Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The DMCA Vs. Small Developers

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the fruit-of-one's-labor dept.

The Courts 231

bumppo writes "Matt Warner, a Mac developer and IT guy, writes about his experience trying to use the DMCA against a much larger software company that unilaterally lifted his TV tuner/converter app and bundled it with their hardware product, even hawking it on the side of the box. He explains why he didn't get very far, and sees plausible implications for the GPL." One lesson here seems to be that though registration of copyrighted materials may not be necessary for them to be given legal protection, it goes a long way toward preventing such usurpation. (Note that the FSF is careful to copyright the code it releases under the GPL.) And DMCA or not, shareware and other non-retail software has been incorporated into collections without permission quite a bit before.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Re:This happened to me one time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#320013)

Steve Jobs, quit posting AC!
You lost the window war a long time ago, get over it (At least you still have ID4).

Ariston's contact information (from their web page (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#320015)

Contact US
Corporate Office:

800-326-5294

Local: 714-846-7676

Fax: 714-846-3546

Web Address

http://www.ariston.com

E-mail Sales

sales@ariston.com

Boston Office:

800-710-2800

Local: 508-836-4268

Fax: 508-898-1933

E-mail Sales

sales_boston@ariston.com

Specify Payment for Unauthorized Distribution (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#320017)

IANAL, but perhaps someone who IAL will say whether something like this will work.

In your license agreement, state the following: "By distributing this software outside the terms of this license agreement, you agree to pay the author a license fee of $1 billion per copy. Failure to pay within 90 days will result in a late fee of $1 million per day."

Will this work? If not, why not? OK maybe $1 billion is excessive. Is there any amount which will stick (or at least attract lawyers to take the case?)

This happened to me one time (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#320019)

This reminds me of something that happened to me one time. I had made a nice bit of software ( my lawyers I can't be epxlicit about it) that you've probably heard about. Lo and behold, one day a friend asked me about the Xxxx package in a certain operating system out of Washington, and how much it looked like mine.

Well, I checked out the operating system, and it was nearly a clone. I called my lawyer, showed him the two apps side by side, and he agreed. We were on teh next plance to Seattle.

Amazingly enough, this corporate software giant agreed to meet with us. We were ushered into a quiet, comfortable conference room to meet with an IP lawyer.

Soon enough, the IP lawyer came in. Our jaws dropped to the floor, she could have been on Ally McBeal. She was a tall, long legged redhead with a skirt that couldn't be much shorter. She sat next to us, arranged her skirt to pointlessly try to cover herself, leaned forward, her ripe breasts straining to get out of her dress blouse, and quietly asked "How can I help you two?"

Site is down already (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#320020)

Anyway I have a pretty good idea of how it turned out. Big company simply rolled over him in court. Perhaps when we grow up to be big and strong, we can purchase some laws and justice of our own. And one day be president....

This reminds me. When I was very young, I rememer kids who would say what they wanted to be when they grew up. You'd get "fireman" "policeman" nurse, president, and occasionaly some kid would want to be a bird or some other non-human creature. I always thought that was kind of funny.

I guess the joke was on us all though. Because we all grew up to be something less than free. Votes that don't matter because "counting" errors and politicos who don't do what they promise, and the laws that impact our lives can be bought and sold like condoms out of a vending machine.

And of course, those very same laws are interpreted broadly, depending on who is to be judged by them.

Oh yeah I'm cynnical. I'm generation X. And this country is turning into a fucking shithole.

This is not insoluable... (2)

X (1235) | more than 13 years ago | (#320024)

Either you can find a lawyer who will take your case on contigency, or you can sell the rights to your software to someone who'll do it just for the potential revnue from the law suit.

Nobody likes either of those parties, but sometimes they perform a vital societal function.

Re:Homer Simpson (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | more than 13 years ago | (#320025)

Even worse is the "insightful" score this article managed to get. Go figure, eh?
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, DEATH, SubGenius, mhm21x16

Re:When I hear of things like this I... (2)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#320027)

Spam is more likely to be deleted than read. (Or, if it's in a State in which spam is illegal or has to conform to specific stringent requirements, the spammer may well find themselves burned in their desire to be of help.)

IMHO, you'll get a better reaction through firm (but polite) disaproval than you will from roasting their mail server.

Re:But bundled SW is unopened. I never saw the EUL (2)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#320028)

That =was= true. Unfortunately, some subtle changes to Copyright and Trade laws have made EULA's effective if you so much as glance sideways at the box they are in.

(In fact, more than a few products now carry notices to the effect that sneezing within 500 miles of the wrapper constitutes agreement to the EULA, even if it's sealed inside a titanium case at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.)

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (3)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#320029)

Because you didn't buy the product. Computer software hasn't been sold in decades. You buy the EULA, which (usually) says that you can't resell the licence or the supplied software, on pain of being handed to Cthulhu.

(Besides, under certain cases, tying two products is also illegal. Microsoft got caught on that one, and only escaped by convincing the appeals court that a web browser is really an Operating System in disguise.)

Lastly, the purchasers of the manure might complain about toxic contamination.

Re:/.ed (4)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#320030)

First, "limited distribution" has always been a very grey area with copyright. Fanzines rely on it to avoid getting sued, and it's generally effective there.

This means that the CD-ROM may actually fall under all sorts of "fair use" and reasonableness clauses. If it did, that wasn't the guy's fault, it was yours for not understanding the relevent law.

Second, the GPL does not rely on copyright. Truly "GNU" GPL programs have to be registered, the source must comply with certain licence message requirements, etc, to ensure that the GPL is definitely in place.

Third, EULA's are not legally enforcable in most of the US. (Virginia and Maryland being the two exceptions.) To rely on an EULA for protection is, frankly, naive. (The only reason large companies can ue EULAs is that 500 lb gorillas can do pretty much what they like.)

Last, I would be more sympathetic, except that the post looked very much like a "poor me, victim of this big meanie". Now, the small-time developer can be very much a victim, but this doesn't look like a case of that, to me. It sounds like an honest mistake by a small-time company that got blown WAAAY out of proportion by a greedy developer.

