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Our Attorney's Response To Microsoft

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the glad-this-guy's-on-*our*-side dept.

Censorship 639

Click below to read our lawyer's formal response to Microsoft's request that we remove readers' comments about their version of Kerberos from Slashdot.

To: J.K. Weston, Designated Agent, Microsoft Corporation

This firm represents Andover.Net, Inc. ("Andover.Net") which operates the Slashdot service. Andover.Net has asked us to investigate your e-mail message regarding certain postings by users of Slashdot relating to a Microsoft Kerberos specification.

As a general matter, it is the policy of Slashdot not to interfere with or censor the communications of its users. Andover.Net is particularly concerned about censoring the user postings on which you have focused given their apparent relevance to issues in the current antitrust litigation between the Microsoft and the government.

In our review of this matter, it would be helpful if you could provide certain information:

1. How can Microsoft claim proprietary protections for enhancement to an open standard protocol?

2. How can Microsoft use the Kerberos name, which signifies an open standard protocol, in connection with a proprietary protocol?

3. How can Microsoft claim trade secrecy for a protocol that is distributed over the Internet?

4. What measures has Microsoft taken to protect the trade secrecy of its Kerberos specification beyond the use of a click-wrap license agreement?

5. What measures has Microsoft taken to ensure that its Kerberos specification is only distributed to persons who are capable of entering into a binding contract in jurisdictions where such an agreement would be enforceable?

6. How could posting of the Microsoft Kerberos specification on Slashdot have any detrimental impact on the market for authorized distribution of Microsoft's version of Kerberos?

7. Why wouldn't prospective purchasers of Windows 2000 need to know the contents of Microsoft's Kerberos specification in order to make informed judgments regarding interoperability in connection with their purchasing decisions?

8. Why shouldn't Slashdot users and the general public be able to view this protocol for purposes of commentary and criticism in light of its apparent relevance to issues in the government's antitrust litigation?

Any information you could provide in response to these questions and any other information that you believe we should consider would be helpful.

Very truly yours,

- Mark D. Robins

______________________________
Mark D. Robins
Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar
A Professional Corporation

cancel ×

639 comments

MS reply: "We have $50e6 to spend on lawsuits... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1062483)

how much do you have?"

Bottom line. MS (or any big corp) can the little guy in litigation hell for all eternity or until he accepts whatever settlement terms proposed by the other side.

This is America. The lawfirm with the biggest budget wins.

is it me... (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1062495)

or does it seem that Slashdot is evading the issue? I don't see how it can be argued that those posts that copied the protocol verbatim (not the links to a copy) shouldn't be removed. Slashdot is after all operating within a jurisdiction where the EULA is enforcable. The rest was just filler wondering why Microsoft has embraced and extended kerberos(which last time I checked they had the right to do) and not really addressing the charge that they were in violation of the DMCA. which they are.

Its just lawyers, pissing at each other. (5)

torpor (458) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062500)

Microsoft won't answer those questions.

This is just laywerease for "fuck off, we're not going to do what you asked us to do".

Re:A great response! (3)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062518)

Not only that, that firm also supports WBUR, the local NPR station here. Go /., go Hutchens Wheeler and Dittmar.


The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

A great response! (2)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062523)

I don't know where Slashdot gets its lawyers, but you might want to consider cloning them. I'm sure people would pay a lot of money for intelligent, intelligable attorneys.

Seriously, Microsoft will have every reason to fear Slashdot and Andover, if this is the standard of response they get. These are exactly the sort of questions they won't want to answer, especially with the knowledge that tens of thousands of people will know their replies.

The exception to the rule (1)

sparky (3778) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062539)

Lawyers suck. Except this one. Wow.

Again I say: Wow.

Remind me that if I ever get threatened with legal action because of something to do with Free Software to call this guy. He's raking 'em over the coals.

whew (4)

craw (6958) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062568)

Whew. Given the past history of /. I was scared that the reply was going to start out something like this.

To: J.K. Weston, Designated Agent, Microsoft Corporation

IANAL but, ...

BTW, you should cc: Joel Klein, Washington, DC

I object (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062585)

Sustained. The jury will disreguard the questions as immaterial to the case at hand.

Ok, since when is it illegal to take an 'open protocol', enhance and extend it, make it 'better' if you will, altho this has the unfortunate side effect of making it incompatible with other non-Msft products; and copyright those proprietary extensions? That's the 'gray zone' Msft is exploiting, the want to keep 'innovating', which we all know is double-talk for "making incompatible with industry standards so they'll HAVE to use our products, haha!" altho agreeing to a static protocol is pretty progress halting - the question for the judge is: is this (proprietary kerberos extensions) really making innovative progress in software technology that benefits the customer, fixing 'issues' in the open standard, or a monopolizing tactic? Both?? Neither???

Standards plus!

Questions your lawyers forgot... (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062587)

Yowch. Lemme know who your lawyers are so I can hire them. Meanwhile, here's a list of questions which they may wish to include. They're not exactly relevant to this case but, damnit, I sure want answers to them...
  1. How exactly are we supposed to get refunds on your software, pursuant to the shrink-wrap license on your software, if neither Microsoft, nor the OEM, nor the store that sold it, will give one a refund?
  2. Did you really think we wouldn't get on your case about 'embracing-and-extending' Kerberos after reading the Halloween Documents?
  3. Whose bright idea was ActiveX, anyways?
  4. How much did you pay Jordy Weissman for FASA? Does this mean that future Shadowrun computer games are going to work solely on Windows and X-Box machines? Will we see the rules for Deckers changed to mention Microsoft[tm] VisualBasic[tm] as an 31337 programming language?
  5. Some of the articles you wanted removed don't even have links to the material on Microsoft[tm] Kerberos. What in the world did you want these removed for?
  6. With all the money you have and all the bleeding edge talent you bought, why couldn't you write a decent set of Java tools?
  7. Why is it that Windows 95 can recognize my fairly standard hardware, but that y'all don't include the (maybe 5kB) drivers on the install disks? And while I'm at it, whose brain-damaged idea was it to make 'new computer' Win95 distributions only install properly if you've re-formatted the C: drive?
  8. And finally: at a time when you're about to get busted by the Feds, does it make sense to further antagonize people? Are you *trying* to tick off your shareholders?


