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Chad HorwedelThe US Supreme Court is letting stand a lower court ruling that the Batmobile is protected by copyright.

The high court's move is a blow to Gotham Garage, the maker of Batmobile replica modification kits, and it means car tinkerers must get a license from DC Comics to sell vehicles that look like the one driven by Batman and Robin. The court did not comment when rejecting (PDF) Gotham Garage's petition (PDF) for the court to hear its case.
In September, a federal appeals court sided with DC Comics' suit against Gotham Garage. "As Batman so sagely told Robin, 'In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,'" the San Francisco-based 9th US Court of Appeals concluded (PDF).

That wasn't the first time a Hollywood car was assigned copyright.

The vehicle "Eleanor" from Gone in 60 Seconds prevailed in an IP court battle. In the end, the Batmobile was protected from copyright because it was not solely a literary character but has "maintained distinct physical and conceptual qualities since its first appearance in the comic books in 1941," the appeals court ruled. Attorneys for Mark Towle, the operator of Gotham Garage, told the Supreme court that the appellate decision "impermissibly extended to an inanimate object the copyright protection that is afforded to “characters,” by holding that an automobile, which does not display any personality traits or consistent and widely identifiable physical attributes independent of the context in which it appears in a creative work, is entitled to separate copyright protection."
Shawn Collins It was just days ago when the federal judge presiding over the upcoming Oracle v.

Google API copyright trial said he was concerned that the tech giants were already preparing for a mistrial—despite the fact that the San Francisco jury hasn't even been picked yet. US District Judge William Alsup said he was suspicious that, during the trial, the two might perform intensive Internet searches on the chosen jurors in hopes of finding some "lie" or "omission" that could be used in a mistrial bid. To placate the judge's fears, Google said (PDF) it won't do Internet research on jurors after a panel is picked for the closely watched trial, set to begin on May 9."The Court stated that it is considering imposing on both sides a ban on any and all Internet research on the jury members prior to verdict. Provided the ban applies equally to both parties, Google has no objection to imposition of such a ban in this case," Google attorney Robert Van Nest wrote to the judge in a Tuesday filing. Enlarge Peter Kaminski Google was referring solely to Internet searches of the jury once jurors were picked. Oracle didn't go so far in its response Tuesday and said the dueling companies should be able to investigate jurors both before and after they are chosen. "...the parties should be permitted to conduct passive Internet searches for public information, including searches for publicly available demographic information, blogs, biographies, articles, announcements, public Twitter and other social media posts, and other such public information," Oracle attorney Peter Bicks wrote (PDF) Alsup on Tuesday. However, Oracle was concerned that Google might tap its vast database of "proprietary" information connected to jurors' Google accounts and said such research should be off-limits. "Neither party should access any proprietary databases, services, or other such sources of information, including by way of example information related to jurors', prospective jurors', or their acquaintances' use of Google accounts, Google search history information, or any information regarding jurors' or prospective jurors' Gmail accounts, browsing history, or viewing of Google served ads..." Oracle wrote. Google has never suggested it would violate its customers' privacy in such a way. Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages after successfully suing the search giant for infringing Oracle's Java APIs that were once used in the Android operating system.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the "declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection." The decision reversed the outcome of the first Oracle-Google federal trial before Alsup in 2012.

APIs are essential and allow different programs to work with one another. The new jury will be tasked with deciding solely whether Google has a rightful fair-use defense to that infringement.
IP address behind thousands of bootleg Windows, Office, Server installations. Microsoft has asked a US court to issue a subpoena to Comcast, in a bid to obtain subscriber-to-IP address information on users alleged to have pirated en mass copies of Windows and Office platforms. The subpoena filed with a Washington US District Court seeks to identify users behind IP address 173.11.224.197 alleged to have activated thousands of copies of Microsoft wares. A filing obtained by TorrentFreak shows Redmond is persuing users alleged to have contacted Microsoft servers some two thousand times between 2012 and 2015. Microsoft says pirates will often install activated pirate copies of Windows software on computers and sell those at a cut-rate in what is known as hard-disk loading. Redmond does not claim that the John Doe defendants are doing so. "During the software activation process, defendants contacted Microsoft activation servers in Washington over two thousand times from 2012 to 2015, and transmitted detailed information to those servers in order to activate the software," Microsoft says in the documents [PDF]. "Defendants’ contact with Microsoft’s activation servers was voluntary, intentional and comprised a routine part of defendants’ installation of software. "Defendants activated and attempted to activate at least several thousand copies of Microsoft software, much of which was pirated and unlicensed." Microsoft says pirates activated copies of Windows 8, 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 and 2010 using stolen and repeatedly activated codes obtained through the Redmond's 'supply chain'. The intelligence is gleaned from activation information voluntarily shared with Microsoft. "[Forensics] allows Microsoft to analyse billions of activations of Microsoft software and identify activation patterns and characteristics that make it more likely than not that the IP address associated with the activations is an address through which pirated software is being activated," Redmond says. It would be a significant gaffe on behalf of the alleged pirates if the IP address data pointed to their real identities. Some of the most popular activation cracks rely on bypassing and blocking Microsoft software activation locally. ® Sponsored: 2016 global cybersecurity assurance report card
Skiff-sailing slimeballs screw shoddy shell Clever pirates have hacked into a shipping company to determine the location of valuable cargo before hijacking vessels in targeted attacks. The criminals popped the unnamed company's in-house content management system, using that access to determine which containers have the most valuable cargo. This made its hijacks faster as pirates were able to round up crew and locate favoured boxes using scanners instead of manually picking through loot. The attacks were captured in Verizon's Data Breach Digest [PDF] addendum report.
In it the forensics bods say the pirates uploaded a shoddy shell to the shipping routers server, and while that gave them the needed access, it was also easy to for them to identify and shutter. "The threat actors used an insecure upload script to upload the web shell and then directly call it as this directory was web accessible and had execute permissions set on it -- no Local File Inclusion or Remote File Inclusion [was] required. Essentially, this allowed the threat actors to interact with the webserver and perform actions such as uploading and downloading data, as well as running various commands.
It allowed the threat actors to pull down bills of lading for future shipments and identify sought-after crates and the vessels scheduled to carry them." Investigators capitalised on technical and operational security mistakes that made the attackers and the data they sought easy to identify.

The pirates did not use SSL, mistyped commands, and "constantly struggled" to interact with the pwned webserver. "These threat actors, while given points for creativity, were clearly not highly skilled," Verizon's research team said. The beleaguered shipping company secured its compromised servers, reset passwords, and blocked the attacker's IP address. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa, and Indian Ocean has declined in recent years thanks to international military intervention and assistance under NATO's Operation Shield. The International Maritime Bureau has received 10 incident reports this year. ® Sponsored: Securing personal and mobile device use with next-gen network access controls
Pirates like those shown here aboard a dhow in waters off western Malaysia in January 2006 were using data stolen from a shipping company's systems to target cargo ships and steal specific crates of valuables in hit-and-run attacks.US Navy When the terms "pirate" and "hacker" are used in the same sentence, usually it's a reference to someone breaking digital rights management on software.

But that wasn't the case in an incident detailed in the recently released Verizon Data Breach Digest report, unveiled this week at the RSA security conference. Verizon's RISK security response team was called in by a global shipping company that had been the victim of high-seas piracy aided by a network intrusion. The shipping company experienced a series of hit-and-run attacks by pirates who, instead of seeking a ransom for the crew and cargo, went after specific shipping containers and made off with high-value cargo. "It became apparent to the shipping company that the pirates had specific knowledge of the contents of each of the shipping crates being moved," the RISK team recounted in the report. "They’d board a vessel, locate by bar code specific sought-after crates containing valuables, steal the contents of that crate—and that crate only—and then depart the vessel without further incident." The targeted nature of the attack made it clear to the shipper that the pirates were somehow getting intelligence directly from their computer systems.

The response team discovered that the company used a "homegrown" Web-based content management system (CMS) to manage bills of lading for their cargo ships.

An examination of network traffic to the CMS revealed a Web shell script had been uploaded to the server through a vulnerability in the software.

The shell script backdoor gave attackers remote access to the server, allowing the upload and download of files—in this case, specifically downloading the bills of lading for the company's ships.

