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posted by martyb on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the still-crazy-world dept.

Adobe Goes After 27-Year Old 'Pirated' Copy of Acrobat Reader 1.0 for MS-DOS * TorrentFreak:

Today, there are many popular PDF readers available but Adobe’s original ‘Acrobat Reader’ is still the go-to software for many. Needless to say, Adobe doesn’t want third-parties to pirate its software, so the company regularly sends out DMCA notices to remove infringing copies.

[...] While this is totally understandable when it comes to newer releases, F-Secure researcher Mikko Hyppönen found out that Adobe’s takedown efforts go far beyond that.

In a recent tweet, Hyppönen mentioned that the software company removed one of his tweets that linked to an old copy of Acrobat Reader for MS-DOS. This software, hosted on WinWorld, came out more than 27-years ago, shortly after the PDF was invented.

The security researcher posted the tweet five years ago and at the time there were no issues. The message was copied a few weeks ago by his own Twitter bot, which reposts all his original tweets five years later.

“They sent a DMCA notice to my bot (@mikko__2016) when it posted that tweet on the tweet’s 5th anniversary. The original tweet is fine,” Hyppönen notes.

While the original tweet is still up, the reposted message was swiftly removed by Twitter. Not just that, the bot’s account was locked as well, which is standard practice nowadays.

Looking more closely at the takedown notice, we see that it was sent by the “brand protection analyst” at Incopro, which is one of Adobe’s anti-piracy partners. It doesn’t provide any further details on the reasons for taking it down, other than an alleged copyright infringement.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by theluggage on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:14PM

    by theluggage (1797) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:14PM (#1125327)

    Is it really that simple? Does a company retain copyright over software that they have abandoned many years ago?

    Yes. There is a time limit, but somehow that keeps getting extended every time it looks like Mickey Mouse is going to enter the public domain... So, in the case of software, anything not written by Ada Lovelace is probably still in copyright.

    That's not the issue here, though: Acrobat Reader was always freely available and ISTR you could even re-distribute it under certain conditions - so it's even plausible that the host was distributing it legally and, if not, it would be hard to argue that Adobe was suffering any significant loss. Even if there was a legal copyright case, it wouldn't be worth the cost (and bad PR) of pursuing. The problem is, the stupid DMCA allows large rights holders to trawl the nets with bots and send automated takedown notices to anything that their Artificial Idiocy system thinks might be infringing, at very little cost, and no realistic risk of penalties for getting it wrong - so no common sense enters into the process. When the recipient of that notice is someone like Tw@tbook, who will receive a truckload of them each day, they're not going to faff around checking it out or appealing each one - the post will just be deleted and, possibly, the account will be blocked for good measure.

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