but, but - but that doesn't matter 'cause -- get a load of this, allright -- if you get stopped by a cop in Amsterdam, it's illegal for them to search you. I mean that's a right the cops in Amsterdam don't have.

        Oh, man, I'm goin', that's all there is to it -- I'm fuckin' goin'.
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@NoSpam.bc90021.net> on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:25PM (#12739569) Homepage
    ..to anyone whose country doesn't have DMCA laws. Check afterdawn.com [afterdawn.com], and do a search for it. They ask you where you live.

  • Release on Freenet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:26PM (#12739571) Homepage
    I will never understand why the authors of software like this that is almost guarenteed to attract legal threats do not initally release on Freenet. For those converned about the slow speed, I will point out that only the inital seeding needs to be done this way, and once the code is out on the net all is normal. But risking a few grand in legal fees for no reason? This is what Freenet is designed for.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:44PM (#12739706)
      will never understand why the authors of software ... do not initally release on Freenet.

      Because just providing the software to the world is not their only -- or maybe even primary -- intent. Freenet denys a lot of the ego satisfaction you otherwise get from being recognized on your own web-site with your own page counters.

      And besides, they'd have to actually write help files since there wouldn't be a website and e-mail link for questions, problems, and enhancement requests.

      Now is the time for someone to put it on Freenet -- or Usenet.

    • by nmb3000 (741169)
      It's already all over the place. There's tons of copies on eDonkey 2k, Gnutella2, and FastTrack. You can also get it via a torrent [torrentspy.com] released today.

      This thing isn't going away just because the main website went down. Development has stopped, which is too bad, but it's still available. Who knows? Perhaps somebody can convince the author of the program to "accidently" release the source code into the GPL or something. If it did go open source then at least it might continue a little longer.
      • by VivianC (206472)
        Perhaps somebody can convince the author of the program to "accidently" release the source code into the GPL or something.

        No real need to release the code under the GPL. Just release the code. Release the code to the public domain and let EVERYONE go nuts. There could be 500 new versions by the end of the week. Let the movie companies go after all of them.

        Although that is probably covered in his legal settlement.
    • by OverlordQ (264228)
      SSK@nbPz1SyNQQ-XQQpwmoRUZRpCW1kPAgM,rgdYt0WqGns55N Ap8wDWdA/dvddecrypter-3.5.4.0//
      ask and ye shall recieve
  • I hope someone out of the reach of the **AA's can continue the work on this project. It would be a shame to see such a useful tool die because is scares some suits.
  • by nganju (821034) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:27PM (#12739579)
    " Hello world,

    I"ve got some good news and some bad news.Let's start with the good.... (tumble weed passes by)Ok, and now onto the badVD Decrypter 3.5.4.0 is the last version you"ll ever see.We hoped this day would never come, but it has, and I can promise you, nobody is more gutted about it than I am.

    What started as a bit of fun, putting a GUI around some existing code, turned into something that I can only describe as 'part of me' - yes, I know that's sad ;-) As I"ve recently been made aware (by a letter, hand delivered to my door, last Tuesday), due to some law that was changed back in October 2003, circumventing copy protection isn"t allowed.

    Ok so it has taken a while (almost 2 years), but eventually "a certain company" has decided they don"t like what I"m doing (circumventing their protection) and have come at me like a pack of wolves. I"ve no choice but to cease everything to do with DVD Decrypter.I realise this is going to be one of those "that sucks - fight them!" kinda things, but at the end of the day, it"s my life and I"m not about to throw it all away (before it has even really started) attempting to fight a battle I can"t possibly win.

    If 321 Studios can"t do it with millions, what chance do I have with £50?! As I"m sure most of you have already noticed, the site has been down for a few days. That surprised me as much as the next person (slight breakdown in communication), or I would have issued this statement on it directly.

    So anyway, from this point forward, I"m no longer permitted to provide any sort of assistance with anything that helps people infringe the rights of "a certain company".That means, no more emails, no more forum posts, no PM"s, no nothing! END OF STORY.The domain name will be transferred over to the company by the end of the week (9th June, according to the undertakings I have to sign) so don"t email it thinking "Oh, I"ll just ask LIGHTNING UK! for support on this". You"ll not be getting the intended recipient and could be landing yourself in sh1t!

    With 3.5.4.0 being the last version, it makes sense for everyone to disable the "check for new versions" feature, as obviously there won"t be any. Of course what I really mean is that you should all stop using the program out of respect for the company's rights.

    Anyone hosting DVD Decrypter is advised to cease doing so immediately. I"ve the feeling they won"t stop with just me. I"m having to contact anyone I know of that is (at the very least, the "mirror" sites), and tell them to stop. Copies of those emails must also be sent to the solicitors so they can check I"m doing everything I"m supposed to. If I don't, I die.

    It is of course down to the owners of those sites to react how they want to. It"s not my job to force you to do anything you don"t want to, I"m just giving you some friendly advice. Maybe it"s just me, but I see this as a bit of an "end of an era". I realise there are other tools, but there"s no telling how much longer they"ll last, and not only that, mine was the oldest! I"ve met loads of great people over the years and I want to take this opportunity to wish them every success for the future - yes DDBT peeps, that includes you lot! : "(I hope you"ve all enjoyed my contribution to the DVD scene and maybe I"ll see ya around sometime.

    LIGHTNING UK!
    (Author of the once "Ultimate DVD Ripper", DVD Decrypter)"
    • Wait a sec...

      I thought that it took ten years for stupid ideas from the States to reach the UK. Not seven. (The DMCA being signed in 1998.)

      • I thought that it took ten years for stupid ideas from the States to reach the UK. Not seven.

        Clearly the formation/joining in a European Union has made the process of the import of the United States' stupid-idea exports more efficient.
  • by Awperator (783768) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:27PM (#12739580)
    Probably not going to happen, but I hope that somehow, the source code can be leaked out, and made open source. If so, it would be very hard for big companies to go after it and shut it down. DVD Decrypter does have it's uses. Backups. yes, I know that everyone and their mom uses this excuse to justify things that might potentially be used for piracy, but come on? Ever made a copy of a CD because you didnt want the original to get scratched in that dodgy car stereo system? Also, how else are you going to protect your LOTR Extended edition from the grubby hands of friends that want to borrow it?
    • Judging by the sound of his final post he is a little too scared to try something like that. Whatever the letter said, looks like it scared him good. Maybe they etched it in his car or something. This is the one time i'd love to hop on paypal to donate to his cause but there is nothing to fight. He is folding and I can't blame him, I kinda always imagined he was preparing for this fight but maybe not. But it sounds like he is willing to give up his rights so easily maybe he could just pass on his knowlege t
  • I hope he thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m50d (797211) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:28PM (#12739586) Homepage Journal
    to distribute it somewhere safe before this happened. Preferrably on something like freenet where it's not very easy to stop it. Information wants to be free and all...
  • A stupid question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GalfWender (889552) * on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:29PM (#12739597)
    This is probably a very stupid question, but why can't the offending code which supposedly "broke their new copyright protection" just be removed?
    • Re:A stupid question (Score:3, Informative)

      by A Commentor (459578)
      This is probably a very stupid question, but why can't the offending code which supposedly "broke their new copyright protection" just be removed?

      Because breaking the 'old' copy protection is also violating the DMCA.
  • .. on the letter the author posted, he states that the domain should be transferred to a "certain company" by June 9th... we'll see...

    This sucks, btw..
  • by yeremein (678037) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:29PM (#12739601)
    What claim does Sony (or whoever) have on the DVD Decrypter source code? I can understand forcing him to take it offline--an unfortunate yet very real aspect of the DMCA's anti-free-speech provisions--but what right do they have to make him give it up? Might makes right, I guess.
    • They don't have a claim to the code. They do, however, have the right to sue. That right can be leveraged to coerce the author into handing over rights to the code and signing all manner of "voluntary" agreements.
    • What claim does Sony (or whoever) have on the DVD Decrypter source code?
      None. Same goes for the domain in question.

