News Posts matching "Piracy"

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id Joins Windows Live Games To Combat Piracy

id's lead designer Tim Willits had the following to say regarding id's iminent move to join up with Windows Live Games in order to combat game piracy.
Some people say it's a little too Big-Brotherish, but it's a legitimate progression of making the PC feel more - not like a console, but like a closed system. For us, if there's a way to link a Live account into your security for your game in a nice closed system, it would help reduce the piracy, which kills us, and is killing the industry. At least Microsoft is doing something, and I think that they're in a position to do it

Pirate Bay Blocked by Swedish Police for alleged child pornography

In a campaign to eliminate child pornography on the internet, the Swedish Police have been working with Swedish ISP's to find and block the sites that host child pornography. Swedish patrons of The Pirate Bay got a nasty surprise one day when they tried to access The Pirate Bay and got nothing more than an error message. Infuriated webmasters of the infamous website have tried to get the Swedish Police to unblock them. The Swedish standpoint is simple. The Pirate Bay can either eliminate all child pornography from their website by Tuesday, or accept that nobody using a Swedish ISP can access The Pirate Bay.Source: Nordic Hardware

Russian Government shuts down AllOfMP3

The famous MP3 online store (or rather infamous for not paying the artists) has been shut down by the Russian government. Pressure from the US, RIAA, and refusal to enter the World Trade Organization lead to the site's demise.

Before the shutdown, AllOfMP3.com was a direct competitor to iTunes due to its pay-by-size versus Apple's pay-by-track system. Tracks that were downloaded there were also devoid of all DRM and the user could even choose which bitrate to download.Source: torrentfreak

Microsoft sold more than 244 copies of Vista in China

Despite reports of Microsoft only managing a feeble 244 sales of its new Windows Vista OS, the software giant is now denying that there is any truth in the story. "Recent speculation regarding sales data in China is inaccurate," said Microsoft. "We're pleased with the positive consumer response we've seen around the globe to the security and usability enhancements in Windows Vista--and China is no exception."Although Microsoft has not given any exact figures on sales, it has said that Vista sales in China during the first month after its release were double those that XP had in its first month. Microsoft has been facing some criticism for its new OS, with a big blow coming when PC manufacturer Dell decided to reintroduce XP.Source: CNET

Microsoft to offer $3 Windows and Office

Microsoft today announced that it plans to expand its global reach (and presumably reduce piracy) by offing stripped down bundles of software including as Windows and Office for a mere $3 to people living in developing countries. Although in essence this is a non/low-profit project, Microsoft may be planning ahead by enabling poorer nations to grow using Windows instead of free alternatives such as Linux, a move which could expand its potential market for the future. The project, named Microsoft Unlimited Potential, would see the $3 software package (including Windows XP Starter Edition and Office 2007) being supplied to governments who could then distribute machines costing no more than $300, with students being Microsoft’s main aim. This news comes after figures show that just 244 copies of Windows Vista have been sold in China, and should, alongside the One Laptop Per Child project, help poorer countries developed improved IT infrastructures.Source: The New York Times

Valve hacked

MaddoxX, a member of the No-Steam forums, has managed quite a feat; he has hacked into Valve's computers. He has managed to get access to Cyber Cafe data, as well as several hundreds of credit card numbers, and Valve's balance sheet.

At the moment, he is awaiting some response from Valve, which does not seem to be too concerned.


Source: DailyTech

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stole nothing

We brought news about a suspicion that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stole from Half life 2 and Doom 3. It now looks like the issue has been resolved, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. did not steal a thing from the two aforementioned games. Half Life 2, as well as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., use textures from Marlin Studios - hence, the similarity. Furthermore, the IMP_Light texture, which also played part in the scandal as being taken from Doom 3, was, in fact, just a standard Impact Light texture, rather than referring to the Doom 3 monster.Source: The Inq

Microsoft Confirms Vista OEM hack works

In an MSDN blog, Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage Senior Product Manager Alex Kochis has admitted that the OEM activation hack for Windows Vista does work effectively. The hack involves either using a custom BIOS to trick Vista into believing it is running on a different computer model and therefore allows activation without connecting to the internet or using the phone, or using software to fool the OS in the same way. Windows XP also suffered from a similar hack, which also fools the Microsoft website into thinking the Windows install is genuine, however it received little attention because of the numerous other ways to bypass activation. Unsurprisingly, Kochis’ blog is largely trying to deter people from using this method due to its risks (custom BIOSes can be dangerous) and claiming that the software equivalent will be easy to detect and respond to, but it would suggest that Microsoft more worried about this bypass than the others.Notice: techPowerUp! does not support the use off illegal softwareSource: MSDN via DailyTech

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. possibly stole code from Half Life 2 and Doom 3

All over the interweb, there are intermittent forum posts with a strange topic: how similar S.T.A.L.K.E.R. looks to Half Life 2 and Doom 3. These claims certainly do not go unfounded. Someone, with way too much free time, went through and manually compared the texture directories of Doom 3 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. You'll see the results in the first two pictures below. A particular texture, lights_impflash.dds, has the exact same name of the Doom 3 version, excluding the extension. Half Life 2 has also been allegedly stolen from. Not only are the file names nearly identical (except for the extension), the images are extremely similar as well. Whether or not anything comes out of this depends on what ID Software and Valve decide to do. Do you think S.T.A.L.K.E.R textures are stolen?

Source: Shack News

File Sharing to get a speed boost

File sharing could become a lot faster in the near future as a team of researchers has developed a new technology which could see speed increases of up to 500%. Current technologies such as BitTorrent are limited by the number of people sharing a certain file, however the new research will allow software to spot chunks of data from a different download that contain identical or very similar data, therefore allowing more download locations. For example, if a song were being shared from a number of locations, it may have different information in the ID tags for various reasons and therefore conventional sharing methods would not recognise it as being the same data. But Similarity-Enhanced Transfer (SET) would spot these other songs and allow the user to download from these locations as well. The system basically assigns a rank based on how similar files are, and will then allow chunks of the file to be shared based on this.techPowerUp! does not support the use of file sharing software for illegal purposes. The above is just an example.Source: BBC News

AACS got hacked again

The AACS (Advanced Access Content System) is the standard of decrypting HD content of HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. The implementation of AACS into both HD disc formats is the target of hackers throughout the whole world and it seems the HD DVD is not that secure as it's inventors wanted it to be. Its encryption got hacked utilizing a flawed mechanism inside a special WinDVD version by members of the well known Doom9 Forums some time ago. When the company behind AACS, the AACS LA, reacted and prohibited the playback of HD DVDs using the aforementioned WinDVD version, the hackers found another way to get to the important data.
This time a hacker called 'xt5' took advantage of a common unmodified Xbox 360 HD DVD drive (Toshiba SD-S802A). He was somehow able to get a so called Volume ID out of the disc using this drive. With this Volume ID one could get access to all the neccessary keys needed to play a HD DVD movie. You won't need a software like WinDVD anymore. In order to fix this problem the AACS LA could add all external Xbox 360 HD DVD drives to their black list (Revocation List), no owner of such a drive would be able to play back a HD movie with it - except hackers of with above stated knowledge of course. Another solution would be to release a new firmware update for the Xbox HD DVDs but it would be only a matter of time until the next clever chap finds a solution for that.Source: Heise.de and RegHardware

Hackers working on turning Apple TV into full-fledged PC

It's been two weeks since Apple released the Apple TV. Unfortunately, it's been getting a lot of criticism. It runs Mac OS X, yet it is very limited. The Inquirer boldly claims that the Apple TV is "limited and produces poor quality video content". A bunch of hackers seemed to think so, hence, they decided to fix Apple TV the only way they knew how; crack the thing like an egg. They first managed to install a full version of OS X, and then went on to figure out how to install a bigger hard drive, enable SSH/Apache (big for server people), start a remote desktop service, and plug in a full keyboard/mouse. The main reason that these guys are able to do so much is because the Apple TV is a lot more of a PC than Apple would like us to think. The hackers are busy working on more hacks, and their site gets over 500,000 hits a day.Source: The Inquirer

Malaysian K9 unit sniffs out pirated DVDs

Most of us know the kanine units from Airports, which are suppose to sniff out illegal substances. Lucky and Flo are trained to find pirated DVDs. The Malaysian authorities managed to bust a three million USD pirating ring in the recent past and now have managed to uncover another 430,000 USD pirating operation after the police did not find anything during the first search. It would be interesting to see the success if the dogs are used in Airports on flights from Asian countries to the US.

Source: Reuters

The End of DRM Could be in Sight

Digital Rights Management is famous for frustrating numerous people that chose to download music legally when it comes to sharing between devices, whilst the illegal file sharers sit there laughing at them. But now it seems one of the major record labels, EMI, could be listening to customers at last. Rumours are flying around the internet claiming that Steve Jobs’ visit to London to speak with EMI could be to negotiate a deal that will see significant amounts of EMI’s music catalogue being available to download on iTunes without anti-piracy software, something music fans have been begging for since the start of the legal music downloads. If this is true, then it might not take long for the other major record labels to respond with DRM-free music, a move which would make it much easier for music downloaders to play their music on different MP3 players. There will be a live audio webcast of the press conference at 1pm London time on EMI's website, which is when the deal is supposed to be announced.Source: CNET

Update: it's official, EMI has launched DRM-free downloads across its entire music catalogue (although iTunes will get it first) - read on for the press release.

Running Windows Vista Without Activation for a Year

Windows Vista can be run for at least a year without being activated, a serious end run around one of Microsoft Corp.'s key antipiracy measures, Windows expert Brian Livingston said today. Livingston, who publishes the Windows Secrets newsletter, said that a single change to Vista's registry lets users put off the operating system's product activation requirement an additional eight times beyond the three disclosed last month. With more research, said Livingston, it may even be possible to find a way to postpone activation indefinitely. Microsoft promptly labeled the registry change a "hack," a loaded word that is usually synonymous with "illegal." Click here to read the full story.Source: Computerworld

Todd Hollenshead, id Software CEO, talks about Piracy

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC '07), Todd Hollenshead was talking about the piracy problem the game industry is facing today. In his speach "The Videogame Piracy Problem: Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" he was paying particular attention to the impact Internet piracy has on the PC game industry. Todd's experiences battling pirates and hackers over the past 10 years are quite extreme. Not only got parts or even the full sourcecode stolen of Quake, Quake II, Quake III Arena and the Doom 3 Alpha in the past but he's currently dealing with someone who has an unauthorized copy of Enemy Territory Quake Wars. As you might remember the whole Half Life 2 source code was stolen, compiled by the thieves and released to the public some time ago in 2003. The whole situation changed the minds of many game developers who are now focusing on console games to the disadvantage of the PC.Source: DailyTech and NextGeneration

Vista Keygen a Hoax

The other day, techPowerUp! reported on a keygen for Windows Vista which supposedly allowed users to (illegally) generate activation codes for use with Vista which could fool the activation. However, the creator of this brute force keygen, known simply as “Computer User” on the KezNews forums, is himself admitting that the keygen was a joke and he’s never gotten it to work, saying “everyone who said they got a key a probably lying or mistaken!” There have been some reports of success, and although there is a slight chance the keygen could work, the chances of actually generating a working code are slim – it would probably take days if you got one at all. So it looks like he’s either worried about action from Microsoft and pretending it doesn’t work, or it genuinely is a fake.Via: Slashdot

SourceForge forced to remove BackupHDDVD from their website

A lot of *nix users know SourceForge as a great place to find (source code for) programs. A SourceForge member decided it would be a good idea to post a program called "BackupHDDVD". BackupHDDVD literally "backed up" HDDVD's, allowing for multiple copies to be stored and produced. SourceForge recently got a letter saying that any program that cracks copy protection like that is breaking a federal law, and so they decided to remove the program.Source: Nordic Hardware

Windows Vista activation key generators begin making their way onto the internet

Microsoft has yet another problem on it's hands regarding Windows Vista. Windows Vista, despite all the effort Microsoft put into securing it with various forms of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software, now has key generators (keygens) that can give a pirate a valid key. This is in no way perfect, and is quite time consuming. It simply makes a random string of 25 characters, which the pirate would then subject to Windows activation. If this were to ever catch on as a major fad among pirates, serious problems would arise. The most serious problem to Microsoft would not be the unpaid copy of Windows. Instead, it would be the possibility of a key matching a legal key that hasn't been bought yet.Source: The Inquirer

