==Phrack Inc.== Volume Four, Issue Forty-One, File 5 of 13 Pirates Cove By Rambone Welcome back to Pirates Cove. News about software piracy, its effects, and the efforts of the software companies to put and end to it are now at an all time high. Additionally, there is an added interest among the popular media towards the other goings-on in the piracy underworld. Additionally over the past few months there have been several major crackdowns around the world. Not all of the news is terribly recent, but a lot of people probably didn't hear about it at the time so read on and enjoy. If you appreciate this column in Phrack, then also be sure to send a letter to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and let them know. Thanks. _______________________________________________________________________________ More Than $100,000 In Illegal Software Seized ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WASHINGTON -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Illegal software valued in excess of $100,000 was seized from an electronic bulletin board computer system (BBS) headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, marking the first U.S. case for the Business Software Alliance (BSA) against a BBS for pirating software. The BSA previously initiated an enforcement campaign against illegal bulletin boards in Europe and is investigating illegal boards in Asia. As part of the U.S. seizure, more than $25,000 worth of hardware was confiscated in accordance with the court order, and the BBS, known as the APL, is no longer in operation. Investigations conducted over the past several months found that, through the APL BBS, thousands of illegal copies have been made of various software programs. Plaintiffs in the case include six business software publishers: ALDUS, Autodesk, LOTUS Development, MICROSOFT, NOVELL, and WordPerfect. The action against APL was for allegedly allowing BBS users to upload and download copyrighted programs. Nearly 500 software programs were available for copying through the APL BBS, an infringement of software publishers' copyright. In addition, BSA seized APL's business records which detail members' time on the BBS and programs uploaded and/or copied. BSA is currently reviewing these records for possible additional legal action against system users who may have illegally uploaded or downloaded copyrighted programs. "Electronic bulletin boards create increasingly difficult problems in our efforts to combat piracy," according to Robert Holleyman, president of the BSA. "While bulletin boards are useful tools to enhance communication channels, they also provide easy access for users to illegally copy software," Holleyman explained. Strict federal regulations prohibit the reproduction of copyrighted software. Legislation passed this year by the U.S. Congress contains provisions to increase the penalties against copyright infringers to up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The APL investigation, conducted by Software Security International on behalf of the BSA, concluded with a raid by Federal Marshals on October 1, 1992. In addition to the six business software publishers, the BSA action was taken on behalf of Nintendo. Bulletin boards have grown in popularity over the past several years, totaling approximately 2000 in the United States alone. Through a modem, bulletin board users can easily communicate with other members. The BSA has recently stepped up its worldwide efforts to eradicate the illegal copying of software which occurs on some boards. The BSA is an organization devoted to combating software theft. Its worldwide campaign encompasses education, public policy, and enforcement programs in more than 30 countries. The members of the BSA include: ALDUS, APPLE COMPUTER, Autodesk, LOTUS Development, MICROSOFT, NOVELL, and WordPerfect. The BSA operates an Anti-piracy Hotline (800-688-2721) for callers seeking information about software piracy or to report suspected incidents of software theft. CONTACT: Diane Smiroldo, Business Software Alliance, (202)727-7060 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Only The Beginning ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The bust of APL BBS had made unprecedented impacts in the pirate world because of the implications behind the actual arrest. Business Software Alliance (BSA), representing many major business software companies along with Nintendo, joined forces to hit APL very hard. They joined forces to permanently shut down APL and are, for the first time, trying to pursue the users that had an active role in the usage of the BBS. Trying to figure out who had uploaded and downloaded files through this BBS and taking legal recourse against them is a very strong action and has never been done before. One of the major problem I see with this is how do they know if what the records show was the actual user or someone posing as another user? Also, how could they prove that an actual program was downloaded by an actual user and not by someone else using his account? What if one user had logged on one time, never called back, and someone else had hacked their account? I'm also sure a sysop has been known, on occasion, to "doctor" someone's account to not allow them to download when they have been leeching. The points I bring up are valid as far as I am concerned and unless the Secret Service had logs and phone numbers of people actually logged on at the time, I don't see how they have a case. I'm sure they have a great case against the sysop and will pursue the case to the highest degree of the law, but if they attempt to arrest users, I foresee the taxpayers' money going straight down the drain. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - BSA Hits Europe ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Business Software Alliance reached their arms out across the Atlantic and landed in Germany. Along with Interpol and the local police, they proceeded to take down 80% of the boards in Berlin. One of the contributing factors in these busts was that the majority of the boards busted were also involved in toll fraud. Until recently, blue boxing was the predominate means of communication with the United States and other countries in Europe. When most of these sysops were arrested, they had been actively blue boxing on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many parts of Germany had already upgraded their phone system, and it became very risky to use a blue box. It didn't stop most people and they soon became easy targets for Interpol. The other means of LD usage for Germans was AT&T calling cards which now are very common. The local police along with the phone company gathered months of evidence before the city wide sweep of arrests. The busts made a bigger impact in Europe than anyone would have imagined. Some of the bigger boards in Europe have been taken down by the sysops and many will never go back up. Many sysops have been arrested and fined large amounts of money that they will be paying off for a long time. BSA, along with local police and Interpol, has done enough damage in a few days that will change European Boards for a long time. _______________________________________________________________________________ IBM: Free Disks For The Taking ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In a vain effort to increase sales, IBM decided to send out 21 high density diskettes to anyone who called. On these diskettes was a new beta copy of OS/2 Version 2.1. They were hoping to take a cheap way out by sending a few out to people who would install it and send in beta reports. What they got was thousands of people calling in when they heard the word who were promptly Fed Ex'ed the disks overnight. The beta was not the concern of most, just the diskettes that were in the package. The actual beta copy that was sent out was bug ridden anyway and was not of use on most systems. When IBM finally woke up and figured out what was going on, they had already sent out thousands of copies. Some even requested multiple copies. IBM then proceeded to charge for the shipment and disks, but it was way too late, and they had gone over budget. Way to go IBM, no wonder your stock has plummeted to $55 a share. _______________________________________________________________________________ Users Strike Back At U.S. Robotics ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Since 1987, U.S. Robotics (USR) has been a standard among sysops and many end users. With the loyal following also came terrible customer service and long delays in shipments. Their modems, being in as much demand as they are, soon showed the results of shortcuts in the manufacture of certain parts in some of the more popular modems. The most infamous instance of this happening was the Sportster model which was a V.32bis modem which could be bought at a much lower price than that of the Dual Standard. The catch was that they cut some corners and used that same communication board for both the Sportster and the Dual Standard. They assumed they could save money by using the same board on both modems. Boy were they wrong. All that was done to the Sportster was to disable the HST protocol that would make it into a Dual. With the proper init string, one could turn a Sportster, ROM version 4.1, into a full Dual in the matter of seconds and have spent 1/3 of the price of a full Dual Standard. This outraged USR when they found out. They first denied that it could be done. When they found out that it had gotten too wide-spread and could not be stopped, they then proceeded to tell the public it was a copyright infringement to use the "bogus" init string and threatened to sue anyone who attempted to use it. Most people laughed at that idea and continued to use it while giving "the bird" to USR. Some vendors are now even trying to make a buck and sell Sportsters at a higher price, and some are even selling them as Duals. Obviously, they have now discontinued making the Sportsters the cheap way and are now making two separate boards for both modems. The versions with the ROM 4.1 are still floating around, can be found almost anywhere, and will always have the capabilities to be run as a full Dual. Better watch out though. The USR police might come knocking on your door <g>. _______________________________________________________________________________ Warez Da Scene? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Over the last 6 months there have been several changing of hands in the major pirate groups. One person who supplies them has bounced to 3 groups in the last four months. One group fell apart because of a lack of support from the major members, but is making a valiant comeback. And yet another has almost split into two like AT&T stock. We'll have to see what comes of that. While only about 15% or so actually doing anything for the scene, the other 85% seem to complain and bitch. Either the crack doesn't work or someone forgot to put in the volume labels. Jesus, how much effort does it take to say, "Hey, thanks for putting this out, but...". The time and effort it takes to acquire the program, check to see if it needs to be cracked, package it, and have it sent out to the boards is time- and money-consuming and gets very little appreciation by the majority of the users around the world. Why not see some users send in donations to the group for the appreciation it takes to send the files out? Why not see more users volunteer to help courier the programs around? Help crack them? Make some cheats, or type of some docs? Be a part of the solution instead of the problem. It would create less headaches and gain more respect from the members who take the time and effort to make this all possible. _______________________________________________________________________________ Review Of The Month ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I usually type up a review of the best program I have seen since the last issue, but since I was so disappointed with this game, I have to say something about it. ___________________________________________________________________________ | | | RELEASE INFORMATION | |___________________________________________________________________________| | | | Supplied by : ACTION MAN & MUNCHIE ...................................... | | Cracked by : HARD CORE ................................................. | | Protection : Easy Password ............................................. | | Date : 16th December 1992 (Still 14 days left!) .................. | | Graphics : ALL ....................................................... | | Sound : ALL ....................................................... | | Game Size : 5 1.44Mb disks , Installation from floppies ............... | |___________________________________________________________________________| One of the most awaited games of the year showed up at my doorstep, just itching to be installed: F15-]I[. I couldn't wait to get this installed on the hard drive and didn't care how much space it took up. I was informed during installation that the intro would take up over 2 megs of hard drive space, but I didn't care. I wanted to see it all. Once I booted it and saw the intro, I thought the game would be the best I had seen. Too bad the other 8 megs turned out to be a waste of hard drive space. I started out in fast mode, getting right up in the skies. Too bad that's the only thing on the screen that I could recognize. Zooming down towards the coast, I noticed that it looked damn close to the land and, in fact, it might as well have been. The ocean consist of powder blue dots and had almost the same color consistency as the land. Not finding anything in the air to shoot at, I proceeded to shoot a missile at anything that I thought would blow up. This turned out to be just about everything, including bridges. Let a few gunshots loose on one and see a large fireworks display like you dropped a nuclear bomb on it. Close to 3 hours later, I finally found a jet, got it into my sights and shot 3 missiles at it. A large explosion, another one, and then he flew past me without even a dent showing. I shot my last 2 at it, same result. Thus my conclusion: the Russians must have invincible planes. Either that or F-15 ]I[ has some major bugs. I'll take a wild guess and say, hmm, bugs. This game is not worth the box it comes in and I would not suggest anyone, outside of a blind person, from purchasing this. I hate ratings but I'll give it a 2/10. The 2 is for modem play, which is not bad, but not good enough. _______________________________________________________________________________ Piracy's Illegal, But Not The Scourge It's Cracked Up To Be August 9, 1992 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By T.R. Reid and Brit Hume (Chicago Tribune)(Page 7) The software industry has embarked on one of its periodic public relations campaigns to get people to believe it's being robbed blind by software pirates. Even The New York Times took the claims seriously and ran a front-page story illustrated by a picture of a cheerful computer hacker wearing a Hawaiian shirt sitting in his basement surrounded by PCs and awash in piles of disks, many of them containing bootleg programs. With a straight face, the Times reported the industry's claim that in 1990, the last year for which figures are available, programs worth $2.4 billion were pirated, an amount equal to nearly half the industry's total sales of $5.7 billion. In fact, the software industry has no way of knowing how much it lost to illegal copying, but the $2.4 