Poll

What do you think is ok?

You should pay for everything.
18 (7.3%)
Tweaking hardware is ok, downloading or tweaking software is not.
22 (8.9%)
Tweaking hardware and software is ok, if it is mine I can do what I want.
155 (63%)
Everything is ok as long as it saves me money.
31 (12.6%)
Something else.
20 (8.1%)

Total Members Voted: 237

Author Topic: Stealing: The double standard?  (Read 97604 times)

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Offline JuKu

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #150 on: March 07, 2013, 08:47:13 am »
Stealing is wrong and so is the notion of owning non-physical things.
Please explain copyright, concert tickets, software sales or any value in work that does not produce physical items.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #151 on: March 07, 2013, 09:08:03 am »
Quote
I have the right to do whatever I want for what I pay for.
No, you don't.

Yes, you do.
When you buy a physical item you can do anything you like with it, subject to common law.
You can whatever you want to it in the privacy of your own home.
Perhaps different legally if you released detailed info on how to hack it etc, but we aren't talking about that.

Quote
But this goes further: When you pay for something, you enter in an agreement with the manufacturer. This is how economy works. Manufacturer offers models 100 and 200. You agree to the offer for model 100, but not for model 200. When you bought model 100, you agreed with the manufacturer not to buy model 200. Morally, you don't have the right to change your model 100 to a model 200, even though you might know how.

Morally you can do whatever you want, that's what personal morals are for  ;D
No it's not how the economy works, it's just the risk that particular manufacturer takes by including hidden features in their product you didn't pay for.
They can't see what you do in the privacy of your own home.
They can stop you from doing anything to the product in the privacy of your own home.
They take the risk that you might have really wanted the 200, but bought the 100 and have the skills to get the 200. If they don't want that risk they should not built the 200's features into the model 100.
And remember, for all the talk about hacking features in hardware products, the manufacturers would never do it if it meant they were losing out. They aren't stupid. They take the "risk", but in reality they know the benefits far outweigh the negatives. The game is always rigged in their favour, they ensure that's the case.

Quote
The manufacturer might be stupid in trusting their customers to honor the agreements or even relying that the customers understand the fundamental economic agreement and get hurt. That is a cost of business that should not be there, but that's how it is.

Bingo!

Quote
The Internet where distributing bits is easy and practically free might change the economy to different fundamental agreements, but we are not there yet.

And that's why hardware will always be a different ballgame to software. They should not even be sharing the same discussion, asimilar on the surface as they may appear.

Dave.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:11:58 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #152 on: March 07, 2013, 09:14:29 am »
When you bought model 100, you agreed with the manufacturer not to buy model 200.

When I bought model 100, I agreed with the manufacturer to buy model 100. The existence of models 200, 300 and 10000 are completely irrelevant to that transaction.

Offline JuKu

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #153 on: March 07, 2013, 09:38:48 am »
I buy entry level software. I get a DVD with entry level, mid level and high-end level software on it, and the key to the entry level version. I could go to Internet and find the means to unlock the high-end version. Theoretically, I could hook up a debugger and hack the software myself and get the high-end version (in real life, I don't have the skills). Most of use agree that I don't have the rights to the high-end version anyway.

Where is the big difference whether the IP comes to me downloaded, on a physical DVD or in a steel chassis with lots of electronics around it?  I really don't see it.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:40:31 am by JuKu »
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Offline JuKu

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #154 on: March 07, 2013, 09:41:33 am »
When you bought model 100, you agreed with the manufacturer not to buy model 200.

When I bought model 100, I agreed with the manufacturer to buy model 100. The existence of models 200, 300 and 10000 are completely irrelevant to that transaction.
Right, unless you use the 100 as means to get 200, 300 or 10000 that you did not pay for.
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Offline Rerouter

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #155 on: March 07, 2013, 09:59:12 am »
The difference in that case is that you legally own and have access to all the hardware contained within the device, while you may not copy and sell it as your own, your free to modify it providing you do not mind voiding warranty, its not like you can find a string of codes and suddenly your 2 channel 100Mhz scope becomes a 8 channel 100Ghz scope, you have not taken anything that was not already legally owned by you,

while in your software take of it, what is contained in your license is what you legally own, as a direct comparison, thus activating the features of a higher license would be taking from what you do not already own and thus would be stealing,

when it requires flashing the firmware from a higher model, in that case it falls into a grey area, the firmware is technically stolen, the hardware however is not even with the now unlimited capabilities,

edit: to furthur spur on this topic, if you owned both models, then i suppose the firmware would not be stolen, but rather fall under some IP law,

or atleast that is my take on it,
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 10:03:35 am by Rerouter »
 

Offline JuKu

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #156 on: March 07, 2013, 10:09:38 am »
So changing jumpers or removing capacitors is ok*, downloading stolen software to a product is not? I get your point.

*.  Unless there is a do -not-modify end user agreement on the hardware...
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #157 on: March 07, 2013, 10:31:32 am »
I buy entry level software. I get a DVD with entry level, mid level and high-end level software on it, and the key to the entry level version. I could go to Internet and find the means to unlock the high-end version. Theoretically, I could hook up a debugger and hack the software myself and get the high-end version (in real life, I don't have the skills). Most of use agree that I don't have the rights to the high-end version anyway.
Where is the big difference whether the IP comes to me downloaded, on a physical DVD or in a steel chassis with lots of electronics around it?  I really don't see it.

The big difference is the hardware company has a real choice to prevent "theft" of their better hardware, but simply not including it. People would have to physically break into a store and steal it the old fashioned way.
The software company does not have that same choice because of the triviality of making copies of software, so they have to find different business models in order to stay in business.
It's an entirely different game, with different rules, whether or not you think it is.

Dave.
 

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #158 on: March 07, 2013, 11:16:16 am »
The software company does not have that same choice because of the triviality of making copies of software, so they have to find different business models in order to stay in business.

The company I work for produce CAD software; the software is considered to have no value as such;  the value is the hardware dongle; you loose the dongle, you have to make a new purchase.  Code isn't secure, and dongles aren't secure. 

But putting things into perspective unless any part of that profit lost through "stealing" is going to be used to help save the lives of people across the other side of the world then are we just being greedy?    If all companies were required to allocate a percentage of profit to the needy; would you think twice about "stealing"?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 11:20:20 am by jucole »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #159 on: March 07, 2013, 11:25:00 am »
The company I work for produce CAD software; the software is considered to have no value as such;  the value is the hardware dongle

Then they are doing it wrong IMO.
The value should be in the "value for money" of the software, the customer support, the training, and the toolset community etc.

Dave.
 

jucole

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #160 on: March 07, 2013, 11:50:50 am »
The company I work for produce CAD software; the software is considered to have no value as such;  the value is the hardware dongle
Then they are doing it wrong IMO.
The value should be in the "value for money" of the software, the customer support, the training, and the toolset community etc.

no sorry;  what I meant was,  the hardware dongle is the "license key" and so it's considered by the customer more important than the software;  ie. we replace lost software at no cost, therefore it has no value,   but a lost dongle; you have to buy the software again.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #161 on: March 07, 2013, 12:24:59 pm »
... but a lost dongle; you have to buy the software again.

Not always, it depends on the local laws of the country the buyer lives in. As i have mentioned earlier in this thread, here in Germany for example it is perfectly legal for the owner of such software to bypass the protection completely in case the dongle causes problems, gets damaged or even lost. All that is needed is proof of ownership of the software, which is basically the receipt/invoice one gets when buying it. There have been lots of court rulings to that effect many moons ago, when dongle-based protection was very popular (and thus the problems they can cause became clear).

This is just one of the problems with the agreements/licenses that the companies want the end user to agree to in a global market. Stuff that may be legal and OK to put in there in one country may not be OK in another country. To do it right, the vendors would have to create country specific agreements and licenses for each country they sell stuff in. And of course they then would be required to keep up to date with the various regulations, law updates, etc. in those countries. But they don't do that, instead they want to have boilerplate "paperwork" be valid everywhere.

Another example of such a conflict are clauses that tell you that you may only make one backup copy of a software program. Where i live, i am allowed by law to make as many copies as i like and store them whereever i want, as long as i don't hand out those backups to other people so that they can use the software. Or music, i am legally allowed (in fact, it is written in the law) to make private copies of the music and hand them out to family members and/or friends. The only thing i am not allowed is to re-distribute it on a large scale to strangers, or charge money for it.

Or the resale of used software/licenses. Many vendors tell you that you are not allowed to do that, but here there is nothing they can do to prevent that. People here have a legal right to sell what they own, and that includes software. Not long ago there was a court ruling confirming that again, for a used-software reselling company. They resold OEM versions of microsoft products, which MS didn't like, but in the end had to accept through a court order.

What a vendor wants, and what he can legally rely on, are two different things that depend on the country the buyer/user lives in. Contract clauses can not overrule local law, never. Any clause in such a contract/agreement/license that goes against local law is simply void. Have too many in it, and the whole thing may become void. Make it impossible for the user to read that stuff before he buys it (like with shrink-wrap licenses), or have it contain too much legal mumbo-jumbo that the average person can't really understand, and it is void by default as well. At least over here.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #162 on: March 07, 2013, 03:48:02 pm »
If all companies were required to allocate a percentage of profit to the needy; would you think twice about "stealing"?

I doubt that anyone is really demanding that. But there are quite some things that corporations could do to improve the situation. First, they could start by paying their employees a decent wage. One that is enough, if it is a full-time job, to pay for the cost of living and maybe even have a little cash left to put into a savings account or the like. Plus a decent health and social insurrance. Instead of paying so little that people are forced to get a second or even third job to barely make a living. I mean, let's face it: The less people earn, the less they can spend. The less they spend, the less companies can make sales. Outsourcing jobs to (very) low income countries makes it even worse, because that takes even whatever little income a local worker could make out of the local economy. On the other side the income and bonus payments of very few in the management goes up and up. While there is nothing wrong with paying more to people who have a "more important" job (if such a thing even really exists), the way it's done nowdays is completely out of proportion.

If there are not enough jobs available for the people, because so much things at production are automated and require little human intervention, then maybe the whole system of "you must have a job to make a living" has to be reconsidered. Simply splitting up one job into two that each get half of the income does not help. While it makes for nice statistics, because now more people are employed, it doesnt help the people who now have an income too low to get along with their lifes.

Next they could start to actually paying taxes. Granted, this is an issue that mostly affects bigger companies. But really, if people want to talk about fair trade, morals, and the likes, then it is up to the companies to live up to what they expect from their customers. How can it be that big companies pay almost no taxes, because they funnel their money through a network of offshore subsidiaries? They are directly harming the local economy with that practice.

What is wrong with the idea that a company is doing perfectly fine if it is self-sufficient? That is, that it's income pays for all expenses, plus some extra leftover? Why must it be constant growth and constant increase of profits, at the cost of all others involved?

The more cash you spread over more people, the more those people will buy stuff and thus drive the economy. The more they get out of it, the happier they are, and subsequently they are way more inclined to do a good job. Why must it be that most of the money goes into the hands of very few people at the top?

I'm pretty sure that people would be more than willing to pay for stuff like extra bandwidth or extra options in their test gear if they actually had the money to spend on it. Sure, there will always be some outliers that will game the system no matter what. But those are few, and we have to live with that. But taking more from those who already have very little, and giving more to those who already have more than enough, that's a sure way of making things worse to all of us.

There is no need for companies to hand out money to completely uninvolved people. But they sure as hell could care a lot more about those people and things that _are_ actually involved: workers, taxes, customers, ... That's the thing: stuff like fairness, ethics, morals, etc. go both ways. The more such things are skewed to only benefit a small group of people, the less the bigger group of people will care about it. People are not stupid, they surely have a pretty good idea about when they get screwed, at which point they have little to no qualms to start screwing those who screwed them for so long.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #163 on: March 07, 2013, 04:26:22 pm »
Another example:

A company I worked for used a PLC manufacturer's software to program the PLCs. The software had a dongle. One day one for the dongles stopped working. The software was "obsoleted" by the manufacturer and they refused to replace or even sell a new dongle. They insisted that we buy the new version of the software even though we did not want or need it. I went to a software guru friend of mine and he bypassed the dongle scheme in the software in 4 hours. You cannot take someone's money and then tell them they can't use what they purchased anymore because you don't want them to.

Quote
you can't re-label a product and re-sell it as yours etc.

In North America at least, yes you can. It is done all the time. You buy something, relabel it and call it your product. You need no permission from the manufacturer but you assume all liability and warranty issues as your own.

 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #164 on: March 07, 2013, 04:31:55 pm »
I should have written out a longer response before but I was tired.

There are a lot of situations being thrown around as equivalent that simply aren't.

First, how much effort a company puts into protecting their property has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's right or wrong to steal it. That's the same argument as "she got raped because of the way she dressed." None of us would agree with that statement so why are we using the same argument to justify a different crime?

Second, there are a lot of small differences that mean a lot. If you bought a Rigol scope and put open source firmware on it, that's your choice and your right because you did buy the hardware and you're not using their software anymore, you're using something free to you. Since the difference between the 50 and 100 MHz models is just firmware, that firmware has value and by hacking it you're depriving the company of value (the difference in the cost, assuming you would have bought it).

The same would go for a router that comes with stock firmware. If you take firmware from a different model and put it on, that's still stealing but putting dd-wrt on it takes nothing from the company.

If you buy a book, you're free to upgrade it to a hardcover but while you bought a single instance of the words written on the page, it's not your right to copy it to digital and spread it around. If you make it digital and destroyed your paper copy, the publisher has lost nothing because you traded 1:1. The trouble with any IP is that it's effortless to copy these days. It has no less intrinsic value than it ever did (after all, it costs no less to write a book now time-wise) but technology has made it easier to copy.

So while I would agree that if you buy a piece of hardware that it's yours to do with what you please, we're treating the software inside in a completely different way which strips it of any value. The problem is that it does have measurable value from the inputs needed to make it and even from the relatively trivial costs to distribute it.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #165 on: March 07, 2013, 04:57:46 pm »
Quote
Since the difference between the 50 and 100 MHz models is just firmware, that firmware has value and by hacking it you're depriving the company of value (the difference in the cost, assuming you would have bought it).

So in the past when I removed 8 capacitors in a tape deck to remove the artificially imposed poorer frequency response that the manufacturer had put in the circuit, that was stealing? That was modifying a piece of hardware that was my right to do so, no? And if a manufacturer decides to change where they do this artificial differentiating of models to software and then pay politicians to make laws that don't allow for even looking at the software, that is moral?

I contend that hacking the Rigol scope is no different that cutting out those capacitors.

Rigol also has "broken the law" by hacking the ADCs to run at higher frequencies than the manufacturer of those ICs intended. So they have probably spent less money on their product and spent more time and money trying to hide the model upgrade path that exists in software. If you think that companies play fair with you and don't break the laws trying to squeeze more money out of you, you are deluded.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #166 on: March 07, 2013, 05:31:29 pm »
So while I would agree that if you buy a piece of hardware that it's yours to do with what you please, we're treating the software inside in a completely different way which strips it of any value.

OK, so you want to have the software treated like the physical stuff around. However, it's rather funny (or better: disturbing) to see such an argument, considering the fact that software vendors themselves insist on treating it very differently, at least as long as it benefits them.

But hey, if you want to have it treated equally, that would be just fine by me. Of course that would require you to make quite some concessions. First, let me list a few things regarding physical goods. Please keep in mind that here i am refering to what is the law in my country, but i guess that for most, if not all, it is the same in other countries.

- If i go into a shop ans steal something there, i get punished for it. Let's ignore the fact that i would have to get caught and assume i always get caught.

- If i rob someone on the street, i get punished for it.

- If i rent something, it the person/company that rents it to me who has to pay to keep that thing in perfect working condition for me.

- If i rent a home, it is up to the landlord to pay for repairs and stuff. After all, that's what the landlord gets money for. But hey, i dont have to have the landlord handle all that: i can go ahead and have a company, or even myself, do the repairs or replacements, and the landlord will pay the bill.

- If i buy a toaster, and due to some manufacturing defect it burns down my kitchen, the manufacturer has to pay me the damages.

- If i hire an electrician, and due to his shoddy work my distribution box burns down, he has to pay for the damage and repairs.

- If said electrician messes up the control circuitry in a factory, causing them loss and damage, well, yet again he has to pay for all that.

- If i buy a car, and due to manufacturing defects (even in the firmware of the electronic control units) i get into an accident, or even lose my life, guess who has to pay, big time? Yes, the car manufacturer.

- If i fly in a plane, and that plane crashes, and it turns out that the company was cutting corners on maintenance, or are guilty of other neglect, guess who pays big time? That's right, the company who operates the plane.

- If i buy something in a shop, and it doesnt work as expected, i can walk in there and either get help to make it work, or get a replacement.

- If i buy something, i can sell it to whomever i like, whenever i like, at whatever price i like (as long as the next person is willing to pay that, of course).

As you can guess, there are many, many more examples that go into the same direction. And i'm sure you agree that they all make a lot of sense and are good to have. Now lets see. You want to have software treated the same. So lets check how that works out:

- If i steal a program, i get punished for it (after all, i'm breaking copyright laws)

- If i tweak/hack some software, you want to have me punished for it because you think it's also stealing/robbing. Sure, if you consider stuff like the DMCA you even would have a law especially designed for just that.

Funny enough, this is where that list stops, nowdays. But as i said, i am willing to grant you to have it treated equally, just at a price. The price basically is that we continue the list so that you have to take the same responsibilities:

- If your software doesn't work, you have to make it work.

- If there are problems with your software, don't make me call some service hotline premium number at 1 Euro per minute (which, ironically, often gets forwarded to some cheap call center in india or the likes). No, i do not demand toll-free numbers. But you must provide service numbers that cost the same as regular, local calls.

- If your software crashes while i work, you have to pay the damages that caused, i.e. lost work.

- If you make the software dependant on any external service, like an external license server at your company, or some silly cloud crap, it has to be you who has to pay the damages caused by problems in these external systems. If your license server is down and thus i can no longer work with your software, you pay. If someone breaks into your cloud crap and steals or destroys my data, you pay, big time.

- If your software causes havoc due to a bug, like for example destroying data on my system, you have to pay damages as well. To make it clear: Of course it is my obligation to have proper backups and the like, but you can not force me to have more than one backup every day, or assume that restoring the backup costs nothing. You also have to pay for the lost work-time, lost customers due to the bug, etc.

- If i use or sell your software to make my living, and some patent bozo comes along and threatens to sue me because through your software i allegedly violate some patent of his, you have to be the one who pays for that, including damages. Because after all it is you who failed to properly research existing patents, get license agreements to use them, etc.

How does that sound so far? I mean, it's all about treating stuff equally, playing fair, being morally good. Right? And note that "software" in this context also extends to "firmware". So if your firmware in some test gear goes haywire and causes me loss of time or other damages, you have to pay for it. And note that especially for firmware the silly cop-out of "but, but... Computers are so flexible, so much can be installed of them, how could we be liable for software bugs!" does not work at all, since it is a fixed combination of hardware and software that is at play then.

So, once software companies start to take those responsibilities and care for their customers, instead of constantly screwing them, then we can talk. Because lets face it: They want to be cheap and not pay for the problems their stuff causes. They want me to spend my time and my own expenses to get their stuff into a usable state, or to find workarounds. Who then wants to blame me for wanting to be cheap as well and return the favour, by compensating myself through hacking that stuff to get, for example, a tad more bandwidth? I mean, it's all about being fair, right?

Greetings,

Chris
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 05:38:09 pm by mamalala »
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #167 on: March 07, 2013, 05:46:47 pm »


"Honey, don't you dare to get near that hammer and nails, and I know you've been reading at the net and thinking, we're law abiding citizens damn it !"

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Offline tom66

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #168 on: March 07, 2013, 05:50:00 pm »
If the hardware is ordinarily capable of it (e.g. 100MHz/50MHz on Rigol scopes) I have zero moral qualms in hacking it.
However, perhaps if we are licensing software (e.g. an FFT option or serial decode) then there is a grey area, but I probably would not hack it.
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #169 on: March 07, 2013, 05:50:40 pm »
If you buy a book, should you be free to copy everything out of it and hand it out to people?

No, just like you can't faithfully clone a Rigol scope (including the logos and other trade markings) and give it away.
 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #170 on: March 07, 2013, 07:59:23 pm »
Again, lots of slightly different situations that make a big difference.

Quote
So in the past when I removed 8 capacitors in a tape deck to remove the artificially imposed poorer frequency response that the manufacturer had put in the circuit, that was stealing? That was modifying a piece of hardware that was my right to do so, no? And if a manufacturer decides to change where they do this artificial differentiating of models to software and then pay politicians to make laws that don't allow for even looking at the software, that is moral?

You bought the hardware, it's your to do with what you want. You use two different arguments here, one about hardware and the other about software. You're not taking the hardware and loading new firmware owned by some else on it. You're taking their firmware and changing them into other firmware, but they still own both pieces of firmware.

You're also trying to use the "they didn't protect it enough so they deserve it" argument, which is just crap. Practically they might be making it easy, but buying a 50MHz scope knowing that you are going to firmware mod it to 100MHz is depriving them of value. That is the essence of stealing.

Quote
No, just like you can't faithfully clone a Rigol scope (including the logos and other trade markings) and give it away.
Absolutely. The particular point of giving it away is something of a different battle though. That is to say, is it right to clone a Rigol for personal use only vs clone a Rigol and sell it. The former is more of the "hacking" situation and the latter is more of the "software piracy" situation. There is probably broad consensus that the latter is illegal.

Quote
If the hardware is ordinarily capable of it (e.g. 100MHz/50MHz on Rigol scopes) I have zero moral qualms in hacking it.
However, perhaps if we are licensing software (e.g. an FFT option or serial decode) then there is a grey area, but I probably would not hack it.
This is the heart of the "double standard". The argument is that if the hardware is capable of it, then essentially the software has no value. Let's take this a step further. Since the hardware is capable, we can hack it with no problems. What if the firmware already contains the FFT and serial decode options? Can we simply hack those too and turn them on with no problems. "It's already capable." That incremental step makes no sense to me, personally.

It's also worth commenting on another common situation posted about here. One earlier was along the lines of my dongle broke and now my software is useless because the manufacturer won't sell me more dongles. This is a false difference. Manufacturers of physical goods aren't required to supply parts forever. Spare parts are often discontinued after only a few years. While your software many still be fine, a part of what they sold you (they did sell you a package, software + dongle) broke. There is no obligation to supply spare parts forever, nor is there an obligation to provide support services forever. In that respect the physical and software worlds are the same.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #171 on: March 07, 2013, 09:10:33 pm »
It's also worth commenting on another common situation posted about here. One earlier was along the lines of my dongle broke and now my software is useless because the manufacturer won't sell me more dongles. This is a false difference. Manufacturers of physical goods aren't required to supply parts forever. Spare parts are often discontinued after only a few years. While your software many still be fine, a part of what they sold you (they did sell you a package, software + dongle) broke. There is no obligation to supply spare parts forever, nor is there an obligation to provide support services forever. In that respect the physical and software worlds are the same.

That's quite a stupid argument to make, given the facts what the software and what the dongle is for.

If i buy a CAD package, i buy it to, well, do CAD work. I do _not_ buy it to communicate with some external dongle. Nor do i buy a dongle to do CAD work. The dongle has absolutely nothing to do with the functionality i bought: doing CAD work. The dongle is forced on me by the software vendor, because he basically tells me "Look, i think you are a thief and up to no good, you probably want to steal my software, so i have to put a dongle in there to prevent you from doing that". If he would not think that, then there would be no reason to use a dongle in the first place.

So it is purely a business decission made by the vendor, and purely for his own benefit. Again, the dongle has absolutely nothing to do with what the software is supposed to do for me. The software itself is not broken, so comparing the situation to warranty issues of physical goods is pure nonsense here. If the dongle breaks, the vendor better makes sure to have replacements in stock, or alternatively provide me a version of the software that does not require the dongle. And sure as hell he has no business in stopping me from hacking that protection scheme to make it work again in case he refuses to help me.

The situation would of course be different in the software is designed to run on some old version of an OS, then i go ahead and update my OS to a new version and the SW stops working. In that case it is completely my responsibilty to get a new version that works on the new OS, since the original was expressly designed to only run on that older OS. Or if the original media i got the software on breaks down after a year or so. Then again it should not be up to the vendor to provide me a replacement at no cost: the warranty period is over, same as would be the case with physical goods.

But a useless device (as far as the desired functionality of the SW is concerned from my perspective) that only serves the vendor? Come on ...

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #172 on: March 07, 2013, 09:27:56 pm »
Sorry, forgot to include this part into my previous reply:

This is the heart of the "double standard". The argument is that if the hardware is capable of it, then essentially the software has no value. Let's take this a step further. Since the hardware is capable, we can hack it with no problems. What if the firmware already contains the FFT and serial decode options? Can we simply hack those too and turn them on with no problems. "It's already capable." That incremental step makes no sense to me, personally.

Uh, no, here it is you who wants to have a double standard. I buy the scope. The manufacturer decides to put all that code into it and then hands it over to me. At that point the whole thing becomes my property. And that means i can do with it whatever i like, it is mine. I can hack the device any which way i like, including fiddling with bits and bytes in the memory.

Do you think it is theft if i would fiddle with the bits that define the background colour? Or the bytes that form the strings shown in the menus? What about replacing some fonts? All that is the same: fiddling with data in the memory to tweak it to do what i want. It would be a double standard to tell me it's OK to fiddle with the colour bits, but not those bits over there because they just so happen to influence the unlocking of other features.

If the vendor does not want to have people poking around in the firmware to enable options, they can have a very simple and effective solution: sell code modules that contain those options, as encrypted binaries, that the user in turn uploads to the machine, which then decrypts it according to its serial number (or whatever unique feature, like a 1-wire serial number chip) and installs it permanently into its flash memory. Problem solved.

But really, complaining because i enable some code that was alrerady in the very machine that i bought and thus made my property?

What about a situation where they would indeed have the bandwidth limit implemented by populating the PCB's with a few different parts? After all, a 50 MHz and a 100 MHz scope would still share the exact same PCB, only a few passive parts in the analogue front-end would be different. I understand you would think it is OK if i swap those parts to get the higher bandwidth, right? But see, now we have the same problem again: It is still the same circuit as designed by the manufacturer. Plus, there would be very little wiggle room as to what parts to put in there instead. So in the end it would more likely than not end up to be the exacvt same circuit and component values that the manufacturer uses in the higher bandwidth model. Which in turn means i would have copied the manufacturers design and implemented it without paying him for that.

There really is no double standard here. Swapping some parts physically or swapping some bits "virtually": I have to do some fiddling and work and in the end get the same result. The only real way to avoid that from happening, in case of a firmware, is to simply not hand me over the code in the first place. Because then it means i would have to get that extra code somewhere, and if i don't buy it from the manufacturer, then indeed it would be a violation of existing copyright laws: i make a unlawful copy of said code.

Greetings,

Chris

Edit: Oh, and of course the irony of your post is surely not lost on me. At one place you want to make a distinction between hardware and software, wanting us to believe that hacking hardware is A-OK but hacking software is bad, only to later tell us that "In that respect the physical and software worlds are the same." But quite funny how the former is about rights and protecting the vendor, while the latter is about liability and protecting the consumer. Somehow sounds like a classic example of wanting to have the cake and eat it too. Talk about double standards!
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:37:28 pm by mamalala »
 

alm

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #173 on: March 07, 2013, 09:54:01 pm »
None of us would agree with that statement so why are we using the same argument to justify a different crime?
Because using software without a valid license is not a crime in most jurisdictions?
 

jucole

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Re: Stealing: The double standard?
« Reply #174 on: March 07, 2013, 09:59:53 pm »
Ok, this a good one; suppose I buy a new scope then just after 3 years, the warranty expires;  now, at that point the manufacturer won't repair the product he sold me but he will still claim to own the software and hardware configurations of the scope;  if at that point I unlock the entire device - is it still stealing?
 


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