decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:13 PM EST

I've been getting so much email on this, I decided to drop what I was doing and quickly respond here. Slashdot has posted an article about a report to the New Zealand State Services Commission regarding FOSS:
Gavo writes "Law firm Chapmann Tripp advises New Zealand State Services Commission that the New Zealand Government should be wary of using 'infectious' open source software. They claim 'While the use of open source software has many benefits, it brings with it a number of legal risks not posed by proprietary or commercial software.'"

Here's the scoop, although I don't know if the New Zealand government is aware of it. Chapman Tripp works for Microsoft.

Here's the proof, if you don't mind a .doc file downloading on to your computer a page of copyright notices on Microsoft's behalf by the firm:

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Under Section 136 of the Copyright Act 1994
Copyright Holder: Microsoft Corporation

Date Accepted: 18 September 1998 (re-accepted 15 August 2003)
Date Expires: 7 August 2008

[list of works]...

Contacts: The company for all inquiries on the notices is:

Attention: Justin Graham
Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young
[address, phone, fax]

They don't even hide it. They list Microsoft as a client on their site:

Advising Microsoft Corporation on digital copyright, parallel importation and copyright enforcement issues, including submissions to the Ministry of Economic Development and the select committee.

Might this be why Microsoft is now sending out "Get the Facts" style FUD to the New Zealand government?

Open source software: briefing to the Minister of State Services - March 2003

4 March 2003

The State Services Commission provided a briefing to the Minister for State Services on the potential for the use of open source software within government, and any associated risks or limitations, in March 2003. As a result of the briefing, it was:

* noted that open source software is generally a viable alternative to commercial software, and that it is increasingly used in both the private and public sectors globally;

* noted that 'value for money' and 'fitness for purpose' principles should continue to underlie any software procurement decision made by government agencies; and

* agreed that government agencies, when acquiring, upgrading or relicensing software, be encouraged to assess open source alternatives (where these exist) and should choose based on cost, functionality, interoperability, and security;

Hence the Microsoft effort to create antiFOSS FUD. As I always say, they have altogether too much money. Of course, the report is chock full of FUD. Here is one example:

5 A "strongly infectious" open source licence will infect any redistributed piece of software that contains or is derived from software licensed under it. It is generally very difficult to modify or integrate software licensed under a strongly infectious open source licence without the resulting product, when redistributed, becoming "open source" on the same terms as the original. The GPL is an example of a strongly infectious open source licence.

At least the GPL allows you to use the code, modify it and redistribute at all. Let's think for a minute, something FUD purveyors hope you will never do. Suppose you redistribute modified Microsoft software instead. What will happen to you? That's right. They'll sue your pants off.

So I'd say if FOSS is "infectious," Microsoft is flesh-eating bacteria.


  


The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report | 198 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:20 PM EST
Well it is kind of infectious... I just can't seem to stop using it now. ;) I
started with a few gpl apps... then several... and boom the whole OS... ;)

sbans

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:27 PM EST
> choose based on cost, functionality, interoperability, and security

I can see why MS don't want those criteria used -- they lose out to FOSS on at
least three of them (and any advantage they still have on the fourth is rapidly
eroding).

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:29 PM EST
given that this is the new zealand government, notorious for getting rather
stuborn when foreign interests try and interfere with their affairs, i think
this will probably have precisely the opposite to the desired effect

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections thread
Authored by: darksepulcher on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:36 PM EST
So PJ can fix any little oopsies in the text, should there be any.

---
Had I but time--As this fell Sergeant, Death
Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you--
But let it be.
(Hamlet, Act V Scene 2)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic here
Authored by: Griffin3 on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:37 PM EST
Especially anyone who knows what the latest Supreme Court decisions mean ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Likely to be coincidence
Authored by: so23 on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:51 PM EST
NZ is a small place. The fact that Chapmann Tripp have worked for Microsoft is
less significant than you might think. There are probably very few large law
firms in the country with expertise in software licensing. Chapmann Tripp is
probably the largest of a handful at most, making it the obvious contender both
to advise the ministry, and to handle Microsoft's business in the country.