billion figure is almost certainly rot. Here's why. It is true that it's a snap to make an "illegal" copy of a computer program and equally true that the practice is rampant. You just put a disk in the drive, issue the copy command, and the computer does the rest. But there is simply no way the software industry can estimate accurately how many illegal copies there are, and even if it could, it couldn't possibly determine how many of them represent lost sales. It does not follow that every time somebody makes a bootleg copy, the industry loses a sale. That would be true only if the software pirate would have paid for the program had he or she not been able to get it for free. Indeed, some of those illegal copies undoubtedly lead to actual sales. Once users try a program, particularly a full-scale application such as a word processor or database, and like it, they may decide they need the instruction book and want to be able to phone for help in using the program. The only way to get those things is to buy the software. If that sounds pie-in-the-sky, consider that an entire branch of the industry has developed around just that process. It's called shareware -- software that is offered free to try. If you like it, you are asked to buy it. In return, you get a bound manual and telephone support. The word processor with which this column was written, PC-Write, is such a program. So is the telecommunications program by which it was filed, ProComm. These programs were both developed by talented independent software developers who took advantage of the unprecedented opportunity the personal computer provided them. All they needed was a PC, a desk, a text editor and a special software tool called a "compiler." A compiler translates computer code written in a language such as Basic, C or Pascal into the binary code that the computer can process. Once they had written their programs, they included a set of instructions in a text file and a message asking those who liked the software to pay a fee and get the benefits of being a "registered" user. They then passed out copies to friends, uploaded them to computer bulletin boards and made them available to software libraries. Everyone was encouraged to use the software -- and to pass it on. The ease with which the programs can be copied was, far from a problem for these developers, the very means of distribution. It cost them nothing and they stood to gain if people thought their program good enough to use. And gain they have. Both PC-Write and ProComm have made a lot of money as shareware, and advanced versions have now been released through commercial channels. The point here is not that it's okay to pirate software. It's not, and it's particularly dishonest to use a stolen program for commercial purposes. The practice of buying one copy for an entire office and having everybody copy it and use the same manual is disgraceful. Software may be expensive, but it's a deductible business expense and worth the price. At the same time, it's not such a bad thing to use an unauthorized copy as a way of trying out a program before you buy it. The shareware industry's success has proved that can even help sales. _______________________________________________________________________________ No Hiding From The Software Police October 28, 1992 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By Elizabeth Weise (The Seattle Times)(Page B9)(Associated Press) One call to the Piracy Hotline is all it takes for the Software Police to come knocking at your computers. Parametrix Inc. of Seattle found that out last year when the Software Police, also known as the Software Publishers Association, showed up with a search warrant and a U.S marshal to audit their computers. The search turned up dozens of copies of unauthorized software programs and meant a penalty of $350,000 for Parametrix. The SPA says too many companies "softlift" -- buying only one copy of a program they need and making copies for as many computers as they have. It seems so easy -- and it's just as easy to get caught. "It only takes one phone call to the 800 number to get the ball rolling. Anyone taking that chance is living on borrowed time," said Peter Beruk, litigation manager for the Washington D.C.-based SPA. "You can run, but you can't hide." And the stakes are getting higher. A bill is before President Bush that would elevate commercial software piracy from a misdemeanor to a felony. The law would impose prison terms of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 for anyone convicted for stealing at least 10 copies of a program, or more than $2,500 worth of software. Those in the computer industry say softlifting will be hard to prevent unless programmers are better policed. AutoDesk Retail Products in Kirkland has met obstacles in educating its staff on the law. AutoDesk makes computer-assisted drawing programs. "The problem is that you end up employing people who don't want to follow convention," AutoDesk manager John Davison said. "We hire hackers. To them it's not stealing, they just want to play with the programs. "You got a computer, you got a hacker, you got a problem." Bootlegging results in an estimated loss of $2.4 million to U.S. software publishers each year, Beruk said. That's out of annual sales of between $6 billion and $7 billion. "For every legal copy of a program sold, there's an unauthorized copy of it in use on an everyday basis," Beruk said. As SPA and its member companies see it, that's theft, plain and simple. SPA was founded in 1984. One of its purposes: to enforce copyright infringement law for software manufacturers. Since then it has conducted 75 raids and filed about 300 lawsuits, Beruk said. Several of the larger raids have been in the Northwest. The SPA settled a copyright lawsuit against Olympia-based U.S. Intelco for $50,000 in May. Last year, the University of Oregon Continuation Center in Eugene, Oregon, agreed to pay $130,000 and host a national conference on copyright law and software use as part of a negotiated settlement with SPA. The tip-off call often comes to SPA's toll-free Piracy Hotline. It's often disgruntled employees, or ex-employees, reporting that the company is running illegal copies of software programs, Beruk said. At Parametrix, an investigation backed up the initial report and SPA got a search warrant, Beruk said. President Wait Dalrymple said the company now does a quarterly inventory of each computer. The company brings in an independent company once a year to check for unauthorized programs. Softlifting, Dalrymple said, can be an easy tangle to get into. "Our company had had extremely rapid growth coupled with similar growth in the number of computers we use," he said. "We had no policy regarding the use of our software and simply didn't control what was happening." Making bootleg copies of software is copyright infringement, and it's as illegal -- and as easy -- as copying a cassette tape or a video tape. The difference is in magnitude. A cassette costs $8, a video maybe $25, while computer programs can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Audio and video tapes come with FBI warnings of arrest for illegal copying. Software comes with a notice of copyright penalties right on the box. But despite such threats, softlifting isn't taken seriously, said Julie Schaeffer, director of the Washington Software Association. "It's really in the same arena of intellectual property," Schaeffer said. "But people don't think about the hours and hours of work that goes into writing a program." The Boeing Co. in Seattle is one company that tries hard not to break the law. It has a department of Software Accountability, which monitors compliance with software licensing. AutoDesk resorts to a physical inventory of the software manuals that go with a given program. If programmers don't have the manuals in their work cubicles, they can be fined $50. The SPA itself said the problem is more one of education than enforcement. "Because copying software is so easy and because license agreements can be confusing, many people don't realize they're breaking the law," the SPA said. Feigning ignorance of the law doesn't help. With Microsoft products, a user is liable as soon as the seal on a package of software is broken. "At that point you've agreed to Microsoft's licensing agreement under copyright law," Microsoft spokeswoman Katy Erlich said. "It says so right on the package." _______________________________________________________________________________ Teenage Pirates and the Junior Underworld December 11, 1992 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Justin Keery (The Independent)(Page 31) "By the end of the year, any schoolboy with a computer who wants Sex will get it." The first print-run of 100,000 copies of Madonna's Sex has sold out. A further 120,000 will be printed before Christmas, and bookshops have ordered every last one. But parents beware... around 5,000 school children have their own copy, and the number is growing rapidly as floppy disks are circulated in playgrounds. Viewing the disk edition on a computer reveals television-quality images from the book -- the text, it seems, is deemed superfluous. In disk form the pictures can be copied and traded for video games, credibility or hard cash in a thriving underground marketplace. By the end of the year, any schoolboy with a computer who wants Sex will get it. The unlucky will catch a sexually transmitted disease in the process -- the Disaster Master virus, found on the Independent's copy. Sex is a special-interest area in the thriving junior underworld of software trading. Circulation of Madonna's pictures among minors with neither the budget nor the facial hair to buy Sex gives Madonna's publishers little cause to fear loss of sales. Neither Secker & Warburg in London nor Time-Warner in New York knew of the unofficial digital edition. But the publishers of computer video games have much to lose from playground transactions. Sex is not doing a roaring trade, said one schoolboy trader. Video games, with price-tags of up to pounds 40, are what every child wants, but few can afford. But who needs to buy, when your classmates will trade copies of the latest titles for another game, a glimpse of Madonna or a humble pound coin? Games disks are usually uncopyable. Skilled programmers "crack" the protection, as an intellectual challenge