      But as you suggested, might makes right. Or, more accurately, money makes right.

      I'd like to see the author fight it, but the risks for him are far greater than the possible benefits, so it make sense for him to simply give them what they want. Overall, the world will have lost, but he'll personally come out better for having just caved. It's not ideal, but it's the way things are. Fighting this would cost money.

      The ACLU or EFF probably would like to help him, but they only have limited funds to work with as well, so they're going to pick their battles carefully and pick the fights that they have the best chances of winning and which will provide the most overall benefits to their causes.

      Also note that the announcement said nothing of the DMCA -- he only mentioned a C&D (cease and desist) letter. The DMCA may be involved, but he hasn't mentioned it that I'm aware of. But judging from what he said, he's talked to them a lot more than just having read a C&D that they sent him.

    • What claim does Sony (or whoever) have on the DVD Decrypter source code?
      Terms of extortion. They don't have any rights, in fact, if you read the author's post he states that he's also got to contact anyone who was mirroring the site and ask them to stop, then turn over a copy of that request to Sony (or whomever).

      This is what their lawyers came at him with if he wants the gun pointed somewhere besides his temple. I have no clue what license DVD Decrypter was under, but this is why the Free Software Foundation encourages authors who license code under the GPL to turn the copyright over to the Foundation. The FSF has more than $75 (approx conversion), to fight things like this.

      If you're going to write cool stuff that might get a legal posse out to lynch you (legally), you should consider a strategy like the one the FSF offers to protect your personal assets. It is still possible to stick it to the man, but you better act smarter than the man.

      IANAL, yet.
    • It would appear that the company more or less approached him and said. "We get to hijack your domain, steal all your source code, you stop all work on the project, tell your mirrors to do the same, and avoid referring to our company by name. You can either agree to this extortion, or fight it out in court where we have millions to pay a legal staff and you have jack." Okay, they probably spun it with language a bit more favorable to their firm, but that would be the gist of it.

    • Might makes right, I guess.

      Or, to quote an apropos line from a page on Wiley's [wiley.com] site for the book Brand Name Bullies:

      ...it may be entirely legal, but the distinction doesn't matter if you can't afford a lawyer.
  • by Ath (643782) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:30PM (#12739607)
    How many people do you think would pay a subscription fee to an offshore site that hosted such utilities? The issue is one of reimbursement to the software authors (for those who want it).

    There are plenty of countries that have no DMCA-type laws for such tools. If this were a just rule, the WTO would be suing the shit out of each media company that even put out region encoded DVDs, which clearly are intended as a restraint of free trade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:30PM (#12739608)
    ...don't try and be teh big 1337Z0r with 'look at me! I can hack your shit'.

    Instead make your code Open Source; share it, publish it immediately, don't publish just working binaries in the US on an American host. If you are from the US get someone else to publish it anonymously in a different country. Share. Share. Share. Why do people keep making the same mistake over and over and over ?

    Otherwise you are just trying to say I'm cool look what I can do. If you genuinely believe DRM is wrong then share your code and publishly anonymously.

    regards
    • by Rolman (120909) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:48PM (#12741067)
      Just look at Jon Johansen's story, it would've been a completely different thing if he didn't share the source code of DeCSS. Whether he's just a frontman for a group or not, he was willing to go all the way to defend his rights and has since become even more powerful. Shame on this LIGHTNING UK! idiot for not giving true meaning to his application and using it only as an ego-boost, I just hope he had fun while it lasted.

      Without Jon releasing the source code, there would be no T-shirts and haikus to show how stupid and simple it really was to crack the useless DVD protection. I'm pretty sure this new scheme is just as useless if it was cracked within 72 hours, but this very important message may now be lost forever.

