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MPAA College Toolkit Raises Privacy, Security Concerns

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the educating-the-educators dept.

Privacy 188

An anonymous reader writes "The Motion Picture Association of America last month sent letters to the presidents of 25 major universities (pdf), urging them to download and install a 'university toolkit' to help identify students who were downloading/sharing movie files. The Washington Post's Security Fix blog reports that any university that installs the software could be placing a virtual wiretap on their networks for the MPAA (and the rest of the world) to listen in on all of the school's traffic. From the story: 'The MPAA also claims that using the tool on a university network presents "no privacy issues — the content of traffic is never examined or displayed.' That statement, however, is misleading. Here's why: The toolkit sets up an Apache Web server on the user's machine. It also automatically configures all of the data and graphs gathered about activity on the local network to be displayed on a Web page, complete with ntop-generated graphics showing not only bandwidth usage generated by each user on the network, but also the Internet address of every Web site each user has visited. Unless a school using the tool has firewalls on the borders of its network designed to block unsolicited Internet traffic — and a great many universities do not — that Web server is going to be visible and accessible by anyone with a Web browser."

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188 comments

leet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454317)

nice social engineering

Re:leet (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455187)

You know what they say... If it looks like a rootkit and smells like a rootkit, it's a rootkit.

Which 25 universities? (5, Insightful)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454319)

I don't see the universities listed anywhere in the article. Which ones are they? We need to know so we can write them letters.

Re:Which 25 universities? (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454495)

I've noticed that some articles elsewhere used 40 universities in 25 states.

MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454323)

This makes no sense. What are they going to accomplish by going after college kids, who really don't have that much disposable income? It seems counter-productive to me. You piss off a bunch of college kids, who can't afford to spend money on movies anyway, and who are going to earn money in the future, and will probably chose not to spend their money on movies, since the MPAA were being dicks. Not to mention the horrible invasion of privacy and security issues.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (-1, Flamebait)

compumike (454538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454389)

This makes no sense. What are they going to accomplish by going after college kids, who really don't have that much disposable income?
Sometimes it's not about the money. Sometimes, it's about right and wrong. These are kids who should know better, and are committing lots of infringement (and worse than that, think it's OK). It's a self-reinforcing behavior to see lots of people around you pirating, but if instead you see people suffering the consequences for their illegal downloading, that activity will be deterred.

The privacy/security issues involved in the software they are trying to distribute definitely spook me. But I'll tell you what doesn't spook me at all: having the RIAA or MPAA or MediaSentry monitoring P2P networks, looking for their copyrighted material. It's the only way to stop this disturbing trend where a whole generation is growing up believing that the only things with value are physical items. Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works.

--
Educational microcontroller kits for the digital generation -- great gift! [nerdkits.com]

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454431)

These are kids who should know better, and are committing lots of infringement (and worse than that, think it's OK).

You must DEFINITELY be new here!

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (5, Insightful)

KaptajnKold (575207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454471)

Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works.



This of course is where we all disagree. I happen to believe - strongly - that you're wrong about this. Already we're seeing smart people (e.g. Madonna) distancing themselves from the labels and signing contracts with concert bookers instead. There will always be people interested in producing intellectual works, and there will always be people who will find a way to profit from it. With or without IP.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454487)

In theory I agree with you, but college students really don't care about such minor things such as copyright infringement, just like they don't care about breaking the law by puffing some weed. The MPAA isn't going to be teaching any lessons to college students.

Open letter to the MAFIAA (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454515)

Dear MPAA and RIAA:

You've noticed that the number of students who think downloading movies and music via the internet is OK. Well, here's some news for you:

Vox populi, vox Dei.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454625)

'Vox populi, vox Dei.'
I hope this applies to paying taxes too.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454759)

I hope this applies to paying taxes too.

Good point. Perhaps i should clarify. MAFIAA prices are insanely high. You don't expect consumers to just sit there and buy obediently, right?

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455089)

If it's too expensive, I expect them not to buy it.

Then, the price would have to be reduced.

Anyone obtaining music by illegal means is no longer part of the market, as they neither buy, nor sell.
Therefore, they cannot have a say in what the price of the goods should be.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (1)

nuggetman (242645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454643)

Vox populi, vox Dei.

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454927)

Nice.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (3, Funny)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454985)

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

Utinam coniurati te in foro interficiant.

Re:Open letter to the MAFIAA (3, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454693)

leges sine moribus vanae

and worse than that, think it's OK (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454555)

but it is ok comrade.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (3, Interesting)

saintsfan (1171797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454599)

uhm.. people's consuming habits change over time, and their reletive economic situation influences that greatly. the way i see it: worst case scenario (to the corporate interests)- they never buy a movie or cd in their life and just "steal" them all. so what? they were apparently never going to anyway so they aren't actually losing anything other than the right to say - "hey you didnt pay me so you cant watch or listen". thats not much. at least they arent taking them out of the stores.. "the other option" best case- they become avid movie and music fans and when they get good jobs after school they start buying lots and lots of it. likely case- they'll download a bunch of crap and lose it over time between drive failures and lost ipods. they'll fall out of the scene or get distracted by other stuff and be normal consumers the companies like. they (the hellbent company police) need to be careful. if they alienate everyone by spying on them (and subjecting them to invasion by the truely dark spots on the internet), getting their schools financial aid pulled, getting their right to use the internet taken away, suing the pants off broke people, they could start an underground revolution that seeks only to destroy them back. as a matter of fact, it sounds to me like this might have already begun. that is the only real long term threat to their businesses i see, but they won't unless it bites them on the ass.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454605)

Sometimes it's not about the money. Sometimes, it's about right and wrong. These are kids who should know better, and are committing lots of infringement (and worse than that, think it's OK). It's a self-reinforcing behavior to see lots of people around you pirating, but if instead you see people suffering the consequences for their illegal downloading, that activity will be deterred.
I agree, Right and wrong must be considered. So you have a very minor wrong of college kids viewing content without paying for it, and a very major wrong of sacrificing peoples privacy and introducing a new potential source of security compromises. It's very clear this initiative must be rejected on the ground you specified.

