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Appeared on: Thursday, September 21, 2000
Hackers urge boycott of record industry bounty

"...Angered by the music industry's bid to close down Napster and MP3.com, a group of computer hackers are organising a boycott of a competition to win $10,000 hacking new copyright-protection software being developed by major record labels.

The record labels seek to woo hackers to help them in building a programme to defend copyrights against other hackers. The labels, in court against music-sharing Web-sites such as Napster Inc. and MP3.com Inc. , are hoping to build a programme which will defeat the song-swappers for good.

In the contest, which runs through Oct. 7, SDMI has placed six sample files on its site available for downloading and hacking. The files are programmes which SDMI hopes will screen for pirated copies of music. But Linux Journal's Marti said that many expert hackers, including hacking superstars who cracked the encryption codes on DVDs, had agreed not to participate in SDMI's challenge.

The boycott's backers object to the SDMI effort, saying it limits consumers' ``fair use'' rights to the music they buy, such as making personal copies to use in a car stereo or lap-top computer, or making copies for education and criticism.

SDMI claims its site is getting thousands of page-views, and it is not known how many hackers are boycotting it. The competition has been open since Friday, but contestants could only report hacks to the site as of Wednesday.

Marti said the DMAT code provided on a Web site is not enough information for a successful crack - programmers also need to examine the SDMI compatible hardware, such as CD players, which are not yet on the market. He also said he thinks expert hackers with the ability to crack the code will stay away from the contest..."



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