Windows uses pirated software?
December 23, 2006 8:24am CST
Windows uses pirated software? Has it ever crossed your mind to use the editor to open a WAV file installed with Windows XP? Nobody will do that - that's what Microsoft probably thought. After all, countless WAV files are stored on a computer, and they are to be heard, not to be watched, right? No, not exactly. Our colleagues over at Macwelt gave us the idea. We tried it and examined some WAV files that are stored on a drive with a newly installed Windows XP. And we made a stunning discovery. In fact, we didn't even have to search for very long, as coincidence lent us a helping hand. In the Windows system directory, we had our first find, in the directory "Windows\Help\Tours\WindowsMediaPlayer\Audio\Wav". Located there are exactly nine WAV files, with a size between 80 and 360 Kilobytes. They serve as background sound during the Windows Media Player Tour. When you open one of these files with the notepad, you at first only see scrambled letters. Of course, you think, it's a sound file, after all. But things become interesting when you scroll down to the very bottom in notepad. Located there is a type of watermarking, which records the software that the Microsoft musician used to create the WAV files. We found the following text there: LISTB INFOICRD 2000-04-06 IENG Deepz0ne ISFT Sound Forge 4.5 At first, that sounds anything but spectacular. It seems as if the Microsoft musician or the freelance musician commissioned by Microsoft used the Sony-made software " Sound Forge " (formerly Sonic) in its 4.5 version. Sound Forge is a tool for professionals and enables users to create WAV, AIFF, MP3 and other music files priced at $400. On its face, all that's not unusual: Microsoft uses professional software. Who would've thought? But wait a minute, who or what is "DeepzOne"? Bingo! DeepzOne is (or at least was) member of the Warez group Radium that had specialized on cracking music software. Along with a person using the alias "Sandor," he was also co-founder of this group, which was established in 1997( see in this interview ). In addition, it was DeepzOne who started circulating the cracked 4.5 version of Sound Forge a few years ago. A few years back, the group "Radium" caused quite a stir. It cracked the original Fraunhofer MP3 codec in order improve the limited MP3 codec that comes along with Microsoft. To listen to MP3s, the Windows codec was solid, but it offered only limited encoding functions. The Radium codec, by contrast, boasted an improved encoder (up to 320 Kbit/s). During this Warez release, then, the name DeepzOne" surfaced. But what is the name "DeepzOne" doing in nine WAV files in Windows XP? Nothing more than a coincidence? One has the suspicion that that the files were generated with the cracked version of Sound Forge 4.5. It's difficult to say whether Microsoft itself did that or one of the freelancers. Only the Redmond-based employees in charge of the Windows Media Player will know that for sure. It seems, though, as if someone wanted to get around filling out an investment order to buy a software worth $400. The topic still raises a moral problem, though, as Microsoft is quick to report every oh-so-minor success in the fight against piracy. In the wake of that move, the company also joined the BSA (Business Software Alliance), which has devoted itself to the "fight against software piracy" and persecutes violaters around the globe. But maybe BSA knows which office door it should knock on Microsoft has yet to issue a statement. It will be interesting to get the company's position on this issue.