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back to article Crazed Microsoft robot accuses BBC kids' channel of Win8 piracy

Microsoft falsely branded BBC CBeebies, CNN.com and other websites as Windows 8 piracy haunts - and ordered Google to remove them from search results. Pages belonging to the Beeb's children’s telly service CBeebies, film reviews site Rottentomatoes and US cinema chain AMC Theaters - as well as web articles by the BBC's …

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FAIL

Ready... Fire... Aim!

That is all.

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Anonymous Coward

Only

A crazy loon alien is about the only thing that would upgrade their Win 7 computer to Win 8.

Who the hell wants a pirate copy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only

Downvoted for replying to the topmost post to gain more visibility for your own post.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only

Considering it's been in an open Beta for so long, what's the worries of someone actually wanting to download it anyhow?

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Coat

Re: Ready... Fire... Aim!

Microsoft's bot also accused various innocent websites of pirating copies of Office, Xbox 360 and Visual Studio

Wait, pirate copies of Xbox 360?

I thought that was a games console! Is pirating hardware really that easy already?

Or do MS bots just sprinkle product names liberally over message templates before firing DMCA take-down requests at random?

Just askin'.

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Facepalm

Re: Only

"Only a crazy loon alien is about the only thing that would upgrade their Win 7 computer to Win 8."

That should have been a dead giveaway right there. The only way Win8 is being put on my computer is if you pay me and even then it stays on only until the money is in the bank. Accusing someone of pirating Windows 8 is like accusing someone of pirating a Zamfir album

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A bug in a piece of Microsoft software? Surely that's almost unheard of.

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Megaphone

nah, it was patched on tuesday. The patch to fix the damage caused by the buggy patch will come out next tuesday.

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Anonymous Coward

The article is a bit cagey on the matter. It currently suggests that the bot was operating "on behalf by [sic] Microsoft", but doesn't say who the actual operator was or who wrote the bot. Possibly this is a service provided by a third party using in-house tools.

It would be nice to clear up the ambiguity here and allocate blame. There have been quite a few copyight bot issues of late, not all of them associated with tech companies... presumably some of those have been using third party copyright enforcers, too.

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The request came from: http://www.leakid.com/ according to the chillingeffects page

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Anonymous Coward

Can we use robots.txt to filter these guys out ?

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Anonymous Coward

Good lord, that "leakid" website is awful; a tiny little square of flash filled with unnecessary effects. Have they timetravelled from 10 years ago?

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target market

Have they timetravelled from 10 years ago?

No. They are just 10 years behind.

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FAIL

Not exactly Microsoft

The requests came from contractors working for Microsoft, not Microsoft itself. Some of the takedown requests targetted Bing.com and other Microsoft domains, even.

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Anonymous Coward

And we....

.... talk about Skynet, and automated systems causing misery for mankind, and no one believes us ... *sigh*

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Mushroom

Re: And we....

First they came for children's TV channels,

but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a children's TV channel.

Then they came for film review meta-critics,

but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a film review meta-critic.

etc.

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Silver badge

They should really start dealing out a flat rate for this. "DMCA requests are free, but any which are overturned will warrant a $100 fine or something. Good way for google to make money, and a good reason for these idiots to actually check their results.

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Anonymous Coward

@wowfood

Great idea, but you've set the bar way too low. How about £10,000 for a corporation? A hundred simolians is merely coffee money for the likes of Mickeysoft. Hit 'em where they'll take notice rather than the computerised scatter-gun approach currently in use.

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Thumb Down

I agree with you but $100 is too low and it should not depend on what your taking down, the small guy needs protecting more so than the big players.

Automated requests should be automatically be refused it is a just lazy cheap option for them . Either that or the "fine" for being wrong should escalate depending on how many you file a day and if it is an automated requests.

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Alert

$100 is not enough

I would make it $1000 for any non-infringing link, plus the right to sue who issued the DMCA complaint for damages

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Anonymous Coward

Great idea.

Hold on whilst I set up a honey-pot page with all the keywords and some dodgy looking links...

It would be nice to extract some free money from Sony, Microsoft, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @wowfood

10 grand... manual vetting's gonna to be outsourced to Vietnam, and they'll keep the change (i.e. 99.999999% of it). Probably cheaper than electricity bill for running this bot :(

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Actually, I think $100 would be about right

More than that, and it starts hurting the little guys - but automated systems will just bleed money. There were nearly 1,000 requests in that, and quite a few were fakes.

