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Little Questions About Copyrights


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Hello everyone.:)  Please excuse if this is not in the correct subforum.

There is a discussion elsewhere about a separate link generated by Malwarebytes Corporation which is this:  https://www.malwarebytes.com/copyright/

Here are the questions:

1.  Why is this link separate on the web?  Why is the policy not incorporated into these forums, like with a sticky?

2.  What is the purpose of this link? Meaning:  is the purpose of this copyright policy specifically to inform people not to post any copyrighted material on these forums without permission from the authors?  Is that it?

3.  We know Farbar recovery tool is used here in malware analysis.  If you should discover a user has cracked/illegal software via use of Farbar, what do you do with this information?  Do you send it somewhere because it's a copyright infringement, among other things?  

4.  Can Malwarebytes (any version) perform boot scans?  Can it itself detect illegal software like Adobe or game cracks, or is that something only Farbar can do?

5.  Did this separate link have anything to do with the iObit fiasco a few years back? 

Thank you SO much for any information.  Believe it or not, it's interesting! 

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Hello @DowntownBrooklyn and :welcome:

I am guessing that this topic is inspired by the well respected @mirimir's topic at https://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/malwarebytes-copyright-policy.392563/

Until a Malwarebytes staffer weighs in, I can provide you with a fraction of an answer regarding Malwarebytes' policy regarding piracy by directing you to https://forums.malwarebytes.com/topic/97700-piracy/

Thank you for your questions.

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On 3/10/2017 at 7:19 PM, DowntownBrooklyn said:

1.  Why is this link separate on the web?  Why is the policy not incorporated into these forums, like with a sticky?

2.  What is the purpose of this link? Meaning:  is the purpose of this copyright policy specifically to inform people not to post any copyrighted material on these forums without permission from the authors?  Is that it?

3.  We know Farbar recovery tool is used here in malware analysis.  If you should discover a user has cracked/illegal software via use of Farbar, what do you do with this information?  Do you send it somewhere because it's a copyright infringement, among other things?  

4.  Can Malwarebytes (any version) perform boot scans?  Can it itself detect illegal software like Adobe or game cracks, or is that something only Farbar can do?

5.  Did this separate link have anything to do with the iObit fiasco a few years back? 

Thank you SO much for any information.  Believe it or not, it's interesting! 

Greetings :)

I'll answer the questions I can to the best of my ability based on what I know:

  1. If I recall correctly it is because it's not just a policy for the forums but for all of our domains, including the comments section in our blog for example, which is located on our site outside the forums.  As for why there's no sticky, I don't think it's too necessary.  This policy is simply stating that if someone posts up something they shouldn't, such as how to crack software or where to find warez/cracks/pirated license keys etc., that we'll remove it from our site and take whatever action is deemed necessary by the staff to deal with the user, up to and including banning their account (though I don't believe we'd ever do so if a user only violated the policy once and heeded the first warning given to them by a Moderator or Admin/staff member not to post such content.  Like any policy, there is a measure of understanding and leniency.  We aren't the internet police after all, we just don't want to be a party to copyright infringement by allowing such content to be hosted and/or linked to on any of our websites/servers, very similar to how such things are handled by YouTube and many other public sites around the web.  It's simply a matter of covering ourselves so that we don't accidentally get into any legal trouble and to stick up for the rights of copyright/intellectual property owners simply because we ourselves are also in a business which relies heavily on our own intellectual property, including our software and its proprietary functions and technologies.

  2. See my response to question 1 above and also refer to the policy itself.  It's just to inform users of the policy as well as any copyright holders who see that their intellectual property is being violated on any of our sites so that they may report it to us and we may take the necessary actions to eliminate said content from our site(s) and let users know why such content was removed and is considered inappropriate on our sites.  It's not about reporting anything to anyone else.  It's just about trying to do what we believe is right and sticking by our principles. So if we see it happen, we remove it and warn the user not to post it again.  If it repeats, then at the discretion staff member/admin, the user may have their account suspended for a time or even banned if the user shows blatant disregard for the rules once they've been informed/warned not to post such content.  We aren't calling up Microsoft to let them know that we've got a user on our forums with a pirated copy of Windows installed or anything like that. 

  3. No, we don't send it anywhere, however continuing to assist the user while the pirated content remains on their system is at the discretion of the helper.  We (our staff) do not generally force users to remove such content unless we suspect it's interfering with assisting them and/or we suspect it may be infected (i.e. a Trojan, which many cracks/keygens/warez are as it's an easy target for malware makers).

  4. Sort of.  We have a very early boot scan that can be kicked off in Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit BETA that runs when certain rootkits are detected as it's necessary to load before the rootkit does in order to be able to detect/remove it properly.  Generally, no, however we do flag many cracks/keygens etc. as potential threats because frankly, they often look like malware (i.e. injecting into other processes in memory, the way many of them are packed using the same packers used by a lot of malware etc.).  But as far as detecting them goes, that's as far as it goes.  It's still at the discretion of the user as to whether they wish to ignore the detection or have Malwarebytes remove it.  To my knowledge there's nothing in Farbar that specifically checks for cracks, however many cracks do leave telltale signs/traces on the system that might show up in such diagnostic logs which a helper may recognize and then make the determination on how to proceed.  Honestly, it's just a really tough call to say that one crack is clean and another is malicious because many such tools behave like and/or look like malware as I said previously, so many helpers would rather be safe than sorry and just have the user remove them, at least until the system is fully repaired/clean of malware etc. just to ensure that the crack isn't part of the problem and isn't being used by the bad guys as a means to keep the system infected and/or under their control (i.e. botnets etc.).

