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Fight Woodworking Piracy: Add EULA Restrictions 662

Posted by Hemos
from the damn-the-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ed Foster's Gripelog discusses EULA restriction on a new woodworking tool. A small woodworking tool manufacturer, Stots Corporation, includes a license agreement on its TemplateMaster jig tool. The tool is licensed, not sold, and customers cannot sell it or lend it to others. Nor can they sell or lend the jigs they make with it. "Shrinkwrap licenses are showing up everywhere," a reader recently wrote. "I just bought a jig for making dovetailing jigs -- this is woodworker talk if it's unfamiliar to you. The master jig contained a license that says I've licensed the master jig, not bought it. The license says I can't lend or sell the master, and furthermore I can't lend or sell the jigs I make with the master." The reader was referring to Stots Corporation of Harrods Creek, KY, and the user agreement for its TemplateMaster product. Sure enough, the Stots license says TemplateMaster may be used "in only one shop by the original purchaser only" and that "you may not allow individuals that did not purchase the original Product (to) use the Product or any templates produced using the Product..." A FAQ document on the Stots website explains that the license is necessary because "the purpose of the TemplateMaster is to clone itself. Therefore we are verifying your honesty that only you will use the tool and you will not be passing it around to others to use for free. It is exactly the same as the 'shrink wrap' agreement that comes with almost all computer software. Please help us fight 'tool piracy'."
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Fight Woodworking Piracy: Add EULA Restrictions

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  • Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by niko9 (315647) * on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:00AM (#7298363)
    Please help us fight 'tool piracy'.

    The only tool piracy crime being perpetraed is that the lawyers in that company are able to procreate without supervision.

    --
    • Re:Bah! (Score:2, Funny)

      by lanswitch (705539)
      But are you gonna be the supervisor? I'm not gonna watch that...
    • by BorgDrone (64343) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:54AM (#7298581) Homepage
      The only tool piracy crime being perpetraed is that the lawyers in that company are able to procreate without supervision.

      They aren't very smart either (or, alternatively, they are very smart).

      From the article:
      The master jig contained a license that says I've licensed the master jig, not bought it.
      (...)
      the Stots license says TemplateMaster may be used "in only one shop by the original purchaser only" and that "you may not allow individuals that did not purchase the original Product (to) use the Product (...)
      (emphasis mine)

      So you're not buying the product, and are not allowed to let anyone who didn't buy the product use it.
      Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed jury, that does not make sense.!
      • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:32AM (#7298676) Homepage
        You were right the first time. They are extremely stupid. Listen up everyone, THIS IS ILLEGAL. With one caveat, if the company actually owns a patent for this device, than you must pay a royalty(with permission) to recreate one. However, it doesn't seem this is incredibly inventive or creative, so I don't think they'd qualify for a patent on this.

        The 'First Sale Doctrine' means you can do whatever you want with something after you buy it. Strangely enough, software seems to be excluded(kind of. But I don't understand why). This is a right, no one can take it away from you(except yourself, by contract). I don't think, if challenged, their EULA would prevent anyone from exercising their right to sell something they've purchased.

        Hell, without the First Sale Doctrine, the RIAA would have shut down used CD stores years ago.
        • Half a caveat. If they have a patent you can't duplicate the design. A patent doesn't mean you can't create template machines *at all*, only that you can't create one to that particular design. Dyson's patent on vortices didn't put Hoover out of business; it only meant they had to pay him a royalty for creating vortex-driven vacuum cleaners; their previous designs were not affected.
        • I think that software and "stuff" are distinguished because software essentially forms a sort of design for a bunch of actions. Stuff however is a thing that exists in meatspace.

          Its redundant to say "IANAL" but I'm pretty sure that you cant just sign away basic rights, like "I can do what the fuck I like with this 'stuff', including sell it to someone else if its not suitable for my uses or I'm finished with it".

          They need to ask a lawyer about this stuff, cos I suspect they just humiliated themselves.

