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MS FrontPage Restricts Free Speech II (It's True!) 763

A mild controvery occured yesterday in a story claiming Microsoft prohibits anti-ms speech if you use Frontpage. Here is a followup submitted by Reyacta from the original author: "Several readers have told me their EULA for FrontPage 2002 does not contain the no-disparaging-MS term, or that the term only applies to the FrontPage logo or to the Web components like the MSNBC news headline component. Just to be sure, this afternoon I went down to the store and bought a copy of FrontPage 2002 myself. In the box was the "Microsoft Frontpage 2002" license on a four-page folded sheet, titled "End- User License Agreement For Microsoft Software." Under Section #1, Grant of License, the second paragraph headed "Restrictions" states in part: "You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services, infringe any intellectual property or other rights of these parties, violate any state, federal or international law, or promote racism, hatred or pornography." (Not only a stunning example of legal overreaching, in my opinion, but very poor grammar as well.) It appears to me to clearly apply to use of the program as a whole and not just the logo or Web components. I suspect that there are different versions of the EULA of FrontPage 2002. Perhaps the license was updated for the most recent SKU, or versions obtained through different channels don't yet have it. I'm going to try to get Microsoft to clarify where this EULA does and doesn't appear, but I'm not sure they will be very anxious to provide me with that information. Reply to Ed Foster."
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MS FrontPage Restricts Free Speech II (It's True!)

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  • by tauntalum ( 221678 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @12:38PM (#2330326)
    All your thoughts are belong to us!
  • by MikeV ( 7307 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @12:53PM (#2330462)
    When you get the "Blue Screen of Death" the EULA will stipulate that you are forbiden to cuss out Microsoft while you hit Ctrl-Alt-Del.

    When you get a GPF - you'll be forbiden to yell and holler about those MS morons while you watch hours of work disappear.

    When you get a Outlook Express virus, you'll be forbiden to say it's an exploit of MS, but rather you'll have to concede it's a feature.

    When your network crashes, you will be forbiden to call anyone and tell them that Microsoft crashed - you'll have to blame it on yourself or proclaim that it's a result of Microsoft ceasing function to end a critical memory leak for your benefit.

    When the internet becomes YAMM - Yet Another Microsoft Monopoly - you'll be forbiden to get online and complain about Microsoft in any way - even to Microsoft's own support staff. You will only be able to praise Microsoft's infinite wisdom and grace.

    When entertainment centers become YAMM, you'll be forbiden to play any music that uses Microsoft's name in vain.

    When toilets become YAMM, you'll be forbiden to fart in any way that sounds like Microsoft or Bill Gates.

    When churches become yet another YAMM, you'll be required to... well, we'll wait and see...
  • by gentlewizard ( 300741 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @12:56PM (#2330486)
    This seems to be a trend. Oracle's most recent software licenses have started to include additional restrictions, such as not being able to use the software to conduct third-party training. This obviously is designed to protect Oracle's own Education centers, but isn't that a restraint of trade? Why should they be able to say what uses you can make of the software?

    I think there's a case to be made that End User License Agreements are accepted by users under duress, because there is no acceptable alternative to the software once it's in production and the company is relying on it for its core business processes.
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @01:03PM (#2330541)
    So you don't like the terms that attach to FrontPage ? Simple, DON'T USE IT AND RETURN THE PRODUCT. After all, this is what everyone who objects to the (equally dubious) clauses of the GPL are told, isn't it ? Why is one set of restrictive conditions being vilified while another set of restrictive conditions sanctified ? Certainly in both cases consumers and users have plenty of choices available.

  • "All your thoughts are belong to us!"

    That reminds me, whatever happened to the Natalie Portman and hot grits posts? And where is signal11?

    The EULA of the future will prohibit even thinking a bad thought about Microsoft. The serial numbers will be 100 digits long, and you will be told to post a photo of Bill Gates above your desk. Some reviewers will say that Microsoft was very kind to include a photo in the box, so that users do not have to buy one separately.

    What Should be the Response to Violence? []
  • Re:Huh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Azog ( 20907 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @01:26PM (#2330723) Homepage
    I think it would be very entertaining to watch Microsoft try to enforce this one. Can you imagine it? I'm sure there's a few news organizations that would be all over it.

    Does someone out there want to volunteer to be a test case? Write a page in Frontpage detailing all the (true) nasty things that Microsoft has done, "disparage" them, call Bill names, and other rude things. But be careful to not actually say anything that violates a real law, like libel. A quick check with a real lawyer might be a good idea.

    Then send an anonymous tip to Microsoft's Department of License Compliance, or whatever they call themselves, with the url, and see what happens. I would try this myself but I don't have Frontpage. Or even better - maybe a real news organization can do it:

    CNN Headline: Microsoft Sues CNet for Frontpage License Violation:
    Today, Microsoft announced that they are suing CNet for violation of the terms of use of the FrontPage HTML editor. "The pseudonymous "Spencer Katt" columnist disparaged Microsoft, called Bill Gates a "World Dictator Wannabe", and said Frontpage is crap and generated awful HTML. But he used Frontpage to write the article, and that's a clear violation of our fearsome and deadly EULA, a Microsoft PR lackey told the press..."

  • by anshil ( 302405 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @03:25PM (#2331327) Homepage
    Well no, this time they collected really evidence before posting a story, a positive slashdot un-typical trend :o)

    How do you interpred this sentence?

    You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services

    I might be wrong, but to my understanding this does not mean this applies the pages that using MSN or MSNBC components, but it applies to all pages created with FP that disparage Microsoft -OR- MSN -OR- MSNBC.

    However I'm a total law-layman.
  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thebiss ( 164488 ) on Saturday September 22, 2001 @10:22AM (#2334002)

    Frontpage generates IE-centric spaghetti anyways...

    So Use Dreamweaver!

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito