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December 9, 2011 / gus3

Do As We Sue, Not As We Do

Fyodor of NMap fame has raised a right stink about Download.com including trojan software with his program. You would think that the Sony rootkit fiasco would have taught them their lesson, but no… Now, here’s a bit of a jolt:

We’ve long known that malicious parties might try to distribute a trojan Nmap installer, but we never thought it would be C|Net’s Download.com, which is owned by CBS!

(Emphasis added.) He goes on to mock the Microsoft ties, but a short history lesson is in order.

A company spun off from CBS, Viacom, sued YouTube in 2007, alleging “massive” copyright violations. Some of the videos alleged to be in violation, turned out to be planted by agents of Viacom themselves. The lawsuit was essentially tossed, based on the “safe harbor” provisions of the DMCA which YouTube had followed well enough to satisfy Judge Stanton. (In a final act of public posturing, Viacom announced their intention to appeal the dismissal of their suit; now, a year and a half later, no appeal has been forthcoming.)

Now, here’s the big question for the Columbia Broadcasting System executives:

It is entirely reasonable to expect of CBS, what they expect of others, that is, respect for copyrights and permissions. A CBS partner tried to frame YouTube with false accusations of copyright violations, but now, a CBS subsidiary has been caught red-handed committing real copyright violations.

Who in CBS is going to answer for violating Fyodor’s copyright license for NMap? Whoever it is, should pay the same price Viacom demanded of YouTube: one billion US dollars.

I’ve blogged about media conglomerates’ hypocrisy before. First ABC/Disney, now CBS/Viacom. The hypocrisy itself isn’t so shocking, but the degree of its brazenness is.

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