While I find the article quite unbalanced, particularly in the way it careless
throws around very loaded language, there isn't anything actually untrue in it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: BC on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:51 PM EST
Blah...Infectious Open Source. The mind boggles at how they try to use it as a
legitimate technical term.

How about a "Get the Truth" campaign.

Once you've switched to open source you're vaccinated against the real extend
and embrace scourge that's probably already infected you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

4 March 2003
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:54 PM EST
Doesn't this date back to the same week as when SCO launched its suit against
IBM?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: star-dot-h on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 10:57 PM EST
Actually, State Services Commission play an important in oversight and advising
other government agencies. So advice with their "stamp" is taken
seriously. A more complete analysis would be most welcome.

In fairness, they have been setting a reasonable lead when it comes to OSS
adoption.

---

Free software on every PC on every desk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic - US Suprme Court Verdict
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:02 PM EST
"{The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that plaintiffs in a patent-tying
antitrust action under Section 1 of the Sherman Act must prove that the
defendant has market power as part of its affirmative case [Illinois Tool Works
v. Independent Ink]"

What does this mean for us non legal folks?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:06 PM EST
"(a) the original software if re-distributed

(b) any modification of the original software if redistributed

(c) software containing or integrated with the original software, if
redistributed

(d) software used in conjunction with the original software to provide a web
based service."

A and B both apply just as much to MS' licensing as anyone else. B and C are
both highly subjective to the conditions.

But what I don't get is why governments are afraid of legal issues in software
when a) they make the laws for their land, and b) some of the most likely
threats for any legal issues are not neccessarily set up in their country. If
there wass a world government, that would be one thing, but it is likely at
least a few years off. The government can't be sued by an entity outside of
their country, and when the entity has set up a camp in in their country, the
issue would depend on the laws regarding who can sue the government and when.
But the government can refuse to acknowledge a patent on the basis as they
determine the patent never should have been issued in the locality it was under
their laws.

MS needs broken up when they continually threaten governments.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:12 PM EST
If the government of NZ wants to fall for the Chapmann Tripp con job, the only
loser will the government of NZ. Given that NZ's trading partners, the PRC,
India, ASEAN are all pushing Open Source, the worst that happens is that NZ is
out of step with them - When I used to study judo, I would do my level best to
make sure that my victim would be out of step with me. If he was out of step,
then I would catch him flat footed and within half a second, he would be giving
the mat a big, wet, sloppy kiss.

---
Know your enemies well, because that's the only way you are going to defeat
them. And know your friends even better, just in case they become your enemies.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ethical Violation?
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:23 PM EST
Is this a violation of ethics in New Zealand? It sounds like this law firm had
a clear conflict of interest here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:25 PM EST
The FUD be down under too...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ummm, right
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 11:48 PM EST
There are no legal risks associated with using comercial software sold by SCO -
right?

Microsoft rigorously strives to avoid infringing other companies IP - right?

Oh, come off it! Sounds more like you are at risk with commercial stuff and
things like infectios DRM, roll up get your documents DRMed and then watch as
no-one can use them - yuck!

I hear Microsoft is distributing 1/2 million trial versions of Longwait err I
mean Longhorn errr I mean Vista. Are any GL members getting a copy? How about
doing some deep searching for other peoples IP, GREPS and so on?

Tufty

[ Reply to This | # ]

You can write your opinion on the page
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 12:06 AM EST

That the report is on - there is a link. I sent them a nice polite 3 paragraph
note stating that the report was full of errors an inaccuracies and it should be
pulled before New Zealand became a laughing stock. Because of the time
difference it's 3:00 PM there now, late in the working day, so it's possible
they've already read it.

I'll let everyone know what response I get if any.


---
Wayne

http://urbanterrorist.blogspot.com/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not so much a big deal...
Authored by: bruzie on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 12:36 AM EST

As mentioned on slashdot, the report itself isn't really 'bad' - loaded terms notwithstanding.

If you look at this briefing paper on open source to the Minister of the State Services Commission, one of the results was that government agencies are encouraged to assess open source alternatives when acquiring, upgrading or relicensing software.

The State Services Commission is the government's government. They dictate how all the other public service government departments operate.

I've done work for several NZ government departments including the SSC, and a lot of the time they use OS server technologies. The SSC are effectively lawyers and they're not going to change their policy based on this guide that Chapmann Tripp prepared. Although I am a bit offended that my taxes were spent on this 'guide'.

---
Chris Brewer
"Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilisation?"
"I think it would be a good idea."

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 12:56 AM EST
I think this is a bit over-blown. I have done a lot of contract develpment work for NZ government in the past few years. I have even done some for State Services (SSC).

One thing I do know is that SSC is very supportive, and a heavy user of FOSS (note the Plone web site) and is actively encouraging other govt departments to adopt FOSS.

I doubt this report will really have much influence at all.

-andy

[ Reply to This | # ]

So What?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 02:05 AM EST
By definition, the GPL IS viral. It states that if you write software that uses
GPL'd software then you must license under the GPL also. While this is of
concern to many corporations and which is why almost all popular software
libraries are not under GPL license (which is why the LGPL and other licenses
exist), why Microsoft (or its lawyers) would choose to point this out to a
government entity is beyond me. Government entities generally do not try to
make a profit off their software and would have very little problem with the
terms of the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Legal risks", my foot
Authored by: IRJustman on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 03:51 AM EST
This one is GOLDEN:

"They claim 'While the use of open source software has many benefits, it
brings with it a number of legal risks not posed by proprietary or commercial
software.'"

This from a software company who ROUTINELY steals (yes, I said
"steal") stuff for their products, then gets smacked for it. Let's
see what Stac, for example, has to say about "legal risks not posed by
proprietary or commercial software".

Then there's the software with Swiss-cheese-style security whose source code's
disclosure a Microsoft employee says may compromise national security.
Trustworthy Computing (Whose trust are they trying to earn anyway? Certainly
not ours.) has not measurably helped this situation at all.

It seems to me that Microsoft's products carry more legal liabilities than open
source software ever has.

--Ian, typing one-handed after having broken his left shoulder.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL: kicking the FUD and groking the INTENT
Authored by: belzecue on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 03:57 AM EST
Here it is in a nutshell...

If you want to save yourself the time, effort, and cost of building a software
application FROM SCRATCH then consider using GPLed software. You will be
standing on the shoulders of programming giants.

But know that if you choose to develop that software further and subsequently
distribute it OUTSIDE the legal entity that accepted the GPL, the price you pay
for this is allowing OTHERS to stand on YOUR shoulders, i.e. you let them use
your modified code to save themselves the time, effort, and cost of building
their own software application FROM SCRATCH -- JUST LIKE YOU DID! How anyone can
construe that approach as unfair is beyond my comprehension, because...

... if you don't want to allow the above then go ahead and BUILD YOUR SOFTWARE
FROM SCRATCH. It's your choice. What the FUDsters love doing is pretending that
you do not have this choice, that you are somehow 'forced' to accept the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 04:48 AM EST
If a government comissions software to be written ... presumably to serve the
purposes for which is was elected ... then why on earth wouldn't it want to give
the source code out to the citizens whose taxes paid for it ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Freedom of Information?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 08:00 AM EST
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if NZ has a Freedom of Information law, then any
code changes they commission must be open anyway. Exactly how could infectious
openness make any difference to them?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe more than one thrust
Authored by: imperial on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 08:02 AM EST
I have been in correspondence with the editor of the Computerworld New Zealand
over an article written by a Mr Chris Bell that took a fairly deceptive, in my
view, slant against using FOSS.

I wrote to the editor listing a number or points where this article was
misleading, factually inaccurate or both. The editor replied (surprise) but told
me i had missed the point of the article which was to raise questions but not
answer them. I still maintained that wrong is wrong whatever the intent of the
article and apparently I am still missing the point.

He then offered to send me a copy of all of the articles in the series, so I can
judge for myself and I am eagerly awaiting them.

Mr Bell's article raised a number of issues that I will briefly summarise.

1. No warranty
2. Not used for 'mission critical' applications
3. GPL never tested in court
4. FOSS doesnt correspond to requirements specifications
5. Problems with lawsuits

Basically, the article could have been written by somebody from Microsoft as it
parroted the 'Get the Fud' campaign pretty closely. The deficiencies in this
article are pretty obvious and apparently it is part of a series aimed at CIOs
in New Zealand.

I wonder why so much action in NZ all of a sudden. Any Kiwis with their finger
on the pulse may be able to provide some suggestions.

When I get the rest of the articles I will post some more if anybody is
interested.

PJ if you want to see the emails and replies let me know and I will forward
them.

Tom

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 09:39 AM EST
Guess I need a nic. (I wrote parent) To answer your question, my reading of
current DRM issues is that just about everyone is a violator of some DRM rule or
another just by listening or watching content; especially since the RIAA has
said ripping contents of a cd to play on a mp3 player is infringing use of their
content. :)

**********
Ivana B. Free

[ Reply to This | # ]

Intent of of the use or "Infectious"
Authored by: brc on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 10:23 AM EST
My thoughts are that Microsoft has been hit so many times over security and
virus issues that they are intentionally using the terms "infectious"
and "infected by", etc to create a false impression with the public
that FOSS software is just as likely to be "infected" as MS products,
without differentiating between the "infected by viruses and trojans"
that MS is plagued with vs using this as a licensing "issue" on FOSS.

It's also interesting that they so often play out the legal fiction of IP
infringement - has anyone ever made a list of lawsuits against FOSS projects for
IP infringement vs the number of IP/Copyright infringment cases against
proprietary software - I know MS gets sued over this often, but can't think of a
single successful case against FOSS...

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are unique legal issues when developing with GPL'ed tools
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 10:25 AM EST
I posted this over at Slashdot, it got ignored. One of the primary issues this
is trying to address is for developers, NOT the ordinary user. Developing
proprietary applications for the Linux platform, or GPL'ed development tools,
does take precautions that aren't as much of a worry with proprietary
platforms.

The net result is that for developing proprietary software, there are issues
that don't exist in proprietary systems, as I tried to demonstrate in my post to
slashdot:

I work for a large corporation very friendly to open source. Still, we work with
just such guidelines in place, and more.

Let me give you a for-instance:

We develop proprietary design software that runs on unix, and port it to Linux.
Joe Developer makes an error with the libraries (accidentally statically links
against an LGPL'ed library, or links at all against a GPL'ed one). We share that
application with a company we have a partnership with, or a customer.

Guess what? We've just lost control of the license of our application. We can
now be forced to release the code (say, after the partnership disolves), and
can't prevent the partner from redistributing the application.

Of course, this isn't confined to Linux. What if GPL'ed or LGPL'ed libraries are
installed on Solaris, or Windows, or...

With proprietary software, this isn't an issue. Purchase of the
compiler/SDK/library generally takes care of the license issues, and mistakes
can generally be cleared up without releasing source code (maybe fines or
$BIGNUM royalty payments, but our code is still ours, and secret, at the end of
the day).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Using lawfirms as PR firms
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 11:43 AM EST
PJ wrote: Law firm Chapmann Tripp...... although I don't know if the New Zealand government is aware of it. Chapman Tripp works for Microsoft.

