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  #1  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:17 PM
swamparoux swamparoux is offline
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DMCA Issue


I contacted HostGator a few days ago in regards to a website being hosted on their network. The blog post had a link to a decompiler that would decompile applications written by a certain program. The responses I received from Richard F. (Network Security Administrator) of HostGator was not what I expected.

At first, Richard F. wants to see the EULA of the software that the decompiler is made for. So, I send him the URL and even quote the EULA. It states, "Neither you nor any third party may modify, adapt, decompile or reverse engineer the Games." In addition, I pointed Richard to the author's blog where the author is not happy about the decompiler as people can use it to steal and ripoff games and applications written with this software. Richard F. then defends the decompiler by stating the following:

"Well, this is a complicated situation. Having the decompiler available is in itself not any violation of the EULA. However, if someone uses it then it's a violation of that EULA. Making the decompiler available solely as a source of information is not in any way infractionary, this has been held up in court cases with companies such as Microsoft."

It seems he is trying to use some alleged loophole of having it available for "information purposes only" does not make it illegal or a violation of HostGators TOS/AUP. I then notify him that it is also a DMCA violation as the only reason for reverse engineering per the DMCA is if the software is no longer available nor the author available. Neither of these conditions are met as the software that is decompiled is still being made and the community that uses the software is active. Richard F. then makes the following illogical analogy:

"Yes it could be seen as a violation of the DMCA. However, again, as an informational source, it is not in any violation. If we wanted to go on a tangent and say that this tool was written in, say C#, we could then hold Microsoft liable for creating both the C# language and an IDE to allow someone to write this tool. But they're not liable for what is created with or done with their tools, they merely provide them. This is where we are in this situation. Simply providing the information is not illegal."

Firstly, no one ever went on any tangent. Next, his analogy makes no sense. The fact of the matter is that the website being hosted on HostGator's network is distributing a decompiler that circumvents security measures in a program. People that use this particular software to compile their games and applications can have their source code revealed by a person simply running this decompiler.

I guess Richard F. is not used to dealing with techniaclly adept people. Therefore, he pulls a bunch of technical BS out of his gator butt and expects me to believe it.

I have forwarded this issue to The Planet as well as to the author that made the software being decompiled. I have notified him of HostGator condoning the use and distribution of this decompiler. I think it's pretty sad when a hosting company starts to defend immoral and unethical activities. And to think, this joker is actually has the position of "Network Security Administrator." He sounds like some kid barely out of high school computer science class.



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  #2  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:33 PM
sash sash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamparoux View Post
I have forwarded this issue to The Planet as well as to the author that made the software being decompiled.
Man, you're tough... Have you also thought about forwarding this issue to the HS, FBI, CIA, UN, UNICEF, OSCE, NATO etc?

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  #3  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:38 PM
swamparoux swamparoux is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sash View Post
Man, you're tough... Have you also thought about forwarding this issue to the HS, FBI, CIA, UN, UNICEF, OSCE, NATO etc?
Sarcasm noted. In all, though, a hosting company like HostGator has a TOS/AUP. They are notified of a violation of their policy and the one investigating the issue defends the immoral activities as well as comes up with perposterous analogies.

I'm not being tough, I'm being fair and concise.

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  #4  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:43 PM
gigapros gigapros is offline
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Send a DMCA to the website's domain registrar as well. That work for most of the time.

  #5  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:50 PM
Thales Thales is offline
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I don't see how his second response was in illogical reply. He is simply stating that they cannot terminate the account because it provides a tool or information that could be used maliciously.

-fin
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2008, 01:52 PM
swamparoux swamparoux is offline
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His second response was about if the tool was written in C# and one wanted to go on a tangent, then they could go as far as blaming Microsoft since Microsoft created the C# language. That is an analogy that makes no sense.

Btw, thanks for the idea on contacting this person's registrar. I will be contacting 1and1 to see what their response is.

