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Samsung Forced YouTube To Pull GTA 5 Mod Video Because It Showed Galaxy Note 7 As Bomb (redmondpie.com) 219

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Redmond Pie: The Galaxy Note 7 wasn't just recalled, it was cancelled. For good. And that makes Samsung very cranky indeed. So when YouTube user HitmanNiko created a video showing a Grand Theft Auto 5 mod in which Galaxy Note 7 handsets can be used as grenades, it's perhaps somewhat understandable that someone inside Samsung took offense to the idea. What's incomprehensible though is the fact that Samsung has apparently set about trying to erase that video, and presumably others like it, from the Internet. The first step? Forcing YouTube to remove HitmanNiko's video. Trying to view the video now does nothing but display a message which says that the video is "no longer available due to a copyright claim by Samsung Electronics America" which leaves quite the bad taste in our mouths. The biggest issue here is that this is arguably the worst misuse of the DMCA we have ever come across, simply because nothing was copied, unless Samsung is trying to claim that by making the in-game grenades look like Galaxy Note 7 smartphones then the video creator was in fact in breach of copyright.
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Samsung Forced YouTube To Pull GTA 5 Mod Video Because It Showed Galaxy Note 7 As Bomb

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:02AM (#53114181)

    (uh... oops...)

  • by sbrown7792 ( 2027476 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:06AM (#53114187)

    In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.

    Source. [slashdot.org]

    If that video isn't parody I don't know what is.

    • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:09AM (#53114213) Homepage

      And that's the problem here and in other cases like it.

      It has to be checked-off by a court to say exactly that. Only after that step can the guy turn around and sue for damages and lost wages. It's as backward as you can get. It's putting the onus on the defense to prove that they're _not_ infringing. Assume guilt much?

      Copyright law needs a top to bottom reform. Period.

      • It's putting the onus on the defense to prove that they're _not_ infringing. Assume guilt much?

        I agree it is a problem but not for the reason you give. Samsung will still have to prove that the defendant infringed their copyright. The problem is one of risk. The cost of the court case is the problem here. Samsung is, for the moment ay least, a multi-billion dollar company with huge pockets. Win or lose the cost of this type of court case is a blip in their budget. However for the defendant the financial risk is huge: he could lose his life savings on a case like this.

        This is the serious problem w

        • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @12:24PM (#53115617)

          Even in the case of very highly-paid CEOs though, the annual salary of that employee still won't sting a big corporation like Samsung very much. Now, make it 1% of their annual revenue, and then we're talking.

          Personally though, I think the DMCA could be fairly easily reworked to put some parity between the parties into the system:

          1) Forbid any automated, multiple, and/or electronic takedowns. Each takedown should be for a single alleged infraction, and delivered by registered mail, FedEx, or some other similarly-reliable delivery service that provides evidence of delivery.

          2) Those claims of infringement need to be made by a single, identifiable, individual. It doesn't matter if that's the actual owner or their lawyer; so long as the claim can be traced back to that person claiming, under penalty of perjury, that the content is owned and infringing.

          3) Give the "under penalty of perjury" part some teeth. If the content is not actually owned by the claimant, covered by fair use, or in any other way determined to be non-infringing; the individual from step 2 above goes to jail for perjury. I think a nice schedule would be:
          1st false claim: 30 days in county.
          2nd false claim: 90 days in county.
          3rd false claim: 1 year in state, plus felony conviction on their criminal record and disbarment if the claimant is a lawyer.

          Three simple steps. And I'd bet that we'd eliminate nearly all false and frivolous DMCA claims; but, more importantly, equalize the risk and power differential between the plaintiff and defendant.

          • 3) Give the "under penalty of perjury" part some teeth. If the content is not actually owned by the claimant, covered by fair use, or in any other way determined to be non-infringing; the individual from step 2 above goes to jail for perjury. I think a nice schedule would be:
            1st false claim: 30 days in county.
            2nd false claim: 90 days in county.
            3rd false claim: 1 year in state, plus felony conviction on their criminal record and disbarment if the claimant is a lawyer.

