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Netfront Application Hacking Cease and Desist Order

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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 6:18 AM
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joval - 2007-08-27 4:42 AM

Not familiar with this stuff...but are you saying if someone runs executibility check and alters a version label on any generic ppc or other WinCE software...they can never mention this in these forums. How can someone who stumbles into making such an "infringement" if it be so...expect to be treated...the post withheld...or thrown out of the forum?

Does this include registry alterations like IE user agent? I'm not running scared here...but this sounds too nebulous and perhaps draconian...I doubt that anyone can win a case against the web site owners by holding them responsible for the content of each post about largely theoretical alterations...they would have to prove you the owner distributed altered code it seems to me...otherwise its just another form of corporate terrorism...sending out their legal goons to make lots of noise...EULAs have limited reach and are open to interpretation.

IP law is open to interpretation...who would buy a music mp3 believing that they could not use it in snippets and pieces for a personal home video. Seems to me there are rights that supercede this absolutism in EULAs...that is the right of the purchasing individual to use said product as they please so long as they do not distribute or sell it. I would very much like to discuss this matter with the Netfront attorneys...they have delusions of grandeur and they need to clarify their position and recognize their control over such minor personal variations in the implementation is very limited, impractical, and ridiculously expensive to pursue. What? is microsoft gonna threaten to sue everyone who alters the registry on windows media center so that logging onto it as a domain is possible..ie so it acts as win xp pro(its core engine)..or if someone alters the boot logo. What nonsense.

Eulas are there to attempt to prevent what so many computer corporations do..namely pirate the works of others...as well as preventing the wholesale stealing and copying and selling of counterfeit
software...ala China. They are not about threatening and intimidating a small web site about "hearsay" evidence concerning possibly imaginary code alterations by "suspected" users. I cannot see how the US Federal Trade Commission would look very favorably on these bullying tactics from such a company...especially since said software was purchased by the consumer for use on his or her device.

It would not surprise me to find that said intimidation and cease and desist order comes from a low level attorney or legal assistant just trying to keep his job by brewing up imaginary infringements and trying to look busy.

I hope someone has the courage to see that this post makes its way to the Netfront legal team and even better yet to the supervisor of the supervisor of said team. They had better watch their steps...very carefully! It doesn't take much bad publicity to put a software company out of business these days (which is probably their main concern). we all, of course, hope they remain successful...but its hard to see how given this poor demonstration of character on their part.

Ever see that Yosemite Sam logo: Back Off Varmit! Pay heed...

If those Netfront folks were in the drivers seat, I suppose they'd have that 17 year old who just hacked the iPhone locked up somewhere! Yet he is seen as a hero here!

thanks ...please have the courage to send this on to them.

Remember...everything is negotiable!

All the best


I am not looking for an argument, but I can play devils advocate.

<devils advocate>
- This thread is discussing Netfront, please don't try and make it into a perceived breach of civil liberties.

- People 'stumbling' into this information are getting it from this board or getting it from members of this board. The individuals involved aren't really stumbling upon it, and the proponents of the information aren't clueless in the concerns/requests of these matters.

- The windows registry is not intellectual property, the registry is designed to be modified, binaries are not (usually)

- Netfront’s concerns are with the practical implementation of the theory and the publicising of it, not the theory. It cannot therefore be said that it is largely theoretical when it has already been done

- People are distributing it and in one case that Netfront passed comment on, they are selling it. We obviously agree then that there is an EULA breach.

- This isn't a discussion about Microsoft. The expression 'don't tar everyone with the same brush' springs to mind.

- I don't know where you are trying to go with "imaginary" and "hearsay", or indeed "suspected" users. It doesn't take anyone long to see that this is being done, en mass and who is doing it.

- I nor Access have any interest in what the US FTC has to say in this regard, it is Japanese/International law.

- Like it or not, Access have the legal right to protect their IP. By installing their software you agreed to their EULA. If you didn't agree to it, you should not have installed it. You cannot 'sign' a contract and decide 6 months later that you don't like section 2, paragraph 6, line 4 - 7 and from now on will choose to ignore it. If you don't like it, don't 'sign' it.

- The order came from a Vice President.

I really don't see how threatening Access is going to get you anywhere, and neither that any part of your comments if sent across to them would in any way give them the slightest cause for concern.

- Everything is negotiable: Yes, I agree. That is why it is best not to rile them, because now that they are content they consider the matter wrapped up for the time being and we can all get back to what we do.
If we have a good relationship with them, and can enter into a dialogue then we are in an infinitely better position to negotiate with them and get to where we want to be.

Now, has anyone actually attempted to negotiate with them? Asked them if it can be done? Demonstrated what can be done and why the community sees a benefit in doing it? Demonstrated to them that it could be a small revenue stream for them, with no work outer than a repackage of the necessary files on their part?

If the answer to those questions is no; then who are you all to be criticising Access for taking unfair draconian measures against you, when in the same breath are taking liberties and defaming them without having done a thing to reinforce, promote or compromise on your position?

</devils advocate>
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Leonard_Caplan Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 10:07 AM
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Without playing Devil's Advocate I might look at this from another angle.

Many times it is not a matter of right and wrong, but how much it will cost you to fight the battle. If you are sued by anyone, whether you are right or wrong it can cost you a fortune to defend yourself, and in most countries there is no remedy to recover the cost of your lawyers even in the event of a victory.

For whatever rational reason you feel you can ignore the EULA that was agreed to, the cost of a court battle can be enormous whether or not you win or lose.

As an aside, it was said "IP law is open to interpretation...". I have no idea where that thought comes from, but it is just plain silly!

Len



Edited by Leonard_Caplan 2007-08-27 10:12 AM
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btrimmer Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 2:02 PM
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joval - 2007-08-26 11:42 PM

It would not surprise me to find that said intimidation and cease and desist order comes from a low level attorney or legal assistant just trying to keep his job by brewing up imaginary infringements and trying to look busy.

I hope someone has the courage to see that this post makes its way to the Netfront legal team and even better yet to the supervisor of the supervisor of said team. They had better watch their steps...very carefully! It doesn't take much bad publicity to put a software company out of business these days (which is probably their main concern). we all, of course, hope they remain successful...but its hard to see how given this poor demonstration of character on their part.



As I have said before, this has nothing to do with Access or the Netfront EULA. It has everything to do with the right of C:Amie and the owners of HPC:Factor to decide what content to allow on their site. If they choose to comply with the C&D letter from Access, they are well within their rights to do so. Sure, it would be nice of them if they decided to take a stand and fight the order. They might even win in a lawsuit. I, for one, don't blame them for not wanting to find out the hard way. If you wish to find out for yourself, you can always start your own website, wait until Access sends you a C&D letter, and then defy them. You might even win in a lawsuit...
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clintonfitchdotcom Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 2:14 PM
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This entire discussion is giving me tiredhead....

Thank you btrimmer for your post. You have nailed it on the head.

Whether the C&D came from a small company or a big company, a low level lawyer or THE lawyer, we are not in a position to take on a legal suit for the sake of interpretation of a EULA. At the end of the day it's their software, their EULA and we feel compelled to honor that both as a recognized community site and as developers.
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 4:13 PM
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People here have definitely expressed their views here on how negotiating a solution can benefit the company that sells Netfront as well as benefiting H/PC users here. I guess the next step is for a large number of us who want this to happen to send e-mails to the company expressing those benefits and asking politely for the company to reconsider its terms.
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joval Page Icon Posted 2007-08-27 11:58 PM
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Geez...I guess my last post proves that posting on HPCfactor is... so simple...even a caveman can do it!!!

C:Amie--as many of you know, a cease and desist order is a notice or warning...it may be filled with all sorts or unreasonable or stupid and ridiculous demands written in an intimidating heavy handed manner to dissuade the recipient from certain activities...to get them cowering and to psyche them out so that they will comply regardless of the violation of the recipients rights. Many times it is little more than a bluff or a con...and many times...as in this case it works. No corporate entity has the right to restrict discussions on web forums of how their software can be improved upon...so giving in on this point is falling for their con.

Access knows that litigation is expensive and risky and could subject them to countersuits and mega-damages...punitive damages. They are aware that there is the risk of invoking the resources of public watchdog agencies in the defense of threatened web site participants..leading to many years of costly litigation and draining their corporate resources. They understand that all you need do as a forum adminisministator is place a disclaimer paragraph in the forum heading disavowing responsibility for all or any content posted...to be let off the hook.

Geez...ever read a EULA...says they can totally wipe out your computer,harddrives, corrupt all you data and files( basically ruin your business--if you don't have a backup), etc and they are not to be held responsible or accountable...why? Because they include a disclaimer that serves notice of this. So a similar disclaimer on your web site is playing the same game and protects you as well without throwing the baby out with the bathwater as Access (say it real fast 20 times) legal dept well knows...they have to play by the same rules...no double standard here...they have no legal power to restrict your forum discussion content...and I am making it clear to them to read here and now in this post. So simple...even a caveman can do it.

C&D orders are often bluffs and make pie-in-the-sky demands...Access may have control over their software/code...but thay have absolutely no right to control the content of your forum discussions...that is sheer lunacy on their part...but they sure have you cowering on that point. So those legal clowns win and the forum loses and HPC innovations is stifled.

I just wonder if the President of Access understands the potential blunder its legal staff is making regards the discussion aspect of the C&D...somebody should warn him. So simple...even a caveman can do it.

Len..silly isn't a legal term is it? Maybe you should let the Unix folks in on that silliness(wherever that came from) as their IP battle rages on...as long as laws are written in that sloppy tool called language it will be subject to inaccuracies in interpretation (not that precedence doesn't set the direction for rulings). IP Patent Law has become such a quagmire...filled with ambiguities, threats and counterthreats concerning overlapping claims, etc...which stifle and place a heavy burden on innovation...

I don't want anyone to lose any sleep or worry needlessly over any of what I state here...no one need risk a battle with other forces...greater or lesser...on my behalf. I do believe in feedback and clarification where possible...and maybe it will take some time to hone my "caveman" perspective into a workable approach.

I am not oblivious to Netfront's concerns about becoming a target for liability suits themselves if someone passes off defective software under their name...but that doesn't grant them the right to control forum discussions or to pass judgement on the impact forum information may have on any or all of their software products...and they know this. I have a Fed Trade Commision contact and may discuss this issue with him in the near future as well as attorney friends...when I get their imput I will consider a letter to the corporate president on this matter...and maybe the newspapers.

All the Best...
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Bensawsome Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 12:14 AM
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I myself have never even used Netfront before but if they really do not want our business than fine. They are the ones losing the money. We will just find something else. I myself use Minimo.
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takwu Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 3:28 AM
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Well, it's always a chore, so I guess we take turns at this huh

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joval - 2007-08-27 8:58 PM
C:Amie--as many of you know, a cease and desist order is a notice or warning...it may be filled with all sorts or unreasonable or stupid and ridiculous demands written in an intimidating heavy handed manner to dissuade the recipient from certain activities...to get them cowering and to psyche them out so that they will comply regardless of the violation of the recipients rights. Many times it is little more than a bluff or a con...and many times...as in this case it works. No corporate entity has the right to restrict discussions on web forums of how their software can be improved upon...so giving in on this point is falling for their con.

A cease and desist order just tells you someone thinks you broke the rules, so they ask you to stop. This saves everyone the trouble of going thru a lawsuit unnecessarily. There is no threat of any kind other than a lawsuit. There is nothing they can do other than sue you. The only "stupid and ridiculous demands" are asking you to stop breaking the law. Nothing else. There is no bluff or con.