Question (1)

Kenneth Stephen (1950) | more than 13 years ago | (#320031)

Is that "American" as in nationality, or as in currently residing on US soil. How does registration apply to the case of a US citizen creating a copyrightable work in, say, Germany? What about non-US citizens creating copyrightable works within the US?

Re:This happened to me one time (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 13 years ago | (#320032)

"How can I help you two?"

So, did she help you? :-)
___

Re:Corporate code theft (1)

Cardinal Biggles (6685) | more than 13 years ago | (#320033)

It's sad that companies with such large budgets and such talented programmers, have to resort to theft of code.

Oh, come on. It's not theft, it's using code without permission from the original author. Those are two very different things.

It would have been nice if they had credited the original author, but that's all there is to it. He hasn't actually lost anything.

What should happen is not that small players should get the power to take on big companies, it's the other way around: big companies (or anyone else, for that matter) should not be able to obtain government-enforced monopolies under the "intellectual property" misnomen.

Re:DMCA -- A threat for Europe? (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 13 years ago | (#320035)

Well, it was only the U.S. who saved your country's ass from having to learn German...

Actually, it was the Russians we have to thank - you guys only came in *after* the Nazis had stopped trying to invade Britain.

Re:Lest anyone get confused (4)

troyboy (9890) | more than 13 years ago | (#320037)

Yes, a copyright FAQ for Slashdot is an excellent idea.

Another point that is relevant to this discussion is that only American programmers need to register their code with the Copyright Office to get statutory damages and attorney's fees. Foreign nationals don't have to do this because of the United States international copyright treaty obligations. Anyone who is interested can look directly at the provision in the legal source, the U.S. copyright law, 17 U.S.C. section 412.

Re:GPL (3)

HiThere (15173) | more than 13 years ago | (#320041)

No.
Try reading the GPL before spreading misinformation.

Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

Re:When I hear of things like this I... (1)

ChrisKnight (16039) | more than 13 years ago | (#320042)

sales@ariston.com bounces.

DMCA & Large Businesses (2)

IanCarlson (16476) | more than 13 years ago | (#320043)

Correction: The DMCA is a law that was enacted to protect the copyrights of rich businesses on the Internet. It was not meant to protect the labors of smaller developers and those who actually created the Internet. This country no longer belongs to the common man, but to corporations with enough money to buy and sell you a thousand times over. Your government apologizes for any inconvenience.

How much it would cost for the people to have some rights, too?

Re:Well (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 13 years ago | (#320044)

So you weren't referring to the DMCA? If you weren't, then your post was truly offtopic. I mean, the title of the article was DMCA.

But if you manage to convince anyone that your one line about buying laws in response to an article that is specifically about the DMCA was insightful, hey, more power to you.

Hey, I guess I could just post something about how shareware software sucks, and that would be just as insightful since the article is about shareware.

Re:Well (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 13 years ago | (#320047)

what did you expect? When you buy a law you make sure it can't be used against you.

This is insightful? Praise God for meta-moderation.

Read the article. This isn't even about the DMCA. It's about the fact that going to court costs money. It's about the fact that the average American doesn't have that money to spend.

This guy could EASILY have won a court battle assuming he had equal resources with which to hire attorneys. The problem was not in the law, but in the legal system itself.

Re:A Bad title (5)

Sancho (17056) | more than 13 years ago | (#320048)

But upon reading the article, you notice that the guy never took the matter to court. This isn't an issue where the DMCA failed a small developer. Rather this is an issue where the US court system failed the individual. The DMCA certainly doesn't gaurantee financial resources to sue, nor does it gaurantee that someone will settle out of court when they are faced with it. In fact, the DMCA really doesn't merit mention in this article, because the injustice has nothing to do with the DMCA or even copyright law in general--it has to do with the fact that large corporations will always have the money to win lawsuits because the little guy can't cough up $20k to take the issue to court.

This begs the question of copyrights and releases. (5)

Sancho (17056) | more than 13 years ago | (#320049)

Ok, as has been said in the comments already, the problem was that this guy didn't have enough money to fight the big badguy.

A question that hasn't come up, however, is in regards to the DMCA provision for filing copyrights on your software.

Indeed, it looks as though this guy could have made quite a pretty penny on his software if he'd just filed for a copyright on it originally. But then, the real question is, how often do you have to do this? For example, going over to freshmeat will show you that a GREAT deal of very good software is in beta or lower stages. Do you have to get a copyright on this? What if you change the code by just a variable name? Small changes could end up costly due to the copyright filing charges.

This means that the copyright system in general is anti-free software. If you have to get a new copyright on every cvsupdate you make, there is no way any individual working out of his or her garage could manage this. Sure, you may file copyright on version 1.0, but when you release 1.2 (which adds few new features), suddenly that version is not copyrighted?

I'm asking if this is the case because I truly don't know, but from my limited understanding of copyright law, derivative works aren't included (at least, in filed copyrights).

This means that the GPL and Open Source models will always be behind closed source, proprietary software.

Sucks, doesn't it?

Could a solution be to copyright the major versions, and then to provide diffs to update them to minor versions? This way a company might steal the diffs, but without the original software+source code, they'd be largely worthless, and you'd still have a leg to stand on in court, not to mention the possibility of puntitive damages.

In the UK... (3)

mattbee (17533) | more than 13 years ago | (#320050)

I'm pretty sure all that's practically necessary is that you put all your work onto a CD / floppy, post it to yourself by registered delivery and leave the envelope unopened. You can even lodge it with a bank if you're feeling paranoid. But then if you need to prove you wrote it first, you've got a sealed package with a stamp from the Post Office which you can open in court, and this is cross-checkable with the PO's records.

Re:BSD License (1)

leandrod (17766) | more than 13 years ago | (#320051)

You are right, when you BSD your code you leave anyone do anything to it. That's why the FSF created the GNU GPL.

--
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
DBA, SysAdmin

Re:/.ed (2)

leandrod (17766) | more than 13 years ago | (#320052)

> Second, the GPL does not rely on copyright.

