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Adobe sent me a DMCA for old version of free Flash Player

New Here ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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Adobe caused my entire web server to be offline today.

On one single domain name of the server, I distributed the file "flashplayer10_1r102_64_ub_mac.dmg". It contains the last version of the Flash Player for old, PowerPC based Macintosh computers.

Adobe themselves no longer distribute this file. I distributed the file as a public service to users of the old Macintosh computers.

I have distributed this file on my website for over 5 years without issue.

The following site is also distributing the same file: Old and New Version of Adobe Flash Player for Mac Download - OldApps.com for Mac

Why have I been unfairly targeted and slandered with the DMCA takedown notice?

[Private info removed by Mod] @ 02/13/2018 16:11

Via Electronic Mail

To Whom It May Concern:

1. I am the legal representative authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of certain intellectual property rights ("IP Owner");

2. I have a good faith belief that the [site redacted] offer items and contains materials that are not authorized by the IP Owner, or the law, and therefore infringes the IP Owner's rights; and

3. The information in this notice is accurate.

4. I May Be Contacted At:

        Name of IP Owner: Adobe Systems Incorporated

        Name and Title: Anita Swaney, Senior IP Specialist 

        Company: Adobe Systems Incorporated

        Address: 345 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95110-2704

[Personal info removed by Mod]

The reasons that the Domain must be suspended are as follows:

a. Offers pirated software or otherwise unauthorized item that violates the IP Owner's trademarks and copyright.

b. Misuses the IP Owner's brand name, trademarks and copyright.

Please {suspend this website/remove this content} immediately so that our rights are no longer violated and that the proprietor of this site discontinues its criminal activities.

The information in the notification is accurate and under penalty of perjury that the Complaining Party is the owner or is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

By submitting this form, Adobe Systems Incorporated agrees to indemnify against all claims or damages related to the suspension of flashplayerpowerpc.com.

Very truly yours,

Anita Swaney

Senior IP Specialist

[Personal info removed by Mod]

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LEGEND ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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What a clear and blantant violation of IP rights. How did you think you could get away with it? How can you class this as unfair or slander when you admit the charge? (No I don't work for Adobe).

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LEGEND ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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You probably need to read this: Abandonware - Wikipedia

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New Here ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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Are you dense or something? I was not distributing a program such as Photoshop.

I was distributing the FREE FLASH PLAYER. That you can download. For FREE.

Adobe stopped distributing this version, because it is for old non-Intel Macs.

Anyone still using a PowerPC Mac would understand that this is an old version and that it will have bugs.

This distribution has been permitted (by lack of enforcement) for over 5 years. Other sites are distributing it. Why have I been unfairly targeted and slandered (accused of so called criminal activities).

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Advisor ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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it's a good reason to sign the petition to release the sources and make flash available for the open source community...

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LEGEND ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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And... if you're wondering why now, it is probably tied in with the death date of Flash in 2020. Adobe have announced that they will stop distributing Flash in 2020. They clearly intended that NOBODY ELSE WILL EITHER and are starting to close down the sites that offer unauthorized secondary distribution so that they really can close the shop.

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Advisor ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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Flash will never die, 2020 will be a transition to something better than a plugin and will certainly carry actionscript differently (wasm or other)

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LEGEND ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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No I think the 2020 date is critical. If Flash is to actually go away, Adobe need to use their legal rights to make it happen, and not allow people to distribute it. The DMCA gives them that right, it is asserted. If you don’t like that take it up with the lawmakers. There is no legal right to distribute copyright material belonging to someone else: the creator owns it and has the legal right to close it down.

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Advisor ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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> No I think the 2020 date is critical

no one can force millions of websites to stop to use an advanced technology.

especially when millions of developers made zillions of applications, games with their own code property.

btw, his problem has nothing to do with the flash transition in 2020

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LEGEND ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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Everything I've read suggests that's exactly what Adobe will do. And the browser makers will collaborate to block Flash, whether it is distributed or not, after that date. On-computer Flash runtimes may be a different matter. If you know a different plan, a lot of us would like to hear about it.

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Advisor ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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again, force users to stop to use their own application is unlawful, whatever adobe and browsers planned to do.

force developers to reprograms their running application is everything but fair and lawful.

I agree that use flash as a plugin for browser is obsolete, but force developers to just switch 20 years of code to something else

is unrealistic and even dangerous. yes, I'm convinced that adobe has a hidden plan to save a technology I certify, as a 20 years experienced developer that it's still the best technology for internet for a lot of purposes.

be sure users and developers will find a way to solve this issue, that's the beauty of internet....

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New Here ,
Feb 15, 2018 Feb 15, 2018

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I got an e-mail directly from Adobe concerning the actual domain name.

Adobe has demanded that I give them the domain name.

The domain name contains the word "flashplayer". It also contains the word "powerpc".

PowerPC is a registered trademark of International Business Machines.

I cannot legally give the domain to Adobe, because then I would be violating the trademark of IBM.

The domain will expire next month and I will decline to renew it. Adobe and IBM can then sue each other, or whatever, I will no longer care or have any interest in the matter.

I now believe that the takedown request was primarly regarding the domain name and not the actual Flash Player file. I think they just put that in so they could add more gasoline to the fire.

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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For what it's worth, Adobe provides direct downloads of old Flash Player releases here:

Archived Adobe Flash Player versions

That said, old versions of Flash Player have known security problems.  It's trivial to fingerprint a vulnerable machine and deploy a targeted exploit.  Running old versions of Flash Player is a terrible idea.  You're talking about software who's principal job is to execute inherently untrustworthy code.  It's a very different threat environment than say running a local copy of Mavis Beacon or Quickbooks.

