Ok, now things are just starting to get a little ugly. Microsoft, the reformed, kinder, gentler technology megacorp has apparently shifted gears from issuing statement after statement to partners on how to patch PlaysForSure against FairUse4WM and assigning "teams working around the clock" on a fix, to hunting down the scurvy dogs hosting FairUse4WM and sending them letters from Microsoft Legal. Now, we aren't lawyers, so we couldn't tell you for certain the potential ramifications for hosting files that could violate everyone's favorite law, the DMCA. That said, the nastygram Microsoft sent (posted in full after the break) to BG4G.net did not regard FairUse4WM, but instead stated BG4G "is offering 'Cracks' or 'Product Keys', intended to circumvent technical measures that control access to Microsoft's copyrighted works and that protect Microsoft's copyrights in those works." The last we checked neither FairUse4WM nor the material it "protects" is copyrighted by Microsoft (however, the "works" they're referencing are Windows Media Player 10 / 11, which makes this even more nebulous). Either way, we've officially passed the point where Microsoft plays music industry intermediary and DRM solutions provider, and entered the phase were Microsoft takes on the role of DMCA enforcer (we're sure the record labels with had absolutely nothing to do with this strongarming). What does the man running BG4G, Jason Woodcock, think about Microsoft Legal's letter? We asked, and after he referred us to his very clearly worded BG4G page on Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act on DMCA takedown provisions, he replied, "I refuse to take down this file until they can prove to me they own the copyright to this file (yeah right....) or a court system makes me. If the line is not drawn in the sand here, then they will keep bullying everyone around." Our hats go off to you, sir.

Demand for Immediate Take-Down: Notice of Infringing Activity

URL: http://www.bg4g.net/modules.php?name...etit&file_id=1
CASE #: 54768

15 September 2006

Dear Sir or Madam,

Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft.

1. Identification of copyrighted works:

Copyrighted work(s):
Windows Media Player 10
Windows Media Player 11

Copyright owner:
Microsoft Corporation

2. Copyright infringing material or activity found at the following location(s): http://www.bg4g.net/modules.php?name...etit&file_id=1

The above location is offering 'Cracks' or 'Product Keys', intended to circumvent technical measures that control access to Microsoft's copyrighted works and that protect Microsoft's copyrights in those works.

3. Statement of authority:

The information in this notice is accurate, and I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of Microsoft, the owner of the copyright(s) in the work(s) identified above. I have a good faith belief that none of the materials or activities listed above have been authorized by Microsoft, its agents, or the law.

We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the unauthorized distribution of these cracks or product keys via your company's network.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Please advise us regarding what actions you take.

Yours sincerely,

James Young
Internet Investigator

on behalf of Microsoft Corporation

One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
United States of America

E-mail: Internet1@microsoft-antipiracy.com