Feeds

MS in illegal music download shocker

Copyright violation outrage

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Back in 2004, Microsoft big cheese Steve "Ballistic" Ballmer reportedly claimed that "the most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'." - in the process extolling the virtue of Windows DRM which, as we all know, completely prevents piracy of any sort, anywhere, ever.

Ballmer quickly backtracked on the iPod claim and just as well, because we can exclusively reveal today that MS is apparently offering copyrighted music for free download and dissemination without regard for common IP decency and in flagrant breach of several, if not dozens, of international laws. Reader Michael Kortsen explains:

http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/results.aspx?lc=en-us&Scope=MS&Query=happy+birthday&SubmitSearch=+Go+

If you go to the above link, you will see that Microsoft is offering free illegal music downloads. Namely, MIDI versions of "Happy Birthday", which is still under copyright. Interestingly, two of the versions are labelled "Trad", as if it were a traditional tune and not the precious intellectual property of, um, whoever owns it (you're the reporter, you look it up).

Well, here's the background to "Happy Birthday": written in 1893 by Mildred Hill and her sister Patty Smith Hill, the song's original title was "Good Morning to All", intended as a schoolroom greeting. In 1924, the lyrics were amended to read "Happy Birthday to You".

The song subsequently came under the control of the Birch Tree Group, Ltd, which in 1988 offloaded the asset to Warner Communications, the current copyright holder.

The song will, in 2030, come into the public domain, but until then the bean counters down at Warner are legally entitled to a payment for any public performance. Naturally, we don't believe for a minute that lawyers backed by armed police officers are going to take to gatecrashing kiddies' birthday parties bearing tazers and writs, but surely they must find Microsoft too tempting a target?

We reckon a claim for damages in the region of $4bn is appropriate in this case. Microsoft should also be obliged to provide full details of any Microsoft Office user who downloaded "Happy Birthday" so they too can be relentlessly hounded through the courts.

It is, of course, entirely possible that MS has already struck a deal with Warner by which it can punt this cheerful ditty, in which case can it please ask the media monolith for a version which does not sound like it was knocked up by a five-year-old xylophonist in training for a career with Muzac Corporation? Thank you. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.