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Ole Juul
November 11th, 2012, 09:11 PM
It was a toss-up whether to post this in General Vintage or Rants, so I put it here. ;)

An Australian blogger who posts repair manuals for various computers has received a warning from Toshiba.


“We are concerned that by providing the manuals to unqualified person [sic] you may be endangering their well-being”.

Personally, I feel lucky that I am here to report this, and you are not seeing a picture of my charred remains in the news after I tried to fix a Toshiba. However, they do have a number of other concerns, such as this being proprietary information, limiting who can see the manuals, and of course, the fact that they are copyrighted. Because of this, the blogger was forced to not publish Toshiba manuals.


Dell, HP and Lenovo are three companies that have made the decision to allow us the privilege of accessing their repair manuals anyway – a decision that is 100% in the interests of their customers, and in their own, as people are more likely to buy a product they know they can easily fix if it goes awry.

So, off-line is the bottom line.You can read the rest of the story on the blog which is called Future proof (http://www.tim.id.au/blog/).

kishy
November 12th, 2012, 05:07 AM
This is disgusting. I own a Dell Inspiron 630m (two, actually), a Latitude CSx, and briefly owned a Vostro 3750 before Dell service drove me away from their company for life. I now own a Lenovo ThinkPad W520.

For all of these machines, there are service manuals which describe in detail (and where appropriate with illustrations or photos) how to disassemble and reassemble the systems properly to avoid damage. You don't require a support contract or any credentials at all to obtain them, either.

In the case of the ThinkPad, this includes a piece-by-piece listing of part numbers for each individual little tiny piece. It's a 16MB 172-page PDF which also includes two other models that share the chassis overall.

If the company has written a service manual, it should be public. The users who don't understand it or would typically be at risk for problems resulting from the use of it are not likely to even know what a service manual is.

mbbrutman
November 12th, 2012, 05:15 AM
Remember, when dealing with copyright you never know when the copyright owner is going to choose to enforce their rights. Or with whom they are going to do it.

Which is why we try to keep clean here with regard to scanned manuals, "abandonware", etc. And we are a big, rich target ...

MicrocomputerSolutions
November 12th, 2012, 08:49 AM
The regarding protection for about copyright, and trademark protection vary from country to country, Personally, I don't see how commercial enterprises can even survive in some countries with the lack of protection for intellectual property.

The attitude of people even here sometimes surprises me. I get requests/inquires from people about making them copies (for free or at very low cost) of manuals, operating systems and applications programs on a daliy basis. My answer is always no, and the people are always, "why not, it doesn't cost you anything, and who would care, or catch you?".

My answer is that it's illegal here, I would know, and do you work for free? When someone goes to work, he'she presumes that he/she will be paid for the efforts. Why would the owner (writer, publisher, or other legal owner/holder of title) of a intellectual property expect and deserve the same?

Chuck(G)
November 12th, 2012, 09:02 AM
Illegal here? As in the US? Probably not. This from the comments section:

http://www.internetlibrary.com/pdf/Gulfstream-Camp-SD-Ga.pdf

Illegal in other countries? Possibly.

Chuckster_in_Jax
November 12th, 2012, 09:47 AM
My opinion about copyright is this:

If a company is offering software, service manuals or any product for sale and someone sells copies of it without permission, then that is wrong.

However, if a company refuses to sell outdated software or publications for machines that have long been out of production, to me that means they abandoned any interest in making money on those products. Period! The only ones that can make money from those products any longer are people that don't own any copyrights.

REMEMBER WHEN YOU BOUGHT THAT PIECE OF SOFTWARE, THE EULA STATED THAT YOU DON'T OWN THE SOFTWARE, THAT YOU ARE ONLY GRANTED A LICENSE TO USE IT!!!!!!

I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. WHEN YOU PAID FOR THAT SOFTWARE, YOU ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY THAT YOU ARE ONLY LICENSED TO USE IT. YOU DON'T OWN IT !!!!

That being said, this website still needs to protect itself from litigation. There are still ways for our members to find the resources they need without putting this site in jeopardy of being shut down.

MicrocomputerSolutions
November 12th, 2012, 10:40 AM
Illegal here? As in the US? Probably not. This from the comments section:

http://www.internetlibrary.com/pdf/Gulfstream-Camp-SD-Ga.pdf

Illegal in other countries? Possibly.

The case that you cited is not applicable to this case being discussed in this thread, as the case you cited involves the use of information for which a license to use was paid for, being handed over to a third party for processing and use on behalf of the licensed party. The case does not involve the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted intellectual property to unnamed, unrelated parties who have not paid for the licensed use of the property.