Seems a disturbing trend for companies to use law firms as PR firms. Doesn't that violate some sort of ethical requirements on the profession? It seems like the entire strategy is based on CEOs who are scared to death of lawyers; so when MSFT fud comes from a lawyer or a law firm they panic a lot more than when it comes from an ad agency.

It's kinda sad to see; but no doubt it's effective. Any good way of countering that kind of FUD?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 03:07 PM EST
noted that 'value for money' and 'fitness for purpose' principles should continue to underlie any software procurement decision made by government agencies;

Let's see what Microsoft have to say about fitness for purpose, shall we? Looking at the EULA for XP Pro, here, we see what?

MS offer a limited warranty (only listed for software sold in the US / Canada, and I don't have an actual MS license to hand to see what the European terms are) for 90 days (30 if you don't "activate"). This covers:

Microsoft warrants that the Software will perform substantially in accordance with the accompanying materials for a period of ninety (90) days from the date of receipt.

So, 90 days from purchase. What about updates?

Any supplements or updates to the Software, including without limitation, any (if any) service packs or hot fixes provided to you after the expiration of the ninety day Limited Warranty period are not covered by any warranty or condition, express, implied or statutory

Let's hope that MS don't foul up any updates, then. Because if they do, you have no comeback. And they've never done that before, have they? Back to the original warranty. What's your comeback if the OS toasts your hardware, or your precious data, within 90 days of purchase?

Microsoft’s and its suppliers’ entire liability and your exclusive remedy for any breach of this Limited Warranty or for any other breach of this EULA or for any other liability relating to the Software shall be, at Microsoft’s option from time to time exercised subject to applicable law, (a) return of the amount paid (if any) for the Software, or (b) repair or replacement of the Software, that does not meet this Limited Warranty and that is returned to Microsoft with a copy of your receipt.

Now, that could be fun. We could buy a copy of Windows, and insist that MS provide us with an OS that is not susceptible to random virus and malware infections, maybe? Oh, no, it seems not; not only "at Microsoft's option" above, but also:

You will receive the remedy elected by Microsoft without charge, except that you are responsible for any expenses you may incur (e.g. cost of shipping the Software to Microsoft). This Limited Warranty is void if failure of the Software has resulted from accident, abuse, misapplication, abnormal use or a virus.

Happy happy joy. MS will decide what they want to give you (hint: it's liable to be a refund), you get to pay for any shipping or other costs you incur, and they explicitly exclude viruses from the warranty anyway. This latter item, in of itself, is a massive giveaway; maybe they should add "this product is liable to be infected by random and frequent viruses" into the "accompanying materials", then they could do away with that clause.

So, Windows is supposed to do what it says on the box, for 90 days, as long as you don't get a virus, or MS will give you your money back. Once you've had it for 90 days, you're on your own. Remember:

Microsoft and its suppliers provide the Software and support services (if any) AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS, and hereby disclaim all other warranties and conditions, whether express, implied or statutory, including, but not limited to, any (if any) implied warranties, duties or conditions of merchantability, of fitness for a particular purpose, of reliability or availability, of accuracy or completeness of responses, of results, of workmanlike effort, of lack of viruses, and of lack of negligence, all with regard to the Software, and the provision of or failure to provide support or other services, information, software, and related content through the Software or otherwise arising out of the use of the Software. ALSO, THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, QUIET POSSESSION, CORRESPONDENCE TO DESCRIPTION OR NON- INFRINGEMENT WITH REGARD TO THE SOFTWARE.

So. No warranty of fitness for purpose. No warranty of virus free distribution media. No warranty you won't get sued for using it.

It's not the warranty of fitness for purpose that gets me, it's the fact they explicitly mention viruses multiple times in the EULA that makes me laugh. Also makes me happy to run OSX, Gentoo and OpenBSD boxes, and no Windows.

