Computer underground Digest Sun Jan 24, 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 06 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Sun Jan 24, 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 06 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Coyp Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Junior CONTENTS, #5.06 (Jan 24, 1993) File 1--Introduction to Second SPA & BSA Issue File 2--Re: Taking a Look at the SPA (CuD 4.63) File 3--Reaction to SPA statements in CuD 4.63 File 4--SPA EDUCATES THE PUBLIC ON SOFTWARE COPYRIGHTS - NOT! File 5--A Comment on the SPA (Gray Areas Reprint) File 6--Nintendo News Release (Re: BSA APL Bust - Oct '92) File 7--The BSA, APL BBS, and Anti-Piracy Crackdowns Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost from tk0jut2@mvs.cso.niu.edu. The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-6430), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115. Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet comp.society.cu-digest news group; on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM; on GEnie in the PF*NPC RT libraries and in the VIRUS/SECURITY library; from America Online in the PC Telecom forum under "computing newsletters;" on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210; in Europe from the ComNet in Luxembourg BBS (++352) 466893; and using anonymous FTP on the Internet from ftp.eff.org (192.88.144.4) in /pub/cud, red.css.itd.umich.edu (141.211.182.91) in /cud, halcyon.com (192.135.191.2) in /pub/mirror/cud, and ftp.ee.mu.oz.au (128.250.77.2) in /pub/text/CuD. European readers can access the ftp site at: nic.funet.fi pub/doc/cud. Back issues also may be obtained from the mail server at mailserv@batpad.lgb.ca.us. COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. CuD material may be reprinted for non-profit as long as the source is cited. Some authors do copyright their material, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 22 Jan 92 02:41:33 CST From: Moderators Subject: File 1--Introduction to Second SPA & BSA Issue The growing aggressiveness of organizations such as the SPA (Software Publisher's Association) and the BSA (Business Software Alliance) has raised questions about the limits of acceptable enforcement of software copying. The SPA is often criticized for its aggressive punitive actions against software piracy. CuD #4.63 began to take a look at what the SPA is and how it operates. Below are a few responses to that issue and an opinion on the SPA taken from a Gray Areas interview. CuD #5.08 (31 Jan.) will summarize a few conversations with SPA personnel who elaborate on a broad range of activities it provides for members. Although its Copyright Protection Program draws the most notoriety, it offers educational, marketing, and other services to both members and the public. Subsequent issues will critically examine both sides of the software "piracy" debate. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 08 Dec 92 14:35:36 -0600 From: Neil W Rickert Subject: File 2--Re: Taking a Look at the SPA (CuD 4.63) In article <1992Dec06.234359.16097@chinacat.unicom.com> TK0JUT2%NIU.bitnet@UICVM.UIC.EDU writes: > Our goal is to encourage debate and >we welcome readers' thoughts on the subject (of the SPA). Let me illustrate the problem by describing how the SPA would expect you to go about purchasing a spread sheet program. Assumption: You need a spread sheet. You are unsure whether to purchase Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro-Pro, or SuperCalc 5. Assume they each cost approx $300 dollars at typical retail stores. Case I: You represent a financial business. The $300 cost of the package is trivial compared to the value it has for the members of your staff. Procedure: You call each of the companies. They provide you a copy of their software for evaluation. You may share this copy with several members of your staff, provided you agree to delete all copies in one month at the end of the evaluation period. At the end of the evaluation period you negotiate a site license with the company selling the preferred version of the software. This will allow you to obtain the software for substantial discount. Net cost: $100 per copy. Case II: You are the treasurer of a small not-for-profit organization. You would like the software to aid you in preparing monthly reports. But it will take you many years to recoup benefits equal to the retail price of a package. Procedure: You visit the nearest software retail store. You purchase a shrink-wrapped copy of each of the packages, and after deciding which one you want, you throw away the other three. Net cost: $1200 per copy. +++++++++++ I put it to you that if there is a question of ethics involved, it is the SPA whose practices are unethical. They attempt to prevent libraries from having borrowable copies of software. They insist on shrink wrapping, with no right of return if the product is unsuitable. They charge outrageous prices. In book publishing, the retail price of a popular book is not much more than the cost of printing, storing, packaging and distributing, with a small markup for profit; with software publishing the profit margins are far higher. They use these high profits to pay for lobbying so that they can persuade government agencies to support them as they charge unrealistic prices for their software. And they try to prevent the development of a free market by filing "look and feel" and patent lawsuits against their potential competitors. If you happen to find a problem with their product (a software bug), and report it to them, their first reaction is to not believe there is such a bug, and to suggest that how could a mere professor of computer science know the difference between a bug and a user error. If you spend enough hours of work to fully document the bug they will eventually accept your report, but they will not offer you a replacement of your current software with a bug free one, unless you are willing to pay the full upgrade price to the next version. [This paragraph based on personal experience with reporting bugs to software vendors, including Microsoft.] ------------------------------ From: bei@DOGFACE.AUSTIN.TX.US(Bob Izenberg) Subject: File 3--Reaction to SPA statements in CuD 4.63 Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1992 15:35:20 -0600 (CST) Issue 4.63 of Computer underground Digest included the Software Publisher's Association manifesto. I've read it, and it shows a very narrow awareness of the state of software licensing. The SPA asks (and answers) the question, "Is it Okay to copy my colleague's software?" by saying, No, it's not okay to copy your colleague's software. Software is protected by federal copyright law, which says that you can't make such additional copies without the permission of the copyright holder. Permission has been explicitly given with a number of software products. Some of the compiler products contain license agreements that specify terms of use: The software may be used "like a book." One person at a time can read the book, or use the software. Recently, I've seen more packages that allow the purchaser a "travelling license." Either the software comes with permission to copy the software for use at home (or, presumably, at work if you bought it for home use,) or an inexpensive second copy can be purchased for use on a second machine. The above "experiments" in licensing procedures show that the "one program, one copy" philosophy has some viable competitors out there in the world. What the SPA should be saying is, conform to the license agreement that came with your software. The SPA goes on to say that By protecting the investment of computer software companies in software development, the copyright law serves the cause of promoting broad public availability of new, creative, and innovative products. What it promotes in practice are new, derivative, un-innovative knock-offs of popular programs, the profusion of which has been manna from heaven to look and feel lawyers everywhere. Not many developers that I know feel comfortable using the words "new" "creative" and "innovative" all in the same sentence. It's the language of promotion, not innovation. Read the words of industry commentators on the operating systems that we'll have for use in the next ten years. "Where are the applications?" they ask, the new VisiCalc or Dbase III? On the way, perhaps, but I think it safe to say that the SPA will have a small or nonexistent role in their development. The statement above, that ripping off products impedes future development, needs more evidence before I can believe it. Lotus 1-2-3, certainly one of the more illegally copied programs around, hasn't withered on the vine. It's evolved, expanded to new platforms, and in general not suffered the fate that the SPA claims awaits victims of software piracy. Yes, this is a very big example, but if the software was a piece of junk, all the piracy raids in the world would only add a year or more to the closing of the coffin lid. The onanistic Q&A continues with this howler: That makes sense, but what do I get out of purchasing my own software? When you purchase authorized copies of software programs, you receive user guides and tutorials, quick reference cards, the opportunity to purchase upgrades, and technical support from the software publishers. For most software programs, you can read about user benefits in the registration brochure or upgrade flyer in the product box. What you get, more often than not, are promotional discounts for CompuServe, which is a sneaky way of adding the cost of a CIS subscription for the life of the product to the product's cost. You get ads for magazines, books, add-on products from third-party vendors, et cetera. While these may or may not have value to the purchaser of the product, they are not benefits. They are sales brochures for other companies. Technical support is an uneven offering, and who's to say that in ten years all tech support will not be reached by dialing a 900 number? Even upgrades are not what they once were. More than a few companies will accept a competitor's product as qualification for an upgrade. Most of the benefits of doing the right thing are either exaggerated in their value or underestimated in the cost to the consumer. A good rule to remember is that there must be one authorized copy of a software product for every computer upon which it is run. No problem here... Just don't forget to get a definition of what "authorized" means for that product. These companies devote large portions of their earnings to the creation of new software products and they deserve a fair return on their investment. No, they deserve to be evaluated on the merit of their products. (I don't expect to hear that the SPA believes differently, but I could be wrong.) Also, suggest that your management consider conducting a software audit. Oh, yes, let's have more of these! (sarcasm) Something that sends people scurrying to every Mac and PC snooping for unlicensed software, at hours that won't interfere with the normal work of the business... No one who'd have to foot the bill for one of these would propose it unless they *already knew* that there was a problem, and that the funds to get legal would be there. Ah, the stories that I could tell... to the SPA's 800 number, for a cut of the money in bringing these big-time software desperadoes to justice. THE LAW Software is automatically protected by federal copyright law from the moment of its creation. No, it's protected by copyright when the copyright symbol is affixed to the work. This protection does not last forever, either. (A lawyer will no doubt know how long copyrights stay in effect.) This fact, however, does not make it legal to violate the rights of the copyright owner. You can be a copyright holder, but not a copyright owner. Did you buy some-thing when you put the copyright symbol on your work? Software development involves a team effort that blends the creative talents of writers, programmers and graphic artists. It may, or it may not. There are more than a few one or two person shops out there that don't bring big production budgets to their efforts. Piracy diminishes the value of a program and further, deprives the developers of fair compensation. Playing Devil's Advocate for a moment, it can pay off for some developers in some ways. Piracy can be like pollination... It gets your software seen by people who likely would never have bought it. You may curse the lost revenue, but I know a developer or two that turn a blind eye to bug reports from unauthorized users. Who's to say that somebody may buy a copy of something that he saw as pirated way back when? I know that I have. It's not all as black and white as the SPA makes it out to be. Newer and better software can be developed only if the software development team receives a fair price for its efforts. If only the cause and effect chain were as firmly established here as the SPA suggests that it is. Revenue == better software, instead of revenue == that new Porsche. The SPA has established a special toll free number for reports of copyright violations: 1-800-388-7478. The SPA has filed many lawsuits against individuals and companies engaged in the unauthorized duplication of PC software and will continue to do so when it becomes aware of situations that warrant such action. Yes, speaking of fair return on investment... What is the SPA's cut of these lawsuits? If you are an individual user, don't break the law. If you are a software publisher, don't push cruddy software, don't price it too high, don't include shoddy, misleading or no documentation, don't scrimp on help for your customers in using the product, don't go out of business in a year, don't sell your product to a software conglomerate that will raise the price into the stratosphere or take it in directions incompatible with current releases, et cetera. When a few people steal software, everyone loses. No, business writes it off as a loss. Everyone else rolls over and goes back to sleep. :-) About that rap song, well, anybody's a bigger rap fan than I am, but that's crap, not rap. Female: Yeh. And what are you doing in our computer? It's an SPA virus... and don't think that somebody hasn't thought of it: Unlicensed software detected... erasing partition table, root directory area... Re-formatting your hard drive. You will see some SPA messages during this process. Consult your vendor documentation to re-install your licensed software. Tetris and the others, They're all going to fail. No, they're all going to be ported to X-windows, with the source publicly available. :-) Lastly, the CuD moderator(s) describe the end of the rap video: And, fourth period be damned, they play another game (on presumably is a pirated game on the school computer). Nope, it's a pirated computer... A pre-Apple lawsuit Franklin Ace. ;-) I really dislike trade protectionism. As a co-worker's button says, "Keep your lawyers off of my computer!" It's turned an automobile manufacturer or two into immobile sloths that only twitch every now and then to ask for more tariffs on imported cars. Who's to be the software industry's Lee Iacocca? I don't know... What's the SPA president's name? Bob P.S. The biggest repository of pirated software that I've run across was kept on company computers near a hallway covered with SPA posters. Yeah, guys, you really reach 'em. Pity I can't remember the names of individuals or the name of the company in question... Not until 2/21/95, anyway. ------------------------------ Date: 13 Dec 92 22:18:19 CST From: Lance Rose Subject: File 4--SPA EDUCATES THE PUBLIC ON SOFTWARE COPYRIGHTS - NOT! ((MODERATORS' NOTE: The following article is reprinted from Lance Rose's Legally Online" column in BOARDWATCH Magazine (Nov., '92: pp 51-52). A one-year (monthly) subscription to BOARDWATCH can be obtained for $36 at: Boardwatch Magazine; 7586 West Jewell Ave., Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80232)). SPA EDUCATES PUBLIC ON SOFTWARE COPYRIGHTS -- NOT! By Lance Rose Like many others I know who have some familiarity with computer law, I've always figured that about half of what the Software Publisher's Association (SPA) says about copyright law is true. The rest is mystificationist propaganda designed to make corporate software users run scared from the slightest thought of ever making a software copy without paying someone for it. For instance, the SPA insists to this day that shrinkwrap licenses are airtight and enforceable. At the same time, every other court decision I've seen so far on the subject has refused to enforce such licenses! The SPA is not quite wrong on this subject yet, since shrinkwrap license validity must be decided on a state by state basis; some state court might agree with the SPA position somewhere along the line. The issue could be left arguably open for a hundred years, with shrinkwrap licenses getting cut down right and left by courts of different states, and the SPA hanging on to its enforceability rhetoric in the slim hope that out of 50 states, it will get lucky somewhere. Plausible arguability. Until now, though, I never caught the SPA in a flat-out falsehood. A recent issue of the SPA newsletter distributed to its members contains an article titled "Protect Your Copyrights, Register Software" and subtitled "Register software or lose your rights." Within, it contains several statements along the same lines, culminating in: "if you don't register your software with the Copyright Office within 3 months, after first first publication, you cannot recover statutory damages or attorneys fees." (This is a very important matter in coyright, especially attorneys fees--if a successful copyright owner cannot collect attorneys fees from the infringer, he could end up with very little money after paying off his own lawyer). Now, let's look at the actual section of the Copyright Act in question, Section 412(b): "no award of statutory damages or of attorney's fees...shall be made for...any infringement of copyright commenced after first publication of the work and before the effective date of its registration, unless such registration is made within three months after the first publication of the work." In other words, after you circulate your software to the public, you can receive statutory damages and attorney's fees in a case enforcing your software copyright as long as you registered your software with the copyright office before the infringement started. With one added, short-term bonus: if you register your software within 3 months after you first circulate it to the public, then you can receive statutory damages and attorney's fees for any infringements within that same 3 month period, whether or not they came before the registration. Under the statute, for example, you might wait 9 years after first publication of our software before you bother to register. That registration will give you the right to claim statutory damages and attorney's fees for any infringements occuring afterwards, but not for any infringements that may have occured in the initial 9 year period before you registered. Compare this with the SPA quotes. According to the SPA, if you don't register within 90 days after publishing the software, you have entirely lost your ability to claim statutory damages and attorneys fees when you enforce your copyright. If you wait 9 years to register, you can't claim such amounts for infringements any time, either before or after your registration. So the SPA totally misread the statute. The only question is whether it was through calculation or mental dullness, both of which SPA has exhibited in the past. Actually, there is a third choice--sloppy statute reading. But then you have to ask why they would shock their members with a headline about the dire consequences of copyright non-registration without taking the time to read the statute and figure out how it really works. Calculation is not out of the question, though. The effect of the misinformation would be to scare software owners into rushing to register their copyrights. This is not a bad thing, and it also serves the SPA's enforcement objectives. SPA likes to threaten corporate infringers of their members' products with copyright registrations in hand. But why deceptively scare corporations into registering with false information, when the correct information, properly presented, would have the same effect? What is the relationship between SPA and its members, anyway? This has been a public service announcement. Don't take candy or copyright law from the SPA. ------------------------------ Date: 22 Jan 92 11:01:59 CST From: barlow@well.sf.ca.us Subject: File 5--A Comment on the SPA (Gray Areas Reprint) ((MODERATORS' COMMENT: The following is extracted from an interview of John Perry Barlow by Netta Gilboa from the November, 1992, issue of GRAY AREAS. GRAY AREAS focuses on cutting edge cultural issues. The editors can be contacted at grayarea@well.sf.ca.us)) GA: SOFTWARE PIRACY IS RAMPANT