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The Almighty Buck

U.S. Court Ruling Nixes EULA Sales Restrictions 269

Raziel writes: "The Register is reporting in this article that a district court has ruled in favour of "software users that wish to extricate themselves from restrictive software licenses". The case in question is Adobe vs Softman, and in its ruling, the District of California seems to vacate Adobe's claims of "irrepairable damage" caused by the resale of Adobe products without forcing the use of Adobe's registration process. The full ruling is available in PDF format here. Any chance of a precedent here?" You can also read the Don Marti piece piece that sparked this discussion.
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U.S. Court Ruling Nixes EULA Sales Restrictions

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  • This is good news. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:32PM (#2626088) Homepage
    Does this mean that software is getting more tangible as in assets? Assets that are saleable?

    By the way, I thought it funny that information on this decision against Adobe was available in PDF Format... heh.
  • irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by Milkyman ( 246513 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:34PM (#2626094)
    ruling against adobe.. in adobe pdf format.
  • by Ivan Raikov ( 521143 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:35PM (#2626103) Homepage
    From the Register article:

    The judge, in the case Adobe vs Softman heard in the Central District of California, has ruled that consumers can resell bundled software, no matter what the EULA, or End User License Agreement, stipulates.

    So, if this ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, does that mean that Ebay users, harassed by Microsoft and others for reselling software, would be able to (1) Resell their software and (2) Sue the software publisher for not allowing them to resell?
    • They wouldnt be able to sue for past infractions, ex post facto. But if mfgrs tried to stop future instances, there may be a case there.
    • Now I can sell all those copies of Windows I was forced to buy with computers over the years that I still have sitting in a box.



      Better yet - maybe I should start a cut-price PC house and buy my licenses from annoyed Linux users rather than M$

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      So, if this ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, does that mean that Ebay users, harassed by Microsoft and others for reselling software, would be able to (1) Resell their software and (2) Sue the software publisher for not allowing them to resell?

      It should have no bearing whatsoever, because:

      1. Everybody is already allowed to resell their Microsoft software
      2. eBay can exclude people from using their services to sell whatever they want to, based on whatever demented criteria they want to

      The eBay/Microsoft issues were never about law, and always about eBay policy.

  • impact on upgrades? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lepruhkawn ( 199083 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:36PM (#2626107) Homepage
    Does this decision have any impact on upgrading software and getting price breaks?

    For example, I upgrade from Crapsoft 3.1 by buying Crapsoft 4.0 and get a rebate on Crapsoft 4.0 because I have a 3.1 UPC symbol.

    So can I sell Crapsoft 3.1 to someone because I am no longer using it and I made two purchases and am only using one?
    • No, as a condition of the upgrade rebate, you are effectively nullifing your right to use anything from the original version. Most often you are instructed to destroy the original version.

      However, something you can do is go buy version 1 of something at a swap meet for $10, and then get the $50-100 off the upgrade.
    • However, many "upgrade" versions of software require the original to be there first. If you do this, and you get a new computer, you can't install it on the new computer.
  • by Gaijin42 ( 317411 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:36PM (#2626110)
    The article and ruling are worded such that the ruling only applies to unused software. IE you can't decide a week after using XP that you don't like it and sell it (If the EULA doesn't permit that) But if you never installed it you are fine.

    What if the software is installed by default. Software that has a clickthrough or registration screen built in on first use will probably still be covered, but other stuff may not be.
    • by Quizme2000 ( 323961 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:57PM (#2626250) Homepage Journal
      Take Dell and Compaq, the kings of bundled software crap, either one of two things will happen: all software will be installed with no CD for backup or it will become like the distros of the OS, where the installer can only be used on "your computer".

      I got in trouble for donating 500 licences of MS Office 98, and MS windows that had been bundled with our machines when we changed to all open source. Apparently the IRS does not consider donation of microsoft software as a charitable contributuion of any value.

      In the non-bundled reatil world, hasn't this been happening a EB and Software etc. for ages? I would beat a game, trade it for a little cash or a credit at the store. I guess when you do this online there is no way to know weather the software is on the original media or not.
      • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:07PM (#2626313) Homepage
        I got in trouble for donating 500 licences of MS Office 98, and MS windows that had been bundled with our machines when we changed to all open source. Apparently the IRS does not consider donation of microsoft software as a charitable contributuion of any value.

        Interesting... I thought Microsoft managed to 'donate' thousands of CDs costing $0.50 each to manufacture and write it off against tax at the full retail price of that software. If the IRS counts it as tax-deductible when Microsoft does it, why is the ruling any different when another party makes the same donation?

      • I got in trouble for donating 500 licences of MS Office 98, and MS windows that had been bundled with our machines when we changed to all open source.

        Really? You gave away 500 licenses of Office 98, which only came out on the Macintosh, and 500 lcienses of MS Windows? That seems very unusual. Don't you mean Office 97 or 2000, which were PC versions? I find it odd you have touble remembering the name of the software you gave away when it caused you so much trouble with the IRS.
        • This is offtopic, I can't give you the details about the IRS mess, but the main reason was the act of transferring ownership of these software licences could not be classified as a vaild charitable donation. Our IT department has over 15,000 licences for MS products for our six offices, I was asked to help our adobted grade school with donated computer equipment and also consult them on some grant money they had recieved. Since we recently had alot of uninstalled MS software we had bought and no longer needed I transferred ownership of 55 Office 98 suites for the Macs they had, and 230 copies of Office 2K, and 230 copied of Win98 for the donated PC's.
  • Who owns what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:37PM (#2626119)
    consumers should have the same rights they'd enjoy under existing copyright legislation when buying a CD or a book. They can't make copies, but they can resell what they own.

    Makes sensee to me, but the EUlA makes it clear that they don't own anything!

    This one will go to the Supreme Court.

    • Makes sensee to me, but the EUlA makes it clear that they don't own anything!

      Since the EULA is neither presented nor signed at the time of purchase, it doesn't have bearing on the transaction.

      Just in time for the holidays...
      "Yes, Virginia. There is a federal judge who's managed to avoid rectally contricting his cranial blood flow."

      • Since the EULA is neither presented nor signed at the time of purchase, it doesn't have bearing on the transaction.

        This is not truly relevant, and there are legal counter-examples already. For example, you buy a plane ticket. Now, that ticket comes with a whole bunch of restrictions written on the back that you could not access in detail at the point of purchase. Yet you are bound by them nonetheless.

        Case law on EULAs is still a little muddled, but at least one synopsis page is up at Dan Bernstein's site [cr.yp.to]
        • I haven't read that back of a ticket lately, but I seem to remember that most of what I did see were more in the line of federal regulations. Not something the airlines were surprising you with.

          Nothing about not being able to disparage the airlines, or figure out how the airplane works, or similar things to what people are stuck with on software EULAs.
        • Re:Who owns what? (Score:3, Informative)

          by DaoudaW ( 533025 )
          Case law on EULAs is still a little muddled, but at least one synopsis page is up at Dan Bernstein's site [cr.yp.to]

          Dan Bernstein's site is more than a little muddled, but at least he gave a good link to the applicable Federal law [cornell.edu].

          The law makes a clear distinction between ownership and possession.
  • Hmmm ... the PDF I read didn't say one bad thing about Adobe.
  • by Exmet Paff Daxx ( 535601 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:42PM (#2626153) Homepage Journal
    Remember that California hasn't passed the UCITA, the law which Maryland and Virginia ratified last year. This makes all consumers subject to all provisions of software licenses, whether they be shrinkwrap licenses or licenses you agree to by visiting a web page. This is, at best, a precedent for the citizens of California. But since California has tried out-of-state citizens (in the DeCSS case), Maryland can just as easily try out-out-state California residents for violating the UCITA.

    For clarification, I've attached this flowchart [160.79.249.139] which demonstrates the relationship between the corporations of America (Adobe, Sony, the RIAA, the WTO, etc.) and the people of America. The people are represented at the bottom; the Corporations at the top.

    Please, don't keep thinking you can step out of line.
    • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:05PM (#2626302) Homepage
      well, that would be nice except this is a US district court. UCITA is a state law. federal law overrides state laws when there is a conflict. UCITA is now in a state of flux, if the supree court rules that EULA are illegal then UCITA is irrelivent.
    • by Cy Guy ( 56083 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:10PM (#2626332) Homepage Journal
      Of course IANAL, but:

      Since it it is in Federal court, whether or not a state has passed UCITA is irrelevant, as the decision doesn't involve state law of any kind. I would assume that for the time being it only applies to the district in which it was decided, but as it works its way through the Federal system it should apply to all residents within that jurisdiction. Presumably Adobe will apeal it to the 9th Circuit, but that tends to be a fairly liberal circuit and would likely side with SoftMan. So it would likely go to the Supreme Court that with its current makeup is more likely to side with Adobe both because the user agreed to it, and because the lower court has the appearance of making new law. Consumers would probably be best served if the Supremes decide not to hear it, since most major software companies are in the 9th circuit and would for all practical purposes be bound by any decision of the 9th circuit.
  • by RadioheadKid ( 461411 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:44PM (#2626162)
    This might be more of a reason for software companies to sell their product as a service which is valid for a set amount of time then as a product which is good for use indefinetly.
    • If it's explicitly a lease, then the customers can decide whether that is the way they want to buy software or not. I don't think that software leases will sell very well. The problem is that the software vendors are trying to take away rights one would normally have in a sale, without making it clear that it's not a sale. At the worst, individual copies of XP will apparently sold with activation code that means that each time you have to re-install it, or change your computer too much, or the "antipiracy" code just fsckin malfunctions, you have to get microsoft to give you a new code # to restart it. And no guarantees as to how long MS will keep that service working.

      So, for all practical purposes XP is a leased product with an indefinite expiration date. If Microsoft was honest about this, the box would say in large letters "This product is not sold, it is only leased until such time as we decide we want you to buy a newer version and stop supporting the activation codes." But that might sharply cut into their market...
  • Irony? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cy Guy ( 56083 )
    the case in question is Adobe vs Softman, . . . The full ruling is available in PDF format here.

    This ruling seems to phrased as to only apply to "purchased" software. Any word/opinions on how it effects either downloaded, or OS s/w?

    Also any ideas how we can get a change a venue for Skylarov's case to this judge's court?

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:49PM (#2626191) Homepage

    According to the judge:

    If you put your money down and walked away with a CD, you bought that copy, EULA or no EULA

    So, if you bought that copy, and you own it, it is yours. And according to property law, I can do what I want with what I own, including disassemble it. Correct? So therefore, I can defeat any copy protectoin schemes on the software I buy. Correct? Does this not contradict the DMCA? Assuming a DVD is software, this makes DeCSS totally legit. Hopefully the SUpreme Court will uphold this ruling, and it can be used in DMCA cases!

    • First Sale (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bonker ( 243350 )
      The decision has its limitations, being merely a vacation of an earlier judgement. Given the powerful interests of the shrinkwrap software industry, it's likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

      Rather than completely invalidating the DMCA, this ruling is a lot more likely to be one of the many holes being poked in the whole 'intellectual property' balloon.

      IANAL, but from what I read, what it does do is more or less state that data... software in particular... is not immune from first sale doctrine. You're breaking copyright law if you make copies and give them away. You're not breaking the law if you decide to sell your extra legit Windows ME/2000/XP CDs after you install Linux.

      This has important ramifications, because there is a very minor difference between applications and data of any other kind. It's not precident setting in and of itself, but it could be used to help set a larger precident.
    • So, if you bought that copy, and you own it, it is yours. And according to property law, I can do what I want with what I own, including disassemble it. Correct? So therefore, I can defeat any copy protectoin schemes on the software I buy. Correct?
      The right to resell something does not imply the right to disassemble or reverse engineer it. You certainly buy a bottle of Viagra tablets, not license it (at least I wouldn't want the job of repossessing that license). However, you are explicitly prohibited from analyzing the composition of the Viagra tablets and manufacturing your own by various patent and copyright laws that modify your right to do anything at all with your possessions. Similarly, you can buy a house, but that doesn't give you the right to use it as a base for selling illegal drugs.

      sPh

      • However, you are explicitly prohibited from analyzing the composition of the Viagra tablets and manufacturing your own by various patent and copyright laws that modify your right to do anything at all with your possessions.

        Not at all. I am perfectly free to analyse a tablet of Viagra, and even to publish the results of those analyses. However, I am not free to produce my own Viagra tablets until the patent runs out.

        There's also a good chance that there are process patents that are newer than the original Viagra patent, which prevent me from using the same methods that Pfizer uses to manufacture Viagra for a few years past the expiration of the Viagra patent. Since the patent discloses the methods used, I have to use some other method.

    • The DMCA is Federal law, and this decision was in a State court, so no, it unfortunately doesn't mean what you think it means.

      However, if this decision is upheld by a Federal court, than there is a chance that it could be used in DMCA cases, and it would also effectively over-rule portions of UCITA, which is State level legislation.

      IANAL, though...

    • So, if you bought that copy, and you own it, it is yours. And according to property law, I can do what I want with what I own, including disassemble it

      Maybe in libertarian wonderland. According to your reasoning, if you buy your AK-47 legit, you can kill your neighbors legit. The DMCA says certain actions are illegal. Hence, you cannot do them, regardless of any issue of ownership.

      What this court case does is allow you ( assuming you live in California) to sell software you bought. This is an issue of ownership because the right to sell is pretty much the core of the concept of ownership.

  • by 90XDoubleSide ( 522791 ) <(ten.liamliah) (ta) (ediselbuodxytenin)> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:50PM (#2626196)
    ...ruled that consumers can resell bundled software, no matter what the EULA, or End User License Agreement, stipulates.

    So would this ruling also protect those people that want to sell their bundled copies of Windows or donate them to charity [slashdot.org]? If so, this could be an even more significant ruling than it appears, as MS's business strategy relies on those copies being worthless to get people to buy more licenses or buy newer versions than they want.

  • Hooray! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:50PM (#2626202) Homepage Journal
    Now I can fire up FrontPage [infoworld.com] and make sport of Microsoft! Ha! Ants do have rights!
  • by maniac11 ( 88495 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:51PM (#2626211) Homepage Journal
    This will never last. Microsoft will immediately sick their fleet of lawyers on anyone trying to resell their bundled copy of XP on ebay. And they'll win. Remember that our justice system is bought and sold [slashdot.org] just like all good capitalist institutions.
    • there is no way that MS can win if there is a fresh ruling sent down from the supreem court, no court in the land would do that.

      Yeah lets just invalidat a decision after 2 weeks sure.....this is of cource based on if the supreem court upholds this
  • by BranMan ( 29917 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:55PM (#2626238)

    This ruling is very good to see, but we should not get our hopes up too much. I can't see the text of the ruling (slashdotted already I guess) but the idea here was (I gather) that EULAs didn't apply because the buyers never installed or used the software, so never got the point of clicking through a license.

    This is extremely important for even though the Don Marti article stated the judge determined that "if it looks like a sale it is a sale, EULA notwithstanding". The ones who sold the Adobe software hadn't seen or agreed to the EULA at any point.

    The problem is contract law - if the software vendor (Microsoft for example) can point out that you DID click "I Agree" to their EULA then the game is basically over. That EULA will be upheld as a contract between you and the vendor - and in a contract you can surrender any (almost) rights you want to. Including agreeing to "license" the software instead of "buying" it, surrendering the right to resell it, reverse engineer it, etc.

    As far as I can see it, reselling your old Windows CDs will still be contested by Microsoft. But, on the bright side, now at least you can sell the Windows CD that came with your laptop as you wipe the hard drive to install Red Hat.
    • The problem is contract law - if the software vendor (Microsoft for example) can point out that you DID click "I Agree" to their EULA then the game is basically over. That EULA will be upheld as a contract between you and the vendor - and in a contract you can surrender any (almost) rights you want to. Including agreeing to "license" the software instead of "buying" it, surrendering the right to resell it, reverse engineer it, etc.

      Only if both parties agree to the contract prior to the transaction taking place. In the case of the shrink-wrap "licenses", the consumer does not see the contract until he/she buys and installs the software. In effect, this "license" is a unilateral contract, and thus not legally binding. UCITA makes it legally binding, but UCITA is on a very shaky legal foundation, and so far only two states passed it. Now, here is what I find interesting:

      The case in question is Adobe vs Softman, and in its ruling, the District of California seems to vacate Adobe's claims of "irrepairable damage" caused by the resale of Adobe products without forcing the use of Adobe's registration process.

      This means that Microsoft cannot force the XP registration upon its users. I sure hope this case makes it to the Supreme Court.

    • f the software vendor (Microsoft for example) can point out that you DID click "I Agree" to their EULA then the game is basically over


      Even if they can prove that (which could be difficult, what if I had my neighbor's son install it?), there are still two other problems. First, at the point you're presented with the click-wrap EULA, you've *already* bought it. The copy is now yours, and you can lie to it if you want. Second, even if you accept that a EULA can retroactively turn a sale into a license, every EULA I've seen is entirely one-sided. You get no rights you did not already have under standard copyright law, and have substantial restrictions imposed. Contracts without consideration are not valid.


      Of course, IANAL, so take this with whatever quantity of salt you wish.

      • Even if they can prove that (which could be difficult, what if I had my neighbor's son install it?), there are still two other problems. First, at the point you're presented with the click-wrap EULA, you've *already* bought it. The copy is now yours, and you can lie to it if you want. Second, even if you accept that a EULA can retroactively turn a sale into a license, every EULA I've seen is entirely one-sided. You get no rights you did not already have under standard copyright law, and have substantial restrictions imposed. Contracts without consideration are not valid.


        All valid concerns, but...
        1) They can probably convince a judge that the only way to install it is by agreeing to the EULA. Or that you deliberately bypassed the EULA in order to avoid it (pick your favorite way), which probably won't fly with the judge either.
        2) The EULA gives you an out - returning the software for a refund if you do not agree. The fact that that can't be done in practice isn't going to be important to the judge right then. (that's another case)
        3) The consideration might be construed by the judge as being able to use the software you "bought". Weirder things have happened.

        Please bear in mind IANAL either, and don't like any of the above - just trying to be the devils advocate for a bit.
  • I read the Reg article earlier and was very happy. It just makes sense, the purchase of software is a sales transaction and not a license agreement--regardless of what the EULA says. Some one said that this may open the doors for companies to sell software as a service only good for a set amount of time--while this is scary, it may be an improvement too--it will place a much higher burdon on the companies to make better software that doesn't suck--if they're selling it as a service, then if it doesn't work I get a refund--like if my cable service goes out.

    That said, it doesn't matter anyway, because with the deep pockets on the other side, they'll appeal until the get to a judge that is more "open" to their side.

  • Off to Ebay I go!

    For Sale - One copy of Windows 98 - complete orginal with box, disk, documentation.
  • by dirk ( 87083 ) <dirk@one.net> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @03:59PM (#2626263) Homepage
    Normally, I would say this is a good decision, but in this case I can't really support it. I agree you should be able to seel unused software. If you haven't opened it, you should be able to sell it. But if you look at this case, they are buying BUNDLED software, and then breaking it up and selling it. This has been illegal for normal good for many years. Notice all the stuff you buy that says "This item part of a package. Not for resale" or something there-abouts. Why should software be any different?


    If you buy a copy of Adobe Photoshop, don't open it, and want to resell it, I'm right there with you. If you buy an Adobe package, take what you want from it, and sell the rest, I'm not down with that. This should be a case of standard rules applying to software as well as regular goods.

    • Notice all the stuff you buy that says "This item part of a package. Not for resale" or something there-abouts.

      Unless you agree to that at the time of the sale, it's completely unenforcible. Just because writing on a package says something doesn't always make it true.

    • by A Commentor ( 459578 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:20PM (#2626407) Homepage
      Notice all the stuff you buy that says "This item part of a package. Not for resale" or something there-abouts.

      Everything I have seen says: "Not Labeled for individual sale". I think this is to protect the end-user, not restrict the seller. This is typically seen on food, since the FDA (government) has strict laws on nutriational labeling.

      If I buy a new Car and want to totally strip it and sell the pieces, there is no law (or agreement with the car company) that says I can not do that.

    • Notice all the stuff you buy that says "This item part of a package. Not for resale" or something there-abouts. Why should software be any different?

      As far as I know that only applies to food, since food has all these labelling requirements, if have a package inside (say on snickers bar in a ten pack) then you can avoid having to label each of the inner bars with this warning. As to the software companies bundling items, I think that is only binding between the software manufacturer and the bundler/retailer. If the purchaser is not party to the agreement, then why should they be bound by it. That's what this ruling is saying.

      Now it could end up getting very complicated since you would have to be very clear what you are buying if someone is selling "Windows XP" it could be any of 8 differnt versions cepending on whehter it is the home or pro edition, upgrade or full version, or bundled full version sold off by enduser rejecting the EULA. MS has always made it clear that if you rejected the EULA you could return the software for a full refund, but they have never honored that. That puts them on pretty weak ground should they want to join with Adobe in fighting this ruling.
    • If I buy a package of Snickers, and on each candy bar is "not for individual sale", I can still sell one of them to you. However, the bar does not have to have the health info printed on it, since it is printed on the main package. The "not for resale" message mainly declaims various legal responsibilities if someone only gets the partial item.
    • You car is nothing but bundled parts, but you can sell each part. why should software be different.
      "This item part of a package. Not for resale" this doesn't apply to consumer resale, only business.
      • You car is nothing but bundled parts, but you can sell each part. why should software be different.
        "This item part of a package. Not for resale" this doesn't apply to consumer resale, only business.


        But this is consumer resale. Softman isn't a person, it is a company. This wasn't Joe Blow seeling off his used parts of Abode Photoshop suite, this was a company that purchased the suites specifically to resell them seperately.

  • because if this says what I think it says, we OWN the software. so that means I can sue MS for impeading on my ability to sell my old copy of XP because it is unusable on another PC.....

    Death to forced ID-ing!!!!

    also how far does this go? If I own a piece of software as a product, a tangible object, do I get all rights to that spesific instance that I bought?
  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:02PM (#2626282) Journal
    Don't think that software sellers haven't seen this coming. Here's a quote from the riling (lifted from the article):
    "... the purchaser commonly obtains a single copy of the software, with documentation, for a single price, which the purchaser pays at the time of the transaction, and which constitutes the entire payment for the 'license.'
    The license runs for an indefinite term without provisions for renewal. In light of these indicia, many courts and commentators conclude that a 'shrinkwrap license' transaction is a sale of goods rather than a license." (emphasis mine)
    The judge has given a roadmap for getting around his ruling: subscriptions. In his judgement a subscription would clearly be a license, not a sale, thus no "first sale" doctrine would apply. Not coincidentally, many large software sellers are moving to a subscription model. This ruling will only serve to accelerate that process. By the time it gets appealed to the Supremes, it won't matter.
    • The judge has given a roadmap for getting around his ruling: subscriptions. In his judgement a subscription would clearly be a license, not a sale, thus no "first sale" doctrine would apply. Not coincidentally, many large software sellers are moving to a subscription model. This ruling will only serve to accelerate that process.

      That's good for us, not bad. Subscriptions will piss a segment of the public off, and that segment may have to turn to Open Source if the entire commercial world is doing subscriptions.

      It's ironic, however, that one of the almost universally accepted valid Open Source business models is the subscription. The difference, of course, being that you don't lose your right to use the software if you let your subscription lapse. Subscribing to updates is different than subscribing to usage, and we'll probably need to use a different term to make that clear.
    • If you subscribe to a magazine, you don't lose all your back issues when your subscription terminates.
      • If you subscribe to high-speed access, you don't get to keep the past months bandwidth when your subscription expires. Or cable, or phone service.

        Not that I think subscriptions for software is a good thing
        • No, but you can still use all the content that your web browser has cached. And if you download a game demo on your high-speed connection, they don't make you relinquish the demo when your connection is over.
  • Software manufacturers have always been trying to protect their software from free market forces by implementing highly restrictive "license agreements". These agreements are an attempt to control their product in the marketplace - clearly in disrespect to the concept of a free economy.

    Many software manufacturers want to eliminate any resale market in order to artificially raise demand for their product. It's like GM saying that you can't resell an old GM car, or a GM engine from your old rusted out Nova. What's to preventent GM from creating such restricive licensing arrangements? The Law, of course.

    A free economy should not only be free from governmental restrictions, but also from industry restrictions. Industry is, surprisingly, the most significant regulatory body in the US government.
    Further laws need to be passed to prevent needless restrictions by industry trade groups on free trade.
  • Hmmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:09PM (#2626326) Homepage Journal
    Wow, software becoming a resalable good! Maybe if Microsoft settles "for the children" the schools will be able to sell the software they get and buy something they can use, like science books that discuss new topics like evolution and the fact that disease is not caused by evil spirits (Offer void in KS).
    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by psamuels ( 64397 )

      Score: -1, Offtopic

      like science books that discuss new topics like evolution and the fact that disease is not caused by evil spirits (Offer void in KS).

      Yeah, yeah, I know this was just a joke, but it sort of pisses me off whenever I hear this particular cheap shot. Because it seems some people actually believed the FUD spread around a couple years ago by panic-stricken ... well, I'm not sure whom. Someone who felt threatened, I guess. For the record (*sigh*, one more time), the Kansas Board of Education did not

      • forbid teachers to teach the theory of evolution by natural selection (TE/NS)
      • forbid students to learn the TE/NS
      • forbid textbook writers to write about the TE/NS
      • forbid schools to buy textbooks that include material on TE/NS
        or even
      • forbid local school boards from mandating the teaching of the TE/NS

      All they did was remove the subject from the list of mandatory topics to be covered in a high school science curriculum. Local school boards were free to re-mandate it if desired. Individual schools, or teachers, could likewise teach what they wanted - so long as they include all the state-mandated topics. (Which did not and do not include any "anti-evolution" topics.)

      In other words, they referred the question down to the local level. That's all.

      I'm not sure why people felt so threatened as to spread FUD about this. It seems that some people feel vehemently that some great calamity befalls children who are told that evolution by natural selection is anything other than a proven fact ... as opposed to a theory with some major difficulties, accepted on faith by atheists mainly because no other current theory is compatible with strict atheism (where strict atheism != agnosticism).

  • The pdf is still slash-dotted...

    Has anyone mirrored it yet?
  • by krlynch ( 158571 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:16PM (#2626374) Homepage

    IANAL, but I have played one in a courtroom :-) so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, I notice a lot of people talking about "precedent" and making all sorts of claims as to how this should apply to circumstances other than this particular case. Just two things to consider:

    First, precedent is just the statement that this is the first time a given issue of previously unclear legal status has been decided; but just because a court has set precedent with a decision doesn't mean that it will decide a case of _similar_ merits the same way in the future (precedents don't extend beyond the circumstances outlined in the decision itself). So, don't assume you can interpret this decision to mean that all SIMILAR circumstances will be decided the same way, even by this same court! It is also NOT the case that all sweeping decisions set precedent (for example, if the Supreme Court does not accept a case, it doesn't mean that the decision it refused to reconsider becomes precedent for the entire country).

    Second, consider the jurisdiction. EVEN IF this decision sets a sweeping precedent and makes a previously unclear legal issue crystal clear in all similar cases, it only applies within the jurisdiction of the court that rendered the decision (here, the Central District of California, one of 94 U.S. District Court jurisdictions). The precedent doesn't apply in ANY other jurisdiction (although it is often a powerful argument that can sway judges in other jurisdictions); it is often the case that appeals to higher courts (particularly the Supreme Court) are accepted based on CONFLICTING precedent setting cases from different jurisdictions. So, don't assume that this decision will protect you if you live in some other part of the country, EVEN IF you are in exactly the same situation and find yourself in exactly the same lawsuit.

  • Excellent News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:16PM (#2626375) Homepage Journal

    I read most of the decision a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, a ray of enlightenment seems to have struck the California courts.

    Adobe complained that Softman wasn't allowed to unbundle the Adobe Collection, as that was a violation of their license. According to my (inexpert) reading, the court applied what I call the "duck test" to the transaction that took place between Adobe and Softman: If it looks like a sale and walks like a sale and quacks like a sale then, no matter how persistently and shrilly you call it a "license," it's a sale, because that's the behavior you engaged in.

    The court stopped short of stating that the EULA was non-binding. Since Softman never installed the software (triggering the EULA activation clauses), there was no need for the court to address this point. So whether EULAs are binding is still an open question. It may be possible to argue that, if one purchases the software but then refuses the EULA, the terms of the earlier sale apply. That means you would get to use your software, no matter what the EULA says (U.S.C. 17, Sec. 117(a) [cornell.edu]).

    Perhaps Slashdot user Werdna would care to chime in with a more expert analysis?

    There is the danger that software industry lobbyists will now lean harder on the California legislature to get UCITA rammed through. So if you're a Californian, get on the horn to your state representative and tell them, as a consumer, you're very happy with the court decision, and that UCITA would undo their good work and should be avoided.

    Schwab

    • According to my (inexpert) reading, the court applied what I call the "duck test" to the transaction that took place between Adobe and Softman: If it looks like a sale and walks like a sale and quacks like a sale then, no matter how persistently and shrilly you call it a "license," it's a sale, because that's the behavior you engaged in.

      After a brief scan of the judgment, I would have to disagree. The court based its decision on the fact that the EULA is just that, an End User License Agreement: an agreement between the end user and Adobe, not between SoftMan and Adobe. SoftMan is not a party to that agreement, and therefore cannot be bound by its terms (which are the actual instruments imposing the resale restrictions). To say otherwise would mean that third parties are bound by contracts they didn't have a say in negotiating, meaning you could impose any arbitrary obligation on someone simply by including it in a contract you entered into with someone else. Which is completely unfair.

      If Adobe included a term in its contract of sale with SoftMan to the effect that SoftMan couldn't unbundle, then it would be a different matter; now it's a question of whether that term is enforceable or is unenforceable as an unreasonable covenant in restraint of trade, along with a few other things.

  • GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @04:23PM (#2626433) Homepage

    The judge, in the case Adobe vs Softman heard in the Central District of California, has ruled that consumers can resell bundled software, no matter what the EULA, or End User License Agreement, stipulates.

    So does this mean we can resell GPLed software without distributing the source code?

    • as long as it is the original media like a CD or somthing. but if you make changes to source, I think that cause you are using the source code you have to abide by the licence of the source.
      • but if you make changes to source, I think that cause you are using the source code you have to abide by the licence of the source.

        But what if you get someone else to change the source? Or what if you create a patch to the source, someone else applies the patch, makes a binary, burns the CD, and sells it to you?

        • well, I don't rightly know....I wonder what RMS would consider on this. is this a triumph or a tragety for GPL?

          the damn GPL is ecursive upon itself. you have the right to copy and distribute it, but only if you give the source away, but if you don't give the source away you have no rights to distribute. but now this ruling make EULAs sort of irrelivent and give a glimmer of hope that they can be struck down with a mighty blow from the SC.......no EULA=no GPL except you do not buy GPLed software, it is free (in many cases)....I think that the GPL will be a futer court case after EULAs are gone.

          however, you can still use the GPL in a contract, sop perhaps the GPL would apply still if you modified it cause you agreed to the terms of the contract to use the source.
        • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Galvatron ( 115029 )
          Basically, if you don't agree to the license, you're bound by standard first sale doctrine. Hence, you can resell the components (which might allow you to unbundle the source from the executable, if they were on different cds), make backups, anything you could legally do with, say, music cds.


          Aside from unbundling source code (which again, would probably only be legal if they were on different cds), the GPL does not restrict anything that first sale allows. In contrast, the GPL allows many things that first sale does not, for example unlimited redistribution, unlimited copying, redistribution of modified versions (so long as source code is made available), and so forth.


          So, Microsoft could, for example, buy a Red Hat boxed set, and then resell it. They might be able to buy it, and sell the binary cds by themselves. They could not, however, buy a boxed set, hack the source, and incorporate elements into Windows XP II, or Windows YP , or whatever they plan to call the next one, without running afoul of copyright law.

    • Uh, obviously not. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oGMo ( 379 )

      IANAL, but this obviously doesn't have anything to do with copyright law. You can't resell copies of this software or otherwise infringe on their copyrights any more than you ever could. The GPL gives you rights to copy above and beyond copyright law, and when used it is the only source of those additional rights, so you follow the rules or don't play.

      This ruling would just mean that you could go out and resell that RedHat or Debian CD you bought. And, gee, guess what... you already could. ;-)

      • However, you can't buy a copy of RedHat, make a copy and then sell that copy as RedHat.

        That would be something copyright law would get you on.

        Some companies used to do just that and at very inexpensive prices. RedHat stopped them some years ago.

        But you could rename everything in the cd and call it RedNot! RedNot! could be completely 100% compatible with RedHat rpms!

        just a thought anyway...
    • See subject. The GPL doesn't govern (or pretend to govern) the end user, but rather anyone who tries to redistribute (either as-is or in a modified work). That's why if you don't accept the GPL your fallback is standard copyright law (which generally won't allow even what redistribution the GPL does).
    • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.utexas . e du> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @06:13PM (#2627281) Homepage
      And here's how:

      Person A downloads the GPLed software, makes whatever changes he wants to. He sells this software to Person B, along with the full source code; thus he is complying with the GPL. He doesn't have to give the source code to anyone but person B, because he's not distributing binaries to anyone but person B.

      Person B then resells each copy of the software, without source code. He is not complying with the GPL, but that's okay, because he didn't agree to it. He is just exercising first sale rights that copyright law gives him.

      The end result? Both people make money, both are obeying the law... but the spirit of the GPL gets raped.

      I am (obviously) not a lawyer, but it seems like a legitimate scam to me.
  • This is one area where I agree with the AIP crowd. Why? Because if we are to carry the analogy of physical property into the IP realm (IMHO, the sanest way to deal with IP sold directly to consumers) we *must* allow resale, including "parting out" the components.

    To do otherwise would be like GM saying that you can't put a new engine in your car. I'd say more, but I need to run down to the local warehouse, stock up on OEM Windows, and hit eBay before the warehouse guy realizes. :)

    (yes, I know OEM doesn't come with a support contract, I know it's going to be appealed, yada yada yada, lighten up. OK?)


  • "The case in question is Adobe vs Softman..."
    "The full ruling is available in PDF format here."

    Was that intentionally? ;)
  • You know, I normally avoid making a comment like this, but it's just disheartening and discouraging to go to the effort to get your links right, format the text of the entire article nicely so the register doesn't get Slashdotted, only to have the very same submission rejected.

    It'd be nice to know who rejected one's submissions and why, and yes, I checked my URL's to make sure they worked. :-(

    I give up. No point in submitting articles - someone else in the in-group will do it anyway. *shrug*
  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @06:51PM (#2627469)
    Hmm. I posted this also, with more of the relevant legal facts. Since mine was rejected
    but Hemos' made it, I'll repeat myself here.

    This case does not establish precedent. It
    is binding only upon the plaintiff and defendent.
    The federal district courts (by the way, there
    are three federal districts in California) are
    considered trial courts. From there, the case can
    be appealed to the federal circuit court (9th
    circuit includes California), and from there to
    the U.S. Supreme Court. Only if the U.S. Supreme
    Court agrees to hear the case and returns an
    opinion is it binding nationally. If the federal
    circuit court upholds the district court's opinion,
    it's binding to those federal districts that fall within the circuit.
    But not on the states themselves. States are bound
    by their own appeals and supreme courts, and by the
    U.S. Supreme Court, but not by the federal district or
    circuit courts. Think hierarchy.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR Widget Motor Cars

    Widget Motor Cars Model A

    This End-User License Agreement for Widget Motor Cars ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or an entity) and Widget Corporation for the Widget Motor Cars product identified above, which includes a motor vehicle, printed materials, and may include other material such as seats, mirrors, and windows depending on which options you chose ("CAR"). By starting your new CAR or otherwise using the CAR, you agree to be bound by the terms of this EULA. If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, do not start or use the CAR.
    The CAR is protected by copyright laws and international copyright treaties, as well as other intellectual property laws and treaties. The CAR is licensed, not sold.

    1. GRANT OF LICENSE.
    This EULA grants you the following limited, revocable, non- exclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license rights:
    1.1 You may use the CAR in for the sole purposes of (a) driving, towing, and riding. You may not use the CAR to drive to a competitors establishment. You may not drive your car to any fueling station not explicitly approved by Widget. You may not repair or modify CAR without explicit approval from Widget. Any repair techniques or modifications you design for CAR will default to ownership by Widget.
    1.2 The design internal architecture of the CAR is Widget's confidential information, and you agree not to disclose or provide any CAR operating or repair instructions to any third party without Widget's express written permission therefor. You may disclose the CAR operating and repair instructions only to your household family members or employees who have a need to know in order to accomplish the purposes identified in Section 1.1. Such use of the CAR shall take place solely at your in your presence, and you will have executed appropriate written agreements with such household members or employees sufficient to enable you to comply with the terms of this EULA. You will maintain a list of all household members or employees who have had access to the CAR related information. This provision shall survive the termination or expiration of this EULA.
    1.3 The CAR contains consumer grade parts that are not at the level of performance and compatibility of professional grade products. The CAR may not operate correctly, and may need to be substantially modified by Widget. Widget is not obligated to make this or any later modification of the CAR freely available. In the event you discover a design flaw with CAR you may not publish, or disclose the information to anyone but Widget.
    1.4 The CAR is designed to last exactly 3 years at which time you are required to return CAR to the place of lease for a replacement. If you do not replace CAR you are required to return CAR to the place of lease for disposal.
    1.5 Widget and its suppliers retain title and all ownership rights to the CAR. All rights not expressly granted herein are reserved to Widget.
    1.6 You may
    2. COPYRIGHT. All rights, title, and copyrights in and to the CAR (including, but not limited to, any parts, paint, belts, and electronics incorporated into the CAR) and any copies of the CAR are owned by Widget or its suppliers. The CAR is protected by copyright laws and international treaty provisions. Therefore, you must treat the CAR like any other copyrighted material.
    3. DESCRIPTION OF OTHER RIGHTS AND LIMITATIONS.
    3.1 You may not reverse-engineer, repair, or disassemble CAR, except and only to the extent that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.
    3.2 Without prejudice to any other rights, Widget may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with any of its terms and conditions by notifying you in writing. Upon receipt of such notice, you must promptly return the CAR and any part thereof, and certify in writing to Widget that this has been accomplished.
    3.3 You may not sell, resell, rent, lease, lend or otherwise transfer for value, the CAR except as expressly allowed by this EULA.
    3.4 Widget is not obligated to provide you with technical support, upgrades, repairs, or related information for the CAR ("Support Services") under this EULA. However, if Widget in its sole discretion provides you with any Support Services for the CAR, such material shall be deemed included as part of the CAR, and in any event governed by this EULA unless other terms of use are provided by Widget with such Support Services. Furthermore, Widget is not obligated to continue to make the CAR commercially available, and in no event shall Widget be obligated to provide you with a newer version of the CAR under this EULA. You may from time to time provide suggestions, comments or other feedback to Widget concerning your experience with or use of the CAR ("Feedback"). Both parties agree that all Feedback is and shall be given entirely voluntarily, and Widget shall be free to use, disclose, reproduce, license or otherwise distribute, and exploit the Feedback as it sees fit, entirely without obligation or restriction of any kind on account of intellectual property rights or otherwise. Feedback, even if designated as confidential by you, shall not, absent a separate written agreement, create any confidentiality obligation for Widget, except that Widget will not utilize Feedback in a form that personally identifies you.
    4. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES; EXCLUSION OF DAMAGES: LIABILITY LIMITATIONS
    4.1 TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, Widget AND ITS SUPPLIERS PROVIDE THE CAR, AND ANY (IF ANY) SUPPORT SERVICES RELATED TO THE CAR ("SUPPORT SERVICES"), "AS IS" AND WITH ALL FAULTS, AND HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS, EITHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY (IF ANY) IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OF LACK OF VIRUSES, OF ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF RESPONSES, OF RESULTS, AND OF LACK OF NEGLIGENCE OR LACK OF WORKMANLIKE EFFORT, ALL WITH REGARD TO THE CAR, AND THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT SERVICES. ALSO, THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, QUIET POSSESSION, CORRESPONDENCE TO DESCRIPTION OR NON- INFRINGEMENT, WITH REGARD TO THE CAR. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY OF OR ARISING OUT OF USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE CAR AND SUPPORT SERVICES, IF ANY, REMAINS WITH YOU.
    4.2 TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL Widget OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS OR CONFIDENTIAL OR OTHER INFORMATION, FOR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, FOR PERSONAL INJURY, FOR LOSS OF PRIVACY, FOR FAILURE TO MEET ANY DUTY INCLUDING OF GOOD FAITH OR OF REASONABLE CARE, FOR NEGLIGENCE, AND FOR ANY OTHER PECUNIARY OR OTHER LOSS WHATSOEVER) ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE CAR, THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT SERVICES, OR OTHERWISE UNDER OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY PROVISION OF THIS EULA, EVEN IN THE EVENT OF THE FAULT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), STRICT LIABILITY, BREACH OF CONTRACT OR BREACH OF WARRANTY OF Widget OR ANY SUPPLIER, AND EVEN IF Widget HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. BECAUSE SOME STATES/JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
    4.3 Notwithstanding any damages that you might incur for any reason whatsoever (including, without limitation, all damages referenced above and all direct or general damages), the entire liability of Widget and any of its suppliers under any provision of this EULA and your exclusive remedy for all of the foregoing shall be limited to Five U.S. Dollars ($5.00). The foregoing limitations, exclusions and disclaimers shall apply to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, even if any remedy fails its essential purpose.
    5. MISCELLANEOUS
    5.1 All CAR provided to the U.S. Government pursuant to solicitations issued on or after December 1, 1995 is provided with the commercial rights and restrictions described elsewhere herein. All CAR provided to the U.S. Government pursuant to solicitations issued prior to December 1, 1995 is provided with RESTRICTED RIGHTS as provided for in FAR, 48 CFR 52.227-14 (JUNE 1987) or FAR, 48 CFR 252.227-7013 (OCT 1988), as applicable.
    5.2 THE CAR MAY CONTAIN SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS WRITTEN IN JAVA. JAVA TECHNOLOGY IS NOT FAULT TOLERANT AND IS NOT DESIGNED, MANUFACTURED, OR INTENDED FOR USE OR RESALE AS ONLINE CONTROL EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENTS REQUIRING FAIL-SAFE PERFORMANCE, SUCH AS IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, DIRECT LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES, OR WEAPONS SYSTEMS, IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF JAVA TECHNOLOGY COULD LEAD DIRECTLY TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE. Sun Microsystems, Inc. has contractually obligated Widget to make this disclaimer.
    5.3 You agree not to export or re-export the CAR, any part thereof, or any process or service that is the direct product of the CAR (the foregoing collectively referred to as the "Restricted Components"), to any country, person, entity or end user subject to U.S. export restrictions. You specifically agree not to export or re-export any of the Restricted Components (a) to any country to which the U.S. has embargoed or restricted the export of goods or services, which may currently include, but are not necessarily limited to, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, or to any national of any such country, wherever located, who intends to transmit or transport the Restricted Components back to such country; (b) to any end-user who you know or have reason to know will utilize the Restricted Components in the design, development or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; or (c) to any end-user who has been prohibited from participating in U.S. export transactions by any federal agency of the U.S. government. You warrant and represent that neither the BXA nor any other U.S. federal agency has suspended, revoked or denied your export privileges.
    5.4 If you acquired this product in the United States, this EULA shall be construed and controlled by the laws of the State of Washington without regard to conflicts of law. If this product was acquired outside the United States, local law may apply. If you acquired this product in Canada, this EULA is governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada, and each of the parties hereto irrevocably attorns to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Ontario and further agrees to commence any litigation that may arise hereunder in the courts located in the Judicial District of York, Province of Ontario.
    5.5 Should you have any questions concerning this EULA, or if you desire to contact Widget for any reason, please send email to eula@Widget.com or write: Widget Research, One Widget Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399.
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @08:01PM (#2627750) Homepage
    From my submissions page:
    * 2001-11-01 22:49:31 Federal Court: Adobe Software is Sold, not Licenced (yro,news) (rejected)

    But nearly a full month later they realize it actually is news! Old news, but news.

    It is a fantastic opinion justifying the decision that everyone should read if you haven't yet.
  • Oh, beautiful day for open source. As the big money guys make their products increasingly difficult and expensive to use, they're going to piss off Joe User, and even Joe Manager. Other options are going to look even better than they do now.

    Yes, I resent having to buy Windows when I buy a box (hell, I con't even want to have to buy a monitor when I buy a box. I was still using the '98 that came with one until recently. That's irrelevant now, but if I got an XP that I don't want I'd give it or sell it in a heartbeat. Let the cops come get me. If the thought police keep it illegal then I'd keep it off of e-bay, but that's about as low as I'd keep my profile.

    What we're losing sight of is that these big companies are fast becoming irrelevant. Their business model is morally bankrupt. They can only make money by forcing people to buy things that they don't want, and have to get the law to keep people from selling off the crap they didn't want to buy in the first place. This is going to be a great boost for open source. Hell, there's even a slim chance that closed source customers (hostages) might actually be helped by this. The way our judicial system has been going, very slim.

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