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US Entertainment Industry To Congress: Make It Legal For Us To Deploy Rootkits 443

An anonymous reader writes "The hilariously named 'Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property' has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But there's a bit that stands out as particularly crazy: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware."
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US Entertainment Industry To Congress: Make It Legal For Us To Deploy Rootkits

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:10AM (#43831775)

    These guys are the biggest thieves of the lot.

  • by blarkon ( 1712194 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:12AM (#43831779)
    What's really surprising is that torrents aren't infected up the wazoo with malware anyway.
  • Seriously.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wei2912 ( 2923897 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:15AM (#43831785)
    Maybe they should have a taste of how rootkits feel like.
  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bobakitoo ( 1814374 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:15AM (#43831787)

    I always been saying that the entertainment industry was the real pirate as what they were doing was closer to sailing the seas to sinking ship, steal booty and murder crewman then simply sharing data over the Internet. Now anyone not seeing it that way has no excuse.

  • Well yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:17AM (#43831801)

    "This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware."

    Enough said.

  • Exports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:17AM (#43831803)

    Let's say this does get legalised, somehow. Have fun trying to export any infected products to the rest of the world!

    And for everybody else trying to sell entertainment products made in the US, all the people who make sensible data with no rootkits in it, have fun trying to convince the rest of the world to trust you! People will just see "Made in the US" and read it as "This will destroy your computer" regardless of whether there's malware present or not.

  • Greyzone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:18AM (#43831807)

    So, if I do something that is legal but Sony thinks should be illegal then the laws are changed.
    If Sony does something that is illegal but they think should be legal then the laws are also changed.

    Seems reasonable.

    Also, never let a product with the Sony-logo into your home. You never know what approach they will use to contaminate your computer.

  • Sad Sad Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:19AM (#43831809)

    It deeply saddens me that people continue to support companies that pull this kind of crap.

    I'm sure that Sony/Microsoft et al would change their tune of their products weren't selling. But, when their selling millions of crippled or bugged titles, my lone voice is crushed by the cacophonous accusations of paranoia.

  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:24AM (#43831825)

    In fact, this proposal will probably be refused.

    But this is a strategy:

    1) propose a tough law
    2) wait for its refusal
    3) propose a "lighter" one

    Since the lighter one will appear innocuous and since the first one has been refused, the second will be accepted.
    And you can bet that they wanted to propose the "light" one first, but it would have been probably refused if submitted first.

  • Re:Well yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Technician ( 215283 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:29AM (#43831845)

    This will train the younger generation to harden their computers against future attacks. No Script, PDF Adobe Acrobat, IE, and other easy targets may finaly get secured as the avenue of attack is examined by security pro's.

  • fuck this shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <shentino@gmail.com> on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:32AM (#43831855)

    I do not trust a rent seeking organization of any sort to not "make mistakes" on calling people pirates.

    They're trying to be judge, jury, executioner, AND witness.

    These people sue grandmas and dead people to get settlements. I wouldn't trust them not to frame someone that happens to have a fat bank account.

    And even if they were simply incompetent, I still wouldn't trust them to actually care about making mistakes.

  • Teh Terrorists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:34AM (#43831875) Journal

    Use the fear.

    Obviously allowing media companies to deploy root kits will increase the number of vulnerable machines on our nations part of the internet. Assuming this some how only finds its way on to home PC it still leaves many machines more vulnerable to attack by additional malware which might make them botnet members which could be used in DDOS attacks against critical business sectors like Finance and Healthcare.

    Clearly the desire to do this shows the media companies behind it are irresponsible citizens endangering our national security at best actively aiding and abetting our enemies and terror organizations at worst. These are unAmerican activities and the industry participants need to be call out on it.

  • Re:Exports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:36AM (#43831889)

    Let's say this does get legalised, somehow. Have fun trying to export any infected products to the rest of the world!

    Do you live somewhere in the rest of the world?

    Have you heard the expression "To 'harmonize' the laws".

    That is how this will become legal where you live.

  • Re:Sad Sad Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:51AM (#43831963)
    What's really sad is your voice of reason sounds like paranoia to ordinary people. No one outside of tech circles remembers the rootkit fiasco.
  • Re:fuck this shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:53AM (#43831971) Journal

    They're trying to be judge, jury, executioner, AND witness.

    AND victim

  • by Lundse ( 1036754 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:04AM (#43832013)

    In the end, socalled IP can only be enforced in this manner: Control over the machines used by the buyers, ie. the potential buyers, ie. the rabble. Only when we no longer control our machines, can you "sell" access - you need a gateway to extract money! Since the "you need the LP/CD/DVD"-model has died, the only possible gate is access and control over the machine.

    So, the Free Software movement asks again: Who should own and control the machines we all use for work, entertainment, living?

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:17AM (#43832057) Homepage

    Are we still having this conversation in 2013? You lost. It's over. Our society at large accepts and supports file sharing for non-commercial use.

    But, sadly, the lawmakers will still do what they've been paid to do by these lobbyists, and the US has increasingly set themselves up to pin their future on copyright and all other forms of IP. They simply can't afford to do anything different now.

    So I fear they're going to keep pushing from their end as hard as they can. Eventually, I'm pretty sure they're going to want every general purpose computer to be built in such a way that they have control over it.

    Is anyone really entertaining the delusions of these detached, clueless, dinosaurs?

    Yes, the lawmakers who keep passing the laws they ask for.

  • by bdwoolman ( 561635 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:18AM (#43832065) Homepage

    Many large corporations, including the entertainment industry, are using -- or are looking at using -- proactive strategies as part of their security playbook. There was an interesting report on NPR [npr.org] concerning this a few months back. Currently, deploying malware is, to all intents and purposes, simply illegal. As it should be. These guys want a self-defense avenue for deploying destructive or surveillance programs against their perceived enemies. IMHO our corrupt congress will -- sooner or later -- be bribed into letting them have their way.

    YOYO. You're On Your Own.

  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:22AM (#43832085)

    If you want to be safe from malware, use torrents. It's "legal" downloads that are riddled with crap. Starting with the Java installer for Windows being bundled with Ask Toolbar malware, through big sites pushing repackaged open source stuff wrapped up in a rogue installer, up to most commercial games installing rootkits like SecuROM or Steam. And don't even start with "only light DRM" or by twisting the definition of rootkit to exclude Steam: it needs root, holds it, uses it against you, so it's a rootkit, period.

    In the Windows world, it's captain Anakata's bay where safest software comes from.

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:22AM (#43832089) Journal

    That is the value of having a torrent community. You go to a place like TPB and read the comments before downloading a torrent. People have a way of looking after each other when they are part of a community.

  • by lexsird ( 1208192 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:23AM (#43832105)

    Just think, your grandfather will also be voting too. He'll be sure to vote for those who support fighting these evil pirate scum and their foreign comrades.


  • Re:Exports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:26AM (#43832125)

    This would push things over the limit. No companies or government branches outside of USA(or even in USA!) would stand for this.

    How much do you want to bet?

    Our illustrious Federal Government of Australia (before or after the election, it'll make no difference) will just roll over and say "ooh, that's nice, tickle me just there, that's the spot..."

    That's what Free Trade Agreements are for. Just a formal way of saying "I'm your bitch".

  • by __aasehi2499 ( 1959610 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:28AM (#43832135)
    Of course, it stands to reason that if they are looking to make this practice legal, they are probably already engaged in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:42AM (#43832207)
    Steam is not a rootkit, no matter how much you dislike it.
  • Re:Wow ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:48AM (#43832249) Homepage Journal

    This is shameful, and I really hope the lawmakers tell them a big "no friggin' way".

    The lawmakers will tell them, "wow, this will be tough to get through. And I'm very busy with my reelection campaign and fundraising right, now - it's very hard to do fundraising in this economy. If only I didn't need to spend so much time fundraising I might be able to work on this."

