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2004.02.18

Putting the Jini Back into the Bottle

It has been brought to my attention that Microsoft is sending cease and desist email letters regarding the illegal distribution of the Windows source code.

An excerpt is reproduced below:
From: name-removed@microsoft.com [mailto:name-removed@microsoft.com]
Sent: Saturday, February ##, 2004 ##:## PM
To: abuse@domain.tld
Subject: NOTICE OF POTENTIAL UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF MICROSOFT SOURCE CODE

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

I.M. Surname
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
name-removed@microsoft.com
Tel: (425) 703-####


## Feb 2004 ##:##:## GMT

URGENT/IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

[Domain owner]

Re: NOTICE OF POTENTIAL UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF MICROSOFT SOURCE
CODE AT: ###.###.###.###
Date of Infringement: Detail below.

Dear [Domain owner]:

We have received information that one of your users as identified above
by the SITE/URL ###.###.###.### may have engaged in the unlawful
distribution of Microsoft's source code for Windows 2000, and/or Windows
NT4, by distributing and offering for download these source code files
via a peer-to-peer network.

Since you own this IP address, we request that you take appropriate
action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of
Service Agreement.

We also kindly request that you forward this notice promptly to the user
of the IP address listed above at the time and date stated.



To the user at ###.###.###.###:

The unauthorized copying and distribution of Microsoft's protected
source code is a violation of both civil and criminal copyright and
trade secret laws.  If you have downloaded and are making the source
code available for downloading by others, you are violating Microsoft's
rights, and could be subject to severe civil and criminal penalties.

Microsoft demands that you immediately (1) cease making Microsoft's
source code available or otherwise distributing it, (2) destroy any and
all copies you may have in your possession, and (3) provide us any and
all information about how you came into possession of this code.

Microsoft takes these issues very seriously, and will pursue legal
action against individuals who take part in the proliferation of it
source code.  We look forward to your prompt cooperation.  Should you
need to contact me, I can be reached at the address above or at
name-removed@microsoft.com.

Very truly yours,


By
I.M. Surname


CaseID: ####


Infringers IP Address:  ###.###.###.###
Initial Infringement Timestamp:  ## Feb 2004 ##:##:## GMT
Recent Infringement Timestamp: ## Feb 2004 ##:##:## GMT
Notice ID: ####
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: 8.0

################################################################
#############################
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Interesting facts about the above email message:
  • Microsoft is taking the issue very seriously. It has set up an (apparently automated) process for putting the Jini back into the bottle.
  • It took about 24 hours from the time the alleged unauthorized copying and distribution was detected, to the time the letter was sent. For the standards of workings of a typical legal machineries this can be considered a real time response.
  • The message is directed to the abuse@ address of the IP block owner, and contains a canned email to be sent to the account owner related to the specific IP address. Passing the buck to the ISP seems to be an effective way for determining the end users. Providing the precise date and time the activity was detected should allow the NOC/ISP deal with dynamically allocated IP addresses and dial-up pools.
  • If the CaseID number given in the email message is sequentially obtained starting from 1, at least 2000 messages have been sent.
All in all Microsoft seems to be dealing with the problem in an organized, and, possibly, preplanned manner.

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Creative Commons License Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 1:01 pm
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.