Author Topic: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?  (Read 49443 times)

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Online ataradov

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2024, 01:04:28 am »
Does CMSIS-DAP have anything broadly similar to Segger's RTT?
From the functionality point of view, CMSIS-DAP has everything necessary to implement that. But there is no standard implementation or specification for control blocks or commands like that as far as I'm aware.

Designing and implementing those things is what costs money. It is purely a software feature that can work over any debugger, but the software is free, so this is why hardware is expensive.
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Offline GromBeestje

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2024, 08:17:17 am »
OpenOCD implements RTT these days. As such, it can be used with any adapter supported by OpenOCD. However, last time I checked, it only works on ARM targets, not yet on RISC-V, whereas SEGGER software should support RTT on RISCV targets as well.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2024, 12:05:22 pm »
I never saw a EULA when I installed the deb package.
This does not mean there is no license. Just because you did not bother to check, does not mean you are not bound by it. You don't need to explicitly agree to anything.
Are you seriously suggesting that a user can be bound by terms they have not been shown and agreed to?
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2024, 02:49:52 pm »
Quote
Are you seriously suggesting that a user can be bound by terms they have not been shown and agreed to?

If they see them too late but still continue to use the product, yes, quite possibly.

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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2024, 05:36:58 pm »
What happens when a customer violates an EULA, without violating copyright laws?

In the EU, that is a contract violation.  So, if you are a private customer, the vendor/manufacturer can sue you.  That's it.  Considering the strong customer protections, it is quite dangerous for the company.

For companies it is a different thing, because business-to-business contract laws differ, and because of the Software Alliance (formerly BSA) trade group.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #30 on: February 29, 2024, 08:48:32 am »
Quote
Are you seriously suggesting that a user can be bound by terms they have not been shown and agreed to?

If they see them too late but still continue to use the product, yes, quite possibly.
But the contract cannot exist, unless the buyer has had the chance to see it before purchasing the product, so it cannot be valid.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #31 on: February 29, 2024, 09:12:28 am »
Quote
Are you seriously suggesting that a user can be bound by terms they have not been shown and agreed to?

If they see them too late but still continue to use the product, yes, quite possibly.
But the contract cannot exist, unless the buyer has had the chance to see it before purchasing the product, so it cannot be valid.
Note that that applies in the EU (and possibly UK); in the USA, EULAs are legally binding even if entered into well after the purchase.

I do believe that in the USA, you can only either accept the EULA, or decline and not install or use the software (and possibly get your money back, although I'm not sure of even that).  I have no idea about Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

So, there really is a big difference here on the different sides of the pond.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #32 on: February 29, 2024, 11:58:46 am »
Quote
Are you seriously suggesting that a user can be bound by terms they have not been shown and agreed to?

If they see them too late but still continue to use the product, yes, quite possibly.
But the contract cannot exist, unless the buyer has had the chance to see it before purchasing the product, so it cannot be valid.
Note that that applies in the EU (and possibly UK); in the USA, EULAs are legally binding even if entered into well after the purchase.

I do believe that in the USA, you can only either accept the EULA, or decline and not install or use the software (and possibly get your money back, although I'm not sure of even that).  I have no idea about Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

So, there really is a big difference here on the different sides of the pond.
If the hardware is unusable without the software, which requires a EULA, then it's a design defect and it's only reasonable to allow the purchaser to return it, in exchange for a refund, if they disagree with it.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #33 on: February 29, 2024, 09:03:25 pm »
Yes, it seems obvious to me that any *condition* relative to the use of some product should be made clear and known to the consumer *before* the purchase.
In case of EULAs, it's rarely if ever the case - you only see the EULA after the purchase, usually. Which is already a defect IMO.
But you must at least be able to decline the EULA if you disagree, and get a refund.
That would be the same for any other condition for using a product.

Any law that would not protect consumers in this way would be f*cking them over. One needs to be fully informed before committing, otherwise it's just fraud. IMHO.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #34 on: February 29, 2024, 10:51:37 pm »
As a software developer myself (who does occasionally work with proprietary commercial software, too), I find it silly that vendors don't show the contracts up front, before one makes the purchase decision, including any kind of end-user agreements.  It isn't difficult, and your competitors will trivially find them out if they care, so it's not "business sensitive" in any way.