I don't think that is the case. If there wasn't copyright law, everything would effectively be public domain and the GNU GPL would have no effect whatsoever.



--
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
DBA, SysAdmin

Why mention GPL at all? (2)

leandrod (17766) | more than 13 years ago | (#320053)

It kind of injures me because his code isn't GPL'd, but he kind of uses it as some fighting call.

--
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
DBA, SysAdmin

Re:Where is the violation? (3)

leandrod (17766) | more than 13 years ago | (#320054)

License terms on version 1.0:

"Matt's Hack TV, Version 1.0 Portions of application ©1998 Matt Warner Portions ©1992 by Apple
Computer, Inc. 'Email-me' ware: drop me a short note to let me know if you find this application useful. The application
is free and is not to be sold. There are no guarantees nor warranties regarding this software."



So Ariston sold it, even if it was in a bundle.



--
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
DBA, SysAdmin

Both 800# don't work (1)

roboneal (18078) | more than 13 years ago | (#320056)

First one, gives standard phone system "annot connect". The second (Boston) number rings to a guy answering "Foreign Currency Exchange" and he notified me that he felt the company was out of business. He's going to be less coridal after the 1000th Slashdotter gives him a call looking for Ariston.

Re:Lest anyone get confused (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#320057)

> Another point that is relevant to this discussion is that only American programmers need to register their code with the Copyright Office to get statutory damages and attorney's fees. Foreign nationals don't have to do this because of the United States international copyright treaty obligations.

Always nice to know our government is looking after us. Land of the free, home of the brave, foreigners have more rights than you do.

--

Re:Bad strategy (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#320058)

> It's only $30 to file a copyright deposit with the Library of Congress. And once you do that, the clock starts running on willful infringement and statutory damages.

What should you do if you have an OSS project and follow the "release early, release often" paradigm?

I have a GPL'd project that is out in pre-release form, though nowhere near ready for actual use. If I register it now, would I also need to re-register it every time I let a new version out?

Patents may be an issue as well; I am incorporating some novel features into the project, and I'd hate to have some jerk go out and patent them after seeing my demo.

--

From the breaking news page. (1)

Cedric C. Girouard (21203) | more than 13 years ago | (#320061)

This page is currently

Under
Construction
Look for this page on:
9/30/2000

This guy should not worry about it. I think they're still living last year...

Re:GPL (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#320062)

The author didn't release it under the GPL.

Re:Where is the violation? (3)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#320065)

If I invent a widget, and give it to people out of the goodness of my heart, and some schlock takes my widget and starts selling it for profit, that's Wrong. Somebody is taking advantage of my good nature. How can you possibly think this is justified?

The author doesn't want to make a buck, he wants to protect his work from being exploited.

Re:A Bad title (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 13 years ago | (#320068)

Um, that can pretty much be said of any law, though... or any aspect of society.

Re:Well (2)

Rupert (28001) | more than 13 years ago | (#320070)

Thank heavens for the insightful person who modded this post down as overrated. Unfortunately, due to the idiosyncracies of the karma system I derive a net -1 karma from this post.

ObNotBitchingAboutSlashCode: DMCA is not the only law ever bought. I didn't mention it. I meant laws in general.

--

Re:Well (2)

Rupert (28001) | more than 13 years ago | (#320071)

The title of the article was indeed DMCA. However, the article was only tangentially about the DMCA, and mostly about how justice in the USA has been replaced with trial by financial combat.

So, yes, -1 Offtopic for my post, but -1 Troll for the article.


--

Well (4)

Rupert (28001) | more than 13 years ago | (#320072)

what did you expect? When you buy a law you make sure it can't be used against you.

--

Re:Where is the violation? (5)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 13 years ago | (#320075)

The problem is, that according to his site, version 1.0 is free, and version 2.0 is shareware.

This means that Ariston can FREELY redistribute it on their CDs, as long as the end users abide by the license terms.

License terms he gave on version 1.0:
"Matt's Hack TV, Version 1.0 Portions of application ©1998 Matt Warner Portions ©1992 by Apple
Computer, Inc. 'Email-me' ware: drop me a short note to let me know if you find this application useful. The application
is free and is not to be sold. There are no guarantees nor warranties regarding this software."

License terms he gave on version 2.0:
"Matt's Hack TV, Version 2.0, October 1998 Portions of application ©1998 Matt Warner Contact Info:
or Portions ©1992 by Apple Computer, Inc. $10 Shareware. There are no
guarantees nor warranties regarding this software.

What it does: Matt's Hack TV allows you to take advantage of your Power Macintosh AV input and output ports to convert,
in real time, NTSC to PAL, NTSC to SECAM, PAL to SECAM, or whatever combination. What you need is two video devices (two
VCRs, for example) which understand the appropriate video standard and your Macintosh will do the rest. I've only been
able to test the PAL NTSC aspect, but I don't expect there to be any problems with SECAM functionality.

One user has setup his Power Macintosh to his satellite system so that he can watch PAL broadcasts on his NTSC TV, in
real time!

I can't speak as to the quality of the Analog converters (DAC) used in the Power Macintosh, but I suspect that it does
not match the quality found in professional or dedicated systems. But hey, if you already own a Power Macintosh, it's
practically free (excepting the cost of the PAL VCR or camcorder).

Related Info: How do I setup my Power Macintosh for video standard conversions? The first step is to make sure that you
have RCA or S-VHS plugs connected to the ports at the back of your machine. Then, you must restart so that the Macintosh
goes into a dual-screen mode. You might notice that your main screen doesn't have as many colors available to it since
part of the video RAM is being used to drive the virtual monitor for the video-out port. If you either connect the input
video to the output port or have a VCR plugged in and turned on, you should be able to see what's displayed on the
virtual monitor (and goes to the video-out port). You should at least see your desktop pattern. Launch Matt's Hack TV
and set the input type to PAL, even though your virtual monitor is likely set to NTSC. Move all windows out of sight and
open the Monitors & Sound Control Panel. Move the main window out of the way (window-shade it even) and you'll be able
to see a second window that sets the characteristics of the virtual monitor, including bit depth and resolution. To
access the monitor, you'll have to move your mouse off your main screen and onto the virtual screen. For PAL output,
choose one of the PAL settings. For NTSC or SECAM, choose the appropriate setting.

