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Traitorware and Chilling Effects

This just in from EFF! (Honestly, I didn’t intend to use just EFF, but they have the best two stories out there on the web right now for the theme of creeping you out…)


This article is a ripe fodder for conspiracy theories… Back in 2005, Sony BMG added a “rootkit” program to their CDs that was supposed to help enforce the Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls for the CD. What it did, however, was install a volatile program on unwitting computers that did much more than expected… “[T]he software also rendered the CD incompatible with many CD-ROM players in PC’s, CD players in cars, and DVD players. Additionally, the software left a back door open on all infected PC’s which would give Sony, or any hacker familiar with the rootkit, control over the PC. And if a consumer should have the temerity to find the rootkit and try to remove the offending drivers, the software would execute code designed to disable the CD drive and trash the PC.”  Safe to say… they got in trouble for their efforts.

So what is this new article talking about? Unsurprisingly, there are new forms of this type of “extra” software or software effects going into our consumer electronics all the time. Check out the article to see what’s up.

Chilling Effects: “Chilling Effects Supporters Fight Back Against Perfect 10 Challenge”

Amicus Brief Rejects Claim That Google’s Forwarding of its Legal Notices to the Online Resource is Copyright Infringement… because Perfect 10 includes its copyrighted adult images on the notifications.

The use of copyrighted works for scholarship or research, like in Chilling Effects, is clearly a fair use of the material and protected under the law,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. ”

For those that don’t know, the site “ ” works to educate the public on the First Amendment and Intellectual Property Laws that effect internet content. A big part of that is re-posting Copyright Infringement/Takedown notices that are sent to companies on the web.  This whole effort important because if you receive a notice, but are using the content under the fair use provision, then what the company sending the inappropriate notice is doing is creating a “chilling effect” – silencing legal speech by inappropriately threatening to sue. If they took you to court, they would loose…. but you don’t know that. Chilling wants to change that.

(c) Nicole L. Mann  2010


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