If you're using that PowerPC in a way that's disconnected from the Internet, that's one thing.  If you're surfing the web with it and doing anything important (banking, healthcare, etc), you're begging to have an identity theft headache on your hands.  The saving grace is probably just that unlike WinXP (which also has no business on the Internet at this point, for numerous reasons related to security and cryptography), PowerPC was a pretty niche target in terms of overall market share.  It's not that it wasn't vulnerable, it was just that targeting Windows provided better ROI for economically-motivated attackers.

In the interest of fairness, I've reported the other site that you mentioned to our piracy team for follow-up.  If there are other sites actively distributing Flash Player without authorization that you'd like me to report, I'd be me more than happy to forward those on as well.

Thanks!

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New Here ,
Mar 08, 2018 Mar 08, 2018

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jeromiec83223024  wrote

In the interest of fairness, I've reported the other site that you mentioned to our piracy team for follow-up.  If there are other sites actively distributing Flash Player without authorization that you'd like me to report, I'd be me more than happy to forward those on as well.

Exactly how is distributing the Free Flash Player considered "piracy"?

In fact, the idea is so absurd, that this thread is literally the only relevant result for ""free flash player" piracy" on Google.

The site you link to is incredibly un-user friendly. You first have to determine that "10.1.102.64" is the last version for PowerPC, but there is no actual link to that version.

After manually finding "10.1.102.64" on the page, for no good reason it's distributed in some kind of combination package with an even OLDER version of Flash Player. This confuses the user, who may inadvertedly install an even WORSE VERSION of Flash Player.

So Adobe's site actually may cause systems that are MORE vulnerable to exist, than my simple site.

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 09, 2018 Mar 09, 2018

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The Flash Player EULA (End User License Agreement) details the conditions under which you're authorized to use or distribute Flash Player.  I'm guessing that a careful read of the EULA would elucidate your rights with regards to redistributing our intellectual property.

That said, you're ultimately asking questions that aren't in my purview to answer.  Nobody in the forums is in a position to grant you permission to do anything.  I'm sure that Adobe provided you with contact information for representative counsel as part of the takedown notice.  If you're looking to secure permission to distribute Flash Player, those would be the folks to talk to.  The folks answering here are generally volunteering their free time, and are here to help with actual technical issues. Beyond that, you need to talk to the lawyers and business development people.

The bottom line is that Adobe pays for the development of Flash Player, and they have the prerogative to determine how and where their software is distributed.  The SWF spec itself is public information, and if you wanted to write and distribute your own player for PowerPC, you'd be welcome to do that.  In fact, there are already a number of community-maintained, free and open-source alternatives to Flash Player.  I'm not sure if any of those explicitly target PowerPC, but most FOSS licenses would allow you to maintain an archive and redistribute those binaries.

Similarly, Adobe does offer licenses for redistribution for Flash Player.  I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that in many markets, the general rule is that if you don't actively protect your intellectual property, you set precedent that severely limits your rights in situations where it might be material to the business.  The rub is that you're distributing it without express permission from Adobe.

Our archive distribution is expressly intended for ActionScript developers, and is a more complex and messy distribution than what is traditionally delivered to customers.  It was more relevant in the early 2000s, when Flash Player was on a 24-month release cycle and it didn't have auto-update capabilities.  Developers would frequently target their content to work for the multiple mainstream versions of Flash Player that were in play.  Today, we push to about 80% of the Internet in the first 48 hours of a release, and we're pushing minor updates on a monthly basis.  Developers don't really need to worry about backwards compatibility in the same way, rendering the archives mostly vestigial.

From a security standpoint, our perspective is that in 2018, the only version of Flash Player that should be on the network is the latest Flash Player version.  For platforms that are no longer supported (e.g. PowerPC), we strongly recommend that people stop using Flash Player on those platforms.  Like immunology, herd immunity on the Internet plays a huge role in the overall stability and security of the Internet.  Continuing to leave ancient platforms connected to the network is problematic.  I have nostalgia for old hardware too (I have an Atari 800XL running Zork on a file cabinet -- the floppies all still work, miraculously), but they should really be air-gapped at this point.

While you're welcome to vent your frustrations here if you'd like, nothing is going to change with regard to your ability to distribute Flash Player based on your forum activity.  You'll need express permission from Adobe in order to redistribute its products, and that will require talking to the lawyers.

Thanks!

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New Here ,
Mar 09, 2018 Mar 09, 2018

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LATEST

I sent an e-mail to the address that was redacted from my original post. No one ever contacted me back.

The actual need and demand for this particular build of Flash Player has naturally diminished over time. That the site ran for over 5 years without a single word from Adobe, does not feel like "actively protecting" their intellectual property.

If someone Adobe had just said to me, "Look, we think this is insecure. And technically, you are not allowed. Please remove this." I probably would have complied quietly, because that is a sound security argument, and yes, technically I am not allowed.

Instead, Adobe all but accused me of running some kind of international piracy ring on their precious outdated Flash Player. Then they attempted to demand that I hand over a domain name that contains another company's trademark in it! *

Instead of a quiet matter, as far as I'm concerned it's David vs. Goliath. Someone mentions Adobe, until the day I die they'll hear my story. My side plays out better to other actual human beings, regardless of the actual technical legality.

* Surrendering the domain to Adobe may violate the other party's trademark. The domain name will expire later this month, and I have declined to renew it. Adobe is then free to purchase the domain name, but may then be in violation of the other party.

Finally, please look up The Streisand Effect. Streisand effect - Wikipedia

"The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased."

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