Where to buy PAL equipment: I bought a PAL-system VCR through the mail from B&H Photo and Video in New York (I'm on the
west coast of the USA). Their web site is http://www.bhphoto.com. They also sell professional equipment and had
reasonable prices, so I felt pretty comfortable buying from them. And no, I am in no way affiliated with them (wouldn't
that be nice!).

Hey! My color picker stopped working! Actually, it's a problem with the color picker itself. The color picker
automatically chooses the deepest-pixel-depth monitor, which (if you have the problem) is the virtual monitor.
Unplugging the video-out jack and rebooting will restore expected behavior.

Background: I wrote this software to use in conjunction with a PAL-system VCR to which I transfer home video in
originally shot in NTSC. This way I can send video to friends overseas. I looked around for an application which
performed a similar task, but couldn't find one. So I wrote my own, based on sample code found at Apple's QuickTime
site, written by Gary Woodcock and called Hack TV.

With version 2.0 I added menubar hiding (thanks to sample code from David Hayward at Apple DTS), preferences file
support (thanks to Jim Luther, Apple DTS Emeritus), and clipping support.

Change History March 1999. Minor change to fix compatibility issues with third-party digitizing cards, such as the iREZ
Capsure for PowerBooks.

October 1998. Added Appearance Manager features (now required). Added a proper preferences file. Added clipping feature.
Changed background blackout functionality for better reliability. Added Òhide menubar option.Ó Squashed,
created, then squashed innumerable bugs. Now $10 shareware.

March 1998. Released as version 1.0.1. Changes to documentation.

March 1998. Released as version 1.0.0 First release.

Esoterica Anyone desiring to donate Mamiya medium-format camera equipment or SGI computer equipment/software to my
cause, be sure to contact me!

So, why the $10 charge? That's a tough question. The short answer is that we (my family and I) need the money and it
takes time to develop software.

The long answer: When I wrote the first version, I made it free, as my own meager contribution back into the world
society that is the Internet.

The Internet was founded on sharing information and ideas. In fact, arguably some of the best software out there is
free. Unix is a prime example of this. Perhaps, in my case, this is just an instance of not being very proficient at
programming, so it takes a lot of time away from other tasks. The bottom line is that while it genuinely pains me to
charge for software, the pain is inconsequential when compared to that felt when I see my monthly stack of bills. So
please understand. And please pay =:-)
"

Conclusion? He just fancied some cash and decided to try his luck. He lost. Awww... too bad.

Simon

Re:Here's why (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 13 years ago | (#320076)

The corporations have money, and he doesn't. Thus, they can buy the lawyers, judges, etc. that they need, and he can't.

Last time I checked, blatantly trying to buy a judge was illegal ;-)

Seriously, I had a conversation with a lawyer friend over dinner the other night, and the talked turned to campaign finance reform.

He: Whether or not McCain-Feingold is the right solution , something has to be done, because of the public perception that the system is corrupt.
Me: Is it?
He: Is it what?
Me: Is the system corrupt?
He: Well... yes.

Your post makes me think, that as corrupt as people think politics is, they think of law as a kind of wild west where the rich get to hire the fastest guns.

Maybe its true. But if it is, there are still quite a few Shanes left. The lawyers I know still have a strong sense of idealism.

Can slashdot cache pages? (1)

mcfiddish (35360) | more than 13 years ago | (#320078)

I just tried to take a look at

http://www.warnertechnology.com/Computers/Articl es /copyright.shtml

and of course, the server isn't responding. Since slashdot seems to be immune from the "slashdot effect", how about whenever a story is posted, keep a copy of the referred-to page(s) on slashdot somewhere, say for a couple of days?

Re:What about tall developers? (1)

diagnosis (38691) | more than 13 years ago | (#320083)

<TONGUEINCHEEK>
I think you misunderstood what they meant by "large developers." They were clearly referring to width and not height. So I wonder: as a skinny, tall developer, what are my rights?
</TONGUEINCHEEK>

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (1)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#320095)

Yeah but it would give MS Windows the correct kind of smell.

Heh...Stink-wrapped software.

The best part of this whole affair (2)

mwalker (66677) | more than 13 years ago | (#320099)

Their web page now reads: [ariston.com]


Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Cannot open user default database ''. Using master database instead.

/includes/connection.inc, line 4


Pretty sweet server they've got there.

Re:When I hear of things like this I... (2)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#320102)

Their 800 number is slashdotted. oh well.

Re:/.ed (5)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#320103)

Great. Now the guy has had his software and his article redistributed without his permission.

Where is the violation? (5)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 13 years ago | (#320114)

Okay, he did not give any details on his license, but he calls it "email me ware." So if that companies customers actually use the software and fail to email him they would be in violation.

I though this sort of distribution was the whole point of shareware.

I am all for the little guy, but it seems like this guy wants to change the rules in the middle of the game to make a buck.

-Peter


"There is no number '1.'"

Re:Bad strategy (1)

limpdawg (77844) | more than 13 years ago | (#320116)

If you register the source, then if someone tried to patent your ideas you could show them the registered copyright containing those ideas. Which would pretty much blow any patent application out of the water.

Must file copyright (2)

bgraziano (79486) | more than 13 years ago | (#320117)

I think in his story he hit on the key point. You must "file" your software in order to have the full protection under the law. If you don't take the steps the laws require you can't expect to benefit under them.

The problem is not that a large company abused an individual (though they certainly did). The problem is that this individual didn't understand the laws he was trying to take advantage of.

You don't need to spend thousands on a lawyer for that either. My father (a CS professor) figured it out in 1983 when he sold software. He did a little research and found out he needed to file the software in order to have full protection under the law. No lawyer involved.

