back to article Microsoft DMCA takedown requests targeting OpenOffice

The vigilant folk at TorrentFreak think they've found something odd: among the hundreds of thousands of sites Microsoft has recently asked Google not to index are requests to remove references to sites that in no way infringe Microsoft's rights but instead mention the the free OpenOffice suite. TorrentFreak's report on the …

COMMENTS

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  1. Dave 52

    Google will stop indexing torrent sites?

    When did this start happening? Will I have to start using mIRC again to figure out where to go for free stuff?

    1. ACx

      Re: Google will stop indexing torrent sites?

      Google: google custom search torrents

  2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
    Facepalm

    That probably involves tuning whatever 'bot it uses

    What, a piece of MS SW not working perfectly first time?

    This can't be right.

    No you've made a mistake, surely.

    Reality can be wrong perhaps, but never MS. I'm sure you'll find that buried deep within the EULA somewhere you've sworn on the lives of all your nearest and dearest that MS are right under all circumstances.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: That probably involves tuning whatever 'bot it uses

      They've limited it to our "nearest and dearest"?

      That's an improvement... shows that Microsoft is listening to its customers...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That probably involves tuning whatever 'bot it uses

      "What, a piece of MS SW not working perfectly first time?"

      Except that as pointed out in these very pages recently, we've learned that it's not Microsoft that generates these takedown requests, and the logic used is.. strange to say the least:

      http://goo.gl/7jNWTE

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That probably involves tuning whatever 'bot it uses

        >strange to say the least

        Why do you find that strange? Shirley Microsoft should know better than anyone not to entrust important software jobs to Microsoft.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blocking OO

    Unintended but convenient!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blocking OO

      Yeah just like secure boot is MS's DRM for W8 but has the consequence of kicking Linux in the nuts

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blocking OO

        I'm happily running Linux on a secureboot (uEFI) system. I'm also running Windows pre-8 on a securebooted system.

        In all honesty the Linux machine was insatlled first and I didn't even realise that the system wasn't BIOS when I got it.

        1. Chika
          Linux

          Re: Blocking OO

          As the AOL-inflicted once said; "Mee too!"

          My two main machines are near enough identical apart from the operating systems. Apparently at least one distro has been putting a lot of effort into addressing the UEFI secure boot problem, to the benefit of most UEFI afflicted Linux users out there.

          Not that we are likely to like Microsoft any better for putting us in that position in the first place, of course!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blocking OO

        "Yeah just like secure boot is MS's DRM for W8 but has the consequence of kicking Linux in the nuts"

        Linux can just disable secure boot. so it's a non event. And it's a BIOS manufacturers standard - not a Microsoft one....

        1. paulc
          Mushroom

          Re: Blocking OO

          try doing that on an ARM device...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Blocking OO

            Like an iPad you mean?

            Microsoft are selling RT tablets with an OS and as locked down. There is no expectation to be able to install Linux. Just like if you go and buy a new PS3 these days...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 08:25GMT - Re: Blocking OO

          From Wikipedia

          (quote) while the UEFI specifications do not require it, Microsoft has asserted that their contractual requirements do, and that it reserves the right to revoke any certificates used to sign code that can be used to compromise the security of the system (/quote)

          How's that for a BIOS manufacturers standard ?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blocking OO

        Methinks AC 8:10 might have meant WRT rather than W8. Reasonable comparison if (s)he did.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Could it be ....

    .... that Microsoft see Open Office as a competitor to one of their own products and are trying to stifle it? One interesting aspect of this is that Open Office is free, so there is no company has its sales and therefore its profits affected - so no damages can be claimed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wounded Knee.

      You're exactly right they, any competition right now is too much for Microsoft to handle. This type of piracy has been happening for over a decade, so bothering with it now only shows their open wounds.

      From where I'm standing, their entire line of consumer software besides Office is going down in flames. So now they have to protect their last remaining piece on the board, or it really could be checkmate.

      1. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Re: Wounded Knee.

        "their entire line of consumer software besides Office is going down in flames"

        It may not have flames but it is smoldering pretty good.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Could it be ....

      Oh oh-

      The writing's on the wall.

      As MS sinks slowly beneath the waves...

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: Could it be ....As MS sinks slowly beneath the waves...

        And is found at the bottom of the Atlantic, alongside the MS Titanic.

        May it forever rust in peace.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could it be ....

      Open Office probably infringes loads of MS patents. I'm sure they could bury it if anyone actually started using it...

      1. fandom Silver badge

        Re: Could it be ....

        They got a kind of agreement with Sun about that.

      2. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Re: Could it be ....

        Well if Microsoft had actually done something innovative with Office since the 90s this maybe true but they just fiddle about with the UI and add new features that only 0.01% of users need then charge another small fortune for a new version.

        I have yet to find something useful that office 2013 does that i couldn't do with office 97.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Could it be ....

          You can hook excel up to a HPC cluster, that's pretty innovative.

          1. Bakunin
            Devil

            Re: Could it be ....

            "You can hook excel up to a HPC cluster, that's pretty innovative."

            If you need a cluster to run the calculations on your Excel sheets something has got horribly out of hand.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Could it be ....

              "If you need a cluster to run the calculations on your Excel sheets something has got horribly out of hand."

              Or you happen to work in oil and gas, or pharmacology, or geology, or weather forecasting, or financial markets, or insurance or numerous other industries where crunching large sets of numbers is routine...

              nb - many of these sectors also happen to be where the best paid jobs are. So my condolences that you are probably not very well paid....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Could it be ....

            >You can hook excel up to a HPC cluster, that's pretty innovative.

            Looks like mark l 2 grossly overestimated the usefulness... new features that only 0.0001% of users need

        2. Rick Giles
          Linux

          Re: Could it be ....

          "I have yet to find something useful that office 2013 does that i couldn't do with office 97."

          Yes, relieving you of your hard earned money.

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: Could it be ....

            In Excel you can have more than 256 columns and 65536 rows on your spreadsheet.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Open Office probably infringes loads of MS patents"

        The last (remarkably similar) claim round here was never substantiated, and the poster also didn't seem to realise that some of the allegedly affected products were already covered by bi-directional no-sue technology transfer agreements.

        So, evidence please, or STFU.

        Or I'll probably send the boys round if you post the same shot again.

        Or maybe not. Who knows, in the absence of evidence.

    4. Suricou Raven

      Re: Could it be ....

      Or it could be that they just set their anti-piracy bot for 'torrent AND *office*' - no way to say clearly if this was malicious, or simply incompetence and arrogance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could it be ....

        >Or it could be that they just set their anti-piracy bot for 'torrent AND *office*' - no way to say clearly if this was malicious, or simply incompetence and arrogance.

        Nope. They have a legal obligation to review every URL by human eye and ENSURE every single one is correct. Negligence, incompetence and arrogance are still all illegal in this context. That's probably why they've tendered out the dirty work to a scapegoat even though it's their responsibility... some sort of attempt at pre-emptive distancing.

  5. Martijn Otto

    Well, at least they're not trying to block LibreOffice. Maybe this can be a good thing and get the last three OpenOffice users to switch to LibreOffice as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mine's Better Than Yours

      "My Libre Office is better than your Open Office"

      "No it isn't"

      "Yes it is."

      "No it isn't"

      "Yes it is."

      And on and on and on and on..............

      Who cares? Use one or the other, or both if you want. But please stop the schoolyard jibes that only serve to make people who use open source look like whining brats.

    2. Curtis
      Go

      RE: Martijn Otto

      No thanks. I'll keep my Open Office, the same software I've used for 5+ years.

      (and no snarks about how it's exactly the same as it was 5 years ago because no one's maintaining it!)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: RE: Martijn Otto

        At least LibreOffice are removing Java code from their suite, something that OpenOffice have no incentive to do because they've got Oracle pulling their strings.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ha ha, and how exactly could they try to block libreoffice? They can't.

  6. streaky Silver badge

    Law Talk?

    Uhm... DMCA requests are submitted under penalty of perjury not "good faith effort - sorry if we're wrong". I hope the Apache Foundation sues anybody involved in this.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Law Talk?

      Sue for what? Damages? And who would have grounds to sue?

      These were third-party torrents for a freely redistributable open-source software.

      Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Microsoft slapped silly, but it's not going to happen.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Law Talk?

        They might actually be doing Openoffice / Libreoffice a favour.

        The right way to get free software is to download it via the appropiate web-site (www.libreoffice.org, www.openoffice.org). If you don't know where that is, Google is your friend. If you're professionally paranoid, you check the sha256sums after you've fetched it.

        The wrong way is to trust that www.dodgyfreedownloads.ru is your friend and that what you download has no added extra malware. And if a site is advertising a MS Office torrent, it's definitely very dodgy!

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Law Talk?

        "I would love to see Microsoft slapped silly, but it's not going to happen"

        As if $BIGCORP would need any external help for that.

        Just sit back, have some popcorn, and watch the show.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Law Talk?

        The important thing is that no money was hurt.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Law Talk?

      But the perjury only covers that you swear you are the rights holder or acting on their behalf - it doesn't swear that the link actually infringes

      1. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Law Talk?

        "But the perjury only covers that you swear you are the rights holder or acting on their behalf - it doesn't swear that the link actually infringes"

        It sort of depends on who writes the DMCA - I've actually seen both. Here's the thing though - the *are not the rights holder* and are claiming to be under penalty of perjury so, yeah... It could also easily be argued that they're abusing the system because a) they are and b) they're bringing the court system into disrepute.

        Loss has nothing to do with it. Frankly millions of people, companies and governments use OpenOffice and for people to go round claiming ownership of the IP when they don't *is* damaging - actually the point is that damages will be awarded for abuse of the system. In the Diebold case there was no actual monetary consequential loss but it didn't stop the court awarding 150k in damages. There's also a punitive damages option to make the people involved think about and check what they're sending out in future.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jail

    I've got a way of making sure these type of 'requests' are more accurate in future - jail the lawyer involved for 3 months for every inaccurate claim. You can bet they won't claim a hair's breadth more than they are allowed then.

    Oh, and 3 wrong claims in a year and you lose the right to challenge for an entire year from the date of the last offence.

    1. DragonLord

      Re: Jail

      Wouldn't the 3 month/inaccurate claim kinda make the ban superfluous after the 3rd one anyway? After all a year is only 12 months, and it's almost certain that they're going to fire off more than 1 at the same time.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Jail

      What?

      You mean, apply consequences to actions? To lawyers?!?

      Shirley, you jest. (Or, you are a communist, socialist, pinko euro-ist with no understanding how the Great 'Murikun Legal system works. Sieg Dollah!)

  8. tempemeaty

    Good excuse...

    ...for anti-competitive behavior and action against an alternative product just when Microsoft is desperately trying to bolster their own new Office 365 software as a service. Predatory corporations never let a good excuse or opportunity go to waist.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Good excuse...

      " Predatory corporations never let a good excuse or opportunity go to waist."

      All MS apps are full fat so they're sure to go to "waist"

      The one with the elastic belt ------------->

  9. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    Make it more accurate?

    What using something like "%ppen%office%" as opposed to simply "%office%"?

    Hmmm, tricky stuff!

  10. localzuk

    Make it illegal

    The law should protect both sides - if false takedowns are being submitted, they should be fined and the proceeds go to the target.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Make it illegal

      "Should", yeah. I'll drink to that. And when consumers get as many high-paid lobbyists as RIAA, Sony, Microsoft, Apple etc, maybe it will actually become like that too.

  11. andy 45

    It's obviously set up to block anything with 'office suite' in the title.

    pretty thoughtless though.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A search of bing for office keygen...

    30,400,000 results - top 3 results are:

    1 Welcome to new crack keygen resource KEYGENS.NL

    2 office serial number, key - KeyGenGuru.Com serial numbers, keygen ...

    3 KEYGENS.NL - office 2010 cracks and keygens generated to unlock ...

    Perhaps they should sort their own search engine out before interfering with others.

    1. Joe Drunk
      Windows

      There aren't any actual keygens to download from those sites

      They are there to test the effectiveness of whatever AV suite is installed on your PC.

  13. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    That probably involves tuning whatever 'bot it uses to compile initial lists so it is more accurate.

    A bot? What could possibly go wrong with that?

  14. raving angry loony

    Naive, perhaps?

    I like how the author seems to simply believe the Microsoft story that the whole thing was a mistake by a bot, rather than deliberate action by a company that's not changed its (unethical) stripes in 30 years. So naive.

    1. bean520

      Re: Naive, perhaps?

      Look at the blocklist itself. The OpenOffice torrents are filled with artifacts that somewhat suggest what's being offered is identifying itself with Microsoft's offering rather than Apache's (Open Office 2010 anyone?). It is more than feasable to suggest that this was a bot error

  15. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Sue for what? Damages? And who would have grounds to sue?

    These were third-party torrents for a freely redistributable open-source software.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Microsoft slapped silly, but it's not going to happen."

    The hoster of the torrent, the person who put up the torrent, *and* the copyright holder all have a chance under DMCA to invoke the penalty clause for perjury in DMCA requests, which these are. I've NEVER heard of it being invoked, but I guarantee if any of my content was falsely DMCA'd, I'd invoke the penalty clause.

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