The site's decision to not publish any information and instructions (which can appear in forum discussions) on illegal alterations of copyrighted software is obviously reasonable. It has always been the forum rules, though such rules may not always be enforced. Access's demands are already established within these existing rules. It's only that Access are concerned when these rules are not followed, so we want to make sure they are. It is not "falling for their con".
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 5:57 AM
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joval,

I am afraid that I do not concur with your black and white interpritation of the situation, neither do I agree that Access is attempting to con us or anyone else.

As I said before, if you don't like EULA's don't buy commercial software. The EULA is part of the license, if you don't agree to the license - i.e. contact, don't break the software seal.

Again as I said above, and you chose to ignore. Access's primary concern is in the distribution of modified binary data and the selling of that information, not in what you perceive to be a breach of some human right.

As a webmaster I have no desire to upset a company such as Access and we have no intention on souring the relationship that we have with them to humour your alienation from the system. If you would like to feel alienated, please by all means do so; but don't do it at our expense.

That that end:
Any attempt that you make to talk to the FTC or legal cousultation or the media on our behalf will be met most disfavourably on our part. You do not have any business of representation or involvment in this case, please keep out of it.

Like I said above. This has nothing to do with US law or the FTC.


Thank-you.
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 2:55 PM
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That of course doesn't mean joval can't complain to the FTC contact or to a lawyer about how the Netfront distributor's approach is hurting the company more than helping it - as long as joval's (and others' ) discussions of this with such officials does not mention or include HPC:Factor in any way. In other words, we can each speak for ourselves, but not for others.

Edited by CE Geek 2007-08-28 2:57 PM
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 3:11 PM
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CE Geek,

I didn't say anything to the contrary...

I also wonder exactly what business or point there is in complaining to an American government agency, about a company's internal policy which isnt breaking any laws, rules or treaties and said company is based in Japan.

May be I'm a big cynic though
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 3:26 PM
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I know you didn't say anything to the contrary - I just wanted to clarify what you did say.

I still say the best option is an individual e-mail campaign explaining how an H/PC port will increase their business - and if they don't respond (or their response is some polite-sounding version of "Screw you" ) then we can politely respond that we will advise all our Pocket PC-using friends of the company's poor customer service and recommend that our friends avoid their product. Doesn't cost any money, and doesn't break any laws.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 3:33 PM
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Respectfully CE Geek, I am not all that fond of having other people speaking for me, any more than I am people speaking on behalf of the three people who own this site.
I hope you understand

Thanks

I would not disagree with your approach and would support any petitioning activities, letter writing and so forth; so long as any negative PR activities are truthful and don't fall into defamation.
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thcrw739 Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 3:35 PM
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Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you dont....
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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2007-08-28 4:06 PM
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C:Amie - 2007-08-27 12:18 PM
Now, has anyone actually attempted to negotiate with them? Asked them if it can be done? Demonstrated what can be done and why the community sees a benefit in doing it? Demonstrated to them that it could be a small revenue stream for them, with no work outer than a repackage of the necessary files on their part?



yes. i have. a long time ago i wrote an email (well, it was a form on their site, because that was the only way to contact them) about how hpc users would like netfront, about how this (sell a slightly modified official version) would be beneficial for them, etc.

i never received a reply. never. TFGBD can attest to me actually writing that letter to them.



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C:Amie - 2007-08-28 11:57 AM

As I said before, if you don't like EULA's don't buy commercial software. The EULA is part of the license, if you don't agree to the license - i.e. contact, don't break the software seal.

Again as I said above, and you chose to ignore. Access's primary concern is in the distribution of modified binary data and the selling of that information, not in what you perceive to be a breach of some human right.



funnily i read just recently that in a few countries (not US, EU) you dont have to comply with the eula because other laws are stronger in those countries.

anyway, distribution and talk is not the same.



ok, i was seen as agreeing to this cease and desist earlier, and of course i still do for the sake of hpcfactor.

but, at heart i do not.
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