I'm sorry but I think this is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

BSD License (4)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 13 years ago | (#320121)

Would this even be an issue for software under the BSD license? My understanding is that the whole point behind the BSD license is that companies can take your code and repackage it any way they want. I don't think the GPL lets companies do that.
--
Lord Nimon

Re:Can slashdot cache pages? (2)

kevin@ank.com (87560) | more than 13 years ago | (#320122)

In this case it looks like the owner of the domain has set up his name server to return 10.0.0.1 for the relevant host.

That is a pretty novel way of avoiding slashdot effect... just take your domain offline.

Re:What about tall developers? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 13 years ago | (#320123)

...anyone under 6' 3" tall... ... should be rounded up,...

Would you like these rounded up to 7', or to an even 10'?


--

Re:This happened to me one time (1)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 13 years ago | (#320124)

So you have this skanky looking, overly skinny chick in the room with you. Then what? Your company gets bought for an excess of money that is nothing to MS but everything to you, and they own the system they ripped off, so everything is legal again. Right? ;)

Re:When I hear of things like this I... (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 13 years ago | (#320127)

Don't just send it to sales@ariston.com. Send it to:
sales@ariston.com
sales_boston@ariston.com
support@ariston.com
webmaster@ariston.com
postmaster@ariston.com
etc...
Let your message be heard.

Re:When I hear of things like this I... (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 13 years ago | (#320128)

All the numbers except the fax # appear to be slashdotted. As the original poster said, please voice your support. Since the phone lines are down, fax 'em.

Corporate code theft (5)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 13 years ago | (#320130)

In a book I wrote years ago, I included code for, basically, extracting information about Windows VxDs from the binaries. I got this code from another developer who had placed copyright restrictions on the code. I included those restrictions along with the book and credited him for the code.

A few years later, Intel released a product for profiling software. In that software, they used the code from my book without my permission, nor the permission of the original author, who clearly stated that the code could not be used in for-profit software.

Being a small developer, and not having a registered copyright, there was nothing he could do. He certainly couldn't afford to take on the likes of Intel.

It's sad that companies with such large budgets and such talented programmers, have to resort to theft of code. And companies complain about piracy and intellectual property rights. They're a bunch of hypocrites and theives themselves.

Re:Can slashdot cache pages? (1)

Tiroth (95112) | more than 13 years ago | (#320131)

Someone says this at EVERY SINGLE STORY. It's been discussed before, and it wouldn't work.

Re:Where is the violation? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#320132)

I don't see whats wrong with that.

If you make something,and then give it away. Well then you gave it away. IF someone sees a way that they can make money from it, well then how is that any of your concern?

I am, personally, more interested in the moral implications of giving out binaries to people without source code. A much more heinous practice.

Expecting people to execute a binary on their CPUs without any way of reading the code and seeing what it does, or modifing what it does for their specific needs. Its just plain wrong I say.

-Steve

Copyright Registration (3)

Artagel (114272) | more than 13 years ago | (#320140)

The page for the registrar of copyrights is here [loc.gov] .

I think the fee is about $30, which is pretty cheap for insurance if you are engaged in serious commercial activity that would inspire you to hire a lawyer later.

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (1)

Kwelstr (114389) | more than 13 years ago | (#320141)

I can go to comp USA and buy 500 copies of MS Windows and shove one into every 500lb bag of manure I sell.
Please don't do that. The manure industry has a bad enough reputation as it is.


Yeah but it would give MS Windows the correct kind of smell.

To add on (1)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#320142)

If derivative works weren't protected, then all those VCD copies of movies with watermarks added would be perfectly legal, because they weren't exact duplicates, they were derived works.

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

Derivative works? (2)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#320144)

IANAL, but all derivative works of a copyright are protected, correct? So just copyrighting one version ought to give you some protection for all subsequent versions as well, as long as some code remains the same.

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

Bad strategy (5)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#320145)

It's only $30 to file a copyright deposit with the Library of Congress. [loc.gov] And once you do that, the clock starts running on willful infringement and statutory damages. If you register, notify the infringer, and they continue to sell the infringing product, it's willful.

There are also criminal penalties. From the DOJ cybercrime web site [cybercrime.gov] :

  • There are four essential elements to a charge of felony copyright infringement. In order to obtain a felony conviction under 17 U.S.C. 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2319, the government must demonstrate that:
  • 1. A copyright exists, see infra Section III.B.1 at page 48;
  • 2. It was infringed by the defendant by reproduction or distribution of the copyrighted work, see infra Section III.B.2 at page 50;
  • 3. The defendant acted willfully, see infra Section III.B.3 at page 14; and
  • 4. The defendant infringed at least 10 copies of one or more copyrighted works with a total retail value of more than $2,500 within a 180-day period. See infra Section III.B.4 at page 58.

    See 17 U.S.C. 506(a)(2); 18 U.S.C. 2319(a), (c)(1). The maximum punishment for this crime is 3 years imprisonment and $250,000. See infra Section III.D at page 71.

    Another element, if proven, enhances the maximum penalty: That the defendant acted "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain." If it is proven, the statutory maximum prison sentence can rise to 5 years. See 17 U.S.C. 506(a)(1); 18 U.S.C. 2319(a), (b)(1). See also infra Section III.B.5 at page 60 (discussing commercial purposes element). Moreover, a commercial motivation case will usually have better jury appeal than a case without commercial motivation. Indeed, if commercial motivation is not alleged, defendants may be more inclined to raise the affirmative defense of fair use, codified at 17 U.S.C. 107, since fair use defenses are more plausible when defendants do not profit financially by their acts of infringement. For a discussion of "fair use," see infra Section III.C.3 at page 71.

So talk to the local U.S. Attorney's Office.

Re:Where is the violation? (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#320148)

This quote right here:
The application is free and is not to be sold
is what they infringed on. Had they have had the software available for public download, they'd have been fine.

Thought Processes... (3)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 13 years ago | (#320152)

Seems though, that larger companies seem to think they're doing you a huge favor by redistributing your work, so they feel justified in doing so.

Recently, I recieved an email from a larger font firm (who shall remain nameless), who said that they were planning on including a number of the fonts I've designed on a CDROM that they would be distributing. They further went on to say that if I wanted them removed, I had to email them by this-and-such-a-date... In short, the email said, "Well, we're using your shit unless you tell us we can't." No please, no thank you. Nothing.