          And
        • software seems to be excluded(kind of. But I don't understand why)

          This is due to the fact that as the consumer you hold the right to waive any implied warranties, including those contained in the First Sale Doctrine. So when you click on "I Agree" in that EULA, you are agreeing to that expressed warranty which then can negate any implied warranty that previously existed for that contract (except for Fitness for Human Consumption). So as long as it's spelled out in the contract, and you used the item there

          • by schon (31600) on Friday October 24, 2003 @10:27AM (#7299972)
            This is due to the fact that as the consumer you hold the right to waive any implied warranties, including those contained in the First Sale Doctrine.

            This is beside the point. It has nothing to do specifically with software, which is NOT exempt from first sale doctrine, at all.

            So when you click on "I Agree" in that EULA, you are agreeing to that expressed warranty

            Actually, no. The only thing that says "clicking 'I agree' means you agree" is the EULA itself. So, if you don't agree, you can happily click "I agree" without, in fact, agreeing.

            as long as it's spelled out in the contract, and you used the item therefore agreeing to the terms, it can be upheld in court.

            And if you don't agree, you're free to use the software anyway.

            What's interesting is that regardless of whether the end user agrees or not, such a contract (presented after the sale) is invariably illegal, and wouldn't hold up in court, because it's an attempt to change the terms of another contract that has already been executed (purchasing the software is a contract, and the EULA is attempting to modify the contract after it's been executed, which is illegal.)

            In order to be upheld in court, an EULA would have to be presented to the purchaser before they buy it, not afterwards (at which point, it doesn't matter whether the user clicks "I agree" or not.)
            • In order to be upheld in court, an EULA would have to be presented to the purchaser before they buy it, not afterwards (at which point, it doesn't matter whether the user clicks "I agree" or not.)

              Let me guess.... you forgot to mention the whole "IANAL" thing...

              Explain your legal theories in a context where it's clear that they are just theories. Posts like this one make it real clear why you actually need a license to practice law - because of people like you. (BTW, IANAL)

              According to my understanding,
        • Software is covered by first sale, even though you have to copy it in order to use it. This is because the United States Code [cornell.edu] contains a specific exception [cornell.edu] for software users. The exception is:

          Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

          (a) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of th

  • Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tobybuk (633332) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:00AM (#7298367)
    Don't buy it if you don't like the conditions. Oh, and tell your friends not to as well.

    • Re:Simple (Score:2, Insightful)

      by switched4OSX (668686)
      You may be right there, but what happens when this becomes the next great trend in the tool world?
      • Re:Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rizzo420 (136707)
        this won't. i've worked as a woodworker, and knowing the mentality of woodworkers, it won't happen that way. they won't buy into it. if they do, the majority if them will have broken it within a few weeks. it's not worth it to the company to try to sue each and every one of them. not to mention woodworkers do a lot of their work under the table.

        the only part of the license that is wrong is the fact that you can't make jigs with the tool and sell those jigs. those jigs aren't made using the same ways
    • Re:Simple (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, vote with your feet.

      Works until they all gang up and back everybody into a corner.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:35AM (#7298513)
      The problem with shrinkwrap licenses is, that by the time you get the license you *have* already bought the thing. To change contract conditions after a sale was agreed is cheating. Why should you be bound by any private contract which you did not agree to?
    • Why shouldn't companies be able to charge different amounts for different licensing terms? If I am selling a product to a wide range of customers -- from weekend hobbyists to wealthy Fortune 500 companies -- I would like to create a price structure that matches the price to the product's value for each customer. I would like to charge a lower price to the hobbyists and a higher price to the Fortune 500 professionals. Unless I make a low-quality version, the difference between the products sold to these
      • Why shouldn't companies be able to charge different amounts for different licensing terms?

        They are, but this product is not licensed, it is sold.

        I would like to create a price structure that matches the price to the product's value for each customer.

        Yes you would - this would optimize your revenue. However, you have no right to expect the governemnt to exert special effort to help you do this.

        I may not like that some products come with restrictions, but I understand why companies do this and how

  • There's a generic brand of Soy Sauce (sold at Nugget Groceries, IIRC) that has "All Intellectual Property Rights Reserved" in an stern looking box on the side of the bottle. Swan Soy Sauce, maybe?

    --
    Evan "Tried it, went back to Kikoman"

  • Um. This sounds like a bad attempt at mockery by the company, is it really an issue?
    • well, it's not really an issue NOW.

      but it may be in the future, and if companies keep adding them licenses to everything the general public will start to think them as legit and reasonable(after which it's just a short route to get them legalized).

      so while it is absolutely stupid now the gov(customer protection officials) should move in and hit them with a very large clue bat *smack* right between their eyes, before they start making enough penetration to move from a bad joke into (perceived)reality.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:06AM (#7298600)
      I worked as a cabinet maker to put myself through college. Now I am a software engineer. Sadly, I totally get this... I do not think it is an attempt to be funny, I think they may be serious.

      This is a very unusual situation -- a jig making jig. I've worked with dovetail jigs before, and they are complicated enough. I would think the reproduction and resale of the jigjig would be protected by patent.

      Protection of the items made with the jig (jigs) is strange. It is similar to charging a royalty for the use of a simple dovetail jig. That is, if one licenses use of the ACME dovetail jig, they must pay royalties of x$ for each corner of each drawer made with the jig and sold commercially. Of course any cabinet maker would then simply make their own jig. One only buys a jig because it is convenient. Even if an item is patented, one may make a copy of that thing for ones own use.

      The real issue is commercial viability. Microsoft licenses me to use Excel. GNU licenses me to use gnumeric. I also have some spreadsheet like widgets that I wrote. In general, because of licensing, I will use my own jig, I will not use either Excel or gnumeric -- the terms of both are bad for me. It is similar for the shopowner. A single shop needs a bunch of dovetail jigs. They can buy a bunch of jigs, make a bunch of jigs, or license the jig-jig and make a bunch of jigs. Or they can look at the jig-jig and make their own. There is only one question - "which solution is most cost effective?"

      I think this company will find that there is a big difference between coding Autocad or Microsoft Excel from scratch and making a jigjig. A huge difference in basic old fashioned man-hours.

  • by admbws (600017) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:02AM (#7298381) Homepage Journal
    So if you break your jig, or it gets stolen, you can phone up and ask for a replacement.

    I once snapped a software CD and I got a new one. Can't be much different.
    • So if you break your jig

      Except it isn't your jig, now is it? It's their jig that you just broke and you'll probably have to buy them a new one.

      But how does this affect insurance? If it's their stuff and you only license it, they should cover the costs for keeping the jig insured against theft, right?

      • by Phexro (9814) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:26AM (#7298468)
        "But how does this affect insurance? If it's their stuff and you only license it, they should cover the costs for keeping the jig insured against theft, right?"

        Right. And the bank I financed my car through should be responsible for my auto insurance.

        License-mania is a phase. It's happened before, and it will happen again. Western Union used to lease their telegraph machines, AT&T leased it's phone equipment, IBM leased it's computers, and so on. It will change, because in the end, it's a business model that antagonizes customers.
    • So if you break your jig, or it gets stolen, you can phone up and ask for a replacement.

      Why not just make a backup copy of it? If the whole point of it is to replicate itself then you can use it to make a backup of itself. Then if it breaks, just use the backup... or use the backup exclusively and store the original in a safe location. Or store your backup on Karpentryzaa (har har) for secure off-site backup.

      • by JohnsonWax (195390) on Friday October 24, 2003 @12:12PM (#7301157)
        I've been looking to buy one of these soon, as it turns out.

        TemplateMaster isn't a jig in the usual sense. It's a jig to make jigs. The problem with most jigs of this type (dovetailing, etc.) is that you tend to make a lot of passes with a powerful tool (a router) and sooner or later you'll screw up and route the shit out of your jig. When your jig costs $600, you're gonna be pretty pissed.

        TemplateMaster lets you build jigs out of cheap materials and then use *those* until they wear out or you screw up. Then build a new one. The likelihood you'll ruin your TemplateMaster is much less since you really don't use it that often.