      When will corporations learn? Only when us consumers show them the way. I'm all for copyright and IP protection (I come from a family of artists), I'm all against piracy and fully understand its terrible consequences (I live in one of the top 3 pirate countries in the world), I'm a loyal consumer and don't own anything counterfeit or pirated but I'm pissed that people like me are starting to get crippled and outdated versions of everything, including our rights.

      Last august I attended a presentation in Los Angeles of the new anti-ripping scheme Sony was developing for DVDs (don't know if it's the same but they DID mention DVD Decrypter). I was thinking "do these people really believe it will work?". I mean, the game consoles are meant to be closed standards and they still get cracked open in a matter of months, sometimes even days. How can they expect a protection scheme like that to work on an open standard like DVD? I wanted to scream "IT'S THE BUSINESS MODEL, STUPID!" during the presentation but I'm pretty sure I would've been kicked outside of the hall if I did.

      That didn't stop me, though. During the Q&A session I told them it just takes ONE clever person to rip the DVD and get it through the illegal distribution channels, they simply responded the scheme was aimed at the casual ripper. Some people (especially the ones from Disney) listened to my concerns and seemed to be more receptive, since they had a wonderful presentation that day, showing a deep and surprisingly honest study on the issue of copyright infringement and its distribution mechanisms, kudos to them.

      I'd say the moral of the story is to not keep your opinion to yourself, and that includes your code as a form of speech.
      • by pjrc (134994)
        Just look at Jon Johansen's story, it would've been a completely different thing if he didn't share the source code of DeCSS

        If you look back at the history of DeCSS, I believe you'll find that he did NOT actually share his source code. He refused to let anyone see it. But it leaked out due to an error on his part... don't recall if he was hacked or it was just unintentionally available by ftp on his site for a while.

        But nonetheless, he never intended it to be shared at all, much less open source. Bu

  • The developer has been forced to hand over all source code

    To which he replied simply, "I've posted it all to Usenet... you can get it off of there!" Seriously, cat's out of the bag, and even confiscating the developer's PC isn't going to make all those other copies go away.

  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad.YEATSco.uk minus poet> on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:33PM (#12739628) Homepage
    Thank You Google Cache [66.102.9.104]

    For now at least, that's the list of mirrors for the software - most still seem to be hosting it.
  • Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:33PM (#12739631)
    Thank goodness we live in a country where criminals like this can be easily dealt with by men of that most esteemed profession: lawyers. Can you imagine a world where consumers could backup their IP products so as to prevent repurchasing them in case they were lost/damaged? Or a world where consumers can use IP products on non-sanctioned deviced? And just thinking about a world where consumers could share things without paying? Thankfully we've effectively silenced the abomination that is the "Public Domain" (as if consumers could ever create quality IP worth preserving). But I digress...

    Hopefully this criminal will get what's coming to him: full forfeiture of all property and property owning rights, plus several years in an east Asian manufacturing compound for good measure.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:36PM (#12739651) Homepage
    Seriouslt, FUCK THEM!!! I was looking forward to getting one of those DVD players with a harddrive. I want to rip all my DVDs into DivX format so that I can just play them from the unit. For me, the application of ripping DVDs to another video format is the same as ripping audio to portable MP3 format.

    Fuckers! I will rip all the god damn DVDs I want. I will crack the encryption and encode the files. Go for it, jail me! Next time I get a job, they will laugh off my jailtime because I broke the DMCA law.
  • by foo23 (722487) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:37PM (#12739661)
    Yes, I made nearly the same post before, but it remains true:

    Cory Doctorow explained it very nicely (in his talk to the Microsoft Research group to be found here [craphound.com]):

    Cryptography - secret writing - is the practice of keeping secrets. It involves three parties: a sender, a receiver and an attacker [...]. We usually call these people Alice, Bob and Carol. [A few explanations of cipher, ciphertext and key] In DRM, the attacker is *also the recipient*. It's not Alice and Bob and Carol, it's just Alice and Bob. So Alice has to provide Bob - the attacker - with the key, the cipher and the ciphertext. Hilarity ensues.

    DRM systems are usually broken in minutes, sometimes days. Rarely, months. It's not because the people who think them up are stupid. It's not because the people who break them are smart. It's not because there's a flaw in the algorithms. At the end of the day, all DRM systems share a common vulnerability: they provide their attackers with ciphertext, the cipher and the key. At this point, the secret isn't a secret anymore.

    When will they ever understand?
    • by ssj_195 (827847) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:02PM (#12739839)
      When will they ever understand?
      They understand perfectly. They also understand that, thanks to bullshit laws like the DMCA, they can threaten to sue the (usually penniless) authors of the "cracks" and they will instantly cave, as has happened here. If, for whatever bizarre reason, the "offender" did not cave, they understand that they could financially drag the guy over the coals and ruin his life, making an effective example for anyone else who has any bright ideas about breaking their DRM schemes.

      They understand perfectly that technical solutions on their own aren't always tenable; they also understand that technical solution + threat of lawsuit == "teh win".

    • by uberdave (526529) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:06PM (#12739868) Homepage
      Don't you think they know this already? The various media concerns are trying to get the TV/DVD player/whatever to be Bob, while casting the consumer in the role of Carol. That's what all the fuss is about.
  • by Evil W1zard (832703) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:52PM (#12739767) Journal
    I am guessing that the Auto Check for New Updates feature is done via an HTTP Get from the home user's box so my question is that since the site is going to be under control of company X now can and will they use that feature to identify home users? Also a possibility is putting a bogus update on the web site so home users download a broken "new" version that won't work anymore... Not to be all conspiracy theory, but I think those situations are plausible. I for one will be turning off that check for updates feature promptly just in case...
    • Except that it is not illegal to have this software installed. Even if the author is forced to remove the software it is still innocent until proven guilty. They can't force people to uninstall software from their own computers.
  • by rindeee (530084) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:54PM (#12739777)
    Personally, I use HandBrake (the best ripper/transcoder in my opinion -- works on OS X and *nix, can rip high-def, transcodes to H.264 among others, Open Source). Why did they target just this one utility? It seems that they do this every so often; take out a single app among dozens. Thoughts?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:54PM (#12739781)
    Both the summary and TFA are quite mysterious about exactly what is going on. Was he served with a cease and desist letter? Or a DMCA takedown order? Or a court order of some kind? Or something else? Those are basic, very important questions, and they're completely unanswered. He only says that he was attacked as if by a pack of wolves.

    If it was a cease-and-desist: then it has no actual legal force (it's an unsupported demand from the writer, and the only immediate consequence of telling them to screw themselves is that they may then attempt to do something real instead), and if he didn't consult a lawyer before complying, I have no sympathy. And if he did consult a lawyer, I'd still like to know a lot more about what threat they made that made compliance appear advisable.

    If it was a DMCA takedown notice: that makes no sense because such a notice would only require him to take down his site - not "hand over" the domain registration or source code. I'm not sure what "handing over" the source code is even supposed to mean; did they demand a copy of it? Or that he stop distributing it? Or what?

    If it was a court order: then it is or ought to be in the public record. I want a case number, and the name of the court and the judge that issued the order.

    If it was something else: WHAT?
  • Fair Use Killer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kaorimoch (858523) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:16PM (#12739978) Journal
    This just goes to show how much power the DMCA gives work holders to kill off fair use. You can't have fair use rights if the mere addition of a copy protection device stops you from making backups. Well, *ahem*, it doesn't actually stop you but it is illegal to break that copy protection even in the pursuit of employing what you perceive as fair use rights with your *ahem* their property. Music, movies, TV and computer programs are all able to be copy protected. All big business needs to do is copy protect all of these media and fair use rights will be a memory, a piece of legislation killed off for everyone. In Australia, we are considering putting fair use rights in our copyright legislation, but the US forced DMCA provisions into our Free Trade Agreement and we are stuck with trying to find a way to employ fair use provisions with these severe restrictions on what we are allowed to do.
  • Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bogie (31020) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:28PM (#12740118) Journal
    That's just fantastic. If it was indeed the fault of one company what right do they have to all of his code and domain? I mean WTF? Since when is scumbag company X able to demand property from people without a judgement from a judge?