There is also a bit of thorn here. People who consume more will often consider it more important. There is a very strong correlation with "Frequent Copyright infringer" and "good customer". So the MPAA wants to reduce one without reducing the other. The RIAA completely botched it and didn't see the correlation. Their sales may hurt as people try to find alternatives. MPAA is slightly more fortunate that since movies are larger infringement is less casual and high quality products mroe difficult to produce (for music the difference between a $1500 recording and a $5 million recording isn't always obvious. But the difference between a $1500 movies and a $5 movie sis blatant).

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (2, Informative)

rolfc (842110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454621)

"Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works."

Since Copyright is relatively new, you are actually saying that no intellectual works were produced before somone invented the Copyright law?

The scarcity is produced by the state, with help of Copyright law, to help producers of intellectual works recieving monoy for their work. What is actually happening is that the Copyright law has been kidnapped by the media industry and is used against the most part of intellectual producers to the benefit of a few ant to the benefit of media industry. Less than 10 % of what you pay for a song, end up in the hands of the producer of the Work.

Copyright law is flawed and should be reviewed in the interest of the society instead, as now happens, in the interest of media industry.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454623)

I don't pirate, I buy CDs. However, I do not do so while I am in any industrialized country. Why? They charge too much. That's a core reason behind piracy. Sell singles for $2 and albums for $5-$8 like in China (I'm talking legit albums with jewel case and the works, not those commercially pirated ones that go for $.50) and WITHOUT DRM (I cannot say how many times I've had to boot into Mac OS just to get around some stupid Copy Control scheme and actually copy the CD I own to my cellphone- thank god for OSx86) and you'll see people turn away from piracy.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

arevos (659374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454691)

It's the only way to stop this disturbing trend where a whole generation is growing up believing that the only things with value are physical items.
Leaving aside all other arguments, I don't think this can be prevented. Increases in bandwidth and storage space make it easier to share information, and consequently, more difficult to limit the spread of information. This trend shows no signs of slowing, and so I can't see copyright infringement becoming any less prolific.

Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works.
The open source movement produces plenty of intellectual work without having to resort to artificial scarcity, and I doubt that everyone interested in music or writing is motivated by financial interests alone.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454821)

Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works.

Up until now I thought that 'intellectual work' most — if not all (which is an issue of definition) — time is happening in a space rather detached from (normative) 'economic principles'. Of course *AA trolls might think otherwise.

CC.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454857)

Sometimes, it's about right and wrong

Couldn't agree more. The problem is that you seem confused about who is right. Your comment indicates a certain lack of awareness of the real societal issues (check out some of Ray Beckerman's [blogspot.com] writings if you want to get a handle on them.) Perhaps you work for a media company. Regardless, there's a lot more going on here that meets the eye.

I would also recommend reading the relevant portions of the Constitution, the history of copyright and its true purpose, current copyright law (what I was able to understand of it as a non-lawyer is depressingly unbalanced), and most important of all discover what the Founders (Jefferson in particular) believed is the proper role of copyright in our society. Once you understand that, you will see just how damaged we have been by the recent divergence in purpose, from promoting "the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries" to "securing endless revenue streams for companies that have effectively stolen rights to the works whose authors they claim to represent." The power of Copyright has been conscripted by some particularly evil individuals, with the willing complicity of certain members of Congress. I presume you're an American: given our traditions of freedom and respect for individual rights I am amazed that you could take the position you have. Bankrupting college kids is not a solution: if you think it is you are in error, and are part of the problem.

The problem here is not copyright infringement: it's media companies setting themselves up as private police forces, with unchecked surveillance and enforcement capabilities, and no due process. That goes very much against the grain of, well, pretty much every civilized nation on the planet. These are powers that should be reserved for legitimate government, not the private sector. And don't even start with "they'll have their day in court" or "if they're innocent they have nothing to worry about." Would that were true, but of the thousands of people sued by the RIAA, how many people have actually fought back? How many had the resources to even try to fight back? A tiny fraction: the rest settled out-of-court regardless of actual guilt, the RIAA having served as judge, jury and executioner, using "evidence" (and I use the term loosely) that is largely manufactured out of thin air. Furthermore, the RIAA (and the MPAA) is much like the Internal Revenue Service ... it's composed of a bunch of bad dudes, not the kind of people you want having any power over you whatsoever. The facts are thus: the media companies and their "trade organizations" have behaved very irresponsibly all down the line, and have hurt a lot of people. They absolutely should not be granted one iota more power. If anything they need to have their wings clipped. Period. END OF STATEMENT.

Furthermore, you seem to have forgotten that this is supposed to be a nation by, of and for The People. If we, as a nation, have decided that extended copyright and strict enforcement is not something we need or want then nobody, certainly not a bunch of mere copyright holders who themselves have created nothing have any moral high ground here whatsoever. It's a blind, unfounded assumption on your part that we need to get tough on copyright infringement, indeed that we need such extreme laws in the first place. I would argue that we never have, and do not now.