  • by NFN_NLN ( 633283 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @11:34AM (#43832901)

    I hope they make this legal and I hope they have tons of false positives.
    I also hope I have enough popcorn... :)

  • Re:Sad Sad Sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @11:39AM (#43832933)

    Several nations already have a "media tax" on blank media to offset piracy.

    The way it works is that every time you buy a blank CD or a hard drive it is assumed that you will use it to store music from the major companies and they get a percentage of the money you paid for the storage.
    The Government will never force you to buy specific titles, they just make you pay for for content with the assumption that you pirated it.

    You may say that it is an irrational fear all you want, the fact is that it already is an implementation for it.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @11:47AM (#43832973)

    Think about it, the only way to avoid malware will be to pirate everything.

  • Re:Exports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:31PM (#43833291) Homepage Journal

    I like how you toss out a token reference to Democratic corruption, and then happily regurgitate, verbatim, the Democrats' talking point that "Republicans are the Party of No." It must be nice to live in a world where there is a political party that you trust to do all your thinking for you. Some of us don't have that luxury.

    By the way, to bring this back on point, let's not forget that the DNC is practically a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Media. Or that Chris Dodd is now chairman of the MPAA. When a Democrat inevitably introduces this legislation, I will be perfectly content to let Republicans play the "No" card.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:21PM (#43833567)

    Presumably hilarious by way of the inclusion of the words "American" and "Intellectual" consecutively.

    No, it's hilarious because you'd think that people writing opinions about what should or should not become law would understand that "theft" isn't possible with intellectual property.

    Intellectual property can be copied (possibly in a way that violates one or more laws), but it cannot be stolen.

  • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:25PM (#43833575)
    4) When people have become used to the "lighter" one, incrementally toughen the law until it's tougher than the law proposed in step 1.
  • by skywire ( 469351 ) * on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:43PM (#43833677)

    There is only one way to be an IP thief: commit the rare act of fraudulently assuming control over someone else's copyright, patent or trademark.

  • It can be stolen. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @02:33PM (#43833891)

    For example, if you take every copy of a work and lock it away, then it's been stolen.
    If you claim copyright or patent control over a work without valid justification, then it's been stolen.
    If you take from the public domain then copyright it so you alone now own it, it's been stolen.

    In all three cases, the right of others who have the right to copy have had that right removed at least semi-permanently (if you get your stolen iPhone back, it doesn't mean it wasn't theft).

    What ISN'T theft is making your own copy of something. Unless you stole someone else's copy, rather than make your own.

  • by sirsnork ( 530512 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @04:27PM (#43834755)

    And this will only make it worse, if you were a Joe Sixpack who saw this headline on a news site and currently purchased say, 50% of your music/vmovies and pirated the other 50%.

    Would you continue purchasing given the chance your computer will be locked down, or would you just pirate all your music/movies now to be sure they can't install any rootkit?

  • by UltraZelda64 ( 2309504 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @06:11PM (#43835503)

    I was under the impression from reading TFA that this is about the media companies, Hollywood and friends (okay, assholes is more appropriate...), not software developers. These scumbags are some of the worst for trying to manipulate various laws, including copyright, for their own gain at the expense of everyone else. This is just a new low. And by low, I mean fucking l-o-w. This is ridiculous. It's stealthy trespassing, privacy invasion, vandalism and all kinds of other nasty shit all rolled into one.

    I mean, come the fuck on... they want it to be legal to infiltrate people's private networks with worms, trojans, rootkits, etc.? They want to compromise the security of private networks and computers around the world, as long is it's not theirs and it benefits them? They want to be able to legally fucking use my own computer's camera to take pictures of me in my own private property? What the fuck? They can go fuck themselves up the ass, sideways, with a serrated knife.

    Seriously, this is the kind of shit that if anyone does, it's an open invitation for the FBI to come knocking on your door, arresting your ass on the spot, and setting you up for some serious charges and prison time. And these companies want to be able to do this themselves without getting caught... but for it to remain illegal for anyone "else" who isn't them? I'm amazed at this bullshit. Everyone that is a part of this idea and the MPAA in general: FUCK YOU.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson