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GNU is Not Unix Your Rights Online

MPAA Forced To Take Down University Toolkit 292

bobbocanfly writes "Ubuntu developer Matthew Garrett has succeeded in getting the MPAA to remove their 'University Toolkit' after claims it violated the GNU GPL. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact the MPAA directly, Garrett eventually emailed the group's ISP and the violating software was taken down."
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MPAA Forced To Take Down University Toolkit

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  • by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:21PM (#21567185) Homepage Journal

    for copyright infringement as well.

    Now that would be poetic justice.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:26PM (#21567227)
    On the other hand, the MPAA should have had all it's ducks lined up in a row. They're big boys, they can afford to do things right. The fact that they didn't bother is another indication of their above-the-law attitude. They really just don't care. I'll bet they're caring now, and I'll bet there are some heads rolling in the legal department right now.

    The delicious irony here is that the MPAA drafted the DMCA and were primarily responsible for pushing it through Congress.
  • Re:Explanation. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:41PM (#21567395)
    Wait, last I checked, you merely had to tell people where to get the source. As all (x|edu|k)ubuntu distros have that built into the package manager, they -had- told people how to get the source.

    I don't see the standard package manager anywhere in the MPAA UT Admin Guide [universitytoolkit.com] (PDF). It appears to go straight from the splash screen to the "Peerwatch" configuration.

    Besides, the GPL section 3 is pretty clear on this: if you're not distributing source code yourself (option a), or a written offer to sell it (option b), then you must "Accompany [the program] with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code". Unless you count disassembling the install CD, they haven't met this at all.

    Or are you suggesting that each distro made from Ubuntu must have its own separate repository for the source? That clearly flies in the face of what already exists.

    You're going to have to be more specific. I tried a random sampling of a few Ubuntu-derived distro, and I couldn't find one that didn't meet at least one of the GPL's 3 options:
    - Xubuntu's download page [ubuntu.com] has a "source" folder along with all the torrents
    - MEPIS's store page [mepis.org] has a "Need GPL source code but don't have an Internet connection?" link
    - gNewSense seems to have *only* source code (SVN, etc.) on their software page [gnewsense.org]
    - Ichthux's download page [ichthux.com] says "1. Download Kubuntu" -- they're *just* a meta-package you install later

  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poopdeville ( 841677 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:07PM (#21567551)
    I saw no indication that the MPAA was hosting their own apt repositories with source. If you mean that sources.list was pointing at Ubuntu's servers, that's not good enough. That's Ubuntu doing the distribution.
  • Re:"Simple email" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GroeFaZ ( 850443 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:15PM (#21567591)
    Then let me ask in a different way. Was invoking the DMCA the only tool to achieve the goal? If not, then it was at least not a bad choice tactically, because it got the job done. But then it was also a bad strategic choice, because it honored the tool merely by using it.
  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:23PM (#21567627) Homepage
    Instead of saying they "violated the GPL", let's keep this simple. They violated copyright law. By their own definition, they're "pirates". They stole. Etc.
  • Re:"Simple email" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:36PM (#21567713) Homepage Journal
    Yes, and if instead he sued the MPAA and won damages in court, he'd be validating the MPAA tactic of suing individual users for posting copyrighted movies for damages.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:44PM (#21567777)
    They won't care. There's currently the idea that some people are above, below or completely outside the law. Since they were involved in drafting some copyright laws they are of the opinion that those laws are not for them and are only for the peasants.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) * <<ten.yxox> <ta> <nidak.todhsals>> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:31AM (#21568101) Homepage Journal
    If you are, in fact, a lawyer, I'll happily defer, but in my layman's opinion I don't think that's the correct conclusion.

    If you violate one of the GPL terms, your license to use the software is terminated. Fine. However, as long as the software is still being offered to anyone under the GPL, you can just go, conform to every part of the GPL, and use it again. You can think of it as one license being terminated, but then going and getting a new one; the GPL is an "infinite stack" of licenses: all you need to do to get a new one is to play by the rules.

    There's nothing in the GPL that says 'if you violate this once, you're out for good,' although I'm not sure that would be an entirely terrible idea. But that license-termination clause doesn't necessarily imply that.
  • by dwater ( 72834 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:35AM (#21568121)
    Well, it depends on what they changed. If they added code to phone home a lot with lots of personal information....that would be interesting from more than a purely academic point of view (IMO).
  • by Sanat ( 702 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:53AM (#21568239)
    Your post is really interesting, however I feel that I am missing at least one of the points you made in it.
  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:57AM (#21568271)

    One might almost say that the summary of the article is more informative than the article itself.
    Well, I wouldn't know, and you shouldn't either. We're not supposed to RTFA around here - turn in your slashdot ID at the door.
  • by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:27AM (#21568453) Homepage
    quote ">Seriously?
    No, this is all just a joke. Really.

    >I don't nor does the Slashdotters posting here except the rabid, fanatical F/OSS fanboys.
    How can you assert that? Did you do a survey?

    >This is not a victory.
    Then tell us what it is.

    >Silly kids, go trim your neck beards and worship Stallman some more.
    How do you know "kids" are responsible for this? What backs up your suggestion that if they are kids that they are silly? How old do you think Matthew Garrett is? Go google it.

    Maybe you should take a chill pill and leave this topic alone if you aren't interested in it. You are making baseless assertions just to try and stir shit.

    You come across as a dumb ass.
  • by pjt48108 ( 321212 ) <pjt48108@yahoo. c o m> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:38AM (#21568525) Homepage
    I believe the DMCA provides the legal framework for takedown requests.

    It probably stings terribly to be spanked with a paddle of your own design and construction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:34AM (#21568871)
    Kinda like any other joke, if you have to explain it it's not really funny anymore.

    But in the interest of answering a triple digit /. er. The point is, the MPAA is (collectively speaking) a bunch of asshats who will do whatever they can to maintain a crumbling monopoly. They stick to old traditions, old ideas and use the long arm of "Tha Larwwww" when it pleases them, and dirty tricks when they have to.

    In so doing, they have become what they claim to fight, criminals. (Punchline)

    And if the parallels of the crumbled soviet empire, and subsequent rise in public corruption happens to be an easy comedic instrument of irony so be it.

    I know if I had something I wanted to stay out of the hands of the US gov't, i'd put it in Russia, China, Iran, or anywhere else the civil arm of the US is batted aside like so much putty.

  • Re:aww... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Builder ( 103701 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @06:31AM (#21569903)
    You know, I am SOOO sick of those adverts. I mean, how do they KNOW that I wouldn't steal a purse ? Maybe I'm only in this dark movie theatre to steal some purses, then go outside and steal any cars that they keys in the purses open.

    This is slander! Or libel! Or something!
  • by tankadin ( 1175113 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:07AM (#21570013)
    1. send takedown notice to MPAA
    2. LiveJournal servers slashdotted to hell
    3. ???
    4. geekocalypse!
    5. Profit?
  • by pfleming ( 683342 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:44AM (#21571415) Homepage Journal

    Aha, but this result is only possible because of copyright law. Thus, if one is celebrating this case, they are indirectly saying copyright is good.
    They are directly stating that the GPL enforcement is good. They are not saying that this software should be protected for 120 years (hell, a bug fix next week makes 120 years laughable).
    Copyright laws do need to be changed to take reality into account, but the issue here is that the software is being distributed in violation of the license. Copyright law is just the "enforcement stick" of this license.

"It's my cookie file and if I come up with something that's lame and I like it, it goes in." -- karl (Karl Lehenbauer)