Aimster fights back...
March 5, 2001 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Aimster fights back... Not sure this is legal but it looks like some people have already found a way to bypass the napster filters...
posted by TNLNYC (9 comments total)
"uckF ouY, ouY pyS astardsB"

ho ordyl, hatst oodg.
posted by Hackworth at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2001

I enjoyed their legal basis for preventing the filters from 'hacking the code' and 'decrypting' the file names.

"if they do, they may be violating the same federal law called the DMCA and themselves be subject to up to a $500,000 fine and 5 years in prison"

I doubt it would stand, but it is good logic. Maybe they should have taken the first two letters and appended them to the end, and actually copyrighted the system. I think it's fair to say that there's prior art for pig latin.
posted by OneBallJay at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2001

imsterA ot IAAR: ropD eadD!

It's also trivial to develop a system to decrypt this. But the bottom line is that Napster needs to be easy to use, and this chucks a spanner right in the works.
posted by dhartung at 4:14 PM on March 5, 2001

I sure hope Aimster doesn't become a huge money grubbing corporation like Napster. It has that same "hooray for the music enthusiast" feeling that seems oddly familiar.
posted by samsara at 4:56 PM on March 5, 2001

"if they do, they may be violating the same federal law called the DMCA and themselves be subject to up to a $500,000 fine and 5 years in prison"

I doubt it would stand, but it is good logic.

Can someone please spell this logic out to me?
posted by thebigpoop at 5:06 PM on March 5, 2001

DeCSS, a program which decrypts the encoding on DVDs, is apparantly illegal under the DMCA because it is an unintended use and therefore violates the copyright of the encoding system (I think that's how it goes, but I'm not positive). These people are saying that if someone manages to decrypt the aimster code (quite a feat, but possible for some of the more intelligent record industry executives) and sets up a method to decrypt it for uses not intended by the encrypter, it is also illegal under the DMCA.

At least that's how I sorted it out.
posted by OneBallJay at 5:30 PM on March 5, 2001

The DMCA says that any "scrambling" of content, however weak, cannot be decrypted except by licensed software. In other words, if DVDs were encrypted by reversing the order of all the bits in an MPEG2 file, and someone wrote a program to re-reverse those bits so that the file was playable, that would be a violation of the DMCA. DeCSS is only slightly more complicated an algorithm, but it's also illegal under the DeCSS.

So the joke is, if the music industry "decrypts" this "encryption" scheme through the use of a "circumvention device" then they are also violating the DMCA.
posted by daveadams at 7:25 PM on March 5, 2001

Unfortunately, it's such a weak code that no "circumvention device" is necessary. Under the DCMA, the record labels can notify Napster specifically which files are allegdly copyrighted material (with certain legal reuqirements) and Napster then has to filter those files as well.

If the encryption is weak enough that a human being can decrypt is just by looking at the letters, then it will be trivial for the record companies to provide lists of all files, encypted names or not.

If, on the other hand, the encryption becomes strong enough that it requires an AIMSTER-like device to use the code, that device would have to be accessbile to all Napster usewrs, including the record company's monitors. Again, trivial.

So this is simply a short-term band aid solution. However, when CD buying plunges again because fans can't take new bands for a test drive, perhaps the record companies will start to see the light.
posted by mikewas at 9:06 AM on March 6, 2001

"Unfortunately, it's such a weak code that no "circumvention device" is necessary."

The DMCA says nothing about how difficult the encryption has to be to get around. It doesn't even have to work. It just has to exist.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:44 PM on March 7, 2001

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