What we have here is a classic example of unenlightened capitalism, the kind of no-holds-barred screw-everyone-but-ourselves school of business management that does nothing but enrich a few at the expense of everyone else, causing a fair amount of collateral damage in the process. Worse yet, our entertainment industry (which at the present time is composed largely of foreign-owned corporations who have no business sticking their noses into our legal system) steal from the actual creative minds on the one hand, and rip off their customer base with the other. So far as I'm concerned, they can take their hypocritical, money-grubbing ways and stick 'em where the Sun don't shine. We don't need them, and we don't need what they've done to our legal system any more than you need a brain aneurysm.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

mr_josh (1001605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454907)

If the MP/RIAA had handled this differently, the whole situation would be different. IF they weren't such obviously scummy, underhanded organizations, the whole situation would be different. If they hadn't escalated what was essentially one P2P network's activity (Napster) to the level of a full-scale war, fought with frivolous lawsuits which rather much made mockery of the American legal system, the situation would be so very different. YES taking someone's IP without paying when money is demanded is stealing. And I don't condone it. At the same time, I so completely understand why people are able to relax their moral center just a tick when they see how completely prickish and stuck in the stone age that the MPAA and RIAA are. When million of dollars are spent on ads that are hurled in your face from billboards, web ads, TV ads, and radio ads, day-in, and day-out, and at the same time the mouth pieces for the MPAA and RIAA are essentially telling their customers, "Fuck you, you need us, and we'll make consuming our product as painful as we want it to be, you're all fucking criminals." Well that tends to make people feel just a smidgen less guilty about downloading a song or two. FWIW, I pretty much buy everything from band websites or iTunes.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454947)

Scarcity is a necessary economic principle even for intellectual items, and without it, you won't see anyone interested in producing intellectual works.
1. I am producing lots of intellectual works and never got paid for them. I just happen to like to create them.
2. If the only reason to limit access to a resource of plenty is creating the ability for a few to profiteer from it, then I would call this theft. That's like putting soldiers around a well to allow a person to sell more bottled water.
3. The intrinsic value of information lies in the fact that it is connected to other pieces of information, and the value of information increases if it can be connected to more information. Limiting the ability to interconnect information is thus degrading the value of said information.
4. There is always the famous quote (sometimes attributed to Isaac Newton or Robert Hooke, but both were also just quoting, thus pirating valuable intellectual property!): "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." There is no work of Art or invention or other intellectual work that stands all for itself. It is always the result of a huge body of knowledge and art it builds on. Limiting access to this body of knowledge is limiting the ability to create new intellectual works.
5. Thus, while the argument that a creator should be able to somehow get rewarded for his creation, has something for itself, it's not the sole reason for the creation itself. There are many others, and limiting access to creative works is in fact reducing the ability or the joy of new creation. Encouraging creative works thus has to take other things in consideration, and access to already created works is one of the most basic things.
6. Most economies were growing fastest at the moment, when limits of access to the body of knowledge were lifted, when duplication of works was getting cheaper, when monastry libraries were opened to the public, when access to universities was facilitated, when the number of people learning a music instrument by playing music works was increasing, in fact when creative works were turned from a scarce resource to a nearly unlimited source.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455007)

Right or wrong, the distribution model these companies are using is dead in the water. Attacking their consumer base, even if that consumer base is acting badly, is only going to hasten their demise. From the very beginning they have refused to adapt, demanding the government and the courts keep an outmoded business model going. The technology is such that no matter what they do, they can never stop it.

Oh, and before we start moaning about poor old RIAA and the MPAA, let's remember that it's RIAA's members who spent decades ripping off artists (go look up Bo Diddley and payola sometime to see just how vile and repugnant the record companies have been), and the MPAA whose members have accounting practices that should lead just about every Hollywood producer and studio head being sent to jail. These guys are crooks themselves, and so far as I'm concerned, when two groups of crooks get into a turf war, I say let 'em fight it out without any government or court involvement. At the very least, the government should be demanding that RIAA immediately start paying with interest to all those artists they fucked out of royalties for years, and the MPAA go back two decades and audit their collective books on movie profits, and pay, with interest, all the taxes they scammed and pay back all the investors they screwed. Then, and only then, should anyone even give these crooks the time of day.

As to the artists, well, there are other ways of doing things. As I said a day ago, Shakespeare and his theater company did quite well without the benefit of copyright laws.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454421)

Anybody have a copy? I'd like to pick this apart.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (3, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454445)

"This makes no sense. What are they going to accomplish by going after college kids, who really don't have that much disposable income? It seems counter-productive to me."

they're trying to scare them into not pirating. The MPAA is scared to death that it will simply be ingrained in our culture (as it has in some other society's cultures) that piracy is perfectly OK.

We'll see how this plays out. Back in the 80's I pirated lots of software, and I heard stories of other teenagers being caught for it. Now that I'm an adult, I'm no longe a pirate. The prosecution of software pirates in the 1980s didn't push me into a life of hoisting the Jolly Roger; on the contrary, once I got a job and learned more about how the real world works, I prefer to respect the copyright of others.

I agree with you that many of the college kids who are pirates today will continue to be as they enter adulthood, but that percentage may not be as high as we might think.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454687)

We'll see how this plays out. Back in the 80's I pirated lots of software, and I heard stories of other teenagers being caught for it. Now that I'm an adult, I'm no longe a pirate. The prosecution of software pirates in the 1980s didn't push me into a life of hoisting the Jolly Roger; on the contrary, once I got a job and learned more about how the real world works, I prefer to respect the copyright of others.
Piracy did wonders for Microsoft and likely photo, Maya, Lightwave, and many other programs. The cost of these programs puts them out of reach of kids, and kids are the ones who will pick up these essential skills fastest. So if you acclimatized children to your software you basically create future customers. A kid may find he loves 3d work and set his life on a course as a Maya guru. Anyone else will think it's insane spending $3,000 on a box and a CD. So it's int he best interest of people to ensure some version of their software is pirated or provide a non business free non-expiring demo but to also ensure businesses are prosecuted for use without paying. This way you get the benefit of more paying users.

The thing with piracy is once you get enough money (first job) it's less attractive to spend 2h filtering through torrents to download a season 30 min TV show then it is to spend $80 on the box set. So Piracy may set up the appetites the same way it does for software and convenience and economics convert them to customers.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454855)

"Piracy did wonders for Microsoft and likely photo, Maya, Lightwave, and many other programs. The cost of these programs puts them out of reach of kids, and kids are the ones who will pick up these essential skills fastest."

Which I believe is EXACTLY why the BSA (the software industry's equivalent of the MPAA) hasn't made college kids their primary target. They tend to go after the businesses, which have the money and should know better.

"The thing with piracy is once you get enough money (first job) it's less attractive to spend 2h filtering through torrents to download a season 30 min TV show then it is to spend $80 on the box set. So Piracy may set up the appetites the same way it does for software and convenience and economics convert them to customers."