The Second Amendment Sisters [sas-aim.org]

Why are any of these questions relevant? (3)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062592)

I'm honestly surprised that the response would consist of so many questions. Yes, these are good ones to ask, but hardly points of law (I mean, if you can point to a law that says that protocols used on the internet can be freely copied, I would like to see it). Rather, I would have said either that slashdot is a journalistic enterprise and that articles are protected under the first amendment, and postings are akin to letters to the editor. This seems to be much more direct and to the point, and sets a VERY high bar for Microsoft to cross. They would have to prove that a) slashdot is NOT a journalistic enterprise, and therefore not entitled to first amendment protection, or b) that if slashdot IS a journalistic enterprise, that they (MSFT) have an overriding concern in having the first amendment rights abrogated. Keep in mind that the U.S. government was unable to do this with the New York Times when the Pentagon Papers were published. This is what I mean when I say "a high bar to cross". The letter written by the editor seemed to just be beating around the bush.

Re:Good/tough questions. Too bad they're irrelevan (1)

cgori (11130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062595)

Two words for you: "Fair Use". Even copyrighted materials can be used in other contexts. The problem is the DMCA is an end-around fair use, which requires that the information be "trade secrets".

Microsoft made a point to use the DMCA as their lever for action -- the response is merely asking Microsoft to justify the applicability of the DMCA in this scenario.

They can be a powerful force for good and evil... (2)

Guppy (12314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062601)

Lawyers can be a powerful force for both good and evil. It all depends on the choice of the one who wields them. In enlightened hands, they are indispensable for maintaining order and harmony in society. But woe if a lawyer should ever fall into the clutches of Evil.

In other words...
Lawyers are tools. :P

There must be a remedy (1)

Wreck (12457) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062603)

I don't think anyone is disputing that microsoft has a valid copyright on the code in question. Given that, I cannot see any legal leg for slashdot to stand on with regards to the actual posting of the copyrighted code here.

The other stuff -- howto avoid the clickwrap agreement, and links -- Microsoft can go suck eggs; give 'em hell.

Your attempts to challenge MS only look defensive from this POV; indeed, frivolous. You are not even asking them pertinent questions like how they think posting a link infringes on their copyright.

But as for copyrighted material: if I was to take slashcode, strip off the copyright, and post it here... would you leave it up? How about if I replace the copyright with one asserting copyright for Microsoft?

Re:Cool, this should hold them off for a few days (1)

GPB (12468) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062604)

I hope this goes to court. It would be a huge victory to open standards.

Only if Andover won. Remember that the US courts are still not very tech savvy and often don't understand the real issues involved, hence we get things like the DMCA.

-B

Andover has some hot lawyers (3)

Silver A (13776) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062615)

This is just the sort of thing lawyers are for: Telling some bully to put up or shut up.

3. How can Microsoft claim trade secrecy for a protocol that is distributed over the Internet?
4. What measures has Microsoft taken to protect the trade secrecy of its Kerberos specification beyond the use of a click-wrap license agreement?
5. What measures has Microsoft taken to ensure that its Kerberos specification is only distributed to persons who are capable of entering into a binding contract in jurisdictions where such an agreement would be enforceable?
6. How could posting of the Microsoft Kerberos specification on Slashdot have any detrimental impact on the market for authorized distribution of Microsoft's version of Kerberos?

These are the crucial questions that a judge will have to decide in this sort of a case, and they all reflect precedents that other corporations have set, even if not tried in court. (Remember the Corel beta license flap about prohibiting minors? Microsoft didn't even bother to specify no minors.) And they're all framed in a way to put Microsoft on the defensive. Cool.

I do wish that something had been said about fair use, but IANAL, and wouldn't know how to frame that question, nor whether it's useable.

It's real good to see that Andover has lawyers who earn their pay, since so many don't.

Re:slashdot is a criminal organization (5)

Silver A (13776) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062616)

Right now they are breaking every copyright law in the book by allowing those posts to stay up. This is NOT a free speech issue. The content of many of those posts is copyrighted. What is someone posted an entire novel? It would be removed in a second. These posts aren't being removed because slashdot wants to drag this out and throw some mud on Microsoft. All MS is asking is for you guys to respect their copyrights. Is that so hard?

I know copyright laws go against your Linux/communist agenda, but these laws are what America was built upon. Without them, many great products would never have been created such as the car, light bulb, telephone...and Windows 98. That's right, Windows 98 is a great product. Anyone who says otherwise is a pro-Linux zealot or a fool.

You obviously are unfamiliar with how copyright (or most other law) actually works. Microsoft has informed Andover that MS believes Andover to be infringing its copyright. The response by Andover's lawyers is requesting clarification of MS's claims, while challenging MS's assertions. Just because a lawyer (MS's) says something, doesn't mean it is true. So Andover asks questions about the finer points of copyright law in an attempt to determine if the posts really are copyright material, and whether the posts actually infringe copyright law. Yes and No is a possible combination of answers to those two questions.

Part of what you don't understand is that Intellectual Property has limits, just as real property does. Andover is asserting (in the subtext of its questions) that the posts fall outside those limits, and are not subject to action.

Anthony Argyriou

Capitalist for Linux

ps: I quoted the entire post, because it isn't really a troll

Re:How binding is all this? (2)

ZephyrAlfredo (14610) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062621)

>But I have a question for the legally inclined. How binding are all of these thinly-veiled hostilities?? Were they obligated to under law?

Of course not. The only authority that can oblige anyone to do anything is the judiciary. These messages are merely diplomatic negotiation, often completely asinine.

If microsoft took Andover to court, filed motions, and won, the ViPs would be sequentially ordered, fined, and thrown in jail until they complied.

But otherwise, legal individuals such as microsoft have no power past the fear of the very bad things that could happen to you in court.

has anyone noticed.. (3)

geekd (14774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062623)

has anyone noticed that the guys who wrote Kerberos in the first place are really pissed at MS? And they work for VA Linux, who owns Andover, who owns Slashdot.

So MS is, in effect, adding insult to injury by taking legal action against the company that employs the creators of an open protocol that MS is subverting.

"We will take your work, make it proprietary, then threaten legal action when you complain!"

VA Linux/Andover/Slashdot should sue MS! I'm sure they can find the grounds for it somewhere.