MicrocomputerSolutions
November 12th, 2012, 10:46 AM
My opinion about copyright is this:

If a company is offering software, service manuals or any product for sale and someone sells copies of it without permission, then that is wrong.

However, if a company refuses to sell outdated software or publications for machines that have long been out of production, to me that means they abandoned any interest in making money on those products. Period! The only ones that can make money from those products any longer are people that don't own any copyrights.

REMEMBER WHEN YOU BOUGHT THAT PIECE OF SOFTWARE, THE EULA STATED THAT YOU DON'T OWN THE SOFTWARE, THAT YOU ARE ONLY GRANTED A LICENSE TO USE IT!!!!!!

I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. WHEN YOU PAID FOR THAT SOFTWARE, YOU ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY THAT YOU ARE ONLY LICENSED TO USE IT. YOU DON'T OWN IT !!!!

That being said, this website still needs to protect itself from litigation. There are still ways for our members to find the resources they need without putting this site in jeopardy of being shut down.



You don't have the right to decide for a company what is appropriate use for their intellectual property. You are not privy to the internal workings of the company. The company may have taken the property off the market to sell or assign the rights to another company. It may have found a flaw in the property, and may have decided to take it off the market temporarily to revise it.

You don't have any right to decide the status of someone else's intellectual property, than you have to take someone's car or house, because you have not seen someone using that car or house for a period. The property remains the property of the owner, regardless of lack of activity from your observation point.

tingo
November 12th, 2012, 10:51 AM
REMEMBER WHEN YOU BOUGHT THAT PIECE OF SOFTWARE, THE EULA STATED THAT YOU DON'T OWN THE SOFTWARE, THAT YOU ARE ONLY GRANTED A LICENSE TO USE IT!!!!!!

I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. WHEN YOU PAID FOR THAT SOFTWARE, YOU ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY THAT YOU ARE ONLY LICENSED TO USE IT. YOU DON'T OWN IT !!!!

This might come as a shock to some of you: in some countries in the world (yes, in Europe / the western world too) EULA's are not legally binding for the buyer.

Hatta
November 12th, 2012, 10:55 AM
You don't have any right to decide

If we're going to start talking about rights, I'm going to point out that intellectual property is not property. It is government manipulation of an otherwise free market that violates both our actual physical property rights and our rights to free speech. Copyright is unjust and should be abolished.

Deal with copyright the same way you would any other unjust law.

Pepinno
November 12th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Well, the Australian blogger has not published in full the letter which Toshiba's lawyers sent him, so I may be wrong.

However, from the excerpts from that letter which he has published, I do not think Toshiba is requiring him to take down Toshiba's repair manuals from his blog.

Toshiba's lawyers told him: “The manuals are only available to Toshiba authorised service providers under strict confidentiality agreements.” … “It is not our company policy to grant authorisation for the use or reproduction of Toshiba manuals to anyone who is not an authorised Toshiba service provider.”

It is one thing to be notified of being non-authorized to do something. It is another thing altogether to be required to cease and stop doing it. It seems to me Thosiba's lawyers have not required him to stop doing anything.

mbbrutman
November 12th, 2012, 11:01 AM
If we're going to start talking about rights, I'm going to point out that intellectual property is not property. It is government manipulation of an otherwise free market that violates both our actual physical property rights and our rights to free speech. Copyright is unjust and should be abolished.

Deal with copyright the same way you would any other unjust law.

Fine. But if you choose to ignore/violate a law (unjust or otherwise), be sure to do it elsewhere and don't expose the rest of us.

Chuck(G)
November 12th, 2012, 11:24 AM
The case that you cited is not applicable to this case being discussed in this thread, as the case you cited involves the use of information for which a license to use was paid for, being handed over to a third party for processing and use on behalf of the licensed party. The case does not involve the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted intellectual property to unnamed, unrelated parties who have not paid for the licensed use of the property.

Okay, I'll take your point.

All in all, this sounds like it didn't come from Toshiba headquarters, but rather one of the regional Toshiba operating groups. I've worked with Toshiba closely in the past and generally speaking, they didn't want to be bothered with documentation requests, so it's hard to see what their objection from a practical standpoint is.

RickNel
November 12th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Toshiba's lawyers told him: “The manuals are only available to Toshiba authorised service providers under strict confidentiality agreements.” … “It is not our company policy to grant authorisation for the use or reproduction of Toshiba manuals to anyone who is not an authorised Toshiba service provider.”


This makes clear that Toshiba's local lawyers are acting to protect the franchise agreements that they have with their "authorised" service depots. These guys pay money to Toshiba to have exclusive access to service documentation. Probably one of the franchised service people complained to Toshiba - hence the legal notice. You see that franchise system in the automobile industry - "authorised" service depots charge >50% more than general service garages.

Imagine the annoyance of someone who pays for exclusive access to documentation, then sees the shop-front across the road offering the service with docs he got for free. It doesn't make a lot of sense to use the "Copyright" hammer to crack this nut. That just creates a black market. But it makes money for lawyers.

Apple has a similar deal going with their "Authorised" service depots. It helps them keep service costs high, which raises the costs of maintaining aging gear, and therefore encourages people to shell out for new ones. Toshiba and Sony also like to position themselves as "premium" brands.

I blame the lawyers for the general perversion of copyright, which they like to call "intellectual PROPERTY", when it is actually a temporary, government-granted monopoly privilege. Many perverse copyright decisions made by US courts are rejected in other jurisdictions with less obsession about private property trumping every public consideration.

(FWIW, I own and manage a reasonable amount of copyright material)

Rick

Chuckster_in_Jax
November 12th, 2012, 01:17 PM
You don't have the right to decide for a company what is appropriate use for their intellectual property.

No, I don't have the right, but I certainly have choices I can make.

This debate was hashed over years ago when Napster hit the scene. Recording companies have had a policy for years to require us to re-purchase music every time the media changed. Say you bought an album by a popular artist on vinyl. Then 8-track tapes came out. Couldn't upgrade. No, you had to pay full price to own it on 8-track. Then it was cassette tape or open reel. Then Compact Disc. Now MP3's.
The recording industry had degraded to the point that to purchase a top ten hit, you had to pay $18 for a CD with only one good song on it and the rest crap. That's probably the biggest reason file sharing became so popular.
In other words, the public made a choice. Continue paying $18 to get 1 song or download it off the internet for free. And to tell you the truth, most people didn't feel too sorry for that industry when it happened.


The company may have taken the property off the market to sell or assign the rights to another company. It may have found a flaw in the property, and may have decided to take it off the market temporarily to revise it.

30 year old microcomputer software? Please!!!!!


You don't have any right to decide the status of someone else's intellectual property, than you have to take someone's car or house, because you have not seen someone using that car or house for a period. The property remains the property of the owner, regardless of lack of activity from your observation point.

Any house that is left vacant for 20-30 years will be considered a derelict and razed to the ground by the local government for safety reasons.
It's hard to make any comparison between an auto or house and software that 99.99% of the general public would find useless.

Pepinno
November 12th, 2012, 01:22 PM
Imagine the annoyance of someone who pays for exclusive access to documentation, then sees the shop-front across the road offering the service with docs he got for free.

You are right. You are also playing devil's advocate, and you know it. Are you in training sessions for calling into the right-wing radio station shows?

And when a prospective Toshiba customer decides to blacklist and boicot the Toshiba brand, given how dificult Toshiba makes it for its paying customers/users to get the technical information they need to self-service their Toshiba kit, of course those prospective Toshiba customers WILL BE RIGHT TOO.

My bet: the official Toshiba Community Manager must be rising HELL right now on their Australian Legal Department. The more techy-oriented news sites this affair lands, the more HELL.

Compgeke
November 12th, 2012, 04:41 PM
Just curious, where would you even find an authorized Toshiba service place anyways? I've never seen them anywhere, and once the warranty is up, and there's no service documentation and something like the screen gets broke, how are you to fix it?

RickNel
November 12th, 2012, 04:50 PM
Are you in training sessions for calling into the right-wing radio station shows?

Please read carefully. I am agreeing with you as a critic of closed-system documentation. That is not a right-wing position. Describing a system is not the same as supporting it.


And when a prospective Toshiba customer decides to blacklist and boicot the Toshiba brand, given how dificult Toshiba makes it for its paying customers/users to get the technical information they need to self-service their Toshiba kit, of course those prospective Toshiba customers WILL BE RIGHT TOO.


I am one of those customers who avoids Toshiba vintage gear because they make BIOS access difficult as well as restricting access to documentation.

Rick :cool:

Shadow Lord
November 12th, 2012, 06:32 PM
You don't have any right to decide the status of someone else's intellectual property, than you have to take someone's car or house, because you have not seen someone using that car or house for a period. The property remains the property of the owner, regardless of lack of activity from your observation point.

Of course you do. It is called salvage. And as for housing there is prescribed legal manner for someone to take over an abandoned house. Old books/works lose copyright (e.g. there is no copyright on the works of Shakespeare) The bellyhoo over SW/IP is all lawyer BS.

p.s. I agree protections should be given to original authors/inventors/etc. to recoup costs and make profits but eventually those protections should be stripped unless of course the author/inventor/etc. takes on certain responsibilities (e.g. providing continued support, making available for purchase old versions of SW, etc.)

