August 10, 2004 10:04 AM PDT

Ferreting out copyright scofflaws

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Just when you thought software licensing enforcement couldn't get any more fun, the copyright cops at the Business Software Alliance have enlivened the process with a spunky cartoon ferret.

The BSA--a trade group supported by Microsoft, Adobe Systems and other major software makers to enforce software licenses and copyrights--revealed the new mascot Tuesday as part of a national campaign to scare kids out of using peer-to-peer networks.

The "Play It Safe in Cyber Space" campaign will culminate with a four-page comic book, distributed in conjunction with tot journal the Weekly Reader, meant to impress kids with the idea that it's not OK to freely swap software, games, music and other copyrighted content.

The comic will feature the droopy-drawers ferret, who for now is referred to as the "Copyright Crusader." Kids are urged to help select his final name by submitting votes next month through the BSA's Web site.

Kids will get to choose from five potential names, none of which have been revealed. You can always try to write in "Sterling Ball," if you want to give the BSA folks a chuckle.

The campaign also includes an online game in which the ferret races to destroy pirated copies of software while collecting valid licensing agreements.

The ferret, by the way, does seem to be an odd mascot choice for an organization devoted to strict legal adherence, given that the weasel-like mammals are outlawed in California and several other states.

12 comments

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Nice story!
Thanks for alerting us to these latest developments. We will have to mock and ridicule the BSA for this. I love the "weasel" comparison, I thought of it instantly myself, and was delighted to see a reference at the end of the article!
Posted by (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sad response
You would mock and ridicule an organization designed to promote law-abiding behavior?

What are you, a criminal?
An anarchist?
A fool?

Or perhaps an open-soure proponent who sees laws as a roadblock to stealing more code...?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting choice...
I find it very intersting that out of all of the animals available to them they choose one from the weasel family. I can't help but think that is sending the wrong message about them.

Honestly I think it suites them though.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
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How appropriate
The name "ferret" comes from the Latin word "furritus" which means "little fur thief". It refers to the ferrets habit of stealing things and dragging them away and stashing them in hidden places.
Posted by (1 comment )
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BSA Logo
Ferret, Naw! How about an alligator?
All mouth and no ears...
Posted by dminott (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DON'T USE FERRETS AS YOUR MASCOT
I own four pet ferrets, and I think that your use of a ferret as an antipiracy crusading mascot is insulting as well as ludicrous. Plus, your mascot is the most stupid thing that I have ever seen and doesn't look anything like a ferret at all. Whoever drew it is a stupid idiot. Jesus, can't you people do ANYTHING RIGHT?!

If you want to find out how ferrets really think and feel, then you need to read two books by Richard Bach: _Rescue_Ferrets_At_Sea_, and
_Air_Ferrets_Aloft_.

I demand that you stop using a ferret as your mascot immediately. Believe me, you don't want to incur the wrath of people who own ferrets as pets. We've taken people to court before over things like this. Choose some other animal, like a slug or a leech.

Have a Nice Day, ********.
Posted by (1 comment )
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The Mad Mustelid.
Looking at the sample cartoon, the subject line says it all.

Weasels and ferrets alike belong to the order Mustelidae.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BSA is Registerd Trademark
BSA is a Registered trademark for the Boy Scouts of America. Please Please refrain from using this trademarked acronym except when referring to the Boys Scaouts of America.
Thank you So much.
Posted by Wizzerking (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
And the 5 names to chose from are....
1.) Max the money-grubbing weasle
2.) Ron the Recording Industry Rodent
3.) Orin Hatchling
4.) Rip-Off Rodent
5.) Flesh-gnawing Predator
Posted by fullewr (12 comments )
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