-geekd

Good/tough questions. Too bad they're irrelevant. (5)

seebs (15766) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062635)

The question is this:

1. Do slashdot's servers currently contain copyrighted material which they do not have appropriate permission to distribute?

That's it. Now, you can argue the *trade secret* part separately, but the fact is, the text of the spec *is* copyrighted, and entitled to protection, just as slashdot's code is copyrighted, and entitled to protection.

How would you feel if Microsoft went and ran a closed, proprietary, message system based on slashcode, and when asked, found some side issue to the question of ownership and licensing and hammered on that instead?

If there are copies of the spec, they should be removed. Instructions on bypassing the "copy protection" are much more difficult to discuss; after all, that's the DMCA, which is new law, and not very well understood.

All that said... I agree, I'd love to see Microsoft explain this one to Judge Jackson.

You missed a question guys (3)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062641)

Most of the posts microsoft referenced in their original complaint did not actually contain the content they alleged it did. Ask them what the #$%^ they were smoking.
I am so glad I quit my job at microsoft. I can have self respect again.
--Shoeboy
(former microserf)

Amazing... (2)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062643)

An almost total lack of lawyer-speak. I'm impressed, guys. And I'm interested in seeing any possible justifications MS can put forth. Keep fighting the good fight!

Eric

Sigh.. (1)

nd (20186) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062655)

This guy makes some excellent points regarding the merit of their concern on this matter. I really don't think MS could easily answer those, which immediately shows how stupid all of this is of them. But, I have a feeling the angle MS will take with this will be "none of that matters, this is a copyright issue".

This is unfortunate, when a company relies on technicalities and silly laws to protect its misguided efforts to monopolize. That's all it is, really.

Re:Nice smokescreen (5)

YoJ (20860) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062658)

Let's look at a food analogy. Suppose a Cola manufacturer refused to include the list of ingredients on their cans. They claimed that their list of ingredients was "copyright", "proprietary", and a "trade secret". Would the government turn a blind eye, and even start putting people in jail who passed around the ingredient list? Of course not. The exact formula might be a trade secret. But the list of ingredients (with terms like "spices", "other artificial flavor") is not a trade secret, or even copyrightable.

This was a specification of a product that was supposedly "infringing". If people posted the source code that Microsoft wrote, that is like posting the secret formula. If people post the Microsoft Kerberos specification, they are passing around the ingredient list. Some people are allergic to nuts and need to check the ingredients; others are allergic to vendor lock-in and incompatibility.

-Nathan Whitehead

Glad you think you have a good lawyer... (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062662)

...your Shareholders should be suing you after this as well, for wasting the company's money on a case like this when you are so clearly in the wrong.

Cool, this should hold them off for a few days (2)

Longing (23218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062664)

It will be very interesting to see how they answer about publicly distributed trade secrets. The whole idea behind that is pretty absurd, and their lawyers must've been pretty brave that day.

I'd also like to see them get smacked down for abusing open protocols. Maybe this can get used against them if they appeal their anti-trust lawsuit?

I hope this goes to court. It would be a huge victory to open standards.

The response. (5)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062686)


For some reason I've managed to get an advance copy of Microsoft's responses to the questions:

To Mark D. Robins,

Thank you for your interest in our proprietary protocols products. The answers to your inquiries are as follows:

1. We claimed protections mostly because we didn't think you'd notice. It pains us to realize that you were one of the few people who actually took the time to read the license agreement before clicking.

2. If you notice, our product is in fact entitled Kerberoos, which is almost completely different from the product you refer to as Kerberos. Our product is in reality a tasty, but proprietary children's cereal. Maybe you've seen our mascot Kangy the Kerberoo?

3. We deny the existence of the internet.

4. Microsoft has taken measures such as writing you this letter and threatening other people. One time on the street a guy from our marketing department made fun of a kid whom he suspected of distributing our Kerberoos brand cereal, the child began crying.

5. We have a "rewards" program that pays any person who turns in a friend for unauthorized use of Kerberoos. So far, we have paid out over $73 in rewards.

6. Most of the detrimental impact is to our already fragile emotions. The justice department has been very mean to us and we're in a pretty rough place right now. You guys showing up and just spilling all our secrets isn't helping.

7. We've found the prospective purchasers of Microsoft products like to know as little as possible before making a purchase. Did you know that we're friends with Jay Leno? Yup, now here's your copy of Office.

8. You guys suck and we hate you. Stop bringing up the damn lawsuit 'cause it sucks to. You guys are just the suckiest sucks ever.

I hope this clarifies the situation and are position. Don't hesitate to contact us by telegram or pigeon if you have any more questions.


Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com] - Funny

The questions are mostly irrelevant? (1)

hardaker (32597) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062700)

Most of the questions are irrelevant to the decision to remove the content, in my opinion. Specifically, the nature of the argument is over copyrighted material and the questions are directed more along the lines of "why is this material copyrighted?".

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for them to answer these questions but I doubt they'll answer them since I doubt they'll see how it pertains to the decision that slashdot has to make with regards to removing the offending material.

Re:How binding is all this? (2)

joshamania (32599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062702)

Most of this might just go to the part of copyright law that states that a copyright holder must attempt to protect his/her/its copyright. If protection of a copyright is not attempted, a copyright holder may lose the copyright to the material in question. (Please note, I am too lazy to look up the actual statute and read through the damn thing, but from what I've been able to piece together from other /.'ers, what I've said above is fairly close to true. Please correct me if I'm not right.)

The other, more likely consideration is that Microsoft is just stupid. This whole thing just smacks of one of those situations where one party knows it's wrong. It hardly has a leg to stand on so it goes on the attack. The wrong party will do anything to keep on the offensive, because it has no defense to speak of.

Were IETF research to be under a license similar to GNU, we may not be having this problem. MS cannot take the Linux kernel, make extensions to it, and subsequently copyright its results. Why should they be able to do the same to Kerberos?

skirting the issue? (2)

x0 (32926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062705)

Having read a few of the responses so far, I am in agreement that these are particularly valid questions to pose. What I don't see in this letter is a defense for /. action (or inaction, really)

Apart from stating that Andover.net is loath to censor user comments, nothing in this letter backs up any claim that these are protected speech posts. (As opposed to merely revealing 'proprietary' information.)

Bingo! (1)

Sea++ (33031) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062706)

Oooo, I'm starting to like lawyers again! ;) WAY TO GO! Keep up the good work!

Re:reply summary (1)

Staciebeth (40574) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062724)

Have you READ Marx?

An excellent reply. (1)

M-2 (41459) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062725)

Mr. Robins, I salute you. I don't know if anyone gave him any of the posts we've seen here concerning this issue, but it does appear he took the best concerns. This reads almost like something you'd toss at someone as part of the discovery process for a lawsuit.

And there's always use for something like that. Again, bravo.

(I admit, though, I'd love to see things in the US work more like the UK House of Commons, where people say things like "My respected fellow is an ass!" and things of that nature. That would make some of the legal papers we see really fun.)
----

Lawyers (1)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062726)

I'm reminded of what a presidential candidate (no, not Al, and not Dubya; hint -- Unsafe at Any Speed) said. Basically, it amounted to "You may not like lawyers much, but the only people that have done anything to make sure giant corporations are held responsible for their actions are trial lawyers. Yes, a lot of lawyers became very wealthy as a result of the tobacco settlement, but would RJR & friends ever been reined in had it not been for them?"

Let alone all the ones you never hear of who take pro bono cases for causes they believe in.

Re:You missed a question guys (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062736)

I am so glad I quit my job at microsoft. I can have self respect again.

Never work for someone you don't respect.
-- Life's Little Instruction Book [i think]

Copyrights aren't patents (2)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062756)

IANAL but . . .
Copyrights aren't controlled in the same way patents are. Basically you can copyright anything you want and the government just signs off on it, they have no way of comparing it to every previously copyrighted work to ensure that you really have a unique work.

It is then up to the holders of existing copyrights to go after you if they feel your copyrighted work has infringed on their prior art.

If MS really thinks they have a defendable copyright, then they should have no problem answering the questions posed.

Re:Nice smokescreen (1)

snubber1 (56537) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062758)

I looks to me like they are challenging the copyright microsoft is claiming.

----------------------------------------------

Sweet (1)

cwhicks (62623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062767)

Several good points I had not come up with on my own.
It really feels good when someone, (albeit a filthy lawyer) can ethically cram MS' on filth back in their face. I gives me hope for the community.

Re:reply summary (1)

cwhicks (62623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062768)

That's a troll, don't get suckered into responding.

Re:Linux Buttsex HOW-TO (1)

cwhicks (62623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062769)

Someone spent some time on this, and it is in no way funny. Is the point that Linux people have butt sex? Not really, it plays on the 15 year old double meaning of "finger", and says the word Linux a few times.
At least the Golden Girls and Natalie Portman trilogy had some laughs in it.
This is just words.

Re:slashdot is a criminal organization (1)

heiho1 (63352) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062774)

Anyone who thinks Win98 is a great product has my heartfelt sympathies...

You didn't actually send this, right? (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062776)

You're kidding, right? This letter is completely unrelated to the matter at hand concerning Microsoft's request for censorship. Your letter is entirely a list of cheap shots that are the culmination of recent discussions on Slashdot in response to Microsoft's actions towards the Kerberos protocol. I really hope this is a joke guys, cause otherwise you need a better legal defense team. This is the most unprofessional thing I've seen this week^H^H^H^H month.

How binding is all this? (5)

konstant (63560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062778)

This is exciting. It's like watching the future of MS Kerberos unfold before our very eyes. Many of the "questions" (apart from the antitrust references, which I think are kind of weak) are excellent, probing challenges to the MS claim of proprietary rights. I can't wait to see how Microsoft responds.

But I have a question for the legally inclined. How binding are all of these thinly-veiled hostilities? For example, what would have happened if Andover hadn't replied to Microsoft's letter? Were they obligated to under law? And similarly, is Microsoft required to respond in kind?

I'm curious because it seems that, if the conspiracy theories about MS Kerberos were true (not that I would know) then wouldn't Microsoft be reluctant to address these thorny points? Can they drop this all and go home now, or are they formally bound to answer?

-konstant
Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!

Is MS Giving up? (2)

LiNT_ (65569) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062781)

My opinion would be yes.

Most would agree this was meant as a deliberate scare tactic to try and bully slashdot.

The original letter from MS demanded that the offending posts be withdrawn within 48 hours as called for by the DMCA. Since it's been well over 48 hours and we haven't heard of anymore threats from the MS camp I'm guessing they realized they don't have a leg to stand on.

Good for Slashdot and good for Andover!

LiNT

Yeah. (4)

cdlu (65838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062782)

Well said, Mr. Robins.

The message gets right to the point of the matter, but does it really get to the legal issues. Whether or not it makes any -sense- for Microsoft to do what it is doing, does it not still have the legal -right- if not a legal obligation to protect its copyrights, or face an inability to enforce its position at a later date?

Hmmm...a possible MS responce? (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062793)

"Because we own a huge chunk of the market?"

Hey, could this count as evidence in the Anti-trust case against them? Should we notify the government as to their latest bullying tactics? Their obvious atempt to hide the incriminating information? I think the Justice department deserves to know.

I only wish more people were as informed as your everage /. user about Microsoft! I guess that would require some brains.

Nah haa! (1)

ChunkOChowder (71324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062794)

Touche! See, not all lawyers are evil.... Ya just gotta PAY em to be nice...

Eric

Wow! (1)

MostlyHarmless (75501) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062811)

I was expected a slightly wimpy reply that only said that slashdot could/would not remove the posts. Instead, you question them about the very issue, arguing for open kerberos instead of just trying to cover your behinds!

Good job!
nuclear cia fbi spy password code encrypt president bomb

About the Lawyer (5)

Tax Boy (75507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062812)

From the firm's website: http://www.hutchinswheelerdittmar.com

Mark D. Robins

Mark is an Associate of Hutchins, Wheeler
& Dittmar and a member of the firm's
Litigation Practice. Mark's practice is
concentrated in the areas of commercial
litigation, intellectual property and insurance.

Mark received his B.A. from Trinity
College and his J.D., cum laude, from
Boston College Law School. He was Law
Clerk to the Honorable Joyce London
Alexander, U.S. District Court, District of
Massachusetts.