Doug G
November 12th, 2012, 07:42 PM
It's common for service manuals in the tech industry to be protected. I started my post-navy work life with a 3rd party maintenance company. We serviced a lot of different manufacturer's equipment, and in most cases we were required to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to become an authorized service provider for the manufacturer.

Becoming an authorized service vendor requires a considerable investment by both the manufacturer and the service vendor, and both sides like to protect their investment by protecting confidential information. We were required to purchase lots of spare parts in advance, sometimes requiring a company-wide investment in the millions for large vendors. There are legal liability pitfalls in everything you do (or don't do). So it's no surprise to me that a manufacturer would not want someone to publish their non-public documentation without their approval, even for older out-of-production products.

Oh, I forgot
Just curious, where would you even find an authorized Toshiba service place anyways? I've never seen them anywhere, and once the warranty is up, and there's no service documentation and something like the screen gets broke, how are you to fix it? About 15 miles down the freeway for me. I've visited them a couple times for some Toshiba laptop warranty repair, they're close enough to do a drop-off and pick-up instead of shipping the laptop.

MicrocomputerSolutions
November 12th, 2012, 08:07 PM
No, I don't have the right, but I certainly have choices I can make.

This debate was hashed over years ago when Napster hit the scene. Recording companies have had a policy for years to require us to re-purchase music every time the media changed. Say you bought an album by a popular artist on vinyl. Then 8-track tapes came out. Couldn't upgrade. No, you had to pay full price to own it on 8-track. Then it was cassette tape or open reel. Then Compact Disc. Now MP3's.
The recording industry had degraded to the point that to purchase a top ten hit, you had to pay $18 for a CD with only one good song on it and the rest crap. That's probably the biggest reason file sharing became so popular.
In other words, the public made a choice. Continue paying $18 to get 1 song or download it off the internet for free. And to tell you the truth, most people didn't feel too sorry for that industry when it happened.



30 year old microcomputer software? Please!!!!!



Any house that is left vacant for 20-30 years will be considered a derelict and razed to the ground by the local government for safety reasons.
It's hard to make any comparison between an auto or house and software that 99.99% of the general public would find useless.



So you're saying that Mob Rule is right, and it's okay with you if someone breaks into your house and cleans it out of the valuables while you're gone to work, because they have decided that it was abandoned? Right?

You don't have the right or knowledge to be able to establish when something is neglected by the owner, or abandon by the owner, and even if the owner isn't home, or isn't using the property, that doesn't give you the right to break-in and take what you want.

What's your street address, where can I find the easily pawned stuff, and when will you be gone?

My extra cars are parked in my garage. My daily drivers are parked in the driveway. Just because I don't drive the three Porsches in the garage every day, once a month, once a year, or once every ten years doesn't mean that they are not being maintained, or they have been abandoned. It just means that I choose not to drive them.

mbbrutman
November 12th, 2012, 08:13 PM
Let's keep this little debate from getting caustic.

Regardless of whether you think it is silly or not, copyright law is still law. Make your own decisions and do it in private. :-)

marcoguy
November 12th, 2012, 08:27 PM
Amen to that! :D It's one thing to find the copyright law silly, and I am not saying whether or not I do, but it's another thing entirely to openly explain why you believe it is perfectly fine to break that law and why you think others should go ahead and break that law too.

Ole Juul
November 12th, 2012, 11:08 PM
. . . it's another thing entirely to openly explain why you believe it is perfectly fine to break that law and why you think others should go ahead and break that law too.
In the current world environment of change regarding those kinds of laws, I think that discussion, and those statements are perfectly acceptable. Where there is a problem, is that this is not a good venue, particularly regarding things which concern possible legal infractions which could affect the well-being of the forum. :)

My take on the topic situation is that I bemoan the days when an electronic device came with a schematic, and companies didn't try to make money by selling small related items. These Toshiba manuals are not (afaik) great works. They are, in fact, quite minimal and don't represent a great development cost such as would been incurred by the development of the laptop itself. In this case, copyright is just an excuse. I understand RickNel's analysis of the situation and agree that is probably what is happening. However, this is just such a wimpy way for a company to act, and not something they should be proud of. For a minuscule effort they could build much good will instead of incurring the wrath of many technical people all across the net. People who, coincidently are significant opinion setters regarding computers. This whole thing is just bad politics, and bad business.

Stone
November 14th, 2012, 03:23 AM
Operation Fix Toshiba is underway:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/13/ifixit_ceo_launches_open_toshiba_service_guide/