The attackers had compromised a number of system passwords in the process as well. However, the attackers made a number of mistakes.

The shell script used straight HTTP rather than taking advantage of the site's SSL encryption—so the contents of the traffic was easily discovered by packet captures. "We were ultimately able to capture every command the threat actors issued, which painted a very clear picture," the RISK team wrote. "These threat actors, while given points for creativity, were clearly not highly skilled.

For instance, we found numerous mistyped commands and observed that (they) constantly struggled to interact with the compromised servers." While they had managed to get initial access to a number of servers, the attackers weren't able to install shell scripts on them because of a network security appliance. Ultimately their activities were limited to the server they had initially gained access through. But their most damning mistake? "The threat actors also showed a lack of concern for their own operational security by failing to use a proxy and connecting directly from their home system," the RISK team noted.

The shipping company shut down the server to fix the vulnerability, and they then blocked the IP address of the pirate's hacker—ending the targeted attacks.
SeabamirumOne of the tech sector's biggest upcoming trials—Oracle v.

Google—careened Tuesday away from the hot-button topic of copyrighting application programming interfaces (APIs) and instead focused on the presiding judge's concern that the tech giants are setting up jurors to fail. US District Judge William Alsup believes it's all so the loser could challenge the verdict of the second upcoming trial set for May. Judge Alsup said Tuesday that the tech giants jointly submitted a proposed questionnaire (PDF) for prospective panelists containing "so many vague questions" that "the loser on our eventual verdict will seek, if history is any guide, to impeach the verdict by investigating the jury to find some 'lie' or omission during voir dire." Enlarge Richard Liu Voir dire is the part of the case in which lawyers question potential jurors about their backgrounds and biases.

And the case is being closely watched by the tech sector and developer community given the high stakes. Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages after successfully suing the search giant for infringing Oracle's Java APIs that were once used in the Android operating system.

A federal appeals court has ruled (PDF) that the "declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection." The decision reversed the outcome of the first San Francisco federal trial heard before Alsup in 2012. A new jury, to be chosen for a May 9 Oracle-Google trial, will be tasked to decide whether Google has a rightful fair-use defense to that infringement.

The Supreme Court has so far declined to intervene. Oracle and Google jointly asked the judge on February 29 to extend jury questioning for two days.

That's an unusual request because Alsup's normal jury picking procedure lasts less than a half day. "The Court suspects that a real reason the parties wish to use the proposed questionnaire and its two-day (or more) procedure is to get the names of prospective jurors and their places of residence so that they may conduct extended Internet investigations on the venire prior to the oral voir dire procedure, all in an effort by jury consultants to run demographics against the pool and rank the potential jurors," the judge said.

Alsup added that he would have nothing to do with that: In short, no questionnaire will be used. We will use the Court’s usual voir dire procedure. We will use traditional safeguards to root out any bias. We will have a jury sworn in about three hours and then proceed to opening statements. Jurors will be confronted with a Herculean task as they must decide a vague question in copyright law: does the doctrine of fair use apply in this case? The US Copyright Office says that defense to copyright infringement is decided on a case-by-case basis. "The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined.

There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.

Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission," the US Copyright Office says. Google maintains that the APIs should not be protected by copyright because they are necessary for interoperability and that APIs have fostered "innovation and competition" in the software industry. Oracle said it's a "win for innovation" when developers get paid for the intellectual property.
Swashbuckling criminals hacked a shipping company's computers in an effort to plan their ocean-based attack. Modern pirates are finding new ways to pillage and plunder on the high seas. A gang of swashbuckling criminals reportedly hacked an unnamed shipping company's computers in an effort to uncover ship locations and cargo so they could conduct more efficient attacks, according to a Verizon cybersecurity report. Typically, pirates who attack ships on the high seas keep crews hostage for days at a time while they rummage around the ship looking for things they want.

The shipping company, however, noticed an uptick in attacks carried out "in an extremely targeted and timely fashion," Verizon said. "They'd board a vessel, locate by bar code specific sought-after crates containing valuables, steal the contents of that crate—and that crate only—and then depart the vessel without further incident.

