Feeds

MS accuses DRM hacker of source code theft

Hunt for copy-protection nemesis goes legal

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft has launched a lawsuit against the unknown hacker who created a program to strip DRM code from Windows Media Player files.

The FairUse4WM system removed copyright protection from music files downloaded through subscription services such as Napster and Yahoo! Music. The software has the ability to strip DRM from files protected with Windows Media DRM version 10 and 11, making it easier to transfer legitimately purchased music files onto mobile devices.

Redmond quickly issued a patch but the unknown developer, known only as Viodentia, quickly found a way around the update, much to chagrin of Redmond and its content partners.

Microsoft issued a further update, against the a advice of those who argued that FairUse4WM made paid for content easier to use. Microsoft realised from the start that its DRM code would be a prime target for hackers so it designed the code to make security updates far easier to develop than is the case with Internet Explorer, for example.

That wasn't by itself enough to deal with Viodentia, Microsoft decided, so (as is the local custom) Redmond decided to go legal. But instead of of following the obvious strategy and accusing Viodentia of circumventing its copy protection, Microsoft is claiming the developer must have access to its proprietary source code, specifically code related to its Windows Media software development kit, to have designed such an ingenious hack. Redmond has also sent out legal nasty-grams to sites hosting FairUse4WM code.

"Our own intellectual property was stolen from us and used to create this tool," said Bonnie MacNaughton, a senior attorney in Microsoft's legal and corporate affairs division told News.com. "They obviously had a leg up on any of the other hackers that might be creating circumvention tools from scratch."

Viodentia, who is not backing down in the face of legal threats, denies he ever had access to Microsoft source code in releasing a new version of FairUse4WM tool. "FairUse4WM has been my own creation, and has never involved Microsoft source code," the developer wrote. "I link with Microsoft's static libraries provided with the compiler and various platform SDK (software development kit) files." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.