Simon

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's Copyright Law that is viral.
Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 04:06 PM EST
I think that this report does bring up something very important -- you really should understand the licenses that the software you use is under. The EULA that Microsoft forces people to 'accept' is long and convoluted -- not meant for human eyes. Nontheless, if even half of the people who use MS software understood that license they would run screaming. Not unlike various groups in history who have hunted, tortured and murdered countless minorities -- chanting about how they are inhuman savages Microsoft's chants about GPL seem to be designed around the horrors within their own license.

Under copyright law, if you create a derivative of another person's work, 'your' derivative work is subject to the control of the original author. This is true with both closed and open source.

The difference is that, with closed source, you generally don't even have the ability, much less the right to make derivative. Microsoft's End User License Agreement, for example, explicitly denies you the right to even examine the software that they want you to use to run your computer. Modifying it, (even for internal uses) is likewise forbidden. Redistributing it (which is what would trigger the requirements of the GPL) would be considered outright illegal.

If you sign on to Microsoft's so-called 'shared source' program, you still have restrictions. Some versions of the Shared Source licenses are "look, don't touch", which is to say: You're not allowed to actually produce modified versions of their code. Those that do allow you to modify the source don't give you the freedom to redistribute the source -- in fact, Microsoft's licenses are so viral that they force you to hand over the copyright of your new code to Microsoft.

The restrictions of Microsoft's EULA contrast with the GPL which leaves you with full ownership and control of your new code. If you make modifications to a piece of GPL software and keep it within your organization, you have full control. The GPL does not touch you. The GPL only requires you to do something if you wish to redistribute the GPL code (or derivatives of it) to someone else. At that point, the GPL simply requires that you also redistribute the same rights and abilities that it gave to you. If that means that you must then license (parts of) your new code under the GPL, then so be it. If, however, you extract your code from it's GPL parent, you have something that you completely own and control.

---
Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Your Car Was Made by Microsoft
Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 06:20 PM EST
If Your Car Was Made by Microsoft

I sometimes wonder what your user license would be like if your car was made by Microsoft. This is my best attempt, using the MS Windows XP Home license as a template. Paragraph numbers are taken from the XP license. I'm trying to do this in relatively plain english.

'Improvements' gratefully accepted.

This would be found attached to the gas cap the first time you tried to fill up the tank.


This is a legal agreement. By removing this gas cap, you signify your acceptance of the attached license. MotoSoft Vehicle License By filling the gas tank of this MotoSoft Nova vehicle you automatically agree to be bound by the terms of this license. If you do not agree to the terms of this license, do not fill up your gas tank. Return your vehicle to your MotoSoft dealer immediately for instructions on how (and if) you can get a full refund.

1. You are granted the limited rights in this agreement only if you abide by the restrictions of this agreement.

1.2 You must register your car with MotoSoft and provide us with the information we deem necessary to complete this registration. Once you do this, you will receive a 'key' which allows long term use of this vehicle.
Your vehicle is designed to test periodically to determine if you are still allowed to use it. If at any time, your compute (or MotoSoft) decides that you are no longer authorized to use this car, it may suddenly malfunction. MotoSoft will not collect any personally identifiable information about you in this process.

1.3 If this vehicle is designed to accept passengers, you are not allowed have more than 5 passengers at any time. This restriction applies even if you attach a trailer or other extension.

1.4 The restriction in 1.3 does not apply to the use of a remote control driving device.

1.5 This agreement applies only to one machine. If you wish to use a second machine, then you must purchase a separate license

2.1 Your radio is designed to only receive certain stations. We may, at any time, modify the list of stations which you are allowed to listen to. Sometimes using the radio will require that you upgrade the radio controls. If you decline such upgrades, you may be denied access to the related stations.

2.3 MotoSoft may, at any time modify the way that this vehicle works. You explicitly authorize MotoSoft to query your on-board computer for usage information. MotoSoft may disclose this information to others. MotoSoft shall not be liable if this information personally identifies you.

3. You may not do anything that this license does not explicitly allow you to do. You do not own this vehicle. This vehicle is licensed, not sold.

