The IPKat has come across a rather worrying story on The Register. RetroCoder, the maker of pseudo-spyware, is relying on its copyright to prevent the providers of internet security programmes from downloading, running or examining its software. In particular, RetroCoder’s SpyMon purports to be designed to inform parents about the online activities of their children. In doing so, it records users’ keystrokes. However, it also has the ability to take screenshots of users’ computers and to shut those computers down remotely. SpyMon’s download page includes the unequivocal statement that
This software package is a copyrighted product. As such the owner of thecopyright expressly forbids any use, disassembly, examinination and/ormodification by anyone who works for or has any relationship or link toan AntiSpy or AntiVirus software house or related company.
If you do produce a program that will affect this softwares ability to performits function then you may have to prove in criminal court that you have notinfringed this warning.
Infingement of a copyright licence is a criminal offence.
The IPKat saw this one coming. Way back when in the days of the Blaster Worm, the cat discussed (in jest) the prospect of IP being used to protect worms, viruses and other nasties. He’s unhappy to see that his prediction seems to be coming true. Merpel says, what about the poor computer users? Don’t they deserve a say here?