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Re: OT: Acrobat Reader needs plugin?

On Wed, 2007-09-05 at 23:48 -0500, Mike McCarty wrote:
> Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> > On Wed, 2007-09-05 at 11:23 -0500, Mike McCarty wrote:
> > 
> [snip]
> >>I also own a copy of the book, and agree wholeheartedly with your
> >>statement.
> > 
> > I don't quite get this.  You bought a paper copy of the book.  Is not
> > installing the plugin preventing you from reading your paper copy?  If
> > you read your paper copy, is anything snooping on your system or reading
> > habits?
> They are selling copies of the book on-line, and then permitting
> download of same. Later, if you want to read your own copy on
> your own disc, you have to let them know about it, and get permission.
> This is invasion of privacy. It also prohibits one from disposing of
> one's own copy as one sees fit. Part of ownership of property is the
> right to dispose of it as one sees fit. Also, should they run out
> of money, their website will go down, and then nobody can read his
> own copy of the book on his own disc.

It's not mere quibbling to point out that what they are selling is
subscription access to online materials (including a copy of the book),
valid as long as you are paid up.  That's not the same as a copy of the
book that you then own.  If the site goes down, then they owe you a
refund for the unused portion of your subscription.  But if they can't
offer the service, they won't continue to collect money from you either.
And they won't come take away your printed copy.

> > I suppose a subscription model for free stuff (like the PDFs of old
> > editions of the book) is a little silly, but a subscription model for
> > access to online material in general isn't any more unreasonable than
> > any other model.  If you don't like the technology used to manage the
> > subscriptions, you are certainly free to not participate.
> That's why I pointed out to Les that he hadn't had any damages,
> so a lawsuit was unreasonable. However, voting with one's wallet
> CERTAINLY is reasonable in this case.

You'll get no argument from me on that point.

> In past, there have been several "copy protection" schemes for
> software which had little burn holes in discs, etc. On occasion
> I bought some software like that which did not warn that the
> disc was defective, and when I discovered that I could
> not make a backup, and keep the original safe and unused
> (except for reading once to make the "used" copy) I immediately
> took it back and demanded a refund. I had some store managers
> argue with me about it, until I pointed out that THE DISC IS
> That is inarguable, when one can prove that there are physical
> defects in the disc. Pointing out that there is a legal thing
> called "Warrantee of Merchantability and Fitness" in Texas which
> applies to everything which is not sold purely "As Is" shut them up
> quickly. They were knowingly selling defective merchandise,
> and not advertising it in "As Is" state, which in Texas is
> legally FRAUD. Period.
> I don't participate in those scammy schemes. They don't deter
> the real pirates, and they prevent honest users like me from
> owning their own copies of the software/book/whatever. The best way
> to stop them is to opt out.
> Copyright law permits one to make one copy for one's own use, and
> carry and use it anywhere one wants to go. These schemes prevent
> that from being done. They are intentionally interfering with
> rights recognized for centuries for individuals to use and dispose
> of their own property.
> I don't want to own their work. I want to own my copy. They don't
> want me to own my own copy.
> I don't understand why anyone wouldn't understand MY position on
> this.

I do understand.  I simply point out that that's not the product they
are selling in this case.  There's no misrepresentation here.  If the
product they are selling is not the product you want, you don't have to
buy it.

> How about this:
> I'll sell you a shovel for $20, but each time you want
> to use it, you have to call me up, and let me know. Ok? I'll
> bring you the shovel, and I'll padlock it to a 5000 pound
> weight in your garage. When you want to use it, just call me up,
> and I'll come right over and unlock it, no problem. When you get
> through, I'll lock it back up. If you pick the lock, then you
> will be guilty of shovel piracy, and THAT is a felony. (That's what
> the DMCA says, and what DRM is about.)
> Oh, BTW, the shovel is not transferable unless you let me know
> to whom you sold it, so I can make arrangements to unlock
> it for the guy you sold it to. If I go out of business, then
> you are SOL.
> How about THAT for a deal, eh?
> How many shovels can I sign you up for? Be sure to tell all your
> friends about the good deal I have on shovels!

Well, that would be silly.  I can go elsewhere and buy a shovel without
those restrictions for a similar price.  Who needs you?

Now, if you offered the same deal for access to a backhoe (and I
happened to need a backhoe every so often), we might have a starting
point for negotiations.

How about this: In exchange for a fixed setup charge and a monthly fee,
I'll provide you with a signal on a wire to your house that allows you
access from that location to a mind-bogglingly huge amount of
interactive information and entertainment.  But if you decline to pay,
I'll terminate your service.  And by the way, I can watch every packet
of data that comes into or goes out of your location.

And I'm not defending the DMCA in any way, shape, or form.

> >>>business.  I think a civil suit for peeping should be appropriate to
> >>>such organizations. Just my opinion.
> >>
> >>Going too far, I think. What damages have you incurred? Contacting them
> >>and letting them know who you are, that you object, and what your
> >>planned actions are may have more effect, anyway.
> Mike
                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu

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