Mark has written the following articles:
Computers and the Discovery of
Evidence: A New Dimension to Civil
Procedure, 17 J. Marshall J. Computer &
Info. L. (forthcoming 1999); Electronic
Trespass: An Old Theory in a New
Context, 15 Computer Law. 1 (July 1998);
The Reformation Defense to Motions for
Preliminary Injunctive Relief in
Trademark Litigation, 16 IPL Newsletter
10 (Spring 1998); Intellectual Property:
The Path to Preliminary Injunctive
Relief, 24 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
2180 (July 1, 1996); The Resurgence and
Limits of the Demurrer, 27 Suffolk U.L.
Rev. 637 (1993).

Re:How binding is all this? (2)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062820)

MS Kerberos

*shudder*

Well thought out (3)

Crowdpleazr1 (80140) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062823)

A very direct, to the point, and well thought out response. I think we can all agree though that Microsoft isn't about logic, and is all about stampeding anyone in their way. I doubt they will even bat an eyelash at your letter, and instead take it right to court. If they can tell Judge Jackson to his face he's wrong and an idiot, they won't even think twice about doing it to you.

However, I very much wish you the best of luck, and I agree exactly with your letter. Just another case of a corp trying to turn might into right.

Re:is it me... (1)

CdotZinger (86269) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062830)

1) That was no troll.

2) AC's got a point. While the /. response is intelligent, cogent, startlingly brief and unlawyerly (in a good way), and makes most of the points a good /. defense needs to make, it reads like a closing argument. I understand the strategy: shift focus from /.'s alleged copyright violation to MS's shoddy "secrecy" and ethically questionable Kerberos implementation. Not non-issues in the case, but not really the point of it either. If the /. response were posted here as a comment, I'd expect it to end up moderated "(Score: 4, Offtopic)."

Praise for Slashdot's stance in _Boston Globe_ (5)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062848)

More good press for Slashdot's actions, from a column in today's Boston Globe [boston.com] :

Self-inflicted wounds [boston.com]

Last week, when the popular Slashdot Web site published the Microsoft document with the copyright warning removed, Microsoft e-mailed Slashdot and threatened to sue. So far, Slashdot has refused to change its ways.

Perhaps it's eager to see whether Microsoft, a company on the verge of being ripped apart for antitrust violations, would be stupid enough to pick a fight over Kerberos.

Not a smokescreen (2)

GreyyGuy (91753) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062854)

I think the response brought up some very valid points. If the copyright is invalid, then there is nothing wrong. Just because I say I have a copywrite on a tape of the Matrix because I dubbed in my own voice over the agent's dialog doesn't mean I can sue people who then distribute it.

Bravo... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062858)

The point here is not to fight the legal matter to the death - but rather make Microsoft say, as explicitly as possible, how and why they can take an open protocol and make it their own. I can't wait for thier response!

It could use a better ending... (4)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062859)

Something like "I fart in your general direction, you silly, proprietary kniggits!"

You fought back! egad! (4)

JohnG (93975) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062861)

To be honest I don't think that Microsoft really expects most people to fire back with comments like that. They like to think of themselves as the bully and think that everyone will just fold over. It is especially arogant of them in light of recent and pending court cases against them however they haven't stopped trying to bully people (remember the gernman linux site having to take down "where do you want to go tommorow") or using dirty tactics.
I would think that if they wanted a softer punishment from the governemt the least they could do is prove that they could be good on their own for at least a little while.
Anyhow I am very interested in their response to this (although I doubt that there will be one)

Re:A Lot of Puffing, Little Wind (3)

bakreule (95098) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062864)

Very, very true. The law does cover Andover's liability concerning this, unless Andover took it completely to court to challenge the law.

The next step is to see if M$ even decides to respond, or even if they care. I think it's very possible that M$ started preparing their lawsuit even before they got a response from Andover. It wouldn't surprise me if they just ignore the questions and just went ahead with attempting to legally get the posts off /. If that's the case then they intend to use /. as a guinea pig, one that needs to be squished harshly. There were a bunch of comments on the original M$ article that said that M$ is looking way into the future and using this (if successful) as a means of control over releasing code and still having power. I'm starting to see the merits in this conspiracy theory. I don't think much of M$'s response to this will surprise me, whatever it might be (it wouldn't even surprise me if they just drop it, though that seems unlikely).

It was a very well thought out response, but I'm not cheering yet. Many a web site has originally given the finger to big corporations only to turn around and comply when the screws were tightened. I must give credit where credit is due though, they didn't skirt around the issue. They said exactly what needed to be said to M$ to challenge these inane policies and requests.

Well done, but the storm is just coming.

Giveing Props (1)

thefatz (97467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062874)

I must say, I give my props to the slashdot folk and andover. Most people and companys would of backed down, crapped there pants, and removed it. Instead slashdot and andover are standing up for what is right. At the same time, andover and slashdot are also proveing to the world that microsoft is still screwing people even admist the DOJ stuff that happing at this moment. Microsoft doesnt care about the source, they care about looking all mighty and hurting open source anything. Andover, and Slashdot, keep up the good work, and hold your head's high, because you may not win the battle, but you already won the war.

Re:Yeah. (1)

Kujo_42 (97474) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062875)

I think that it does actually get to the heart of the issue. See, here's the deal. In order for Microsoft to be able to say that their code is a trade secret, they need to be able to prove that they took reasonable means to protect that secret (please see their click-through agreement). If they did not take reasonable means to protect that data, which posting it on a website is not, IMHO, a reasonable effort, then it isn't a trade secret, is it. So, if it isn't a trade secret, then they have made their own click-through agreement self-contradictory, and therefore, clicking on it doesn't legally bind us to anything.

However, it is probably still a matter of copyright infringement, just as I can't copy your website, and put it up on my own without your permission, regardless of whether or not you explicitly state that it is copyrighted.

Very clear points (2)

mpav (101167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062888)

Laying out the issues and requesting answers to specific questions is very key here. In the DVD cases, most things were kept in the abstract sense, and we are just now learning that this approach is much more condusive to conveying the grit of very complex and often technical points. We will not let the DMCA stand!

