[linux-elitists] Microsoft goes after Linux kernel downloaders?

Brian McGroarty brian@mcgroarty.net
Mon Feb 16 18:15:28 PST 2004

I went trolling, and it seems I caught the biggest fish of them all.

When the story about the MS leak appeared on Slashdot this past week,
I thought I'd have a bit of fun. A post entitled "Kernel source here,"
which pointed to a torrent of Linux 2.6.2, was all it took to hook
about a thousand would-be NT and 2000 source downloaders.

"You can find the build applications and such with Google already."

I trickled the torrent out at about 1k/s for the first few hours, then
let it go full-speed once we'd crossed over 600 active
participants. Let 'em all have the punchline at once.

Imagine my surprise when my DSL stops working this morning, I call my
provider, and I learn that I've been accused of copyright
infringement. I argued that I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, and
they turned service back on. After I asked to see the accuser's email,
they forwarded the below. Sure enough, it's a bona fide valentine from
MS Legal:

  J.K. Weston
  Microsoft Corporation
  One Microsoft Way
  Redmond, WA 98052
  Tel: (425) 703-5529

  14 Feb 2004


  [My ISP]

  CODE AT: [one of my IPs]

  Date of Infringement: Detail below.

  Dear [My ISP]:

  We have received information that one of your users as identified
  above by the SITE/URL [My IP] 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.

The IP they chose wasn't the tracker, it was a system participating as
a torrent peer. This makes me wonder if there are a thousand other
P2P Linux 2.6.2 downloaders enjoying MS' Feb 14 love.

Now, admittedly I was just asking for it by hinting at something that
might offend the big giant. Still, it took them three or four days to
issue this letter. In the meantime, shouldn't they have been able to
find someone capable of cracking open a .tar.bz2? Did nobody raise the
question of how a leaked CD fits into a 32m file?

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