            Those teeth are too sharp. You would swing the balance too far in the opposite direction, which would gut any industry that legitimately relies on digital copyrights having value. Conceptually, the DMCA is a necessary thing, and legitimate claims are beneficial to society at large. It just happens that it was written in an absurd way that allows incredible levels of abuse, and that needs to be fixed.

            IMHO, either 1 or 2 that you suggest would effectively solve the problem, though I think it would be better i

      • Copyright law needs a top to bottom reform. Period.

        Here's my proposal: sed '/^/d'

        Seriously, copyright brings us exactly as much good as patents, and for the same reasons: a king of England got greedy and devised a way to gouge people for even more moolah while enacting censorship -- and then it got worse. The exact law differs (Statute of Anne that gave a monopoly and censorship duties to the Company of Stationers vs random "letters patent" monopolies) but their aim was the same.

        Creative writing/art/etc was doing well before anyone thought of copyright.

        • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:46AM (#53114463) Homepage

          Creative writing/art/etc was doing well before anyone thought of copyright.

          No, actually it wasn't. Before copyright, writers got no credit and no money for their work. Most of the works surviving from the middle ages we don't even know who wrote them-- the authors are called things like "the Pearl poet" by scholars, because all we know of him (?) is that he (or she) wrote the Pearl sequence (and Gawain).

          Copyright law might be broken, but no copyright is not the solution.

          • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @10:33AM (#53114785)

            And yet, they were still written. Which is the entire purpose of copyright - to promote the creation of art. Not to enrich the artists or have their name preserved in history - that's just the carrot that's dangled to further promote their production.

            Take away copyright entirely, and art will still be created. There would no doubt be a decrease in expensive, commercial-oriented art like blockbuster movies, but also an increase in "derivative" art, that would be free to incorporate previous works without fear of infrigement lawsuits.

            When you get right down to it, most artists create for the joy of the craft, getting paid for it is a bonus that lets them create more rather than working a "real" job. And that only if they can fetch a decent price for their art within their lifetime.

            • The idea is that a limited monopoly for copying enables the artist to derive some (non-joyous) benefit from their endeavour, thus allowing them to create more art, since they're not busy using all their time working on something else simply so they can eat.

              Joy is a wonderful byproduct of being an artist, but it doesn't feed anyone.

            • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @12:17PM (#53115561) Homepage

              As an author, I think your message "we should take away copyright, because authors would keep on writing even if they got no money and no credit for it" to be, basically, utterly and completely despicable.

            • And yet, they were still written.

              And startups still happen too. The grand thing about trying something new is that you can try it. News didn't travel spectacularly in the middle ages and they had what ended up being a perpetual literary bubble.

              But much like the CueCat these days people are far less likely to do anything if there isn't money in it. Those people playing at bars for your entertainment rarely if ever do it for shits and giggles.

        • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:49AM (#53114491) Homepage

          I don't think copyright is totally bad. For example, I recently published my first novel. Without copyright law, someone else could grab my novel and start printing/selling their own copies of it. I'd wind up competing with my own novel. Then there are issues of film studios being able to take anyone's work and make movies based off of it without compensating the author at all. I'd have to spend a lot of time and money filing lawsuits to make them stop and, without copyright law, I might not be successful.

          The big problem with copyright law isn't its existence. It's the length. Copyright was originally 14 years plus a one-time 14 year extension. This isn't so bad. The novel I just published would have until 2044 (assuming I renewed the copyright) to make me money. Then, the book transfers to the public domain for others to build on it. Very few works still make money after 28 years - and I'd wager most of the ones that still do (like Star Wars) partly keep making money because of new material being added.

          However, over the years, copyright terms lengthened until now it's 70 years after the author's death. If I die at age 90, my novel will be protected by copyright until 2135. At that point, my youngest son (now 9) would be 128 - and likely deceased. If my youngest son had a child at 30, his child would be 98 when my copyright ran out. I don't need copyrights on my works lasting until my great-great-great grandchildren are born. That's not giving me incentive to create new works. 14 years + 14 years would be plenty.

          If copyright law was reset back to 14 years plus an optional one-time 14 year extension, a lot of the problems with copyright would go away.

          • by hduff ( 570443 )

            I understood that Disney was one motivator behind the extension of copyright, otherwise the mouse would now be in the public domain.

            • by suutar ( 1860506 )

              Steamboat Willie would be, but Mickey himself is trademarked, so while (if the copyright ever actually expired) you would be able to make something derivative of SW (like a remake with other characters, or using clips of it in something), you'd still have issues making new stuff claiming to use Mickey Mouse as a character.

          • Without copyright law, someone else could grab my novel and start printing/selling their own copies of it.

            You should look into Creator Endorsed [questioncopyright.org].

            Only asshole people will buy from a rip-off publisher. But asshole people will also elect a government that will enact things like a DMCA, so they're going to screw society either way as long as they have the government stick to wield. Not having the government-enforced copyright also eliminates problems like this Samsung* one, so you get multiple benefits from th

            • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @11:48AM (#53115335) Homepage

              Lets say we do away with copyright tomorrow and all of my novels have that creator endorsed marking on them. The big question is whether the book buying public would even care. My novel sells for $7.99 (paperback). Suppose HarperCollins decides to publish an edition of my book without my approval. Thanks to copyright going away, there is no legal recourse for me to tell them to stop or to compensate me. Being a bigger publishing house, they might be able to undercut me on price. Now, my $7.99 paperback has to contend with their $4.99 paperback edition. Plus, they are able to get their version of my book into all the bookstores while mine is still limited in scope. (My book is only available from Amazon at the moment.)

              The big question is: Would the buying public care that my book has the "Creator Endorsed" logo on it or would they flock to the cheaper copy to save some cash?

              As much as I'd like to say people would go with Creator Endorsed, I think they'd go with the saved cash and I'd wind up losing sales. (This is the only time when I'd call "lost sales" an actual thing since the person actually bought a copy of the book but did so from someone who was selling their own version without getting approval/providing compensation.)

          • [under the original copyright terms] The novel I just published would have until 2044 (assuming I renewed the copyright) to make me money.

            Actually, you'd still be able to make money after that. It's just that after 2044, other people could too. The only thing you would lose would be the monopoly on that novel. It's important to remember that this is the actual job of copyright - incentivizing contributions to the public domain with temporary monopoly power.

            As you correctly note, it's the effective remo

          • Seriously, this... very much this. I don't think I'd even go so far as 28 years though, or require anyone to go through the hassle of filing for the extension. I'd just go with a flat 20 years. For the life of me, I can't think of a single good reason that a copyright should last any longer than a patent.

          • by OFnow ( 1098151 )
            Jason Levine is exactly right. A second critical change needed is to eliminate the Berne Convention from the US. That copyright feature forces copyright on everything you jot down. Whether you want copyright or not. Copyright should be, again, something one requests through specific action (such as writing it in the work) rather than being automatic.
          • by Comrade Ogilvy ( 1719488 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @01:18PM (#53116065)

            I don't think copyright is totally bad. For example, I recently published my first novel. Without copyright law, someone else could grab my novel and start printing/selling their own copies of it. I'd wind up competing with my own novel. Then there are issues of film studios being able to take anyone's work and make movies based off of it without compensating the author at all. I'd have to spend a lot of time and money filing lawsuits to make them stop and, without copyright law, I might not be successful.

            That is a good point. Without copyright, not only would you compete against yourself when selling your own book, it would annihilate any control directly related follow on work -- movies, book sequels, etc.

            Removal of copyright would have far reaching consequences to the entertainment industry and software industry. Many people here on slashdot think that software patents are mostly bad, and we should fall back on copyright. Well, gee, do we really want to categorically remove the concept of intellectual property?

            • That is a good point. Without copyright, not only would you compete against yourself when selling your own book, it would annihilate any control directly related follow on work -- movies, book sequels, etc.

              And, just in case people somehow think that individuals or small businesses would prosper without any copyright, who would be the ones to quickly churn out a movie or book sequel based on an authors (instantly copyright-less) book? Big media companies. So I publish my novel (Shameless Plug: The title is "

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well not exactly, l the DMCA has a 7 step procedure that ends in a court battle. And is supposed to favor the accused until then.