Re:How binding is all this? (1)

HobophobE (101209) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062889)

Although I'm not a lawyer, I'm fairly sure that unless microsoft presses legal action the matter can be dropped by either party at any point in time. Basically microsoft was pointing out what it thought was a violation of its rights to slashdot, nothing more than if I were to walk over to my stupid neighbor's house right now and ask them VERY politely to shut their [censored] dog up.

-HobophobE

Fight the good fight (2)

HunterZero (102709) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062897)

I am very much impressed by his responce to Microsoft. In terms of debating, he has just make a classical attack of questioning his opponents tactics in general, both in the case at hand AND the governments case against them. Also, I feel I must stand up for the lawyer. I mean come on guys, not all of them are really that bad, and most of them are great guys. They are intelligent, and deserve some respect. After all, its not the lawyers that are complicated, but the law itself. Give it on up now for them. "Controlling your future, one invention at a time." ---Evil INC.

ROFL (1)

PerlGeek (102857) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062898)

I knew there were good lawyers out there, nice to see one every one in awhile.

And I thought lawyers had no sense of humor, too. :)

Counter sue? (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062899)

Is there any possibility of counter-suing MS for breaking the Kerberos agreement? I've been wondering when this flurry of anti-MS cases that people have been predicting is going to show up. There are several buisnesses that could have a solid case against MS at this point.

Maybe they are waiting for the anti-trust suit to finish, but that is going to take years.

Free Speech? (1)

yuriwho (103805) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062900)

Seems like the lawyers decided not to respond with knee jerk free speech argument and instead attack back with questions on the validity of M$ trade secret claims and attempt at censorship of posts that could be relevent to the DOJ litigation.

I suspect there will be no further response from M$ and they will pretend not to have stirred up the mud on this one as it will only have negative impact on M$ and they aren't losing any trade secrets anyway.

OTOH they may be willing to try and tarnish slashdot, sap money from Andover and set a precedent for others to get posts removed from this forum. Kinda scary when a corporation gets so large and rich, things like this have no impact on their bottom line and so they can use the legal system to abuse others.

I hope the first route is the one they take.

Talk about skirting the issue (5)

GhostCoder (108387) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062907)

Good points, but what's the point? Here is Microsoft's key complaint:

Included on http://www.slashdot.org are comments that now appear in your Archives, which include unauthorized reproductions of Microsoft's copyrighted work entitled "Microsoft Authorization Data Specification v.1.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 Operating Systems" (hereafter "Specification"). (Bold added for emphasis)

Regardless of whether or not Microsoft is allowed to attach the Kerberos name to their protocol, or whether or not it's technically still a Trade Secret, Microsoft still owns EXCLUSIVE copyrights to said work, and if someone is redistributing that work, then there are laws being broken.

In some ways I'm surprised that you actually paid your lawyers for this (or should I say "lawyers"), on the other hand, it is a good deflection tactic (one that the hyper-aggressive Linux/OSS advocates (fanatics) in the IRC channels I frequent use to derail perfectly valid points) so maybe it is worth the money.

1) They never did in the e-mail they sent to you.
2) Not once do they mention "Kerberos" in their request.
3) They don't mention "trade secret" either. The closest they come is proprietary, which can also mean exclusive rights.
4) Again, not relevant to the request.
5) Not relevant to the copyright infringement alleged.
6) Lack of harm does not make copyright infringement legal.
7) Irrelevant to copyright infringement allegation.
8) There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to, but it's up to Microsoft to let that happen. They own the copyright on the work so they can do whatever they want.

On another note, I notice that Microsoft recognizes who owns comments:

Under the provisions of the DMCA, we expect that having been duly notified of this case of blatant copyright violation, Andover will remove the above referenced comments from its servers and forward our complaint to the owner of the referenced comments. (Bold added for emphasis)

In short: You might want to address the claims that Microsoft has laid forth in its letter. The other questions are great, yes, but is not going to get you very far in stating your case as for why unauthorized reprodctions of copyrighted work appear on your site. Even if Microsoft relinquished all rights that they have to the specification, the infringement still occurred in the past and is punishable.

Nice response, the lawyer "gets it" (2)

Vanders (110092) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062908)

That's a very nice response. It's short, to the point, and very clear.

The only downside to it that i can see that it doesn't seem very strongly worded. Wether or not that is a bad thing, i'm not sure. Focusing on the lack of protection for the so called "Trade secret" is definatly a good move, it will be interesting to see the response to it. Questions about Microsofts use of the Kerberos name, though, is a completly seperate issue imho, and it may have been best to leave that bit for someone else.

Still, all in all, Karma to the Slashdot lawyer.

What's in a name? (1)

Enzondio (110173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062909)

If I remember correctly didn't Microsoft actually rename the part of their os that is "based on" Kerberos? Something like Microsoft Remote Authentication Protocol or some such uninteresting name.

Re:reply summary (1)

Rand Race (110288) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062910)

He probably hasn't even seen At The Circus.

Re:More important (1)

Miou (115025) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062918)

One thing I see here is that slashdot does not moderate posts - slashdot's readers moderate the posts. In addition, there is no set group of people who moderate - it is a psuedo-random selection of individuals. And even in the case of moderated posts, they are still viewable by slashdot readers who set a low threshold in their preferences.

Since Slashdot is not truely acting as a carrier here, I don't know that they would be protected anyway. However, I have a hard time seeing how the "moderating" built in to the Slashdot system constitutes moderation in the typical sense of the word.

Re:The exception to the rule (1)

Andrew Cady (115471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062926)

Lawyers suck. Except this one. Wow.
Again I say: Wow.
This is why I am positive that slashdot is going to have its ass reamed in court over this. You know what lawyers say -- good lawyers can't be good people too!!

Re:How binding is all this? (3)

Andrew Cady (115471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062927)

if the conspiracy theories about MS Kerberos were true
Oh yeah, "conspiracy theories". Microsoft was just found guilty of such a "conspiracy" in a US court of law. And the Halloween documents indicate that such "conspiracy" is a common and intentional MS strategy.

It's not a "conspiracy theory", but an extrapolation of their past behavior, to say that MS's ultimate strategy is that a person will have to choose between an entirely non-MS setup and an entirely-MS setup, rather than have any application compete on its individual merit. "De-commoditize protocols & applications", eh?