and a way of gaining respect in an exclusive scene, add "training" options such as extra lives, and post this version on a computer bulletin board -- a computer system attached to a telephone line where people log in to trade their "wares". Most bulletin boards (BBSs) are friendly places where computer freaks exchange tips, messages and "public domain" programs, made available by their authors free of charge. But illegitimate operators, or SysOps, look down on "lame" legal boards, and "nuke" any public domain material submitted to their systems. The larger pirate boards are the headquarters of a cracking group -- often in a 15-year-old's bedroom. There are perhaps 100 in Britain. Cracked games and "demos" publicize phone numbers, and a warning is issued that copyright software should not be posted --a disclaimer of questionable legality. New members are asked if they represent law enforcement agencies. According to a warning message on one board, at least one BBS in the United States is operated by the FBI. Your account at a board may not allow you to download until you upload wares of sufficient quality. Games are considered old after a week, so sexy images, "demos" or lists of use to hackers are an alternative trading commodity. Available this week, as well as Madonna, are: "lamer's guide to hacking PBXs", "Tex" and "Grapevine" -- disk magazines for pirates; and demos -- displays of graphical and sound programming prowess accompanied by bragging messages, verbal assaults on rival factions and advertisements for BBSs. According to a former police officer, the recipes for LSD and high explosives have circulated in the past. The board's "download ratio" determines how many disks are traded for every contribution -- usually two megabytes are returned for every megabyte contributed. "Leech accounts" (unlimited access with no quotas) are there for those foolish enough to spend between pounds 1 and pounds 60 per month. But children can sign on using a pseudonym, upload a "fake" -- garbage data to increase their credit -- then "leech" as much as possible before they get "nuked" from the user list. The "modem trader" is a nocturnal trawler of BBSs, downloading wares, then uploading to other boards. Current modem technology allows users to transfer the contents of a disk in 10 minutes. A "card supplier" can provide a stolen US or European phone credit card number. The scene knows no language barriers or border checks, and international cross-fertilization adds diversity to the software in circulation. Through the unsociable insomniac trader, or the wealthier "lamer" with a paid- up "leech account," games reach the playground. The traders and leeches gain extra pocket money by selling the disks for as little as pounds 1, and from there the trade begins. Some market-traders have realized the profit potential, obtaining cracked software through leech accounts and selling the disks on stalls. Sold at a pocket-money price of pounds 1 per disk, many games reach schools. The trading of copyright software is illegal but the perpetrators stand little chance of getting caught and are unlikely to be prosecuted. The victims, software houses, suffer real damage. Sales of Commodore Amiga computers equal the dedicated games machines -- the Sega Megadrive or Nintendo, yet sales of Amiga games (on disk and therefore pirate fodder) often reach only one third of the volume of their copy-proof console cartridge counterparts. Despite his preference for Amiga technology, Phil Thornton of System 3 Software is "seriously reconsidering" future development of Amiga games. Myth, a two- year project, sold pitiful amounts. Mr. Thornton was called by a pirate the day it was released -- the game was available on a bulletin board. Because of piracy, the sequel to the successful Putty will be mastered instead for the Nintendo console. This tactic may not help for long. The cracked Amiga release of Putty carried an advertisement (added by pirates) for a Nintendo cartridge "backup" device. Transferred to disk, a "pirate-proof" console game can be traded like any other. Games for the Nintendo and Sega systems are available on most bulletin boards. Scotland Yard only takes an interest in bulletin boards bearing pornography, though most also carry pirate software. Funded by the software industry, the Federation Against Software Theft has successfully prosecuted only one board, with "more pending." This Christmas parents will buy hundreds of thousands of video games. Some children will ask for modems; thus games will be on the bulletin boards by Boxing Day, and the first day of term will see the heaviest trading of the year. AUTHOR'S NOTE: I considered using a pseudonym for this article. Two years ago, a Newsweek reporter exposed the North American bulletin board network. His credit rating, social security and bank files were altered in a campaign of intimidation which included death threats. Most of those responsible were 15-year-olds. _______________________________________________________________________________ I was going to make a long list of greets, but there are too many people. I would like to say thanks again to DFX for throwing a great HoHo Con #3. Great job!