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gosta

Legalities

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All you lawyer gurus out there, I am wondering two things:1) Since I own FS2004, is it safe to make an archive copy of this software(or any software, for that matter), in case the inevitable something happens?2) I highly dis-like the fact that M$ requires that I have my CD4 in the CD drive at all times in order for me to utilize FS2004. I am wondering when the inevitable 'no cd patch' becomes available, is this legal to use?I really do hate the legal climate that we live in, that I as a consumer of software in this US of A cannot know the answer to two really simple questions :(

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First off, let me emphasize that I am no "legal guru."That said, as to point #1: You don't actually "own" FS2004 or any other piece of commercial software (by this I mean software that is not "Open Source" under the GNU/GPL) you might be using, at least not in the traditional sense of "ownership" unless you actually developed it and have it in your posession. What you have with FS'04 is a license to use it based on the conditions of the EULA. That is typical of all non open source software that I am aware of. The developers retain "ownership" and allow certain privileged parties (licensees) to use it if they promise to be good.So, if the EULA gives you rights to copy the work for archival purposes, you can copy the work. If it does not, then you can't. Developers like Microsoft usually do not condone any form of copying and usually place some sort of code that prohibits successful copying into the source code on the distribution media so that "licensees" cannot make copies (illegal or not!!). During the life of the distribution there usually appears some sort of "no cd patch" which is actually a crack of the security code. This, if it is done by the developer is fine to use but the problem is that no developer is going to unlock the door that he has purposfully locked unless he determines there is no threat of abuse that the security code was placed there to stop. Such "no cd patches" are usually done by someone in the user community who has successfully figured out how to defeat the "no cd code" and wants to publish it to the community. This activity is illegal because it is not authorized by the developer's EULA.Microsoft and many other large (and some not so large) companies have a vested interest in forcing the use of a cd as a "key" to running their programs. On the surface it looks like they want to stop pirating of their work. While that is true, there is another level they do not discuss. That is that when the "key" cd wears out it has to be replaced and the only place to replace it is from the developer. A nice revenue maker for downstream support. You buy the license to use the product. A year goes by and the key cd becomes unreadable. You contact the developer and ask for a new key cd because yours is defective. He tells you to prove your ownership. You lost your receipt. No new key cd. You have to buy the product all over again. You growl and grumble and whine in the forums about the rip off the developer is perpetuating against you. You fork over the ~$50 to get the new package with a new key. Or, you find the illegal crack and use it.Most people use the illegal cracks because they don't want to have to jump through the hoops the developers force on them. They figure they "own" the product and since it is theirs, they can do as they wish.Read the EULA thoroughly. If you can make copies, do so. If you cannot make copies, do not do it. It is really just that simple.Now for point #2:Fred, I agree that this is an awful legal climate for all of us, but it reminds me of something my Drill Instructor told my Marine Boot Camp platoon in October, 1966: "YOU f^%$$^^&&**&g GIRLS ARE GOING TO %$#$#%^^&^&& PAY DEARLY FOR THE &&^^%%$$^&** MISTAKES OF THE **&&^%%&* TEN &&^^%^%&*(* PERCENT OF YOU **&&^%%$$^&& LADIES WHO CANNOT OR (*&^^%% WILL NOT GET IT **&^%$$ RIGHT OR **&^%$$^*(* WILL **&^%$()*&^ TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE (*(*&^%%$$$ SYSTEM AND RUIN MY **&766^%$$^&^& MARINE CORPS!!!!!!" And then just to prove his point he commanded us to attention and gave us the command "right, face." 74 of us turned to the right, 6 of us turned to the left. A hundred squat thrusts later we had figured out exactly what he meant. It still applies today. You and the other honest licensees out there are paying for and will continue to pay for the misdeeds of the few.:-lol

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Thansk for the answers to my questions :) I should have emphasised that my meaning of 'ownership' was that I have the 4 CDs sitting in front of me, not that 'own' the software in the traditional sense.About the CD crack, it is like being between a rock and a hard place. Man, I want to keep my CDs in good condition but......rrrrrr......Your DI(I think in 'TI' because that is what the Air Force is ;-)) was a very wise man ;-) Good words to remember.

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Hi Fred,this very much depends on where you are. In the US, for example, there are currently attempts by legislators to give software companies the power to enforce contract terms that are prima facie at odds with basic consumer rights. A EULA is a contract, and not a statement of law. As such, its terms are only enforceable to the extent permitted by applicable laws. Most of the more restrictive terms found in the majority of licence agreements, have to the best of my knowledge not been tested in any court yet, thus there is no precedent that deviates from current law regarding consumer rights in respect of copyrighted material.As it stands, software is no different from a book or a music CD. So, the answer to the first question is quite simple: Yes, you are allowed to make a backup copy of the software for personal use. This is likely to remain the case for the forseeable future. Recent draft legislation in the EU, designed to combat piracy, explicitly allows the making of backup copies and voids any EULA term to the contrary.The second question is more interesting - basically, you have the right to do what you want with your product. If you buy a CD recording of your local church choir, then take samples of the music, and add a fast drum machine beat and turn it into a techno/dance piece, that's fine. Legal issues would only ensue, if you decide to distribute, broadcast or otherwise make available your creation to other people. So, if you decide to decompile the entire program, write a crack or do with it whatever else takes your fancy, that's fine as well. Problems could arise, if you want to distribute the crack (provided it does not contain parts of the original program). In the US, I would be careful, judging the current judicial trends. In Eurpoe, various cases have been decided on similar matters, and the answer seems to be that free distribution of such software like cracks etc. is not actionable. An interesting thing is, that the FS2004 EULA does not contain a section for the UK anymore - maybe MS caught on to the mistake they made in the last one, where by omission they (presumably accidentally) exempted Scottish users from being bound by the EULA...In summary, as a user in the US I would err on the side of caution... If you read the EULA again, and check out the additional rights given to customers in Australia, Germany, Malaysia and New Zealand, you might want to think about emigrating :).Cheers,Gosta.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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