For free/open source software, those that use copyright licenses and not EULAs, the situation is simpler because the user always has the permissions given by copyright law (including to use the software at least in EU), and the copyright license only extends those rights, and really worry about distribution and derivative works rather than how the user uses the software.  If you break a copyright license, you only lose the rights to distribute copies and create derivative works, not the right to use the software.

For proprietary but zero-cost software, the install-time user agreement is acceptable, because the user can simply decline.  It makes business sense to show the EULA before the user starts the download, because that way users wishing to decline do not have to download large amount of data for no reason, but is not an absolute requirement.

Thus, we should ask Segger why they do this.  It is odd, and likely drives away more customers than would ever "break" their EULA in any way that Segger actually cares.  Is it all just to soothe the non-technical, non-copyright-savvy Cxx higher-ups in the company?  Doesn't sound likely, looking at their history and background.

I can understand that Segger wants to monetize both the software and the hardware, and avoid any situation where a potential paying customer might instead use the less-profitable-to-Segger "EDU" versions, which they probably intended only as a way to hook students into their software and hardware ecosystem, so that when they move to the workforce, they'd suggest the companies they work for to use Segger products.  This is clear, and quite normal.

What is odd is that Segger is a German company, and should be well aware of EU laws concerning non-business customers (including relevant contract law).  It seems almost like they're using the "EDU" version EULA as a scare tactic only, knowing well that if they were to sue a private customer about the EDU version EULA violation (remember, it's a contract; we're not talking about copyright law violations like distributing copies here), the court would be rather likely to rule for the private customer, and might even rule the EULA "unfair".

It must be a pretty cold risk-cost-benefit calculation.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2024, 10:53:30 pm by Nominal Animal »
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #35 on: February 29, 2024, 11:14:21 pm »
Segger does show a message asking you to confirm that you will comply with the EULA when you download stuff.

I have not tried to download their GUI installers, but in the DEB file there is not a good way to show EULA at the install time. Sure, you can interrupt the install process to print some message, but that sucks. In any case, you can see that EULA before making a purchase.

And of course all the licenses are available on the site without initiating any downloads - https://www.segger.com/purchase/licensing/
« Last Edit: February 29, 2024, 11:16:40 pm by ataradov »
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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2024, 12:01:22 am »
in the DEB file there is not a good way to show EULA at the install time
It is also problematic, because debian .deb packages are installed system-wide, and there can be any number of human users.

In those cases, the EULA should really be shown when the user executes the application the first time.  I believe it is okay for zero-cost packages, but for others, the EULA simply has to be agreed at or prior to purchase.

Note that this also works for actual educational uses.  The purchaser is then the educational institution that agrees to both the purchase agreement and to limit its users to an EULA; and the end users agree to the EULA only.  If the end users do not agree, they cannot use the software.  If they disagree with the EULA, it is between them and their educational instutute to decide what to do; but the software/hardware vendor is safe, because they made the sales contract with the institution, not the disagreeing end user.

Just don't make the configuration key "HasAgreedToEULA=1".  Standard gnome/qt/unix per-user configuration (plain text .config) is perfectly okay, but use say the hash from the username and the product serial number as the "True" value, for example.

Segger does show a message asking you to confirm that you will comply with the EULA when you download stuff.
If the EULA is not shown at the time of the purchase, there are all sorts of legal arguments from false advertising to unfair contract to post-purchase hidden requirements.  Just being able to return the device and get their money back if one declines the EULA is not sufficient in the EU, the business-customer contract law protects at least private customers better than that.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2024, 12:40:39 am »
If the EULA is not shown at the time of the purchase, there are all sorts of legal arguments
Can you show a single product that explicitly shows EULA at the time of purchase? Do you expect Mouser and DigiKKey to show the EULA before you place J-Link into the cart?

Also, you don't have to use their software. The hardware works without that. It is just that the whole value is in the software. But if you are buying $600 device, you probably researched if it will work for you.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 12:50:10 am by ataradov »
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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2024, 02:01:32 am »
If the EULA is not shown at the time of the purchase, there are all sorts of legal arguments
Can you show a single product that explicitly shows EULA at the time of purchase?
Doesn't matter.  EU law is what it is.  Just do a web search on "CJEU" and "EULA", CJEU being Court of Justice of the European Union.