4. The hood of this car is welded shut. You may not open the hood, or otherwise disassemble, modify or examine the vehicle. Specifically, you may not examine this vehicle for the purpose of designing plug-compatible part.

5 You may not rent, lend lease or provide commercial services with this vehicle

6 You agree that MotoSoft and it's affiliates may collect and use technical information related to your use of this software. MotoSoft may use this information to improve the product or to provide you with customized services or technologies. MotoSoft is not responsible if it should disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.

7 You may use this vehicle on roads not (yet) under the control of MotoSoft. The fact that we have provided you with a map to specific businesses does not mean that MotoSoft is responsible for those businesses

8 This license applies to any upgrades to this vehicle provided by MotoSoft. Although MotoSoft may currently provide upgrades, MotoSoft may discontinue this service at any time for any reason.

9 To use upgrades, you must first be authorized to use the current form of your vehicle. Once you have upgraded your vehicle, you may not revert to an older version -- even if the 'upgrade' is worse than the original form.

12 There are certain countries in which you may not drive this vehicle. You agree to abide by these restrictions.

13 You may replace the motor of this vehicle provided that no part of the body remains with the old motor. The original purchaser of this vehicle may make a one-time transfer of ownership to another user. This transfer must include all spare parts, instruction manuals and upgrades. You may not resell this vehicle via a used car dealer.

14 In addition to other suing you for breach of contract and/or other remedies, MotoSoft may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of this license. In such an event, you must irrevocably destroy all identifiable parts of the vehicle.

15 If you live in Canada or the United States, MotoSoft only warranties this vehicle to perform as advertised for 90 days. Any defects discovered after 90 days are not the responsibility of MotoSoft. Upgrades installed after your initial purchase of this vehicle are not covered beyond this initial 90 day period. Upgrades and repairs performed and/or installed by MotoSoft after the initial 90 day period have no warranty whatsoever.

MotoSoft is not responsible for anything bad that happens as a result of your use of this vehicle -- You are not entitled to any damages, including but not limited to consequential damages even if the vehicle does not meet the limited warranty above and even if any repair or upgrade fails to achieve it's purpose. The only remedy you are allowed is the refund of the purchase price of the software or repair/ replacement of the malfunctioning part(s). You are responsible for the cost of shipping a defective machine to MotoSoft for repair or replacement. Any such repair or replacement is only warrantied for the remainder of the above 90 day warranty or 30 days -- whichever is more.

16 The 90 day limited warranty above is the only warranty provided by MotoSoft, and replaces any promise or representation made by sales personnel or advertising. Other than the warranty above, this vehicle is provided AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. There is no promise that the vehicle will even start after 90 days. Nor is there any warranty as to non-infringement of patents.

17 MotoSoft is not responsible for any damages, including injury, death, loss of profit release of confidential information or loss of privacy. MotoSoft is not liable for it's negligence, or failure to provide reasonable care or act in good faith. MotoSoft is not liable even if it beaches the terms of this agreement.

18 If MotoSoft deigns to pay damages, those damages will never exceed the price you paid for the software or $5.00 (whichever is more).

19 MotoSoft gets to decide where any lawsuit takes place. If that happens to be thousands of miles from where you live ... tough.

21 This agreement is the entire agreement between you and MotoSoft. Any offer of indemnity, safety, or protection is only meant to get you to purchase this vehicle, and is shall not bind MotoSoft. To the extent to which any term of this license shall prove to be void, invalid, unenforceable or illegal, all remaining parts of this agreement shall continue to apply.

---
Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 06 2006 @ 06:49 AM EST
There are computers in NZ??

[ Reply to This | # ]

The NZ "Get the Facts" Style Report
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 06 2006 @ 08:05 AM EST
I advise New Zealand to support a OS, which properitery, high-quality virus
attaced,stupid-bugfixed again & again in the next upgrade which make you to
more mone,
alwyas slower than previous version.
This will prove all you members of parliments are intelligent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )