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General => General Chat => Topic started by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 03:09:20 pm

Title: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 03:09:20 pm
Hi All,

Something that has been puzzling me for a while, please read on. I will try to keep this first post free from my own opinion.
When someone mentions that he is downloading not-free software the reactions are mostly "you should not do that".
On the other hand, tweaking hardware to enable more options than you paid for seems OK and cheered at.

Some examples:

Changing an Agilent DMM into a more expensive model  :-+
Downloading Altium  :--
Making the Rigol 1052 into the 1102  :-+

So what is the difference? The only thing I can see is that you already own the hardware and are just doing a modification, but would that mean that changing software to enable more options is OK too?

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 03:20:18 pm
I would say neither of them qualifies for stealing, since stealing requires depriving someone of property in all jurisdictions I'm familiar with. Neither in the case of downloading Altium, nor in the case of upgrading the scope/DMM do Altium/Agilent/Rigol actually lose the original item. It's not like a DS1102E disappears from the Rigol warehouse every time someone modifies their DS1052E.

Like you, I don't see a clear distinction why removing artificial limitations from hardware (be it feature or time-limited trials like with the Agilent scopes) compared to removing limitations (eg. time-limited trial) from software. In both cases you can either argue that you are using functionality you haven't paid for, or that you just modified it to make full use of the product you 'own'. Then you can argue about whether you own or license software or firmware that you paid money for.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 03:35:53 pm
Then you can argue about whether you own or license software or firmware that you paid money for.

Yes, that was one of the answers I prepared for all the "If it is mine" voters, but that could start another discussion: Do you feel you 'own' the software when actually you only have a license to use it. Anyway, going off-topic myself now...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: ftransform on March 03, 2013, 03:41:38 pm
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YLFtBwy4aIU/TnajOe9wxnI/AAAAAAAAKdo/GNSgCcmS6WU/s1600/pirate63.gif)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Marco on March 03, 2013, 04:13:02 pm
I have to agree, changing use limitations on firmware is not fundamentally different than on trial ware which runs on your PC.

That said there are mitigating circumstances ... sure you don't pay Rigol and Agilent the full amount, but at least you gave them some money ...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Thor-Arne on March 03, 2013, 04:34:05 pm
IMO one should pay for what one use.

Any piracy or hardware hacking will only backfire in the long run.

In example; if enough Rigol 1052's is modded it's expected that the upgrade versions will be discontinued at one point and only the "full" models will be available.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 04:37:02 pm
I believe the cost of the DS1102E is now pretty close to the DS1052E, so discontinuation of the DS1052E would hardly be a big deal. It also made the hack somewhat pointless.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages on March 03, 2013, 04:57:13 pm
If I  buy a car and then modify it I am doing nothing wrong morally or otherwise. If I buy an oscilloscope and modify it the same applies. I have paid for the item and I can even put a different badge on it and resell it as if I was the manufacturer.

Downloading and/copying software without paying for it is a different matter. The person/company making the software depend on people paying for their work and if no money changes hands then there is a problem at least morally.

Modifying software to change its function is no different than modifying you car. That is as long as the modification is not to bypass the protection scheme the person/company has placed in their software to prevent people copying the software or enabling functions blocked in a freeware version.

The problem is we now get into a grey area, a big one. With so many pieces of hardware being mass produced with the same physical capabilities and with software controlling the feature set we now have the problem that we are hacking the software part to make the hardware work differently. If a person does this by reverse engineering and writing clean room code to do so then it is the same as just modifying a car again, no problem. If a person makes the modifications by bypassing a protection scheme in the existing software then it is more like copying/downloading software.

As someone already said, this last situation is different in a way than just outright copying software without paying for it. In this situation the hardware and software contained have been paid for and the modification "robs" the company only of the extra profit they would make if you paid for the full capabilities. What most people don't realize is that for many companies the lowest model makes no money and the higher priced ones do. In that case their amortization of the model line is thrown out of whack and they might not make a profit at all if everyone buys the bottom model and hacks the firmware to make it the higher model.

So my last question/point: In the past I purchased a cassette tape deck, and my friend one two models lower. They had very similar functions. They had very different performance specs. The manuals included the schematics. After comparing the schematics in became very apparent that the lower model had EXTRA parts. These extra parts were added to degrade the performance, ie. caps across signal paths to degrade the frequency response. The manufacturer had done this to save money of making different boards for different models. Adding capacitors and changing a few passives was far cheaper. We clipped out his extra parts and instantly had a tape deck that performed the same as mine, but he paid half the price.

I am sure no one person on this forum would say that we did anything morally wrong and certainly nothing illegal. How is this any different from modifying the DS1052 to make it work like a DS1102?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: MikeK on March 03, 2013, 05:05:32 pm
I don't know what Altium is, so I can't comment on that.

But if you own the product it's yours to do as you wish.  If you, or someone else, figures out how to hack it...that should never outlawed.  If you're renting it, that's a different story.

Haven't they already discontinued the DS1052E?  The few vendors I've checked only sell the 1102 now.  And I see this as Rigol's fault.  They should have produced ONE scope, the 1102, not two.  And I really wish they would make the firmware open-source...there's an entire community who could improve on it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 05:10:59 pm
How is this different to a piece of software with some extra code added to it to impose limitations (eg. time-limited trial, or board size limitations like in Eagle)? In both cases you could either argue that you are depriving the vendor of income because you didn't pay for the more expensive model, or that you are removing artificial limitations on a product you acquired legally.

If the manufacturer is losing money on their bottom end model scope/DMM, isn't it much nicer to download a piece of software without costing the manufacturer money? In both cases you could argue for lost income (although probably not for the same company, someone illegally downloading Altium would be much more likely to buy Eagle or Diptrace, or even use Kicad). But at least in the software case (especially if you download it via file sharing networks so you don't cost the vendor any bandwidth) they're not actively losing money on it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bradleytron on March 03, 2013, 05:20:12 pm
If I  buy a car and then modify it I am doing nothing wrong morally or otherwise. If I buy an oscilloscope and modify it the same applies. I have paid for the item and I can even put a different badge on it and resell it as if I was the manufacturer.

Downloading and/copying software without paying for it is a different matter. The person/company making the software depend on people paying for their work and if no money changes hands then there is a problem at least morally.

Modifying software to change its function is no different than modifying you car. That is as long as the modification is not to bypass the protection scheme the person/company has placed in their software to prevent people copying the software or enabling functions blocked in a freeware version.

The problem is we now get into a grey area, a big one. With so many pieces of hardware being mass produced with the same physical capabilities and with software controlling the feature set we now have the problem that we are hacking the software part to make the hardware work differently. If a person does this by reverse engineering and writing clean room code to do so then it is the same as just modifying a car again, no problem. If a person makes the modifications by bypassing a protection scheme in the existing software then it is more like copying/downloading software.

As someone already said, this last situation is different in a way than just outright copying software without paying for it. In this situation the hardware and software contained have been paid for and the modification "robs" the company only of the extra profit they would make if you paid for the full capabilities. What most people don't realize is that for many companies the lowest model makes no money and the higher priced ones do. In that case their amortization of the model line is thrown out of whack and they might not make a profit at all if everyone buys the bottom model and hacks the firmware to make it the higher model.

So my last question/point: In the past I purchased a cassette tape deck, and my friend one two models lower. They had very similar functions. They had very different performance specs. The manuals included the schematics. After comparing the schematics in became very apparent that the lower model had EXTRA parts. These extra parts were added to degrade the performance, ie. caps across signal paths to degrade the frequency response. The manufacturer had done this to save money of making different boards for different models. Adding capacitors and changing a few passives was far cheaper. We clipped out his extra parts and instantly had a tape deck that performed the same as mine, but he paid half the price.

I am sure no one person on this forum would say that we did anything morally wrong and certainly nothing illegal. How is this any different from modifying the DS1052 to make it work like a DS1102?

I'd like to chime in on the software portion of this discussion. Only a fraction of the revenues generated by selling software is used to pay the worker's. The question, in my mind, is how bloated is the profiteering part of this process? So, if greed is at play on the part of these companies are they not screwing us, the customers? Just my two cents!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 03, 2013, 05:23:25 pm
If a manufacturer puts limitations in their product, they are aware of the risks, and if someone hacks it, that's just tough.
It is possible to make these things secure, but if they don't want to put the time and money into doing so, they must accept the risks.
the bottom line is the customer owns it, and can do what they like with it.
I think that (some people within) many manufacturers quietly don't really mind, as the extra sales of a hackable product may well take enough market from their competitors to outweigh any lost sales of higher models.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 03, 2013, 05:37:37 pm
Quote
But at least in the software case (especially if you download it via file sharing networks so you don't cost the vendor any bandwidth) they're not actively losing money on it.

Well, It's not about bandwidth really. If you downloaded a hacked one (patch, keygen, crack,...) via any sharing network like rapidshare or so, we still using it illegally right?

The whole idea is about whether it's proper to use hacked software or not. I don't know about Altium but I say older versions like 10 on many sharing sites with a working crack that let's you use it full-feature and forever... Hence, just like you bought it!

^
Do you find this legal?

If I didn't understand the topic, please point out where.

 
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: rsjsouza on March 03, 2013, 05:51:34 pm
Modifying software to change its function is no different than modifying you car.
Usually when you are installing the software (or downloading a free trial) you are bound to the "End User License Agreement" - a contract that nobody reads and everybody blindly clicks "Yes"... :)

This is a contract electronically signed by you which usually states you can't reverse engineer, modify, etc. This is the piece that makes software hacking/copying/etc illegal, and the "crime" is breach of contract.

Even if you are in a country different than the one of the original software manufacturer, answering "yes" still makes you legally bound - in practice, it obviously is a lot harder to pursue any infringement unless the local law enforces its validity and sets the penalties.

I am sure no one person on this forum would say that we did anything morally wrong and certainly nothing illegal.
Your example is a good one; the cassete tapes do not have any contracts, thus you didn't do anything illegal. On the other hand, DVDs have Macrovision which scrambles the images if you try to record a DVD to a VHS tape. If I am not mistaken, I think the DVDs still come with a license agreement that disallows tampering with it - obviously the situation changes if your VCR simply ignores this mechanism (check here (http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~eroberts/cs181/projects/1999-00/dmca-2k/macrovision.html))

How is this any different from modifying the DS1052 to make it work like a DS1102?
Regarding the Rigol, I wouldn't see anything wrong unless they come with a printed version of such End User License Agreement...

But as Thor-Arne mentioned, if you abuse the system the system always fights back. One possible consequence: Rigol still offers the two models but with a higher price tag to cover the expenses for an anti-hack mechanism.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: G7PSK on March 03, 2013, 05:53:36 pm
If you purchase a product it is your's to do what you wish with, some of the electronic's manufacturers (the one whose name is at the front alphabetically springs to mind) seem to think that you only have a lease on it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: houdini on March 03, 2013, 06:05:48 pm
i dont think pirated software is a loss in most cases the people that pirate it would never pay the rediculous amounts for the software because they cant afford it.  Also i think its only wrong if you get caught applies here.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: hlavac on March 03, 2013, 06:17:46 pm
The fundamental problem is it is not really fair to sell copies of software.
Copy costs nothing to make and has no value.
Nobody deserves money for doing nothing.
The value is in actually creating the first original of the software and that is what should be paid for!
We need ways to pay programmers to work on open source, free software.
Until the sale of digital copy fallacy is eliminated, there can be no peace!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 06:18:28 pm
Usually when you are installing the software (or downloading a free trial) you are bound to the "End User License Agreement" - a contract that nobody reads and everybody blindly clicks "Yes"... :)
I'm quite sure many modern instruments will come with an EULA. I even seem to recall some instruments showing a screen with a reference to the EULA on boot.

This is a contract electronically signed by you which usually states you can't reverse engineer, modify, etc. This is the piece that makes software hacking/copying/etc illegal, and the "crime" is breach of contract.
The validity of this contract is under debate in some jurisdictions, since you are not usually offered the contract before purchasing the product. Getting your money back if you refuse the license is also often almost impossible. Breach of contract is not a crime in any jurisdiction I'm familiar with, it's usually considered a civil matter. A contract is an agreement between two private parties. It's just a piece of paper (or computer storage) written by one or both of these parties, it is not law.

Circumventing copy protection and anti-counterfeiting mechanisms is considered a crime in many jurisdictions, however. For example the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA) in the US. The EU and Canada have implemented similar directives. I'm sure Australia copied and rubber stamped the US proposal. There has also been pressure on other countries like China to adopt similar legislation, no idea how successful this was.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 07:03:49 pm
If I  buy a car and then modify it I am doing nothing wrong morally or otherwise.

I have a Ford Focus which comes in many models, but this model had either 150HP or 180HP as an € 2500 option. Exactly the same hardware, the difference is in the ECU mapping. Of course I bought the 150HP model and changed the mapping in the ECU to that of the 180HP model. I don't feel bad about it although I'm sure morally I should have paid for the option.

A few years back I found an Agilent N1996a spectrum analyser on EBay, which already had the tracking generator, RF amplifier, demodulation, stimulus response hardware and a few more built in but you had to buy the keys to use it. When I also found that it runs on Linux I bought it and enabled all options. I don't feel bad about it.

Usually when you are installing the software (or downloading a free trial) you are bound to the "End User License Agreement" - a contract that nobody reads and everybody blindly clicks "Yes

I don't think that is even legal where I live.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on March 03, 2013, 07:22:19 pm
maybe they stop making the same hardware for higher end models and lower end models with only software difference if more people will publish modifications for them etc, as for softwares, music, film, etc. they count every lost opportunity to sell the same crap or insanely expensive zeros and ones, if you didnt buy it from them or distributors/stores. in reality they lose nothing of bucnh of people downloads their "products" only a possible buyer but most likely that invidual would never buy that anyway so its would be count as loss for them. in fact someone already bought that piece of data they are so eager to flag as "piracy" or huge losses while its just "planned income" which they miss, it would be real loss if they lose the master copy of the same thing with source codes and original records if its a film or anything else. this would be stealing, but while they already got their money for that piece of data its just another copy nothing else you dont harm anyone with that unless you are counting on the unsold copies in the warehouse, which would be still there anyway.

they sould really learn not to give the whole package with softwares with parts of its disabled or bound to license keyes. or not at the prices they charge for it, take a look at the adobe graphics packages, or any cad/cam software.

for hardwares, i do not care what they say i paid for it i can do anything with it, its mine from the momment they sold it for me, they made it and i own it.
if you throw it out on the window you wreck it etc, its the same as modifying it as you like, the original product you bought would be improved or totally wrecked, both cases the manufacturer lose no money on it or earn money from it, but they love to prohibit  to modify it...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: RCMR on March 03, 2013, 07:49:18 pm
As someone who has spent a fair proportion of their life making  a living from writing software, I always pay for the software that I use.

Just about everyone else I know of has a cracked version of Sony Vegas to do their video editing -- mine's bought and paid for.

Lots of folk have illegally downloaded their favourite movies from the Net -- mine are store-bought disks.

Sure, I have some music that's been downloaded from the Net -- but that's only because when I couldn't find anyone who actually stocked the albums concerned so I *couldn't* buy them.

Also, sometimes I might watch a movie from YouTube by downloading and burning to a DVD or a USB drive -- but if I like the movie, I go out and buy the disk legitimately.  That's exactly what I did with Iron Sky.

As for hardware mods however, well I figure that if someone buys a piece of hardware I'm selling and then "improves it", good on them!  With the Rigol 1052 then I see no issue with "upgrading" it to the 100MHz version.   If I were selling a piece of hardware that relied on keycodes to unlock firmware functionality I might kick myself if someone figured out the upgrade process but I would consider it "my bad" that they were able to do that.

Using pirated software isn't theft of software but it sometimes does deprive the rightful owner of the intellectual property of their justly deserved revenues.

And there's no point in suggesting that the software vendors "make too much money anyway" so it's okay to deprive them of revenues.  If they're smart enough to create something that people will buy at the listed price then good for them!  If you think it's too expensive then just try writing your own version and selling it in competition.  You might find that the price isn't really that bad after all.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 08:23:58 pm
Upgrading the DS1052E to 100 MHz by changing the model number (sometimes) deprives Rigol of their justly deserved income made by selling the DS1102E for a premium price. Why this double standard for hacking software to have features you didn't pay for as opposed to hacking hardware to have bandwidth you didn't pay for?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jancumps on March 03, 2013, 08:25:48 pm
What is the difference? The Rigol trick is a software hack too.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 03, 2013, 08:38:59 pm
"Lots of folk have illegally downloaded their favourite movies from the Net -- mine are store-bought disks.

Sure, I have some music that's been downloaded from the Net -- but that's only because when I couldn't find anyone who actually stocked the albums concerned so I *couldn't* buy them."

that's simply what a double standard means. If you couldn't that doesn't mean you get them illegally. I don't hate downloading movies from the net or so cuz all my movies like this... but to say it's right if I "couldn't" buy them.. no.

the talk about copyrights or so will continue forever... few months ago this SOPA appeared to lol-eliminate the piracy in the net and they had an epic faliure. simply because they can't! no matter what you do there will be someone that will hack it or find a way.

they closed megaupload and few other major filehosts but people use torrents which can't be controlled... so, after that SOPA, movie rips increased and nothing changed. I can get an episode from a japanese TV and rip it then upload it over the net with no problem.

sorry for forking the topic but the talk about copyrights got me excited.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 08:53:20 pm
What is the difference? The Rigol trick is a software hack too.

You can argue that it's not "hacking" at all.
It's simply using the existing commands in the unit, using an existing user interface.

The is a huge difference between hacking hardware and downloading hacked software for free. With hardware you have to buy it in the first place. The company gets their money, people stay employed, the economy keeps turning.
If the hardware companies don't want people to hack their hardware, don't make it hackable. It was their choice to deliberately put features in that can be exploited.
With the Rigol hack for example, sales exploded, and the company made more money than it did before. They shouldn't be complaining.

When you download pirated software, the author doesn't get paid a cent. And the same rule applies to crippled software as it does with hardware. If the software companies don't want people to hack their software, don't make it hackable. It was their choice to deliberately put features in that can be exploited.
But of course the huge difference between hardware and software remains, that it's trivial (and free) to copy software. You can't do that with hardware unless you physically steal something that the manufacturer paid to build.

People can argue all they want over what's "stealing" and what's not, but you can't argue the huge difference between hardware (that you have to buy) and software which has no inherent tangible value, and can be trivially copied for no cost.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 03, 2013, 08:58:21 pm
so you are against using hacked software with a keygen or a patch?

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on March 03, 2013, 09:07:59 pm
if the protection only a licence code, you make a keygen which genereates the right codes its not hacked at all cos the files from the software stays the same as the original version, while if you change the exe or other files its hacked now.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 09:18:21 pm
Here is my take on it:

Hardware:
If I pay my money and buy hardware, I should have the right to do whatever I want with it. Hack it, improve it, whatever. If the manufacturer chooses to put things hidden in there, then tough, don't complain when I find it. Be it a gold nugget that only pops out when you enter a license key, or extra bandwidth capability. But yes, I fully support a manufacturers right to cripple hardware (or include a gold nugget) to improve their profit margin, pay for R&D costs etc, they should know and understand that is the risk they take should they chose to do that.

Software
If I pay my money and buy software, I should have the right to do whatever I want with it. Hack it, improve it, whatever. If the software company chooses to put things hidden in there, then tough, don't complain when I find it.  But yes, I fully support a companies right to cripple software to improve their profit margin, pay for R&D costs etc, they should know and understand that is the risk they take should they chose to do that.
Take for example, the video editing software I use, Sony vegas Movie Studio. I paid for it and downloaded it. Sony Vegas MovieStudio is an entirely different binary and download to "Sony Vegas Pro" So if I downloaded a copy of Vegas pro and keygened it, that's stealing. But if the Movie Studio binary I paid for and downloaded actually contained Vegas Pro hidden in it, and I happen to find it and figure out how to make it work. Tough, that was the risk Sony would have taken.

It is wrong not to pay for either one of them.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Bloch on March 03, 2013, 09:25:09 pm
Usually when you are installing the software (or downloading a free trial) you are bound to the "End User License Agreement" - a contract that nobody reads and everybody blindly clicks "Yes"... :)

This is a contract electronically signed by you which usually states you can't reverse engineer, modify, etc. This is the piece that makes software hacking/copying/etc illegal, and the "crime" is breach of contract.

Even if you are in a country different than the one of the original software manufacturer, answering "yes" still makes you legally bound - in practice, it obviously is a lot harder to pursue any infringement unless the local law enforces its validity and sets the penalties.


If i buy this software [size=78%]http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi (http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi)[/size] it cost many dollars !! I live in denmark. Let us say that i move to USA. I that case i cant use the software legaly  :palm: . Is that ok ?


How to find out. Buy the software ...... install the software .... read the License Agreement.  :--



Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 09:25:28 pm
You can argue that it's not "hacking" at all.
It's simply using the existing commands in the unit, using an existing user interface.

So when I simply use the existing commands on my PC (the DOS debugger), using an existing user interface (DOS 3.1) to hack P-CAD to run without the dongle it is OK? (yes, I know, long time ago  :) )

Or when I buy a Windows Home version I can hack it into an Ultimate version, would that be OK?

People can argue all they want over what's "stealing" and what's not, but you can't argue the huge difference between hardware (that you have to buy) and software which has no inherent tangible value, and can be trivially copied for no cost.

So basically what you are saying is as long as you pay a little bit it is OK? I don't see the difference in hacking a piece of hardware to do things you normally have to pay for and hacking a demo software to keep running or making all options available.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 09:28:11 pm
If i buy this software [size=78%]http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi (http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi)[/size] it cost many dollars !! I live in denmark. Let us say that i move to USA. I that case i cant use the software legaly  :palm: . Is that ok ?
How to find out. Buy the software ...... install the software .... read the License Agreement.  :--

That's ridiculous and not ok. If you pay for it, it's yours.
Same thing with software that I can't install and use on multiple computers.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Bloch on March 03, 2013, 09:31:36 pm
Or that about the problem with iphone

I buy the Phone from apple.

I buy some APP from APP store.

Apple remove the software from the APP store after some time .......

Is that ok ??
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 09:34:31 pm
So when I simply use the existing commands on my PC (the DOS debugger), using an existing user interface (DOS 3.1) to hack P-CAD to run without the dongle it is OK? (yes, I know, long time ago  :) )

NO! because you downloaded and are using P-CAD without paying for it!

Can't you see the difference? You paid for the scope. You didn't pay for P-CAD.
Once you pay for the scope, you should be able to do anything you want with it.
Once you buy P-CAD, you should be able to do anything you want with it.
If you walk into your local dealer and walk out with your scope without paying for it, you are stealing it.
If you download P-CAD without paying for it, you are stealing it.

So basically what you are saying is as long as you pay a little bit it is OK? I don't see the difference in hacking a piece of hardware to do things you normally have to pay for and hacking a demo software to keep running or making all options available.

There is huge difference between paying for something and then hacking the item you legally bought, and hacking and using software you did not pay for!

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 09:44:39 pm
If I pay my money and buy software, I should have the right to do whatever I want with it. Hack it, improve it, whatever. If the software company chooses to put things hidden in there, then tough, don't complain when I find it.  But yes, I fully support a companies right to cripple software to improve their profit margin, pay for R&D costs etc, they should know and understand that is the risk they take should they chose to do that.
How would you apply this to Eagle? Cadsoft give you the software for free with limitations (board size, layers, no commercial use). You acquired the software legally from cadsoftusa.com. Would you consider circumventing these (technical and/or legal) limitations acceptable?

That's ridiculous and not ok. If you pay for it, it's yours.
Same thing with software that I can't install and use on multiple computers.
Few software companies will agree. Most want you to buy a license per computer you run it on. And of course a new license if you buy a new computer and throw the old one away (this was a recent change for Microsoft Office). Few consumer hardware companies will agree. See for example Sony, Microsoft and Apple.

If you download P-CAD without paying for it, you are stealing it.
No, you're not. You may be illegally acquiring it, but that does not make it stealing. Just like how smuggling it past customs is not stealing, or using a patented technology without paying royalties, or circumventing protection against running unauthorized software on your consumer electronics widget.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: UPI on March 03, 2013, 09:48:03 pm
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mariush on March 03, 2013, 09:54:04 pm
If I pay my money and buy software, I should have the right to do whatever I want with it. Hack it, improve it, whatever. If the software company chooses to put things hidden in there, then tough, don't complain when I find it.  But yes, I fully support a companies right to cripple software to improve their profit margin, pay for R&D costs etc, they should know and understand that is the risk they take should they chose to do that.
How would you apply this to Eagle? Cadsoft give you the software for free with limitations (board size, layers, no commercial use). You acquired the software legally from cadsoftusa.com. Would you consider circumventing these (technical and/or legal) limitations acceptable?

When you install the software or before you download it, you have to click on a button that says you agree with some terms. It's basically a "verbal contract" that says they "lend" you the software (or a part of the software) for a period of time so that you can evaluate it and make a decision.
It's your software just as much as a book you borrow from the local library is yours while it's borrowed, technically even though the software is on your computer it's not your property.

I agree with Dave on this one, you should pay for the software but after you purchase a copy, it is  (or should be) your right to whatever you want with it, just as you would with a painting, or a car, or a kitchen utensil.  You should be able to use it anywhere in the world, for whatever purpose you want.

If you don't want me to unlock features, don't hide them away in the software or hardware, expecting me to pay more to get them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 03, 2013, 10:01:27 pm
Or that about the problem with iphone

I buy the Phone from apple.

I buy some APP from APP store.

Apple remove the software from the APP store after some time .......

Is that ok ??

It's OK YES! why? because you put a lot of money to buy product from a company that have retarded policies.

they force users to use their own software, if the software you need isn't there, that's not their problem.

and the good software costs you money....

on the other hand, you can buy another product (galaxy) which uses android and gives you a lot of FREEDOM to use it and THEN millions of people will learn how to design programs for it.... and you will find 5 programs to do the thing you wanted instead of one.

^
by doing that, the company will put 100% effort into improving their products and never worry about any kinda copyright which gives them 0 benefit.

meanwhile, apple dedicate a lot of money and effort into armies of lawyers to track their copyrights.

but the majority of people will buy the iphone cuz it's from apple not because they know it's features, I see that a lot.

Here, it's valid for me to try running any hackable thing to use any software I want... simply because I payed 500$ for the damn thing!!

legal or not, it's the way it's and it's the way everyone will do... it's very different than someone who didn't pay anything and use illegal software.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 10:06:36 pm
When you install the software or before you download it, you have to click on a button that says you agree with some terms. It's basically a "verbal contract" that says they "lend" you the software (or a part of the software) for a period of time so that you can evaluate it and make a decision.
It's your software just as much as a book you borrow from the local library is yours while it's borrowed, technically even though the software is on your computer it's not your property.
Fair enough, you recognize the EULA as a valid contract. So you are not allowed to use the free Eagle for commercial use, or reverse engineer or modify it in any way, including removing limitations.

I agree with Dave on this one, you should pay for the software but after you purchase a copy, it is  (or should be) your right to whatever you want with it, just as you would with a painting, or a car, or a kitchen utensil.  You should be able to use it anywhere in the world, for whatever purpose you want.
The software that you paid with comes with exactly the same EULA, however. It's not like Eagle has a separate EULA for free and paying users. It quite explicitly states that you do not own the software and may not be able to use it for some purposes. Some software comes with licensing terms that forbid you from using it to make a competing product, forbid you from publishing a review or benchmarks on it, or forbid you from using it to produce weapons. How are these terms different from the terms you argued for in the previous paragraph?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 03, 2013, 10:11:51 pm
This is a contract electronically signed by you which usually states you can't reverse engineer, modify, etc. This is the piece that makes software hacking/copying/etc illegal, and the "crime" is breach of contract.

Even if you are in a country different than the one of the original software manufacturer, answering "yes" still makes you legally bound - in practice, it obviously is a lot harder to pursue any infringement unless the local law enforces its validity and sets the penalties.

Not directly related to this topic, but: Your statement is not universally true. For example, in Germany those EULA's (and other shrink-wrap license agreements) have exactly zero legal standing. The reason is that we have consumer protection laws that require that you see such agreements before you open/install anything. If it would be printed on the box, or on the receipt from the shop you buy it, and in readable font sizes, then it would have any meaning. But for stuff you can not see/read before you open up the package or install the software there is no way that the manufacturer or seller can hold you up to it.

Of course, fundamental rights of the manufacturer, like a general copyright, is untouched by this.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Alana on March 03, 2013, 10:12:33 pm
This software piracy thing reminds me of stories of how catholic church dealt with witchcraft in middle ages. Most people were involved in some sort of magic but only a few were caught by inquisition.
It was wrong because church [who had legal monopoly on spirituality and magic] said so. And they said so because they benefited from this situation allot.

With software piracy its basically the same. The only difference is that you do not die if they find out your pirated windoze or altium.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on March 03, 2013, 10:20:00 pm
So when I simply use the existing commands on my PC (the DOS debugger), using an existing user interface (DOS 3.1) to hack P-CAD to run without the dongle it is OK? (yes, I know, long time ago  :) )

NO! because you downloaded and are using P-CAD without paying for it!


No, I did not download it (I think it was not even possible in those days, there was no such thing as the 'internet'), it came on like 40 5.25"disks if I remember correctly. I hacked it for someone who bought it and wanted to use it on multiple computers.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 10:25:24 pm
That's ridiculous and not ok. If you pay for it, it's yours.
Same thing with software that I can't install and use on multiple computers.
Few software companies will agree. Most want you to buy a license per computer you run it on.

Then I won't buy from them, and neither should anyone else IME.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Wuerstchenhund on March 03, 2013, 10:33:04 pm
Usually when you are installing the software (or downloading a free trial) you are bound to the "End User License Agreement" - a contract that nobody reads and everybody blindly clicks "Yes"... :)

This is a contract electronically signed by you which usually states you can't reverse engineer, modify, etc. This is the piece that makes software hacking/copying/etc illegal, and the "crime" is breach of contract.

Even if you are in a country different than the one of the original software manufacturer, answering "yes" still makes you legally bound.

Not necessarily. I know in the US, software vendors can get through with almost anything (the laws are clearly made for corporations and not end users) including the borderline fraudulent shrink-wrap licenses, but here in Europe the story is quite a bit different.

For one thing, software which goes to consumers is generally sold and not licensed. And second, unless the click to agree licenses follow certain standards (end users are not expected to read, understand and agree to multipage gibberish in lawyer-speak) they are null and void.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 03, 2013, 10:40:25 pm
Few software companies will agree. Most want you to buy a license per computer you run it on.

Then I won't buy from them, and neither should anyone else IME.

Dave.

This is license looks like it might apply to Sony Vegas:
http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula)
Quote
The Software is licensed, not sold. Sony grants you a limited license to use the Software only on one (1) computer or mobile device, as applicable, and you may create one (1) back up copy of the Software.

From the DipTrace EULA:
Quote
You can use one registered copy on one computer at a time. If you would like to use the software on several computers you should order a corresponding number of licenses.

Did you buy any Microsoft software? Apart from some family/volume licensing schemes, almost all of them are also limited to one computer. The only exception of the programs I checked was ironically Altium.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 03, 2013, 10:40:49 pm
For things that are bought and owned, i see absolutely no problem in tampering with the code to have it do whatever the owner wants. Money and goods changed hands, so there is no stealing involved.

For example the bandwidth or options in scopes. The machine _does_ have these things already built in at the moment it is bought. If the manufacturer doesn't like that the 50 MHz scope can be tampered with so as to be a 100 MHz scope, then it is up to them to not include that stuff in the first place. To me that is the exact same as buying a "fixed" analogue scope and then reworking the input and timebase circuitry to give it twice the bandwidth. Only difference is that nowdays, the manufacturer already included the parts needed for that.

Also, i think that there is a huge difference between some software program meant to run on a generic computer and a piece of hardware that includes some firmware. In the latter case the firmware is an integral part of the machine: it can not work without it, unlike for example a CAD program: the computer would still work fine, wether the CAD package is installed or not. So, tampering with a devices firmware is no different than tampering with the hardware circuitry of that machine. Both require each other to work.

Last but not least, let's not forget that many manufacturers love it to throw licenses and crap into the users faces, while at the same time giving crap about these things themselves. Prime example here is the widespread use of Linux (and the busybox program used on most embedded Linuxes). I think that many China scopes (and other gear) use it as well. So, they would be required to offer you at least all the code that is under GPL. If they make changes to such code, they would have to give you that as well. In source code, no less. But you rarely see them doing that right away, more often than not they have to be forced to hand out that stuff. So who are they to whine about users giving a crap about their licenses, when they themselves don't respect the licenses of others?

Keep in mind that on paper, a lot of laws sound rather strong and freedom-limiting. But laws don't exist in a vacuum, they are constrained by other laws. Just take the DMCA style crap for example. Yes, even here in Germany you are not allowed by law to cicumvent a protection scheme. However, if that protection scheme interferes with the allowed use of what you bought, you are free to tamper with it as much as you like. Have a software that requires a dongle to work, but said dongle causes trouble using the printer on the same LPT port? You are allowed to "hack out" that protection. Lost the dongle for a software? Same applies, plus you could even reverse engineer it to make your own dongle if you like. LIcense server causes trouble in your network, or causes vulnerabilities in the network? Feel free to circumvent it then. Copy protection schemes on CD, DVD, etc. causing problems during playback? You can then circumvent it. All that of course is assuming that you previously legally bought the software/media/machine.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 03, 2013, 10:48:52 pm
This is license looks like it might apply to Sony Vegas:
http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula)

Quote
The Software is licensed, not sold. Sony grants you a limited license to use the Software only on one (1) computer or mobile device, as applicable, and you may create one (1) back up copy of the Software.

From the DipTrace EULA:
Quote
You can use one registered copy on one computer at a time. If you would like to use the software on several computers you should order a corresponding number of licenses.

Did you buy any Microsoft software? Apart from some family/volume licensing schemes, almost all of them are also limited to one computer. The only exception of the programs I checked was ironically Altium.

The problem is that manufacturers can write whatever they want into their EULA's and agreements. That does not, however, make them valid. They have to follow the laws of the country a particular user lives in in and bought/uses the stuff. They can not put in stuff that goes against local laws and expect it to be binding. It's pretty clear that software vendors try to avoid/ignore that simple fact at all cost.

Plus, for example in Germany, a contract or license that you can not read before actually opening/installing the stuff is void by default. You must be able to read the contract/license in the shop where you buy it, beforehand. It doesn't matter if it is available on some website, since no one can guarantee that you have read the correct version. It must come with the product and in a way that enables you to read it first, then buy/open/install the stuff.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages on March 03, 2013, 10:52:12 pm
I smell a thread lock coming.....
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 03, 2013, 10:55:59 pm
That's ridiculous and not ok. If you pay for it, it's yours.
Same thing with software that I can't install and use on multiple computers.
Few software companies will agree. Most want you to buy a license per computer you run it on.

Then I won't buy from them, and neither should anyone else IME.

I use Delphi and that allows one developer per licence, but they do allow that developer to install it on multiple machines.  Occasionally I run out of seats (new computer, etc) but a quick email to Embarcadero sees them bump it up for me.  If they ever go bust that may become an issue mind you.

Altium will also allow multiple developers I believe with the "only one in use at any time" limit imposed by network locks.  I don't have an issue with that and paid for a licence.

I would really like to be able to use my Sony Vegas licence (that I bought for home) at work occasionally though.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: IanB on March 03, 2013, 11:00:21 pm
Changing the subject a little, I have trouble seeing what Agilent gain from selling a crippled version of their multimeter as noted elsewhere.

To produce the other version they have to design and produce a case with different graphics.

They have to insert code in the ROM to switch features on and off.

They have more testing to do to make sure both ROM versions work.

They have to split production into two separate streams to produce two versions of the product.

Their overall design, manufacturing, test and QA costs go up.

For this they get to sell a product for less money.

So it costs them more to sell for less. How can it possibly make business sense to do this?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 11:00:39 pm
This is license looks like it might apply to Sony Vegas:
http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula)

The Software is licensed, not sold. Sony grants you a limited license to use the Software only on one (1) computer or mobile device, as applicable, and you may create one (1) back up copy of the Software.

Shame that their online registration process allows me to install the software on multiple machines. It asks you for a serial number every time you install it on a new machine, and it validates it online.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 03, 2013, 11:03:20 pm
Changing the subject a little, I have trouble seeing what Agilent gain from selling a crippled version of their multimeter as noted elsewhere.
To produce the other version they have to design and produce a case with different graphics.
They have to insert code in the ROM to switch features on and off.
They have more testing to do to make sure both ROM versions work.
They have to split production into two separate streams to produce two versions of the product.
Their overall design, manufacturing, test and QA costs go up.
For this they get to sell a product for less money.
So it costs them more to sell for less. How can it possibly make business sense to do this?

a) it gives the user choice (users like choice, it's a psychological thing, they know this)
b) it gives the sales guys something to sell, compare, and haggle with ("We'll upgrade you to model X for free" etc)

You can bet it makes business sense for them to do so.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: baljemmett on March 03, 2013, 11:35:05 pm
Changing the subject a little, I have trouble seeing what Agilent gain from selling a crippled version of their multimeter as noted elsewhere.
[...]
So it costs them more to sell for less. How can it possibly make business sense to do this?

Market segmentation could be one applicable theory.  That might make sense if they believe they might be able to sell to more people at the lower price -- those who would buy the full thing at full whack, and those for whom the full thing is a little pricey, thanks, but here's one with a few bits you don't need missing but the price is much more appealing.  Crucially, a lot of those who were happy to pay full whack will probably still be willing to do so, because there's some extra feature they want or because it's not their money or whatever.  As long as the extra moolah coming in outweighs their cost in segmenting their buyers, they win.

This is a concept which always reminds me of  a fun article by Joel Spolsky (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandRubberDuckies.html), if only because of the portrait of Augustin Cournot.  He's coming at it from the point of view of software sales, but also touches on other markets as well as covering why this sort of thing annoys people:

Quote
And God help you if an A-list blogger finds out that your premium printer is identical to the cheap printer, with the speed inhibitor turned off.

... and on the other hand Agilent are currently (or were recently) chucking free U1272As in with any E36xx PSUs, even the models of the latter that only cost £5 more than the former would have, so who knows.  They may be very smart, or they may just be overly generous ;)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 03, 2013, 11:36:58 pm
If you download P-CAD without paying for it, you are stealing it.
No, you're not. You may be illegally acquiring it, but that does not make it stealing. Just like how smuggling it past customs is not stealing, or using a patented technology without paying royalties, or circumventing protection against running unauthorized software on your consumer electronics widget.
That's an interesting example, as you cannot buy P-Cad - Altium will not take your money.
I originally bought what was then ACCEL, and became P-CAD, and paid a few maintainance fees to upgrade over the years. Shortly after they discontinued it I wanted to upgrade to remove the 400 component limit and was willing to pay for it. They would not take my money. I therefore feel no guilt whatsoever that it took me 30 secs to find a full-version license key on the net to remove the limit. If companies behave like that, screw them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 03, 2013, 11:39:52 pm
"If companies behave like that, screw them. "

That's my man!!! good job.

I personally think that Apple deserves to be treated like that.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 03, 2013, 11:45:53 pm
IANAL but I've always thought that the whole basis of click-through licenses is fundamentally flawed, as nobody would usually be able to prove who clicked 'I Agree".

In the case of stuff like test gear, I think there are two distinct situations
1) Deliberate crippling of hardware - bandwidth limitation or memory limits
2) Additional features, e.g. serial decode.
(2) is more like the case with  software, although would need some sort of EULA to make it enforceable (which I've never seen)
 However I can see no moral or legal argument against circumventing case (1) as there is no additional software involved, in fact by defeating the limits you could even argue that you are using less software functionality as you are no longer using the part of the SW that imposes the limits!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on March 04, 2013, 12:17:48 am
But how do you get Altium Designer for free? because you are a university student?

If I'm a student but I'm not in your specific university, can I get it? or every university differ?

sorry for that many questions.

-------

I noticed few pirated copies of Altium Designer 10 in the net but after 10 no any copy... maybe Altium people found a way to stop it.

Is there any much difference between 10 and 2013?

seriously, who can afford a 7000$ software? ^____^
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole on March 04, 2013, 12:19:20 am
My opinion is that hardware hacking is fair game because as already mentioned,  you have already bought the item;  but it wouldn't hurt hardware manufacturers to make generic products open,  customizable and extendable, rather than closed and too easily disposable or un-repairable.

Software is a little more tricky for me;  but if you are a student and need to get up to speed on the leading industry software, then that's ok in my book;  But it's a completely different story if you're making money through using ripped-off software.

With regard to music piracy;  I have no respect for the Music industry because they have wasted so much money and helped destroy so many great musicians over the years.

How many EE do you know that burn their wages?
Quote
On 23 August 1994, in which the K Foundation burned cash in the amount of one million pounds sterling on the Scottish island of Jura. This money represented the bulk of the K Foundation's funds, earned by Drummond and Cauty as The KLF, one of the United Kingdom's most successful pop groups of the early 1990s.


Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: digsys on March 04, 2013, 12:31:46 am
Long time ago, CANON tried to take a Company I worked for and I to court for repairing their equipment. Their argument was -
They have a professional standard to maintain and unskilled / unqualified service would degrade that. Naturally, you had to sell
an organ or small child to pay for the cr@p service, but they didn't mention that. The judge couldn't believe it and threw it out !
AFAIC, if the "rules" are FAIR, I play fair. Sadly, so many companies use the "legal" system as a weapon for unscrupulous gain.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Spikee on March 04, 2013, 12:33:29 am
But how do you get Altium Designer for free? because you are a university student?

If I'm a student but I'm not in your specific university, can I get it? or every university differ?

sorry for that many questions.

-------

I noticed few pirated copies of Altium Designer 10 in the net but after 10 no any copy... maybe Altium people found a way to stop it.

Is there any much difference between 10 and 2013?

seriously, who can afford a 7000$ software? ^____^
My college has a license server for 50 people. I have never experienced it being full or anything. As a college / uni you can get a licence server for like 1000 usd / year for x amount of people ? ... But yeah
We still roll on the 10 version because i'm pretty sure we don't get the updates. Maybe if i can find a copy of the latest version i can test if it allows our license.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bradleytron on March 04, 2013, 12:59:54 am
The fundamental problem is it is not really fair to sell copies of software.
Copy costs nothing to make and has no value.
Nobody deserves money for doing nothing.
The value is in actually creating the first original of the software and that is what should be paid for!
We need ways to pay programmers to work on open source, free software.
Until the sale of digital copy fallacy is eliminated, there can be no peace!

True, and I think that the model for software development and sales is akin to that which was in the music industry for so many years, i.e., the company owners take the lions share of the profit while the programmers do the actual work but only get the crumbs.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bradleytron on March 04, 2013, 01:20:32 am
As someone who has spent a fair proportion of their life making  a living from writing software, I always pay for the software that I use.

Just about everyone else I know of has a cracked version of Sony Vegas to do their video editing -- mine's bought and paid for.

Lots of folk have illegally downloaded their favourite movies from the Net -- mine are store-bought disks.

Sure, I have some music that's been downloaded from the Net -- but that's only because when I couldn't find anyone who actually stocked the albums concerned so I *couldn't* buy them.

Also, sometimes I might watch a movie from YouTube by downloading and burning to a DVD or a USB drive -- but if I like the movie, I go out and buy the disk legitimately.  That's exactly what I did with Iron Sky.

As for hardware mods however, well I figure that if someone buys a piece of hardware I'm selling and then "improves it", good on them!  With the Rigol 1052 then I see no issue with "upgrading" it to the 100MHz version.   If I were selling a piece of hardware that relied on keycodes to unlock firmware functionality I might kick myself if someone figured out the upgrade process but I would consider it "my bad" that they were able to do that.

Using pirated software isn't theft of software but it sometimes does deprive the rightful owner of the intellectual property of their justly deserved revenues.

And there's no point in suggesting that the software vendors "make too much money anyway" so it's okay to deprive them of revenues.  If they're smart enough to create something that people will buy at the listed price then good for them!  If you think it's too expensive then just try writing your own version and selling it in competition.  You might find that the price isn't really that bad after all.

"Using pirated software isn't theft of software but it sometimes does deprive the rightful owner of the intellectual property of their justly deserved revenues."

This is the common claim that always gets me. I am yet to know of any actual examples where there is universal agreement on what constitutes "justly deserved revenues" and what qualifies as "intellectual property", software or otherwise. If you develop any bit of software, or anything for that matter, I assure you that somewhere in it are replications of other people's work, those who came before you, those from whom you learned the craft of programming, so how do you account for these contributions, how are these folks compensated with their justly deserved revenues? If, as the programmer/software designer, you only get a tinny fraction of the total revenue's, how is it then fare to talk about "intellectual property" and "justly deserved revenues" when some unspecified group of "share" holders and CEO's are getting most of the benefit? BTW I'm not trying to attack you here, I'm just expressing my rage against the machine! How little we understand the distribution of profit in these complex market systems.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on March 04, 2013, 02:01:56 am
So it's wrong to buy a car without GPS navigation (a $2000 option) and then install a Nexus 7 ($200) on the dash? Or to take a 3.2GHz CPU and "overclock" it to 3.8GHz by tweaking the BIOS? Those are examples analogous to unlocking features or boosting performance.

Ironically, DRM actually promotes piracy by making the pirate copies better than the legitimate copies. It's quite ineffective at actually stopping pirates (especially for audio and video) but it does restrict legitimate users.

I think that the user should be able to use and hack purchased hardware and software as much as he or she likes, but no unauthorized distribution of software.

Interesting situation: Let's assume downloading music off the web is illegal. But it's legal to listen to music on the radio and even record it to tape for personal use. Does the situation change any if you replace the radio with a web radio and the tape recorder with recording software? The end result is exactly the same as if you downloaded the music off the web.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: IanB on March 04, 2013, 02:13:00 am
That's an interesting example, as you cannot buy P-Cad - Altium will not take your money.
I originally bought what was then ACCEL, and became P-CAD, and paid a few maintainance fees to upgrade over the years. Shortly after they discontinued it I wanted to upgrade to remove the 400 component limit and was willing to pay for it. They would not take my money. I therefore feel no guilt whatsoever that it took me 30 secs to find a full-version license key on the net to remove the limit. If companies behave like that, screw them.

That's one of the golden rules of copyright. If they refuse your money when you try to pay, you can't be guilty of failing to pay for something. Copyright is designed to protect commercial interests. If you demonstrate no commercial interest, you have no right to copyright protection.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 04, 2013, 02:13:08 am
So it's wrong to buy a car without GPS navigation (a $2000 option) and then install a Nexus 7 ($200) on the dash?

Of course not.  You took one part of the car out and replaced it with another.  That's in no way relevant to unlocking features.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 04, 2013, 02:22:31 am
But how do you get Altium Designer for free? because you are a university student?

Either the university bought X number of educational licenses, or Altium provided them to the university for free, they sometimes do this, as do many other companies.

Quote
If I'm a student but I'm not in your specific university, can I get it? or every university differ?

Yes, every university if different.
You can get a personal student license (pay for, but cheap)

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 04, 2013, 02:22:53 am
If you develop any bit of software, or anything for that matter, I assure you that somewhere in it are replications of other people's work, those who came before you, those from whom you learned the craft of programming, so how do you account for these contributions, how are these folks compensated with their justly deserved revenues? If, as the programmer/software designer, you only get a tinny fraction of the total revenue's, how is it then fare to talk about "intellectual property" and "justly deserved revenues" when some unspecified group of "share" holders and CEO's are getting most of the benefit?

Software programmers use 3rd party components and libraries frequently.  A lot of them cost money.  I know I've bought component sets, icons, etc and used them to develop software for sale.  Those 3rd party suppliers got paid by the software developers (before one copy was even sold), so why shouldn't the software developers get paid too?

Software companies have costs too.  I'm guessing that a lot of people have no idea of how much work goes into writing, testing and debugging a piece of software.  In the case of big software companies, why aren't their shareholders entitled to make money from selling the software?  They are the ones that stumped up the money (in advance) after all.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rick Law on March 04, 2013, 04:16:11 am
My opinion is that hardware hacking is fair game because as already mentioned,  you have already bought the item; 

At the risk of offending the original author by trashing the example he used…  (sorry, hope you don’t mind)  I think the discussion gone off to a bad start because of the bad example of using “trial software” and hack to disable the time limit.

Let me propose two different examples that is “pure” hacking something you “own”:

(Example 1)

Many software packages such as Windows NT, control the feature availability using configuration data.   For example, NT workstation limits the user to 5 IP session (or there about, I forgot the exact number) whereas NT server has no IP session limit.  The same for “number of shares” and “number of opened files”: in NT workstation you can’t have so many open files whereas NT Server has no open-file limit (or much larger limit – been too long, I forgot).

So, you can purchase NT workstation ($100-ish at the time), hack the registry and end up having most of the capability of NT Server ($700-$1000’ish at the time).  You don’t get the add-on stuff like DNS server, DHCP server, IIS but you are not using them anyhow. You can cheat Microsoft by buying an NT workstation, hack it and run it as a departmental file server with as much serving capability as the NT server.
 
This hacking does not involve “stealing anything I do not already own”.  You already own the license to run the NT workstation; you just relaxed all the limits.  Instead of paying for a departmental server ($1000-ish), you pay merely for a $100-ish workstation.  You are using just the stuff on the CD that you got and the license you got.

If you ask Microsoft, I am sure they would say if you are using server features (relaxed limits), you need to buy the server edition even if you don’t use DNS, DHCP, etc.

That example above is more similar to hardware hacking – you already “own” the stuff.  This “enable/disable” by configuration is frequently used by some fairly high-end  (>$10,000 US$) software package, be it limiting the number of users, or showing advanced options from already installed modules, or number of concurrent files you can work with, so forth.  No added software, but just change of configuration data.

(Example 2)

An unnamed software package requires user to “activate” the software.  Things are well and you used it for some time.  Now time to upgrade the OS to Windows 2099.  After upgrading the OS, the software wants to redo the activation but it won’t activate.  Their view is, with a more powerful OS, you can do more than what you paid for.  If you want to do more, you have to pay more: the upgrade is $x to run it in this newly minted more powerful OS.  Now, you can down grade the OS back, or break the activation so that the software can use the new OS.

One can argue “this unnamed package is at lower price because it can only do 3456 tasks and can’t sing to you.”  If you break the activation and get it to run in the new OS, now by merely hacking the stuff in your machine, it can sing to you as you work, and do 5678 tasks instead of just 3456 tasks.  Now you got more and didn’t pay company $x for the heart and sweat that went into developing these features.

Are you stealing?  You are still using the same software, except you can do more by hacking the activation away.

In the two examples above, we are talking pure intellectual property.  In the case of hardware hacking, you are also talking intellectual property as well – the intellectual property that cooperates with the hardware to give you the features and functions you purchased.  These companies are selling capabilities and features.  You are getting the higher capability and more feature without paying for it.

I think the two examples above serves as a better foundation for the discussion here than hacking something like trial software which one clearly does not own.

To expand feature by hacking, the one justification one may use is: "I did not purchase that, but I worked (by means of hacking) to enhance what I purchased, so the added feature came from my labor."    Is that right?  Is that legal?

Rick
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuiceKing on March 04, 2013, 04:18:26 am
This is license looks like it might apply to Sony Vegas:
http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/corporate/eula)

The Software is licensed, not sold. Sony grants you a limited license to use the Software only on one (1) computer or mobile device, as applicable, and you may create one (1) back up copy of the Software.

Shame that their online registration process allows me to install the software on multiple machines. It asks you for a serial number every time you install it on a new machine, and it validates it online.

Dave.

The logic bothers me.

It's OK to help yourself to obviously locked capabilities in a product because the security mechanism didn't stop you. (I think that's what you are saying.)

So is it OK to rob a bank...because you know how to pick a safe?

Or take candy from a child because he's unable to stop you?

Where does it end?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: RCMR on March 04, 2013, 05:14:06 am
Quote
"Lots of folk have illegally downloaded their favourite movies from the Net -- mine are store-bought disks.

Sure, I have some music that's been downloaded from the Net -- but that's only because when I couldn't find anyone who actually stocked the albums concerned so I *couldn't* buy them."

that's simply what a double standard means. If you couldn't that doesn't mean you get them illegally. I don't hate downloading movies from the net or so cuz all my movies like this... but to say it's right if I "couldn't" buy them.. no.
If the music I wanted to buy was not for sale any more then how could *anything* I do deprive the owners of revenue?

So, my act of downloading the music didn't deprive them of anything -- because they were not willing to take my money even when I wanted to give it to them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 04, 2013, 05:34:24 am
The logic bothers me.

It's OK to help yourself to obviously locked capabilities in a product because the security mechanism didn't stop you. (I think that's what you are saying.)
So is it OK to rob a bank...because you know how to pick a safe?

That is a ridiculous analogy.
You purchase the hardware, it's yours, you've paid for it, you legally purchased a tangible item, ownership of that item transfers to the buyer. When that happens you should be able to do what you want with it. If the manufacturer wants to hide something of extra value inside of there, then that's their risk.
Robbing the bank, is bloody well robbing the bank!, taking a tangible item without paying for it  :palm:

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Mechatrommer on March 04, 2013, 07:05:27 am
Quote
Did you buy any Microsoft software? Apart from some family/volume licensing schemes, almost all of them are also limited to one computer. The only exception of the programs I checked was ironically Altium.
although its ironically expensive for normal mortals. different businesses use different model and targets to gain profits. some targetting larger pool but ask for less, some do not have to, they can live with lesser customers... you guess why? if i want to be a numbskull i will complain the price is unreasonable nosensically high for that "simple" thing, but i wont because i'm not a numbskull :P because i know why, they got staffs they need to pay working for the next version. its like (if you ever) fishing. you can target for smaller fish but you need many, if you need bigger fish you need to go a bit further off the shore and fish only 1 or 2 probably and return home. both are valid strategy imho.

having perused this thread, its quite hard to discuss without "filling the gap", you cannot exterminate villains, or "rule breakers" ever! or somebody who simply "ignorant" or "doesnt know", be it the subjects discussed here or even the normal theft that went into your house. so simply i will lay the "digest" from the "one system of faith" that i know.

"in order a DEAL or BUY-SELL is successfully made, both parties must agree or happy"

if the seller tells you can do this but cant do that if you buy this item, if you agree you buy, the deal is made, if not you go away find something else. in our language its the "contract" or agreement "letter" or "file" whatever form it is, it also can simply be a "verbal" understanding. if you bought it and then you breach that agreement, and seller is not happy about it, you can be considered "stealing", "cheating" or "immoral" whatever you want to call it, "its just a word, what matters is the connection it implies" - (matrix programmer of the love). punishing the immoral is another out of subject so i wont touch it. theft can get away, "filling the gap" is the only way to deal with the issue.

having said that... based on the "digest", hacking rigol ds1052e to ds1102e is ILLEGAL IF the manufacturer is not happy about it, if they purposely leaked the info so people can make the hack, that probably is another issue. now why the hacking is illegal? because you pay the cost of ds1052e, not the cost of ds1102e ($100 more) you should be able to understand the reasoning its already mentioned here. same thing with software, licensing and what not... look back at the digest and think carefully, you may like it and you may wont ;) YMMV.

edit: i forgot i more condition.... let me re-state...

"hacking rigol ds1052e to ds1102e is ILLEGAL IF the manufacturer is not happy about it" AND IF they have had clearly stated in somewhere or in the file that you cannot hack 1052 to 1102 or of equivalent meaning. to be frank, i've never seen it so i consider myself have made the deal (buy-sell) without any contract or understanding, i assume both me and rigol are happy :P
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 04, 2013, 07:21:07 am
having said that... based on the "digest", hacking rigol ds1052e to ds1102e is ILLEGAL IF the manufacturer is not happy about it

BTW, I've had more than one manufacturer (I won't name names) tell me that they accept the risk that people will hack their crippled products, and in fact expect that a certain percentage of people will do exactly that.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: kolonelkadat on March 04, 2013, 08:02:34 am
The fundamental problem is it is not really fair to sell copies of software.
Copy costs nothing to make and has no value.
Nobody deserves money for doing nothing.
The value is in actually creating the first original of the software and that is what should be paid for!
We need ways to pay programmers to work on open source, free software.
Until the sale of digital copy fallacy is eliminated, there can be no peace!
Idiot. Selling a copy of software is no different from selling a copy of hardware.
You arent paying for the software. You are paying for the years of development. Just like with hardware. Do you really think a $20 000 device actually costs $20 000 in parts and manufacturing? The cost of manufacture is probably less than 20% of what you pay. The rest of the price is R&D, marketing, etc.

@op
If you pay for it, its yours to do with as you please. If you dont pay for it, its stealing.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Marco on March 04, 2013, 09:41:13 pm
If you pay for it, its yours to do with as you please. If you dont pay for it, its stealing.
So if I pay for some software which contains features which my license doesn't normally unlock I'm free to unlock those features?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bradleytron on March 04, 2013, 10:22:34 pm
If you develop any bit of software, or anything for that matter, I assure you that somewhere in it are replications of other people's work, those who came before you, those from whom you learned the craft of programming, so how do you account for these contributions, how are these folks compensated with their justly deserved revenues? If, as the programmer/software designer, you only get a tinny fraction of the total revenue's, how is it then fare to talk about "intellectual property" and "justly deserved revenues" when some unspecified group of "share" holders and CEO's are getting most of the benefit?

Software programmers use 3rd party components and libraries frequently.  A lot of them cost money.  I know I've bought component sets, icons, etc and used them to develop software for sale.  Those 3rd party suppliers got paid by the software developers (before one copy was even sold), so why shouldn't the software developers get paid too?

Software companies have costs too.  I'm guessing that a lot of people have no idea of how much work goes into writing, testing and debugging a piece of software.  In the case of big software companies, why aren't their shareholders entitled to make money from selling the software?  They are the ones that stumped up the money (in advance) after all.

Its reasonable what you say but for myself its a question of how much do the share holder's and CEO's take and is this distribution fair, overall? I, for one, often question this and ask myself how a company can justify the prices they charge, i.e., $5000.00 for Altium as it was quoted by someone on this form? After you tally up the labour, capital expenses, rework, upgrade costs, and the total revenues over the life of the product is this price, as one example, still reasonable?

When I was writing my comments I was reminded of a friend who, as an academic, developed all sorts of great instrumentation for research in oceanography then published the results in various academic journals. Well, it was not long before companies were turning profit from his ideas. I understood that he was okay with this but what transpired was that others were able to benefit from his ideas without him ever receiving a penny! I think its all a question of degrees of interpretation and the problem, as I see it, is this lack of a clear and mutual universal understanding about how profit distribution should work versus how it actually works and some folks in the chain are getting outrageous amounts of money while those, as I suggest, who are doing the real work, are not getting a fair share. So, if I can download and use software, somehow in breach of whatever agreement exists, in order to evaluate or learn that software, then screw the corporations who make it because the end result is that the revenues do circle back into the source company one way or another because, I, like most others I suspect, would pay for it if I/we wound up actually using it to generate revenue.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: w2aew on March 04, 2013, 10:33:29 pm
If you pay for it, its yours to do with as you please. If you dont pay for it, its stealing.
So if I pay for some software which contains features which my license doesn't normally unlock I'm free to unlock those features?

In my opinion - no, you are not free to unlock those features, assuming those features are things that you would normally have to pay to have unlocked.  Same holds true in an instrument.  Hacking it to enable features that you would normally have to pay extra for *is* stealing. 

Examples:

Hacking a DMM to turn it into a more expensive model, or to enable an optional feature that you didn't pay for = stealing.

Hacking a DMM to add blue LED backlighting to the display = not stealing, OK.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: uprightsquire on March 04, 2013, 10:57:31 pm
There is no upgrade path between, for instance, the 1052E and the 1152E. I think this makes a (possibly the) difference. I do see it as begin different to hacking access to, say, serial decode features that  are pay to unlock.

Rigol says that the 1152E is a completely different beast.  I cant pay for the extra bandwidth, thus, I am not depriving anyone.

What If I could mod the 1052E to 75Mhz? Or the 1152E to 125 or 150....? Is that the same, or different?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 04, 2013, 11:37:10 pm
If you develop any bit of software, or anything for that matter, I assure you that somewhere in it are replications of other people's work, those who came before you, those from whom you learned the craft of programming, so how do you account for these contributions, how are these folks compensated with their justly deserved revenues? If, as the programmer/software designer, you only get a tinny fraction of the total revenue's, how is it then fare to talk about "intellectual property" and "justly deserved revenues" when some unspecified group of "share" holders and CEO's are getting most of the benefit?

Software programmers use 3rd party components and libraries frequently.  A lot of them cost money.  I know I've bought component sets, icons, etc and used them to develop software for sale.  Those 3rd party suppliers got paid by the software developers (before one copy was even sold), so why shouldn't the software developers get paid too?

Software companies have costs too.  I'm guessing that a lot of people have no idea of how much work goes into writing, testing and debugging a piece of software.  In the case of big software companies, why aren't their shareholders entitled to make money from selling the software?  They are the ones that stumped up the money (in advance) after all.

Its reasonable what you say but for myself its a question of how much do the share holder's and CEO's take and is this distribution fair, overall? I, for one, often question this and ask myself how a company can justify the prices they charge, i.e., $5000.00 for Altium as it was quoted by someone on this form? After you tally up the labour, capital expenses, rework, upgrade costs, and the total revenues over the life of the product is this price, as one example, still reasonable?

It's really simple.  If you don't like the profit structure of the company selling the hardware / software, don't buy it!

Just because you don't like it doesn't give you the right to hack / pirate it.  There are some things I personally think are too expensive, but I don't assume that I'm therefore entitled to hack / pirate my way around them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuiceKing on March 05, 2013, 12:27:15 am
If you pay for it, its yours to do with as you please. If you dont pay for it, its stealing.
So if I pay for some software which contains features which my license doesn't normally unlock I'm free to unlock those features?

In my opinion - no, you are not free to unlock those features, assuming those features are things that you would normally have to pay to have unlocked.  Same holds true in an instrument.  Hacking it to enable features that you would normally have to pay extra for *is* stealing. 

Examples:

Hacking a DMM to turn it into a more expensive model, or to enable an optional feature that you didn't pay for = stealing.

Hacking a DMM to add blue LED backlighting to the display = not stealing, OK.

Agreed. I think this distinction is helpful.

It's an interesting question whether a hardware vendor has any legal recourse if you hack an instrument to turn on locked features. I suppose if this becomes a material problem for hardware vendors they will start making buyers agree to license terms and issue (software) keys to activate their products.

But even if there's no legal recourse for the vendor, that hardly makes it right.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: MikeK on March 05, 2013, 01:00:15 am
If you pay for it, its yours to do with as you please. If you dont pay for it, its stealing.
So if I pay for some software which contains features which my license doesn't normally unlock I'm free to unlock those features?

Yes.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on March 05, 2013, 01:16:02 am
Where do we draw the line? Nobody thinks it's wrong to overclock their own PC (though selling overclocked PCs without telling the buyer is at least frowned upon). That's more or less the same as hacking a 50MHz Rigol to 100MHz. Even unlocking extra cores or pipelines is considered OK.

What about region unlocking a DVD/Bluray player so you can view movies you legally purchased in another country? (Never really understood the point of the region lock in the first place. With DVD players being so cheap, a region lock is pretty ineffective even if it couldn't be hacked.)

And what if you buy a crippled piece of hardware and completely overwrite the software with some open source image or one you wrote yourself, completely unlocking it?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:17:34 am
There is no upgrade path between, for instance, the 1052E and the 1152E. I think this makes a (possibly the) difference. I do see it as begin different to hacking access to, say, serial decode features that  are pay to unlock.

Rigol says that the 1152E is a completely different beast.  I cant pay for the extra bandwidth, thus, I am not depriving anyone.

That also raises an interesting point. What if the company deliberately lies to customers and/or tries to deceive them by saying it's a different design when it's in fact not?

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:20:15 am
Just because you don't like it doesn't give you the right to hack / pirate it. 

But that's one of the main arguments here.
When you buy something, a physical item, money and ownership of that item has changed hands, who is to say you don't then have the personal right to do whatever you like with that item you now own?

The poll shows what I am sure the majority of people think, you do have the right to do whatever you want with the item you bought.
And that's not just in our industry, but the consumer one too, with jail breaking your iPhone or whatever.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: fcb on March 05, 2013, 01:23:23 am
An interesting thread..

As I see it, alot depends on what you have to do to get the enhanced features, the agilent multimeter being a fascinating case:
To upgrade the meter you change the setting in an unprotected EEPROM, you haven't had to copy new firmware into the unit that you have obtained in breach of a EULA or obtained under false-pretense (like the Rigol scope upgrade).

So I have no problem with the legality of the multimeter upgrade, or even changing the front end bandwidth of a scope in hardware - I'm less comfortable about the Rigol firmware upgrade. The fact that Rigol keep supplying Dave with test-gear kinda of tells you their attitude to the whole thing...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:31:32 am
But even if there's no legal recourse for the vendor, that hardly makes it right.

"right" in who's view?
If I purchase an item which I now legally own, I believe I have a moral right to do whatever I want with that item I now own.
Moral "rights" and "wrongs" are developed by society and are shaped by society, and are usually followed up by legal laws which are also shaped by society.
If the majority of society think it's "right" to do whatever you want with an item you own, then that will end up the prevailing view.
There are those who will still disagree, but tough, keep fighting  :P
When those views change, companies will need to change with them. No point trying to sue everyone who hacks their iPhone or oscilloscope, when society has dictated that's an ok think to do, and in fact someones right to do. Companies in that case have to adapt or die.

And that is why I will always fight for the right to hack anything that I legally own, I like to think that by doing so, I participating in the natural evolution of rights in our society. Even if, technically speaking, those views may currently be "illegal".

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: MikeK on March 05, 2013, 01:44:25 am
And, what I would like to point out, what an incredibly dangerous precedent if something you own is actually not something you own.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 05, 2013, 02:19:32 am
Just because you don't like it doesn't give you the right to hack / pirate it. 

But that's one of the main arguments here.
When you buy something, a physical item, money and ownership of that item has changed hands, who is to say you don't then have the personal right to do whatever you like with that item you now own?

That particular quote was referring to software, not hardware.  Sorry if that was unclear.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rick Law on March 05, 2013, 02:32:34 am
And, what I would like to point out, what an incredibly dangerous precedent if something you own is actually not something you own.

It wont be a precedent.  If you purchased an e-book, you don't have a book to leave to your children.  You have no control of your property.  All controls rest with someone else.  Publishers get away with it by selling you merely "a license to read" the book.  So, there it is. 

I don't like it, but I think that is something that will be with us for a while.  I am, in my way, protesting by not buying any e-book.  I want something that is mine and e-book doesn't fit the bill.

BUT - I understand more college books are digital only.  Students coming out of college in a few years will not have known the joy of visiting a library.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuiceKing on March 05, 2013, 03:43:31 am
But even if there's no legal recourse for the vendor, that hardly makes it right.

"right" in who's view?
If I purchase an item which I now legally own, I believe I have a moral right to do whatever I want with that item I now own.
Moral "rights" and "wrongs" are developed by society and are shaped by society, and are usually followed up by legal laws which are also shaped by society.
If the majority of society think it's "right" to do whatever you want with an item you own, then that will end up the prevailing view.
There are those who will still disagree, but tough, keep fighting  :P
When those views change, companies will need to change with them. No point trying to sue everyone who hacks their iPhone or oscilloscope, when society has dictated that's an ok think to do, and in fact someones right to do. Companies in that case have to adapt or die.

And that is why I will always fight for the right to hack anything that I legally own, I like to think that by doing so, I participating in the natural evolution of rights in our society. Even if, technically speaking, those views may currently be "illegal".

Dave.

I think there must be limits to buyers' rights in this situation, because it's not just the physical hardware that you are buying. More and more, you are buying that plus a license to use certain configurations or functions. In a "fair trade" it's hard to justify a buyer getting something for nothing when he gets it quite obviously at the seller's expense. I don't see how this changes, no matter how difficult or easy it is to break this lock.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages on March 05, 2013, 05:07:05 am
I was trying to resist jumping back in here. I have failed.

In the past you purchased something and it was purely a hardware product. If you wanted to improve it, change it, whatever, there was no impediment at all. Of course if you improved on an object, repaired it when it wasn't designed to be repaired, you "robbed" the company that made the product of another sale. Too bad for the company but it was moral and legal.

Shift a century and to the power of the corporation growing. Corporations are made to make money for the shareholders, even if it means to the detriment of anyone else. Now corporations have BIG influence on what laws are made, and usually to the detriment of anyone else. Get the laws changed so modifying software in something is illegal and now you can make all your devices reliant on software and illegal to repair or modify. So all any company needs to do now is design whatever they want, design in any obsolescence, intentional timed failure, a "bug" that makes people want to buy the next thing to get one without a bug, and hide behind the government backed (and bribed) hijacking of the right of an individual to actually own something and have the right to use it as they see fit. And if you find out about these intentional problems or limitations hidden in the software, you have just become a criminal for that fact of looking.

The law is no longer a just process but for sale to the highest bidder or blackmailer. Trying to tell people that they can't do what they want with what they paid their money for is just the corporations pulling the puppet strings of the law makers so they can make more money. It is not just law, it is robber baron time all over again.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on March 05, 2013, 08:23:17 am

When you buy something, a physical item, money and ownership of that item has changed hands, who is to say you don't then have the personal right to do whatever you like with that item you now own?
When you buy something, you agree to exhange money for a service or a physical product. You bought model x and agreed not to pay the extra for model y, that the company also offered. If you hack the x to enable y, you break the agreement you made with the company.

Example: Changing bits in software* to make a scope to be a higher bandwith model: Not OK. Disassembling a scope and putting your own pre-amp section in to increase the bandwith: OK. Using the manufacturer's schematics without permission for that: Not OK. Selling a kit that you designed for that: OK. Copying the kit without permission for that: OK towards the scope manufacturer, not OK to the kit maker.

*: Or putting in a solder blob to enable extra features. I did that when I was younger and didn't fully understand what buying someting really means.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 08:45:13 am
I think there must be limits to buyers' rights in this situation, because it's not just the physical hardware that you are buying. More and more, you are buying that plus a license to use certain configurations or functions. In a "fair trade" it's hard to justify a buyer getting something for nothing when he gets it quite obviously at the seller's expense. I don't see how this changes, no matter how difficult or easy it is to break this lock.

I contend that situation where hardware companies are crippling products is the wrong way to do it, and if they chose to do so (which I support is their right), it's their risk. The legal onus should not be be pushed to the consumer so that they can't hack a product they have bought because a seller decides to take that risk as part of their business and marketing strategy. That is wrong, and IMO, companies that do this (and try to fight it) will lose. The people who want to be able to legally hack their purchased products will ultimately win.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole on March 05, 2013, 10:18:08 am
I contend that situation where hardware companies are crippling products is the wrong way to do it, and if they chose to do so (which I support is their right), it's their risk.

If you order a horse and then a race-horse turns up with heavy weights in the saddle;  who's the fool?  you for not removing the weights?  or the company for not selling you a donkey?

Regarding software;  the company I work for who make software accept the fact the piracy is just a part of the business;  what I think is stupid is the way some companies who use the power of the internet to globally mass market products and to maximize their sales profits, then get upset when a 15yr kid someone finds out how to defeat their software and distributes the solution on the internet somewhere.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on March 05, 2013, 12:02:46 pm
Can't be long before end user agreements become commonplace on hardware sales, too.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: amyk on March 05, 2013, 12:05:25 pm
I think one of the reasons for the different thinking between hardware/software is that at some fundamental level, with hardware you really are physically getting something for your money, a carefully arranged set of atoms, and those particles are yours. It costs resources to produce every single item. With software, all the cost is in the initial effort to write it, to create a pattern of bits, and duplication is essentially free. Creators of software like IP laws because they make it easy to spend the effort of creation only once, and continue to earn from it thereafter.

Regarding software;  the company I work for who make software accept the fact the piracy is just a part of the business;  what I think is stupid is the way some companies who use the power of the internet to globally mass market products and to maximize their sales profits, then get upset when a 15yr kid someone finds out how to defeat their software and distributes the solution on the internet somewhere.
Some companies like Microsoft would rather you pirate Windows than use Linux or Mac, because it gives them more marketshare and can actually drive sales. Notice that all their antipiracy countermeasures don't display messages like "you're stealing, we'll sue you" but make a sales pitch with "upgrade to genuine software". I wouldn't be surprised if some people at Altium think like that, rather non-profit hobbyists pirate their product and get used to it, then become a customer and/or recommend to others if/when they get a job, than use KiCad/DipTrace/Eagle/etc.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuiceKing on March 05, 2013, 12:57:35 pm
I contend that situation where hardware companies are crippling products is the wrong way to do it, and if they chose to do so (which I support is their right), it's their risk.

If you order a horse and then a race-horse turns up with heavy weights in the saddle;  who's the fool?  you for not removing the weights?  or the company for not selling you a donkey?


If after ordering a meal, you notice an error in the check in the restaurant's favor, do you complain? And if it's in your favor?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuiceKing on March 05, 2013, 01:05:40 pm
I think there must be limits to buyers' rights in this situation, because it's not just the physical hardware that you are buying. More and more, you are buying that plus a license to use certain configurations or functions. In a "fair trade" it's hard to justify a buyer getting something for nothing when he gets it quite obviously at the seller's expense. I don't see how this changes, no matter how difficult or easy it is to break this lock.

I contend that situation where hardware companies are crippling products is the wrong way to do it, and if they chose to do so (which I support is their right), it's their risk. The legal onus should not be be pushed to the consumer so that they can't hack a product they have bought because a seller decides to take that risk as part of their business and marketing strategy. That is wrong, and IMO, companies that do this (and try to fight it) will lose. The people who want to be able to legally hack their purchased products will ultimately win.

Dave.

Since you are opposed to robbing banks :) it sounds like we are disagreeing about intellectual property rights in particular. In addition to the fairness/justice issue, there are utilitarian grounds for supporting IP rights, e.g., it promotes innovation. Are there no circumstances where IP should be respected?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:10:20 pm
Software pirating is blown out of proportion the figure’s for lost revenue are artificially inflated. It may apply slightly to this $29.99 shareware crap. You can’t count people who would never be able to afford the package as lost revenue like a typical $5k plus CAD package. If pirating really is that bad then a smart company would realise that their is a significant potential market out there they are failing to capitalize on.

And that is precisely Atlium's problem. They are too stupid and ignorant to realise the massive opportunity that lies in the lower market segments (that they initially founded the company on). The almost 100% of users who pirate the software and use only 10% of it's capability. A huge number of those users would happily pay for the 10%, and it would cost Altium almost nothing. Yet it would gain them increased seat number bragging rights, increased income for no outlay or overhead, and a huge community that would contribute to all their wacky content ideas.  |O

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:18:04 pm
Since you are opposed to robbing banks :) it sounds like we are disagreeing about intellectual property rights in particular. In addition to the fairness/justice issue, there are utilitarian grounds for supporting IP rights, e.g., it promotes innovation. Are there no circumstances where IP should be respected?

This is not about IP rights.
My view is clear and simple.
- If you pay for something, be it hardware or software, you should a) own that copy, and b) have the right to personally do with that copy whatever you want.
- If you don't pay for it, and you use it, you are stealing it.

If a company wants to try and hide IP inside a product they sell you, then they are doing it wrong!
I should not have to bend my rights of ownership in a product because some company wants to play "hide the IP" to eek out every last dollar in their supply and marketing chain.  :--

IP is a red herring.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Excavatoree on March 05, 2013, 01:39:22 pm
This talk of various hardware mods reminds me of some Fluke models that require no modification to any electrical component.   The Fluke 10 and 11, for example have the PCB conductive pads, and the software for the features of the model 12, but the rubber buttons are shaved and covered with plastic.  All one must do is drill a hole in the plastic case and push the button that's already there.   

Even stranger, the software for the 10 IS different, it lacks the auto switch from ohms to volts, but it still has the capacitance check and the min/max functions accessed by the covered buttons.   
 
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 01:43:34 pm
This talk of various hardware mods reminds me of some Fluke models that require no modification to any electrical component.   The Fluke 10 and 11, for example have the PCB conductive pads, and the software for the features of the model 12, but the rubber buttons are shaved and covered with plastic.  All one must do is drill a hole in the plastic case and push the button that's already there.   

That also dates back to the earliest original model 70's. The TouchHold button was missing, but the pads were still there, and a zero-ohm resistor set the function.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: saturation on March 05, 2013, 01:52:21 pm
As another wrote, because modern manufacturing can do so much so cheaply, what requires payment must be specified now in a contract.

If it can be used in only 1 device to unlimited devices to a single owner, or even multiple owners aka site license, it depends on the contract.  If you disagree with the terms, then don't buy it.



Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: hammy on March 05, 2013, 02:03:15 pm
When I buy an item I want to do whatever I want to do with it. Repairing, tweaking, upgrading, everything!
See the Self-Repair Manifesto -> http://www.ifixit.com/Manifesto (http://www.ifixit.com/Manifesto)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole on March 05, 2013, 02:10:48 pm
See the iFix-It Manifesto -> http://www.ifixit.com/Manifesto (http://www.ifixit.com/Manifesto)
superb concept!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Jon Chandler on March 05, 2013, 05:59:55 pm
Another way of looking at hardware is to consider printers or razors.  Both may be sold at a loss to tie you into buying expensive supplies from the manufacturer (ink cartridges or razor blades).

If you refill the ink cartridges or find a pyramid thingee to restore your razor blades (no, I don't think it works but some people do), the manufacturer is loosing money.  That's a risk he takes!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jancumps on March 05, 2013, 06:40:35 pm
On a lighter note:

How many of the people that pimped the Rigol are actualy using it to measure the higher frequencies, except for the one time to check if the upgrade worked? Just wondering.

Now back to topic.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on March 05, 2013, 09:17:47 pm
Another way of looking at hardware is to consider printers or razors.  Both may be sold at a loss to tie you into buying expensive supplies from the manufacturer (ink cartridges or razor blades).

If you refill the ink cartridges or find a pyramid thingee to restore your razor blades (no, I don't think it works but some people do), the manufacturer is loosing money.  That's a risk he takes!
you forgot to mention the fact that they made the inkjets the way they work, wasting ink at every power on, every print start, just to buy another catridge sooner, if i could i would gladly refill it with regulat paint but unfortunatly this wont work...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm on March 05, 2013, 09:38:05 pm
This is not about IP rights.
My view is clear and simple.
- If you pay for something, be it hardware or software, you should a) own that copy, and b) have the right to personally do with that copy whatever you want.
- If you don't pay for it, and you use it, you are stealing it.
It's funny how the copyright lobbies attempts to get illegal copying classified as piracy or stealing appears to be successful among lay people.

This falls apart as soon as you consider different business models. If you download Kicad or gEDA, it's obviously legal and morally right. It's also hard to see a problem with downloading the free version of Eagle. Is hacking this version to remove artificial limits crossing the line, even though you acquired it? What about paying whatever they're charging for a commercial license to the limited version, and then hack it to remove the limitations. Is this any different because you gave them at least some money?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Pentium100 on March 05, 2013, 09:42:24 pm
you forgot to mention the fact that they made the inkjets the way they work, wasting ink at every power on, every print start, just to buy another catridge sooner, if i could i would gladly refill it with regulat paint but unfortunatly this wont work...
And this is the reason I keep repairing my old HP PSC 2500CM (made in 1999) instead of buying a new printer. The cartridge refill lock does not work properly and the cartridges are quite easy to refill.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: free_electron on March 05, 2013, 09:53:01 pm
i have a different take on this subject ..

-if you make money off a product you buy ( whether a cad tool , scope , meter or anything else ) : BUY IT ! don't hack it don't crack it. You made money of something you designed/built using the too. give the developers of that tool their share. it's a one time thingie from you to them while your product is repeat for you. you have NO excuse if you try to sidestep it. The hammer should fall and fall hard if you try.

-if it's for hobby : you are in the grey zone if all you do is flick a bit in the EEprom or set the clock back to get extra 'runtime'. But i can understand you doing it. most likely manufacturers won't prosecute because they would not have sold you the more expensive option anyway. Throwing the how-to in the wide open is another thing..... it's fun to have the bragging rights but it can be seen as 'enabling' others to steal... and that's a whole different can of legal worms... at that point you are causing harm to the manufacturer. It gets worse if it involves ripping a chunk of code or a 'key' from  more expensive machine and backporting it to a cheaper machine that does not have that module... that is clearly stealing. you have no rights to that chunk of code. hobby or not.

if it's software : buy what you can. the devs need money too. otherwise we'll all have to run broken source stuff and compile our own chain of tools before we can get anything done (fine if that's your thing, but it ain't my thing. i use screwdrivers and have zero interest in learning to make screwdrivers. software is a screwdriver to me) .
There is excellent software out there at reasonable prices. Many of these tools are made by small companies. Altium Is a small company. So is McNeel associates ( Rhino3D ). 5K is a lot of money but it is a kick-ass tool. People spend 5K on new rims and a spoiler for their car .... while the car already comes with wheels and a spoiler does exactly what it is called : spoil the look of the car. Again , if that's your thing : go for it . it ain't mine. That 5K ( actually i paid 2.9 K a few years ago when they had a super-promo ) is money well spent and spread over the years of usage isn't all that much. But i agree with dave : they should make a sch/pcb/sim version only ( remove fpga/ip and compilers ) for 995$. don't cripple it apart from maybe max 4 or 6 layer and max size 20cmx20cm board. that would cover a lot of users. And they would move a truckload of licences... all the other low end software out there would be wiped off the table in one blow.

Now there are other legal ways to get your hands on hi-end stuff :
Sign up for a course at a university so you get a student card. You learn something new ( even if you flunk every course) and you can get your hands on 100$ licences from all the big guns : Adobe, Autodesk , Altium , Solidworks ,Matsoft and many others.

Lot's of licences have a dual install clause that let's you use at home. Altium does, so does microsoft office ! corporate licences of ms office include use-at-home. just pay for shipping of the cd. 45$ gets you office Pro ( including access , publisher and the other tools not found in 'home' )



Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on March 05, 2013, 10:54:10 pm
-if you make money off a product you buy ( whether a cad tool , scope , meter or anything else ) : BUY IT ! don't hack it don't crack it. You made money of something you designed/built using the too. give the developers of that tool their share. it's a one time thingie from you to them while your product is repeat for you. you have NO excuse if you try to sidestep it.

Unless you fundamentally believe in the concept of owning the hardware product you buy, and you should be allowed to do anything you want with it. And you also (often) believe that such hardware crippling is wrong.
If we (as a society) believe such things are wrong, then we have the right to try and shape industry by way of some good'ol civil disobedience  ;D
That's how society works.

Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 05, 2013, 11:04:01 pm
Whew this is a long winded thread...!
Here are a few points that formed while reading this far:

1 - It is their problem to fix, you don't have to!  Seriously, if a company can not succeed in preventing their software from being pirated maybe they should leave the business. This is not some sort of negativism, it is simply a reality of the market. If your business model relies on people not copying your code you are in the wrong business. People will copy your program. Competition will steal code. Lawyers will sue. Deal with it or GTFO. Same goes for any other industry out there.
Cant make a safe airplane? How about making cooking utensils?
Can't secure your safe? You don't belong in banking.

2 - "Intellectual property" is not property, the very notion is wrong. If it was all these companies should have been paying royalties to the descendants of Babbage, Turing, Maxwell, Einstein and the like... Some company coming forth and implying that their intellectual property is somehow more important than these guys is preposterous.

EDIT: Even if we accepted the existence of value, this value only extends to the source code itself, not to the binary blob that the end user receives, which is not maintainable, can not be peer reviewed or checked against the existence of malicious code.

All that a software company can claim is that they provide a tool of limited usability, which is acceptable as long as the price is right.
The fact that the company employs 1000 people (half of them lawyers) to produce this tool is simply a manufacturing inefficiency and does not concern us in the slightest. If the same tool could be produced with three people the company would fire the rest of them without squinting. Therefore seeking moral grounds in "keeping the coders employed" is futile. 
Hell, I wish somebody was concerned with keeping me employed but this is not how life works.

3 - Confusing human rights with companies. This seems to be an issue here. People seem to impart human qualities to companies. Companies obviously take advantage of that in their marketing by claiming that they are not "evil" but "good" or implying that they will be somehow "hurt" if you don't pay up, yearly.
A company is obviously an abstract construct and has no human qualities nor human rights. Confusion arises because companies employ people so most of us assume that companies somehow represent the people they employ. Nothing can be farther than the truth! Companies do not represent their employees. Employees do not represent the company. Sales matter, customers don't.  So better to keep perspective there.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JoeyP on March 06, 2013, 12:03:47 am
1 - It is their problem to fix, you don't have to!  Seriously, if a company can not succeed in preventing their software from being pirated maybe they should leave the business. This is not some sort of negativism, it is simply a reality of the market. If your business model relies on people not copying your code you are in the wrong business. People will copy your program. Competition will steal code. Lawyers will sue. Deal with it or GTFO. Same goes for any other industry out there.
Cant make a safe airplane? How about making cooking utensils?
Can't secure your safe? You don't belong in banking.

I've seen various versions of this statement in this thread and others. To me, that's like saying "If I can defeat the alarm system on a car, then I am entitled to steal it". No. You're not. It's still theft. You can use various rationalizations to sooth your conscience, but when you benefit from the efforts of others, against their will, and without compensating them, it's theft.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 06, 2013, 01:03:08 am
I've seen various versions of this statement in this thread and others. To me, that's like saying "If I can defeat the alarm system on a car, then I am entitled to steal it". No. You're not. It's still theft. You can use various rationalizations to sooth your conscience, but when you benefit from the efforts of others, against their will, and without compensating them, it's theft.

On the other hand, you as a car manufacturer knew from the very beginning that an unstealable car is impossible to manufacture.
Yet you went ahead and built the car fully knowing that your only defense against me stealing your car is to weigh heavy on my conscience... 

And yet you went ahead and welded the hood shut, you made the car go slower and burn more and put only one seat!..and made me buy a new one in a year because the tires are not replaceable!

Of course I am going to steal it. Not only that but I am going to teach my neighbor to steal cars as well. Also I am going to reverse engineer your engine and give it to the aftermarket boyz.

What did you expect? Flowers?

Relevant:
http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/19p38w/apple_microsoft_and_adobe_to_front_government/ (http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/19p38w/apple_microsoft_and_adobe_to_front_government/)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JoeyP on March 06, 2013, 02:08:25 am
Thanks for clarifying your position.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on March 06, 2013, 02:12:48 am
I've seen various versions of this statement in this thread and others. To me, that's like saying "If I can defeat the alarm system on a car, then I am entitled to steal it". No. You're not. It's still theft. You can use various rationalizations to sooth your conscience, but when you benefit from the efforts of others, against their will, and without compensating them, it's theft.

That's not what we're talking about!

To draw a analogous parallel between a car and our crippled hardware, its like buying a sports vehicle and then changing the ecu rom with a beefed up one and calling that stealing
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Ed.Kloonk on March 06, 2013, 02:46:41 am
Routers are a great example of this. You could get after market firmware for certain routers such as the Linksys wrt ones. The company winked in acknowledgement and as Mike said, quietly enjoyed the fact that it's one more product that wasn't sold by the competition. They were on the verge of embracing hacking routers openly...

The problem came in when the original software (and accompanying hardware) started to be closely scrutinised and revealed some serious short falls in both.

The company responded by squashing non-genuine firmware like a annoying bug and commenced several other non-hacker-consumer-friendly practises and frankly, has been putting out shittier routers ever since.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JoeyP on March 06, 2013, 03:08:53 am
That's not what we're talking about!

Then I wasn't referring to your comments. Many different positions have been expressed in this thread. I stand by mine.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on March 06, 2013, 03:28:49 am
Routers are a great example of this. You could get after market firmware for certain routers such as the Linksys wrt ones. The company winked in acknowledgement and as Mike said, quietly enjoyed the fact that it's one more product that wasn't sold by the competition. They were on the verge of embracing hacking routers openly...

The problem came in when the original software (and accompanying hardware) started to be closely scrutinised and revealed some serious short falls in both.

The company responded by squashing non-genuine firmware like a annoying bug and commenced several other non-hacker-consumer-friendly practises and frankly, has been putting out shittier routers ever since.
Which leads the users to buy from other companies like Asus and Buffalo...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Ed.Kloonk on March 06, 2013, 03:43:26 am
Routers are a great example of this. You could get after market firmware for certain routers such as the Linksys wrt ones. The company winked in acknowledgement and as Mike said, quietly enjoyed the fact that it's one more product that wasn't sold by the competition. They were on the verge of embracing hacking routers openly...

The problem came in when the original software (and accompanying hardware) started to be closely scrutinised and revealed some serious short falls in both.

The company responded by squashing non-genuine firmware like a annoying bug and commenced several other non-hacker-consumer-friendly practises and frankly, has been putting out shittier routers ever since.
Which leads the users to buy from other companies like Asus and Buffalo...

Maybe. Too bad for the unaware suckers that will eventually want to sell their unhackable old router on ebay.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on March 06, 2013, 08:02:21 am
To draw a analogous parallel between a car and our crippled hardware, its like buying a sports vehicle and then changing the ecu rom with a beefed up one and calling that stealing
If the content of that beefed up rom came from the car manufacturer, then yes, that is stealing. [I have a hard time believing that the rom content could be developed by an independent company and be cheaper than one from manufacturer. I guess that is in theory possible, but... ]
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AndyC_772 on March 06, 2013, 08:48:19 am
You might be surprised, then. ECU mapping is absolutely commonplace and there are plenty of well equipped, reputable companies who do it. The benefits of a mapped ECU can include better MPG, more power, improved smoothness and lower CO2 emissions - and all the more so if the map is refined specifically for the engine it will be used with rather than a generic off-the-shelf one.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jancumps on March 06, 2013, 09:04:35 am
You might be surprised, then. ECU mapping is absolutely commonplace and there are plenty of well equipped, reputable companies who do it. The benefits of a mapped ECU can include better MPG, more power, improved smoothness and lower CO2 emissions - and all the more so if the map is refined specifically for the engine it will be used with rather than a generic off-the-shelf one.
does it impact guarantee when the motor blows up for some -unrelated - reason?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on March 06, 2013, 10:35:26 am
You might be surprised, then. ECU mapping is absolutely commonplace and there are plenty of well equipped, reputable companies who do it. The benefits of a mapped ECU can include better MPG, more power, improved smoothness and lower CO2 emissions - and all the more so if the map is refined specifically for the engine it will be used with rather than a generic off-the-shelf one.
One learns something every day... Thanks!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: houdini on March 06, 2013, 10:40:19 am
id say its more like hot wiring YOUR OWN CAR.  I see nothing wrong with that.  If you want to pull it to bits that's fine.  And just because a company loses profit does not  mean its stealing.  Is it stealing from digikey every time you take apart some old junk for parts?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: ErikTheNorwegian on March 06, 2013, 01:29:28 pm
I`m a lite amazed (and amused) , I thought this forum got intellectual people roaming its forums  and that they   would respect, understand a not at least value intellectual property!   ::)

If you dont respect others intellectual propperty, how do you respect your selv as a intellctual beeing?   :-\  This is then a well defined oxymoron if you dont..  :)


http://www.jquantlib.org/index.php/Understanding_Intellectual_Property (http://www.jquantlib.org/index.php/Understanding_Intellectual_Property)

http://www.respectproject.org/main/property.php (http://www.respectproject.org/main/property.php)

http://books.google.no/books?hl=no&lr=&id=L2P3EHagf8cC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=respect+intellectual+property&ots=foDUMARJB-&sig=Kl1QmQPxa67wTey5p8Hj5VYCOjM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=respect%20intellectual%20property&f=false (http://books.google.no/books?hl=no&lr=&id=L2P3EHagf8cC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=respect+intellectual+property&ots=foDUMARJB-&sig=Kl1QmQPxa67wTey5p8Hj5VYCOjM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=respect%20intellectual%20property&f=false)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole on March 06, 2013, 02:25:00 pm
My father-in-law used to work for some of big car manufacturers over the years;  he told me a story once of when the design engineers for one of those companies brought in a brand-new top of range competitors model; and then they proceeded to strip it to the bone in a matter of hours, in order to learn / steal what they could.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 06, 2013, 02:32:31 pm
I`m a lite amazed (and amused) , I thought this forum got intellectual people roaming its forums  and that they   would respect, understand a not at least value intellectual property!   ::)

If you dont respect others intellectual propperty, how do you respect your selv as a intellctual beeing?   :-\  This is then a well defined oxymoron if you dont..  :)

I am glad that this thread has a tone of amusement as well. It would have been very boring if all this was grim bickering.  :-+

Now to address the points you raise, I maintain that "intellect" is a very real and tangible thing while "intellectual property" is not.
"Intellectual property" is a business scheme where the fruits of one's thoughts can be bought and sold as an item. This, however, inadvertently implies that the creator somehow has "exclusivity of thought". I.e. once the creator has thought of an idea, you are not free to think (or act on) the same thing any more. Those thoughts are now exclusive to the creator, you are not allowed!
This is obviously preposterous.

Here is a question that that I'd like to raise in turn:

Is the Theory of Special Relativity "intellectual property" ? Why? Or why not?

edit: spelling
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: ErikTheNorwegian on March 06, 2013, 02:45:45 pm
I`m a lite amazed (and amused) , I thought this forum got intellectual people roaming its forums  and that they   would respect, understand a not at least value intellectual property!   ::)

If you dont respect others intellectual propperty, how do you respect your selv as a intellctual beeing?   :-\  This is then a well defined oxymoron if you dont..  :)

I am glad that this thread has a tone of amusement as well. It would have been very boring if all this was grim bickering.  :-+

Now to address the points you raise, I maintain that "intellect" is a very real and tangible thing while "intellectual property" is not.
"Intellectual property" is a business scheme where the fruits of one's thoughts can be bought and sold as an item. This, however, inadvertently implies that the creator somehow has "exclusivity of thought". I.e. once the creator has thought of an idea, you are not free to think (or act on) the same thing any more. Those thoughts are now exclusive to the creator, you are not allowed!
This is obviously preposterous.

Here is a question that that I'd like to raise in turn:

Is the Theory of Special Relativity "intellectual property" ? Why? Or why not?

edit: spelling


"fruits of one's thoughts can be bought and sold as an item"

You both dont understand and give the answer in your own posting! So give it some thought.. you will get it, im shure of that.. Think copyright and down that way.. :)

"Is the Theory of Special Relativity "intellectual property" ? Why? Or why not?" In print, its copyrihgted and cant be reprint/copied without permit or pay.. so yes, but it was  a theory and  was not proven at that point of printing.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AndyC_772 on March 06, 2013, 04:09:36 pm
You might be surprised, then. ECU mapping is absolutely commonplace and there are plenty of well equipped, reputable companies who do it. The benefits of a mapped ECU can include better MPG, more power, improved smoothness and lower CO2 emissions - and all the more so if the map is refined specifically for the engine it will be used with rather than a generic off-the-shelf one.
does it impact guarantee when the motor blows up for some -unrelated - reason?
Absolutely it does, yes!

You might argue that it shouldn't, but in reality it's virtually impossible to prove that a modification you made wasn't the cause of the failure.

I design things for people every day, and if they go wrong then I find out why and fix them. If, however, someone took one of my designs, modified it (which they're entirely at liberty to do) and *then* complained to me that it wasn't working any more, I might be inclined to be less cooperative.

Once you start modifying something, you do accept a degree of responsibility for it. You shouldn't modify if you don't know what you're doing and aren't prepared to take the risk that you might break it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 06, 2013, 04:18:16 pm
"fruits of one's thoughts can be bought and sold as an item"

You both dont understand and give the answer in your own posting! So give it some thought.. you will get it, im shure of that.. Think copyright and down that way.. :)

"Is the Theory of Special Relativity "intellectual property" ? Why? Or why not?" In print, its copyrihgted and cant be reprint/copied without permit or pay.. so yes, but it was  a theory and  was not proven at that point of printing.

Oh, I understand alright  ;D
The only problem is that my understanding does not vindicate intellectual property nor copyright in any way.
I do not dispute that people use their intellects (among other things) to create beautiful and useful things. This is wonderful and people deserve to earn money as well as respect for that.
What I am disputing is the role that the "intellectual property" has to play in all of that. As I said before, "intellectual property" is a coined name for a business scheme where a company like a publisher or a record company wants to make profit out of somebody's creative work. In order to do this a company needs three things: to convince everybody that the work is an "item of trade", to claim ownership of the work and to claim exclusivity of trade rights. These three things are what you and I have been trained to call "intellectual property"

I happen to dispute all of these three things. What I maintain is this:
1- The author is always the sole owner of his own work while he has no rights over anybody else's work.
2 - Creative work is non transferable to another party, not by trade, not by theft and not by inheritance or any other way. When the author passes away his work becomes public property.
3 - Exclusivity of trade rights (i.e. monopoly) has been granted granted to various parties by governments in the past but it has always done more harm than good. Best to avoid exclusivity.



About Einstein,
let's leave to one side the fact that the theory was not tested at time of publishing. This is irrelevant. Hell novels aren't even real and are still copyrighted :)

The important point is that the text of the Einstein's work was copyrighted by the publishing company while the real intellectual work (i.e. the theory itself) was not. This was a common practice at the time and we just began to rectify the problem thanks to things like Open Publishing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_publishing) and Open Journals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_journal).

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: saturation on March 06, 2013, 04:34:38 pm
This recently was posted.  As background, Microsoft announced in the past 4 months that new purchases of its 2013 Office Suite, actually licenses, would not be transferable once installed in a specific PC.  However, so many complained they changed this policy:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57572795-75/office-2013-licenses-can-now-be-transferred-to-another-pc/ (http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57572795-75/office-2013-licenses-can-now-be-transferred-to-another-pc/)

The same flexibility can occur with any sales, including the release of added functionality say, in Agilent's new DSOs.  Buyers can simply walk away if  not satisfied with what constitutes 'ownership' or licensee as the case will be.

I for one, dissatisfied with those licenses, no longer use Microsoft's Office Suite, but  moved to Open Office > 6+ yrs ago.
 


Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: ErikTheNorwegian on March 06, 2013, 04:34:49 pm
"fruits of one's thoughts can be bought and sold as an item"

You both dont understand and give the answer in your own posting! So give it some thought.. you will get it, im shure of that.. Think copyright and down that way.. :)

"Is the Theory of Special Relativity "intellectual property" ? Why? Or why not?" In print, its copyrihgted and cant be reprint/copied without permit or pay.. so yes, but it was  a theory and  was not proven at that point of printing.

Oh, I understand alright  ;D
The only problem is that my understanding does not vindicate intellectual property nor copyright in any way.
I do not dispute that people use their intellects (among other things) to create beautiful and useful things. This is wonderful and people deserve to earn money as well as respect for that.
What I am disputing is the role that the "intellectual property" has to play in all of that. As I said before, "intellectual property" is a coined name for a business scheme where a company like a publisher or a record company wants to make profit out of somebody's creative work. In order to do this a company needs three things: to convince everybody that the work is an "item of trade", to claim ownership of the work and to claim exclusivity of trade rights. These three things are what you and I have been trained to call "intellectual property"

I happen to dispute all of these three things. What I maintain is this:
1- The author is always the sole owner of his own work while he has no rights over anybody else's work.
2 - Creative work is non transferable to another party, not by trade, not by theft and not by inheritance or any other way. When the author passes away his work becomes public property.
3 - Exclusivity of trade rights (i.e. monopoly) has been granted granted to various parties by governments in the past but it has always done more harm than good. Best to avoid exclusivity.



About Einstein,
let's leave to one side the fact that the theory was not tested at time of publishing. This is irrelevant. Hell novels aren't even real and are still copyrighted :)

The important point is that the text of the Einstein's work was copyrighted by the publishing company while the real intellectual work (i.e. the theory itself) was not. This was a common practice at the time and we just began to rectify the problem thanks to things like Open Publishing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_publishing) and Open Journals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_journal).

"The only problem is that my understanding does not vindicate intellectual property nor copyright in any way."

Well, thats where you are in lack of "training" and understanding, knowledge, simply read and get some more intellectual  knowledge..
Its a pretty "communist" and anarcistic way of lack of and respect for intellectual ownership , transfer of such you show here . Not at least the way of normal business is handled.  ;)
Distribution of those rights is a way of the value chain out to the consumer. By giving more people a way of living by giving moe people more to trade.  Its not that hard to grasp, is it??

I`m just curius, how old are you? (I`m 52 .. ;) )





Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 06, 2013, 05:15:36 pm
Its a pretty "communist" and anarcistic way of lack of and respect for intellectual ownership , transfer of such you show here . Not at least the way of normal business is handled.  ;)
Distribution of those rights is a way of the value chain out to the consumer. By giving more people a way of living by giving moe people more to trade.  Its not that hard to grasp, is it??

The problem is the stark contrast between how things are supposed to be "in the spirit of the law", and how they are used/treated in reality. If there is a thing like intellectual property, it can only really be the property of the one who actually used her/his intellectual power to come up with it. And it can not be exclusive to that person either, since others would come up with the same idea. In  reality, however, that "property" usually belongs to the company that the creator works for, at least that is how it is usually handled.

It's funny to see how people who criticize the current situation are rather quickly accused of having communist and/or anarchistic viewpoints. Just because something is the current status quo does not mean that it is right, in the grand scheme of things.

The next big difference is in patents, especially software patents. While the original idea was to grant some time-limited monopoly right (and thus protection) to the inventor, it is nowdays mostly used as a weapon against competitors. Just look at the abysmal quality of software patents. They are nothing more than a perversion of what patents (and the patent system) should be. Gross overgeneralizations, no details about the implementation, etc. Compare them to hardware/electronics patents, and the difference is shocking.

It continues with the IP rights in the media industry, which are nothing short of abusing customers nowdays. Then, just look at the agreements that software companies want to use. More often than not they contain gross violations of (not only) consumer protection laws.

Don't get me wrong. If someone comes up with something, that person should profit from it. But the way things are handled nowdays is totally out of control. Thanks to the lobbying power and money that corporations can spend on influencing politics.

Also, speaking of "fairness", a word that came up in this thread regarding the general topic, take a look at this video:

http://www.upworthy.com/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact-2 (http://www.upworthy.com/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact-2)

I'm pretty sure that the situation is not that much different in other "western/civilized" countries. One has to wonder how it came to that point, and stuff like IP laws play quite some role in that, i think. Also, fairness and ethics (or better: lack thereof when it comes to corporations) are a big factor in this.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 06, 2013, 05:45:12 pm

Well, thats where you are in lack of "training" and understanding...




I'm not going to respond to ad hominem slander, with due respect.

If you have any good arguments pro intellectual property let's have those instead. I'm not  inconvincible but you are not really trying.  :-//

Why should I have respect for intellectual property (which is different to creative work btw.) ? Do tell.
Why is it that the links that you gave seem to avoid mentioning scientific research? Because it is not intellectual?


Good response by marmala btw. I stand by that.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 06, 2013, 06:00:27 pm
Oh, and lets not forget the issue of research, either in universities or otherwise, that is sponsored by tax dollars only to have the outcome patented and commercially exploited by privately owned companies.

And lets also not forget that companies themselves do not always play fair either. The example of hacking a scope to gain more bandwidth is actually a really good one. If you complain that it would be unfair, or even theft, to hack the firmware to enable the higher bandwidth, then what do you have to say about low-spec ADC's used in those scopes, massively overclocked, to reach the sample rate? If they would be fair, shouldn't they instead use chips that actually have the required performance specs without overclocking them?

Each coin has two sides... Respect is nothing that is granted by default, it has to be earned instead. If corporations want to be respected by the public, then the onus is on them to start respecting these people again. That starts by how they treat their workers, and ends at how they treat their customers.

I'm with Dave here. Civil disobedience is what can change things. Laws and regulation ought to reflect what the people want, not what corporations can implement through lobbying and bags full of money. Todays laws are heavily skewed in favour of corporations. It's time that this changes.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jerry507 on March 06, 2013, 06:15:55 pm
Firmware takes a lot of time to develop too. Just because it's not physical doesn't mean it's somehow just automatically free, unless you sell software that takes no time (and cost) to develop.

To some extent I agree with Mike, if your company is too dumb to implement even the most basic protections then you can't get too upset. But it's still stealing.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 06, 2013, 06:58:59 pm
Firmware takes a lot of time to develop too. Just because it's not physical doesn't mean it's somehow just automatically free, unless you sell software that takes no time (and cost) to develop.

To some extent I agree with Mike, if your company is too dumb to implement even the most basic protections then you can't get too upset. But it's still stealing.

Well, no one stops them from distributing firmware version that include only the functions that the product is supposed to have. They can easily put a fixed firmware on, for example, those scopes, since there is no official upgrade path anyways. Of course that would mean a bit more work for them. They want to avoid that to maximize profits, so they chose the easy way out.

They could distribute the options as seperate files/drivers that would in turn be uploaded to the scope, encrypted. That would block people from hacking these options. But again, they chose the easy way and included everything in one firmware blob, waiting to be hacked.

Heck, as far as the bandwidth issue is concerned, they even have the same circuitry for all these scopes, so the bandwidth is already there, physically. Just to save a few bucks on production instead of having a few components to be different for each bandwidth version.

So, they must live with the consequences. Obviously it is still more profitable to go this route, and have people hack their scopes, instead of having dedicated firmware versions and/or hardware versions. If it would be otherwise they would have changed all that long ago.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nanofrog on March 06, 2013, 08:40:36 pm
Oh, and lets not forget the issue of research, either in universities or otherwise, that is sponsored by tax dollars only to have the outcome patented and commercially exploited by privately owned companies.

And lets also not forget that companies themselves do not always play fair either. The example of hacking a scope to gain more bandwidth is actually a really good one. If you complain that it would be unfair, or even theft, to hack the firmware to enable the higher bandwidth, then what do you have to say about low-spec ADC's used in those scopes, massively overclocked, to reach the sample rate? If they would be fair, shouldn't they instead use chips that actually have the required performance specs without overclocking them?

Each coin has two sides... Respect is nothing that is granted by default, it has to be earned instead. If corporations want to be respected by the public, then the onus is on them to start respecting these people again. That starts by how they treat their workers, and ends at how they treat their customers.

I'm with Dave here. Civil disobedience is what can change things. Laws and regulation ought to reflect what the people want, not what corporations can implement through lobbying and bags full of money. Todays laws are heavily skewed in favour of corporations. It's time that this changes.
From what I've been noticing, I have to agree with this.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: free_electron on March 06, 2013, 09:15:13 pm
Unless you fundamentally believe in the concept of owning the hardware product you buy, and you should be allowed to do anything you want with it.

i do believe in owning the things you buy, but turning on a feature you did not pay for still does not fly under that concept.

If my scope has the capability to do serial decoding but i need to pay for that 'option' ( even if it is activated by a key and the actual software/hardware is already built in but disabled ) that is perfectly fine. to me that is no different than buying an active probe for the machine. once i have that key the scope gets new capabilities. just like it does when i buy an active or differential probe for it. that key may be only a string of characters but i see it as a tool i can add to an existing machine and don;t have to buy something completely different for.

the machine can grow as my needs grow. it saves me money short term ( i don't pay for what i don't need now) and long term ( i pay only the delta as opposed to a whole new machine ) when upgrade day comes.

That key is simply a missing piece of code.

Let's assume that this is how the key works : the scope has the software built in but the function pointer that calls it is now point nowhere. that area in the flash rom is empty and simply points to nothing.
by entering the key a small program is run that calculates , based on the key and the serial number of the scope the correct call address and alters that in the rom. there you go. you now have different firmware , even if only by a few bytes , than a scope that does not have this capability. self calculating that thing and 'hacking it' is stealing.

microsoft office cd roms hold all the software. it's the licence key that determines what is installed and enabled ...
same for windows.

if you are doing thus for hobby ... mey. but if you are doing this to a machine used to make money off ... you deserve to get hit on the head. The investment in designing this thing is so large that they need to recup the costs somehow. i'm perfectly fine paying for an extra screwdriver.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on March 06, 2013, 09:31:31 pm
There sadly seem to be a lot of ignorance of the actual time and money that software takes to develop, market and support.  I'm guessing that the "pro piracy" people have never developed any meaningful software.  If they had, they wouldn't be talking such rubbish.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages on March 06, 2013, 09:57:15 pm
Really..... How is modifying a DS1052 to DS1102 any different than changing some capacitors in the story I told earlier? If you think that removing a few capacitors to remove an artificial frequency response is stealing, then I don't know what to say. Manufacturers making the software the limitation and then paying politicians to make it a law that you can't play with the software is against my rights IMHO. I have the right to do whatever I want for what I pay for. Just because corporations line the pockets of politicians doesn't make that change to legal rights moral. Laws have been made and abused many times to take the rights away from people. Civil disobedience is how laws sometimes get reversed.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: akcoder on March 07, 2013, 04:09:04 am
Then you can argue about whether you own or license software or firmware that you paid money for.

Yes, that was one of the answers I prepared for all the "If it is mine" voters, but that could start another discussion: Do you feel you 'own' the software when actually you only have a license to use it. Anyway, going off-topic myself now...

I've been a software engineer for the past 14 years, the last 7 working on a commercial product. Its my belief that software is owned, not licensed. Licenses can be revoked, and I have fundamental problems with revoking someones right to use software they have purchased.

I also firmly believe that all forms of software activation are not only a pain for the end user, but ultimately only end up hurting people who legally purchased the software.

-dan
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PeteInTexas on March 07, 2013, 04:45:59 am
Stealing is wrong and so is the notion of owning non-physical things.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jancumps on March 07, 2013, 05:01:21 am
Stealing is wrong and so is the notion of owning non-physical things.
You own a cd and you don't own an mp3?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PeteInTexas on March 07, 2013, 05:12:16 am
Let's assume that this is how the key works : the scope has the software built in but the function pointer that calls it is now point nowhere. that area in the flash rom is empty and simply points to nothing.
by entering the key a small program is run that calculates , based on the key and the serial number of the scope the correct call address and alters that in the rom. there you go. you now have different firmware , even if only by a few bytes , than a scope that does not have this capability. self calculating that thing and 'hacking it' is stealing.

Looks like the buyer already paid for the feature because it shipped with the product and therefore has every right to do what they wish with it, including "self calculate" activation.  The seller is not economically disadvantaged by this because the feature was already paid for.  In fact, it is the buyer who is economically disadvantage because, in addition to having paid good money for it, now has to spend effort "calculating" activation of it.

If a buyer is not supposed to have a feature, DON'T SHIP IT WITH THE PRODUCT!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PeteInTexas on March 07, 2013, 05:17:35 am
Stealing is wrong and so is the notion of owning non-physical things.
You own a cd and you don't own an mp3?

yes
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jerry507 on March 07, 2013, 06:16:40 am
If you buy a book, should you be free to copy everything out of it and hand it out to people? You bought it the hardware, you can do whatever you want with it. Maybe that makes sense to you, but it doesn't to me. Take the time to think about the exact same situation in a different area, if you can rationalize it in both places then we have a fundamental disagreement. If not, you've simply convinced yourself of something regardless of logic and reason.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: uprightsquire on March 07, 2013, 06:42:20 am
If you buy a book, should you be free to copy everything out of it and hand it out to people? You bought it the hardware, you can do whatever you want with it. Maybe that makes sense to you, but it doesn't to me. Take the time to think about the exact same situation in a different area, if you can rationalize it in both places then we have a fundamental disagreement. If not, you've simply convinced yourself of something regardless of logic and reason.

No, but I would say you should be free to re-bind the paperback as a hard-cover.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on March 07, 2013, 08:42:11 am
Really..... How is modifying a DS1052 to DS1102 any different than changing some capacitors in the story I told earlier? If you think that removing a few capacitors to remove an artificial frequency response is stealing, then I don't know what to say.
I do believe it is wrong to steal the software from a better model and get something you didn't pay for. Similarly, it is wrong to change jumpers or put in a solder blob to enable features you didn't pay for. On the other hand, putting in a new pre-amp to increase bandwidth (or lower noise) is just fine, as long as the new design is not stolen. The gray area where a modification is or is not riding on manufacturer's R&D costs. In your example, the manufacturer used R&D money to develop a high bandwidth product and modified that to adapt to the current market situation by putting in an "artificial" limitation. By removing the limitation, you stole some of that R&D money.

Quote
I have the right to do whatever I want for what I pay for.
No, you don't. This is the fundamental misunderstanding or difference in opinion here. Of course, you must respect the intellectual property in the product. You can't copy a book, you can't re-label a product and re-sell it as yours etc. 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.

Please note, that the law in your country has nothing to do with this. The laws are for people without their own moral anyway. How easy or difficult this is is irrelevant also. 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.

The Internet where distributing bits is easy and practically free might change the economy to different fundamental agreements, but we are not there yet.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AndyC_772 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rerouter 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,
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu 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...
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole 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"?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala 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
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala 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
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages 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.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jerry507 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Lightages 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala 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
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
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Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: tom66 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PeteInTexas 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jerry507 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.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala 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
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala 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!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: alm 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?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jucole 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?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 07, 2013, 10:06:46 pm
BTW, one can look at the issue of enabling firmware functions from a different angle as well, and pretty much a pure hardware angle.

Once the machine is sold, it becomes the property of the buyer. Full stop. That means every single part in it, every ounce of copper, every bit of paint and solder: it all is the sole property of the buyer now. The owner can do whatever she/he wants to do with it. Hang it on a wall like a picture, use it on the bench, burn it in a bonfire, removing/adding parts, changing parts, etc.

This also includes, of course, the memory chips. They are now the property of the owner, and only the owner. She/he is free to do with the memory chips whatever comes to mind. That includes applying signals to it to make it change it's contents. Erasing it. Reading it. Writing to it.

And naturally this in turn includes the right to write whatever data the user wants to it. If such data happens to enable some features of the firmware then it is only the vendor who is to blame for that, no one else. He was not asked to put or hide stuff in there. At the moment of sale, the buyer wanted the stuff that is written in description and on the box. The buyer did not ask to have some extra, but unused code placed into it.

Does anyone really wants to take away the buyers rights to do whatever she/he likes with the hardware parts just bought? And here again it would be a double standard to say that the legal owner has the right to write to the memory chips he or she now owns, but at the same time making it somehow illegal to write to certain locations on it?

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 07, 2013, 11:16:51 pm
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.

Ok. Let's assume that the scope did not have any add-on modules in the memory when you bought it but they are freely available for download on the manufacturer's website. However, once the modules are installed into scope, they ask for valid license key before you will be able to use them.

Is it still ok to fiddle with the data and tweak it to activate those modules without buying a real license key?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 07, 2013, 11:55:06 pm
Ok. Let's assume that the scope did not have any add-on modules in the memory when you bought it but they are freely available for download on the manufacturer's website. However, once the modules are installed into scope, they ask for valid license key before you will be able to use them.

Is it still ok to fiddle with the data and tweak it to activate those modules without buying a real license key?

If they have that stuff freely available on their website, sure! Keep in mind that in some jurisdiction, like Germany (where i live), you actually legally own software instead of only having a license that grants you the right to just use it. That means that in your example the vendor offers me to freely download code. I do that, and thus it becomes my property. Of course standard copyright law applies, so i am not allowed to redistribute the software without the consent of the vendor, and that surely includes any hacked variant of it as well, naturally.

Putting the download behind a readme-and-accept style agreement may or may not work, depending on how it is worded and/or implemented. More often than not such things have little to no legal meaning here. Simply putting a readme file in the download directory does definitely not help, since no one can guarantee that i would ever download or read it. Having such a readme in a zip file that was downloaded does not help at all either, since that would be equal to shrink-wrap licenses which are void here anyways (this is because the content of which can only be read once the stuff is already in my posession).

The only real method would be, for example, that i would go to the vendors web site (or a resellers web page for that matter), select the extension i want, pay for it and then get redirected to a dedicated download link for my purchase (or have it sent by email, snail-mail, etc.). That way i can get hold of it legally only after i have paid for it, since any other method would again violate the usual copyright laws. But to add some more protection the vendor could, for example, request my units serial number prior to the download, then encrypt it with that, and have the unit do the decryption. It is easy to implement that on the server side, so no extra work would be required on the vendors site (except of course the one-time implementation of such a system). That way it would be somewhat safer since the same download can not simply be installed on any other device without a lot of effort, if at all, if the encryption scheme is implemeted properly.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 08, 2013, 12:04:51 am
Ok. Let's assume that the scope did not have any add-on modules in the memory when you bought it but they are freely available for download on the manufacturer's website. However, once the modules are installed into scope, they ask for valid license key before you will be able to use them.

Is it still ok to fiddle with the data and tweak it to activate those modules without buying a real license key?

If they have that stuff freely available on their website, sure! Keep in mind that in some jurisdiction, like Germany (where i live), you actually legally own software instead of only having a license that grants you the right to just use it. That means that in your example the vendor offers me to freely download code. I do that, and thus it becomes my property.

What if you go and download a full-featured 30-day trial version of DipTrace and install it to your PC? You legally own the trial version of the software and so you are free to hack yourself around the limitations?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: hammy on March 08, 2013, 12:10:56 am
What if you go and download a full-featured 30-day trial version of DipTrace and install it to your PC?

Bad comparison, that's not the same. I don't own a trial version. I don't paid for it!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 08, 2013, 12:24:05 am
What if you go and download a full-featured 30-day trial version of DipTrace and install it to your PC?

Bad comparison, that's not the same. I don't own a trial version. I don't paid for it!

The add-on modules in my previous example were also free so you did not pay for them either. There is no difference. Both add-ons and DipTrace trial are available for free. The add-on modules could even have a trial period of their own after which they require a licence key to activate them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 12:26:46 am
What if you go and download a full-featured 30-day trial version of DipTrace and install it to your PC? You legally own the trial version of the software and so you are free to hack yourself around the limitations?

Theoretically, yes. Of course i can not hand out the hacked version. And "theoretically" because companies are lobbying like hell to get something similar to the DMCA implemeted here. We already have laws against stuff like manipulation computers/software, but those are meant for completely different contexts, like somehow hacking an ATM or EC card terminal to get money or similar from it. Or hacking the computerized phone network to get free calls. Of course they also try to get laws in place to make it illegal to break copy protection schemes, at which they partially succeeded but mostly failed. Like, i can not circumvent such a protection scheme to gain monetary profits from it, or to freely redistribute/share the resulting, unprotected media/software/etc. However, i am allowed to circumvent it for my own purposes, for example to be able to playback or read media that i bought, or to get software that i bought to work properly.

It is funny to note the fact that software companies do all that lobbying to get new laws in place to protect their business. Because that act alone is proof positive that they do indeed want double standards. Since existing laws allow you to tamper with the stuff you own, and they damn well know that no one would even try to take those rights away from the people, they want to have special laws introduced just for them. It is actually "them" who want to have a special treatment for software, compared to hardware.

Time limitations are pretty useless anyways. One does not need to hack the program in question to circumvent that. Just de-install and then re-install the software after each period. Maybe delete some left-over config files or other config data, if needed. Another way would be to simply stop the clock for that application. This can easily be done by blocking calls to system functions that return the time. As long as the software thinks it's always the same date, it automatically will never expire either.

Speaking of tricks, there is also a really simple way to bypass the board-size limitation of the free download of Eagle. And it also does not require any hacking or tampering of the program. Want 10 times the size, 1000mm x 800mm that is? Simple: just scale down all the components in your part libraries by a factor of ten. When working in the program, simply always select 1/10th the size of what it should really be (trackwidths, drills, etc.). When done, simply scale up the resulting output by a factor of 10. While that method definitely bypasses the intention of the size limitation, it surely isn't hacking of the software. It's simply drawing really tiny circuits!

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 12:29:22 am
Bad comparison, that's not the same. I don't own a trial version. I don't paid for it!

Not really. As i wrote, the vendor offers me to download some software. I accept that offer and download it. After that this particular copy is mine. I can not redistribute it, of course. But still, as with "for pay" software, i am allowed to give someone else the copy i downloaded, assuming i delete it from my storage afterwards. Of course that sounds silly, since at any time i could download it again from the vendors site, but that's the way it is.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: hammy on March 08, 2013, 12:41:30 am
There is no difference. Both add-ons and DipTrace trial are available for free. The add-on modules could even have a trial period of their own after which they require a licence key to activate them.

Yes, ok. But at some point the discussion is a long winded road to nowhere.
The starting point was: You buy something, then you own it and then you can do with it whatever you want. This includes the hardware and the software inside. If there is something hidden inside you also own this hidden feature. If you can enable what you own, it is ok.
 
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 12:48:53 am
Yes, ok. But at some point the discussion is a long winded road to nowhere.
The starting point was: You buy something, then you own it and then you can do with it whatever you want. This includes the hardware and the software inside. If there is something hidden inside you also own this hidden feature. If you can enable what you own, it is ok.

True. That is the nature of such topics, it tends to get lost in minutiae and tangents... Will try to do better ;)

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 08, 2013, 12:56:51 am
What if you go and download a full-featured 30-day trial version of DipTrace and install it to your PC? You legally own the trial version of the software and so you are free to hack yourself around the limitations?

Theoretically, yes. Of course i can not hand out the hacked version.

So no need to pay for software in Germany if there is a free trial available that can be hacked.

Could you also use a third party key generator to circumvent the limitations for personal use?

Quote
Time limitations are pretty useless anyways.

That depends. The oscilloscope could have blocks of non-erasable flash memory that is dedicated for the trial add-ons. Each add-on with trial capability would have its own memory block, which will be burned out during trial period. Of course this memory would be in a custom chip that may contain some other important logic so that it cannot be easily changed.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 01:22:54 am
Could you also use a third party key generator to circumvent the limitations for personal use?

...

That depends. The oscilloscope could have blocks of non-erasable flash memory that is dedicated for the trial add-ons.

...

Is there any particular reason for you going off of more and more tangents? I mean, the basic concept shouldn't be that hard to understand: property is property. I am free to do whatever i want to the stuff that i own. It is completely irrelevant if i change some bytes using a hex editor or some other tool.

And regarding the time limited issue: Nice attempt at moving the goal posts. Mind you, it was you who brought that up regarding a time limited version of DipTrace, just that now you want to defend that for something different. But even then, the same applies for a scope as well: Making the thing believe it is always the same date means it will never expire. It could try and save the actual usage time somewhere, but then i can always overwrite that. They can try and use whatever special chips they like, i am still free to hack the stuff. It simply doesn't matter: property is property. All they can do is try to block me from fiddling around through technical means.

But in the end it is just a bunch of chips and a CPU, running some code. Due to the simple fact that it is a universal CPU, that it needs some external, rewriteable memory (unless they want to go the non-updateable, mask-programmed way, which would open up a really nasty can of worms for them in terms of product liability, given the complexity of such machines) there will always be a way to make it do whatever the owner wants. All they can do is trying to increase the time-span one needs to figure it out.

really, there is no point in going off on such tangents and nitpicks. There is nothing clever by a constant stream of "but what if..." in an attempt to find some tiny exception while the overarching principle and circumstances are the same. You see, if pigs could fly it could rain bacon, but i would still be sitting here eating a steak....

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 08, 2013, 01:35:14 am
The starting point was: You buy something, then you own it and then you can do with it whatever you want. This includes the hardware and the software inside. If there is something hidden inside you also own this hidden feature. If you can enable what you own, it is ok.

Essentially the software inside may have parts that are trial versions, which will require a license key after the trial is over. This is no different to (possibly pre-installed) computer software that gives you a trial period. Is it ok to crack the anti-virus software that was pre-installed into your PC?

In the Rigol hack one had to change bytes in the data memory that is used by the software and so the software was cracked to work in the 100 MHz bandwidth mode. Sure it was a simple crack but that does not change it. In my eyes that is the same as cracking normal computer software.

In my opinion, there had not been any issues if the Rigol's firmware had been replaced with some open-source or free firmware that enables the 100 MHz bandwith. It is your hardware and you are free to do what you want with it. However, the firmware that belongs to software domain (i.e. both code and related data) should be treated like any other software. If it is ok to crack software in the scope then it should be ok to crack software in the computer and vice versa. Otherwise there is a double standard.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mgronber on March 08, 2013, 01:58:24 am
Is there any particular reason for you going off of more and more tangents?

Yes, I was gathering information. I skipped most of your text in my replies because there was nothing that I would have argued with you. I just wanted to know what you think is ok and what is not.

Quote
I mean, the basic concept shouldn't be that hard to understand: property is property. I am free to do whatever i want to the stuff that i own. It is completely irrelevant if i change some bytes using a hex editor or some other tool.

Basic concept is simple but the interpretation varies. I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that cracking software is accepted in Germany. I do understand that you are allowed to circumvent copy protections for the software that you have bought meaning that the cracked version is essentially the same software featurewise but without the copy protection. I did not expect that you are allowed to crack the software to provide more features than you have paid for.

Quote
And regarding the time limited issue: Nice attempt at moving the goal posts.

That was not my intention. Except maybe temporarily... :)

Quote
Mind you, it was you who brought that up regarding a time limited version of DipTrace, [...]

That was a side track that I maybe should have left out.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on March 08, 2013, 09:35:18 am
haha preinstalled things on a pc/laptop, my laptop have a nice self install image on a hidden partition (hidden for windows) which then installs 50gb crap included win 7 ultimate half of the stuffs "free" trial or other useless crap, but unless i find a way to modify that image it will be installed every time. i didnt ask for any of those, and i wont ever use it, its like a phone call for asus service center which i had to make once when the bios of the laptop decided to corrupt the video signal when you enter the bios, they told me send it in to repair yeah.. i asked how can i acces for the coin cell for it? they said i cannot remove it even if they told me how to acces it, its seen from the service door's lower side in a cell holder.... after these i have no problem tampering with these stuffs.


what Free_electron mentioned cad programs in university courses on discounts i would gladly get a copy for that price of solidworks or altium etc, but for the price they normally ask for it i wont buy it for my personal use, i have no income of owning and working with those anyway, and i dont even know our university offers anything like the ones in the usa regarding student licenses for software
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: jerry507 on March 08, 2013, 04:53:02 pm
mamalala essentially doesn't believe licenses mean anything. He doesn't seem to hold any idea of "intellectual property". While hardware and software are in many ways similar, they can't be treated exactly the same because software can be copied effortlessly. The fine line is trying to figure out in what ways they're the same and where they're not.

This is why he'll agree to silly things, like demo versions being available means he can use a keygen or other hack to unlock the full version. That is software piracy, and it's not a position most people on this forum would agree with I believe.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PeteInTexas on March 08, 2013, 05:26:14 pm
mamalala essentially doesn't believe licenses mean anything. He doesn't seem to hold any idea of "intellectual property". While hardware and software are in many ways similar, they can't be treated exactly the same because software can be copied effortlessly. The fine line is trying to figure out in what ways they're the same and where they're not.

This is why he'll agree to silly things, like demo versions being available means he can use a keygen or other hack to unlock the full version. That is software piracy, and it's not a position most people on this forum would agree with I believe.

No, ease of copying is not the issue.  The absurdity of "intellectual property" stems from the inherently flawed notion that non-physical things can be property.  Its not a natural concept with many corner cases and intractable in practice.  Modern economies should abandon the notion altogether instead of wasting valuable resources forcing it into place.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: HLA-27b on March 08, 2013, 05:46:32 pm
No, ease of copying is not the issue.  The absurdity of "intellectual property" stems from the inherently flawed notion that non-physical things can be property.  Its not a natural concept with many corner cases and intractable in practice.  Modern economies should abandon the notion altogether instead of wasting valuable resources forcing it into place.


Exactly. You summed up the thread in a sentence.  :-+

Wherever you see "intellectual property" you can safely strike it through and write "information" in its place.

intellectual property
  ->  information

...and information has a habit of getting around.

Whoever came up with the idea of intellectual property in the first place had no morals and no conscience.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rick Law on March 08, 2013, 09:05:49 pm
... He only told you how it works with our law here in germany.

Maybe such concepts, EULA from companies does not override our local law, are unacceptable for you. But the reality is maybe a little bit different from the "this is good and this is bad"....

I for one would like to see the USA’s DMCA law overturned.  It is but a “money grab” by the film, music, and the computer industry.  I like the German laws as described by mamalala, they make sense to me.  EULA never made sense to me: I must pay first before I can see what the terms are - like you must pay for this car lease FIRST before you see the lease terms - and the terms could be anything they put in; and by the way, they can change the terms at their discretion.  So every morning before you drive to work, you best check their website on the latest change in terms for your car lease.  Their "out" is, if you don't like it, you can get your money back (after you spend twice that in lawyer fees and 5 years in court).

I wish we (in the USA) would adopt similar laws, but I know there is no chance that would happen given how corrupt our system is.

Case and point

HP, Lexmark, et al. printers are/were fairly popular.  Many use generic refill ink cartridges.  The ink cartridge has hardware/firmware to monitor ink level and do other things – one of which (since around year 2000) is to reject generic cartridges and report a failure when generic cartridge is detected.  Some generic manufacturers find ways around that.  But HP, Lexmark, and others used the DMCA law to stop generic manufacturers because they “hacked” into the ink cartridge’s (or printer’s) hardware/software to find out how.  That to me is not just dumb manufacturers, it is a money grab.

Since then, HP/Lexmark printers got off my list of possible purchases.  I know there were suits and counter suits.  I don’t know the outcome of where and how the law suits settled.   But that the printer manufacturer acted the way they did was enough for me avoid them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 10:01:57 pm
mamalala essentially doesn't believe licenses mean anything. He doesn't seem to hold any idea of "intellectual property". While hardware and software are in many ways similar, they can't be treated exactly the same because software can be copied effortlessly. The fine line is trying to figure out in what ways they're the same and where they're not.

Hey, you may want to visit the JREF. See, they offer 1 million dollars for anyone who can demonstrate paranormal stuff. And it seems that you think you can read minds.

Otherwise i'm sure that you can show me where i said that licenses mean nothing, right? And of course you can show what i do and do not know or understand about IP, correct?

This is why he'll agree to silly things, like demo versions being available means he can use a keygen or other hack to unlock the full version. That is software piracy, and it's not a position most people on this forum would agree with I believe.

Funny then that the stats of this poll show that the majority are OK with the option "Tweaking hardware and software is ok, if it is mine I can do what I want." Methinks you are somehow incapable of reading what is in front of you.

Also keep in mind that what i spoke of is about stuff you own and for your own purposes only. Keygens are a nice example of that. Per EU law regarding copyright, it is forbidden to distribute those to the public. However, it is not forbidden to have one, or to use one. You will find a similar issue about music, for example. You are not allowed to distibute copyrighted music through filesharing networks without the authors consent. However, you are allowed to download it. Over here we basically pay a "fee" with every storage media, printer, copier, etc., that will go to the likes of GEMA, VG Wort, etc., who in turn hand that out to artists, authors, etc.

Per EU law we are allowed to disassemble and modify software we own to make it work. Why do you think it is that companies try so hard to get additional laws in place regarding copy-protection schemes and the like? Because they damn well know that they would be laughed at if they try to have sensible laws tweaked to only suit their own agenda and screwing customers.

And believe it or not, the vast majority of legal experts, judges and courts holds the opinion that software is owned like tangible/physical things, even though the copyright laws state that intellectual work/property normally is a non-tangible/physical thing. Heck, just a few months ago the BGH, one of Germanies highest courts, made a landmark ruling regarding the sale of used software, in which it implicitely states that software is to be treated like any other physical property. And here comes the fun part: Unless the reseller wants you to agree to the original license, the next buyer isn't even bound to that license anymore.

Again, here in Germany the law simply states that the terms and conditions must be made available to the buyer at the moment of the sale. If someone sells me software, i am entering in a contract with that seller but not the manufacturer of the software. If i am to be bound to whatever license or agreement the software vendor wants to have in place, it is up to the seller to make that available to me before or right at the moment of sale. Everything else simply is meaningless, as far as the law is concerned. Every shrinkwrap license i can only read after opening the package is null and void, every click-ok-to-continue thing that i see only during install is the same: null and void.

This is not just simply my opinion, it is the law here. Oh, and there is a reason why i said that basically the same rules apply for stuff that i can download from a vendors website. See, we have, among others, two bits of law in the BGB that deal with transfer of ownership. One concerns sales. It states that a sale is one party showing the intent and guaranteeing another party to want to transfer ownership of something. If you buy stuff, this is then followed by what the second law deals with, the actual transfer of ownership. In case of a free download somewhere, naturally only the second one is in play, since no money changed hands. This is why it makes no difference wether one pays to get something, or can freely download it. As long as the transfer is legal, it becomes the property of the buyer/downloader. And sure enough those laws makes no differntiation between physical goods or stuff like software.

Software is handled through copyright law in general, but also has special provisions/laws to allow to deal with it in a different way. For example, per normal copyright law you are not allowed to change the copyrighted matter. But for software there are exemptions to that rule in place.

It is also important to note that many things are forbidden _only_ if you later want to redistribute the result. As with the keygen, for example. The law only states that you are not allowed to distribute them. It says nothing about owning or using them, which makes it legal, and several court rulings agree with that. Also, things are a bit different in commercial settings vs. private settings. Stuff that is OK to do for you as a private person may not be OK for a company.

Really, before you try to convince us that you know it all and that you can read minds, you may want to first get a bit of a clue about the situation here in Germany.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 10:40:43 pm
BTW, just to give an idea, here is the directive 2009/24/EC regarding the legal protection of computer programs:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:111:0016:0022:DE:PDF (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:111:0016:0022:EN:PDF)

Note that while these directives are more or less binding, local laws also apply. So what is written in there is not always exactly how things are dealt with in a particular country inside the EU.

Now note some interrestings things in this directive. For example article 4, restricted act, over which only the rightholder can decide. There is this tidbit:

Quote
2. The first sale in the Community of a copy of a program by the rightholder or with his consent shall exhaust the distribution right within the Community of that copy, with the exception of the right to control further rental of the program or a copy thereof.

Right after section 4, section 5 then limits the provisions listed therein:

Quote
1. In the absence of specific contractual provisions, the acts referred to in points (a) and (b) of Article 4(1) shall not require authorisation by the rightholder where they are necessary for the use of the computer program by the lawful acquirer in accordance with its intended purpose, including for error correction.

Quote
3. The person having a right to use a copy of a computer program shall be entitled, without the authorisation of the right holder, to observe, study or test the functioning of the program in order to determine the ideas and principles which underlie any element of the program if he does so while performing any of the acts of loading, displaying, running, transmitting or storing the program which he is entitled to do
.

Aritcle 6 then gets really beefy, it's about decompilation.

As you can see the rightholder does indeed have pretty exclusive rights. But you would be wrong to stop reading the stuff that follows the sections that grant those rights. Because the following stuff makes it pretty clear that there are quite a lot of exceptions that are granted to the owner (i.e. me) of the software.

Regarding protection, note what article 7 says. There you will find, among others things, what i have said in relation to the keygen example:

Quote
(c) any act of putting into circulation, or the possession for commercial purposes of, any means the sole intended purpose of which is to facilitate the unauthorised removal or circumvention of any technical device which may have been applied to protect a computer program

Note that it only talks about "putting into circulation" and/or "commercial purposes". It says absolutely nothing about owning and using those things. Also note that more often than not, "commercial purposes" usually refer to selling the stuff, and not so much about using it to enable some feature that in turn you use in your otherwise unrelated work, like some feature of a scope to evaluate the circuits you sell. Of course this is not a general, set-in-stone thing. While most lawyers that i had to do with share that view, there are also some who see it differently. In any case, the last word is always with the courts and judges, and even then you can have two courts or judges handing out different verdicts/interpretations about the same issue.

And note that this is just one directive. There are many more, either EU wide or country specific, that deal with all things related to software. And none of them really disagrees with me.

But as you can see, it's not that simple. Blindly putting some EULA somewhere and expecting that is has any meaning is whishful thinking. Contrary to what software companies want us to believe, real law and the stuff they can do/enforce is rather limited if you care to look close enough.

This of course brings up another, rather interresting issue: it's pretty clear that those companies knowingly deceive the customers, heck, even act fraudulently in many cases. After all they damn well know what they can and can not put into their agreements, contracts, etc. They are damn well aware that shrinkwrap licenses have no meaning in many jurisdictions. And they are sure as hell aware of the fact that they have to stay within the laws of the countries they sell the stuff, meaning that they simply can not put rules in their agreements or licenses that go against those laws.

But still they continue to do that as if nothing ever happened, and heck, they even defend the nonsense they do, fully knowing that they are in the wrong. Whose morals are then the worse ones? Who then is playing unfair?

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on March 08, 2013, 11:06:57 pm
Just a short follow up to show how "they" want to game the system and introduce laws only to their own benefit, because they are fully aware that they do not have as many rights as they want us to believe.

As i have mentioned, it is perfectly legal here in Germany to copy music or a movie for your friends and family, you have the right to a private copy. They know that, and they are aware that there is no way to have that changed. So what did they do? They lobbyied to get a special law, only for them, put in place: that people are not allowed to circumvent protection schemes.

So what do they tell us now? That you would break the law if you made such a copy and give it to a friend or family member, because you need to circumvent the protection scheme. However, this is not really the full truth. Instead our law says that you can not circumvent an _effective_ copy protection scheme. But what is effective? Most, if not all, protection schemes require some specific code. What if that code is in the form a driver for Windows, but i am on Linux? Right, ther scheme is not effective anymore. Or what about CSS used on DVD's? Is it really effective? After all, i also have to be able to play the media, so it has to be decrypted somewhere. Now combine that with my right to make a copy for either myself, a friend or a family member.

"Effective" also means that it must have a certain level of "hardness". Plus, that law is under quite some criticizm over here, and that includes lawyers and judges. That means that it is far from written in stone and as powerful as they want us to believe. Oh, and of course we run, again, into the problem that i am legally allowed to circumvent any protection scheme if it interferes with me using the stuff i bought. That means that if the DRM of some eBook, CD, DVD, BD, etc. acts up, or does not work on my system, i can simply circumvent it. At which point i have factually a unprotected version of it that is completely legal. And in the case of the music example, that again means i can copy it and hand it over to a friend.

But simply the fact that they want to have special laws in place only for their stuff should make it pretty clear to everyone what they are up to.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: TerminalJack505 on March 08, 2013, 11:53:26 pm
Speaking of DRM...  The software industry doesn't help matters any when things like this (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/07/amazon_pulls_simcity_after_server_woes/) happen. 

EA just released the latest version of SimCity and the game requires players to be online at all times to play--even if just playing a single-player game.  (Many suspect that this requirement is a DRM mechanism.) 

The problem is, EA FUBARed the server-side of things and no one can get logged-in to play.  To make matters worse EA is refusing to issue refunds.  I saw in one article where a person seeking a refund was threatened with a ban (from the EA network) by support personnel.  This basically would have prevented that person from playing other EA games that they had previously purchased.

Don't get me wrong, I don't support software piracy (I'm a software developer) but crap like this doesn't help AT ALL with the industry's public relations.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on March 09, 2013, 12:37:17 am
The whole problem is that as a legal user of software you have to jump through hoops (registration, dongles, etc) to get software going. What I do is simple: I buy the software but used the easy installable cracked version I download from internet.

When people try to sell me software my first question is: is there a cracked version available. If the answer is no, my next question is: can I install it on any PC I like without having to re-register, transfer licenses, etc. If the answer is also no, then the conversation is over. If something happens with my PC I want minimum down time. If I pay for software I want, no I NEED it to be available to me at all times.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VEGETA on January 26, 2014, 01:00:39 am
well, for me hacking my own hardware is my right. Say I bought a car... If I re-painted it, or bought new fancy rims or tires, or even install new electronics in it... Is that illegal??? NO!

about software, If the hardware itself is mine and it has software, so I have the right to modify it. I have the knowledge to to so, so I will. As simple as that... I even believe I can tell others to do so, but that won't apply always.

If they paid for it, they can upgrade it all they want. But if they didn't pay, then it would be forbidden to do so.

I am telling you that a lot of countries don't care about copyrights of software (like my country), so here it should be taken in consideration.

another thing to think of: how about someone who wants to learn a certain software that is "over 9000$" worth??? he wants to learn the damn thing! he don't want to benefit from it.. After he learns it, he will buy it AND benefit from it. << that should be taken in consideration, especially for software like Altium or MATLAB.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on January 26, 2014, 01:10:12 am
As far as 'hacking' oscilloscopes/hardware goes, I believe that if a company is stupid enough to sell you hardware that is the same as more expensive models, and expect you to pay a fee to 'upgrade' via software, they are stealing from you and not the other way around. If you buy the hardware, you can use the hardware.

Software is a different animal. What do you really buy if you buy software? A licence. But then the issue begins to be 'how to enforce the licence?' which then gets you into DRM and all that nonsense, which pisses consumers off.

Generally, if I can afford software, I buy it. But there's a lot of software that I simply couldn't afford to buy, and the company that owns it chooses not to offer a free or cheap version. In that case, they don't lose a sale, since I was never going to buy it anyway, and if they decide not to offer a version I can afford, then they lose.

It can be argued that it isn't stealing because it doesn't deprive someone else of the software. But at the same time, it does deprive the developers of money. But if you weren't in a position to buy it in the first place, I don't see the problem to be honest. And hey, maybe if some day I can afford expensive software package X, because I used it for years for free, I'll buy it. If I didn't use it for years I might not have chosen to buy it. It all works out in the end.

If you can actually afford it and choose to get it for free, that is different. Then you are stealing.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on January 26, 2014, 02:38:13 am
I kind of uncomfortably agreed with you up until this point.

That is not an actual definition of stealing. It may well be a natural extension of what you were saying previously but I wouldn't consider it a "logical" extension.

Technically correct. I was using it colloquially. In moral terms, if you like, rather than legal.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: lemmegraphdat on January 26, 2014, 12:28:15 pm
Some of you people are just like the Occupy Wall Street hoodlums. You think that you should have something just because you want it. You wanting it is a perfectly good reason to steal some other persons hard work. Just like what happened to Dave.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: lemmegraphdat on January 26, 2014, 12:55:38 pm
Some of you people are just like the Occupy Wall Street hoodlums.

Some of the vendors of these products are hardly innocent angels. There is software you pay for in good faith, you install and later find out it doesn't do half the stuff it's supposed to. Then if you acctually talk to a rep it must be your computer. The solution is pay for maintenance upgrades. Why should I pay for something a hundred times over. Then there is hardware. Power supplies that don't deliver the rated power other gizmos that fail just after warranty. The entertainment monoploly, ISP monopolies etc. Everybody is a thief how bad a thief you are perceived as is directly related to your PR budget.

I never saw any of this as a way of getting out of a licensing agreement. What kind of cheap crap are you wasting your money on anyway?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on January 26, 2014, 12:58:55 pm
As far as 'hacking' oscilloscopes/hardware goes, I believe that if a company is stupid enough to sell you hardware that is the same as more expensive models, and expect you to pay a fee to 'upgrade' via software, they are stealing from you and not the other way around.

No, that's just marketing a product a certain way. If you don't agree, you don't have to buy it.
To say a company is stealing from a customer by charging too much is just plain silly. A company can charge however much it wants for it's products, and they will live or die in the market by that choice.

Quote
If you buy the hardware, you can use the hardware.

Agreed.
If a company makes the decision to sell you a product with something extra locked inside then they take the risk that people will be able to access it without paying extra.
Several well known companies I have spoken to about this freely admit they knowingly take this risk. It is part of their business and marketing model.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on January 26, 2014, 01:29:57 pm
As far as 'hacking' oscilloscopes/hardware goes, I believe that if a company is stupid enough to sell you hardware that is the same as more expensive models, and expect you to pay a fee to 'upgrade' via software, they are stealing from you and not the other way around.

No, that's just marketing a product a certain way. If you don't agree, you don't have to buy it.
To say a company is stealing from a customer by charging too much is just plain silly. A company can charge however much it wants for it's products, and they will live or die in the market by that choice.



I was specifically talking about selling multiple models with the same physical hardware. Yes, it makes business sense, but you can't agree with my later statement and disagree with the first. If you buy the hardware, you can use the hardware. Again, I'm using the word 'stealing' in a colloquial moral sense.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on January 26, 2014, 02:50:35 pm
Look at exaggerated MPG rating for cars/trucks. What a $40k plus vehicle is chump change to you too I suppose?  I think they actually finally started to clamp down on that at least.
Look up "hypermiling" and you'll beat the MPG ratings very easily. The car companies just need to give away a sheet of paper (and maybe a DVD) containing hypermiling tips with every car they sell. Costs them almost nothing but would greatly reduce the amount of poor MPG complaints.

What is a rip off is Ford's "Ecoboost", or at least some of their implementations. There are loads of complaints that it doesn't do any better or even worse than the non Ecoboost version.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Galenbo on January 26, 2014, 06:06:40 pm
I don't feel guilty to have Labview Full and Photoshop (total +5K) on my PC for personal and hobby use.
I even feel it's criminal to not let everyone experience new skills by asking so much money.
All programs should be free for personal use.

I should feel guilty if I use free cracked programs if I make money with it.

 
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on January 26, 2014, 07:33:12 pm
I'm pretty convinced big software companies put cracked copies on the market on purpose to get a bigger installed base. Once the economic situation in a country or area gets better they cash in. Someone from Indonesia told me the company he worked for got 'raided' for illegal software. Ofcourse they had no license for any piece of software so they had the choice between shutting the company down for changing to open source or just buying the licenses.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Tinkerer on January 26, 2014, 09:10:39 pm
Opinions differ on this. Last I heard, the actual numbers of things downloaded vs bought was something like <5% for illegal downloading. I am sure that number is far smaller for people who download things to actually make money from it.

There was an article in either Popular Science or Scientific American where the author looked at piracy. The author had just written a book and asked on the forum what the readers thought about piracy. Obviously the reaction was mixed, but a clear trend was that many people think that those who download stuff would never have bought it to begin with and thus no one is really losing money from it. That if your program or book or whatever is good enough to begin with, people will want to give you money for it because they value it. Plus it will allow you to reach a larger audience because people will be able to see what they are getting before hand.
So he actually released the book on the internet for free as well as sold it. Guess what happened. His sales were actually slightly increased from what was expected despite the fact that there was a copy floating around for download.

I admit I have torrented a couple games and without exception, its almost as much of a hassle to download them that way than to simply buy them. I did like the games so much though that I went ahead and later bought legitimate copies after having been able to try them out. The thing is that its a pain to simply get cracked versions working correctly when legitimate versions work right away. In the end, I prefer to actually send money because its much easier.

The whole using illegally downloaded programs to make money, yea, I dont like that either. If you are really going to make money from this stuff, you should do things the right way.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on January 26, 2014, 09:20:01 pm
I'm pretty convinced big software companies put cracked copies on the market on purpose to get a bigger installed base. Once the economic situation in a country or area gets better they cash in. Someone from Indonesia told me the company he worked for got 'raided' for illegal software. Ofcourse they had no license for any piece of software so they had the choice between shutting the company down for changing to open source or just buying the licenses.

well it could even makes sense. just look at how some pretty pricy software is protected, just a damn license key, and it accepts it via phone activation too, its the easiest way to make the software usable without touching any of its files. even the damn games needs files replaced/rewritten to make it work and it cost 10-40bucks then why so little protection on a multi thousands dollar engineering software? they would still gain sales and market if they would offer for fractional price of the full software a none commercial license, get the program to watermark the outputs of it and the machine shops pcb fabs would not let you order from that part more than 10-20 depends on the size and usage to allow inviduals to make a decent 1 off prototype for themselves or a complete product for themselves and not be able to mass produce it from that file, even make the tools not allow to commercialize that file by opening in a licensed software and resaving it to clear the watermark, it should be recreate completly in the lincesed tool, or it will still be a non commercially usable document. look at the pricing of solidworks for students 150british punds was the first hit which i found when searched for student version, if they can offer the premium version of their software under student license which watermarks its output then why should not use the same scheme for non commercial licenses, they would still gain market buy a big margin, maybe from those inviduals who doesnt have legal acces to the more sophisticated programs would make better use of it then those who make a living from them? better design, better functionality? its pretty hard to make something decent with scissors and stones, i mean this for "free" and not so free softwares which are still in its childhood, buggy as hell mostly useless not able to create so many things or heavily limited in its process. its not productive, it will not inspire creativity.

they should make it clear and even get a damn court recognize that if a company or a freelancer engineer is making profit from a product they should have a commercial license to do so. if not should be closed down and fined for a vast amount. goddam it if you use a cad tool commercialy it will pay for itselft within few months. if its used for personal usage to make 1 off things for your usage even to replace something broken part in a machine which cannot be bought anymore or has a pretty high markup, like that fluke network analyzer tool's plugin modules ffs thats a small pcb in a plastic case with few passives.... andat what price? it should be a fairly prices non commercial license without any support, they gain market with it and if the person gets a job in the revelant industry and the company has no cad tools yet or use a stone age one could recommend one which he will be productive its a win for everyone cos the company will pay up the big bucks for the software
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on January 27, 2014, 12:23:06 am
Opinions differ on this. Last I heard, the actual numbers of things downloaded vs bought was something like <5% for illegal downloading. I am sure that number is far smaller for people who download things to actually make money from it.

I admit I have torrented a couple games and without exception, its almost as much of a hassle to download them that way than to simply buy them. I did like the games so much though that I went ahead and later bought legitimate copies after having been able to try them out. The thing is that its a pain to simply get cracked versions working correctly when legitimate versions work right away. In the end, I prefer to actually send money because its much easier.
I don't know for games but cracked commercial software is easier to get working than the legal version. Another problem is the lack of second hand copies. For some reason software makers have succesfully killed the second hand market even though it is legal so buy and sell second hand software in Europe. If you have the disk you have the license.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on January 27, 2014, 01:19:45 am
There's another scenario for cracked software...
Years ago I needed MS Visio, so I went out and bought it. It was when they first started online activation and the license was tied in with your unique PC hardware. For me the licensing procedure was such a pain in the arse I downloaded the cracked version and never bothered with the one I bought
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: vk6zgo on January 27, 2014, 04:48:25 am
Historically,Hardware comes from a different tradition to Software.

There were definitely efforts to enforce Patents in the early days,but they slowly withered away,until most commonly used circuitry became effectively "public domain".

Generally,Manufacturers did not try to prevent end users from modifying their products to increase their performance over & above its original capabilities.

They made a token effort by adding ominous mutterings about loss of warranty if non-original parts were used in repair,but this was largely ignored.

Many user modifications made the equipment more reliable,& in some cases,made it perform to specifications for the first time,ever!

In 1988,I was involved in efforts to convert a manned  TV Transmitter site to Automatic operation.

Note that this was not "remote control"---all that was required from the Studio was to present video on the Studio-transmitter link,& the Auto system would do the rest.

This required much delving into Transmitter & ancillary equipment,& a lot of "Reverse-Engineering" .

Just one example is when we modified a 1970s Marconi video switcher to operate from external signals,& to also switch audio.(the convention is not to split video & audio sources.)


Were we stealing from Marconi?

Were we illegally,or immorally,using their IP,by duplicating part of their circuitry?

Should be have ordered a new device which did what we wanted,from them,or another supplier?

Well,Marconi didn't seem to make anything like that anymore,so we had a look at an alternative supplier.

They used the same circuitry as Marconi,( wonder if they paid for it,or if it was public domain) & couldn't offer audio switching,so would have to be modified,anyway.
(We discovered later that we could have bought a very expensive switcher from Grass Valley which could do both---still with eerily similar circuitry.)

Try to tell the Big Boss that you need to replace a perfectly capable piece of equipment at around $10000,
because you might upset the original Manufacturer,& see how much traction you get! :D

To say nothing of new Transmitters at around $500000 each,if we followed that philosophy all the way!

A large part of early Software sales were used in Offices by Admin people,who were happy enough to fork out for a "package" & use it as specified.
Hacking of such systems was frowned on,as it could cause direct loss of sales.

Firmware in Test equipment seems to be in a "No Man's Land" in between the two traditions.



.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Kryoclasm on January 27, 2014, 07:50:06 am

I would say neither of them qualifies for stealing, since stealing requires depriving someone of property in all jurisdictions I'm familiar with. Neither in the case of downloading Altium, nor in the case of upgrading the scope/DMM do Altium/Agilent/Rigol actually lose the original item. It's not like a DS1102E disappears from the Rigol warehouse every time someone modifies their DS1052E.


"since stealing requires depriving someone of property or PROFIT FOR VALUE in all jurisdictions ."


If you wrote a video game, operating system or whatever and you worked and put effort into it...

Next you would like to earn a profit by selling it.

So, you then sell 5 copies but 200 copies make their way to those who want your creation, but don't pay for it because they can get away without paying for it....

Is it any different than walking into the software brick and motor store and walking out with a boxed copy of windows 8 under your shirt?

That seems like THEFT to me.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on January 27, 2014, 12:21:01 pm
Hardware manufacturers should not care if people modify their gear.

They don't.
I've yet to hear of an example of someone in our industry being sued, or even having the finger wagged at them because they modified a hardware product they bought and paid for. Most manufacturers simply void the warranty in that case - you're on your own.
It's simply a non-issue.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Legit-Design on January 27, 2014, 01:37:11 pm
I've yet to hear of an example of someone in our industry being sued, or even having the finger wagged at them because they modified a hardware product they bought and paid for. Most manufacturers simply void the warranty in that case - you're on your own.
It's simply a non-issue.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2009/oct/15/texas-instruments-calculator (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2009/oct/15/texas-instruments-calculator)

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/sony-settles-ps3-lawsuit/ (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/sony-settles-ps3-lawsuit/)

I can see why people are always worried because the risk is real. If the companies ask lawyers I know the lawyers want their fees.

EDIT: In Texas instruments case, I guess modifying the firmware could make them lose sales. I've heard some schools only allow certain calculators and before tests teachers can lock out third party/extra programs with master device. So this system would be broken. Good thing everyone knows once you put it on the internet it never goes away.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Fagear on January 27, 2014, 05:11:47 pm
I'm at Dave's side.
If I bought something (no matter: HW or SW) - I own it. I can do anything I want with it.

If there is possibility to hack/tweak something - I can use it. Add/remove parts or bytes. :-/O

Say, I bought a car with V6 under the hood and simple audio system.
But then I discover that the motor is actualy V10, but 4 cylinders just switched off (by SW control or some little HW parts missing). And software of audio system is actually including many options of sound processing and also GPS navigation included - but simply disabled.
I have no moral (and any other) things that can stop me from "enabling" V10 and advanced sound system with GPS navigation. If I want, have skills and tools to do it myself. I can buy or make additional parts, download SW from memory, look into it, change something and then upload it back. Am I stealing something? No, I am not.
Some thing with Rigol hacks: HW is already capable of doing anything and all options are already inside the FW in the lowest device. I may hack it to top-level fully optioned model if I want and if I can (have skills and tools). Nobody can forbid this to me. Am I stealing something? No, I am not.

It was explained above: if manufacturer cut some cost in production, making devices the same - he took the risk already. Don't put features that I did not ordered - and it will be fine.
Do not solder top-end amplifiers, fastest ADCs, replace them with lower cost and not capable of doing better performance. Do not include code parts in SW that are needed for purchasable options. Install that code only when option is bought.
And yet again - I can buy lower end device, and (if I want, I have skills and tools) I can figure out what to replace to get better performance and what to write, compile and add into SW to add some features. And I will not be stealing anything again.

It funny to read some people that are stating "adding backlight LED - is OK, soldering blob to enable some feature that can be bought - is NOT". There is a double standard already. |O

Say, you don't even know and care about any options that you can buy, and you do them yourself by modifying your HW or SW.
Let's say it is some device with LCD and no backlight. You open it up, solder some LEDs and other components - and you have a backlight, you are happy. So if manufacturer have no option for adding backlight in you device - it is OK to modify, and if manufacturer can actually sell you such upgrade for money - then it is NOT OK and it is stealing? :palm: Nonsence. Double standard right there.

If I want to modify SW (for PC or FW for device) - I will modify it. If I want to change some text, font, color, bitmap - I can do it if I want. And if I can (accidentally or on purpose) enable some hidden features that I like - I will keep them. And won't feel worried. Same SW, same tools, same situation. But "color - OK, features - not OK". :palm:
No hidden features - no problem.

If there is no hidden feature - I will have to get access to something that is not mine (somebody's optioned device, software download center account) and download SW from it to get some feature - that's a crime. Because that was not mine. If my car have V6  - I can't modify it to become V10 or V12. I have to bought new engine (say purchase option) or steal it from other car (crime). If my car have system software, that can not do some things (say, optioned ABS, GPS nav or ESP) and they are not in FW - I can't patch it to enable them (unless I can write my own code and add it) without getting (by crime) access to some source of code (HW in other car or download page).

Selling something with hidden and turned off features is stupid. And then complaining about somebody had enabled it - double stupidity. Just like selling you a sport car with V12, with every possible electonic function (ABS, ESP, suspension control, stearing profiles and others) already installed but for less money and with flipped switches under the dash to turn most functions off to get you a low-end car capabilities. And hoping that you will not find those switches and will not turn them on.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on January 27, 2014, 06:59:14 pm
I'm at Dave's side.
If I bought something (no matter: HW or SW) - I own it. I can do anything I want with it.

If there is possibility to hack/tweak something - I can use it. Add/remove parts or bytes. :-/O

Say, I bought a car with V6 under the hood and simple audio system.
But then I discover that the motor is actualy V10, but 4 cylinders just switched off (by SW control or some little HW parts missing). And software of audio system is actually including many options of sound processing and also GPS navigation included - but simply disabled.
I have no moral (and any other) things that can stop me from "enabling" V10 and advanced sound system with GPS navigation. If I want, have skills and tools to do it myself. I can buy or make additional parts, download SW from memory, look into it, change something and then upload it back. Am I stealing something? No, I am not.
Some thing with Rigol hacks: HW is already capable of doing anything and all options are already inside the FW in the lowest device. I may hack it to top-level fully optioned model if I want and if I can (have skills and tools). Nobody can forbid this to me. Am I stealing something? No, I am not.
It is a bit of a grey area. If you start modifying hardware for a profit you probably will find a lawyer on your doorstep. Over here people who modified or sold boards to hack game consoles got succesfully sued.

Some say the Nintendo DS more or less got killed by the RS4 cards. IMHO the real problem was the quality of the games. My oldest kid had a Nintendo DS with 100's of games on the RS4 card but he never played much with it. I guess all the games where so crappy that they weren't worth stealing let alone spending money on the RS4 card. When it comes to games I like to try-before-buy. When I was a kid I got burned one time too many for buying a game which looked cool but turned out to be total crap.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on January 27, 2014, 07:51:39 pm
It is a bit of a grey area. If you start modifying hardware for a profit you probably will find a lawyer on your doorstep. Over here people who modified or sold boards to hack game consoles got succesfully sued.
The main issue there is that modchips are often used for cheating or piracy. The modchips that can only do homebrew should be safe, but the lawyers might not know the difference.

Nowadays, there's little good reason to run homebrew on a console when the consoles are basically PCs.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: PA0PBZ on January 27, 2014, 07:58:40 pm
If I want to modify SW (for PC or FW for device) - I will modify it. If I want to change some text, font, color, bitmap - I can do it if I want. And if I can (accidentally or on purpose) enable some hidden features that I like - I will keep them. And won't feel worried. Same SW, same tools, same situation. But "color - OK, features - not OK". :palm:
No hidden features - no problem.

A demo version of software that expires or gives you a subset of the capabilities. That is not too hard to modify to give you the full software, is that stealing? Maybe you downloaded the software for free, or you paid a small fee to get it on CD, is it yours to modify as you please?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: TerraHertz on January 28, 2014, 12:36:09 am
Human cultural views evolved in a world in which only physical objects existed. There was no such thing as abstract information, or data. The only way to posses a tool or any other asset, was to obtain and keep the physical thing. All our traditional views and legal structures of ownership are derived from this historical context.

The most abstract form of information was the orally transmitted story - and no one tried to pretend that they 'owned' such things, because that was obviously impossible.

When printed books appeared, the situation didn't change much. One still had to manufacture the physical book, for anyone to posses it. And so it was easy to imagine that ownership of the pure information in the book was also possible. Hence copyright laws, though initially these were sensible and only protected ownership for a short time, from memory 15 years.

The problems began with copyright, and the idea of patents. Both these tried to apply ownership concepts that are really applicable only to physical objects, to the abstract realm of ideas, ie information. Back then there still wasn't any comprehension of how fundamentally different pure information is, from everything else in the physical realm. But it _is_ fundamentally different. Due to the digital technological revolution we are now fully aware of this. Or we should be.

Information by its intrinsic nature of perfect and easy replication cannot be owned. It can only be possessed, and shared. Attempting to impose laws that assume ownership of information is possible, is futile and ultimately immensely harmful to the technical and moral progress of society.

The pivotal incompatibility between our legacy concepts of ownership, and the true nature of data, is that we're still trying to insist that it should be possible to make a monetary profit from activities that are in essence only creating information. Writers, musicians, inventors, programmers, etc feel they have a right to make people pay to receive their works. Despite that these works consist ultimately only of strings of ones and zeros. Effectively, by information theory, each work is just one (large!) single number. So they are demanding to be paid, just for handing out a single number - interesting and enjoyable though it may be.

It's untenable. Worse, the end result of imposing laws that attempt to enforce that untenable demand of entitlement, is that society becomes bound by restrictive, enslaving regulation and monitoring - which in turn become tools of even worse repressions. We're seeing that process accelerating rapidly these days.

The only workable way out of this dead end, is to accept that creators of pure information structures can only ever expect voluntary rewards. The copyright and patents systems both have to be completely dismantled. Corporatism too, is fundamentally incompatible with any economic system crafted to be consistent with the intrinsic nature of information.

This post cannot be long enough to discuss these matters in usefully complete form. But I'll end with one illustration of why information cannot be owned.

Information complexity exists on a linear scale, with no limit on its upper end. This article, books, music, computer programs, etc are all way down near the low end of the scale. They are simple things. Further up the scale we find the data structures of living things - the dna code of self replicating organisms. Already there's an obvious moral quandary - the arguments over whether anyone can 'own' the data defining a living organism. Including the dna sequences of human beings.

Of course corporations argue they can own gene sequences too - bwahahaha. (A dispute that is likely going to have to be resolved in blood.)

But then further up the complexity scale we come to... the data structures of sentient minds. Ourselves. And there will be even more complex things further up, but we haven't met them yet. So far as we know, though they are probably aware of us and our stupid, tedious misconceptions. Possibly in much the same way as we find bacteria annoying.

Anyway the point is, trying to pretend that information constructs can be owned, is by extension advocating the enslavement of sentient beings. Of humans for instance.

This is logical reality. It just isn't yet in-your-face obvious at our current level of technological development. But it will become so. Before we do manage to produce working strong AI, we'd better sort out our concepts of what information is, and whether it can be owned. Or we'll have a meat vs machines revolution to contend with, which won't end well.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rick Law on January 28, 2014, 05:48:44 am
Human cultural views evolved in a world in which only physical objects existed...

TerraHertz,  while I like to agree with you  and I like the idea of information being free, but I don't yet buy all the arguments.  I wish we can come up with an argument that can stand for I would like to see all information free.

This is an example of holes in the logic and is what I found difficult to close the loop on:

1. Karajan conducted the Berlin Philharmonic.  No one would argue that you need to pay to get in the hall to see their performance.

2. Karajan recorded the same piece in a studio, made a recording and sold the vinyl record.  No one would argue they need to pay for the little piece of vinyl disc.  2b. If someone transferred the content to a cassette tape and sell it, one would not argue that such action is illegal.  (agree so far?)

3. Karajan and that same recording company decided to clean the tape up, digitize it and sell the CD, no one argued you need to pay for the CD.  3b. If someone transferred the content to a cassette tape and sell it, one would not argue that such action is illegal.  (agree so far?)

4. Now the same CD is digitized differently into MP3 for it should be free?  If so, should I be able to package the free stuff and make a business?  Red Hat packaged Linux, but that was free by owner's choice.  Let say Karajan is still alive and he doesn't want to give it away, should he have a say?  What rights would Karajan has?

4b. Now the same CD is digitized differently into MP3 for a download purchase.  Say I downloaded it for $x, should I be free to "pass it along"?  What is Karajan's right if I am free to pass it along (or not).

Lastly, everything is really just information.  Mass is energy.  Matter is but specific arrangement of particles which is nothing but pure energy - it is how we arrange it that makes it what it is.  And how we arrange it is just pure information.

We eradicated polio (I think I got the right virus), and we have the info on the genome.  That once physical and once a life form is now just 1's and 0's.  Even we are all merely 1's and 0's.  A very long and ever string of 1's and 0's but a string of 1's and 0's none the less.

So, can anything be owned at all?

Rick
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Psi on January 28, 2014, 05:59:22 am
Once it becomes information, rather than physical,  paying per unit becomes redundant.
I don't think its really ethical to sell an individual item that costs zero to reproduce.

Imho once it's information it should be sold as an 'all you can eat' service


If you survey 1000 random people who buy music about how much they spend per year the average will be pretty low, ~$100 maybe.
An 'all you can eat' style music service for $100/ year would be a win for everyone.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rick Law on January 28, 2014, 06:13:08 am
Once it becomes information, rather than physical,  paying per unit becomes redundant.
I don't think its really ethical to sell an individual item that costs nothing to reproduce.

Imho once it's information it should be sold as an 'all you can eat' style.


If you survey 1000 random people who buy music about how much they spend per year the average will be pretty low, ~$100 maybe.
An 'all you can eat' style music service for the same money would be a win for everyone.

No payment implies no ownership.

Our genome can be digitized relatively easily now.  So, if someone choose to steal and digitize my DNA, it could be done.  Now that it is pure information, I don't have ownership right to that information, so someone can presumably make copies of me and I have no right to object as I have no ownership to that information.  Someone could even take the best of me, and best of someone else (or something else) and make a hybrid of me, and I have no right to stop it?

That doesn't sound reasonable to me.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Psi on January 28, 2014, 06:24:04 am
That doesn't sound reasonable to anyone.

It's never going to be a perfect system, the idea of ownership in general is fundamentally flawed.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Dago on January 28, 2014, 07:26:26 am
If you survey 1000 random people who buy music about how much they spend per year the average will be pretty low, ~$100 maybe.
An 'all you can eat' style music service for $100/ year would be a win for everyone.

It's called Spotify.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: TerraHertz on January 28, 2014, 07:45:48 am
Human cultural views evolved in a world in which only physical objects existed...

TerraHertz,  while I like to agree with you  and I like the idea of information being free, but I don't yet buy all the arguments.  I wish we can come up with an argument that can stand for I would like to see all information free.

This is an example of holes in the logic and is what I found difficult to close the loop on:

1. Karajan conducted the Berlin Philharmonic.  No one would argue that you need to pay to get in the hall to see their performance.

Correct. The hall is a physical thing, can't be reproduced, can realistically be owned, so you have to pay to get in.
Quote
2. Karajan recorded the same piece in a studio, made a recording and sold the vinyl record.  No one would argue they need to pay for the little piece of vinyl disc.  2b. If someone transferred the content to a cassette tape and sell it, one would not argue that such action is illegal.  (agree so far?)

3. Karajan and that same recording company decided to clean the tape up, digitize it and sell the CD, no one argued you need to pay for the CD.  3b. If someone transferred the content to a cassette tape and sell it, one would not argue that such action is illegal.  (agree so far?)
Partly. The CD and tapes are physical things. If you want them, you have to pay the producer. But once you have them (especially the CD with its digital information) there's NO WAY anyone can prevent you making copies of the information if you wish. Also any means to prevent you giving away copies involve massively intrusive social control.
The physical things are not the same as the information.

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4. Now the same CD is digitized differently into MP3 for it should be free?  If so, should I be able to package the free stuff and make a business?  Red Hat packaged Linux, but that was free by owner's choice.  Let say Karajan is still alive and he doesn't want to give it away, should he have a say?  What rights would Karajan has?
Your problem is you are confusing wishful thinking with moral/logical argument. You'd like to think Karajan should be able to get income from nth-degree transfers of the information he created. But I'm saying that it's fundamentally impossible for him to achieve that. And all attempts to socially enforce that are doomed to failure, and can only harm society in trying.

The only thing we can realistically do, is invent a social scheme in which it is admitted that information cannot be owned, and try to adapt to the consequences in a productive manner. For instance Karajan could (like many artists) make his work freely available, with a request for donations from those who like his work. He may not get rich this way, but at least it's not trying to fight the fundamental nature of the Universe.

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4b. Now the same CD is digitized differently into MP3 for a download purchase.  Say I downloaded it for $x, should I be free to "pass it along"?  What is Karajan's right if I am free to pass it along (or not).
Because you insist that _some_ information can be owned, you're tying yourself up trying to define hard boundaries on a scale that has no delineations. It's all information, once it exists in perfect digital form it's futile attempting to split hairs and say this one is free, this other one is not. Incidentally, http://everist.org/texts/Fermis_Urbex_Paradox.htm (http://everist.org/texts/Fermis_Urbex_Paradox.htm)

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Lastly, everything is really just information.  Mass is energy.  Matter is but specific arrangement of particles which is nothing but pure energy - it is how we arrange it that makes it what it is.  And how we arrange it is just pure information.
Perhaps we may one day have technology that allows us to treat physical matter in the same way as information. But we do not yet, and some factors (Uncertainty Principle etc) suggest it may not be possible. Till it is, we are logically sound to treat matter and information as fundamentally different things. While they are still different my point stands: material things can be owned (because they take effort to produce, can't be copied, and occupy distinct physical locations) and information cannot be owned.

All arguments that information _can_ be owned ultimately reduce to wishful thinking. Along the lines "X put effort into creating this information, so X _deserves_ to be paid for it!"
I'm not arguing about the 'deserve'' part. I'm saying it's fundamentally impossible to enforce the actual payment. So it's better to just get over it, and find some workaround in which there's no attempt to enforce the unenforceable.

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We eradicated polio (I think I got the right virus), and we have the info on the genome.  That once physical and once a life form is now just 1's and 0's.  Even we are all merely 1's and 0's.  A very long and ever string of 1's and 0's but a string of 1's and 0's none the less.

Actually the concept is that any information set is just a single integer on the number plane. What base you write it in is immaterial.
I'd expect some entity does claim to own the code of the polio virus. Certainly some labs do still retain samples of the actual virus. I recall a debate about whether they should destroy the samples, but can't recall the outcome. Not important anyway, since I'd wager someone would chose to keep some regardless of the decision.
Someone can own the physical samples. But the genome data - it's information. Can't be owned. It can only be possessed and only kept by secrecy.

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So, can anything be owned at all?
Your claim that matter and energy are identical things is not valid in a practical sense, only in the E=MC^2 sense.
So yes, physical objects can be owned,
information cannot be owned.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: TerraHertz on January 28, 2014, 08:02:40 am
the idea of ownership in general is fundamentally flawed.

No no! Not so. Industry, technology, art and knowledge itself depend crucially on the concept of ownership. Anyone who has tools, and knows what happens when they lend tools to incompetent, careless and stupid people, will explain this to you.

Physical things require effort and often much skill and many other carefully maintained physical things to manufacture.
All these things can only be created by an investment of time, by skilled people. Time is the most precious thing for us mortals, since we each only have a small allotment of it. Skill is even rarer, and many people are entirely lacking it.

Without the concept of personal ownership of things, the furthest you can get in social development is hunter-gatherers. If you take an advanced society and take away personal ownership (as happens with Communist takeovers) the society deteriorates from there on, until it returns to some very crude level, or there's a counter revolution that restores individual rights of ownership.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Fagear on January 28, 2014, 08:30:00 am
Funny things about MP3s.

If I'm buying CD (or vinyl, or whatever) with music - I'm giving money for physical media, for printed pieces of paper, for a box and for shipping cost. And I own that CD and can do what I want - listen it on audio system, in my car (with my friends), grab in any format and listen it on my PC. If I want to sell the CD - no problem. I sell it, I have no copy of that music and I have money for it. But if I sell MP3 file - I can leave exact copy on my hard drive. So... Why I should ask money for it? I can't do it, because it costs me virtually nothing. So I can not have any profit from it.

From other side: when you are paying for MP3 - what you are paying for? If for the copy of file - you must have right to resell it to anybody else (even if you have a copy, because it is data). If it is "right to listen (licence)" than I have a big question: "Why the hell I have to pay for same thing many times?". For example: I paid for one track on iTunes and I "have right to listen" to it, but I'm not owning the data. Why I must pay for it again if I want this track from other music provider (in some other OS or something)? This is just stupid at my point of view. I already bought the right to access this data.
Same with software and games. I buy, say, Half-Life 2 for PC. And then I buy an X-Box 360 (or I go to my friend who has it) and I want to play same game there. I already bought this game: I bought "the right to play in it". Why the hell I can not play the same game on other platform and have to pay again? (I don't mind now politic of manufacturers of game consoles now, where console itself costs more than it sold for, but those money get back when I pay for expensive games - it have to change if "right of access" politic will be applied).
I bought a ticket to cinema and watched some movie. I bought the right to see it and some extra for room, screen and chair for 1,5 hours. If I want to have DVD/BD copy at home - I can pay for it again, because it is physical media and I understand cost of it. Not creator of the movie, but distributor had to deal with typography, buying boxes, printing, packing, shipping and maybe lease for some room and pay other bills. But when I asked to pay extra for downloading or streaming the same movie after I bought the ticket - I do not understand it.

And back to music. Again, about MP3s. Lets say, that master copy of some music is CD with 44.1/16 wave format. Thats ok. But when you converting it to MP3 - technically, this MP3 is not the same data stream anymore. It does not sound the same either (maybe not for human ear, but you can see it with some measurements). So actually - it is not the same chunk of data and it does not sound as original. So what it is? And why I have to pay for it?
Unless music providers sell music in some lossless format (that gives you same chunk of data and no audio corruption) - I don't see any reason to pay for any MP3. ;)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: rsjsouza on January 28, 2014, 08:39:06 pm
Unless music providers sell music in some lossless format (that gives you same chunk of data and no audio corruption) - I don't see any reason to pay for any MP3. ;)
That is precisely why I don't spend money for (the right to listen to) music in any digitally compressed format... Despite PCM is already a simplified view of the original analog soundwaves that reached the microphone, but I can only go so far in fidelity. :)

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Fagear on January 28, 2014, 08:49:15 pm
Despite PCM is already a simplified view of the original analog soundwaves that reached the microphone, but I can only go so far in fidelity. :)
Exactly my thoughts. In my post above I said about 44.1/16. This is common format for Audio CD and so - for most part of music files. But even 44.1/16 is not exactly original sound (because of discretization), but it is close enough.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: M. András on January 28, 2014, 09:03:41 pm
Link to warez site deleted.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: tom66 on January 28, 2014, 10:01:58 pm
Ultimately, Adobe probably doesn't care too much if amateurs pirate their top software - as long as the big companies pay for it.  After all, having Photoshop a standard most are trained in "by default" can help boost sales to larger companies and that's where the big bucks are made.

In the electronics world, it's more useful to have people familiar with your top equipment and recommending it to others, than to make only a few sales to hobbyists.