At the time, I wanted more exposure for my site, so I let them go ahead with it, so long as the CD included all my usual files. I'm still pretty irked about their attitude, though...


----------------------------------------
Yo soy El Fontosaurus Grande!

What's the EFF doing these days? (1)

BobTheWonderMonkey (144907) | more than 13 years ago | (#320155)

Sounds like DCMA-busting would be right up their alley.

Mr. Warner, have you tried contacting EFF to see if they can represent you? Or perhaps they could get you in contact with someone who could?

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (1)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 13 years ago | (#320157)

I can go to comp USA and buy 500 copies of MS Windows and shove one into every 500lb bag of manure I sell. Or bundle Disney videos with Dildo collections. So long as I paid for the product, why do I need permission from its maker to bundle it with something else? Someone explain this to me.

Because you are then making a profit off of somebody else's work. The original author is rightfully going to want a cut of that profit, or else won't want *you* to make money off of *their* work at all.

---
The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:

Here's why (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 13 years ago | (#320158)

The corporations have money, and he doesn't. Thus, they can buy the lawyers, judges, etc. that they need, and he can't. They know this, so they (the corps) aren't afraid of him.

Sad, but true. This is what our legal system is nowadays.

---
The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:

Re:In the UK... (2)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#320161)

That's nice and all, and it may prove date of first publish, but it won't help you whenyou actually come down to awarding damages in court. US laws _require_ you to file a copyright to get the protection.

Re:How about a freeware compilation copyright serv (3)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#320162)

That is one hell of an idea, but, according to the Copyright Basics, Circular 1, http://www.loc.gov/copyright/circs/circ1.html#rp , IANAL, but it seems like you can only register 1 item,a dn you still have to print out 50 pages of code.
  • If the work is an unpublished or published computer program, the deposit requirement is one visually perceptible copy in source code of the first 25 and last 25 pages of the program. For a program of fewer than 50 pages, the deposit is a copy of the entire program. For more information on computer program registration, including deposits for revised programs and provisions for trade secrets, request Circular 61, "Copyright Registration for Computer Programs."
  • If the work is in a CD-ROM format, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the material, that is, the CD-ROM, the operating software, and any manual(s) accompanying it. If registration is sought for the computer program on the CD-ROM, the deposit should also include a printout of the first 25 and last 25 pages of source code for the program.

Re:/.ed (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 13 years ago | (#320163)

Then maybe he should have hosted it on a server that can actually handle the traffic.

/.ed (4)

jargoone (166102) | more than 13 years ago | (#320164)

DMCA, like other copyright laws, provides no real protection for a small developer.
Overview
Imagine you've put your best efforts into developing software. The law says that you automatically own the copyright on your original works, so when a company starts distributing your work in violation of whatever license you've chosen, you probably expect copyright legislation like the DMCA to protect you. Unless you've had a lawyer involved since the beginning of development, you'd better think again. This raises questions about the viability of open source licenses such as GPL which hinge on a copyright to ensure that software projects aren't hijacked.

This is the story of a small, naïve developer who didn't file the copyright on his software and ended up being abused by Ariston Technologies, in Huntington Beach, California. My hope is that others can learn from this situation.

Summary
Ariston Technologies clearly violated copyright laws by distributing for profit a proprietary work without knowledge or permission of the copyright holder. Copyright laws such as the DMCA provide for collection of either statutory or actual damages. Current interpretation by the courts precludes collection of statutory damages unless the copyright was actually filed with the Patent Office before the violation. In the case of shareware or open source software, proving damages is exceptionally difficult. However, even in cases where the copyright has been filed, most copyright lawyers do not work on a contingency basis, and so will not bother with a case involving shareware or open source software unless the potential dollar amount is significant. The alternative is for the individual to pay for prosecution out of pocket, which can quickly exceed US$20,000, for an award that may not be even half that. So even in cases where copyright laws have clearly been violated, the net effect is that they are unable to protect the small developer.

Background
In 1998, I developed a small piece of software, Matt's Hack TV, to fill a particular need. The resulting version 1.0 binary was distributed as "email me ware," which required that users merely email me what they thought of the software. Included in the terms of release was a note that the software was not to be sold. It was not GPLed, but it was free. In 1999, I added functionality and revised the terms to include a $10 shareware fee. It was released as version 2.0.

In early 2000, I discovered that Ariston Technologies was distributing version 1.0 of the software on a CDROM sold with their iSEE-I USB product. The software was also used as advertising on the packaging material (see images to the right), and was featured at the top of the CDROM once opened. The CDROM was not provided as a public service nor was it available to the general public, even though this violated the usage terms of the first, free version. The last page of their manual included wording that stated that all software was furnished under license and that I (being the manufacturer) was effectively providing support for my stolen software, both of which were totally false.

When I first contacted Ariston, I saw the possibility of a business deal, with the potential for a wider distribution base. Unfortunately, when confronted about this matter, Mr. Lazarous Bontour, the president of Ariston Technologies, first feigned surprise and later, he significantly downplayed the situation by claiming that distribution was very limited and that the software had only been used for "tech support." Perhaps sensing impending legal problems, Mr. Bontour never seriously discussed forming a business arrangement, so money didn't enter the equation. At the end, his tone changed to insults with claims that the software "wasn't worth" it, and that they were pulling the software from their "latest" CDROM revision, even though the disk info shows the then-current version had been created in January 2000. At this point I knew I was out of my league, so I contacted an attorney to negotiate a settlement.

Several months were consumed with collecting the evidence, providing it to the attorney, and several rounds of attempted negotiation with Ariston. In the end, Ariston stonewalled the process and refused to negotiate. At this point, the only option was federal court, a costly proposition, with the daunting task of proving damages, since statutory damages are available only to software for which a copyright was actually filed before the infringement.

Pursuing the case further is apparently futile as of this writing. My only consolations are that others might benefit from my story and the hope that Ariston will either eventually get what's coming to them or change their unprincipled business practices.