Proprietaru Extensions--avoid! (1)

Gandalf_007 (116109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062928)

7. Why wouldn't prospective purchasers of Windows 2000 need to know the contents of Microsoft's Kerberos specification in order to make informed judgments regarding interoperability in connection with their purchasing decisions?

They wouldn't need to know them, just know to avoid them and use the open Kerberos specifications! (But a good argument nonetheless). It will be interesting to see how this slashdot/kerberos/microsoft fiasco fits into the DoJ's lawsuit...

Re:More Importantly... (2)

psin psycle (118560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062932)

while they are running an expensive PR campaign to bolster support for them in the anti-trust trial

The basic problem with our society is exactly this. M$ is spending tons of money on advertisers. TV Networks/News Papers etc are unlikely to want to bite the hand that feeds them.

It will be very hard to get media outlets who are being handed microsoft $$'s to run negative stories about them.

Re:More important (1)

neildogg (119502) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062933)

I mean moderation in the sense of completely getting rid of a message

More important (2)

neildogg (119502) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062934)

I remember when there was the whole censorship going on about yahoo - if you moderate messages, you have responsibility for all messages posted on the server. The thing I'm wondering is if Slashdot complies, how much more will they have to clean up, and if they're forced to remove certain messages, will that mean that the same thing still applies? I think Microsoft should just relax and let people say/post what they feel. It would be much better for PR

Microsoft's response (3)

neildogg (119502) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062935)

1. Simple. We are better than you and will crush you if you try to come in our way.

2. We thought Kerberos sounded cool, that's what we've always called the fat guy in tech support. We didn't really care if we were using it properly or not. Remember that we use the term "innovation". LOL, as if that had anything to do with our products.

3. We have absolutely no idea what a trade secret is. We have this one programmer who actually knows what he's doing (he's the one who wrote notepad and internet connection sharing) and he said trade secret before, so we used it.

4. Microsoft is slowly killing those that use this top secret information outside of the program that protects this top secret information.

5. We hadn't thought of that. That's a pretty good question.

6. People that use Linux are bad. Do you know how much time we had to waste on actually advancing our software because of stupid Linus Torvalds. Ooh, I'm going to write a revolutionary OS shell and distribute it freely to the world. So, pretty much, we don't really know. We just know that you guys like Linux and Linux is bad.

7. HAHA. Incompatibility. What do you think the point of our software is?! Haven't you read some of our marketing. It's a bunch of crap. We trick stupid people into buying the software by creating really neat names for our new stuff then pretending that it's revolutionary. Hence "innovation". All we do is turn "Make new connection" into "Dial-up Wizard" and BAM, we have more money.

8. Because, frankly, Bill's at a hard time in his life. Have you ever seen the hate sites about him? He lost like 17 billion dollars for crying out loud. Can't you just be nice to him and not criticize his precious software. Innovation is Bill's life, it's not the money, it's making users happy. Sorry, I'm going to cry.

Re:A Lot of Puffing, Little Wind (4)

TheLaser (122479) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062943)

This whole thing sinks or swims on the trade secret argument.

Well... there is a little more to it than that... Microsoft is pulling this thing under the DMCA, and that deals more with the copyright on the document, rather than it's trade secrectness. The posting of a copywritten Microsoft document, regardless of it's availability, is still a violation of copyright.

A Lot of Puffing, Little Wind (3)

ThatGuyAZ (124658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062946)

This whole thing sinks or swims on the trade secret argument. Can a trade secret be widely distributed and protected with a clickwrap agreement? The law covering Andover's liability for postings is pretty settled.

Trade secrets are only trade secrets if the company tries to keep them secret. Microsoft didn't try very hard here... silly clickwrap agreement, Kerebros is for everyone.
==
"This is the nineties. You don't just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first."

Re:Nice smokescreen (1)

BgJonson79 (129962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062956)

I think what the lawyers are trying to do is say: is that really copyrighted material? Can someone copyright an open standard? I guess they are saying if they are going to add proprietary extensions to Kerberos then Microsoft should not be allowed to call it Kerberos.

that's it? (1)

Bad_CRC (137146) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062980)

I dont think they could have mentioned the antitrust suit any more times. At least we know they aren't backing down, and they shouldn't. Gotta wonder wtf microsoft is thinking here. They should at least pretend to be a friendly company. babble.

________
1995: Microsoft - "Resistance is futile"

Reading list (1)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062988)

"Have you READ Marx?"

and right below that......

"Have you read the Moderator Guidelines yet?"

Sure, I've read Marx....

"....how the elephant got into my pajamas I'll never know."

Re:Yeah. (4)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 14 years ago | (#1062995)

a legal obligation to protect its copyrights, or face an inability to enforce its position at a later date

Nope. Trademarks work that way, but copyrights don't. (They used to, many many years ago, but they don't nowadays.)

Re:Amazing... (2)

john_many_jars (157772) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063029)

The army of ms lawyers will have a response to every point the length of their average EULA--all saying about the same thing: the answer to this point is inconsequential to the publishing of our trade secret, you have x hours to remove offending posts, and, in case you didn't know, we have a new product called BackslashDot where you can post messages about articles concerning what we think trends in computing are, and that you have flagrantly ripped this off and we will take you to court over it, as well (cf Java).

Good luck in the world of the courts Andover.

Re:first (1)

wetnap (159771) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063035)

my bad. but, YEAH!!!! down with censorship

Can't wait for THAT reply (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063038)

I know you guys will, but please please please post the reply, if Microsoft has the balls to reply. I can just see it now...

1. How can Microsoft claim proprietary protections for enhancement to an open standard protocol?

We are Microsoft. We care not for open standards. We take what we will. Tremble in fear of our harsh words peasant!

2. How can Microsoft use the Kerberos name, which signifies an open standard protocol, in connection with a proprietary protocol?

Are you not listening, puny human? We are Microsoft! The protocol is ours, now and forever, so says us.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Lions, Lawyers, and Microsoft, OH, MY! (1)

ChiaBen (160517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063039)

Well, the lawyers have it! (the truth that is...) Just how much input did CaptTaco, and all y'all have into this wonderful letter? I'm sure most /.er's would agree with me that a lawyer who knows anything about software is hard to come by, and one who opposes a huge corporation like Microsoft (and the ability to bill such a client many $$ per hour)is even more difficult! praise the heavens for angels in Lawyers clothes! regards, benjamin carlson

Excellent (2)

slycer (161341) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063043)

Good, most of the good points brought up from the previous stories comments made it into that letter.

