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Mattel buys copyrights to Cyber Patrol crack

Slick PR move in Boston courtroom

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Minutes before a copyright complaint hearing against two hackers who published a crack to Mattel's Cyber Patrol Web filtering application was to begin, the company filed documents indicating it was ready to abandon its suit over a utility program called cphack, which enables Cyber Patrol users to view the program's encrypted list of banned URLs. Mattel reported that in a settlement agreement, reached on 24 March with the two crypto buffs who developed cphack, it had acquired the copyright. The agreements were signed by cphack authors Eddy Jansson of Sweden and Matthew Skala of Canada, who held out for one dollar in exchange for relinquishing his rights. The agreement gives Mattel all rights to the utility's source code, binaries and associated explanatory notes. In spite of the feel-good solution with the authors, Mattel renewed its request for District Judge Edward Harrington to grant a permanent order citing mirror sites with contempt charges. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Chris Hansen asked that mirror sites be exempt from court orders, noting that Mattel can sue anyone who violates their copyright on cphack. Harrington has agreed to rule by Wednesday, and continued his previous restraining order for the interim. ®

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