    Welcome to the new world of IP, no need for trial, hand over everything you own and pay your fine or we'll ground you into dust with our crooked lawyers and politicians.

    10 years from now we will be looking back at the 90's to 00's as the "Glory Days" when you could actually backup and control your software and hardware.

    I know its sounds totally cliche but when you find out whoever did this make sure and A) let them know you won't be buying from them again and way and also B) make purchases and them email them explaining exactly what you bought and how much they should have made from you.
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

      by nacturation (646836) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:10PM (#12740660) Journal
      If it was indeed the fault of one company what right do they have to all of his code and domain? I mean WTF? Since when is scumbag company X able to demand property from people without a judgement from a judge?

      Easy, it goes like this:

      "Dear Filthy Pirate,

      You created an illegal program, according to the DMCA. We know you're wrong. You know you're wrong. We have a near-infinite supply of money and lawyers to demonstrate that you're wrong. But rather than go to court and cost you untold tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees which you can't recover even in the remote chance that you're able to successfully defend yourself, we'd like to propose a settlement. Hand over everything... the program, the domain, the source code, a list of your friends and their email addresses and phone numbers, publish a public apology, and send us three bottles of the best 20 year old scotch... and we'll agree not to take this to court.

      Sincerely,

      Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe
      Attorneys at Law"
  • by dmeranda (120061) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:31PM (#12740161) Homepage
    The DMCA does not (yet) prohibit reverse engineering, nor does it prohibit you from decrypting anything. It only disallows the "trafficking" of the decryption tools that may be used to bypass copy control mechanisms on somebody else's content (without substantial other uses).

    But what if...
    1. I reverse engineer Company S's encoding method -- legal.
    2. I create an encryptor, which can be used to encode a disc using that same technique, and open encryptor code to public (as long as it can't directly decrypt) -- legal, with patent caveat.
    3. I create and publish my OWN content encoded using that method (to which I own the copyright) -- legal.
    4. I then create a decyptor program which will decrypt MY content, which has a built in simple password "copy control" mechanism (but since I'm lazy it's pretty trivial) -- legal.
    5. I open up my decryptor program with source for all people who download my content and pay me $1 for the "password key" -- legal?

    Now, by "conincidence", the password key which protects MY work for which you purchased a license, also just happens to decode all Company S's content too, since it uses the same legally reverse-engineered algorithms. But since that code was legally developed, and is used to protect MY OWN content, then can't I release it?

    Isn't the key to avoiding DMCA nonsense to create your own content...then don't you have the same right to protect and decrypt your own content as Company S does? Who says only S**y is allowed to create discs with intentionally corrupt sectors; and therefore only S**y can say who can write programs that ignore such sectors?
  • by guidryp (702488) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:36PM (#12740225)
    This was so fast I didn't even see it come down.

    http://www.torrentspy.com/directory.asp?mode=torre ntdetails&id=323316 [torrentspy.com]
  • by joneshenry (9497) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:38PM (#12740239)
    The environmental movement is a real political movement and actually has politicians pay attention to it from time to time because it can find people who are willing to take on the corporations in a courtroom.

    A prime example is the case of the McDonalds libel trial [bbc.co.uk] which turned into a major public relations disaster for McDonalds and for the government and which has some aspects still dragging on [bbc.co.uk].

    Note that due to the nature of England's libel laws even the pair involved in the litigation knew they had no chance of prevailing at trial; but they chose to sacrifice a huge chunk of their life because the damage done to them is far exceeded by the damage the movement could inflict on McDonalds.