So Rigol shouldn't be concerned, if their main market is to big companies.

At the moment, this doesn't seem to be the case - they're mostly supplying the small fries. I'm sure Rigol does sell a lot of scopes and other equipment to bigger companies, but at the moment, a good portion of their market is hobbyists and individuals. This might change in the future, so it would benefit Rigol to allow hacks to continue.

Ultimately, with software, you are licencing someone else's code and data, with conditions set out in licence agreements. I think as long as you don't void the terms of the agreement (reverse engineering clauses excluded) then there is no moral violation.

With hardware, you've been given the hardware already that's fully capable of maximum bandwidth, etc. Why would it be immoral to unlock this?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on January 28, 2014, 11:06:49 pm
If you survey 1000 random people who buy music about how much they spend per year the average will be pretty low, ~$100 maybe.
An 'all you can eat' style music service for $100/ year would be a win for everyone.
Now add the amount of money you pay for advertising. Yes, that is right: with EVERY product you buy you pay for advertising. That money is used to buy music and video to play on the radio and show on TV. In some countries like the NL it is even worse: there you have to pay for the public radio and television stations as well. In total it's around 800million euro. With 10 million people paying taxes that comes down to 80 euro per year. I wouldn't be surprised if advertising costs even more. So without buying a single CD or Bluray I already spend over $200 on music and video.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: minibutmany on January 29, 2014, 12:09:33 am
Ethics aside, is it actually illegal to modify a scope to an upgraded version?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on January 29, 2014, 12:58:02 am
If I'm buying CD (or vinyl, or whatever) with music - I'm giving money for physical media, for printed pieces of paper, for a box and for shipping cost. And I own that CD and can do what I want - listen it on audio system, in my car (with my friends), grab in any format and listen it on my PC. If I want to sell the CD - no problem. I sell it, I have no copy of that music and I have money for it. But if I sell MP3 file - I can leave exact copy on my hard drive. So... Why I should ask money for it? I can't do it, because it costs me virtually nothing. So I can not have any profit from it.
What about the case of making a copy (let's assume that's legal under fair use) and selling the *original*? Legal or not, it would definitely be difficult to enforce.

It has been said that piracy is the worst enemy of open source software. Obviously not because of open source software being pirated, but because piracy provides a free alternative to open source software. I'd imagine that GIMP and Libreoffice would be more popular if there weren't pirate copies of Photoshop and MS Office out there... In the same way, those boycotting RIAA (for example) shouldn't pirate the MP3s since that creates demand.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bridgerectifier on January 29, 2014, 01:26:08 am
Ethics aside, is it actually illegal to modify a scope to an upgraded version?

You cannot shove ethics to one side, unless your conscience is troubling you, in which case... that is why you'd do so. "The law is an ass" is so true, but...

legality aside:

If it feels wrong, it's VERY likely wrong, morally. You can debate, reason and "build a case" using other people's (equally immoral) "justifications", but if something is right - you KNOW it is, and you don't need to seek peer validation from strangers - you just go ahead and do it with peace and a happy conscience :)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Galenbo on February 12, 2014, 09:56:39 am
Ethics aside, is it actually illegal to modify a scope to an upgraded version?

As far as I know it's not illegal to modify your own scope, but if you get paid to modify your customer's scope, or if you buy the cheapo and modify+rebrand to the other one, I think you're on the dangerous side.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Galenbo on February 12, 2014, 10:08:44 am
I'm pretty convinced big software companies put cracked copies on the market on purpose to get a bigger installed base. Once the economic situation in a country or area gets better they cash in.

I also think so, because putting it themself gives them control over the "hidden crack serial" and gives them info about "when and where" is our cracked software installed.

They even do it the smart way: The software is "preactivated" or "with serial click phone option" so you can expect to be hidden. But on their site they offer free downloadable drivers, little extension here, plugin for modbus, click here, install there.
And on their or others forum you can post you problems and attach your file or snippet. Right.

Like with my illegal software: If I ever start a company or develop a product, all the info they need is already known or included in my product, without me knowing how and where. Their optimum is wait till the right moment is reached: This guy is now capable of paying a license, without having to close his company, so he can continue to pay every year now.

I feel like I don't 'damage' them. Of course I have a free toy, but I don't sell products that leads to less sales for them. I don't have a company that illegally closes a company that does have all the right licenses. My existence doesn't let make them less money. On the other hand I'm a free marketing instrument for them.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 12, 2014, 12:29:21 pm
Ethics aside, is it actually illegal to modify a scope to an upgraded version?

There is no law against it in any country I am aware of.
You bought the physical product, you can do anything you want to it in the privacy of your own lab.
For it be "illegal" would require a court judgement, and that would require:
a) The company to sue you (it's not the concern of any government department, so it's a private matter)
b) To somehow determine that you have deprived the company of income or harmed the company in some way (next to impossible unless you did it for profit or possibly made the info public)

So for all intents and purposes, the answer is no, it's not illegal. And for anyone to argue against that would require some case law example, of which I doubt that any exists in the case of test equipment.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Psi on February 12, 2014, 12:40:14 pm
It may however be illegal when the outcome is you now owning something illegal.
Like modifying a radio so it can transmit on frequencies that the public isn't allowed to own a transmitter for.
Or stuff like thermal cameras, i cant remember if military spec'ed thermal cameras are actually illegal to own or just sell, but you get the idea
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 12, 2014, 01:43:20 pm
It may however be illegal when the outcome is you now owning something illegal.

It is not illegal to own an oscilloscope you paid for.
Once again, there is no law against it. The company must come after you and win a case that you "stole" from them.
Until such case law sets a precedent in a specific example, it's not "illegal". You paid for the scope.

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Like modifying a radio so it can transmit on frequencies that the public isn't allowed to own a transmitter for.

Is it illegal to simply own a non-powered transmitter of some frequency?
I'd like to see some case law that sets a precedent there.
I have a function gen that goes from DC to daylight. Is it illegal for me to simply own that and a suitable wideband transmitter?
Heck, I can hook an antenna straight into the sig gen and make it a transmitter.

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Or stuff like thermal cameras, i cant remember if military spec'ed thermal cameras are actually illegal to own or just sell, but you get the idea

Only in the land of the free, they have federal laws for export.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 12, 2014, 01:46:27 pm
So what you are saying is that I should murder you and take all your stuff. Forget morality, if I can kill/rob you can avoid punishment there is no reason not to.

We have laws for that.
We do not however have laws for modifying your scope.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 12, 2014, 02:02:33 pm
Is it illegal to simply own a non-powered transmitter of some frequency?
I'd like to see some case law that sets a precedent there.
I have a function gen that goes from DC to daylight. Is it illegal for me to simply own that and a suitable wideband transmitter?
Heck, I can hook an antenna straight into the sig gen and make it a transmitter.
Owning such equipment isn't legal without a HAM license in some countries. But as long as your are not broadcasting, who is going to know?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Phaedrus on February 12, 2014, 11:51:10 pm
That turns out not to be the case;

See, Dolphins, Chimps, Bonobos, Gorillas. Even dogs have a sense of fairness and unfairness.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: c4757p on February 12, 2014, 11:53:26 pm
I'd suggest that morality is probably evolutionarily necessary for anything that develops intelligence - that morality is how it knows that "kill all my brethren to successfully compete for food" is not a good survival strategy.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Phaedrus on February 13, 2014, 01:04:00 am
Try doing some research on the subject. It's scientifically verifiable, to the best of our current ability, that these animals have complex social behaviors including basic empathy, relationships, sense of fairness, self-awareness, basic cognition, and other abilities formerly presumed to be unique to mankind.

Humans are unique only in the degree to which they possess these attributes; they are not unique in having them at all. It's a difference of degree, not of kind. Most of the emotions and behaviors which we claim to be uniquely human, are in fact basic mammalian herd instincts. Self awareness is rare, but not unique. Our reasoning, both logical, mathematical, spatial, etc. is far more advanced than any other animal; but animals diverse as dolphins, apes, and crows have demonstrated basic reasoning abilities.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Tinkerer on February 13, 2014, 02:23:54 am
Try doing some research on the subject. It's scientifically verifiable, to the best of our current ability, that these animals have complex social behaviors including basic empathy, relationships, sense of fairness, self-awareness, basic cognition, and other abilities formerly presumed to be unique to mankind.

Humans are unique only in the degree to which they possess these attributes; they are not unique in having them at all. It's a difference of degree, not of kind. Most of the emotions and behaviors which we claim to be uniquely human, are in fact basic mammalian herd instincts. Self awareness is rare, but not unique. Our reasoning, both logical, mathematical, spatial, etc. is far more advanced than any other animal; but animals diverse as dolphins, apes, and crows have demonstrated basic reasoning abilities.
This is true. Humans simply think themselves to be high and special and to a certain extent its true, just not to the extent that most people would like. Animals are not given enough credit for being complex in terms of those traits. Heck its only been in the last couple decades(indeed, the last 5 years even) that any official acknoledgment has come about on just how indepth some of these traits can be with animals.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 02:47:34 am
Owning such equipment isn't legal without a HAM license in some countries.

Owning a wideband function generator is illegal? (if you get my point)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 02:52:53 am
We can anthropomorphise a moral code onto animals but does that mean they have actually developed one? Or are they following some other evolutionary imperative which produces behaviour we like to choose is good or bad?

If both produce the same behaviour, what's the difference?
The only difference is that we can communicate it, analyse it, and discuss it, they most likely can't. That doesn't make their "morals" / empathy / whatever other trait they exhibit any less than ours in a basic sense IMO.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 04:06:25 am
I think the pertinent question would be, how different would our morals/behaviour be if we weren't exposed to them since birth. People raised in the wild aren't called savages for nothing
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: orion242 on February 13, 2014, 04:10:49 am
So if I buy a fridge and convert it into a keg cooler, so I owe the manufacture the difference in price?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: c4757p on February 13, 2014, 04:52:05 am
So if I buy a fridge and convert it into a keg cooler, so I owe the manufacture the difference in price?

Not that I agree with the argument, but the argument is more that if you buy a fridge, under the condition that you will not convert it into a keg cooler, you may not convert it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 06:03:57 am
I think the pertinent question would be, how different would our morals/behaviour be if we weren't exposed to them since birth. People raised in the wild aren't called savages for nothing

I am having a hard time trying to think of where a human child has been raised in the wild. Surely if it is raised in a tribe then it is no longer in the wild. Mostly I think they were called savages for no particularly good reason. The contemporary veneer of "civilisation" is very thin.
The point is if an animal is raised closely with humans they also learn what's acceptable and what isn't. We may be more intelligent but we don't have a monopoly on emotions
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 06:24:00 am
Not that I agree with the argument, but the argument is more that if you buy a fridge, under the condition that you will not convert it into a keg cooler, you may not convert it.

Say who?
Just because the lawyers at some company might put in some hidden term & conditions in some product purchase agreement that one one ever reads or signs, does not make it legally enforceable.
Quite simply, if the manufacturer decides to hide features in a product, and you purchase this product outright, then they take the risk of you being able to figure out how to access the hidden stuff.
When I buy a scope form my dealer, or even direct form the manufacturer, there is no purchase agreement, and no agreement has been signed. It is a simple straight out exchange of goods for money.
I can assure you that in the case of oscilloscopes, all the major players I have spoken to that do this accept that this is a risk. They know they cannot stop people modifying/hacking their own gear, and they don't even try. They made the choice as strategic business decision and they wear the risk. The best they can do is void the warranty, but even then that's not entirely legally enforceable either in many countries.

I'm not sure why anyone bothers to continue argue the point?
1) It's not illegal to hack a scope you own (no state or federal law)
2) There is no purchase agreement
3) There is no case law history
4) There is no record of any manufacturer even attempting to stop hacking of scopes
5) The manufacturers themselves admit they take the risk

It's a total non-issue.
The only thing left to quibble over is 'morals". And to me, when I buy something, it's mine. If there is something hidden inside, and I can access it, that's mine too.  No problems.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 07:49:08 am
The issue is software copyright, imo. The "By downloading this file you agree to this license" is enforceable. Writing your own software to hack a scope is fine, downloading the software for a higher model and getting that to run... Well, what did it say on the page you got the software from?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 09:13:47 am
The issue is software copyright, imo.

Not so.
Take the Rigol hack for example. You do nothing but send it a serial command.
Or say a keygen hack. You download a keygen program (or compile it from source) and generate a code you enter. Not download copyright is violated. You have not taken anything from the manufacturer in terms of software that you did not pay for. The software is already in the scope you paid for, it's yours. If they sold it to you cheap because they thought they could hide it from your use, that's their problem, not yours.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 09:23:02 am
Sure, what I mean is that laws are not the only reason people don't do things.

Sure.
No one is forcing you to hack your scope, it's your choice.
But because it is not illegal, then no one has any right to tell someone they shouldn't do it, once again it's their choice.
In society we make laws for things that have (in theory) been determined by society to be unacceptable, and for which you which you will be penalised if caught.
But of course there are some things that are not illegal, but you may still pay a price socially. A married person having an affair for example.
But a hacking a scope really doesn't hold any grey area. It's not illegal, and you really aren't going to pay any social penalty by doing so. So the only penalty is potentially within yourself.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 13, 2014, 09:29:52 am
Not that I agree with the argument, but the argument is more that if you buy a fridge, under the condition that you will not convert it into a keg cooler, you may not convert it.

Say who?
Just because the lawyers at some company might put in some hidden term & conditions in some product purchase agreement that one one ever reads or signs, does not make it legally enforceable.
Quite simply, if the manufacturer decides to hide features in a product, and you purchase this product outright, then they take the risk of you being able to figure out how to access the hidden stuff.
When I buy a scope form my dealer, or even direct form the manufacturer, there is no purchase agreement, and no agreement has been signed. It is a simple straight out exchange of goods for money.
I can assure you that in the case of oscilloscopes, all the major players I have spoken to that do this accept that this is a risk. They know they cannot stop people modifying/hacking their own gear, and they don't even try. They made the choice as strategic business decision and they wear the risk. The best they can do is void the warranty, but even then that's not entirely legally enforceable either in many countries.

I'm not sure why anyone bothers to continue argue the point?
1) It's not illegal to hack a scope you own (no state or federal law)
2) There is no purchase agreement
3) There is no case law history
4) There is no record of any manufacturer even attempting to stop hacking of scopes
5) The manufacturers themselves admit they take the risk

It's a total non-issue.
I wouldn't be so sure about that. As I stated before game console makers succesfully sued companies en persons (from NL) who created commercial tools (hardware and/or software) to enable people to run copies of games and their own software on their hardware. You run this website as a commercial venture and (amongst lots of other things) publish hacks for various pieces of equipment to make money. That certainly is a grey area.

A Dutch computer magazine found themselves in a criminal court for publishing a manual on how to watch a paid TV channel for free using software from internet. After 8 years in court the author of the article was found guilty but didn't have to pay a fine or go to jail (unless he would do something similar within 2 years). He did got a criminal record though.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 09:58:09 am
+1. No different than my 3D CAD program: I know it has functions for a higher end version, but I have only paid for the key to the lesser version. All I need to do to get the high-end version is to purchase a better key. It is not ok to find a keygen program to give me the key.

It is usual to have a demo program that becomes a full version with a correct license key. Sure it is not ok to download a demo, download a keygen and enjoy.

And I have no idea about Rigol software license, I don't have one. Heck, I don't have any idea about my laser printer or scope licenses, although I'm sure those exist.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 10:54:16 am
I wouldn't be so sure about that. As I stated before game console makers succesfully sued companies en persons (from NL) who created commercial tools (hardware and/or software) to enable people to run copies of games and their own software on their hardware.

We are not talking about game consoles.
You can try and compare them all you want, fact is that this industry is different, and the mechanism of the hack is different.
People are downloading the games illegally instead of paying for it. But people buy a scope and it comes with all the software and features built in, you bought it and own it.

Quote
You run this website as a commercial venture and (amongst lots of other things) publish hacks for various pieces of equipment to make money. That certainly is a grey area.

Good luck to anyone trying to sue me for running a community forum. I do not allow pirated material on this forum.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 11:06:01 am
I actually did my homework(!) on this after my previous post. Disclaimers: 1) I'm not a real lawyer, although I did a few law courses in university. 2) I read the Finnish law; I'm sure it is pretty much compliant to EU laws and those should be pretty much like anywhere else. 3) I'm using layman English, I don't know the real legal translations. 4) The conclusions are my own.
--
Short version: Turns out the Rigol (or HP) software licensing terms don't matter, unless they specifically allow hacking and you know they do. Hacking your scope is not ok.  :(

Long version:
- When you buy something, you enter to implied agreements. It is not necessary to read or sign anything. You buy a cup of coffee, and there are a lot of legally binding agreements on both sides, implied by the act. No signed agreements are needed.
- Hacking keys to get something you didn't pay for is illegal (payTV, turning demo software to full version etc).
- Ignorance is not bliss. If it is commonly known or you personally should have known something to be illegal, it is. In other words: A professional or an advanced hobbyist (needing a software based scope) should understand the concept of embedded software. Everyone should understand the concept of paying for key, getting a feature.
- Embedded software is software too, with the same protections.

All those are legal facts, that I think can't be really argued, unless laws are changed. You can argue my summary: Buying a scope (or other device with embedded software), the user enters to licensing agreement with the manufacturer. The terms of the agreements are such that could be reasonably expected. You didn't buy the high bandwidth software option, which was available.

Some analogies that I think are relevant: You buy a set-top box, but you are not free to do what you want with it. Specifically, you can't unlock channels that you did not pay for. You expect that keygen program turns your scope to a real higher end model, whereas overclocking a CPU, the expectation is that  the manufacturer guarantees the operation to a limit your paid for and you are experimenting about how high you can go. Totally different issues.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 11:10:22 am
I'm not so sure this example is a good one. Software can be sold with a license for end user use, it may not be relevant if it is physically embedded within a low end product. If the purchase price of a lower level product (but still with the enhanced software inside but disabled) was not sold with a license to the enhanced functionality by virtue of a higher price, then there may be a case for the manufacturer to claim you haven't a right to it. It all depends of course on how the courts would view embedded software.

That's kind of a pointless what-if given that:
a) No manufacturer has even done, threatened to, or even indicated that they may action in this regard
b) They readily admit that's a business risk they take

In this world there are an almost infinite amount of things you can get sued over. Anyone can get sued at anything, for any thing. Doesn't make it worth worrying about.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 11:15:23 am
All those are legal facts, that I think can't be really argued, unless laws are changed. You can argue my summary: Buying a scope (or other device with embedded software), the user enters to licensing agreement with the manufacturer. The terms of the agreements are such that could be reasonably expected. You didn't buy the high bandwidth software option, which was available.

Once again, no one has ever provided example of any case law in this regard, in any country that I am aware of.
If the manufacturers don't care (as seems to be the case), why should the individual?
It's all a big game. The manufacturers know (and indeed, expect a small percentage of) people do it, and the people know the manufactures don't care because that's how this market works.
When a new hack comes out, the manufacturer shrugs their shoulders and maybe or maybe not does something to patch it.
Heck, some manufacturers might even might even secretly revel in the extra sales.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Galenbo on February 13, 2014, 11:19:16 am
a) No manufacturer has even done, threatened to, or even indicated that they may action in this regard

Indeed, rather the inverse. Rigol saw the marketing potential they have, after the hack, and send you every week a new scope now :-)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 13, 2014, 11:23:12 am
Indeed, rather the inverse. Rigol saw the marketing potential they have, after the hack, and send you every week a new scope now :-)

True.
Fact of the matter is in this market the manufacturers make most of their money form the big customers and uses  who would never bother hacking a scope, nor even think to look that such a thing is possible. Any lost sales is down in the noise, and it's very arguable that hacks actually have a net positive effect on sales.
The same can't be said for other markets like music, movies, games etc, they are entirely different scenarios.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rasz on February 13, 2014, 11:53:34 am
Once again, no one has ever provided example of any case law in this regard, in any country that I am aware of.

HP ink
US car mods
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 11:58:55 am
A lot of the legalese cited in this latest flurry of activity on this thread seems to use examples that bolsters that very posters own argument.

With the IBM server case, it was against a company who stood to make a profit by distributing software within a legal market framework, who's intent was to subvert a companies attempt to lock the end user into a pay per utilisation scheme. This was not against an individual who bought and paid for an item and then hacked it for their own exclusive use, which is what we are talking about here.

The second talked about entering agreements which required no formal acknowledgement of the agreement. This means if you want to buy something and don't agree with the agreement, there is no fair or reasonable mechanism to inform or prevent the end user from purchasing said item and doing what they want with said item. Again if that end user hacks the machine and does not on sell it as fully licensed and specced up machine, no law has been broken.

With the set top boxes, you normally lease them from the media distributor which means it's not yours, so you shouldn't be messing with it. If you do buy your own, you'll still need to lease the card containing the decryption key and any other data required to watch those channels... you should mess with that either.

I think a lot more weight is placed on these "license agreements" than is actually merited. Several yeas ago I went to a game of skirmish where we had to sign a waiver of some kind agreeing that we were participating at our own risk. I found out later that this waiver was not worth the paper it was printed on

Try and bear in mind what it is that we are actually talking about. Purchasing something outright, modifying it to utilise all of its potential, be it changing out some op-amps for better bandwidth (because the surrounding components, track layout etc are designed for higher speed), or executing software that came with the device but was otherwise rendered useless by some trivial jump if not equal nemonic or buying an after market chip to place in your V8 to gain some more kilowatts
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 13, 2014, 12:24:50 pm
From the viewpoint from an individual that may be true but Dave is making money by publishing information on how to hack equipment. That is an entirely different story! The fact that equipment manufacturers do not seem to object to that UNTIL NOW doesn't mean it is 100% legal. I'd urge Dave to get something in writing from Rigol, Agilent, etc which says they are OK with Dave publishing hacks for their equipment on his website.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 12:29:09 pm
@nctnico

Are you talking about the rigol video that he released ages ago or the threads started by others on this forum?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 12:30:50 pm
The second talked about entering agreements which required no formal acknowledgement of the agreement. This means if you want to buy something and don't agree with the agreement, there is no fair or reasonable mechanism to inform or prevent the end user from purchasing said item and doing what they want with said item. Again if that end user hacks the machine and does not on sell it as fully licensed and specced up machine, no law has been broken.
The point I tried to make that without a formal agreement, a "normal" agreement is assumed. If you don't agree with what can reasonably expected to be "normal", you don't buy.
Quote
With the set top boxes, you normally lease them from the media distributor which means it's not yours, so you shouldn't be messing with it.
You shouldn't be messing with your own hardware either to get channels you didn't pay for.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 12:42:45 pm
The point I tried to make that without a formal agreement, a "normal" agreement is assumed. If you don't agree with what can reasonably expected to be "normal", you don't buy.
The definition of "normal" would need to be defined in legislation for that to take effect. "Normal" to most people (brought about by thousands of years of barter and trade) would mean that if I by something from you, it's now mine and you have no right to tell me what to do with it

Quote
You shouldn't be messing with your own hardware either to get channels you didn't pay for.
If data is broadcast, I capture it, study it and find that modifying that data reveals moving pictures and sounds, how is the onus on me to determine the source of this data and any licensing requirements behind it?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 12:50:37 pm
All those are legal facts, that I think can't be really argued, unless laws are changed. You can argue my summary: Buying a scope (or other device with embedded software), the user enters to licensing agreement with the manufacturer. The terms of the agreements are such that could be reasonably expected. You didn't buy the high bandwidth software option, which was available.

Once again, no one has ever provided example of any case law in this regard, in any country that I am aware of.
There are case examples to all of the points leading to my conclusions. Also the IBM case is close, and the Netherland case might be even closer, if he used his own cable box. And for the latter the law is clear today: You can't hack your own hardware to gain access to channels you didn't buy. But you are right, as far as I know there has not been a court case to find out the significance between 70MHz to 200MHz and TV channels 70 to 200. :P
Quote
If the manufacturers don't care (as seems to be the case), why should the individual?
Didn't Rigol stop making the 2000 series and change it to 2000A, which is not hackable? (I might be wrong on this, I am not looking for a new scope and haven't followed.) On the other hand, they don't seem to care very much, as the "Cease and Desist" letter hasn't come. And they might even be happy for their market share on the low end scopes - or maybe not, the -A model speaks otherwise. It would be nice to get a Rigol spokesman to talk about this!

But certainly, this is one of the cases where the law is more strict than individual hobbyists sense of what is right.

Would the opinions be any different if Rigol would openly sell a "base scope" and software keys for features?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 01:02:07 pm
The point I tried to make that without a formal agreement, a "normal" agreement is assumed. If you don't agree with what can reasonably expected to be "normal", you don't buy.
The definition of "normal" would need to be defined in legislation for that to take effect. "Normal" to most people (brought about by thousands of years of barter and trade) would mean that if I by something from you, it's now mine and you have no right to tell me what to do with it
And fifty or so years of software licensing tells that you don't use software without a license to it. Ok, you win by 11500 year or so. :P

It seems that the crux of the argument is "Did you modify the hardware?" or "Did you crack the software?"
Quote
Quote
You shouldn't be messing with your own hardware either to get channels you didn't pay for.
If data is broadcast, I capture it, study it and find that modifying that data reveals moving pictures and sounds, how is the onus on me to determine the source of this data and any licensing requirements behind it?
By your intentions. I'm sure any court would see that you didn't act out of curiosity, you tried to hack access to something you didn't buy a license for. On the other hand, if you do that to a signal you found in your radio telescope and see images of green seven legged creatures, you'd be the scientist of the year.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 13, 2014, 01:35:08 pm
By your intentions. I'm sure any court would see that you didn't act out of curiosity, you tried to hack access to something you didn't buy a license for. On the other hand, if you do that to a signal you found in your radio telescope and see images of green seven legged creatures, you'd be the scientist of the year.
That or it's the SciFi channel ;D
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: madires on February 13, 2014, 01:40:37 pm
From the German point of view :-)

- When you buy something, you enter to implied agreements. It is not necessary to read or sign anything. You buy a cup of coffee, and there are a lot of legally binding agreements on both sides, implied by the act. No signed agreements are needed.

If you're unhappy with the user licence you may return the product. The licence agreement may not be unfair or discriminate the buyer beyond some limit. If it does, the problematic parts of the agreement are invalid. If the buyer is a company less pretective rules apply. Microsoft lost a lot of lawsuits over the years resulting in some nice benefits for local buyers (OEM licenses etc.). The latest war is about reselling used licences of standard software including volume licences. Microsoft is losing again.

Quote
- Hacking keys to get something you didn't pay for is illegal (payTV, turning demo software to full version etc).

Circumventing DRM is illegal, not hacking. Owning hacked software isn't illegal, but distributing hacked software is. Tools helping with both fall into a legal gray area.

Quote
- Embedded software is software too, with the same protections.

We differentiate several types of software which also has an impact on the rules/laws applicable.

Quote
Some analogies that I think are relevant: You buy a set-top box, but you are not free to do what you want with it. Specifically, you can't unlock channels that you did not pay for. You expect that keygen program turns your scope to a real higher end model, whereas overclocking a CPU, the expectation is that  the manufacturer guarantees the operation to a limit your paid for and you are experimenting about how high you can go. Totally different issues.

The analogy you've choosen isn't one ;-) Unlocking DRM protected channels is completely different (by means of law) from hacking option codes for your DSO. The latter would be not illegal over here.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 13, 2014, 02:54:18 pm
You shouldn't be messing with your own hardware either to get channels you didn't pay for.
If data is broadcast, I capture it, study it and find that modifying that data reveals moving pictures and sounds, how is the onus on me to determine the source of this data and any licensing requirements behind it?
As an individual that is not really a problem. If you are going to make money from selling hardware/software or writing about how to view paid channels for free then you may find yourself in court (at least in Europe). Just like the case about the magazine article I mentioned earlier.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: JuKu on February 13, 2014, 03:14:25 pm
You shouldn't be messing with your own hardware either to get channels you didn't pay for.
If data is broadcast, I capture it, study it and find that modifying that data reveals moving pictures and sounds, how is the onus on me to determine the source of this data and any licensing requirements behind it?
As an individual that is not really a problem. If you are going to make money from selling hardware/software or writing about how to view paid channels for free then you may find yourself in court (at least in Europe). Just like the case about the magazine article I mentioned earlier.
Off topic and bit of a conspiracy theory, but a guy who I trust and who should know said that the reason for putting such a heavy penalty (up to three years in prison) for owning hardware for payTV decryption is not to protect TV companies, it is to get a reason to confiscate any computer without warning if needed.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Phaedrus on February 13, 2014, 03:50:26 pm
People used to buy lower-end CPUs with the intention of overclocking them to match the performance of higher CPUs.

Then the "fun' of overclocking became the main reason for doing it.

Then Intel embraced overclocking and now sells CPUs that cost more for the privilege of being able to overclock them.


The TE companies will embrace hacking soon enough, if they can see any profit in it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 13, 2014, 03:57:54 pm
Any lost sales is down in the noise, and it's very arguable that hacks actually have a net positive effect on sales.

Exactly this. A business will just say "we need a scope to do X" and buy one. A hobbyist will consider what they can afford and hacks make expensive scopes more attractive. Even for those of us in relatively well off countries a mid range scope like an Agilent 2000 or Rigol 2000 series is not pocket change even for the base models
For several companies I have worked for a scope north of €2000 is a big expense.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 13, 2014, 04:09:37 pm
In the US, EU, and AU (at least) modifying hardware you own for your own purposes is not illegal.  Anyone can hack their own PS3 hardware to do whatever they want.  You are not always allowed to distribute tools needed for others to make the changes though, and you're never allowed to distribute the intellectual property of others without their consent.

Software is another thing entirely, because most of the time, if you pay for software, you pay for the right to use the software, and you do not pay for ownership of the software.  It isn't yours to fiddle with.  This usually includes software running on hardware you purchased, such as oscilloscopes.  In the PS3 example, you lose the right to use the PS3 operating system to connect to the PlayStation Network at all if you've modified the hardware, even though you own the hardware outright, and you're not allowed to modify firmware at all, because it isn't yours.  This includes tricking the firmware into doing things it isn't meant to do, even if you do it without modifying the firmware at all.  These are called exploits and if using exploits is against the EULA for the software in question then that's enforceable as you losing the right to use the software you paid for the right to use, without refund or compensation.  Continued use of the software after you've violated the EULA is considered theft of service and is punishable under the law.

This is what is so dangerous about licensing agreements.  Intellectual property in and of itself doesn't feel right to me.  I should be able to fiddle with software on hardware I purchased.  It's in my bloody possession!  It's the notion of intellectual property and software license (rather than purchase) that protect software authors who wish to "sell their software" -- sorry, license their software for use by the end user.

Stealing has two halves.  The entity that gains and the entity that loses.  Sometimes there is loss without gain (such as intentional destruction of someone else's stuff), sometimes there is gain without loss (such as software piracy, when the pirate would not have purchased under any circumstances), and the usual theft where an item exchanges possession without an agreement between parties.  They are all stealing, technically, though legally usually intentional destruction of someone else's stuff can go by a lot of other names (arson, vandalism, graffiti, lots of others.)

morally it's a huge debate I won't get into.  It isn't really possible to define that anyway as it will vary by culture and even generations within cultures.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 13, 2014, 04:12:21 pm
The TE companies will embrace hacking soon enough, if they can see any profit in it.

If they can see it as a business opportunity (which it is) then they will.  I'd pay extra for access to an API that let me write my own protocol decoders, for example.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: hans on February 13, 2014, 09:25:58 pm
What does the ownership of software actually mean? Is it the compiled executable? Or the source code?  I think (simply put) it's the source code and the permission to compile/distribute executables. So I actually only acquire permission to use/run the executable they supply me.

Software is so often defended as a black box. You may only double click on the icon on your computer desktop, click the buttons inside the windows and do nothing else with it. "Don't touch it, it's our IP!"

Whereas if I have got a hardware device and don't like to press the power button, there is little to stop me from changing that around by automating it with a relay, either internally or externally.

Moreover, I am pretty certain Dutch law prescribes that if you have got a piece of software, which you have the full rights to own&use (valid license and stuff), and want to create/maintain interoperability between your own software, then you're 'allowed' to reverse engineer (disassemble) the software to figure out how it works, so your own software can adopt/react to it. However you may not release this information, nor may you create a product which competes with the original.

It almost says jailbreaking your iPhone to run own apps (that are not from the app store) is not illegal, but it's a grey area as it doesn't say anything about modification of original software. Apple (but any other company , like Microsoft or Nokia Symbian) will claim it's (disassembly, decompilation, etc.) not allowed by any stretch of the imagination, but probably is nonsense.
Because modification is not (yet) mentioned: I would argue that to increase the interoperability between a DSO and me I need to modify the branch-if-conditions code in the scope to unlock all serial decoders and bandwidth.[/sarcasm]

There are some examples where hacked software is distributed and sometimes even promoted (although not always supported) by the original creators. I take some examples from games, like Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Mod or Skyrim Script Extender. These mods all rely on hacking the original binary/game engine on the fly (not on disk, but in memory) with clever memory signature scanning, function hooks, so game code calls to their mod instead and changes the behavior of the software. Thus enables them to create what they want to do. They however, did not modify the original binary!
This is done all over the place, most original Half Life 2 mods work this way too.. Not to mention cheat programs like trainers. And arguably even more dirty, "anti-cheating tools" use very similar tools to those of game modders&hackers to protect their game from cheaters. Fight fire with fire.

In case of Just Cause 2, this has been acquired with reverse engineering and other clever hack techniques, and is actually picked up by the official developers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Cause_2#Multiplayer_mod).

As for software "licenses", I think this is an interesting video: Blindly Accepting Terms and Conditions? - Computerphile (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hb2oMlRI0I#ws)
For me personally software licenses sounds like, if you don't ask, you don't get no as an answer.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: peter.mitchell on February 14, 2014, 07:27:34 am
I buy a car, i choose 0 optional extras.
No foot well lighting. No aux input on the stereo. No auto-dimming headlamps ect.
I get home and find that in the footwell, there are sockets, with bulbs in them, there is the 3.5mm input jack for the stereo in the fascia, there are the sensors in the headlamps.
I google around and see you can turn these features on by pressing some keys on the car stereo and turning the key on and off.
I do this and enable those features.

Is this illegal? Is this stealing?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: CM800 on February 14, 2014, 08:27:59 am
My feels are simple:

If you can do it, do it.

IF the manufacture does not like what you did, it is their job to make a better system to try prevent you from doing so.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 14, 2014, 08:56:50 am
There are case examples to all of the points leading to my conclusions.

Not in the test equipment industry, and that is all we are talking about here. Because ti is not the same market or the same circumstances.

Quote
Didn't Rigol stop making the 2000 series and change it to 2000A, which is not hackable? (I might be wrong on this, I am not looking for a new scope and haven't followed.) On the other hand, they don't seem to care very much, as the "Cease and Desist" letter hasn't come. And they might even be happy for their market share on the low end scopes - or maybe not, the -A model speaks otherwise. It would be nice to get a Rigol spokesman to talk about this!

Sure, most manufacturers will usually block up holes in the next release, because that's what big companies do.
But other than that they don't really care.

Quote
But certainly, this is one of the cases where the law is more strict than individual hobbyists sense of what is right.

There is no case law in this example for the test equipment industry, and no state or federal laws. So as far as the "law" is concerned, it has essentially no say on the matter until a suitable goes to court and gets a ruling. You can't just extrapolate other cases from other industries and circumstances and assume they apply here.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 14, 2014, 08:58:02 am
IF the manufacture does not like what you did, it is their job to make a better system to try prevent you from doing so.

Or simply not make the scopes hackable in the first place by software upgrading hardware. That is a very deliberate choice and risk they take, and they know it.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: CM800 on February 14, 2014, 09:36:59 am
IF the manufacture does not like what you did, it is their job to make a better system to try prevent you from doing so.

Or simply not make the scopes hackable in the first place by software upgrading hardware. That is a very deliberate choice and risk they take, and they know it.

 Exactly my point!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 14, 2014, 10:13:10 am
Human society is fast becoming one big joke with it's extreme pettiness, it really is crazy.

This is an electronics forum full of nerds, it's what we do!
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 14, 2014, 10:23:45 am
There is no case law in this example for the test equipment industry, and no state or federal laws. So as far as the "law" is concerned, it has essentially no say on the matter until a suitable goes to court and gets a ruling. You can't just extrapolate other cases from other industries and circumstances and assume they apply here.
I haven't studied this in great detail but as far as Australia is concerned, they seem to be borrowing bits and pieces from different acts such as the copy right act 1968 which doesn't seem to gel with what we are talking about.

So this is how I think it works in Australia. You are bang on with your statement, there appears to be no law against it and it can only be dealt with in a civil law suit.
"Associations" and "committees" which try and make themselves seem like legal entities but are not statutory bodies and are comprised of large companies such as MS, apple, adobe etc... have produced documents and studies outlining what they deem is wrong and will take to court where they will argue patent and/or copyright infringement

One of their documents (iGEA (http://www.igea.net/) which is referred to as IEEA on the au govs consumer law website) actually talks about "mod chips" citing the playstation, as one of the things that can trigger a lawsuit. They also go on to say how the mod can cause "safety" issues for the consumer (clutches at straws)

 
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: GEuser on February 14, 2014, 04:07:10 pm
Its the Nerd-Burglars (nerdburglars) that one has to watch out for .

Nerdburglars mimic nerds , they burglarize , steal the identity of the nerd , nerds i cannot have a case against , burglars can hang !

See nerds have a very natural sense of what is what and what could be what with no actual "cause" for a dollar or other , first is naturally , then if a dollar or fame or other insidious events happen "so it is" , but nerburglars steal , mimic , imposterize , the good name of nerds solely for the latter mentioned above First!

Just ask anyone  :blah:  :blah:
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: VK3DRB on February 15, 2014, 02:05:39 am
I am a self confessed hacker. I have been hacking for 38 years.

By hacking, I modify equipment or code to make to work differently. I steal nothing and I don't access anything illegally. It is my right to modify equipment that I bought for myself in any way I want, providing that equipment does not break the law.

It is the reckless media and the public who have demonised hackers. They commit slander against the hackers who don't break the law (almost all hackers). Anyone who thinks hackers are evil people, need some re-education  :box: because they they have been brainwashed and are offensive.

Maybe Dave could produce some pro-hacker T-shirts with an electronics theme.





Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 15, 2014, 08:03:42 am
Maybe call yourself a 'senior tweaker' instead of a hacker.
Title: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: microbug on February 15, 2014, 08:52:54 am
Here's my take:

I'm 14 years old. My 'income' is pocket money and mowing my grandmother's lawn. I try to save my money with the intent of buying hardware, but I have no intention if doing so for software simply because I don't have enough. I would never steal a piece of hardware but, unless there is a decent open source version available, I am fine pirating software.

Once I have enough money to just buy the hardware/software I will, but in the mean time I can't afford it. I would happily modify the software on my hardware to enable features that the manufacturer has disabled.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Kjelt on February 15, 2014, 09:46:25 am
It is a sliding scale, I recognize microbug's comments from earlier years, back in the Atari ST time I was also pretty short on cash and the software I had was almost all illegal.
Nowadays I have a pretty good income so if I want a game or piece of software I can buy it.
But for instance movies I don't first buy them, I download them first and watch them (which is not illegal in our country) and if I like them I still buy them (if I know I want to watch them another time). That is because I did buy them in the past and more then 60% was crap so I had this closet full of movies that sucked, took up valuable space and nobody wanted to buy them 2nd hand. 
For professional software that costs 1000's of $'s I unfortunately don't use them or buy them because the benefits don't outweigh the costs.
I would love to use those pro compilers for instance I can use at work but not in my lifetime I am spending that kind of money for them. If I could make money out of it and earn the investment back I probably would do that but that is not the case. I regret that those software houses do not sell non-commercial (maybe even outdated) versions without support for a reasonable price. Some do, most don't. I even contacted some to find out what they could do for me and without support, non commercial license I would get 40% off, still having to pay $2k for a license. Not going to happen.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: madires on February 15, 2014, 02:12:49 pm
By hacking, I modify equipment or code to make to work differently. I steal nothing and I don't access anything illegally. It is my right to modify equipment that I bought for myself in any way I want, providing that equipment does not break the law.

I'm absolutely with you!

Quote
It is the reckless media and the public who have demonised hackers. They commit slander against the hackers who don't break the law (almost all hackers). Anyone who thinks hackers are evil people, need some re-education  :box: because they they have been brainwashed and are offensive.

That's really a problem, because most people think that hackers are bad kids breaking in to computer systems. The TV told us so. But it's totaly misleading since hacking involves much more. Just repeat wrong assumptions again, again and again and people start to believe those.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: madires on February 15, 2014, 02:14:55 pm
Maybe call yourself a 'senior tweaker' instead of a hacker.

It's called Hacker Spaces, not Tweaker's Inn or Tinkerbell's Tea Room :-)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Galenbo on February 17, 2014, 07:36:22 pm
I buy a car, i choose 0 optional extras.
No foot well lighting. No aux input on the stereo. No auto-dimming headlamps ect.
I get home and find that in the footwell, there are sockets, with bulbs in them, there is the 3.5mm input jack for the stereo in the fascia, there are the sensors in the headlamps.
I google around and see you can turn these features on by pressing some keys on the car stereo and turning the key on and off.
I do this and enable those features.

How do you do this for Airco and a Towing bracket? What's the code for the hack to get these?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on February 17, 2014, 07:47:31 pm
I buy a car, i choose 0 optional extras.
No foot well lighting. No aux input on the stereo. No auto-dimming headlamps ect.
I get home and find that in the footwell, there are sockets, with bulbs in them, there is the 3.5mm input jack for the stereo in the fascia, there are the sensors in the headlamps.
I google around and see you can turn these features on by pressing some keys on the car stereo and turning the key on and off.
I do this and enable those features.

How do you do this for Airco and a Towing bracket? What's the code for the hack to get these?

It makes no difference since we're talking about hardware you already purchased, and making use of it without requiring any further physical items.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 18, 2014, 03:29:27 pm
You buy the hardware.  There is no agreement that can usurp this unless it is explicitly labelled a rental agreement, and you understand that it is a rental going in.  In the US, anyway.

The software, though, is different.  I can buy a Rigol scope and do anything I want to the hardware, no problem.  When I hack in software keys, I violate the software EULA, and I lose the right to use the software that actually operates the scope, while keeping the right to do whatever I want with the hardware.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 18, 2014, 10:59:45 pm
What about buying a record from the 60's and playing it backwards to find those "hidden messages" :)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: NiHaoMike on February 18, 2014, 11:30:42 pm
The software, though, is different.  I can buy a Rigol scope and do anything I want to the hardware, no problem.  When I hack in software keys, I violate the software EULA, and I lose the right to use the software that actually operates the scope, while keeping the right to do whatever I want with the hardware.
So if the software bandwidth hack is "wrong", what does that make of the hardware bandwidth hack? It doesn't modify any code, but does more or less the same end result.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 04:13:13 am
The software, though, is different.  I can buy a Rigol scope and do anything I want to the hardware, no problem.  When I hack in software keys, I violate the software EULA, and I lose the right to use the software that actually operates the scope, while keeping the right to do whatever I want with the hardware.
So if the software bandwidth hack is "wrong", what does that make of the hardware bandwidth hack? It doesn't modify any code, but does more or less the same end result.

I didn't say "wrong." 

Hardware modifications are perfectly fine so long as you do not distribute information on how to do it, or do it for anyone else.  You can only modify your own stuff.  Each person must figure it out themselves.  (You're not allowed to modify hardware you do not own, even with permission from the owner, and the term "modify" includes teaching someone else how to do it, or selling parts for that purpose.)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: vk6zgo on February 19, 2014, 04:56:10 am
Quote

I didn't say "wrong." 

Hardware modifications are perfectly fine so long as you do not distribute information on how to do it, or do it for anyone else.  You can only modify your own stuff.  Each person must figure it out themselves.  (You're not allowed to modify hardware you do not own, even with permission from the owner, and the term "modify" includes teaching someone else how to do it, or selling parts for that purpose.)

Well,golly gosh,gee whiz,you mean,all those "hints & kinks" columns in the Ham magazines over the last 80 years or so were illegal,when they referred to mods to commercially made equipment?

And as for the TV service guides that included modifications---nasty TV servicemen!!
To make it worse,they were modifying equipment which didn't belong to them,too!

I have been guilty of this,too,& the Boss even encouraged me in this crime!

"OK Officer,I'll come quietly!" ;D
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 05:13:20 am
I'm just telling you the law as I understand it.

No need to get all weird about it.

I hope those overreactions work out for ya.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 19, 2014, 05:16:52 am
Hardware modifications are perfectly fine so long as you do not distribute information on how to do it

How so?
Publicly publishing info on modifying commercial hardware dates back since before you and I were born.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on February 19, 2014, 05:17:06 am
(You're not allowed to modify hardware you do not own, even with permission from the owner, and the term "modify" includes teaching someone else how to do it, or selling parts for that purpose.)

Is that a real law in the USA? (references?)  Does it cover any "hardware" or just things like game consoles, etc?
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: AlfBaz on February 19, 2014, 05:20:12 am
(You're not allowed to modify hardware you do not own, even with permission from the owner, and the term "modify" includes teaching someone else how to do it, or selling parts for that purpose.)

Is that a real law in the USA? (references?)  Does it cover any "hardware" or just things like game consoles, etc?

Probably not on the same page but...
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/ (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: vk6zgo on February 19, 2014, 05:51:27 am
I'm just telling you the law as I understand it.

No need to get all weird about it.

I hope those overreactions work out for ya.

I don't think you do understand the law as far as hardware is concerned-----firmware/software is another thing.
If there was such a law,it would have been challenged by the ARRL,Broadcasting companies,Publishing companies,& various others.

Electronic equipment is routinely "modified",when obsolete components need to be replaced with modern "not-quite equivalents",or to add functions which were not initially present.

Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 05:52:29 am
Hardware modifications are perfectly fine so long as you do not distribute information on how to do it

How so?
Publicly publishing info on modifying commercial hardware dates back since before you and I were born.

Current laws differ.  We're (well, I'm) not talking ham radios.  Like I said, modding hardware is fine.  Modding software is not.  I misspoke earlier, and you quoted it.  I'm very tired and my wife is furious with me for a misstatement, so I'm not thinking too clearly.  Anyway, I'm talking modern digital stuff; game consoles, mobile phones, etc.  I don't have an Agilent scope to read the EULA on, but if you do, or anyone does, I welcome correction.  Deep in there is very likely a very restrictive clause on what you can do.  Use of said software after breaking the EULA is considered theft.  Selling mods or information that others need to do the same is considered theft * number_of_sales.  This gets into felony territory almost immediately.

I'm just telling you the law as I understand it.

No need to get all weird about it.

I hope those overreactions work out for ya.

I don't think you do understand the law as far as hardware is concerned-----firmware/software is another thing.
If there was such a law,it would have been challenged by the ARRL,Broadcasting companies,Publishing companies,& various others.

Electronic equipment is routinely "modified",when obsolete components need to be replaced with modern "not-quite equivalents",or to add functions which were not initially present.

Yawn.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 05:55:42 am
eh nevermind.  you're all right and i'm always wrong.  just ask my wife.  far out.  jesus christ i'm tired of this planet.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: David_AVD on February 19, 2014, 07:07:12 am
I don't have an Agilent scope to read the EULA on, but if you do, or anyone does, I welcome correction.  Deep in there is very likely a very restrictive clause on what you can do.  Use of said software after breaking the EULA is considered theft.  Selling mods or information that others need to do the same is considered theft * number_of_sales.  This gets into felony territory almost immediately.

Remember that sometimes not everything written in a EULA has a basis in legal fact.   :D
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 01:41:20 pm
Remember that sometimes not everything written in a EULA has a basis in legal fact.   :D

The same can be said of this thread.

Fine, I get it.  I know why people become hermits, now.  I already drink with the flies, might as well live with them.

If you are trying to say that I'm lying or mistaken, then call me a liar or call me wrong and be done with it.  I don't appreciate indirectness, it's not fair to me or any future readers.

If you're not talking about me and I'm overreacting, then this is just another example of how completely inept I am at social cues and social interaction.  Basic things even children understand.  Even when it's distilled down to text I get it wrong consistently.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 19, 2014, 06:05:35 pm
Remember that sometimes not everything written in a EULA has a basis in legal fact.   :D
If everything in a EULA had a legal base they wouldn't need to write the EULA in the first place... IOW: everything in there doesn't apply.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: uwezi on February 19, 2014, 06:42:07 pm
When I placed my vote I didn't understand that you were referring to re-enabling disabled/downgraded functions. What I was thinking about was more tweaking in the sense of adding own functionality to a product which I have purchased, e.g. adding a wireless transmitter to an electronic bathroom scale (a project on my long to-do list), building current amplifier front-ends for DMMs, but also connecting the "forgotten" serial connector on a handheld GPS etc.

Of course I understand the fact that today the value of the hardware itself is often little as compared to the firmware development cost, and thus companies may choose to cripple certain functions and sell the downgraded product for a lower price - actually: why? The company would not loose anything by shipping out the full version, because the firmware development cost has already been spent.

When it comes to software on the other hand, the crippled versions are often a limitation for the user to make profit from the software, e.g. the freeware version of Cadsoft Eagle. Obviously you get the full program code when downloading the software, but with the limitations of the freeware version - even if you wanted - you will hardly be able to develop profitable products. I find that fair, would even be willing to pay for a - for me - reasonably featured version of the software.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: photonpunk on February 19, 2014, 07:15:25 pm
I hate the philosophy of "you don't own that, you're just renting it". To me, it is a ludicrous concept invented by lawyers who aren't particularly in touch with the real world.

If I give you money for something, or if I'm given something for free, and it is now in my possession, in my opinion (and regardless of whatever fine print was slipped in) I now own that item or software. And as such, I believe I have the right to modify it in anyway I see fit.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nanofrog on February 19, 2014, 07:36:25 pm
I hate the philosophy of "you don't own that, you're just renting it". To me, it is a ludicrous concept invented by lawyers who aren't particularly in touch with the real world.
I'd say businessmen/entrepreneurs rather than lawyers came up with it. Lawyers just get hired to write the language in the agreements.  :box:  :P
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on February 19, 2014, 07:37:52 pm
I hate the philosophy of "you don't own that, you're just renting it". To me, it is a ludicrous concept invented by lawyers who aren't particularly in touch with the real world.
I'd say businessmen/entrepreneurs rather than lawyers came up with it. Lawyers just get hired to write the language in the agreements.  :box:  :P

Quite.

Selling the same thing multiple times over is the holy grail of business.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: bronson on February 19, 2014, 07:44:55 pm
If I give you money for something, or if I'm given something for free, and it is now in my possession, in my opinion (and regardless of whatever fine print was slipped in) I now own that item or software. And as such, I believe I have the right to modify it in anyway I see fit.

Amen to that.  And that extends to electromagnetic radiation too.  If the CIA or DirectTV or space aliens choose to beam their signals through my antenna and receiver (and house and cat and body) then I can do whatever the heck I want with them.  It's crazy to claim that it's illegal for me try to decode it or play with it.

(buying decode paraphernalia is a gray area of course...  this tends to devolve into slippery slope and libertarian arguments and imo doesn't produce a clear answer).
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 07:51:47 pm
I hate the philosophy of "you don't own that, you're just renting it". To me, it is a ludicrous concept invented by lawyers who aren't particularly in touch with the real world.

If I give you money for something, or if I'm given something for free, and it is now in my possession, in my opinion (and regardless of whatever fine print was slipped in) I now own that item or software. And as such, I believe I have the right to modify it in anyway I see fit.

I agree with you, and the legal precedent of the ownership of ideas, as toxic as it is, is real, so there's a gap somewhere between what you and I believe and what people who derive a large portion of their income from intellectual property believe.  Unfortunately they have a lot more money for attorneys than you and I.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on February 19, 2014, 07:56:34 pm
I don't have an Agilent scope to read the EULA on, but if you do, or anyone does, I welcome correction.  Deep in there is very likely a very restrictive clause on what you can do.  Use of said software after breaking the EULA is considered theft.  Selling mods or information that others need to do the same is considered theft * number_of_sales.  This gets into felony territory almost immediately.

Remember that sometimes not everything written in a EULA has a basis in legal fact.   :D

Plus, depending on which country you live in, and how the EULA is presented, the whole thing is invalid and non-binding. For example in Germany, you need to be presented with such agreements at the point of sale. Any kind of contract, license, etc., that is not presented to you when you buy the item is void. Furthermore, you always enter in a contract with the actual seller, not the manufacturer. So if there are any extra terms that the manufacturer wants to apply, the seller has to accept and make them "his own" first.

Any of that shrinkwrap crap, or other stuff that you can see only after you bought an item and opened the box, has absolutely no legal meaning over here.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Rigby on February 19, 2014, 07:58:18 pm
Ok, but lack of EULA enforcement does not mean ownership of source code or patents which are implemented in the software.  (You still don't own it.)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: 8086 on February 19, 2014, 08:01:07 pm
You could say, that if you own the hardware (there seems to be consensus on that point, at least), that you also own the arrangement of physically stored bits inside the hardware memories. Which by extrapolation would mean that you own the software present on the device.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nanofrog on February 19, 2014, 08:28:08 pm
Wow, you guys still arguing and going in circles eh!     how weird.
:-DD

Not surprising though IMHO, given differences between nations' laws.

In the US for example, the legality isn't clear at all (actual EULA language hasn't ever been challenged directly in a court of law yet, as defending attorneys have kept this from happening). From what I've seen and heard, companies are terrified of such an event occurring.

And I suspect for damn good reason (genuine chance it would be struck down).  ;)
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: mamalala on February 19, 2014, 09:14:03 pm
Ok, but lack of EULA enforcement does not mean ownership of source code or patents which are implemented in the software.  (You still don't own it.)

There is quite a difference between a regular software program that is available to be run on a computer, and firmware that is tied to a very specific piece of hardware. In the latter, the firmware is thought of being an integral part of the complete machine. It is required to have the machine work as intended. I can't use it  on anything else, nor can i go and get an alternative for it elsewhere, very much unlike normal software, where you can chose between different programs from different vendors.

In any case, over here i am allowed to fiddle around with software that i bought in any way i want. What i can not legally do in most cases is to redistribute the modified software, unlike the original software, which i  am always allowed to resell, as long as i don't keep a copy for myself.

Greetings,

Chris
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: nctnico on February 19, 2014, 11:33:23 pm
Ok, but lack of EULA enforcement does not mean ownership of source code or patents which are implemented in the software.  (You still don't own it.)
True. In case of software copyright laws apply which say the work remains the property of the owner. You only buy the right to use the software.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: EEVblog on February 20, 2014, 12:09:57 am
In the US for example, the legality isn't clear at all (actual EULA language hasn't ever been challenged directly in a court of law yet, as defending attorneys have kept this from happening).

And that is why, no matter how hard anyone tries to extrapolate other cases (game conconsoles etc), or makes claims that it's "illegal" etc and to read EULA etc, no such case law exists for any form of test equipment or other similar hardware product. So until that time modifying such hardware is not "illegal" until such case laws sets a precedence, or there are federal or states that prohibit it.
EULA mean nothing until a company tries to test them and gets a court ruling, which I think would be pretty darn hard to do.
And has been pointed out, there is a strong history in the industry of publishing much hardware modifications for many decades now.
Title: Re: Stealing: The double standard?
Post by: Weez on March 17, 2014, 08:06:27 pm
Just stumbled on this thread and felt compelled to add my $0.02.  I confess I didn't read all 24 pages, just skimmed through it, so I may be repeating another's comment(s).

It seems we have a bit of everything, opinion-wise, here. 

I think it's sad that we live in such an age of planned obsolescence.  For example, if I pay 2 or 300.00 for a media player, I consider that to be a decent chunk of change.  I then look at the warranty and it says the unit is covered for 90 days.  So, it could be viewed that, by agreeing to the purchase, I'm saying that in 3 months I should be willing to fork out another 300 bucks to replace a defective unit, no complaints or arguments.

If we take end-user abuse out of the picture, then the manufacturer is basically saying that they have no, or very little, confidence in their product(s).  Yet they still want top dollar for them. 

I think that's crazy...yet we, as consumers, continue to flock to the stores in droves, like a bunch of lemmings.

I've been a woodworker for many years.  I have a shop filled with top quality (and expensive) tools, many of which are very old.  Once upon a time, there was a mantra of "spend your money on quality tools...buy it once, and be done with it".  I have handplanes that are 100+ years old, and still work just as well as they did when they were new.  If I ever decide to sell them, I'll get back most of what I paid.  When these tools were new, they cost the equivalent (sometimes more) of a week's wages.  But you only had to do it once.

If I pay a premium for a (insert electronic item here), I expect that sumbitch to run like a raped ape for years, not months. 

Not a very realistic outlook in today's world, I know, and I know that there are some items being made today that are top shelf quality.  These aren't the norm, though, at least in my experience.

If I pay 7 or 8 hundred dollars for a Rigol scope, even if it's considered "entry level" for it's bracket, shouldn't I expect it to run for years, even with heavy use?  Look at all the Teks (and other brands) that are 40 or 50 years old (or older) and still going strong, minor repairs/calibration notwithstanding.  That's quality.  Sure, it came with a price, but it was money well spent.  An investment, one might say.  If the price of admission for a Tek, back in the day, doesn't equate to that of a Rigol today, is that an excuse for shoddy performance and/or longevity? 

I say it isn't, because with all the advancements in technology, manufacturing processes, the lesser costs involved should equate to savings to us, the purchasers/users...not the profit to the company.  Make your profit by selling more of a quality item, not by selling less of an intentionally crippled product at a bloated price.

Since that seems to be the status quo (I won't give specific examples here) of the industry (a general term), then I believe that we, as consumers, really have no choice but to strike back whatever way we can. 

If that means hacking a 100Mhz Rigol scope into a 200Mhz, then so be it.  I've no problems whatsoever with that. 

Same thing with software.  Sell your product at a reasonable price.  Reward loyal customers.  Only release a new version when you've really surpassed the old one enough to where there is a signiifcant difference (cough, Adobe, cough), not just because two years have gone by.

Don't wanna do that?  Not enough profit in that business model?  Ok fine...but just know that those of us who don't agree with the corporate greed mentality, will continue to obtain what we want, for free.

If you buy a scope and can hack it into a better model, do it, and  with a clear conscience.  Install your software on as many computers as you own, likewise, with a clear conscience.

If these goddamned lawyers could make it illegal to fold your Charmin in half to get double the use when wiping your ass, they'd do it.  Screw 'em.