        The problem is that you can use the TemplateMaster to make jigs out of substantial materials like aluminum that are viable for resale. Now, that's generally not a big issue - there are lots of products like that in the world - but if you make a product for production, you charge a hell of a lot of money for it since you know it'll have a limited market. This is designed for consumers and is actually very inexpensive even compared to other consumer jigs.

        The mfgr is in a catch-22. He's made a product for consumers, but if it's picked up for production usage, it can seriously undermine his business.

        Personally, I think he's going the wrong way with this. He *should* be making his own jigs from the TemplateMaster and selling those (in addition to the TemplateMaster), and use existing laws to block other manufacturers from making and selling identical products. Even if they don't sell, their existance should protect him, and who knows, maybe they will sell...
    • So if you break your jig, or it gets stolen, you can phone up and ask for a replacement.

      As stated in their FAQ [stots.com] they do indeed send you a new template if you break "yours":

      I damaged my TemplateMasterTM while cutting a working template. Is there anything I can do?

      Yes. Fill out the Honor Statement in the back of your User's Manual (or print it out from the User's Manual on the CD-ROM) and mail it to us. We will replace our damaged master for 1/2 the cost of your original purchase as long as you have regi

  • by nuffle (540687) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:05AM (#7298387)
    The sesame seeds contained in this package are inteded for consumption by the purchaser only. You hereby agree not to plant these seeds. Help us prevent plant piracy!
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:35AM (#7298516) Homepage Journal
      Don't joke about that - go read up on what Monsanto [monsanto.com] think is reasonable use of their seeds... Monsanto is one of the largest seed manufacturers in the world, and one of their pet peeves is that farmers who collect seeds from their harvest are undermining their income stream. To the point where they are trying to restrict it with license agreements, patents and genetically modified crops that don't produce viable seeds...
      • Re:Monsanto (Score:5, Informative)

        by bigkahunafish (708759) on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:02AM (#7298979)
        I am actually a seed producer here in the US. On Monsanto's Roundup-Ready Soybeans, we, as a producer, must pay royalties to get into RR's in the first place. Then prices are higher for them to the seed customer (around $20/50 lb.) due to about $10 in tech fees (about $7 goes to Monsanto per 50/lb.) which we send to them. Every customer must sign an agreement (essentially EULA) which establishes that they will not reclaim GMO seeds for planting, farmers must instead go through a seed company, like us, so they pay the royalties. For signing the agreement, every farmer gets a Monsanto #, which keeps track of purchases year to year. We, as a seed processing company (a small one at that), get audited by Monsanto every so often. They check our farm records, and make sure RR seed we sold to farmers was in fact sprayed with Round-up and not a generic brand. They will also take samples of our seed to determine its generation in its genetics, so they check that we are not pirating their seed. If we were, they threaten fines of over $500/acre of produced soybeans (which is enough to bankrupt most farms).
        • Re:Monsanto (Score:3, Informative)

          by schon (31600)
          Every customer must sign an agreement (essentially EULA) which establishes that they will not reclaim GMO seeds for planting, farmers must instead go through a seed company, like us, so they pay the royalties.

          The difference between this and the "EULA"s in the article is that these are legally binding - they're presented before the sale, and they're signed by the purchaser.

          I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that the Monsanto contracts are legally binding.
          • Re:Monsanto (Score:3, Interesting)

            by srw (38421) *
            > The difference between this and the "EULA"s in the article is that these are legally binding - they're presented before the sale, and they're signed by the purchaser.

            What about [slashdot.org] people [percyschmeiser.com] who claim it blew onto their property?

        • Re:Monsanto (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pla (258480)
          Hypothetical querstion...

          Soybeans exist as the seed itself. To grow soybeans, you plany soybeans, correct?

          So, what stops me from buying "food" and simply planting it? Yeah, you mentioned that they make the seeds infertile, but that will have some fallout rate, such that the second gen might only get a few plants, but most of the third gen seeds will remain viable.

          In that situation, I have not signed a contract with you, with Monsanto, not even with the farmer (I'll starve to death before I sign a co
    • by ron_ivi (607351) <sdotno.cheapcomplexdevices@com> on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:36AM (#7298523)
      We've already been there and back with seeds with usage restrictions built in [guardian.co.uk].

      But on the subject of sesame seeds... they're a very big crop - the sixth largest [tamu.edu] in the world production of edible oil seeds.

      And yes, there is valuable intellectual property [purdue.edu] in sesame seed genetics.

  • by capt.Hij (318203) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:05AM (#7298390) Homepage Journal
    This is great! Pretty soon I can go through life without owning everything, and everything I use will essentially be rented. I will be relieved of the material need to own things. "Imagine a world with no posessions."

    Not only that, if I get caught breaking the drug laws, the feds can't take anything that I own since I won't own anything. Best of all, when I get tired of my wife and daughter I just have to stop paying the license fees.

    I'm free! Free! Free! This is better than living in New Hampshire!

    Wife and daughter... Oh cr4p. I don't own anything anyway. This is bogus...

    • by skinfitz (564041) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:29AM (#7298482) Journal
      This is great! Pretty soon I can go through life without owning everything, and everything I use will essentially be rented. I will be relieved of the material need to own things. "Imagine a world with no posessions."

      Hey don't knock it - Buddhists have been doing this for centuries.
  • I can see it now (Score:4, Informative)

    by robbyjo (315601) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:06AM (#7298391) Homepage

    EULA

    License Rights

    We grant you a nonexclusive, nontransferable limited license to use the woodworking tool for purposes of developing your new tools and cutting trees only. You may
    also give, lend, or sell this tool to the third party. If you want to use the tool for any purpose other than as expressly permitted under this agreement you must contact
    us to obtain the appropriate license. We
    may audit your use of the tool. Tool documentation is either shipped with the programs, or documentation may accessed online
    at our website.

    Ownership and Restrictions

    We retain all ownership and intellectual property rights in the tool.

    You may not:

    • use the programs for any purpose other than as provided above, including but not limited to, literally hacking computers and harming others;
    • make tools that compete with our product lines;
    • distribute the tools unless accompanied with the document;
    • charge your end users for use of the tool;
    • remove or modify any tool markings or any notice of our proprietary rights;
    • use the tool to provide third party training on the content and/or functionality of the tool;
    • assign this agreement or give the tool, tool access or an interest in the tools to any individual or entity except as provided under this agreement;
    • cause or permit reverse engineering (unless required by law for interoperability), disassembly or decompilation of the tool;
    • disclose results of any program benchmark tests without our prior consent; or,
    • use any our company name, trademark or logo.

  • by Tom (822)
    Real life is a satire on itself.

    I can't quite decide whether this is for real or a very elaborate prank. In case it is the later: Kudos. Very convincing.
  • Ok, that's it. I'm patenting the Incline(tm), the Pulley(tm), the Lever(tm) and the Wheel(tm). Since every complex machine in use today has one or more of them incorporated, I guess I'm due, say, three quarters of the world's GNP.
    Glad no one thought of that before me...
  • Most physical objects get patented somehow - look at the bottom of any shaped bit of plastic and it will usually have a PAT number or at least PAT. APP. Maybe it's just the stupid shrink-wrap licence agreement that's new.
    • Those are normally design patents, not utility patents -- they don't stop other people making a product which uses the same principles to achieve the same effect, but instead restrict people from making products which look the same.
  • by t4b00 (715501)
    Consider Artificial Intelligence might never happen because if this kind of thing, bots could be unable to "clone themselves" due to End User License Agreement.

    Poetry in motion
  • If this gizmo is so damn cool, they should be using patents, not shrinkwrap licenses to protect it. Seriously, what kind of fool buys a car that requires you to use "Ford Brand Gasoline" in the agreement? Similarly, if they think they can use a piece of paper to keep someone from sharing THEIR OWN WORK, then they need to take the overpriced asshole of a lawyer who suggested the idea, and throw him out of a 20 story window.

    First sale doctrine folks.
  • Surely the licence agreement is subject to copyright law!
  • by Conspire (102879)
    Who is going to write the recommended GNU license the company should switch to! And next thing you know they will invest in SCO!
  • What's next, I wonder? 'Shrink wrap' (pun intented) agreements for condoms?

    z
  • This tool is Guaranteed to be Y2K Compliant - http://www.claytool.com/ [claytool.com] - surely we need to adopt and embrace tools such as this? ;)
  • by webslacker (15723) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:25AM (#7298460)
    My tool has been used by way too many women far too long to make duplicates of me. In addition to charging women for the use of my instrument, I will require that they only use my hardware for personal use and not for creating pirated copies of myself.
  • by dunstan (97493) <dvavasour.iee@org> on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:26AM (#7298464) Homepage
    OK, let's treat this jig not as a tool, but as a pattern. What would seem reasonable with a pattern?

    Would it be reasonable to make copies of the pattern and give them to one's friends to use in their own workshops? I would suggest not.

    If I lent the pattern to my friend for him to make end products, that would seem reasonable.

    If I lent the pattern to my friend, he made a copy, and then he used that copy to make end product while I used the original pattern to make end product, that would seem unreasonable.

    But clearly these guys are taking the view that, while the jig itself can be considered goods which have been purchased, its use constitutes making copies - in the same way that when you buy a software CD, actually using it in your computer is considered copying (from the CD into memory). By using this logic, the maker has chosen to treat the use of the jig as copying, and *in* *law* he may well have a case.

    This takes me back to the 1980s when the old Sun 3 machines came with an operating system "right to use" licence, and if used hardware was sold, then the puchaser had to purchase another "right to use" OS licence because he wasn't covered by the original licence. They stopped that years ago. More recently we've seem Microsoft suggesting to schools and charities that PC hardware donated to them by businesses probably has an OS licence which is non-transferable.

    Anyways, rather than complaining about this EULA on a jig/pattern, if they really can be used to make replicas then there is clearly a need for a Free Jigs Foundation so that these silly people go out of business.

    Dunstan
  • Oh shit (Score:4, Funny)

    by garethwi (118563) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:33AM (#7298504) Homepage
    I just lent my son a hammer for his school woodworking project.

    If anyone asks for me, I'm in Mexico.
  • by BenjyD (316700) on Friday October 24, 2003 @05:54AM (#7298579)
    From the poor-quality pictures on the website, this appears to be a shaped metal template which you copy onto a piece of wood with a router (a kind of jigsaw?).

    Am I missing something? That seems a pretty simple thing - not the kind of thing you'd expect to make millions selling, or be able to force people to agree to such a licence to use. Does it have some magical properties not apparent to a guy who failed woodwork?
    • by nathanh (1214) on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:54AM (#7298742) Homepage
      From the poor-quality pictures on the website, this appears to be a shaped metal template which you copy onto a piece of wood with a router (a kind of jigsaw?).

      A router is a very high speed cutting tool primarily used for making decorative edges though you can also use it for trimming edges, cutting grooves, rounding edges, creating tongues, etc. It's more like a drill than a jigsaw though the cutting edges are different to drills. If you've ever seen a dremel with a milling bit then imagine something 10x bigger and 100x more dangerous.

      Am I missing something? That seems a pretty simple thing - not the kind of thing you'd expect to make millions selling, or be able to force people to agree to such a licence to use. Does it have some magical properties not apparent to a guy who failed woodwork?

      A dovetail jig lets you create two types of edges. These edges interlock to create an incredibly strong right-angle join with no nails and no screws. The dovetail shape determines the properties of the join and every jig vendor vigorously defends their unique shape. It's an identity thing. It's not magical, but I can understand why they're trying to prevent people copying their jigs.

      Take note that dovetail jigs are fairly modern (as are routers). The dovetail joint is ancient (1000s of years?) but was traditionally done with a handsaw and a chisel. It takes an extremely skilled person to create a good dovetail joint by hand. The dovetail jig allows any semi-skilled amateur to make incredibly good dovetail joints in just a few minutes. Any hobbyist worth his (or her) salt has a dovetail jig.

  • by yanestra (526590) on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:09AM (#7298611) Journal
    Copyrighted:
    Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill, an authority on Negro spirituals, and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

    The melody of the song Happy Birthday to You was composed by Mildred J. Hill, a schoolteacher born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859. The song was first published in 1893, with the lyrics written by her sister, Patty Smith Hill, as "Good Morning To All."

    Happy Birthday to You was copyrighted in 1935 and renewed in 1963. The song was apparently written in 1893, but first copyrighted in 1935 after a lawsuit (reported in the New York Times of August 15, 1934, p.19 col. 6)

    In 1988, Birch Tree Group, Ltd. sold the rights of the song to Warner Communications (along with all other assets) for an estimated $25 million (considerably more than a song). (reported in Time, Jan 2, 1989 v133 n1 p88(1)

    In the 80s, the song Happy Birthday to You was believed to generate about $1 million in royalties annually. With Auld Lang Syne and For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, it is among the three most popular songs in the English language. (reported in Time, Jan 2, 1989 v133 n1 p88(1)

    Happy Birthday to You continues to bring in approximately 2 million dollars in licensing revenue each year, at least as of 1996 accounting, according to Warner Chappell and a Forbes magazine article. [Source [ibiblio.org]]

    Don't you ever think, something's for free in the United States of America!
    • In the 80s, the song Happy Birthday to You was believed to generate about $1 million in royalties

      Have you ever had a birthday at a restaurant where they gather around and sing to you during your meal (i.e., premeditated by a friend calling the restaurant ahead of time and telling them it is your birthday)?

      A while back, I couldn't figure out why they often sing a proprietary, stoooooopid-sounding song that usually features clapping hands and minimum wage workers sounding less-than-enthusiastic. Plus,

  • by ajs318 (655362) <{ku.oc.dohshtrae} {ta} {2pser_ds}> on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:18AM (#7298634)
    Why should this surprise anyone? But it's illegal anyway. You buy something, you own it and you have the right to use it, abuse it, enjoy it and destroy it. It is yours, the receipt says so, and the person who sold it to you has given up all their rights in respect of it. A licence like that will never stand up in court. It would be a total and utter violation of the Sale of Goods Act. Just report these people to the police and Trading Standards - having someone else prosecuted for a criminal offence is cheaper than defending a civil case which will likely get put on hold anyway once it comes to light that the plaintiff has committed a criminal offence.

    The reason you need a licence to operate a television or radio set, for example, is that the "airwaves" do not belong to you - you need permission to receive or transmit a signal. Transmitting equipment usually requires you also to submit to inspection to ensure that it is not causing interference to other people. {If you can prove the equipment is not being used - strictly, if they can't prove that it is being used, but They Are Bigger Than You - you don't need the licence; the authorities might insist that you do something a bit more than unplug it, but any modification that can't be undone without the use of a tool should be fine.}

    Whether or not the purpose of the jig is to clone itself is irrelevant. I'm guessing it's a slab of some MDF-like material that you clamp hard against another piece of MDF, and follow the groove using a router*, with a special cutter that has a ball-bearing on the end, the same diameter as the cutting width. This way it produces an exact copy. Chippies have been making things like this ever since routers were invented, so I seriously doubt that a router jig would even be patentable with all that prior art. If you want to cut out kitchen worktops for hobs, sinks &c., you just make a template for each fixture {they are mostly standardised nowadays anyway}. Likewise for stair sides, radiator covers and so forth {if you have to make several identical pieces for one job but you know you'll never need that exact pattern again, you just leave the original on site}.

    * router: in this context, not a device for sending ethernet packets to the correct recipient {which would be pronounced "router" rather than "router" anyway}, but a power tool consisting of a powerful series-wound electric motor spinning a sharp-bladed cutter at up to 30000 rpm, and mainly used for creating large quantities of sawdust.
  • by waterbear (190559) on Friday October 24, 2003 @06:41AM (#7298705)
    EULA restriction on a new woodworking tool

    If there had been a patent for this type of tool, it would have been enough (and ok) to say, in a notice that the customer could see before purchase, that 'purchase of this tool does not carry with it any licence to make tools according to the patent'.

    But if there is no patent, then there is no right to restrict public use of the unpatented but pubicly-known technology.

    Copyright law doesn't restrict use of technology, e.g. reproducing a 3-d object which is a physical tool. The original tool (presumably no artistic work involved in the tool itself) was not one of the statutory 'works of authorship' in US copyright law.

  • by TygerFish (176957) on Friday October 24, 2003 @07:18AM (#7298839)
    We are living in a genuinely historic time, the age of legal technology. Now that I've said that, I better do some really fancy footwork.

    The law and the individual's rights and privileges under it are among the most ancient artifacts of civilization. It is also something which evolves as a society evolves with tending towards egalitarianism in properous western democracies (the heavenly light shines from above on America...), that is, laws that take away freedom of action or that provide one person or group with advantages over others tend to be struck down or superceded by laws that create balance and that protect rights.

    In a sense, you could say that some of the most far-reaching and most beautiful laws are the solutions to arguments that arise from logical problems. For example, once we had slavery, the preamble to the constitution cannot have meaning in a country that practices slavery. The argument arose and it was solved by an amendment to the constitution which clarified the argument completely: if all men are created equal, no man can be another's property. Human rights trump property rights. Slavery is illegal and slave-owners are S.O.L with regard to their property rights pertaining to their slaves. That makes sense.

    At least that is how it worked in the old days.

    Now, in the post-industrial age of television and the megacorporation, lobbying money and a just a smidgen of public stupidity create an opportunity for organizations to create agreements which function as devices to generate a planned result in much the same way that the parts of a transistor radio work together to produce access to the airwaves.

    Laws like the ones that make the EULA possible are a technology--not one for establishing socially useful principles, but for circumventing and mutating contract law so that instead of providing a level playing field between buyer and producer, the law provides for the end-user signing away all his rights to legal rememdies by buying a thing and using it.

    EULAs do nothing to protect the consumer. Nothing whatsoever. They are the legal equivalent of a booby-trap: you open the box, you open the envelope, you install the software, click on the box and BANG! according to the law, you've agreed to conditions that would have to be insane to agree to under any other circumstances.

    If you don't believe this, consider the enormous tire recall of the last year or two and imagine what things would be like if the tire companies involved had had a EULA at their disposal:

    'by breaking or cutting the ribbon on these tires, you agree that their purpose is purely decorative and that they have no function and no warranty, explicit or implied for any use but decoration of your vehicle...'

    You can't sign away your personal freedom. You can't read a document, sign it, and become an indentured servant with no rights, but you can sign a EULA and let a company do whatever it likes to you with its neglicence.

    The EULA is a device to give software makers the ability to treat software buyers like cattle. It is a prime example of how people make laws when they don't give a damn about the society that rises from them.

    • For example, once we had slavery, the preamble to the constitution cannot have meaning in a country that practices slavery. The argument arose and it was solved by an amendment to the constitution which clarified the argument completely: if all men are created equal, no man can be another's property.

      This misrepresents both the logical argument and the amendment.

      The logical argument from "all men are created equal [before the law]" does not lead to "No man can be another's property." Instead it leads to
  • by xyote (598794) on Friday October 24, 2003 @07:39AM (#7298902)
    I'm guessing that the template pattern in question is public domain, otherwise copyright law would suffice to allow the mfgr to protect itself. So basically, what they are selling is convenience, that it is easier to buy a copy of the template from them than to find somebody who will give you a copy of their template. That's a valid market strategy. Same thing as people who sell CD's of public domain software.


    What they are doing differently, is to try to protect or enlarge their niche market by using EULA to prevent you from becoming one of their competitors, i.e. somebody who'd give away a free copy, or sell it even.


    IANAL but I have my doubts about the enforcebility of such licenses, especially if there's no "click" on install to prove you alledgedly even knew there *was* a license. Also, they'd have a hell of an enforcement issue proving a copy of a public domain template came from their product.

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