On the other hand, there could be a "cost of scale" associated; for a single request, if it's wrong, it's $10. If you submit 100 requests (over the period of, say, a month), it's $100; over 1000, you pay $1000 per bad request, and so on.

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There's a better solution. If you live in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington or Texas (per Wikipedia), barratry is a misdemeanor punishable by prison time and/or fines. You don't even need to sue them yourself - it's a crime, so you call the police and hope for a DA who wants to get their name in the papers as "the man who arrested Microsoft".

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Anonymous Coward

Graham Bartlett

Trouble is, you cannot arrest a bot. Yeah, stupid I know. But the corporations think they have an excuse if it's a "computer" that made the mistake. I'm thinking of a relevant robot cop film that they are remaking too.

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Go

Re: Graham Bartlett

You can't arrest a bot.

However, that bot is run by a department in a company. That department has a head, and he can pass the buck to the CEO of the company.

If MS provided the filters it may be possible for the CEO to pass the buck to MS. And then some upper-middle-management type ends up in prison for a while. Or maybe they'll see their chance and kick Ballamer behind bars, allowing them to get on with improving as a company.

If MS didn't provide the filters for the company, then the bot-operators are at fault and need to figure out who to point the police towards, i.e. who was responsible for the Bot at the time the offence was committed.

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Re: Graham Bartlett

Don't accept bot trawls as evidence - insist on human-checked information in any legal action.

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More Spam

"I agree with you but $100 is too low and it should not depend on what your taking down, the small guy needs protecting more so than the big players."

$100 is fine when they're sending out 1.5M requests a week. The whole point of the fine is so they don't just send out automated crap

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Perjury

Bot or not, somebody sent the letter (or at least it was sent in someone's name and presumably they are fine with that. DMCA take down notices include a declaration under penalty of perjury that the information is accurate. It would be impossible to maintain even reasonable belief for many many of these sites.

Is the individual involved going to face charges? Probably not. After all, he's representing a megacorp which is all the US legal system is concerned with protecting these days.

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@wowfood

a good reason for these idiots to actually check their results.

They claim that a computer does a better job. That of course sounds crazy to anyone - except someone who doesn't want to have to go to the trouble of doing actual work.

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FAIL

It's very unfortunate that the "under penalty of perjury" clause only applies to claiming to be the copyright owner of the allegedly infringed work, and not to the claim that each and every URL in the DMCA report infringes their copyright.

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Vic
Silver badge

> They should really start dealing out a flat rate for this.

Sliding scale.

The first false accusation costs you $100. The second $200. Then $400, $800, ...

In a short while, stupidity can no longer afford itself.

Vic.

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Mushroom

Trying to take down cbeebies

What utter, utter bastards!

I hope Andy, Ceri Alex and Sid have tweeted a response to this heavy handed approach. I realise that not everyone like Mr Tumble but denying kids access to Rastamouse is pretty dread!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trying to take down cbeebies

Maybe it's because Romney failed to take down Big Bird! ;)

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Coat

Collateral damage.

Some regrettably unavoidable civil losses.

Was probably programmed by an ex-Army guy.

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Joke

Windows 8 piracy?

C'mon. What kind of self-respecting pirate would download that? And Windows 8 beta piracy? The damn thing has been freely available from Microsoft for months. They were screaming about it to anyone who would listen. Is this just a ploy to make people believe Windows 8 is worth pirating?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

Have you used it? It's outstanding - modern UI flows like the Orinoco. The only people who have any right to complain are those still stuck in the 80's with their clickity click IBM Model-M keyboards sans windows key. Sigh - you just can't argue with luddites.

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Bronze badge

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

The fact you call Metro "modern UI" means you're probably an MS troll. :-)

But above that, the new UI is *precisely* the reason most people are sceptical about the new OS. It's basically Windows 7 with knobs on, but those knobs make it harder to do things like open and close doors. Windows "classic shell" replacement utilities abound at the moment and did do even for Windows 7. I've been asked by my workplace that, should we deploy Windows 7/8 next year, we reinstate the classic shell as much as possible. Now we're a school so we get stupendous discounts on MS software if we hassle them enough, so it's not like we wouldn't pay it some other time anyway, but the fact is that you can't ask a six year old to have to type a program name into a search bar to find their programs all the time when they could have just clicked on an icon - Sure, we can cater for that problem with desktop / Metro icons, but the "modern" UI is no more efficient than the old system for certain use cases.

Including, for example, mine. Where my Windows 7 upgrade (and months of Windows 8 testing) meant that within the first day, I saved more time by wiping out the Windows 7/8 interface and replacing it with a classic shell from a third party (not even a damn option, only "Microsoft Knows Best") than I did anything else. It literally was more cost- and time-effective to remove the UI and replace it with someone else's so I could get on with the work of building the PC so people could test it. IN THE FIRST DAY. Don't get me started on narrow-down search of other 1000 applications compared to nicely organised folders on the start menu (narrow-down is WONDERFUL when it needs to be used, which isn't then - I have narrow-down instant search of 15 years of email from Opera and it's brilliant). It took myself and my boss TEN MINUTES to find out how to exit a Metro app (without Googling) using only the touch interface on the brand-new touchscreens we bought using Windows 8 RTM.

Same with recent Ubuntu's. I spent weeks trying to get used to our last Ubuntu deployment and couldn't and in the end wiped out the Unity interface and all its trimmings and went back to basics. Same reasons, basically. We still haven't picked a distro for the next deployment yet but Ubuntu is looking slightly less favourable given the extra hassle we have to go to to let us open programs with one click, close programs and not have things pop up, slide over, etc. while we're working.

People work in different ways. No-one wants Metro to die an absolute death and be another dead end in the corridors of forward compatibility. All we want is an option to turn the fecking thing off and go back to how we're used to working. We honestly DO NOT CARE how much better life could be if we could all get used to it. The computer is there to obey us as a tool, not tell us how we have to work - and most of us have jobs that DO NOT need to involve learning yet-more computing paradigms that may eventually disappear when we could just do things as we've always done.

I spend enough of my life setting up machines for other people. I don't WANT to spend hours (and in some experiments with Windows 7 MONTHS) "getting to know how to use the tool" when the end result is the same as that which I have always achieved. I just want the damn thing to do what I ask and nothing more, which involves no ripping out decades of established UI metaphors in favour of shiny new interfaces that slow me down and make me remove them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

> Have you used it? It's outstanding - modern UI flows like the Orinoco. The only people who have any right to complain are those still stuck in the 80's with their clickity click IBM Model-M keyboards sans windows key. Sigh - you just can't argue with luddites.

2/10. Troll harder.

Point of order though; the Luddites didn't actually hate machines. They hated machines being used by unscrupulous businessmen to put them out of work.

They were actually pretty forward thinking and progressive....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

The lengthy response I got above yours suggests that I'm trolling quite hard enough to get the desired bites - thanks though!

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Re: Windows 8 piracy?

modern UI flows like the Orinoco

I've never actually seen the Orinoco, and I am not a geographer or geophysicist. But online pictures of the Orinoco show something meandering and brown, from which I conclude that you are saying "modern UI" is sluggish, muddy and takes a long time to get anywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

@Kubla Cant - If you're suggesting that Enya was lying, please have a long hard look at yourself. She's a paragon of truth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

Nice effort, judging by the number of downvotes!

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Unhappy

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

"No-one wants Metro to die an absolute death and be another dead end in the corridors of forward compatibility. All we want is an option to turn the fecking thing off and go back to how we're used to working."

Actually it sounds as if that's exactly what you do want. If nobody uses it, then does that not make it a dead end?

It's not just MS though, Gnome, Canonical with Unity are all seemingly headed down a dead-end street with their bloody awful attempts to redefine the desktop. When the paradigm of the desktop is lost, as it is in these abortions, then what is the point? With the Unity HUD, absence of window controls, and so on, it's becoming more and more productive to go back to the command line. That is, after all, lean, quick and if you know your way round very, very efficient. Perhaps there should be compulsory classes in Emacs or Vi in schools, 'cos that's the way these reductionists are headed, pared back and minimalist.

Oh, I forgot, it might be hard to implement a CLI on a touch screen, which is what all this nonsense is about.

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Re: something meandering and brown

Make the emphasis on something brown, and you probably have a decent idea of how to evaluate the"Modern UI".

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Thumb Up

Re: something meandering and brown

"They hated machines being used by unscrupulous businessmen to put them out of work. They were actually pretty forward thinking and progressive...."

Yeah, that's the problem with "progressivism" in one pithy sentence, thank you very much.

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Re: IBM Keyboards ?

Wotttt???? 1990's vintage IBM keyboards have seen me through DOS, Win 3.1, 95, 98, XP and even a glance at W7.

You'd be crazy to swap to an inferior keyboard just to get a Windows key.

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Boffin

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

And what's wrong with that? The IBM Model-M is one solid hardware. I even own the 122 key keyboard.

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Re: Windows 8 piracy?

Upvoted purely and simply because I love sarcasm and the amount of people that fail to understand it!!!

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