June 19, 2003

BEST OF THE WEB has picked up on the Hatch copyright-infringement story, but the best bit is the email from a reader, doing Hatch one better by advocating mattresses that burst into flame if you remove the tag. (Meanwhile Laurence Simon emails to say that the offending code has mysteriously vanished from Hatch’s site. It’s a coverup! Call in the press!) Ernie the Attorney isn’t very happy with Hatch, and suspects a bogus national-security angle to anti-filesharing legislation.

Okay, enough on Hatch and O’Reilly for a while.

UPDATE: Well, almost enough. Wired News has the scoop on Hatch’s unlicensed software:

On Wednesday, Hatch clarified his comments, but stuck by the original idea. “I do not favor extreme remedies — unless no moderate remedies can be found,” he said in a statement. “I asked the interested industries to help us find those moderate remedies.”

Just as well. Because if Hatch’s terminator system embraced software as well as music, his servers would be targeted for destruction.

Milonic Solutions’ JavaScript code used on Hatch’s website costs $900 for a site-wide license. It is free for personal or nonprofit use, which the senator likely qualifies for.

However, the software’s license stipulates that the user must register the software to receive a licensing code, and provide a link in the source code to Milonic’s website.

The senator’s site meets neither of Milonic’s licensing terms. The site’s source code (which can be seen by selecting “Source” under the “View” menu in Internet Explorer) has neither a link to Milonic’s site nor a registration code.

“They’re using our code,” said Woolley. “We’ve had no contact with them. They are in breach of our licensing terms.”

The source code on Hatch’s site contains the line: “* i am the license for the menu (duh) *”

Woolley said he had no idea where the line came from — it has nothing to do with him, and he hadn’t seen it on other websites that use his menu system.

“It looks like it’s trying to cover something up, as though they got a license,” he said.

Best bit:

A spokesman in Hatch’s office responded, “That’s ironic” before declining to put Wired News in contact with the site’s webmaster.

Why yes. Yes, it is.

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