Friday, March 20, 2009

Glider case, zoloFighter and Warden law breaker

OK, here is what I got so far. Virtuallyblind has an excellent article analyzing this. Too bad I didn't notice that before.

I checked out the 3 cases: MAI vs Peak Ticket Master vs RMT Wall data vs police department

The worst one is MAI vs Peak (Edit: from the ruling, MAI sales licenses only), in which the judge basically says if you bought software, you are not the owner, and you can't debug that software if the vendor didn't want you to.
I was surprised by that, it is totally against the copyright law in my understanding (i.e. as long as you pay for the software and don't use multiple copies you are OK).
The ruling basically says that even if you bought the software, if the creator of that software don't want you to load it into your computer's RAM, you break the law if you do so.

The TicketMaster ruling makes more sense, because RMT didn't buy anything, they just use the website against rules.

Wall data vs police dept is more straight forward, police department made too many copies.

In all 3 cases, commercial interest seems to be the key issue. In MAI vs Peak, the judge most likely think that the former MAI employees holds trade secret and defected to Peak via commercial interest, so he made the ruling to protect MAI's interest.
The side effect of that is, software owners are no longer owners, they are leasers now. Any move the software maker don't like, and they can bar you from doing anything in the name of copy right.
It seems that with that ruling, section 117 is no longer in effect.

The only possible solution seems to be the fair use defense, which the police department used. However the judge in that case saw no such thing based on all 4 criteria of fair use.

One thing I want to add is, after reading the rulings, I think all those judges should be revered. I am not kidding. They display exemplar knowledge, quoting prior cases/research/publications at well, almost like a library.
I have no idea how they can do that, and I am rather worried that the entire legal system could collapse under its own weight when there are just too many prior cases for ordinary humans to handle.

From the rulings, the judges are clearly rule within the confinement of law, and they follow logic instead of common presumption. However within the confinement of law, they clearly can use their own judgments on grey area issues (i.e. what is fair use in Glider and Wall Data case).

It also come as a shock to me, that WOW's warden could be breaking the law by examining copy righted material on users' computer. Since copy to RAM is also a copy "When such a copy is made in excess of a license, the copier is liable for copyright infringement. Ticketmaster LLC v. RMG Techs., Inc., 507 F. Supp. 2d 1096, 1107".

So basically since judges are not allowed to break precedence, the only available defense is section 107, fair use:

This is a break down for zolo:
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
non-commercial, and some educational.

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
entertainment. WOW also uses warden to scan users' system, which could mean it is a potential law breaker (i.e. copy copyrighted material to RAM).
the bot also act as a DMCA protection device.

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
not sure

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
since there is a default time limit, zolo users will be forced to stay near the computer and start the bot again and again.
This allows interaction with other users, and ensure blizzard's name and profitability.
I for one will give up WOW for its long hours, if not for the bot. And I remember there are other persons on my board states the same.