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Censorship Software

Adobe Uses DMCA On Protocol It Promised To Open 203

Posted by kdawson
from the by-some-definitions-of-open dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite promising in January to open RTMP, Adobe has issued a DMCA take down request for an open source implementation of the protocol. The former SourceForge project page for rtmpdump now reports 'Invalid Project.' rtmpdump has been used in tools such as get_iplayer and get-flash-videos. Adobe is no stranger to the DMCA, having previously used it against Dmitry Sklyarov."
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Adobe Uses DMCA On Protocol It Promised To Open

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  • by javacowboy (222023) on Friday May 22, 2009 @09:47AM (#28052997)

    These kinds of shenanigans will turn off the open source community for good. Their half-hearted attempt to court the community by open sourcing their Flex toolkit, while leaving the underlying Flash runtime closed, will do them no good.

    Here's hoping JavaFX takes off and open sources the remaining proprietary extensions and the open source community has an RIA framework to rally around.

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:01AM (#28053193)

    JavaFX could great. But Sun has thus far missed a very, very important reason Flash is popular:

    It needs an easy to use, artist friendly IDE tool

    Targeting programmers exclusively with a programming language is half the reason why applets have failed to catch on.

    The plugins for art are a joke really.

  • Plus for Theora (Score:3, Insightful)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:06AM (#28053257)
    I tought Theora is useless on the web, given Flash is becoming open, but now I think standard way of video streaming (based on Theora) is *definetly* needed. I don't understand why project was deleted from SF? I mean, DMCA is used only in USA, so I, plus couple of other people, don't give a flying fuck about that. Why we follow least common denominator way of doing things, like accepting software patents, DMCA-shit ... whats next, integrating Chinese internet filters (thats valid law, just like DMCA) right into Kernel? How about reverse approach: making special (crippled) editions of software projects for countries with screwed up laws.
  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Swizec (978239) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:12AM (#28053323) Homepage
    Well that depends on how good your lawyers are. You could defend that it's a body of written text (albeit very short text) and someone copying it is infringing upon your copyright.

    Of course since this is the DMCA, you don't actually have to prove they were infringing or anything.
  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cruff (171569) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:19AM (#28053427)

    My understanding: Under the DMCA, you can be in trouble for possessing technologies that could be used to circumvent technological protections on copyrighted material.

    Let's just hit everyone living with a DMCA take down notice because they have a brain in their head! You never know, that brain might be used as a tool to circumvent a protection mechanism some time.

  • Re:Plus for Theora (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrMr (219533) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:20AM (#28053441)
    DMCA is used only in USA
    Must be thanks to the best legal system money can buy.
    As an old Adobe hater I try to avoid their stuff, but I downloaded a source tarball for good measure anyway.
  • Inaccurate summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:26AM (#28053527) Homepage

    "Adobe is no stranger to the DMCA..." That part is true. But the rest isn't true enough. It would be more accurate to say "...because they helped write it and pay for its implementation."

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mea37 (1201159) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:26AM (#28053537)

    Well, I believe you're correct, but it doesn't matter unless someone actually stands up to fight the point.

    MySQL or Adobe or anyone else can take whatever legal stand they like, no matter how bizarre. They issue a DMCA take-down notice, and there's a process for conteseting it. But even if the notice is completely invalid, if the other guy compiles and doesn't challenge them, then they get all benefit and no cost for their action.

    Unless and until trial, it doesn't matter what the law says; it matters who blinks.

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:31AM (#28053613)

    How can a copyright law be used to take down a protocol implementation? What copyrights were infringed? This would normally fall under patent law.

    Simple. You threaten someone who's spineless, and they cave. More people need to read:

    http://thepiratebay.org/legal.php [thepiratebay.org]

  • by mea37 (1201159) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:42AM (#28053757)

    Regardless of the legal merits (or lack thereof) of their claims, and regardless of the general sleeze factor, there's really one lesson we should all learn if we didn't know it already:

    A corporation, legal euphamisms aside, is not a person. You can't rely on its sense of honor, even if you think it believed it was making a true promise. You can't rely on it to have a single, consistent mind on any given issue. In short, a "promise" from a corporation means zero (perhaps less if the "promise" was in a press release). Licenses and contracts (in verifiable form - i.e. written and signed) can mean something, but without one you have no shield from liability if the company decides it didn't really promise what you think it promised.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:54AM (#28053937)
  • by ElmoGonzo (627753) on Friday May 22, 2009 @11:21AM (#28054375)
    As if any was needed. The splash screen took over input while waiting an eon for the plugin to load should have been a capital offense from the outset.
  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Friday May 22, 2009 @11:23AM (#28054401)

    One would think there is a difference between a tool used to circumvent copyright, and a tool that fails to enforce the copyright rules.

    I fail to see a functional difference

    For example, if a DVD player fails to implement a region code, is that culpable under the DMCA? Or if a FOSS PDF reader does not have the code that checks for unprintable documents, a DMCA violation?

    Yes and yes. Or if a DVD player fails to honor the "no skip" [afterdawn.com] flag for movie trailers.

    I'm trying to get my head around this. If a specification demands certain restrictions, and those are not implemented, then the implementations can be taken down under the DMCA...

    Correct. In fact, this is the DMCA's sole purpose in life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22, 2009 @11:26AM (#28054445)

    I would just like to say that the Dominate/Manipulate COnsumer Act is a conspiracy against users and developers of open/free software. It was no doubt bought and paid for by corporations and groups like the MPAA. That is why I call this the land of digital oppression. I can't even watch my own freaking DVDs.

  • Re:Plus for Theora (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pavon (30274) on Friday May 22, 2009 @11:49AM (#28054767)

    Even if flash opened up completely, all the codecs it uses for video are still proprietary, and Adobe has no leverage to change that even if they wanted to. So at best opening up Flash removes the need for SVG and the new HTML 5 webapp features. It doesn't change the need for an open video codec at all.

  • Now I am furious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hubert.lepicki (1119397) on Friday May 22, 2009 @12:10PM (#28055083)

    What these stupid guys at Adobe think they are doing? Well, I refuse since now to embed any flash video on any site. Go to hell and burn there, bastards.

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Friday May 22, 2009 @12:28PM (#28055373)

    Its all really stupid because ultimately displayable content is copyable and thats what they refuse to realize.

    What support do you have for the notion that because you can do something, you should be allowed to do that thing. The whole point of The Law is to restrict what we can but ought not to do -- passing laws that restrict actions that people cannot feasibly do ("It shall be illegal to eat the moon") is pointless. So, while I agree entirely on the technical point (displayable content is, in fact, copyable), I disagree very strenuously with the notion that this point alone proves that consumers ought to be able copy content marked 'display only' (perhaps there are other arguments for such an assertion, of course).

    As an example, let me posit this:

    What the GPL writers don't realize, of course, is that any program from which the source code is available can be modified and compiled into a closed source program. Because technological measures to prevent such a thing are impossible, I conclude that people that write GPL code are immoral/stupid/evil for insisting on terms that they cannot enforce by technological constraint.

    It's a classic is/ought problem -- you start with a factual statement and then derive a normative statement when the two are utterly unconnected.

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22, 2009 @12:59PM (#28055831)

    Damn, didn't think it that way.

    Okay, another try. So if I release something substantial and encode it such that it works _only_ with DeCSS-based players, it will turn the algorithm from a circumvention device to simply a player of this new format?

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday May 22, 2009 @01:45PM (#28056589)

    It's worked out pretty well, considering they're still in business, expect to be in business for another five years while the appeal goes through, have discredited the judge in their case, have launched a new business off the publicity, and have encouraged their supporters to elect people who support them not just at a national level, but at a European level. They're a few guys. Think how far on we'd be now if a few more had taken a similar stance. A critical mass of support for p2p could be reached pretty quickly, if people just stood up to be counted.

  • Copywriting the game rules

    I stopped reading at word one. The verb "to copywrite" means "to write promotional text", not "to secure copyright in". In Berne Convention member states, anything copywritten is automatically copyrighted, but confusing the two words is still a good indicator that one has not thoroughly read the copyright statute (Title 17, United States Code). Even if George H. Morgan is a professional engineer and a patent agent, that doesn't automatically make him knowledgeable in copyright law. Besides, a publication from the Copyright Office [copyright.gov] explains that per 17 USC 102(b), copyrighting a game's manual protects only the expression of the rules in the manual, not the method of operation embodied in the manual.

    the board design, the card designs, the packaging

    Aspects of the board design dictated by the game rules, such as that there are 40 spaces around the outside of a square, are uncopyrightable per the doctrines of merger and scenes a faire. Anything else, such as the background around the playfield, gets changed in clones.

    I'd assume the game patent expires after 20 years, but can be green-fielded by making changes ever decade or so.

    It would have expired in 2005 had Pajitnov and Elorg applied for one in 1985. But as I said, a search of USPTO's database turns up nothing assigned to Elorg or Tetris Holding.

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Friday May 22, 2009 @02:48PM (#28057539) Homepage

    1 year in prison can be very damaging to a person mentally and physically, especially if they are not tough and wise to prison life.

  • Re:Copyright law? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Friday May 22, 2009 @04:41PM (#28059029) Homepage

    What support do you have for the notion that because you can do something, you should be allowed to do that thing.

    People should not be allowed to commit arson, rape, or murder.
    The issue, the notion, is that people should have the ability to commit arson, rape, and murder.

    That is the insanity going on in this issue. The confusion of crimes vs abilities.

    Say someone owns a pile of logs. They are perfectly entitled to post a "flag" on those logs saying "do not burn". They are also perfectly entitled to cover those logs in fire retardant slime making it more difficult to burn those logs. The insanity going on here is the notion that the "do not burn" flag on those signs will actually prevent those logs from being burned, the insanity is the notion that the flag actually has any effect on whether or not it is legal to burn them, the insanity is the notion that speech explaining how to "circumvent" that slime should be criminal, the notion that having the ability to "circumvent" slime should be criminal, the insanity is the notion that the act of "circumventing" the slime to burn the logs should be criminal.

    I disagree very strenuously with the notion that this point alone proves that consumers ought to be able copy content marked 'display only'

    I most strenuously disagree with you there.

    No, I should not burn your logs. That is arson.

    Yes, I should have the ability to burn logs with a "do not burn" flag on them.
    Yes, I should have the ability to burn logs with fire retardant slime on them.
    Yes, I should have the free speech to explain how to "circumvent" fire retardant slime.

    You own your logs, you can put flags on them, you can put slime on them, and you can then go ahead and burn them if you like. They are your logs and it is not a crime for you to burn them. It is not a crime for you to ignore those flags, it is not a crime for you to "circumvent" the fire retardant slime.

    You can also sell those slimed & do-not-burn-flagged logs.
    Once I buy that log, it is not arson for me to burn the particular log I bought.
    Just because you sold it with a "do not burn" flag, does not mean it becomes arson for me to burn it.
    Just because you sold it with fire retardant slime on it, does not make it a crime for me to burn it.

    Someone can publish a book or a movie with a "do not copy" flag. Yes it is illegal for someone to make infringing copies. However it is not copyright infringement for a student to copy sentences out for a school book report, it is not copyright infringement for someone to make a backup copy of software, it is not copyright infringement for someone to format shift copy music to play on a different device, it is not copyright infringement for someone to copy a movie to edit out violent or sexual scenes for private performance to their children. Just because a movie is flagged "do not copy" does not make it copyright infringement for someone to engage in copying.

    No, people should not commit infringement.
    Yes, people should have the ability to "copy content marked 'display only'".

    Someone can publish a book or music or movie in piglatin in an effort to make it more difficult to copy. Yes, they have publish it in funky super-scrambled-piglatin to make it more difficult to copy. That's all DRM is - a somewhat more complex version of piglatin scrambling up the content.

    No, people should not infringe that piglatin scrambled content.
    Yes, people should have the freedom of speech to explain how piglatin works.
    Yes, people should have the freedom of speech to explain how to descramble piglatin.
    Yes, people should have the ability to descramble that piglatin.
    Yes, people should have the ability to copy that content.
    Copying does not equal infringement.
    People should not infringe, but yes they should go right ahead and copy when it isn't infringement.

    The intent of DRM-scrambling is to prevent copyright infringement. What

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