        I don't remember the steps exactly, but it's something like this:
        Accuser files claim
        Content removed
        Accused contests claim
        Content restored
        Accuser reinstates claim
        Content removed
        Accused recontests claim
        Content restored
        Accuser is now supposed to file suit, and the outcome decides who owns the content and weather it remains up.

        Problem is youtube only implements up to the 3rd step. (A

        • Youtube can decide to have their own private process which is "better" (at least from the claim side) than the law. In fact they could stop at step 2 and not care about the accused's side. You are thinking this is a process youtube should follow. No it is a process they can utterly legally within their TOS cut short in favor of the claim.
        • Its a good thing you posted AC because you are a fucking idiot.

          The DMCA was design to protect the host seving the data while allowing copyright holders to identify the person that posted the material so they can be sued. Its a process whereby the copyright owner sends the host a takedown notice and the host removes the data. The poster can then respond to the host claiming the initial claim is in error and provide all their contact info. The host is now free to repost the material without any liability, the

      • If youtube was taking it as it legal value, yes it would be for a court to decide. But youtube , as a private entity, can STILL decide to accept take down request in spite of the court , and still remove video from their private property. And it is quite clear that youtube has taken this direction, not carring about the takedown requests validity. In fact they could rename it as fluffy-fluff-take-down-request if you prefer and have the same process and no court could tell them what to do.
      • Copyright law needs a top to bottom reform. Period.

        The people who own the government strongly disagree with you. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the only reform will be to make it worse.

        With the current system in place.

    • In other news Samsung's new Pocket Warmer should be in stores by Christmas :D
    • Parody is a defense for a use that would otherwise be copyright infringement. That makes discussing it unnecessary, since this just simply isn't copyright infringement to begin with. A Galaxy Note 7 is an object, not a video. The idea that merely using any random object in a video gives the person who designed the object claim over the video is absurd!

    • I am betting that they can still take it down on group of defending their trademark. The way I read it he was using the likeness of the object. And like it or not , the look feel and name are trademark. So it is not as simply as reusing copyrighted material as this is also about trademark to which the copyright laws do not apply. The DMCA was probably used because youtube has only 1 takedown form "copyright" not "trademark".
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @10:59AM (#53114969) Homepage Journal

      Not even.

      The phone isn't copyrighted. Its existence and a representation of it as a material fact can't be copyrighted. You can't copyright the existence and form of your product in such a way that, for example, a novel writer can't mention that a person was using a Samsung Note 3 and describe the functionality he was using. Those are material facts.

      The phone is a trademark--or at least its visual form and its name are potential trademarks. You may be able to patent the production of a phone in that form (design patent), and trademark a particular shape of a phone (like the Gibson and Fender headstocks--yes, their brand-identifiable shapes are trademarked); that applies only to actually making a phone.

      Samsung is legally-required to protect its trademarks, else they lose them. That means a number of things. It means you can't make a DogRun Galaxy 7 phone (especially in substantially-similar design to the Samsung offering) because Galaxy and Galaxy 7 are Samsung trademarks. It means you can't use the Samsung name to brand your phone. If you do these things, Samsung must take action, or else the next guy to do the same thing can point out that Samsung hasn't protected their trademark.

      A reference to a trademark isn't a trademark infringement.

      A reference to a trademark in a book, in a TV show, in a video game, in literature about your own product, wherever it is, does not infringe trademark. Trademark distinguishes products. If you make a phone and, in the literature, identify that it is distinct from the Samsung Galaxy 7 by pointing out that it has similar or superior battery life to the Samsung Galaxy 7, you haven't infringed trademark because you haven't identified your phone as a Samsung Galaxy 7.