  5. No, not really.  I mean in a broader sense of illustrating what our stance is on protecting our own intellectual property I suppose so, but really, many public sites/forums etc. these days have such policies which are either very similar or even identical to our own.  It's just a good best practice to protect ourselves and yes, even our users who might be using/posting such content, from any legal repercussions because nobody wants legal troubles, and we don't want any of our users to have to go through that either.  We aren't reporting it, but software developers are always coming up with new ways to determine if the copy of their software installed on a system is legit or not, and how they deal with that is usually just to disable the software, but there is precedence for users being sued by companies for copyright infringement/piracy so we have that policy that we point users to whenever we discover pirated content posted by them or installed on their system, regardless of whether we require them to remove the content from their system during any repair/cleanup process just because it's quite possible that many users simply aren't aware of the laws and what the risks are to their financial/legal well-being so we're simply being responsible in letting them know about our policy, the laws, and the potential risks of continued piracy including potential infection by malware as well as possible legal issues if any company does discover it and decides to pursue pressing charges.  Sure, it's not that common, but it has happened so we're just giving fair warning of what the user may be getting themselves into by continuing to use/install/download pirated content.  It's not a warning about what we are going to do, just a warning of what may happen in the future because technically speaking, it is a violation of the law and companies can take legal action to attempt to protect their intellectual property.

Edited by exile360
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By the way, as far as our own software goes, yes, if we see a user running a pirated copy of any of our paid products on their systems we'll ask them to either remove it and install the Free version (for products which have one such as our flagship Malwarebytes product) or purchase a license if they wish to continue to use the paid features before we will assist them.  That said, it's obviously up to the user whether they wish to continue being assisted by us or not at that point.  We can't really force anyone to do anything they do not wish to do.  It's their system(s) and their risk; we just want to make sure that we inform them of the potential dangers of piracy and attempt to protect our own intellectual property.  Again, we're not the internet police, but we definitely don't condone piracy either, but at the end of the day it is up to the user to decide what they are or are not willing to do/risk.

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Hi exile360:

I've read your replies thoroughly.  First, please understand this thread was driven by a lot of curiosity more than anything else.  A highly underrated concern nowadays is privacy loss, probably more of a threat to many than malware when you have a well-secured machine and modern operating system.  There were questions, from myself included, that touched on security software and hidden telemetry, harvesting user data from other sources such as Farbar, tattle-tailing on people with illegal software, and you have the picture. It's hard to come to the conclusions you've illustrated above by yourself when there is such a climate on the Internet.    You've probably allayed the concerns of many. And yes, copyrighted materials must be protected like they're made of gold.

Your replies were gratefully received and your time spent on this sincerely appreciated.

Thanks.

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Yeah, any tactics like those described (telemetry data gathering/harvesting utilized for "tattling" on our users etc.) would absolutely be against who we are and what our mission is.  Among other things, one of our goals is definitely the respect and protection of the privacy of our users, both free and paid, and doing anything like that would basically be considered spyware so it's a line I do not believe we would ever cross, and I know that we have never crossed it up to this point.

Now that said, specifically on the issue of telemetry, there are certain things that, by default, we do gather, such as threat detections, however that information is only used to inform our Research team of what the current threat landscape at large looks like out there to help them to better focus on the most significant/prevalent threats affecting most users (one of the reasons we recently adopted a far more aggressive policy against PUPs and acquired both JRT and ADWCleaner because PUPs were basically the most common types of threats being detected by Malwarebytes for a long time and, I believe, continue to be to this day).  This data we gather is absolutely anonymous and totally optional.  If you wish to disable it, you may do so under Settings.  Every version since 1.x has included such telemetry as well as an easy way for users/customers to turn it off if they wish via a single checkbox in the software.  Our only goal in gathering any data is to make our products better and more effective.  It is never to profit from private user information or to "tattle" on them or anything else like that.  We do of course validate license keys etc., but that's just standard practice in the software industry and one of the measures employed to monitor and attempt to curb piracy of our own software as best we can (though we do things like blacklist keys; we have never to my knowledge taken any user to court over pirating our software and I sincerely doubt that we ever would).

It really all comes down to integrity.  We believe that our users'/customers' privacy is a sacred thing to be guarded ferociously against anyone who might attempt to exploit, harass or otherwise abuse any of our users/customers and their private information.  We believe in fair play and treating our users with respect and attempting to always put the users/customers first, even before profits (if for no other reason than without you guys buying our software, there would be no profits :) ).  That's also why we've done things in the past such as our pirate amnesty program where we offered anyone who appeared to be pirating our software a deal, either with a steep discount or even a free 1 year license for the paid version of Malwarebytes.  Not only did it show good faith on our part, but it actually did result in a very significant number of previously pirated/invalid license users converting to paying customers, and that's something that we're incredibly grateful for.

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