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Keygens/Cracks etc...


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#1 maggot7

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 01:19 PM

Hey everyone,

 

I have seen some misinformation posted from some contributors on regarding the legality of keygens, crackers, torrent clients, and so on. Being a legal specialist in this field, I felt I need to clear up some of these misconceptions.

 

What needs to be emphasized the most is the fact that it is highly possible that many of these programs contain rootkits, trojans, malware, etc. Simply for that fact they should be avoided.

 

However,

 

Under US law, sharing digital media is not illegal unless the person sharing it is profiting. This extends to music, movies, games, keygens, anything. The DMCA is usually cited as the legislation making "piracy" illegal, but that is not the case. The DMCA extends copyright violations to include digital media. Copyrights are only violated if someone is profiting.

 

Here's an example: if you burn 100 CD's of your favorite album and sell them to different people, you would be violating the DMCA because you are profiting off of someone else's property. But, if instead of selling the CD's you give them away for free, currently you are not violating US law. This principle is the same behind "piracy"

 

Now I'm not advocating piracy or theft in any way, shape, or form; but it is important to know the law instead of opinionated rhetoric that is not factually accurate. Where I think this applies on this forum more than anywhere else would be in the "Am I infected?" section and other malware-removal assistance areas. When a specialist sees that someone has, for example, uTorrent installed on their machine or a keygen, educating them on the security risks of such programs is absolutely prudent. But telling them that those programs constitute illegal activity is unethical and dishonest.

 

Information is always better than disinformation, folks. Even if it can empower someone to do something that you disagree with.

The holy grail of scare tactics is Reefer Madness. See how well that worked?

 

Just my 2c.



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 01:36 PM

I would suspect that Microsoft knows the law pretty well regarding it's rights...and the DMCA has intervened on Microsoft's behalf on many of the websites which formerly hosted unauthorized versions/access to MS products...as illustrated by These Google Results .

 

I have no doubt about your "expertise" and I agree that proper, correct, useable, credible information should be spread by anyone with the capability...I think your definition of the laws pertaining to piracy, illegal software, etc. are your own...but it seems they are not backed by the realities of everyday legal life.

 

The basis of "piracy" is that one person/entity cannot make available to the public...that which does not belong to him.  Microsoft and the other developers of a given program...have the legal rights to ownership of their properties.  MS gives a license to use said products...to each of us willing to pay for that license.  Any other acquisition of the use of said products...is logically illegally, since it is done without the approval of Microsoft.

 

There doesn't have to be any "profit" involved in these issues...have you watched any movies, sports event, anything on TV lately?  If you do, you will notice a copyright notfication at the end of that particular transmission.  It matters not whether that is enforceable or is enforced...it is the law...and it states something like..."the preceding cannot be reproduced without the consent of" the NBA, RKO, etc...whomever it happens to be.

 

But your "explanation" of these laws is so much more simple...unfortunately, it just happens to conflct with the facts, IMO.

 

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#3 maggot7

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 03:07 PM

Overlooking the dripping condescension of that response, I realize that I should have made clear that I am talking mostly about criminal cases here, not civil cases. Civil cases are to liquid to speak about in this manner because they generally do not use case law.

 

Using Microsoft as example is perfect. Though Microsoft obviously has legal ownership to their property, violating their terms of service is not criminal. The only thing that violating Microsoft's terms of service can do is terminate any existing contract with Microsoft. But Microsoft has no power over criminal indictments and cannot initiate any sort of criminal investigation, regardless how just they feel it may be.

 

I am not talking about a loophole or something that isn't enforceable, there simply is not an "Anti-piracy" law in this country. That's what SOPA was designed to do, but obviously failed. If anyone disagrees, please find and post the US Code that states that; or the applicable case law.

 

Referencing the NBA, NFL, etc.. messages are again not criminal. And Google's opinion is Google's, not federal law. Google is not being legally compelled to omit search results; they do it out of good will which is why companies send requests to Google, and not file complaints with the DOJ.

 

Also, you're incorrect that the stated examples do not involve profit. Study the case law, copyright cases always involve profit. Always. The closest that the DOJ or justice departments internationally have come to legal action against torrent sites is from the advertising that they host, resulting in profit. That is why the 3 or 4 Pirate Bay founders are in jail; from illegally profiting, not from violating anyone's terms of service.

 

This is where misinformation comes from, stating company policy as law. That is not the case. Think about it, if sites hosting this type of content were as illegal as company policies make them sound, how come we can still go there without using the darknet? How come they are still listed in search engines without constant, massive class action lawsuits? The country the site is hosted is irrelevant in this situation as, for example, child porn sites are not listed even if they are hosted in countries without operating governments.

 

EDIT:
P.S. Could you imagine a world were the courts would do Microsoft's bidding? "You have violated Section C Paragraph 9 Line 2 of the Terms of Service! You are hereby sentenced to 25 years in a federal penitentiary!" Hahaha, that even sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?


Edited by maggot7, 18 September 2014 - 03:11 PM.


#4 quietman7

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:26 PM


Regardless of the legality debate, the practice of using keygens, hacking tools, cracking tools, warez, torrents or any pirated software is a serious security risk which can turn a computer into a malware honeypot or zombie.

