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MS leaked memo whips up anti-piracy ‘national cause’

Call to action: manipulate public officials

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Microsoft France is plotting to manipulate "public authorities and large institutional players" to make piracy enforcement, implementing copy protection and product activation technology, and the fight against hacking a "national cause" in France, according to a leaked internal memo obtained by The Register.

The memo, from Euro-MS exec and anti-piracy specialist Guillaume Tostain to MS's European anti-piracy group and several company individuals, is dated 5 March and urges that "Microsoft, alone or jointly with [trade] associations, must approach public authorities to persuade them to support our efforts, which should culminate in a governmental television campaign this Autumn."

Regarding existing pirates, Tostain recommends a multi-pronged attack, starting with the velvet glove treatment and progressing as needed to firmer tactics. He urges "a progressive pressure, beginning with two letters then a telephone contact, with an increasingly (firm?), but non-aggressive, message, to preserve the new image of the BSA (Business Software Alliance)."

Another initiative will be a road show for OEMs and other 'partners', engineered to make everyone comfortable with Microsoft's product activation scheme. This will of course be a difficult sell, as users are bound to loathe it, and OEMs will be the ones stuck trying to assure consumers that its ominous potential for phone-home functions and machine identification schemes are, despite appearances, really splendid new features.

But perhaps the most interesting task for MS's Eurominions is that of "influencing public officials," as Tostain calls it.

"Microsoft and/or the BSA will meet with public authorities in order to sensitize them to the problem of hacking, and to explain the burden to industry in defending its intellectual property."

Politicians, civil servants and law enforcement officials must be made to understand the grave economic consequences of hacking, Tostain says.

Finally, he recommends that the press be conscripted to put out the word, and thus help everyone become comfortable with MS's dreaded new product activation and copy protection schemes.

The MS France anti-hacking team consists of Guillaume Tostain, Christine Kechichian, and Alain Ecuvillon. ®

Note: The foregoing translations are unlikely to be perfect, but the general sense is probably correct throughout. My French is decent, though not brilliant --TCG

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