      That video isn't parody, by law; it's non-infringing. It's a non-infringing reference to a trademark and to the existence of a product. Artistically, it's satire: it explores an existing material fact with humor and exaggeration. Even if it had no artistic defense, there's no standing for any intellectual property claim--copyright, trademark, patent, or otherwise. Samsung's phones blowing up is a material fact; it might be over-emphasized, but it's a thing that happened in the world, and the phones are a thing that exist in the world, and the thing in the game is a representation of that thing and not a counterfeit product.

      • Samsung is legally-required to protect its trademarks, else they lose them.

        This is largely a myth.

        Trademark Law Does Not Require Companies To Tirelessly Censor the Internet [eff.org]

        The circumstances under which a company could actually lose a trademark—such as abandonment and genericide—are quite limited. Genericide occurs when a trademark becomes the standard term for a type of good (‘zipper’ and ‘escalator’ being two famous examples). [...] Courts also set a very high bar to sh

    • It doesn't need fair use on copyright because Samsung doesn't have a copyright on this at all. Samsung MIGHT be able to claim a trademark violation (which this is clearly fair use), but the DMCA can't be used for trademarks. Unless Samsung can show this mod uses code samsung wrote there is NO copyright claim here and a blatant misuse of the DMCA.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Ah, but is it a parody of the copyrighted elements? That's the tack I'd take if I were Samsung's lawyer: this is not parodying Samsung's IP, it is quoting Samsung's IP in a literal, non-transformative way that is not actually parody.

      Of course in my heart I'd hope to lose, but that argument is no more ridiculous than many others that have become established case law. Issues like privacy and IP are where fundamental values we have as a society cut against each other and generate innumerable weird corner cas

  • by mandark1967 ( 630856 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:06AM (#53114191) Homepage Journal

    Someone set us up the Note 7

    they got no signal, however.

  • We already know your products suck, too late, the cat is out of the bag.

    Coming down like a totalitarian nutjob only makes you look even worse

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:13AM (#53114245) Homepage

    using copyright as a friendly kudgel to silence "creative" speech online is a time honored tradition embraced by some of the largest multinational media companies in the world (AKA your friends.) But remember, its only successful when youtube posters remember to cower in fear, recoil in shame, and sink into remorseful consumption of approved content and products offered through their favourite online vendors and endorsed by their favourite super celebrities and brand icons!

    Never use the tools provided by Youtube to challenge your DMCA takedown, and whatever you do, try to ignore the crushing blowback of the Streisand effect that inevitably comes surging through online media outlets --seemingly unstoppable in its pervasiveness-- in response to friendly DMCA takedown notification. Surely a nasty review or, heaven forbid, inventive online gaming content, wouldnt be instantaneously copied, shared, and disseminated endlessly online as a response to whats widely perceived as an "abusive cabal" of "predatory media conglomerates"

  • I mean... (Score:5, Funny)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:22AM (#53114285) Journal

    Has nobody heard of the Streissand effect?

    • Yup. I just posted a link to another video to Samsung Mobile USA's facebook page. :D
      We should harass Samsung with this until they agree to bring back user-replaceable batteries :)

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        You know, I once was really hardcore on the "user-replaceable battery" bandwagon, but I've really softened on the issue. There are some significant advantages to making them not replaceable, including better waterproofing and the savings of both mass and volume. It's not some sort of scheme to make people replace their phones - or, at the very least, not only that.

        If someone could make an IP67 phone with a user replaceable battery, I'd consider that a bonus over one that doesn't have a user-replaceable batt

        • by j-b0y ( 449975 )

          I think I more than doubled the useful life of my phone by being able to replace the battery easily but probably would not have benefited from waterproofing. I really think there is a market for both types of devices, even if some companies would prefer that one of those markets disappears.

    • by Revek ( 133289 )

      No but I've heard of the slashdot effect.

    • In fairness, pretty much everyone already knows about the Note 7 fiasco.

      But...

      If the modder were to modify the mod to include references to other Samsung phones, other than the Note 7, which would be used in the same way, then Samsung can consider the merits of either leaving it be, or doing the same thing, resulting in a large amount of publicity for a story that suggests the Note 7 was not unusual, that Samsung might actually have an exploding phone problem in general [theguardian.com].

    • They're too busy dealing with "Exploding-Jar-of-Kimchee Effect."