...pirated software and cracks — programs designed to generate product keys or serial numbers for popular software and games — are almost always bundled with some kind of malware...downloading pirated software and software cracks is among the fastest and likeliest ways to infect your computer with something that ultimately hands control over of your PC to someone else.

Software Cracks: A Great Way to Infect Your PC

Recent research shows that websites and programs related to software piracy are likely to be infected with malware due to the way they are distributed...over 50% of all pirated files are infected with malware that are constantly repacked to evade even the most up-to-date anti-virus programs. Software piracy acts as a gateway for cybercriminals to infect computers, leaving individuals and their personal data vulnerable to malware infection.

File Sharing, Piracy, and Malware

Cracking applications are used for illegally breaking (cracking) various copy-protection and registration techniques used in commercial software. These programs may be distributed via Web sites, Usenet, and P2P networks.

TrendMicro Warning

...warez and crack web pages are being used by cybercriminals as download sites for malware related to VIRUT and VIRUX. Searches for serial numbers, cracks, and even antivirus products like Trend Micro yield malcodes that come in the form of executables or self-extracting files...quick links in these sites also lead to malicious files. Ads and banners are also infection vectors...

Keygen and Crack Sites Distribute VIRUX and FakeAV

...warez/piracy sites ranked the highest in downloading spyware...just opening the web page usually sets off an exploit, never mind actually downloading anything. And by the time the malware is finished downloading, often the machine is trashed and rendered useless.

University of Washington spyware study

...a staggering 59% of the key generators and crack tools downloaded from P2P networks represent a security liability since they contain malicious and unwanted code. "25% of the Web sites we accessed offering counterfeit product keys, pirated software, key generators or crack tools attempted to install either malicious software or potentially unwanted software. A significant number of these Web sites attempted to install malicious or unwanted code...In addition to the peer-to-peer networks, 11% of the key generators and crack tools downloaded from Web sites were also plagued by malicious and unwanted software.

Microsoft Reveals the Risks of Using Pirated XP and Office

When you use these kind of programs, be forewarned that some of the most aggressive types of malware infections can be contracted and spread by visiting crack, keygen, warez and other pirated software sites. In many cases, those sites are infested with a smörgåsbord of malware and an increasing source of system infection. Those who attempt to get software for free can end up with a computer system so badly damaged that recovery is not possible and it cannot be repaired. When that happens there is nothing you can do besides reformatting and reinstalling the OS.

Using these types of programs or the websites visited to get them is a guaranteed way to get yourself infected!!
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#5 NickAu

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:42 PM

In my opinion and I think most will agree, The use of Keygens, Cracks or patches to bypass activation of any software you did not pay for is theft plain and simple.

 

Remember in most cases you do not own the software you are only allowed to use it for a set time. Look at Windows OS, you do not own it Microsoft owns it and you pay them a fee of $ XX to use it.


Edited by NickAu1, 18 September 2014 - 04:47 PM.

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#6 quietman7

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:53 PM

In my opinion and I think most will agree, The use of Keygens, Cracks or patches to bypass activation of any software you did not pay for is theft plain and simple..

 

Different countries have different laws and many non-U.S. citizens would disagree.


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#7 NickAu

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 05:23 PM

 

The use of Keygens, Cracks or patches to bypass activation of any software you did not pay for is theft plain and simple..

 

Different countries have different laws and many non-U.S. citizens would disagree.

A few years ago I was involved with making simple vb6 and vb.net software that was then sold on a site for between 5 and 20 bucks.  After spending hours to code and compile the software I would post it on the site, Then if people wanted it they had to buy it. The problems would start when somebody would buy the software for 5 bucks then crack it, and repost it on another site or they would share it with a friend who shared it with a friend who posted it on some warez site. In 1 case I made $45 on a program, Yet the cracked version hosted on XXXXX.org was downloaded 752 times. I just gave up in the end.

This is why I call it theft.

 

EDIT.

I am a Game of thrones fan and while I did download a few episodes, When I found that I liked the series I went out and got the box set of all 3 series.


Edited by NickAu1, 18 September 2014 - 05:30 PM.

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#8 quietman7

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 05:36 PM

I am not disagreeing with you...just pointing out there are many folks in other countries who actually believe there is nothing wrong with using cracked/pirated software.
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#9 Didier Stevens

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 11:56 AM

Here's an example: if you burn 100 CD's of your favorite album and sell them to different people, you would be violating the DMCA because you are profiting off of someone else's property. But, if instead of selling the CD's you give them away for free, currently you are not violating US law. This principle is the same behind "piracy"


You did not define profiting. From this example, profiting is financiaĺ gain?
So if I make a copy and give it to my teacher in exchange for a good grade, I'm not profiting?

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#10 Queen-Evie

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 03:50 PM

You did not define profiting. From this example, profiting is financiaĺ gain?
So if I make a copy and give it to my teacher in exchange for a good grade, I'm not profiting?


According to one of the definitions of the word PROFIT, you would indeed be profiting by getting a better grade.

The benefit gained does not have to financial.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/profit

money that is made in a business, through investing, etc., after all the costs and expenses are paid : a financial gain

the advantage or benefit that is gained from doing something






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