IN THE U.S. AND WE'VE IDENTIFIED SEVERAL TYPES OF PIRACY RANGING FROM FRIENDS WHO TRADE DISKS TO PIRATE BULLETIN BOARDS TO BUSINESSES WHO LITERALLY FORCE THEIR EMPLOYEES TO USE PIRATED SOFTWARE IN ORDER FOR THE CORPORATION TO AVOID BUYING MULTIPLE COPIES. DO YOU APPROVE OF THE SOFTWARE PIRACY ASSOCIATION'S APPROACH TO STOPPING PIRACY? JB: No, it's boneheaded. It is just plain stupid and, look, I think that software piracy is pretty complex. I mean there are cases as in the Next world where you've got such a limited market that a certain amount of software piracy can completely destroy a product. But generally speaking, that's the exact opposite effect of what software piracy has. I think you can make a pretty persuasive case that the reason that Lotus, for example, continues to exercise an iron standard among spreadsheets, is that it is also the most pirated software in the world. Once something becomes a pirate classic, then it is out there being distributed and distributed and distributed and gets itself fixed in the public mind and, you know, becomes a valuable item. So that often the best thing that can happen to you is to have your software pirated from an economic standpoint. The SPA just doesn't get it. They really don't. I mean people who pirate software sooner or later buy it. There is an incredible amount of software piracy going on and yet one of the most robust portions of the American economy is software. You know there is reason for that. It is kind of like the home video tape thing. When video cassettes first became popular in Japan there was a full court press on the part of the movie companies and the traditional manufacturers of media to stop them from hitting these shores. They arrived in America quite a bit after they'd been developed because of legal efforts to stop them from coming, because it was the conviction of everybody involved that having this medium that could be so easily reproduced out there would be the death of movies. Well, now more than half of all the revenue that film companies derive is from videos and in fact they don't even put movies in theatrical houses except to advertise the video. GA: EXACTLY. JB: So this is another one of these cases where having this very fluid easily reproducible, easily pirated version of intellectual property has redounded to the benefit of the intellectual property creator. I think that software piracy is a complex issue and I think that right now what protects a lot of software from piracy is the fact that people want to have the manual. As those manuals become more and more an on-line kind of thing and software becomes easier and easier to use, that kind of protection goes away. So you have to think about other ways and other incentives that people have for buying software and not simply pirating it. And I think that what you are probably going to see is if people are going to want it, they are going to want to have the latest version of it which is not going to be easily pirated. GA: INDIVIDUALS THAT WE TALKED TO SEEM TOTALLY UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE SPA, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE UNDER 18. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO EDUCATE THIS MARKET? JB: Well, the first thing the SPA can quit being is so stupid. I think that the real unfortunate effect in the way in which the SPA approaches this is that it breeds the kind of general disrespect for the interest of the people they are protecting. GA: AGREED. JB: It is kind of like drug laws. You have these draconian drug laws on the drugs that are least likely to cause damage and mayhem like psychedelics and marijuana. But they are all being couched as if you take this stuff the world will end and your life will become a living hell. The really dangerous drugs are the ones that are legal. But this totally false message gets conveyed by the drug laws. Kids take marijuana and say wait a second, this isn't going to kill me. This isn't going to ruin my life. This must all be bullshit. Well, the fact is that there's probably a pretty good reason for having a law against cocaine. But if you concluded that it is all bullshit then you are not going to pay any attention to the social strictures against cocaine. Right. So it is the same thing with the SPA and the way in which it is trying to enforce software copyright. It breeds a general disrespect for the whole idea that people should get paid for the work that they do with their minds and that's unfortunate. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 14:18:46 PST From: metal@PNET01.CTS.COM(Conal G.) Subject: File 6--Nintendo News Release (Re: BSA APL Bust - Oct '92) NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Lynn Hvalsoe\Nintendo of America, Inc. 206/861-2096 James Bikoff/Arter & Hadden 202/775-7100 NINTENDO JOINS IN SEIZURE AGAINST ILLEGAL BULLETIN BOARD SOFTWARE REDMOND, WA--As part of a continuing and aggressive effort to halt counterfeiting of video games and business software, Nintendo of America Inc. and six major software manufactures filed an action against distributors of a computer "bulletin board" network system giving software acess to users. Illegal software was seized by authorities from APL, an electronic bulletin board computer system (BBS) headquartered in Baltimore, MD. "Counterfeiting and illegal use of video games and business software has grown immensely over the past few years. We have and will continue to prosecute those who've become part of the underground counterfeiting network", said Lynn Hvalsoe, Nintendo's General Counsel. The legal action outlines that illegal software wass accessed through operators who provide personal computer users a code to enter the system via telephone and modem. Illegal bulletin boards have become a popular trend, with an estimated 5,000 systems in the United States. Illegal bulletin boards also have been found in Europe and Asia. This case represents the first time video game and business software companies have joined together to fight software pirating. The business software companies, represented in this case through the Business Software Association (BSA), include Aldus, Autodesk, Lotus Development, Microsoft, Novel and WordPerfect. All companies, including Nintendo, are individual plaintiffs in the legal action. The action is part of Nintendo's large anti-counterfeiting campaign much of which is aimed at illegal video games being manufactured, sold and shipped from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other countries. "Counterfeiting is a very serious crime and Nintendo is working hard to let violators know they will be pursued and charges will be brought against them," added Hvalsoe. Hvalsoe pointed to success this year in the signing of Federal legislation (S893) which elevates copyright infringement, such as that engaged in by bulletin board operators, to a felony with penalties of up to $250,000/and up to five years in prison. Nintendo of America Inc. is based in Redmond, Washington and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo Co. Ltd., Japan, the worlds largest manufacturer and marketer of video games. -=-=-=-=- Submitted by Metalhead of Rockin' Alliance Phile 1/2 UUCP: {hplabs!hp-sdd ucsd nosc}!crash!pnet01!metal ARPA: crash!pnet01!metal@nosc.mil (I received this in the mail about 5 days after I received the News Release) ++++++++++++++++++ ARTER & HADDEN 1801 K Street, N.W., Suite 400K Washington, D.C. 20006-1301 202/775-7100 Facsimile 202/857-0172 Telex 6502156242-MCI CLARIFICATION The News Release you received from Nintendo of America was provided for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. No response is required. You were selected to receive this News Release, because you are a person who is interested in or involved with bulletin boards. The fact that you received this News Release does not mean that you or the BBS you operate are under investigation. Moreover, Nintendo of America has not singled out for investigation users of PCBoard software. The single civil lawsuit that was the subject of the News Release was filed against the APL BBS, which was located in Baltimore, MD. This BBS was strictly a pirate board, and the system operator actively encouraged users to upload and download large amounts of copyrighted software. CLARK DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC. WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THIS LAWSUIT AND DID NOT SEE THE NEWS RELEASE IN ADVANCE OF ITS DISTRIBUTION. We recognize that there are many legitimate bulletin boards and many honest system operators who support the ethical use of software. Unless you have questions about action taken against the APL BBS, however, please do not call Clark Devolopment, Nintendo of America or Nintendo of America's attorneys. Please pass this message on to anyone you know who received the News Release. You are encouraged to post this message on your BBS. -=-=-=-=- Submitted by Metalhead of Rockin' Alliance Phile 2/2 ------------------------------ Date: 23 Jan 93 13:22:55 PST From: Jim Thomas Subject: File 7--The BSA, APL BBS, and Anti-Piracy Crackdowns Since the press release submitted above, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) case against APL has been settled (in November, '92). The APL BBS, also known as "The Great American Exchange" in Baltimore, Maryland, was raided on 1 October. According to BSA spokespersons and court documents, the estimated value of the software seized was worth over $100,000. A BSA press release indicates that the organization is currently reviewing APL's records for possible additional legal action against system users who may have illegally uploaded or downloaded copyright programs. It should be noted that the raid occured prior to the enactment of PL 102-561, signed into law on October 28, 1992, which criminalizes a low threshold of software duplication and dissemination. According to Arter and Hadden, a Washington, D.C. law firm representing BSA and Nintendo of America, the case was resolved with a court order that issued a permanent injunction against the defendant from resuming operations, and the equipment on which the board ran was seized and will be turned over to BSA as part of the settlement. Although the $25,000 estimate of the value of the equipment seems over-estimated, the list of seized property indicates a substantial loss. Seized property included two HST modems, nearly a dozen cases of floppy disks, several boxes of data tapes, hard drives, a scanner, two tower CPUs, a fax machine, and other equipment. The case was brought as a federal civil action (MJG 92-2757) in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. The investigation was conducted by Software Security International on behalf of the BSA. According to a BSA press release, the three Federal Marshalls participating in the raid were Ricardo Guzman, Dave Hinman, and Kurt Vogan. The BSA, founded in 1988, is a coalitionion of eight high-revenue software companies: 1) Apple Computer 2) Autodesk 3) Central Point Software 4) Lotus Development 5) Microsoft 6) Novell 7) Symantec, and 8) Word Perfect. These eight companies have about 71 percent of the world's packaged software market, according to BSA officials. A BSA spokesperson explained that the organization prefers to think of itself as a coalition rather than a professional association. Like the Software Publishers Association, the group aims to eradicate software piracy but, also like the SPA, engages in other activities that include education about copyright law, working with legislators and law enforcement on policy and legislative issues to toughen especially international anti-piracy laws, and working with customs agents to alert them to the problems of identifying software purchased overseas and imported back into the U.S. Although the BSA focuses primarily on international piracy, it has recently turned its attention to domestic concerns. According to a press release, the APL case was its first legal action in the U.S. According to BSA spokesperson Diane Smiroldo, the BSA represents its eight members in their fight against piracy in more than 30 countries. Although most of these companies are also members of the SPA, the SPA does not represent them in their anti-piracy efforts. The SPA represented the eight companies in the U.S. until July 1992, but since JULY, the eight decided that they wanted the BSA to represent them for efficiency's sake, because they head up the anti-piracy in other parts of the world. According to Ms. Spiroldo: "It's important to emphasize that we don't just sue. We're not a 'litigation-only' organization. We launch education programs, we work with the local software associations in the different countries to get support for enforcement and strong copyright regulations." The BSA estimates that world-wide piracy losses run between $10-$12 billion annually. They also estimate that the piracy rate for PC packaged software runs between 40-50 percent. Ms. Smiroldo adds: We see that particularly in countries like Asia and Latin American where there are some store fronts, vendors, where you can just walk up in Honk Kong, and there'll be a list of software available, and they'll download it and copy it on the number of disks needed, and you can buy it for about $10 or $15....We work closely with customs agents to recognize counterfeit and illegally copied products. A few excerpts from BSA press releases and other documents illustrate the organization's goals: The Business Software Alliance (BSA), citing a persistent link to the spread of computer viruses, today ((24 November, 1992)) announced the launch of a new worldwide enforcement effort to crack down on electronic bulletin board systems (BBS) that are distributing illegal softare. Relying on specially-trained teams of lawyers and private investigators, and in cooperation with police, BSA announced today one of the first results of the new campaign--a sweep by the Berlin police of illegal BBS operators throughout that city, closing down and seizing equipment at 13 BBS operations that have been distributing illegal software copies throughout Germany. The operators of the bulletin boards now face criminal prosecution, with a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. ++++ In Berlin the police force raided thirteen illegal electronic BBS operations on October 28 and seized approximately 25 computers containing illegal software programs on over six gigabytes of storage capacity....The police acted after an investigation by the BSA found initial evidence of substantial illegal distribution throughout the country by the BBS involved. BSA then provided this evidence to the police and public prosecutor's office in Berlin, requested that they take action to close the offending operations, and provided ongoing investigative and legal assistance to further this effort...."We are determined to take vigorous actions to close down illegal bulletin board operators," said BSA European Counsel Bradford Smith. "We have witnessed during the last year the rapid proliferation of illegal bulletin boards throughout Europe, and believe that there is a persistent pattern linking these operators, not only with the distribution of illegal software, but also with the spread of computer viruses. We now possess information pointing to illegal distribution by over 100 other BBS operators in Europe, and we will continue to bring more cases in additional countries." The BSA also announced a crackdown on Belgian BBSes. CuD will expand on BSA activities in future issues in an attempt to bring the debate over software piracy into a public forum. ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #5.06 ************************************

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