Can't wait to see the reply.

How many more days until the 10 days (dmca like) is over?

Re:A great response! (1)

monkeyfamily (161555) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063044)

Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar, huh, they must be cool. I think they sponsor WBUR (local NPR station, my general purpose news source) in the Boston area. Plus now they defend slashdot!

yay!

This seems like a bad idea... (2)

MasteroftheVoxel (162902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063047)

I'm surprised...

Considering the severity of the charges brought against Slashdot by Microsoft, I'm surprised they responded in such a manner.

First of all, legally, this has nothing to do with the current anti-trust suit against MS. That is beside the point -- and it doesn't have anything at all to do with whether is was okay for Slashdot to allow those comments to stay

If I were going to defend myself from legal action, I'd stay on the point, and carefully state why I felt I was not breaking the law. Not respond with questions whose purpose just seems to be to annoy and provoke Microsoft.

Of course, if Slashdot doesn't really care about a lawsuit from Microsoft, well then, go ahead. I certainly enjoy pissing Microsoft off.

Microsoft's Response (2)

lbrlove (164167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063048)

You don't suppose they could "embrace and extend" the law do you? It would really suck to need a Microsoft lawyer to be able to defend yourself...

-L

You aren't expecting a response, are you? (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063071)

Hmmm, is there anything that forces Microsoft to actually answer these questions?

After reading them, I don't think this is the kind of stuff they will want to respond to. For some reason, I don't even think Andover.net expects them to ;)

--
GCP

More Importantly... (4)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063076)

It is far more important to conjure up bad publicity for Microsoft. The fact is that Andover.net has far fewer legal resources and would want to avoid a prolonged legal battle if at all possible. At the same time, Microsoft is probably unwilling to risk even more bad publicity (Wired has already ran a story about Microsoft's letter) while they are running an expensive PR campaign to bolster support for them in the anti-trust trial.

If other media outlets begin to carry the story, and portray Microsoft as heavy-handed, then we will have succeeded in diminishing the effect of MS's brainwashing. Write letters to media companies with links to the articles on Wired and Slashdot.

Good job (1)

petithory (178252) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063085)

I especially like the offensive nature of the 'questions'. One might expect a bunch of legal crap as a formal response, but it appears that even Andovers lawers understand that this is not necesarily a web site vs. Microsoft. it is a website standing up for the free nature of the internet, and could even be doing a part to support the U.S. vs. Microsoft case. I am glad to see comments such as the first and second which really have nothing to do with Slashdot at all.

Nice smokescreen (5)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063088)

Unfortunately, none of those question have anything to do with the matter at hand.

The fact of the matter is that Slashdot's servers contain copyrighted material. The copyright holder asked that it be removed. Your response seems to be, "well, you suck, and should never have copyrighted it in the first place. Nyahh!"

The point is that they did copyright it. Slashdot is in the wrong.

Here's my question: Is this going to be Slashdot's official policy? That you will never remove copyrighted material if the copyright holder asks you to? Or is this a special rule only for Microsoft?


--

Microsoft's Answer (1)

FlyingCarrot (181545) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063094)

1. How can Microsoft claim proprietary protections for enhancement to an open standard protocol?

Answer: Because we can.

2. How can Microsoft use the Kerberos name, which signifies an open standard protocol, in connection with a proprietary protocol?

Answer: See Answer to Q1

3. How can Microsoft claim trade secrecy for a protocol that is distributed over the Internet?

Answer:Also see answer to Q1

4. What measures has Microsoft taken to protect the trade secrecy of its Kerberos specification beyond the use of a click-wrap license agreement?

Answer: Nothing - that's what lawyers are for.

5. What measures has Microsoft taken to ensure that its Kerberos specification is only distributed to persons who are capable of entering into a binding contract in jurisdictions where such an agreement would be enforceable?

Answer:This question is irrelevant so we don't have to answer.

6. How could posting of the Microsoft Kerberos specification on Slashdot have any detrimental impact on the market for authorized distribution of Microsoft's version of Kerberos?

Answer:It could hurt our efforts to create innovative software.

7. Why wouldn't prospective purchasers of Windows 2000 need to know the contents of Microsoft's Kerberos specification in order to make informed judgments regarding interoperability in connection with their purchasing decisions?

Answer:How else will the tech support industry stay in business?

8. Why shouldn't Slashdot users and the general public be able to view this protocol for purposes of commentary and criticism in light of its apparent relevance to issues in the government's antitrust litigation?

Answer:Because we said so

Re:You fought back! egad! (2)

guru_magi (182734) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063099)

Honestly, yeah I bet they're going to blink a few times as they read that note.

But, it's forced now, and likely the MS lawyer legions will be called into action. I think it's great that /. is making a stand here, I just hope that they don't end up as sacrifice.

Since when has M$ ever been honest? (1)

mizhi (186984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063106)

7. Why wouldn't prospective purchasers of Windows 2000 need to know the contents of Microsoft's Kerberos specification in order to make informed judgments regarding interoperability in connection with their purchasing decisions?

Micro$oft has never been straightforward with the compatability of it's OS. If I'd known about half of the incompatibilities in Win2000 before I upgraded (to cure myself of Win98's instability), I would've just gone all Linux.

It really is the same old story...with companies, micro$oft simply bought them out... usually, they bought them legally... but they can't buy something open source... so they're trying to steal it and then bully anyone else who dares to use it without their permission... in effect, trying to continue their monopolistic policies where there isn't a single corporate entity to attack.

Re:reply summary (1)

GeekBird (187825) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063109)

"We are communists and we don't belive in copyright laws, so fuck you Capitalist pigs! LONG LIVE MARX!"

Naaaah. It's more like:
"Whus wid dat copyright jive?? You don' gotta leg to stan' on, muthafucka'. Git outta here an' think agin'."

Re:Nah haa! (2)

kwangell (188406) | more than 14 years ago | (#1063111)

Our lawyers are saints, their lawyers are spawn of satan. This is an old philosophy when in fact, the lawyers are doing the bidding of their customers. Another way of saying this is: Lawyers don't sue people, people sue people.
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