Microsoft silent on "AutoPatcher closure"

Steven Parker —”Yesterday morning an Internet Investigator representing Microsoft called me at home requesting that Neowin cease all activity with AutoPatcher, a program headed by Antonis Kaladis and endorsed by Neowin for little under 4 years. Antonis received a standard take down request email through his AutoPatcher.com email address. We complied by pulling the forums […]

Steven Parker —”Yesterday morning an Internet Investigator representing Microsoft called me at home requesting that Neowin cease all activity with AutoPatcher, a program headed by Antonis Kaladis and endorsed by Neowin for little under 4 years. Antonis received a standard take down request email through his AutoPatcher.com email address. We complied by pulling the forums on Neowin and the download page at AutoPatcher.com.”

The news was quickly picked up by the likes of CNET, Slashdot and others but as of this posting we are yet to receive any sort of clear explanation as to why this decision was made 3 years after the program had been widely adopted by Neowin members, computer magazines and the industries system admins who use the program to speed up the installing of corporate machines.

A Microsoft Featured Communities representative as well as the Internet Investigator handling the case has pledged to look into the situation to find out exactly what prompted this sudden move. The only short explanation offered was the possibility of delivering malicious files with the package, something the AutoPatcher team has never done.

Here is the email in full:

Demand for Immediate Take-Down: Notice of Infringing Activity

URL: http://www.autopatcher.com/downloads/
CASE #: ******

29 August 2007

Dear Sir or Madam,

Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft.

1. Identification of copyrighted works:

Copyrighted work(s):
Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP Home Edition
Windows XP Professional x64
Windows 2003 Server Enterprise
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows 2000 Professional
Office Professional Edition 2003
Office Professional 2007
Office XP Professional

Copyright owner:
Microsoft Corporation

2. Copyright infringing material or activity found at the following
location(s): http://www.autopatcher.com/downloads/

The above computer program(s) is being made available for copying, through downloading, at the above location without authorization of the copyright owner.

3. Statement of authority:

The information in this notice is accurate, and I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of Microsoft, the owner of the copyright(s) in the work(s) identified above. I have a good faith belief that none of the materials or activities listed above have been authorized by Microsoft, its agents, or the law.

We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of this software via your company's network.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Please advise us regarding what actions you take.

Yours sincerely,

****** *******
Internet Investigator

on behalf of Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
United States of America

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Microsoft, Security Updates, AutoPatcher