    The difference then boils down to this--some people view causes such as the environment as being important enough to sacrifice their lives for. These people and their movement get results. Far fewer seem to feel that the concept of digital rights is important enough to sacrifice one's livelihood. I view the political system we have today is an arena of Darwinism for ideologies--survival of the fittest, the ones that can inspire people to make actual sacrifices.
  • Work around it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamghetto (450099) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:36PM (#12740949) Homepage
    What about releasing a GUI version of DVD Decrypter that lacks the ability to crack CSS encryption? It could talk to the DeCSS command line tool that you may or may not have on your computer. That way, couldn't everyone keep the DVD Decrypter they know and love and it'd be up to the person whether or not to break the law with DeCSS? :)
  • DRM Flawed (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamghetto (450099) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:45PM (#12741035) Homepage
    How are they going to create better copyright protection if its illegal to break it? Don't you generally make somethings security better by cracking it, then fixing what you just cracked?

    Perhaps not realistically, but at least theoretically, doesn't the DMCA encourage lazy/passive copyright protection schemes that as time passes will become increasingly easy to hack? Doesn't it give companies a false sense of security what it comes to protecting their valuable copyrighted material?

    You're not going to stop people decrypting dvd's by making it illegal, you're going to stop it by making the encryption better... in theory anyways. :)
  • by xquark (649804) on Monday June 06, 2005 @06:34PM (#12741530) Homepage
    There are no two ways about it, he should pull-a-netscape release the
    code and then let the community take care of the rest.

    Thats what any good netizen would do, wouldn't they? ;)

    Arash Partow
  • by D'Arque Bishop (84624) on Monday June 06, 2005 @08:41PM (#12742585) Homepage
    Heh, in my particular case, I actually bought a DVD BECAUSE of DVD Decrypter...

    I happen to be a big Doctor Who fan. A relative from Great Britain was coming to visit a few weeks ago, so I asked her if she could bring me the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie on DVD. When she brought it, I immediately used DVD Decrypter to make a region-free DVD-R copy. I now keep it in the same DVD case as the original, and use that whenever I want to watch it. The movie's not available in the States, so without DVD Decrypter I probably would not have bought the Doctor Who DVD.

    On a related note, I also used DVD Decrypter to rip the first CD of my original Battlestar Galactica DVD box set; not because I wanted to distribute copies, but to see if it could work around a flaw in the disc that crashed every player I put it in at one specific point. It took numerous tries to read that one sector, but it finally did. I ended up with a DVD-R copy that actually could play in my DVD player. It now sits in the BSG box with the original flawed disc.

    I wonder how many other people out there are in the same boat I am: not using DVD Decrypter so much to pirate or make copies to distribute, but to watch discs they would never have been able to otherwise....

    Just my $.02...

    (And yes, there probably is a way to make my DVD player region-free. It was just easier to make a disc that was region-free so I could take it whereever I go.)
  • by Frodrick (666941) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @06:42AM (#12745212)
    It may be too late for Lightning UK, but we need to develop strategies that will prevent the sourcecode of other great - but controversial - pieces of software from disappearing.

    The issue is control. How can an author maintain control over their program if they release the sourcecode? On the other hand, how can they get the sourcecode out after they receive a C&D Nastygram?

    What I propose is this: We all know that software can be released under multiple licenses (eg Proprietary and OpenSource) simultaneously. Suppose an Author releases his program under both licenses simultaneously - but only gives the opensource version to 2 or 3 trusted individuals (Who have agreed NOT to further distribute the program until the Author ceases development)?

    In this way, the Author would retain his control, but when he quits developing the program for any reason, it would be free for others to develop.

    This is somewhat akin to what the American press is fond of calling the "Nuclear Option", because forcing a developer to give up his program would become the very worst thing a media company could possibly do. In fact, I suspect that the simple announcement that a project is released under simultaneous Proprietary and Open Source (escrow) licenses would be enough to stop a media company dead in its tracks.

    Even the dumbest hunting dog won't attack a skunk twice.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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