RE: Binary Drivers

From: Martin Knoblauch
Date: Tue Dec 26 2006 - 06:13:32 EST

Oh, if only for Christmas - stop this stupid car comparisons. They are
just that - utter nonsense.

>> I have no idea why you assume that "having the right to do X"
>> "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.

I would sue you for fraud, because the key is "key" in using the car.

>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

You don't need to tell me how to use your car. I know that. All you
have to do is hand over the car, all the papers and of course the key.

You do not have to tell me how the motor-control is programmed. That
knowledge is not needed to operate the car.

>>> 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. ...

They might be obliged to make it as hard as possible to tamper with
the safety to prevent their (in the sense they made and sold it)
devices being used in illegal ways. Otherwise they could end up in
court themselves.

>> 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.

The are not stopping you from using the safety. They are stopping you
from misusing it. And common sense does not show why they would be
required to help you in breaking the law. So, any of this is OK in my

* voiding the warranty (and stating so) if you tamper with the safety
* block the function of the device if the safety has been tampered with
* not telling you how the thing works at all (unless you are a
certified car maintainer under NDA).

>Again, the same example -- you buy the right to use my car, but
>I shoot at you every time you step on my property.

Oh, come on. This is such utter nonsense. What has it to do with the

>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.

If it blocks me from using the car, I sue you for fraud. Because you
prevent the common sense use of my property.

>> 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).

Absolutely correct.

>>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.

Another completely nonsensical example. Of course, if I sell you a
house and keep the keys after you have paid the agreed upon price, you
can sue me for fraud. But I do not have to explain how the lock works?
Do I?

>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.

Sure, I need to give you the password or a means to legally reset it.
But I do not have to explain the password algorithm to you. I don't
even have to tell you which algorithm is used, or which language it is
implemented in.

>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.

It depends what is written on the box, or what is in the contract. If
it says "works with XXX" (and it does), you have no right to demand
that it works with YYY, or that the manufacturer has to help you make
it work with YYY.

The manufacturer may not be allowed to *actively* prevent you from
making it work with YYY, but I see no legal problem (IANAL, in any
jurisdiction of the wolrd) if they make it hard for you by being

If they promised that it works with YYY, it is another story. They are
obliged to make it work or compensate you. How they make it work is up
to them, as long as they keep the promise. Whether you are satisfied is
up to you.

>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.

They are not keeping any right from you. They are just not being

And now lets stop the car nonsense !!!! :-)


Martin Knoblauch
email: k n o b i AT knobisoft DOT de
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