Reference Materials

[ snipped quote from GPL to avoid lame lameness filter ]

Homer Simpson (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#320166)

Homer Simpson quotes that apply here:
That'll teach you to share!
Trying is the first step to failure. So never try, Lisa.

I hope you all remember this the next time you want to make something the public may want to buy...

When I hear of things like this I... (4)

Lostman (172654) | more than 13 years ago | (#320173)

decide to take it to the source.

Because their SQL server is a page in the story of "The Little Server that Died," this info is provided below from Their Contact Page [ariston.com] .

Why not give them at the corporate office a call? When you call you might hear a nasal kinda "assistant" -- I figure that if she writes down all the complaints and passes even 1/5 of them on, then notice would filter its way to the top some time.

Come on -- takes a moment of your time.

Contact US
Corporate Office:
800-326-5294

Local: 714-846-7676

Fax: 714-846-3546

Web Address
http://www.ariston.com

E-mail Sales
sales@ariston.com

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (2)

Dreyfus (176426) | more than 13 years ago | (#320176)

I can go to comp USA and buy 500 copies of MS Windows and shove one into every 500lb bag of manure I sell.

Please don't do that. The manure industry has a bad enough reputation as it is.

How about a freeware compilation copyright servic (5)

wytcld (179112) | more than 13 years ago | (#320177)

If I publish a book that's a compilation of articles, it requires but one copyright registration. So where would we be if a service was set up where anything under appropriate license (say, GNU) could be uploaded to a site from which it would be (in compressed form) added to a DVD compilation-of-the-month (or so) that would be duly registered with the Feds under an "all rights revert to the authors of the individual packages" arrangement? After all, if I copyright a book or magazine - which will in some instances contain such an assignment to the original authors - and you steal a single article from it, you're guilty. And this means it wouldn't take 100s of folks submitting registration to the feds (and the fees that involves) but only one small organization with the ability to collect the stuff and burn the DVD (it would also I think be necessary to actually offer the DVD for sale in order to secure the copyright - so that it's actually published - but hey, that could be a useful thing to have or subscribe to for some).

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (1)

wsdorsey (179663) | more than 13 years ago | (#320178)

Because you are then making a profit off of somebody else's work.

That would be how retail works. A store buys a product from a manufacturer or distributer, doubles the price, and resells it to individual consumers. If I "go to comp USA and buy 500 copies of MS Windows and shove one into every 500lb bag of manure I sell," then CompUSA is simply the distributor, as long as I have a resellers license. As far as I know, a resellers license doesn't specify what I am allowed to resell.

-Dorsey

A Bad title (3)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 13 years ago | (#320181)

A better title might have been "The DCMA vs. Large Businesses" or "The DCMA sucks for Small Developers."

In this instance, someone tried to use the DCMA against a large corporate entity and found it didn't provide him with the resources he needed to protect his work.

The important thing to note here is that the DCMA works best for those with lots of cash, whichever side of the fence they're on.

Dead in the water (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#320182)

I really hate it when a site gets /.ed, but in this case it sounds like they deserve it. Of course, only the DB was /.ed, the site still remains.

Re:Homer Simpson (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#320184)

I'm not sure about the first one, but the 2nd one sure doesn't sound like a verbatim quote...it doesn't sound quite right.

. . .

It is not the DMCA (3)

CharmQuark (200261) | more than 13 years ago | (#320188)

The DMCA has little to do with this problem. The problem is one of money and documentation. The problem is not new. Engineers and inventors have been defending and losing their designs for a very long time. I believe several years ago Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar [circuitcellar.com] had an issue on this very topic.

To be specific, most companies and patent lawyers have years of experience in circumventing copyrights. The large companies routinely use two attacks to destroy the copyright. First, they throw money at it and hope the developer is too poor to fight. Second, they assume that small developers do not keep good documentation.

There is not much that can be done about the money. Lawyers must be hired; expert witnesses paid; bonds must be negotiated. In a more cynical world, congressmen and judges must be bought.

There are things that developers can do for documentation. For instance, in olden times developers snail mailed themselves copies of their designs. The postmark dates a design until the seal is broken. On a more sophisticated level, laboratory notebooks can be kept that have approval space and perforated copies. (Of course, I am not a lawyer, so I say this only as an example of why we would expect the DMCA to be ineffective and how I have seen people deal with it in the past.) Look at it this way. If I published a book remarkably similar to the "Confederacy of Dunces" [lsu.edu] a few years before Toole's mother allegedly 'found' the manuscript, who would own the copyright?

Re:Homer Simpson (1)

mrzer0 (216241) | more than 13 years ago | (#320190)

I believe the second one is more along the lines of:

Kids...You tried your hardest, and you failed miserably. The lesson is...never try.

[mrzer0]

Re:In the UK... (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 13 years ago | (#320191)

Nono... EVERYTHING is copyrighted. You can press charges as long as you make sure to have the little copyright sign. If you register it, you can press charges + lawyer costs.

Battle Plan! (1)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 13 years ago | (#320196)

Ok boys, we're gonna hit em hard and hit em fast. Everyone point a browser window to the site and slam them into submission. I call it Operation Slashdotted.

Make em think twice about running windows on the server side. Make em realize that we aren't going to take it. Give 'em hell!

Whereas in Canada (2)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 13 years ago | (#320198)

Yes, legally in the US, you just need to put it to a CD (floppies last about 4-5 years, CDs 20 years, mag tape 100 years) and mail it to yourself postmarked by registered mail.

But if you want full protection, by being registered in library searches, you need to send it to your national archives.

I used to produce various software, RPGs, and magazines in Canada - I would always print out the source code and register it in both the National Library (can't recall the name) in Canada and the US Library of Congress.

But I only did that for full version releases. The bug fix versions I would just save to disk. And keep the disk.

And all my code had a copyright declaration on the splash screen (or boot), DOS -? call, and embedded in the main screen Help About.

Even my freeware was copyrighted and registered.

Lest anyone get confused (5)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 13 years ago | (#320200)

(Note that the FSF is careful to copyright the code it releases under the GPL.)

What he really means is that the FSF is careful to register copyrighted code. Any copyrightable material is copyrighted by YOU as soon as YOU "fix" it on a "medium."

What registration gives you is extra protections, such as the ability to collect statuatory damages up to $100,000 if the infringement is judged to be willful. (If you don't register, you can only collect actual damages, which are very difficult to assess.) You can may also collect attorney's fees.

Hope this clears that up. We really need a copyright FAQ on Slashdot.

Re:/.ed (3)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 13 years ago | (#320201)

Now, the small-time developer can be very much a victim, but this doesn't look like a case of that, to me. It sounds like an honest mistake by a small-time company that got blown WAAAY out of proportion by a greedy developer.

According to his license, for-profit distribution of his free program was prohibited. Essentially, it's the "I'm not making money so you can't use it to make money either" license. Yet the company did exactly what his license prohibited. So I think you have it backwards: it does look like the developer is the victim, and it looks like it is the small-time company who is being dishonest and greedy.

I feel for the guy, and think he should sue them into the ground on principle alone.

Enforcement (3)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#320202)

Sadly, enforcement comprises a good percentage of the law. If this wasn't the case, we wouldn't be so concerned with the 'precidents' that certain court cases set.

The simple fact of the matter is that unless small and GPL developers start suing and winning court cases, Large developers (Microsoft, as well as this other guy) can do anything they want to with GPL code without fear of reprisal.

Re:Here's why (2)

shyster (245228) | more than 13 years ago | (#320211)

The corporations have money, and he doesn't. Thus, they can buy the lawyers, judges, etc. that they need, and he can't. They know this, so they (the corps) aren't afraid of him.

Sad, but true. This is what our legal system is nowadays

While I don't doubt that a great many judges have been bought off, I don't think this really is the rule. I actually rspect most judges, even those who I don't agree with, because I feel they are trying to do the right thing.

As far as money and lawyers go, however, it's a totally different story. Large teams of lawyers and their bankrolling corporation don't have to buy judges. All they have to do is buy time. And, so the paper war begins. Most little guys can't afford to pay a lawyer $x an hour to deal with the avalanche of paperwork that can be filed by a team of 6 lawyers. And even if the little guy could afford to pay his lawyer for it, the lone lawyer wouldn't stand a chance in hell of keeping up with it. So, he'd have to hire more lawyers. Eventually, it's a much better idea either to drop the suit, or settle out-of-court for an "undisclosed amount".

And, that, my friends, is really how the (civil) law works.

DMCA (1)

Husaria (262766) | more than 13 years ago | (#320216)

I've got a solution:
Start the crusade to get DMCA declared unconsitutional so that all the shit that law gives us will be invalid and we can write a FAIR law with our favorite Republican from Virginia!

Re:Enforcement (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#320224)

Depends on how big the statuatory damages in DMCA are, and whether there's any scope for punative damages as well. Any ideas?

As an aside, in the UK courts very often awards the winner their legal costs in the settlement, meaning that Little Guys with a clear cut case can bring suits much more confidently. Anyone know how prevalant this is outside the USA?

Re:Well (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#320225)

The problem was not in the law, but in the legal system itself.

Darn right. Step 1, award reasonable legal costs to the winner in clear cut cases that only reached court because of the obstinacy of defendants. Makes the Big Guy a little more likely to be the first to blink in the pre-trial game of chicken. Seems to work OK in the UK.

Let Ariston Know (1)

ryants (310088) | more than 13 years ago | (#320229)

Phone or Fax them and voice your disapproval:

Corporate Office: 800-326-5294
Local: 714-846-7676
Fax: 714-846-3546
sales@ariston.com

Ryan T. Sammartino

Re:Um, why do I need permission to bundle software (1)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 13 years ago | (#320230)

Because if you walk into CompUSSR and spend $5000 to purchase shrink-wrapped copies of Windows, you are paying the creator (Microsoft) for their product/works (Lousy OS). In this case, no compensation was offered to Warner. That's what makes it wrong (and technically illegal).

--

GPL (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 13 years ago | (#320233)

Doesn't the GPL say "you can use this as long as you give credit for it" and didn't this company put a credit to the software on the side of their box? Okay, so they fullfilled their portion of the GPL license agreement. You're out of luck.

This is why many, many developers prefer to work for closed-source companies... because their work is closed and copyrighted so others can not use it off the cuff as this was.

Sorry, you're out of luck. Maybe you should have used the Mozilla license on your software. =)

Ariston Update: Yup, they're Dot Gone (1)

journalistguy (398433) | more than 13 years ago | (#320239)

I spoke to the admin contact listed in WhoIs [samspade.org] and was told that Ariston is no more.

Ariston: "It's Dead, Jim" (2)

journalistguy (398433) | more than 13 years ago | (#320240)

I called the numbers listed above (all disconnected) tried to look at their website (down) and then looked at the Google [google.com] cache of the site. I found a few Massachusetts telephone numbers for Ariston and gave them a try.

The 'customer service' number actually worked, but was reassigned to another company. The guy on the other end of the line told me that I "had the right number, but that company went out of business".

I also spoke to the admin contact listed in WhoIs [samspade.org] and was also told that Ariston is no more.

Ariston: Out of Business? Don't Bother Calling. (4)

journalistguy (398433) | more than 13 years ago | (#320241)

I called the numbers listed by others (disconnected) tried to look at their website (down) and then looked at the Google cache for the site. I found a few Massachusetts telephone numbers for Ariston and gave them a try.

The 'customer service number actually worked, but was reassigned to another company. The guy on the other end of the line told me that I "had the right number, but that company went out of business".

Re:Can slashdot cache pages? (1)

adamjone (412980) | more than 13 years ago | (#320242)

Why not? It works for Google [google.com] .

Additional Trademark ideas ... (1)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 13 years ago | (#320243)

I suddenly feel sorry for those who have incorporated File -> Open into their GUI dialogs for operating various programs ... wouldn't that seem to instigate that, if this is indeed taken too far, one would be required to replace the aforementioned feature with File -> Open(tm)? Ah, but alas, I suppose Elmer's won't be able to push OpenGLue advertising campaigns for elementary schools now ...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?