It's less attractive now, but I believe the MPAA's fear is that the larger thir "culture of piracy" boogeyman gets, the easier it will become (with more people writing better tools and seeding the content).

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455131)

The thing with piracy is once you get enough money (first job) it's less attractive to spend 2h filtering through torrents to download a season 30 min TV show then it is to spend $80 on the box set.

I know one of the first torrents (one of my friends) ever downloaded was _all_ Futurama episodes. (He) just set it running in the background and in a while it completed. It does not take time and effort to download masses of copyrighted material easily. (He's) not actually bought those Futurama episodes yet, because of a lack of money, though (he) does plan to when (he) can. This is not lost revenue for anyone, since (he's) not had the money to buy those episodes in the first place (yes (he is) poor).

The point I'm kind of trying to make is that pirating loads of stuff is easy. In a lot of ways, it's easier than buying box sets. (He) now has a simple directory in which all Futurama episodes are contained, rather than however many DVDs and boxes sitting around. (He) uses the same screen as (his) TV/monitor, so no picture quality issues. DVDs are _less_ convenient for (him) than files on the computer. If (he) bought the DVDs, (he) probably wouldn't watch them, (he'd) _still_ watch the files he downloaded illegally.

And the killer twist... (I) am he!!!!

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454877)

Unless you were making copies and selling them, you weren't a pirate anyways. No need to make yourself sound worse than you were, unless you just like the notoriety. No argument that you were committing a crime ... it just wasn't piracy.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455045)

In the 80's i also pirated lots of software. Nowadays i still download pirated software.

The difference is that nowadays, if i actually continue to use the software i download beyond testing it, I'll buy it, even if the CD will forever sit in a shelve at my place never to be used.

The only reason i don't outright buy the software (mostly games) and skip the download, is that I've been burned once too many when i bought over-hyped software that turned out to be one big, steamy pile of bug-ridden shit.

With music, I've stopped buying CDs when the first "copy protected" CDs started coming out: I'm not interested in a CD which i cannot rip into MP3s for playing in my MP3 player and i don't have the time to go check which CDs are copy protected and which are not, so i simple stopped buying CDs altogether. I still download MP3s once in a while ... wouldn't mind buying the tracks as MP3, but since i the record companies don't seem to be interested in selling me the MP3s, i can't buy them.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454447)

This makes no sense. What are they going to accomplish by going after college kids, who really don't have that much disposable income? It seems counter-productive to me. You piss off a bunch of college kids, who can't afford to spend money on movies anyway, and who are going to earn money in the future, and will probably chose not to spend their money on movies, since the MPAA were being dicks. Not to mention the horrible invasion of privacy and security issues.

They're not chasing the money. They're chasing the people who can be made examples of.

They're not trying to find people who can pay the settlements -- they're looking for people they can establish the legal precedent and scare the crap out of people. In their mind, if they can stop it in the places where it happens most, and instill in people a great fear, then people will dutifully line up and buy tickets. This is all about the low-hanging fruit and those that can't easily defend themselves.

The MPAA doesn't give a flying fuck about privacy and security, at least not yours -- they care about their products, their revenue stream, and their business model.

You'll notice that just a few days ago we say a story of how an *AA sponsored bill is working its way through Congress which would require all universities to buy subscriptions for every student to Napster or risk losing federal support. In other words, they want to get paid for every single university student on the rationale that since they're all pirating, then the *AA's should get paid. Of course, they'll eventually want to extend to high schools, and then eventually to the rest of us.

What they're looking for is laws to reinforce their monopoly, government agencies to police their copyrights, and federally assured revenue streams. They don't give a rats ass about customers or the risk of how they might be perceived. They're incapable/unwilling to look at the bigger picture. I can understand their point to an extent -- they simply cannot fathom how to 'monetize' all of these digital things, and they're fighting back the only way they know how.

In their collective minds, if you can't afford to pay to see/hear/hum their products, you should simply do without. And, since they haven't been able to stop it, they're perfectly willing to shit in everyones shoes to get it stopped. If they can get government to do the heavy work, all the better for them.

Cheers

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Interesting)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454521)

the disturbing part and the best example to date that the united states is now a fascist state(merger of large corporations and the government), is that they want the state and your tax money to pay for the police doing their dirty work.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454589)

Not fascism [wikipedia.org] . That's not the right term.

Properly, you're describing an oligopoly [wikipedia.org] (or maybe an oligarchy [wikipedia.org] ).

The US hasn't gotten anywhere near fascism yet, and not even where the ideology would take them. Just because companies are tied closely to lawmakers, that doesn't make you fascists. People like to bandy that term about, but it's not applicable in this context.

Cheers

1984! 1984! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455061)

Stop oppressing me with words you commie nazi fascist!

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454537)

You're not thinking like a MPAA/RIAA executive. MPAA/RIAA executives don't think logically with a long-term outlook. They think in terms of control and monetization over the short term. Will Action A have repercussions 5 years from now? Who cares? I (hypothetical RIAA/MPAA executive) will have made enough money to retire by then anyway.

Illegal downloads take music/movies out of their control. They won't admit this, but this issue is more important to them than the money. They don't care if the film downloaded was one that was otherwise sitting in the vault, available only on a dozen VHS copies left over from a network broadcast ten years ago. It's their property and if they want it to sit in the vault gathering dust, we the public should kiss their feet thanking them for that decision.

As far as the money is concerned, they think that these actions will make pirating movies less attractive which will drive more people to buy/rent movies and/or watch movies in the theater. No, don't argue back that pirated copies versus legal copies that would have been bought isn't a 1:1 ratio. Stuff like "ratios" sounds ominously like math to these executives. The only math they care about is the rate at which money is flowing into their pockets.

And speaking of "rate at which money is flowing", they feel entitled to constantly increasing profits year after year. After all, they've given us such quality works as Boy Band #34 and Third Sequel Of Generic Action Movie - Now With More Explosions. Why aren't we, the public, rushing out to the stores and shoving money into their pockets for this stuff? After all, Boy Band #7 did really well and they were basically the same guys as #34. Also, Generic Action Movie did pretty well in the box office. Why shouldn't the third sequel pull in even more money? (After all, the studio executives made sure the director added more explosions since they [the execs] knew that is what the public wanted.) Any appeals to logic about how spending money is tighter, how people have more options (online entertainment, video games, etc), or how quality is declining fall on deaf ears. After all, they got profit in the past and that means they should get bigger profit now. The only explanation has to be those dirty, rotten Internet pirates.

Of course, all of this isn't meant to excuse downloading something without the copyright owner's permission. I still think that you shouldn't do that. At the same time, however, I don't think that the MPAA/RIAA are living in the real world with some of the actions they have taken (and some of the things they have tried to get done). At best, they've lost whatever moral high ground they would have had. At worst, they've become so criminal that people committing massive copyright infringement actually have a degree of moral high ground over them.

In addition,

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454637)

"You're not thinking like a MPAA/RIAA executive. MPAA/RIAA executives don't think logically with a long-term outlook."

Oh, no, quite the contrary. While we may not agree with the MPAA's reasoning, they are going after the universities because of the long-term implications. It's the very same reason that car companies and cigarette companies go after the young-adult market: to create customers for life. In this example, the MPAA is distributing this network monitoring tool because their concern is that once children go to college and start getting heavily into piracy to acquire their movies, they'll keep doing it as they become adults. They are very much taking a page from the automobile, cigarette, and countless other industries.

"The only math they care about is the rate at which money is flowing into their pockets."

Which is what most companies care about... even not-for-profits. The MPAA represents the economic interests of the film studios, and the film studios -- like all companies -- must continue to make money to survive. It's tough to play the greed card here when most of us work for companies that also strive to make a profit each quarter.

"At best, they've lost whatever moral high ground they would have had. At worst, they've become so criminal that people committing massive copyright infringement actually have a degree of moral high ground over them."

Agreed; many people subscribe to the "two wrongs make a right" philosophy when coming up with rationalizations for piracy. But, this is a given: most people who pirate don't feel particularly bad about what they're doing. Throwing around words like "criminal" when describing copright holders is an effective way to make piracy feel okay.

Harvard (3, Funny)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454541)

This is why they don't sue anyone at Harvard, they know in the long run that would create lawyers who dislike them.

Re:MPAA Chasing the Money? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454661)

This makes no sense. What are they going to accomplish by going after college kids, who really don't have that much disposable income?

It makes hasbeens[1] like Gene Simmons happy?

Seriously, it has one positive effect -- it increases the loathing the public feels for the MAFIAA, and helps hasten to change to different and better creative arts distribution models.

[1]: In my opinion, artists are entitled to pay, like the rest of us, as long as they create. Once the creating stops, the money should stop too. If Gene Simmons doesn't make music and doesn't perform, he should live on his savings or starve.
The whole point of copyright laws was to promote the arts and sciences, which you don't do by giving an artist so much money that he doesn't have to create anything more. Chop the copyrights down to two or three years, and you'll find that the artists will have to continue creating while still being protected while making more money than anyone else on their work, and still have an income while creating their next work, which was the whole point of copyrights in the first place.
Alternatively, they can keep the ownership to their creations indeterminably, as long as they don't release it to the public in exchange for copyright protection, but find other distribution models (like contracts). They have that choice now, but few if any exercise it, because copyrights are mandatory and take place anyhow.

zonk posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454325)

can we tag all zonk posts "the end is near! repent!" and move along like we do with all the homeless crazies brandishing tinfoil hats and shouting on the streetcorners?

Any university that installs that has a problem. (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454327)

Any university that installs that has a problem. University networks are constantly "played with" by students, so the IT department has to be on the ball. Any dumb enough to install this probably have had many student hacks already...

Re:Any university that installs that has a problem (1)

Pazy (1169639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454459)

Thats true, I Spent the majority of my first week at college figuring out how the firewall worked and bypassing to so me and the other guys in my class can play Quake 3 and stuff :D
Then I reconfigured the network boot process to not load up the (local) firewall so we can download new games to play, it also booted up a hell of a sight faster. I told the IT guys id messed with it, left it to them to fix it :P Lots of fun.

Xubuntu (3, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454337)

Nice. For those of you that didn't read TFA, the toolkit is basically Xubuntu, with some tools like Snort preinstalled.

Re:Xubuntu (5, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454351)

An MPAA tool that runs on Linux... I can see a few Slashdot heads exploding from that conflict this very minute.

Re:Xubuntu (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454419)

Hmm. All of the MPAA tools I can think of ran on liquor and steak (Jack Valenti)

Re:Xubuntu (1)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454615)

When the RIAA were asked if they'd be providing their own tool to deal with college kids, they responded by stating that Gene Simmons would be available for interviews shortly.

Re:Xubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455239)

Oh that's silly. I RFTA'd and I don't feel like my head is going to explode at all. I am, however, experiencing (oof) a slight feeling (OWW) of some (ARGHHH) COGNITIVE DISSONAN.. (AAAAAEEEEIIIIII!!!...splat)

Re:Xubuntu (4, Interesting)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454401)

I hope they are making the sources available, so as to comply with the license of the software they are distributing...

Re:Xubuntu (5, Insightful)

someone300 (891284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454799)

http://universitytoolkit.com/ [universitytoolkit.com]

They don't appear to have a link to the source. Quick! Someone send them a DMCA takedown! ;)

Re:Xubuntu (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454433)

Here's the link: http://universitytoolkit.com/ [universitytoolkit.com] Note that it's in beta. Hell, they can't even get the name of the "MPAA" correct--the website uses "MPA" (sic).

Firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454339)

Unless a school using the tool has firewalls on the borders of its network designed to block unsolicited Internet traffic -- and a great many universities do not -- that Web server is going to be visible and accessible by anyone with a Web browser.

Seriously - WTF? I've never worked in academia, but that just sounds stupid. Why would such a server be in a dmz?

Never examined? (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454343)

Hang on, that's an interesting quote:

...the content of traffic is never examined or displayed...

Given that the aim of the toolkit is supposedly to

...help identify students who were downloading/sharing movie files...

then how do they manage it without examining traffic? If the toolkit monitors BitTorrent (and other) ports then that would tell you who is using P2P, but not who is sharing movies. Maybe all that traffic is from students internally torrenting various Linux distros or their garage bands' MP3s.

Thank goodness I never lived in University halls.

Re:Never examined? (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454361)

then how do they manage it without examining traffic?

Easy, they do what they do best. Lie.

Re:Never examined? (1)

c (8461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454437)

> Given that the aim of the toolkit is supposedly to
> > ...help identify students who were downloading/sharing movie files...
> then how do they manage it without examining traffic?

We're talking about the wonderful corporations who brought us fine tech documentaries such as "War Games", "Hackers", "The Net" and "Jurassic Park". I'm sure their expert technical advisors are simply unable to effectively communicate the details to mere normals such as ourselves.

c.

Re:Never examined? (1)

Ano Nimus (1169391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454613)

I presume that this is a scare tactic, if nothing else. Realistically, no one can expect a university to install said *toolkit*. Tapping the internet connection is a scary concept anywhere else, but in a place with hundreds of CS students all with some/a good bit of tech-savvy...well that would be terrifying. The IT techs already have their arms full with all the network problems they can handle, and bolting on an Orwellian toolkit would send them out the door so fast, I can't even come up with a good-car/bad-car analogy for that one. I believe that the said-techs would be sufficiently worried enough to crack down even more on the internal P2P network, so that they don't have to install said piece of malware. That said....I find it very ironic that something we fight against is powered by something we support. (toolkit is run off Xubuntu)

Re:Never examined? (1)

Frostalicious (657235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455003)

...the content of traffic is never examined or displayed...

then how do they manage it without examining traffic?


The secret is in this function patented by the MPAA:

private bool isInfringing(IP IPAddress)
{
return true;
}

Media failure (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454347)

It just amazes me that no other large news organization has a reporter devoted to covering this stuff full time, as Krebs does. Hell, Krebs isn't even part of the paper; he's attached to the Web site. I guess that says it all. Keep up the great work Brian.

Re:Media failure (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454517)

Most large news organisations have a parent company that are either movie studios, or have large share holders that represent the interests of movie studios!

Re:Media failure (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454721)

I can only think of a single large news organization whose parent company is a movie studio. Which ones are you thinking of?

Washington Post? No
New York Times? No
Los Angeles Times? No
Wall Street Journal? Not until it was just bought by Murdoch..

CBS? No
NBC? No
ABC? Disney
CNN? No

Which ones are you thinking of? The shareholder thing, well, maybe, but what evidence is there that this is true?

In fairness, I spent much of life as a journalist, and I did once encounter, late in my career, internal corporate objections to my position on intellectual property (for the record, I'm for it, so long as Fair Use remains available; my masters disagreed with the Fair Use obligation...).

Re:Media failure (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454849)

CNN is owned by Time Warner, to me that counts as a media studio or an affiliate of! NBC as in NBC Universal, Vivendi Universal being a film company? FOX and every organisation that Rupert Murdoch/News Corp owns or is a large share holder of and thats quite a few in Europe, Sky, ITV, The Sun, The Times To name just a few...

Re:Media failure (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454933)

Yeah, I think of NBC as being owned by General Electric, but I think your point is well taken. Likewise Fox, a Murdoch company (although i don't even think of them as a news source). CNN and Time Warner, well, in my experience CNN operates as its own little fiefdom, but again, I see your point. But none of this explains only the Post among large papers covers computer security issues with any regularity.

Naive much? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454729)

You wonder why no large media companies (fixed it for you) have a report devoted to this, or even report on it much or do anything but rehash the RIAA/MPAA press statements and never ever examine it.

Follow the money. You might as well ask, why do popular entertainment shows like Futurama show a dislike for things like napster and filesharing in general? Because they are the ones whose files are being shared!

Geez, name a news company that isn't part of some huge media giant. You might start to realize that those who should report on the RIAA/MPAA are in fact its members. Geez, you might as well expect Dell to launch a survey, computers, do we really need them.

What next, do you expect the tabaco industry to report on the dangers of smoking?

Follow the money, who is the person you expect to report on something paid for. There was an issue a few years ago around Oprah when she said something bad about meat. That was just the advertisers complaining. Reporting on the RIAA/MPAA tactics, that will get you a letter direct from the head office "STOP IT".

What next, Ruport Murdoch writing a story "Why it is a bad idea for one guy to own a lot of media"?

Re:Naive much? (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454779)

Certainly possible. However, as a guy who spent over two decades producing content for media companies (although back in my day we used to call it writing for the newspaper) I never, ever had anybody stop me from writing something. Heck, I rarely had anybody telling me what to cover, since as the designated expert, I was the guy telling my bosses what was important. But do go on...

Re:Naive much? (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454963)

Certainly possible. However, as a guy who spent over two decades producing content for media companies (although back in my day we used to call it writing for the newspaper) I never, ever had anybody stop me from writing something. Heck, I rarely had anybody telling me what to cover, since as the designated expert, I was the guy telling my bosses what was important. But do go on...
The problem isn't so much blatant censorship int hat fashion it's more like this: Neo-con journalists tend to write Neo-con articles. Neo-Con editors tend to hire Neo-con journalists. Neo-con paper owners tend to hire Neo-Con editors. Thus The guy at the top influences the content being output through editorial/selective means. A story of "Man dies after police taser him" can be spun as "Belligerent suspect dies after struggle with police" or "Unarmed immigrant murdered by police."

This tyep of spin is true for Marxists, Conservatives, Liberals, Moderates etc...

It's not a huge problem if there is a diversity of media but major media is held by very few parties.

Re:Naive much? (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455047)

I think your analysis certainly identifies a factor, but I would suggest that the larger problem is this: media organizations are run by middle aged (or even old) white guys. They use a computer for email and Google; that's it. Online banking? Are you crazy?

Media coverage (outside the local level, where it's mired in "if if bleeds it leads") generally fits into the following cubbyholes: National (political) news, local (political) news, sports, and business. "Features" is everything from restaurant reviews to comics. Where exactly does coverage of computer security fit?

Data Storage (1)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454357)

I wonder how much of the data collected will be burnt to disks and sent to Britain [slashdot.org] .

Give kids a break (4, Funny)

jihadist (1088389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454365)

They're about to become corporate serfs. Give them a four year break from corporate dominance, so they have that much more psychological trauma when they exit school, which will make them the perfect mentally broken spiritual voids who need to buy our products.

Thanks,
The NWO

Re:Give kids a break (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454513)

They're about to become corporate serfs. Give them a four year break from corporate dominance, so they have that much more psychological trauma when they exit school, which will make them the perfect mentally broken spiritual voids who need to buy our products.

While my mind was "corrupt" regarding corporate control, copyrights and IP infringement long before entering college, the vast majority of those in college learn about it as soon as they step foot into their dorm room and their geek roommate/hallmate/etc shows them BitTorrent.

I can see why the MPAA wants to stop it there as college is a breeding ground for thoughts of freedom from copyright and that scares the living fucking shit out of them. Once they leave college, with the knowledge they've learned "on the inside" they are less likely to pay for movies, music and other IP when they leave.

I say end the monopolies, produce shit worth paying for that don't costs millions to produce to cover the lack of good writing and get over yourselves.

we want to identify what? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454373)

This toolkit in comparison to instead installing a filter system that the MPAA (slashdot lame filter see this as junk characters) would then maintain a database off site from the university ...

But students would find ways around the filter?

vs.

Their toolkit wrongly identifies students as illegal down loaders who actually aren't.

In other words, how is the toolkit going to verify an illegal download or is it just passing all traffic to the Motion Picture spys?

Somehow this sounds more Hitleronian tell on you family, then its supports education.

Just because the entertainment industry has found interest in attacking its customers, should the universities follow suit?

Re:we want to identify what? (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454823)

"Their toolkit wrongly identifies students as illegal down loaders who actually aren't. In other words, how is the toolkit going to verify an illegal download or is it just passing all traffic to the Motion Picture spys? Somehow this sounds more Hitleronian tell on you family, then its supports education. Just because the entertainment industry has found interest in attacking its customers, should the universities follow suit?"

It's a tool, not a judge. Its intended user is the university IT guy; it shows him how much BitTorrent traffic is going on but doesn't identify which files are being traded or make an attempt to assess legality. The kit phones home when it's installed but, according to the writeup, does not send the actual monitoring data to the MPAA. The article's contention is that as this data is presented via an Apache server, if the IT guy's box just happens to be outside the firewall, then third parties could visit that web server and see how much BT traffic is going on at the school.

You are correct that the university IT guy could run the server outside the firewall, and could make the assumption that all BitTorrent traffic is of infringing content, and I suppose said IT guy could pass this info along to the MPAA. But is this likely? I think you're slippery-sloping here a bit too much.

Sure, this will work.... (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454381)

All this will be is another challenge for people to find work-arounds. Has any of this stuff actually ever worked? Has any attempt to stifle people downloading ever resulted in anything other than increased downloading? How many times has the RIAA for example, declared victory and "great strides"? Funny that a week or so after a record executive says the RIAA going after consumers was a mistake, the MPAA shows up to take up the gauntlet. And again, down the RIAA path of going after college students. We'll see how that works out for them.

It's elementary, dear Watson... (3, Insightful)

talon_262 (514764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454391)

it's all about control and flexing their legal muscles to intimidate the rest of the public into towing the line. The MPAA is using this to gather more ammo in order to sue the people who are old enough to know what P2P is, who tend to use P2P apps to get music/movies/etc. on a regular basis, and who tend to have limited resources to fight back in court.

Re:It's elementary, dear Watson... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454463)

As I sit here attempting to not be a pedant, I cannot help but link you to this page:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/signature/elementary.asp [snopes.com]

Sorry for trolling you.

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454393)

And they said open source wasn't viable for big corporations!

Anyone want to make a bet.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454415)

.... That schools that do not install this "tool" will get the lion's share of RIAA lawsuits?

Here's an idea... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454451)

install an anti-MAFIAA toolkit!

1) Install a firewall that sniffs traffic
2) See if it's not bittorrent or bittorrent sites
3) if it is, BLOCK IT
4) Put the MPAA toolkit in a machine behind the firewall! Ta-da! :D

I want to thank... (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454423)

... the hacker team MPAA for this great social engineering attack.

Everyone please remember to distribute those IP addresses of the kit downloaders so we can hit these colleges HARD!

WTF. What is this, 1994? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454453)

Unless a school using the tool has firewalls on the borders of its network designed to block unsolicited Internet traffic -- and a great many universities do not -- that Web server is going to be visible and accessible by anyone with a Web browser.

Huh? Which Universities are incapable of setting up firewalls to block incoming traffic?

Open Source Software Used for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454455)

It disgusts me that open source software is being used for this... I'm glad the licenses are open, but there is no solution to prevent this kind of rape on open source to undermine privacy and freedom. I remember a slashdot article awhile ago about a new license that would forbid military use in smart bombs, etc. However, I doubt there is an airtight solution. Does anyone have any ideas?

I think it would be funny as all hell is a college student wrote a retrovirus that effectively performed search and destroy operations on this toolkit!

Don't worry about the kids... (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454481)

College kids may be portrayed as dorky and drunken, but they're smart. And chances are CS students will find a way around this.

It sounds like... (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454519)

The MPAA got the same people to write this "tool" as they get to write those super-realistic computer scenes in the movies!

mpaa urges students to install mpaaBuddy, too (4, Funny)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454527)

mpaaBuddy is an on-screen "intelligent software agent" created by the MPAA, and based upon Microsoft Agent technology. The goal of the program is to help users enrich their online movie experience as they discover digital movies together with the included "mpaaBuddy," which is an animated, purple Tom Cruise. Users can interact with Tom by asking him questions, get recommendations on new movies released by MPAA members, as well as be politely informed when unapproved websites are loaded.

Other features include, an integrated download tracker, movie-related themes, desktops, screen savers, and cute, animated emoticons, bearing a resemblance to top-selling actors. Also included is a desktop search utility that indexes a hard drive's contents in order to allow the user to easily perform searches.

While initial response to the program has been positive, a few early users complain that the program is buggy. "The program keeps changing my home page to a crappy MPAA home page," said one teenager who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of a MPAA-sponsored lawsuit. There have also been complaints of an increase in pop-up advertising.

Wonder if they would bond univ from lawsuits (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454581)

If university said ok, but MPAA must bond them against financial losses from lawsuits etc, would MPAA do it?

Will they abide by GPL? (2, Interesting)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454591)

Will they distribute the source code with it? Will they allow people to freely copy and modify that toolkit? I say, download it, get the tech department to modify it to their liking, and install it! That's what the open source spirit is all about, fixing broken software. I suggest they get fixing that privacy issue first...

Re:Will they abide by GPL? (2, Interesting)

happyslayer (750738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454775)

LOL...I can see it now. The next court case will be Stallman, FSF, EFF, and a million GPL-code authors suing the MAFIAA for copyright violations because they haven't released the source code. And, all the arguments that the MAFIAA have made in court previously will be dropping on them like a ton of AOL cd mailers. BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!

To the language nazis out there: if the MAFIAA gets hoisted on their own copyright petard, is that irony?

Here's some information about the software. (2, Interesting)

Gossi (731861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454635)

The software is available to download here: UniversityToolkit.com [universitytoolkit.com] in ISO format. The software 'pings' this server on boot for this file [universitytoolkit.com] . If you want to crack a load of university networks, just crack that server and you're away (it's a flat Redhat Enterprise Server boxen).

Also, the software developer is breaking the law. They haven't shipped the modified code they've made (eg ntop).

Question... (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454773)

Does anyone have a .torrent for the iso?

Re:Here's some information about the software. (1)

samwichse (1056268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454851)

Why crack the box when you could just poison the DNS.

I'm sure it's not going to be looking for the IP.

Sam

Re:Here's some information about the software. (1)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454909)

What is ironic here is just which law they're breaking: They're committing copyright infringement (distributing GPL software without source which, in turn, means they have no right or licence to distribute, making that action a breach of copyright) to tackle copyright infringement.

Of course, it's alright for them to rip off "some damn pinko commie's" code to save themselves from the spectre of "new media," free thinkers and falling revenue, isn't it? After all, given the content they produce is such good quality, one can hardly expect them to create a new, fairer, sustainable business model. It's easier to simply blame piracy for their dwindling customer base and invent some method of proving it like suing college kids, already in debt for a substantial portion of their lives for getting an education in the first place. We owe these people their revenue, dammit, and the college kids and the GPL are just acceptable collateral damage.

Think twice before you download that KDE-Four-Live image over BitTorrent, undergrads. With no "content of traffic examined" you'll probably end up regretting it.

enough with the pro-piracy bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454659)

Every third story on slashdot seems to be a bunch of whining about the RIAA by people who just want to steal stuff. please do us a favour and grow up, stop leeching, or just go the whole way and rename the site digg.com. this is getting boring now.

Does this tool put a lot of load on the network? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454677)

Does this tool put a lot of load on the network like what port scan and other Brute force hacking tools do?

Does it try to suck up network bandwidth?

Let's sue 'em! (1)

The Breeze (140484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454771)

Anyone want to download the kit at universitytoolkit.com and make sure all the source is being distributed as well? If they are not making the source available for their little Linux distribution someone should get the GNU to sic their lawyers on them.

Trademark and GPL issues? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454795)

As someone pointed out upthread, the kit is simply Xbuntu with a some network tools pre-installed like Snort and ntop. This leads to a few questions:

1. Since the kit is a derivative of the default Xbuntu install, is the MPAA still allowed to ship the kit with Canonical's trademark (Xbuntu) prominently displayed as boot splash?

2. Since the MPAA is distributing GPL'd software aren't they obligated to provide source code for the kit upon request?

3. Is there any MPAA written programs included in the kit? Is it based on GPL software and thus required under the licensing terms to have its source code available upon request?

4. IIRC, Canonical products ship with some proprietary drivers. Since the MPAA kit is a derivative of Xbuntu, does it have permission to distribute the same drivers, or did Canonical get special permission which the MPAA does not have?

5. If the MPAA does not supply any source code that the may be legally obligated to do under GPLv2 license, then can individual copyright holders of the multitude of programs included with Xbuntu, give notice that they are revoking the MPAA's right to distribute their software under the provision of Section 4? Section 4 states:

4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.


Note that Fyodor terminated SCO's right to distribute Nmap in any of their products under that section, which SCO complied with.

Disclosure (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454957)

When some research organization loses a federal grant because their institution forced them to violate disclosure rules, the door will open for a much more powerful voice than the MPAA to enter the debate.

Even If (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455051)

Even if there is a firewall at the perimeter of the school network, all of the students are inside of it!

Hitting the Wrong Targets - as Usual (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455135)

the content of traffic is never examined or displayed

This looks certain to hit the wrong targets, as is wont for the RIAA. All this would identify (if the truth is being told here) are heavy Internet users. That's even worse than their current method of sending questionable IP addresses and times. College should be teaching how the Internet will be a valuable part of your whole life because you can speak to to the entire World through it, but now it would seem you'll be in danger if you ever use it much at all.

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