Software Customer Bill of Rights

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Peter, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Written for USA, but it would be nice to see vendors respect these rights in
    NZ, too.
    http://blackbox.cs.fit.edu/blog/kaner/archives/000124.html
    ------------------------------
    1. Let the custome see the contract before the sale.

    2. Disclose known defects.

    3. The product (or information service) must live up to the manufacturer's
    and seller's claims.

    4. User has right to see and approve all transfers of information from her
    computer.

    5. A software vendor may not block customer from accessing his own data
    without court approval.

    6. A software vendor may not prematurely terminate a license without court
    approval.

    7. Mass-market customers may criticize products, publish benchmark study
    results, and make fair use of a product.

    8. The user may reverse engineer the software.

    9. Mass-market software should be transferrable.

    10. When software is embedded in a product, the law governing the product
    should govern the software.
    ----------------------------
    Peter, Sep 3, 2003
    #1
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  2. Peter

    Howard Guest

    I was interested when I say this on /. too. I remember thinking that we
    already have most of these rights, at least for consumers under the Consumer
    Guarantees Act, but the Fair Trading Act helps out for businesses too.



    My judgment: Individuals 6.5 out of 9 - Businesses 3.5 out of 9.



    Peter wrote:
    > Written for USA, but it would be nice to see vendors respect these
    > rights in NZ, too.
    > http://blackbox.cs.fit.edu/blog/kaner/archives/000124.html




    > 1. Let the customer see the contract before the sale.


    I would suspect a clear breach of S9 of the FTA, as well as the CGA if the
    contract was materially adverse from that disclosed before sale. 1/1



    > 2. Disclose known defects.


    I guess we don't have this explicitly, but it usually can be found out
    before sale. 0.5/0.5



    > 3. The product (or information service) must live up to the
    > manufacturer's and seller's claims.


    Yup, got this one. My guess would be that if you were dissatisfied with paid
    for software because of this reason you would be entitled to a refund at
    least. Might have to go to small claims to get it, but you'd get your refund
    in the end. But most wouldn't think it worth the bother. 1/1


    > 4. User has right to see and approve all transfers of information
    > from her computer.


    The Privacy Act deals with this issue for individuals, so long as the
    software was purchased from a local vendor. MS went through some grief with
    its Office activation and precisely what it was sending home, but the local
    privacy guys couldn't pin anything down. Still, just what does MS Update
    communicate back to MS. MS say one thing* but you have to trust them. 1/0


    > 5. A software vendor may not block customer from accessing his own
    > data without court approval.


    The PA grants this for individuals. 1/0


    > 6. A software vendor may not prematurely terminate a license without
    > court approval.


    Licenses are binding contracts which would be upheld by a court if
    necessary. The fine print may give the vendor the right to cancel on
    spurious grounds, but a contract is a contract. 1/1


    > 7. Mass-market customers may criticize products, publish benchmark
    > study results, and make fair use of a product [irrespective of any license

    terms to the contrary]

    I reckon this would be good to have. 0/0



    > 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.

    Definitely would be good to have 0/0


    9. Mass-market software should be transferable.

    I think this one really should be up to the contract between buyer and
    seller. 0/0



    > 10. When software is embedded in a product, the law governing the
    > product should govern the software.

    It would be interesting to see someone trying this one on. I suspect they
    would not get away with it. 1/1



    *Windows Update Privacy Statement (Last Updated 10/15/2002)



    a.. Operating-system version number
    b.. Internet Explorer version number
    c.. Version numbers of other software for which Windows Update provides
    updates
    d.. Plug and Play ID numbers of hardware devices
    e.. Region and Language setting
    The configuration information collected is used only to determine the
    appropriate updates and to generate aggregate statistics. Windows Update
    does not collect your name, address, e-mail address, or any other form of
    personally identifiable information.

    Windows Update also collects the Product ID and Product Key to confirm that
    you are running a validly licensed copy of Windows. A validly licensed copy
    of Windows ensures that you will receive on-going updates from Windows
    Update. The Product ID and Product Key are not retained beyond the end of
    the Windows Update session.

    To provide you with the best possible service, Windows Update also tracks
    and records how many unique machines visit its site and whether the download
    and installation of specific updates succeeded or failed. In order to do
    this, the Windows operating system generates a Globally Unique Identifier
    (GUID) that is stored on your computer to uniquely identify it. The GUID
    does not contain any personally identifiable information and cannot be used
    to identify you. Windows Update records the GUID of the computer that
    attempted the download, the ID of the item that you attempted to download
    and install, and the configuration information listed above.
    Howard, Sep 3, 2003
    #2
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  3. Peter

    Rider Guest

    ">
    > 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.
    >


    Not too sure I really agree with this one.
    Rider, Sep 3, 2003
    #3
  4. Peter

    Steven H Guest

    In article <>, says...

    > 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.


    why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP

    if i make the decision to release my IP then that decision is Mine and
    Mine alone.

    --
    ===================================================
    Steven H
    Steven H, Sep 4, 2003
    #4
  5. Peter

    colinco Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP
    >

    What if you've got the money, decide support is too boring and F off
    colinco, Sep 4, 2003
    #5
  6. Peter

    T.N.O. Guest

    "colinco" wrote
    > > why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP
    > >

    > What if you've got the money, decide support is too boring and F off


    His software, his right.
    T.N.O., Sep 4, 2003
    #6
  7. Peter

    techie Guest

    On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 15:22:51 +1200, Steven H <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>, says...
    >
    >> 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.

    >
    >why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP


    Because they paid for it and now they own a copy that should be theirs
    to modify as they please, so long as they don't redistribute it. Not
    allowing me to modify software I've bought is like telling a book
    buyer that they can't scribble notes in the margins.

    >if i make the decision to release my IP then that decision is Mine and
    >Mine alone.


    If I make the decision to alter a product I've paid for, that decision
    should be mine and mine alone.
    techie, Sep 4, 2003
    #7
  8. Peter

    Steven H Guest

    In article <>,
    lid says...
    > On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 15:22:51 +1200, Steven H <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >In article <>, says...
    > >
    > >> 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.

    > >
    > >why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP

    >
    > Because they paid for it


    no you blody well didnt

    you pay for a LICENCE that gives you the right to USE the software in
    accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence.

    > and now they own a copy that should be theirs


    they dont OWN anything, the IP that makes up the software is the SOLE
    PROPERTY of the developer unless otherwise stated in the Licence.

    > to modify as they please, so long as they don't redistribute it. Not
    > allowing me to modify software I've bought is like telling a book
    > buyer that they can't scribble notes in the margins.


    your argument has no valadity - since when do you buy a licence to read
    a book.

    > >if i make the decision to release my IP then that decision is Mine and
    > >Mine alone.

    >
    > If I make the decision to alter a product I've paid for, that decision
    > should be mine and mine alone.


    as long as it is in accordance with the Licence you agreed to when you
    purchased it.

    --
    ===================================================
    Steven H
    Steven H, Sep 4, 2003
    #8
  9. Peter

    techie Guest

    On Fri, 5 Sep 2003 09:32:00 +1200, Steven H <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>,
    > says...
    >> On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 15:22:51 +1200, Steven H <>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >> >In article <>, says...
    >> >
    >> >> 8. The user may reverse engineer the software.
    >> >
    >> >why the **** should joe blogs have the *RIGHT* to decompile my IP

    >>
    >> Because they paid for it

    >
    >no you blody well didnt
    >
    >you pay for a LICENCE that gives you the right to USE the software in
    >accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence.


    Take a look at the boxes in the computer store, how many have pictures
    of the software license on the front of the box? How many have no
    mention at all of a license, and how many limit any mention to a tiny
    blurb on one unnoticeable corner of the box?

    Software vendors want to advertise a program but sell a license, and
    they want to make the switch without informing consumers that what
    they're getting isn't what's been advertised. There's a word for that
    kind of operation.

    >
    >> and now they own a copy that should be theirs

    >
    >they dont OWN anything, the IP that makes up the software is the SOLE
    >PROPERTY of the developer unless otherwise stated in the Licence.


    They own the copy of IP that they purchased.

    >
    >> to modify as they please, so long as they don't redistribute it. Not
    >> allowing me to modify software I've bought is like telling a book
    >> buyer that they can't scribble notes in the margins.

    >
    >your argument has no valadity - since when do you buy a licence to read
    >a book.


    Exactly. Nor do I buy a license to use software. The license isn't
    what's marketed in advertising or on the packaging.

    >
    >> >if i make the decision to release my IP then that decision is Mine and
    >> >Mine alone.

    >>
    >> If I make the decision to alter a product I've paid for, that decision
    >> should be mine and mine alone.

    >
    >as long as it is in accordance with the Licence you agreed to when you
    >purchased it.


    No, as long as it's in accordance with the law. And if the law says
    you can advertise a television, sell me a box with a picture of a
    television on the outside, and then put a legally-binding piece of
    paper inside that tells me I'm only getting a license to use the
    television - then the law needs to be changed (which is what this
    thread is about).
    techie, Sep 4, 2003
    #9
  10. Peter

    Steven H Guest

    In article <>,
    lid says...
    > On Fri, 5 Sep 2003 09:32:00 +1200, Steven H <>
    > wrote:


    > > you pay for a LICENCE that gives you the right to USE the software in
    > > accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence.


    > Take a look at the boxes in the computer store, how many have pictures
    > of the software license on the front of the box? How many have no
    > mention at all of a license, and how many limit any mention to a tiny
    > blurb on one unnoticeable corner of the box?


    your right.

    addittionally licences should be PLAIN ENGLISH

    > Software vendors want to advertise a program but sell a license,


    yes, a licence that gives you the righ to USE the program.

    > they want to make the switch without informing consumers that what
    > they're getting isn't what's been advertised. There's a word for that
    > kind of operation


    yes its illegeal, and if you know you CGA you wont put up with it.

    when you buy a software licence, you agree to THAT licence and That
    licence only - if a company makes changes to said licence they can not
    be enforced on people who agreed to a Previous Licence.

    > > they dont OWN anything, the IP that makes up the software is the SOLE
    > > PROPERTY of the developer unless otherwise stated in the Licence.


    > They own the copy of IP that they purchased.


    no they Own a Licence to use the IP - any lawyer will tell you that.

    > > your argument has no valadity - since when do you buy a licence to read
    > > a book.


    > Exactly. Nor do I buy a license to use software. The license isn't
    > what's marketed in advertising or on the packaging.


    what is marketed in advertising or on the packaging is the Software
    Product - or IP, the Licence that you agree to before / during
    installing said Software Product gives you the right to use the IP -
    notwithstanding the terms outlined in the licence.

    > > > If I make the decision to alter a product I've paid for, that decision
    > > > should be mine and mine alone.


    > > as long as it is in accordance with the Licence you agreed to when you
    > > purchased it.


    > No, as long as it's in accordance with the law.


    agreed, no contract can let a supplier contract out of what is local
    law.

    > And if the law says
    > you can advertise a television, sell me a box with a picture of a
    > television on the outside,


    we are not talking about television we are talking about abstract
    concepts like Intellectual Property.

    you do not "Own" Software - you own a right to use it in accordance with
    the licence. the only person who "owns" software is the person or
    persons who made it.

    it is Their IP that went into it - what makes you think that just
    because you paid for it you own it.

    > and then put a legally-binding piece of
    > paper inside that tells me I'm only getting a license to use the
    > television - then the law needs to be changed (which is what this
    > thread is about).


    the law doesnt need to be changed - only in respect to common sence
    contracts, format shifting and fair use.

    you should find out your rights before you go on about the evils of
    Proprietry IP.

    you CAN resell a licence to software - no licence can contract out of
    that.
    you OWN a licence to said software - not the company who made it. they
    only own the IP (and thus the right to sell at a price they see fit) to
    the software.

    You have every right there is under the sun with reguards to the CGA and
    related acts - licences may *try* to make you think you dont - which in
    my vho is a bad tactic.

    but it is Your Responsibilaty to aquaint yourself with your rights and
    enforce them.

    how many times have you gone into the Wharehouse only to be stoped on
    your way out by some guard asking to search through your bags - if you
    had a clue you would tell them to **** off - i sure as hell do.

    --
    ===================================================
    Steven H
    Steven H, Sep 5, 2003
    #10
  11. Peter

    T.N.O Guest

    "techie" wrote
    > If it says anywhere on the outside of the box that I'm purchasing a
    > license, then I don't buy it.


    Do you drive?

    > I don't know about NZ, but not in the US they don't. Shrink-wrap
    > licenses are specifically nullified in many of our states and under US
    > contract law it's even doubtful if they're enforceable anyway.


    MS offer software liciences online... I read one the otherday before
    downloading something(sorry cant think of the link)

    > >it is Their IP that went into it - what makes you think that just
    > >because you paid for it you own it.

    >
    > The marketing and packaging.


    <joke>Then I suggest you read the licience that you agreed to when you
    install the software. :)</joke>

    > I just tell them it's *my* bag now, but for $1 I'll let them peek
    > inside.


    Does it work... I would imagine that they'd call the cops.
    T.N.O, Sep 5, 2003
    #11
  12. Peter

    techie Guest

    On Sat, 6 Sep 2003 10:32:24 +1200, "T.N.O" <> wrote:

    >"techie" wrote
    >> If it says anywhere on the outside of the box that I'm purchasing a
    >> license, then I don't buy it.

    >
    >Do you drive?


    I hope you're not going to try the usual lame comparsion between a
    driver's license and a software license?

    >> I don't know about NZ, but not in the US they don't. Shrink-wrap
    >> licenses are specifically nullified in many of our states and under US
    >> contract law it's even doubtful if they're enforceable anyway.

    >
    >MS offer software liciences online... I read one the otherday before
    >downloading something(sorry cant think of the link)


    Having to drive home and get on the web to find out what you're buying
    isn't "ready access". The term is usually defined such that the
    license must be right on the box or posted very close nearby or must
    be otherwise obtainable with only a few minutes of effort.

    However... the worst that can happen from the software vendor's
    perspective is that the consumer who can't get "ready access" to the
    license and wants to put up a fight under the law, is still limited by
    copyright law and only gets "fair use" of the software. So it's really
    a useless law, unless you're nitpicking on Usenet. :eek:)

    >> >it is Their IP that went into it - what makes you think that just
    >> >because you paid for it you own it.

    >>
    >> The marketing and packaging.

    >
    ><joke>Then I suggest you read the licience that you agreed to when you
    >install the software. :)</joke>


    Licenses presented after money exchanges hands aren't binding. :)

    >> I just tell them it's *my* bag now, but for $1 I'll let them peek
    >> inside.

    >
    >Does it work... I would imagine that they'd call the cops.


    Usually those people have instructions not to get too pushy unless
    they have a real reason to suspect something. They're there more to
    intimidate shoplifters by showing that the store has security than
    because every last bag needs to be inspected. It's the human
    equivalent of those fake plastic video cameras with the big flashing
    red lights that all the stores used to use, or Walmarts frantic
    "security, we have a code 24 in section 3" announcements over their
    speaker systems.

    Here in the US, some department stores actually hire shills to play
    the part of shoplifters who get arrested. With shoppers looking on
    they "get caught in the act", put on a pretty good performance of
    shame and regret, are handcuffed and led off in tears by a
    stern-looking cop. Then they both drive to the next store, the actor
    goes in first, and after a little while the cop is summoned in to
    arrest them.
    techie, Sep 6, 2003
    #12
  13. Peter

    Steven H Guest

    In article <>, says...

    > Does it work... I would imagine that they'd call the cops.


    yes it works, the POLICE need a warrant to enter into your private
    domain - bags etc..

    so sure as hell some dumb **** security guard wont be allowed to search
    your bags.

    just say NO, if they persist say NO if they still persist leave.

    --
    ===================================================
    Steven H
    Steven H, Sep 6, 2003
    #13
  14. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 09:32:00 +1200, Steven H wrote:

    >> Because they paid for it

    >
    > no you blody well didnt
    >
    > you pay for a LICENCE that gives you the right to USE the software in
    > accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence.


    This is why people are increasingly turning to Open Source software.

    That way they can truly do what they like with their software.

    The future is Open!

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #14
  15. Peter

    T.N.O Guest

    "Lennier" wrote
    > The future is Open!


    I said that to my girlfriend in bed, and she thought I was being rude :)
    T.N.O, Sep 6, 2003
    #15
  16. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Thu, 04 Sep 2003 16:39:47 -0500, techie wrote:

    >>your argument has no valadity - since when do you buy a licence to read a
    >>book.

    >
    > Exactly. Nor do I buy a license to use software. The license isn't what's
    > marketed in advertising or on the packaging.


    True!

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #16
  17. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 15:20:46 +1200, Steven H wrote:

    >> They own the copy of IP that they purchased.

    >
    > no they Own a Licence to use the IP - any lawyer will tell you that.


    They purchased software - not a licence.

    The packaging sells software - not sells a licence.

    The only place where anything about licencing is mentioned is usually as a
    part of the installation routine.

    Usually at no time during any stage during the process of purchasing said
    software is anything about purchasing a licence mentioned.

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #17
  18. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 15:20:46 +1200, Steven H wrote:

    > no contract can let a supplier contract out of what is local law


    FYI, "local laws" are known as "by-laws" and are enacted by
    town/city/regional councils.

    National law is known simply as "The Law" and is enacted by Parliament and
    endorsed/approved by Elizabeth Windsor or her representative.

    Other than the Common Law - common to all nations who derive their law
    from ancient British law there is no other kind of law applicable in NZ.

    The future is Open!

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #18
  19. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 15:20:46 +1200, Steven H wrote:

    > you do not "Own" Software - you own a right to use it in accordance with
    > the licence. the only person who "owns" software is the person or persons
    > who made it.


    This is only true when speaking of proprietary closed-source software.

    In the case of Open Source software, or software that is now in the public
    domain, no one "owns" it. Everyone is able to use it and to modify it and
    to distribute the modified versions in whatever manner they want - so long
    as they too publish the source code.

    The future is Open!

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #19
  20. Peter

    Lennier Guest

    On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 12:54:52 +1200, T.N.O wrote:

    > "Lennier" wrote
    >> The future is Open!

    >
    > I said that to my girlfriend in bed, and she thought I was being rude :)


    The future is also an as yet unwritten page...

    Lennier
    Lennier, Sep 6, 2003
    #20
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