Official BitTorrent download service under fire

Some people at the BitTorrent Entertainment Network didn't do their homework properly it appears. The guys at ArsTechnica have a report about their first look at it and to sum it up, it doesn't sound very convincing.
That you must have Windows Mediaplayer 10 installed is clearly visible from the System Requirements guide. But with WMP 11 it was not possible to play the file (though the guide states 'Windows Media Player 10 or higher'). Before that happened BitTorrent refused to recognize his PC, starting the download from a Mac was not an issue. But you have to know that playing it on the Mac is not supported at the moment.
The good news is that the downloads were quite fast (for example: a 485MB file in around 25 minutes), the audio-visual quality of the movies being good and two of four Torrents worked flawlessly.Source: ArsTechnica

Windows Vista shares WGA bug of Windows XP

Just four days ago, we reported that Microsoft had updated Windows XP's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software. Unfortunately, Windows Vista's version of WGA is very similar to the flawed Windows XP version. And so, Windows Vista may prompt users to activate Windows Vista when they do simple things not requiring activation, such as swap out a small piece of hardware (such as a DVD burner or a gigabyte of RAM). Thankfully, Windows Vista doesn't seem to report a genuine copy of Windows Vista as pirated, like the flawed version of XP WGA did.Source: The Inquirer

BitTorrent Entertainment Network starts on coming Monday

According to sources close to Heise News the inventor of the famous BitTorrent protocol will open an internet shop with close to 5000 movies, tv-series and games. You can buy your favorite one and will be able to download it immediately using the BitTorrent protocol. As you can see in their Press Releases they have teamed up with film studios like 20th Century Fox, MTV Networks, Paramount and Warner Bros., so interesting content shouldn't be the problem.

[Update]
At the very moment the website BitTorrent is down. All you get is a small message window which reads: "BitTorrent will return in a few hours as an entirely new entertainment experience."

[Update]Source: Heise

Illegal music downloading much higher than usual

The RIAA, in an effort to prevent piracy, sends reports to universities of students that are pirating music. The universities that receive those reports must then act to stop repeat offenders, or else the entire school can get sued. The five schools that got the most piracy reports are... Purdue, The University of Ohio, the University of Nebraska, the University of Tennessee, and the University of South Carolina. The RIAA complained about nearly 15,000 students across 25 schools, which is nearly three times what that figure has been in previous years. The computer administrator at the University of Michigan has a very interesting quote on students explanations for all this piracy.
I get the whole spectrum of excuses. The most common (excuse) I get is, "All my friends are doing this. Why did I get caught?"
Most of the reported pirates use Warez, the Gnutella network (through Limewire), or Bittorent.Source: Indystar

Content Recognition Software new weapon in war over Piracy

Last week, Audible Magic in Lost Gatos, Calif,. demonstrated their new content recognition software by downloading a video clip from Youtube. The system was able to identify the clip as a scene 49 minutes and 37 seconds into “Kill Bill: Vol. 2.” even though the clip had been recorded on a camcorder and dubbed in Chinese.

MySpace said last week that it would use Audible Magic’s system to identify copyrighted material on its pages. However, YouTube is still one major hold-out resisting the new system.

The system works by comparing a file to a database when it is uploaded to a website. Then it either allows the file to be posted or blocked depending on if the file is licensed for use on that website.Source: The New York Times

AnyDVD HD released

Anyone who's ever tried to watch a DVD on their computer knows that it comes with Digital Rights Management (DRM) software preventing copying onto a computer. The original AnyDVD's function was to remove said DRM's, allowing a user to enjoy a clean copy of their movie. When HD-DVD was released, things got much tougher in the DRM field. DRM's now prevent HD-DVD's from playing back on a video card that does not have HDCP codecs, force a user to watch those pesky advertisements at the beginning of the movie, and force a user to buy a fancy monitor/video card/connector just to watch a movie. AnyDVD HD allows a user freedom from all those problems. This means that any computer with an HD-DVD player, regardless of how HDCP compliant it is, can watch an HD-DVD movie. SlySoft thinks that this ingenious software is worth $80 USD, with a 21 day free trial. The Inquirer claims that it is worth every penny.Source: The Inquirer
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