Crashback: Lawyers, Idiots, Redundancies

Real News posted by James Baughn on Sunday, July 22, 2001

from the crashback-is-an-original-trademark dept.

At one time, Humorix was a bastion of fake journalistic integrity. When we wrote a fake news story, it remained a fake news story. We didn't have to issue any corrections or apologies.

But unfortunately things have changed. Obviously our writing skills have dropped, because now our supposedly fake news stories turn out to be true. We apologize for sometimes publishing fake news that isn't fake, and we sincerely hope that you don't file a lawsuit against us for violating "Truth in Advertising" laws.

Direct Money Capturing Act

Recently, we "reported" that a company had found itself on the wrong end of a DMCA lawsuit after they distributed an illegal plastic decoder ring in boxes of cereal.

Little did we know that somebody would be thrown in jail for devising a way to crack electronic books encrypted using ROT13, a method that is even less secure than using a kid's toy. Well, okay, Dmitry Sklyarov wasn't arrested for using ROT13. The Big Evil Corporation that pressed the charges (Adobe) actually uses a far more sophisticated encryption algorithm to protect its intellectual property: ROT26.

This Lawsuit Is Not A Hoax

The idiots at Symantec and other anti-virus makers still believe that our "Tuxissa virus" story was intended as a real hoax. They posted a copy of our fake hoax story, without attribution or even proper HTML formatting, and then proceeded to append the text, "Please ignore any messages regarding this hoax and do not pass on messages. Passing on messages about the hoax only serves to further propagate it." (But apparently it's okay if they pass on the message!)

Obviously, this is a clear violation of the DMCA because our content is encrypted using ROT26.

Our legal counsel, Mr. Noah Morals, has threatened to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Symantec. Unfortunately, somebody else has already tried -- and failed. Symantec's legal department argued that they are allowed to post virus warnings by virtue of the "Fair Use Doctrine".

That's not a typo. Our research staff believes this is the first time in human history that a corporate lawyer has actually admitted that the "Fair Use Doctrine" is a valid defense. We're stunned.

Fake News, Fake Grass

Back in 1999, we broke the exclusive "story" that Slashdot was actually an elaborate astroturf campaign concocted by Lucasfilms to hype Star Wars Episode 1. After our Vast Spy Network(tm) received a series of fake rumors, we concluded that "CmdrTaco" is actually a buggy Perl script that spits out articles and comments with pro-Lucasfilms hype.

Now we've received unsubstantiated real rumors that a LinuxToday editor might be engaging in astroturf. A certain editor has supposedly been spotted planting fake grass on LinuxToday discussion areas as part of a campaign to promote and discredit Slashdot / Andover / VA Research / VA Linux / LNUX / Open Source Development Network / Whatever It's Called Now. (It's not immediately clear whether this editor is a Perl script, a Python script, or a real person.)

In related news, one of our two regular readers, Robert G. Werner, speculates that the person known as RMS may actually exist as an Emacs LISP script (rms.el). This program has been written to respond with "That should be GNU/$1, dammit!" and "That's Free Software, not Open Source!" whenever it encounters a press release.

Don't Look Directly At The Source -- You'll Go Blind

The core temperature of Hell remains well above freezing and the end of time(2) won't occur until 2038. However, Microsoft has opened the source code to at least one of its programs.

Since 1998, we have been "reporting" that Microsoft has released some of its software under an open source license -- in this case, the GPL, or Grossly Private License. But now that Microsoft has released a portion of Windows CE under the "Microsoft Shared Source License", this fake news story has become true.

Incidentally, the terms of the real Shared Source License are eerily similar to the fake Grossly Private License. Under "shared source", Microsoft shares its source code but you have to share your soul to get it, an arrangement that we have been "reporting" for years.

Final Word

Again, please accept our sincere apologies for not always publishing honest-to-goodness, bona fide fake news stories.

Our Vast Spy Network(tm) is currently working on the following articles. If you have evidence that any of these stories might not be 100% fake, or if you have reason to believe they might come true at a future date, please let us know immediately:

"Linux 3.2.0 To Include Support For World Peace; Linus Torvalds Nominated For Nobel Prize"

"Microsoft Files For Bankruptcy; Bill Gates Found At Homeless Shelter"

"Humorix Webmaster Wins Lottery"

"Linux Now Includes Support For Every Peripheral Ever Produced"

"DMCA, UCITA, FBI Ruled Unconstitutional"

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