  • Solidify my decision not to use your products! I avoid all things Samsung like most people would avoid a rabid dog or a disease-infested needle.

    • Yeah, same. I have been in the market for an Android phone for a while now. I was seriously considering a Samsung, Nexus or OnePlus. All of this stuff surrounding Samsung recently completely turned me off to them as an option.

      I pulled the trigger yesterday and went with a OnePlus 3.

  • This was a trademark violation. And likely taken down under that context, not copyright. And it's legitimate if they used the word Samsung or Note 7.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not a violation of your trademark to use your trademark to refer to your brand. Otherwise, every time anybody used any brand name it would be a trademark violation. Deception must be at least attempted for trademark violation to occur - that is, the violator must make some pretense that the usage is known to and endorsed by the owner of the trademark. Perhaps Samsung could argue that the use of their trademark might confuse people into thinking that this GTA mod was sanctioned or released by them. I th

    • Then I suppose you ought to take your post down. After all, you uttered the phrases "Samsung" and "Note 7".

  • So, let me get this straight. When Apple sues Samsung over the "rounded corners" look and feel thing (stupid as that is/was) they were telling the courts it was all bogus; fair use, an abuse of the system, etc., etc. Now that they are abusing the system to suppress what is an obvious fair use parody - and as such should be protected anyway - of their phone's appearance, that's all fine and dandy? Maybe the Note 7 isn't the only thing at Samsung overheating at the moment...
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      When Apple sues Samsung over the "rounded corners" look and feel thing

      That's a design patent.

      Now that they are abusing the system to suppress what is an obvious fair use parody

      Yes, they are abusing copyright law rather than patent law.

      that's all fine and dandy?

      Patents and copyright are different things.

      • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
        Yes, and trademarks are something else again, I understand the differences. The irony was in the abuse of the system over similar visual appearances after what Samsung claimed in court, whether it's done via patent or copyright is just a means to an end.
  • The design of the Note 7 is copyrighted, just as any other product. To reproduce a likeness of a piece of "art" without permission is infringing (just ask the US Post Office). How accurate was it? Could it be identified as a Note 7? If so, then it's a by right thing - it IS infringing.

    Now, Hitman Niko can absolutely pursue this in court by re-publishing on a non-common carrier platform and having Samsung sue him. He may then, and only then, proffer his defense that the use falls under one of the Fair Use se

    • So you're saying that I can't make and publish a video featuring any recently designed object. I have to blur the passing cars, for example.
  • this is arguably the worst misuse of the DMCA we have ever come across

    Good grief! it's a minor spat about a device that the public will have forgotten all about in a few months. Hardly worth raising your blood pressure over - let alone using superlatives about.

  • It took 20 days from the mod being released (Oct. 1st), and maybe two or so weeks since it got some attention and started appearing in videos for these guys to issue the take down. And, not even going after the mod itself (I think), but only a video of it. That's some grade A lawyering we got here.

  • I used a Youtube video downloader (I'm not going to say which one in order to *protect Youtube from targeting and disabling it) and saved a copy so I can spread it around. Companies have to learn that the internet does not forget *yes, I've worded it correctly, remembering how companies said they would "protect" us from doing stuff THEY don't want us to do a few years back.
  • The damage to your name is done. It's going to get around in FAR more places than a YouTube video or gaming mod. It's already public knowledge. It has hate, love, jokes, stories, tabloid material.... Just give it the eff up already. Something happened and it's done. It can't be undone. All you can do is compensate and move on.

    Maybe you should try playing on the negativity as a way to assist advertising safe new products. When a company jokes about themselves about external things that were forced

  • And the answer is no of course.

    I mirrored the video as a mp4. Feel free to share this far and wide.

    https://www.btfh.net/GTA5_EXPL... [btfh.net]

  • This is 'almost' as bad as Sony root-kitting peoples PCs to prevent copying. Not quite as bad, but now I see Samsung in same sleazy slimy light I see Sony.
  • You may not like it, but the phone and it's look are samsungs IP, you can't just go using it without permission, especially in a non-positive way..

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