Fast, clean and easy," according to the report. The company had no idea how these pirates knew where to look, so it contacted Verizon. "What we learned was that the company used a homegrown CMS to manage shipping inventories and specifically the various bills of lading associated with each of their shipping vessels," Verizon said.

That led it discover "that a malicious web shell had been uploaded onto the server." "Fortunately, these threat actors made several mistakes, which we were able to capitalize on," Verizon's report said. Not only did the corsairs fail to enable SSL—sending all commands over the Web in plain text—but they did not use a proxy and connected directly from their home system. "These threat actors, while given points for creativity, were clearly not highly skilled," Verizon said. "For instance, we found numerous mistyped commands and observed that the threat actors constantly struggled to interact with the compromised servers." Now the joke's on them: Verizon helped the unnamed victim company shut down its compromised servers, block the pirates' IP address, reset all compromised passwords, and rebuilt the affected CMS servers. "While these actions wouldn't prevent all attacks, they were certainly a step in the right direction," Verizon said.
Ahead of its annual report on data breaches, Verizon has focused on 18 incidents and the lessons that IT security can learn from the attacks. Pirates teaming up with online spies, hackers "joyriding" in a water company's network and a man working for multiple companies using outsourced labor to make hundreds of thousands of dollars—these are some of the story lines released in a briefing published by Verizon at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on March 1.Verizon tracked each incident back to an information system compromise.
In the case of the pirates—actual sea pirates, not digital pirates—the criminals would board a cargo ship as it passed Singapore on its way into the Indian Sea.

The pirates targeted specific items—such as gems and jewelry—and they knew in which containers to look, Bryan Sartin, managing director of Verizon's RISK Team, told eWEEK.The security team found that the pirates had gained their intelligence from online attackers who had used a SQL-injection vulnerability in the victim's Web-based platform for managing inventory and billing."They were able to get lists of ships, routes, cargo and delivery timeframe information from the system," Sartin said. "And it was leading to raids. … The pirates would always go right to certain containers, armed with barcode and serial number information, cut open certain containers, take what they wanted and leave." The victim ended up shutting down the vulnerable system and rebuilding it with updated software. The lesson of the incident is that companies need to regularly scan their systems for vulnerabilities and implement a formal patch management process, Verizon said in its Data Breach Digest report.Unlike its annual Data Breach Investigations Report, which focuses on analyzing data behind compromises, the digest is a collection of anecdotes, which Verizon claims are all true, but which have few identifying details.

The company plans to release the DBIR later in the year.In total, the Data Breach Digest contains details of 18 incidents, with guidance on how likely each incident is for the major industries.
Information services, for example, have to primarily worry about Web application attacks and crimeware, while utilities are overwhelmingly targeted by cyber-espionage groups.In another incident, a water utility called in the firm to conduct an assessment of its defenses, but the provider was actually worried about some recent signs of an intruder in its systems.

The utility's systems were not well-secured, with multiple critical vulnerabilities on Internet-facing systems and the information and operational networks managed from the same system.Attackers had found a simple flaw in the payment system application, extracted data, and then used the operational network as a playground, Sartin said.

The intruders, among other serious acts, combined fresh-water supplies and sewage outflows and added extreme amounts of chlorine into the fresh water, he said."They got on a mainframe and were basically joy riding," he said. "They were in there, and the meanest thing that they could find to do was to start opening and closing certain valves and duct paths in the water district."The report is meant to offer examples of the major types of attacks companies encounter.
Verizon offers advice to companies on how to prevent the major classes of attacks.
A screen shot suggests he might have been on the site to download music software. Kanye's prolific tweeting has landed the artist in hot water.
It seems the self-proclaimed best musician of all time might be a fan of The Pirate Bay. Kanye on Tuesday posted a screenshot of his YouTube webpage, showing him listening to Sufjan Stevens' "Death With Dignity" track.

The trouble, however, is that he forgot to hide his tabs.

Fellow artist, and Tidal partner, deadmau5 noticed that the tabs he had open pointed to The Pirate Bay, a site often used to illegally download music, videos, and software, among other content. What the fuck @kanyewest ...

Can't afford serum? Dick. pic.twitter.com/8B2aiyORZs — deadmau5 (@deadmau5) March 2, 2016 The tab suggests West was on the piracy site to download a free copy of the $189 Serum sound-editing software from XferRecords, though there's no proof he actually downloaded it.

The tweet remains, and West has gone on tweeting as if nothing has happened.  UPDATE: West has responded, but rather than addressing the controversy, he is instead making fun of deadmau5's headgear, which - for those unaware - is a huge mouse head. "Do you do birthday parties?? My daughter loves Minnie mouse," reads one of the tweets.

Deadmau5 has responded with insults of his own. The trouble, however, is that West has been outspoken when it comes to music piracy, and recently complained about the fact that his new album, "The Life of Pablo," has been illegally downloaded so many times.

That album is only available to stream via Tidal, and he reportedly considered suing The Pirate Bay for having his latest album available on its site. West could, of course, just be doing research for that lawsuit by perusing The Pirate Bay... Perhaps he truly can't afford the $189 price tag. He recently tweeted that he was $53 million in debt thanks to his clothing line and other ventures, going so far as to ask Mark Zuckerberg for financial help.

A tongue-in-cheek GoFundMe page added by a fan brought in about $7,150, but has largely served a forum of people to write comments that poke fun at West.
Oh, hey, do you work here? Mickey could use a little extra cash.Loren Javier The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues.

The 1998 copyright extension has even been dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” by activists like Lawrence Lessig that have worked to reform copyright laws. This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC. In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company's recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the "state of copyright law in the digital environment." It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate. "With the support of the US Government we achieved a win in the Supreme Court against Aereo—an Internet service claiming the right to retransmit our broadcast signals without paying copyright or retransmission consent fees," writes Iger. "In the coming year, we expect Congress and the Administration to be active on copyright regime issues, efforts to enact legislation to approve and implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, tax reform, and more proposals to weaken retransmission consent, to name a few." The source who provided the letter to Ars asked to remain anonymous, and they were bothered by the assumption that anyone who worked for Disney would agree with the company's political positions on tax, trade, intellectual property, and other matters. "It just seems insensitive to folks that support the company but don't necessarily support all of its priorities," the source said. "Especially for something like TPP, which I view as particularly controversial. We do have a company position, but there's going to be a wide variety of opinion [within the company]." The letter concludes with a suggested donation to DisneyPAC.

Ars is not publishing the suggested amount in case it is personalized to the source's compensation or position at Disney. "For your convenience, DisneyPAC has implemented a payroll deduction system, through which your contributions to the PAC will be deducted from your weekly paycheck," Iger explains. The source received the letter via business mail and doesn't know how many other employees received it. "I don't know how widely this was distributed," the source said. "Was it to rank and file folks in [theme] parks, to people working in a popcorn stand?" Disney didn't respond to Ars' requests for comment about the fundraising letter. Not unusual Although Iger's letter was, in the view of this employee, somewhat tone-deaf, such requests are not illegal or even particularly uncommon. In 2012, Reuters reported on Citigroup's request to its employees to give to Citi PAC, a political entity that "contributes to candidates on both sides of the aisle that support a strong private sector and promote entrepreneurship." US corporations are allowed to solicit political contributions as long as donations aren't coerced.

The relevant law bars any "threat of a detrimental job action, the threat of any other financial reprisal, or the threat of force" when asking for donations. The Disney letter has language explicitly reassuring employees that their jobs won't be affected by their decision whether or not to give to DisneyPAC. "Your contribution is important to all of us, but I want to emphasize that all contributions are voluntary and have no impact on your job status, performance review, compensation, or employment," writes Iger. "Any amount given or the decision not to give will not advantage or disadvantage you." Iger's compensation in the last fiscal year was $45 million. In the 2014 election cycle, the Disney employees' PAC spent about $375,000, according to OpenSecrets.org.

During the current cycle with a presidential election on the way, the company will likely spend more.

As of last month, the PAC had raised $295,000 and spent $231,000.

The contributions are split roughly evenly between Democrats and Republicans, which is the PAC's policy according to the CEO's letter. According to a MapLight analysis of the data, Disney employees contributed a total of $4.03 million in all election cycles since 2002.

That doesn't include direct employee contributions to candidates, which adds another $1.81 million over the same period. DisneyPAC fundraising letter to employees Here's the verbatim text of most of Iger's letter to employees: As we head into the election year of 2016, the electorate faces significant decisions about the direction of our Nation's future.

Besides choosing a new president, we will once again be electing new senators and representatives.

These decisions will have a profound impact on the lives of all Americans.

The election will also impact issues that affect our company.

As such, we will continue to work with our representatives in Congress to ensure that they understand our perspective on critical issues like trade, intellectual property, tax, and travel policies.
I write to urge you to consider supporting the Company's efforts through a contribution to DisneyPAC.

A well funded DisneyPAC is an important tool in our efforts to maintain our positive profile in Washington. In the past year, we successfully advocated the Company's position on a number of issues that have a significant impact on our business. We played a major role in ensuring that the "Trade Promotion Authority" legislation set high standards for intellectual property (IP) provisions in our trade negotiations, and we helped get that bill through Congress. We used that language in TPA to advocate successfully for a strong IP chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. We also pushed for provisions to promote digital trade and to reduce barriers in media and entertainment sectors.

TPP will establish a strong baseline of protection for intellectual property while breaking down trade barriers in the Asia Pacific region.
In both TPA and TPP we had to overcome significant efforts to weaken respect for IP, pushed not only by foreign governments but also from within our own Congress and the Administration. The fight on these issues is far from over. Last year we spent significant time and effort engaged in a series of government reviews of the state of copyright law in the digital environment. We also continued to defend our right to be compensated for carriage of our programming by cable and satellite carriers as well as by emerging "over-the-top" services. With the support of the US Government we achieved a win in the Supreme Court against Aereo—an Internet service claiming the right to retransmit our broadcast signals without paying copyright or retransmission consent fees. With respect to tax issues, Congress extended certain provisions that provide favorable tax treatment for film and television production in the US.
It also extended this treatment to live theatrical productions. Last year we also worked closely with the Administration on important veterans employment issues—an issue of critical importance for the men and women who defend our country and an area in which our company is proud to play a leadership role. In the coming year, we expect Congress and the Administration to be active on copyright regime issues, efforts to enact legislation to approve and implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, tax reform, and more proposals to weaken retransmission consent, to name a few. On the trade front, we will also look to build on our achievements in other negotiations this year. 2016 should see significant activity in negotiations between the US and China over a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), continued negotiations with the European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement, the 50-country Trade in Services Agreement negotiations, and efforts by the US Government to raise IP standards and break down trade barriers through a variety of means. In 2016, Congress will further discuss various tax reform proposals. While comprehensive reform is unlikely, activity in the coming year will lay the foundation for what many expect to be a genuine opportunity for reform in early 2017. We have been active educating Members of Congress on the importance of lowering the corporate tax rate to be competitive with the rest of the world. The US has one of the highest marginal and effective tax rates among developed countries, creating a significant competitive impediment to companies headquartered in the US. Congress will continue to be very active on intellectual property issues...

After three years of hearings and testimony from 100 witnesses, we now expect the House Judiciary Committee to turn to legislating. We expect significant attention on legislation to modernize the Copyright Office, a small agency that can have an enormous impact on our interests. And the Copyright Office has launched several proceedings involving possible changes to laws governing the accountability of online services and the laws protecting technologies used to secure distribution of digital content.

These discussions obviously have significant implications for a business like ours that is dependent on copyright policy in the face of ongoing change in technology and the marketplace. We will also need to continue our work to fend off growing and concerted efforts to weaken our ability to freely negotiate the distribution of our broadcast and cable programming. Last year, the FCC teed up several rule makings that could have a significant adverse affect on retransmission consent and how we package and sell our media networks.

As the debate becomes much more heated, we will need to remain vigilant. With all of the challenges we will face this year, it is important that our PAC be strong. We, therefore, respectfully suggest that you consider making a contribution of [REDACTED]. You may give more or less than the suggested amount (although no contribution can exceed $5000 in any year) and any contribution will be appreciated.

As always, 100% of your contribution is used in direct support of candidates and political entities that uphold policies and principles that are consistent with the best interests of our company.

DisneyPAC contributes equally to Democrats and Republicans each calendar year.

For your convenience, DisneyPAC has implemented a payroll deduction system, through which your contributions to the PAC will be deducted from your weekly paycheck.
If you prefer, you may instead make a one-time personal contribution to the PAC. Your contribution is important to all of us, but I want to emphasize that all contributions are voluntary and have no impact on your job status, performance review, compensation, or employment.

Any amount given or the decision not to give will not advantage or disadvantage you. You have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Your help is truly appreciated.
In a cryptic message posted on its website, SlySoft, a company that made several applications devoted to defeating DRM schemes, announced that it has shut down. “Due to recent regulatory requirements we have had to cease all activities relating to SlySoft Inc.,” reads the brief message. “We wish to thank our loyal customers/clients for their patronage over the years.”SlySoft made its name by creating software capable of defeating the Content Scrambling System used by DVDs and later by defeating the Advanced Access Content System and BD+ DRM used by Blu-ray and HD DVD. In 2016, a time when digital distribution is ubiquitous, the landscape of a decade ago seems almost quaint.

Content creators were just as determined to keep video as locked down as they are today, but the battle was waged with DRMed optical discs on one side and decryption software on the other.

And SlySoft’s AnyDVD and AnyDVD HD were favored weapons of Windows users who wanted to copy DRMed movies to their hard drives for personal use (and for uploading to P2P sites).

Even if you didn't care too much about format-shifting, AnyDVD made it possible to skip past trailers users were forced to watch on DVD players. Unlike CSS, which was easily defeated, AACS used encryption keys that could be modified after the fact.
In addition, Blu-ray used an additional layer of protection called BD+.

That led to a cat-and-mouse game where SlySoft would announce it had cracked discs protected by BD+, only to have the movie studios and the Blue-ray Disc Association update the encryption keys. The reason for SlySoft’s sudden shutdown aren’t known. Headquartered in the Caribbean nation of Antigua, the software firm had been the target of vitriol and legal threats from the film industry throughout the years. Myce, which was first to report SlySoft’s shutdown, notes that the company had been found liable of copyright infringement by an Antiguan court in 2014 and fined $11,000. Myce speculates that AACS-LA and other licensing bodies may have used the adverse judgment to pressure other firms to stop doing business with SlySoft.
Timothy Krause Apparently the US Army is interested in a zealous interpretation of copyright protection, too. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Chelsea Manning supporter recently attempted to mail Manning a series of printed EFF articles about prisoner rights.

Those materials were withheld and not delivered to her because, according to the EFF, the correspondence contained “printed Internet materials, including email, of a volume exceeding five pages per day or the distribution of which may violate U.S. copyright laws.”Other materials, including lengthy Bureau of Prisons documents, were allowed through, and so the EFF concludes that "it was potentially copyright concerns that resulted in Manning’s mail being censored." Manning, who is serving a 35-year military prison term for leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks, has previously had run-ins with military prison authorities over alleged “reading contraband.” On February 11, EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn wrote to the commandant of the US Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) at Fort Leavenworth, explaining that not only did EFF grant permission for Manning to receive the materials, but that all EFF content is published under a Creative Commons license. On Tuesday, EFF wrote: As of Monday morning, EFF has received no response from the Army explaining the matter or clarifying why the material was withheld. Manning has also not received the documents. We have since put the documents in the mail ourselves. … It is tremendously important to EFF that people who are incarcerated have access to our materials.

For example, our Creative Commons license allows Prison Legal News to regularly republish our work in its periodical, which is widely circulated in corrections facilities nationwide. We also believe that there are many pages on the Internet, freely available to anyone with a Web browser, which would prove edifying to prisoners. We would be deeply concerned by a prison policy that blocked any copyrighted works from the Web being printed and distributed to prisoners, as this would block the overwhelming majority of news articles and academic publications.
In the case of the materials denied to Manning, we hope that the Army made a mistake and does not have a policy of misusing copyright to deny prisoners access to important materials that the general public can freely access. Fort Leavenworth did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.