MPAA's University wiretapping product taken down for violating copyright

The MPAA's "University Toolkit" (a piece of monitoring software that universities are being asked to install on their networks to spy on students' communications) has been taken down, due to copyright violations. The Toolkit is based on the GPL-licensed Xubuntu operating system (a flavor of Linux). The GPL requires anyone who makes a program based on GPL'ed code has to release the source code for their program and license it under the GPL. The MPAA refused multiple requests to provide the sources for their spyware, so an Ubuntu developer sent a DMCA notice to the MPAA's ISP and demanded that the material be taken down as infringing. Link (Thanks, Victor!)


  1. Wasn’t it Shakespeare who used irony as portents?

    Irony begins to flow from the reversed roll of the garden, the soil of Britain, wasting instead of yielding life.

    Only when the villains are cast down, the weeds removed, does the garden become fruitful again.

  2. Hilarious!

    Every time I read something about copyrighting, I realize just how much I’ve learned from bb. ty!

  3. The MPAA are blood-sucking scum! They won’t even play by their OWN rules!!! Not to worry, soon all their funding will be cut and the overpaid honchos will be out of a job! The irony of this abuse of © by these people is too delicious!

  4. Technically this doesn’t violate copyright as the poster says. It’s a License violation, as such is contract law not copyright. I hate it when people misinterpret OSDL licenses ;-)

  5. Aenertia@9 — a copyright violation inasmuch as by failing to adhere to the terms under which the rightsholders permit copying, the MPAA has violated the copyright license.

  6. @Anertia: when they violate the license, it’s terminated (automatically for GPL v2, upon notice for GPL v3). Once the license is terminated, any further copying violates copyright.

    In the alternative, they never accepted the GPL and violated copyright from the beginning.

    (Because you don’t need to “accept” the GPL in order to get the program, you get to choose whether you want to abide by the GPL or by plain copyright law. In most cases, the GPL is more generous, so not many people choose the second option.)

  7. God, I might as well go back to bed. My day cannot get any better after this – might as well end on a high note…

  8. The irony, it got me, sarge. It got me right here. Tell Susie I’ll be waiting for her on the other side. (dies)

  9. *SIGH*
    I love the smell of irony in the morning.
    Really, I fail to see how my day could get much better after reading this.

  10. People, people. How was the MPAA supposed to know that Xubuntu’s licensing terms would be enforced? It’s not like it had DRM on it or anything.

    If Xubuntu doesn’t have a fence around it, how is anyone supposed to know when they’ve trespassed? Honest mistake, I’m sure.

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