RE: Binary Drivers

From: David Schwartz
Date: Tue Dec 26 2006 - 01:42:47 EST

> I have no idea why you assume that "having the right to do X" implies
> "must be told how to do X". The have the right (except as laws
> prohibit it) to modify the car's systems, but (except for some
> specific legal requirements) the manufacturer is not required to
> explain anything, even basic operation.

It's really common sense. Imagine if you buy the right to use my car, but I
don't give you the key. Can I say, "yes, you have the right to use my car,
you bought that, but that doesn't mean I have to tell you how to use my

> > If I buy a device that has a safety of some kind, the
> > manufacturer cannot
> > prohibit me from removing or disabling the safety unless some
> > law gives them
> > that authority. ...

> Yes, I agree. However, they are completely allowed to make it
> arbitrarily hard for you to remove (by, for instance, welding the
> safety in place).

I do not think they can. You cannot at the same time argue that they sold me
the right to remove the safety and that they can take active steps to stop
me from using the safety.

Again, the same example -- you buy the right to use my car, but I shoot at
you every time you step on my property. Or I sell you my car, but right
before I do, I put on a lock that only I can unlock and make it deliberately
hard for you to remove it.

> Again, (IANAL), I think this is simply a misconception. Buyng a
> physical object gives you the right to do anything with it that the
> law allows,


> but imposes no obligation on the seller to explain it
> (other than specific restrictions hte law may apply to specific
> classes of objects for safety or other reasons). It's up to you, in
> deciding whether to buy it, to decide whether it comes with sufficient
> documentation to satisfy your needs.

I think that simply defies common sense. If I sold you a house and then
refused to provide you the keys, and made you break down the doors to get
in, you'd have every right to sue me. A house *has* *to* come with keys. If
not, the seller should bear the cost of your inability to use the house in a
reasonable way without damaging it.

You cannot sell something and then claim that you retained certain rights
over the thing you sold unless you either negotiated for those rights or
some law allows you to keep those rights. If you sell a computer, and it is
password-protected, the password has to come with it. You cannot keep it a
secret. You cannot negligently "happen to" lose it.

When you buy a video car, you are *not* buying the right to use that video
card with Windows. You are buying all the rights to the video card, to use
it any way you please. The manufacturer has no right (because it sold that
right when it sold the video card) to interfere or obstruct your right to
use it as you please.

If you retain some rights over something, then you are not selling it in the
normal sense. You are selling a subset of the rights to it, and the buy must
be told what rights he is getting and what rights he is not getting.


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