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MS claims copyright on Windows bugs

Stops BugTraq republishing security notices

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Microsoft is claiming copyright over its security notices and insisting that mailing lists can no longer publish the Beast of Redmond's dire security warnings.

The lawyers at Microsoft have objected to the publication of its security notices by SecurityFocus.com, which runs the popular BugTraq security mailing list.

Elias Levy, of SecurityFocus.com, told readers of the site: "As the copyright holders of the work they have told me in no uncertain terms that I do not have their permission to redistribute a text version of their web page bulletins via the mailing list or the securityfocus.com web site, and that doing so would be considered an act of copyright violation."

As Slashdot pointed out, dumb move.

BugTraq will continue to announce vulnerabilities but will now have to point users towards Microsoft's site if they need more information. The move, which comes after Microsoft changed the format of its notices from text to a email which points to a url on its site, limits the ability of people to go to one site to get the latest security information.

Another point is that explanations of vulnerabilities on securityfocus.com (which also posts warnings about upcoming problems and added discussion on bugs) tend to be easier to understand.

So far Microsoft has issued 96 security notices this year, and there is keen anticipation in security circles that this figure might exceed 100 by the end of December. If it were to license the publication of these bug reports a tidy revenue might be derived with perhaps a premium for those flaws which are the most potentially devastating.

No-one at MS was available to discuss this promising business idea however. ®

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