  #7  
Old 09-17-2008, 02:41 PM
River Marz Media River Marz Media is offline
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What is the software? Sound like GM7 to me... Would be interesting to know.

  #8  
Old 09-17-2008, 02:49 PM
sash sash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamparoux View Post
I'm being fair and concise.
As far as I understand the issue, you're not fighting against any pirate or criminal etc., but you're just trying to harm a blogger and a honest host. Snitching is a dubious behaviour.

Cheers!

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  #9  
Old 09-17-2008, 03:00 PM
DWS2006 DWS2006 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamparoux View Post
I contacted HostGator a few days ago in regards to a website being hosted on their network. The blog post had a link to a decompiler that would decompile applications written by a certain program. The responses I received from Richard F. (Network Security Administrator) of HostGator was not what I expected.

At first, Richard F. wants to see the EULA of the software that the decompiler is made for. So, I send him the URL and even quote the EULA. It states, "Neither you nor any third party may modify, adapt, decompile or reverse engineer the Games." In addition, I pointed Richard to the author's blog where the author is not happy about the decompiler as people can use it to steal and ripoff games and applications written with this software. Richard F. then defends the decompiler by stating the following:

"Well, this is a complicated situation. Having the decompiler available is in itself not any violation of the EULA. However, if someone uses it then it's a violation of that EULA. Making the decompiler available solely as a source of information is not in any way infractionary, this has been held up in court cases with companies such as Microsoft."

It seems he is trying to use some alleged loophole of having it available for "information purposes only" does not make it illegal or a violation of HostGators TOS/AUP. I then notify him that it is also a DMCA violation as the only reason for reverse engineering per the DMCA is if the software is no longer available nor the author available. Neither of these conditions are met as the software that is decompiled is still being made and the community that uses the software is active. Richard F. then makes the following illogical analogy:

"Yes it could be seen as a violation of the DMCA. However, again, as an informational source, it is not in any violation. If we wanted to go on a tangent and say that this tool was written in, say C#, we could then hold Microsoft liable for creating both the C# language and an IDE to allow someone to write this tool. But they're not liable for what is created with or done with their tools, they merely provide them. This is where we are in this situation. Simply providing the information is not illegal."

Firstly, no one ever went on any tangent. Next, his analogy makes no sense. The fact of the matter is that the website being hosted on HostGator's network is distributing a decompiler that circumvents security measures in a program. People that use this particular software to compile their games and applications can have their source code revealed by a person simply running this decompiler.

I guess Richard F. is not used to dealing with techniaclly adept people. Therefore, he pulls a bunch of technical BS out of his gator butt and expects me to believe it.

I have forwarded this issue to The Planet as well as to the author that made the software being decompiled. I have notified him of HostGator condoning the use and distribution of this decompiler. I think it's pretty sad when a hosting company starts to defend immoral and unethical activities. And to think, this joker is actually has the position of "Network Security Administrator." He sounds like some kid barely out of high school computer science class.
This issue isn't nearly as black & white as you make it appear.

This is very similar to an issue that came up for us awhile back.

We had a user who was hosting information about video game console emulation. The DMCA submitter contacted our DC as well as Nintendo Co. The end result was that building, hosting, and distributing the emulator in question was not in itself a violation of trademark laws. Only the actual use of the software would violate said trademarks. Since the site in question was not directly making use of the software no violations occurred.

Basically, if the site your referring to isn't in direct violation of a valid, registered, EULA there is no violation. If the site is providing a form, with which a visitor can upload coded source and in return download a decompiled version, a violation is occurring. Otherwise, it's not a violation.

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  #10  
Old 09-17-2008, 03:06 PM
FS - Mike FS - Mike is offline
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I believe his last analogy was actually correct. MicroSoft provide a tool to produce software. Even if that software is a highly malicious virus, it is up to the person with the tools what they do with them.

The same could be said for this decompiler. Do you know the decompiler is specifically designed to decompile the game in full or part? Or is it a generalised decompiler which works with several programs, including the game? If it is the latter case, then HostGator would not be obliged to remove the site or suspend the user.

Good luck with it though, going to an upstream provider does tend to yield more results than going directly if going directly doesn't work.

Mike

  #11  
Old 09-17-2008, 03:13 PM
Outlaw Web Master Outlaw Web Master is offline
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Quote:
"I have forwarded this issue to The Planet as well as to the author that made the software being decompiled."
You're quite within your rights to inform the violated software vendor.

Hostgator don't have to take any action on your request because you are nothing to them and more importantly, you're not the legit software company who's product is being violated, therefore, contacting Hostgator should really have nothing to do with you.

As stated above youre basically an informant... a snitch...call it whatever...either way your words will most likely fall on deaf ears regarding Hostgator...because you are not the one being violated.

After the software vendor/owner files a dispute, then action will be taken.....it's called actioning the correct procedure.

And to say HG supports DMCA violations...that's total crap and you should be flogged for making silly accusations.

owm

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Last edited by Outlaw Web Master; 09-17-2008 at 03:23 PM.
  #12  
Old 09-17-2008, 04:03 PM
doc_flabby doc_flabby is offline
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You could actually be sued as well, a DMCA is a legal document and you could be committing a criminal offence.

Only the copyright owner or an authorised agent of said owner can send one.

From sample DMCA complaint form:
Quote:
Copyright Owners Statement
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
You are welcome to contact the copyright owner about it, but you should NOT be filing DMCA about it.

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Last edited by doc_flabby; 09-17-2008 at 04:06 PM.
  #13  
Old 09-17-2008, 06:32 PM
ldcdc ldcdc is offline
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From DMCA:

Quote:
(f) Reverse Engineering. -

* (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.
* (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.

* (3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

* (4) For purposes of this subsection, the term ''interoperability'' means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.
This area of the law is not exactly the most straightforward one. The software we're talking about may or may not have been developed in a law or contractual abiding way (exceptions may very well be granted), and it may or may not be used in a legal fashion. The host can't know this.

Second, we're talking about a link to a software, if I get this right. This area of the law is not exactly crystal clear either.

Say I recommend Company A'a software and link to it, and later on Company B sues Coompany A for infringing their copyright in some way. Company B wins. Am I, a third party, guilty for helping distribute Company A's product, and possibly continuing to link to it, unaware of the legal battle between the two? There are situations that have not reached a court of law yet.

As doc_flabby and Outlaw Web Master said, this would be an issue to be handled by the involved parties or the authorities. You can inform them all of the situation, but that's about it.

Personal opinions only, I'm not a lawyer.

  #14  
Old 09-17-2008, 07:43 PM
MikeDVB MikeDVB is offline
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As a software designer (yes, I do that also) I may hate a decompiler as much as the next software designer. The fact is that just about anything you write no matter what language can (and will, if it's good software) be decompiled by somebody somewhere using a tool that was pre-existing or that was written for that sole purpose alone.

Realistically writing the decompiler and distributing it is not a violation of any law that I am aware of, but using it most likely would be.

As a programmer if my software was being decompiled and stolen then I would very much appreciate being informed of this but I would not want you filling a DMCA or any other legal notice on my behalf without my prior written approval. It's my software and my battle (and realistically you've got nothing to do with it).

Just my two cents, and as ldcdc said I'm not a lawyer either.

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  #15  
Old 09-17-2008, 07:54 PM
alemcherry alemcherry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldkill View Post

The same could be said for this decompiler. Do you know the decompiler is specifically designed to decompile the game in full or part? Or is it a generalised decompiler which works with several programs, including the game? If it is the latter case, then HostGator would not be obliged to remove the site or suspend the user.
That is exactly what I thought. Unless the decomplier is made specifically for the game mentioned, there is no way hostgator or anybody can be responsible for decompilation. For me clearly hostgator is spot on with their asessment.

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