For example, CJEU case C-13/20 determined that regardless of the contract –– and it was a business-to-government one –– decompilation of software is allowed for bug fixing purposes.  Yet, basically all EULAs forbid reverse engineering and decompilation for any purpose.  Law overrides the agreement here.

(Edit: Note that case C-666/18 involves actual copyright law infringement –– creating a derivative of the software in question –– so although brought by the vendor as an EULA question, CJEU resolved it as a copyright law infringement.  I'm not talking about such, only about EULA points not involving copyright law, like what purpose a software product is used for.)

(Edit 2: I think Maplesoft does it pretty much correctly, as the main limitations of each EULA type are listed up front (see this list), and you can try it out for 15 days before purchase by just registering, minimizing any surprises, and seeing the EULA at that time.  I'd prefer to see the entire EULA up front, but as I can try it out with basically zero cost and see the actual EULA if I want, it should suffice.  Edit 3: The EULA is here, "hidden" behind site Terms of Use link at the very bottom of the page.  If they linked to it from the web shop product info pages, they'd be doing it perfectly.)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 02:31:37 am by Nominal Animal »
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2024, 02:53:19 am »
Also, you don't have to use their software. The hardware works without that.

You mean by using third-party tools that support it, like OpenOCD? How many of these software tools are actually officially supported by Segger?
If the answer is none, then the point is moot, legally speaking. But maybe they do support some of them.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2024, 02:58:25 am »
How many of these software tools are actually officially supported by Segger?
What difference does it make? You are buying a very specific piece of hardware, it is on you to figure out if it will be useful in your case.

There does not have to be any Segger software at all, this does not prevent the sale.
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Offline zilp

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2024, 04:07:19 am »
How many of these software tools are actually officially supported by Segger?
What difference does it make? You are buying a very specific piece of hardware, it is on you to figure out if it will be useful in your case.

There does not have to be any Segger software at all, this does not prevent the sale.

Well, the question is whether you are buying just a piece of hardware. If the product that you are buying is described by the seller or manufacturer as having a certain set of featues, but those features aren't in the hardware, but rather in a piece of software that needs to be used in combination with the hardware, then what you bought probably isn't just the hardware, but also, in some way, a right to use that software.

What you bought isn't determined by what happens to be in the package, what you bought is determined by the contract, and the content of the contract is, among other things, determined by what the seller and manufacturer promised you about the thing that they were selling you.
 
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Offline GromBeestje

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2024, 08:59:16 am »
That's an interesting question, what exactly is sold? Is it the piece of hardware, or the license to use the software? As the edu is the same hardware as the base, one could argue it is the software license, rather then the hardware, being sold.
If those products are being about the software license, would that mean these limitation don't apply when using third party software like OpenOCD with it?
 

Offline zilp

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Re: Can Segger legally enforce J-Link EDU Mini restrictions?
« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2024, 02:42:03 pm »
That's an interesting question, what exactly is sold? Is it the piece of hardware, or the license to use the software?

For one, that isn't mutually exclusive. You could be buying the hardware and a licence. But also, as Nominal Animal has already explained, you don't need a licence to use the software under EU copyright law. Chances are that you are buying the hardware and a copy of the software. And being a lawful owner of a copy of the software, you are allowed to use that copy of the software without requiring a licence.

As the edu is the same hardware as the base, one could argue it is the software license, rather then the hardware, being sold.

If the offer includes the hardware (and it isn't explicitly specified as being rented to you or something like that), then the hardware is part of what is being sold

If those products are being about the software license, would that mean these limitation don't apply when using third party software like OpenOCD with it?

That is almost certainly true anyway. Generally, if you enter into a purchase contract, you can't include any rules for what the new owner may or may not do with their new property, as that would effectively turn the property into not-really-property and thus the purchace contract into not-really-a-purchase-contract. I am not saying this is completely impossible in principle, in individually negotiated contracts, but almost certainly not for an off-the-shelf product, at least in Germany.

The only way I see how this construction would be legally enforceable would be if the contract is about a software licence and the purchase of a piece of hardware, in which case, the licence could specify almost arbitrary conditions for the use of the software, but the hardware still would be your property for you to do with whatever you want.
 


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