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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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  • Re:Explanation. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zonky ( 1153039 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:17PM (#21567145)
    Should also be made clear that the tools only identified torrent users, and didn't make any attempt to distinguish between 'naughty' and legal torrents.
  • Encouraging result (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GroeFaZ ( 850443 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:19PM (#21567171)
    but at the same time rather worrysome what a simple email to the ISP can do, even if it's for a good cause. Why not sue them and make things bullet-proof and at the same time strengthen the GPL in court, rather than sorting things out vigilantism-style? A pile of court-issued takedowns might be a more impressive repellant against future violations of the GPL (or any other such license) than a pile of social-engineering-issued takedowns. Don't associate "social engineering" with the negative connotation of spam/phising/etc. as I used it; instead, read it in its original meaning: someone requested a blocking of content from an ISP, essentially (TFA is void of details) only with convincing arguments but no hard proof that the GPL was indeed violated.
  • Possible deterrent? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @10:49PM (#21567437)
    IANAL, but why don't OSS developers offer a GPL-free version of their software for some really high price. That way, when big-media tries to steal (their words, not mine) their creative works, the developers can sue them for legitimate damages, citing a stratospheric market price per copy, then multiply the number of CDs they've distributed by their stratospheric market price to get damages from them?

    "The MPAA/RIAA has distributed 1500 copies of my work. I offer that software at $50,000 per copy. They owe me 75 million dollars in damages!"

    That's basically what they big media is trying to do to the consumers, isn't it?

  • Re:aww... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Monday December 03, 2007 @11:02PM (#21567523) Journal
    they still distributed in violation of the license and therefor copyright law! You can't make stuff up this funny, the MPAA in violation of copyright, LOL. The FSF can still go after them if they want to.
  • Re:No GPL Violation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dido ( 9125 ) <`dido' `at' `'> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:21AM (#21568413)

    None of what this AC says is true. It doesn't matter if the MPAA never changed any code, the fact remains that they were distributing the code, changed or not. Now, if you want to distribute GPLed code, either you comply with the license and provide source code, or you find yourself just as guilty of copyright infringement as these people torrenting movies that they are so quick to prosecute. What happened was the latter. As for suing them for copyright violation, the fact that no one lost any money is also immaterial. There is such a thing as statutory damages, which would be at minimum US$750 for each copyrighted work thus violated, and could be as high as US$30,000. They would thus theoretically be on the hook for statutory damages for every GPLed package in the Xubuntu distribution, just like Ms. Jammie Thomas. There are hundreds of GPLed packages in Xubuntu... You do the math.

  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:55AM (#21568959)
    Read the article.. it's XuuuuuBuuuuuTTTuuuuuuuuu !!

    "The University Toolkit is essentially an operating system (xubuntu) that you can boot up from a CD-ROM. The package bundles some powerful, open-source network monitoring tools, including "Snort," which captures detailed information about all traffic flowing across a network; as well as "ntop," a tool used to take data feeds from tools like Snort and display the data in more user-friendly graphics and charts. " []

  • Re:Explanation. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Antibozo ( 410516 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:20AM (#21571151) Homepage

    However, I am torn because the *PAAs have used their influence to ruin lives and savage our laws and customs - this is a great way to strike back a politically meaningful blow if it's played correctly.

    A great way to strike back would be for the vociferous masses who hate the MPAA so much to get off their butts and form a political action committee to lobby for reform of the legislation they blame on the MPAA. In this case, rather, they're using the GPL itself to make it demonstrably more difficult for researchers to analyse software security, where there's no evidence of actual harm (i.e. distribution of modified software), and certainly no actual need for yet another mirror of xubuntu sources.

    If poor legal interpretation has resulted in harm to innocents, that's the fault of inept judges, and should be remedied by appeal and subsequent sanction against the judges responsible. Remediating the DMCA properly requires action in Congress. This sort of shallow response against one potential abuser doesn't help us against the next abuser (it doesn't even help us against the MPAA in any practical way). I wish that all the energy being directed at striking a tiny, meaningless, blow against perceived injustice were instead harnessed into political initiative that could have a hope of effecting real change.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall