OK --- a question of ethics

Discussion in 'Dell' started by MB_, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. MB_

    Jim Higgins Guest

    No it isn't at all clear. It would be clear enough if the buyer were
    purchasing a copy of Microsoft Excel, but not at all clear when
    purchasing a hardware/software package that includes hardware that is
    typically used on multiple machines. That software EULA negates a
    large percentage of the utility of the hardware portion of the
    package. Granted the buyer should read the EULA and upon disagreeing
    seek to return the product for a full refund, including all shipping
    charges. If the seller refuses, then one unilateral decision not
    involving agreement by both parties deserves another and the buyer
    should do as he pleases.

    As an analogy, you buy a new car. A few days after getting it home
    you read thru the owner's manual and lo and behold you find a EULA
    stating that the car may not be driven by anyone but the registered
    owner. Do you abide by the EULA, try to return the car, ignore the
    EULA, or some other option?
    Jim Higgins, Oct 15, 2005
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  2. MB_

    Tom Scales Guest

    In this case, there is no distincition and legal and ethical can be used
    interchangeably. The hard drive came with a limited SE license of the
    backup software, much like many computers come with SE or LE versions of
    software to give you a taste of what can be done. If you like it and want
    to use the full version you buy it.

    The ethical thing to do would be to license the proper software to backup
    two machines. There's nothing unclear about that. I'm not sure why this is
    so unclear to you. Regardless of the legal implications, using something
    that you have not licensed is taking value from the owner of the property.

    Feel free to use either a legal view or an ethincal view. Heck, choose a
    religious view. All of them would be clear that it is wrong.

    I'm not saying I'm pure and ethical and have never done anything wrong. I
    speed. I run stop signs on my bicycle. I try to be legal across all the
    machines in my family, but on at least one of them you'd probably find
    something that I missed.

    I'm not even suggesting that the original poster shouldn't use it for
    multiple machines. He's found a way to do so and the transgression is
    pretty minor.

    All that said, it is pure rationalization to say the it is either ethical or
    legal to do so.

    Tom Scales, Oct 15, 2005
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  3. MB_

    Tom Scales Guest

    That's a terrible analogy. You didn't LICENSE the car, but BOUGHT it. You
    LICENSE software.

    Here's a better analogy, also using a car. You rent a car from Avis. They
    ask you if you are going to be the only driver and give you a rate based on
    that. While on vacation, you let you 17 year old drive the car and they
    wreck it. You bought the extended insurance (for a rip off price) and
    figure you're covered.

    You're not. You're out the value of the car. You didn't rent the car with
    the right for your 17 year old to drive it. Avis would not have rented you
    the car.

    Substitute your 22 year old. Avis WOULD have rented you the car, but at a
    SUBSTANTIALLY higher rate, had they know the 22 year old would drive it
    (they are under 25). If you say you're the only driver and the 22 year old
    wrecks it, you're still out the car.


    Tom Scales, Oct 15, 2005
  4. MB_

    dannysdailys Guest

    Ben Myerswrote:
    I'm trying to be realistic. How about a one page summary of the
    license printed
    dannysdailys, Oct 15, 2005
  5. MB_

    Ben Myers Guest

    1. Various newsgroups.
    2. A photo in the Post Office
    3. Soccer, youth or adult, coach, player and referee
    4. Somewhere around Harvard, MA (30 mi WNW of Boston)
    5. Articles written during the last computer epoch when magazines, not internet,
    influenced popular opinion
    6. Italy, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Minneapolis area, Phoenix, NYC

    I am not to be confused with the beer-brewing expert in the UK or the one who
    writes offbeat novels... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Oct 15, 2005
  6. MB_

    Jim Higgins Guest


    If you're willing to honor a unilateral suicide pact then God bless
    you. Most of the rest of us know when someone is trying to screw us
    into buying a software upgrade after the package description of the
    bundled software indicated it would meet our needs.

    Worse yet, this software was sold as a value added item to the main
    purchase which was an external backup drive. Who in his right mind
    expects a purchaser of an external backup drive to restrict use of it
    to only one computer?

    I've paid for every piece of software I'm running here because it is
    the right thing to do, but right or wrong, it is foolish to let
    someone like the seller of that drive/software bundle screw you with a
    hidden gotcha. Too bad the EULA wasn't posted in full. I bet it has
    a "remedy" clause that includes refund as the only remedy. OK - the
    OP should send the drive/software back for a full refund and buy from
    someone else. If the FULL refund is refused, then the EULA goes out
    the window.
    Jim Higgins, Oct 15, 2005
  7. MB_

    Tom Scales Guest

    If you're happy with your position, more power to you.
    Tom Scales, Oct 15, 2005
  8. MB_

    Leythos Guest

    That restriction is the same as applied to most backup programs. Veritas
    is only installable on One Node, Ghost is only licensable to one hard
    drive, etc.... The backup software that came with my 320GB External
    firewire/usb drive doesn't work on my computer, but I bought the drive,
    not the software.

    If you understand the license and you continue to use it against the
    license, then you know you are guilty and are just BS'ing to make
    yourself feel better about using it against the license rules.
    Leythos, Oct 15, 2005
  9. MB_

    MB_ Guest

    I vote for the photo in the post office.

    MB_, Oct 16, 2005
  10. snip<
    Actually from what I've read you've bought a drive and it came with
    software. No mention was ever made during the sale as to the software
    license, only the drive it's self. From the general gist of this thread and
    my own experience, most of the posters would rather have something like the
    way IOmega had sold their removable media drives (ZIP, et al). But they
    were looking to make continuing revenue off of the sale of the removable
    media. With a hard drive there is no follow-up sales of media and it is in
    the companies interest to sell you another drive and/or software.
    The drive is not restricted, the software is. As a no cost add-on the
    sofftware is not the primary item for sale. If you don't like it, don't use
    it. There are a number of alternatives available and I'm sure that there
    may at some future date even bulk licensing may be available for value added
    software that comes with the drive. Some smart marketing type is bound to
    figure it out eventually. Then of course the software will no longer come
    as a value added item, but as a retail item available just like the old
    client-server licenses.
    This is the fuzzy part, what are your rights over a free added value

    One recent post did show a link to a website with links to a number of
    alternatives to using the software that came with your drive.
    Kevin Childers, Oct 16, 2005
  11. Right away, that's your interpretation of the buyer's intent. Lots
    (most?) people have just one computer and some of them want to make
    backups. Besides, I doubt Maxtor would object to selling multiple
    Certainly not, it's a trivial matter to set up a demo for a judge/jury
    consisting of a PC and the external HDD, then backing up the PC onto the
    external HDD. You have no argument.
    Including gas & tolls, meals, lodging, etc.?

    Talk about a straw man! No one offers that, you're just rationalizing
    theft of software.
    Again, just your interpretation / personal desire regarding the external

    I agree, BTW, that the entire EULA situation is stacked against the
    user; but others have posted that they have been upheld in court
    multiple times, so we're stuck with them.
    Sparky Spartacus, Oct 16, 2005
  12. Tom Scales wrote:

    And that's it in a nutshell.
    Sparky Spartacus, Oct 16, 2005
  13. I remember the book analogy from 15-20 years ago, i.e., even if you have
    2 computers, you can only use the software on one at a time. Software
    companies, of course, didn't like that and developed the EULA we all
    know & love. (of course, the computer situation and capabilities have
    also changed radically in the meantime)
    You want to share what you're smoking, Ben, it's obviously pretty potent
    stuff? <g>

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who remembers how maniacally Lotus
    tried to make 1-2-3 copy proof.
    Sparky Spartacus, Oct 16, 2005
  14. MB_

    Jim Higgins Guest

    You conveniently skipped over the refund part. If a refund is
    available, send the bundle back for a refund. If no refund is
    available, THEN I would feel justified in ignoring the EULA at least
    as far as use on multiple machines I personally owned.
    Jim Higgins, Oct 16, 2005
  15. MB_

    Tom Scales Guest

    You may feel justified, but it is still both unethical and illegal.
    Tom Scales, Oct 16, 2005
  16. MB_

    Jim Higgins Guest

    Not exactly my *interpretation* - if I recall correctly he *said* he
    wanted to make multiple backups.

    I wouldn't ask for those, nor would I consider them reasonable. I
    might ask for the cost of the call to obtain an RMA number.

    Nope, I'm "rationalizing" use of the software on systems I own.

    Exactly. That's how external drives are very often used. Can an
    automaker attach a EULA - either to the car or to the software in the
    onboard computer - preventing you from driving on roads with a cement
    surface? Why not? The reason why they wouldn't dream of doing that
    is because as soon as the EULA was read and disagreed with they would
    be required to accept return of the car for a refund if the buyer so

    We might not be able to stop software vendors from using EULAs, but we
    can stop one sided screw jobs by immediately seeking a refund when we
    disagree with a EULA. If they refuse a promptly sought refund because
    of disagreement with their EULA, then their EULA is not enforceable in
    court. It's simple contract law. If you read a contract and then go
    ahead with your side of it, you are agreeing to the contract in its
    entirety. If you are presented a contract (EULA) that limits
    functionality not disclosed as limited at time of sale, you either
    protest or accept those limits. If there is no remedy for a protest,
    then the contract is null and void.
    Jim Higgins, Oct 16, 2005
  17. MB_

    Notan Guest

    "Unethical" is subjective. "Illegal" isn't.

    Notan, Oct 16, 2005
  18. MB_

    Leythos Guest

    No I didn't and it would not make any difference. Just because YOU FEEL
    that you should be cable to violate the license doesn't change the
    Leythos, Oct 16, 2005
  19. MB_

    Ben Myers Guest

    Well, back then, computer trade rags had a lot more clout than they now have,
    and you could rely on software reviews in PC Magazine, PC World, etc etc to give
    a fairly honest assessment of products. Reviewers would identify copy
    pretection, licensing issues, etc. This kept software companies a little more
    in line.

    EULAs have always existed. The problem for consumers created by the computer
    industry is SNEAKWARE EULAs, i.e. EULAs which can be read only at the time when
    the software is being installed. The secondary problem is the same one that
    plagues the insurance industry (especially medical) and the entire legal
    profession, namely, language that obfuscates. Ever read one of them EULAs?
    Ever try to understand what they really are saying? ... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Oct 17, 2005
  20. That's an interesting statement in this context.

    If you think that the "EULA situation is stacked against the user", it
    wouldn't be too far-fetched to infer that you also think that the court
    decisions regarding EULAs are unethical. (Unless you of course think it's
    ethical to create laws and legal precedence "stacked against" someone or
    some group.)

    If you consider these decisions unethical, it is kind of inferred that an
    interpretation of their legality different from the court decisions could
    be considered ethical.

    Gerhard Fiedler, Oct 17, 2005
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