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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the overactive-legal-team dept.

Portables 268

An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure most Slashdot readers have had occasion to suffer through a hardware manufacturer's terrible website in search of product documentation. It's often hidden away in submenus of submenus, and if your product is more than a couple years old, you probably have to wade through broken links. One guy has been helping to change that; he runs a site called Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, where he collects by hand materials from many different companies and hosts them together in one spot. Now Toshiba has become aware of his project, and helpfully forced him to remove all of their manuals under a copyright claim."

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From the same country, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942039)

where spreading a computer virus is a crime.

Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (3, Insightful)

skywire (469351) | about 2 years ago | (#41942065)

But I'm sure we'll now see a flood of posts from the clueless about how Toshiba "has to defend their patent or lose it".

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (4, Informative)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#41942143)

Copyright and patents are two vastly different beasts.

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942375)

Clueless and pedantic are two slightly different beasts.

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (2)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41942683)

But they are both hungry man eating beasts.

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (4, Interesting)

reboot246 (623534) | about 2 years ago | (#41942813)

Of course a hungry man will eat a beast.

Oh, you meant hungry man-eating beasts!

Now do all of you see the importance of writing correctly?

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942877)

Begone vile grammar nazi! Unless you intend to enlighten us with the finer points of the art of prose, begone!

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (5, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#41942149)

Nah, nah, nah - "May your laptop drop dead" + "and please buy another one from us when it does" - totally different from "drop dead", you're *so* cynical.

(But regarding your body text, I'm sure there will be some clueless parroting of "information wants to be free" too.)

I'm curious - could individuals host single pages, under the Fair Use doctrine? If you have enough individuals doing that, ones who don't forbid an aggregator from reframing their content (whilst hosting none itsef), ...

(And this could be the true use for "Anonymous", not their braindead LOIC DDoS attempts.)

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41942285)

(But regarding your body text, I'm sure there will be some clueless parroting of "information wants to be free" too.)
[...]
I'm curious - could individuals host single pages, under the Fair Use doctrine?

Who is more clueless, the one parroting, "Information wants to be free", or the one calling those folks clueless while advocating the same?

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942167)

Patents must be defended when challenges. Trademarks must be protected to remain. However, copyright is inherent in creating the work in most western laws.

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41942385)

I have a $400 Toshiba "paperweight" sitting in my closet. I sent it in for warrant repair, guess how much it would've cost to fix? You guessed it, $400! 'Eff' Toshiba and their crapware!

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942411)

Not one, but two dunderheads who missed the entire point of the GP's post and just wanted to correct the "incorrect guy in the internet"?? What has /. become?

Re:Toshiba to Customers: Drop dead. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41942647)

... says the brave AC.

Re:Toshiba - Leading Innovation! (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 2 years ago | (#41942403)

I'm not buying a Toshiba again. My current Qosmio is the first and last Toshiba shit I'm ever going to buy (£20/$30 to get the recovery media). Their website is absolutely shocking. Everything is 5-10 clicks away. My laptop's onboard update works like this: Message Alert - Click - Opens a Program - Click on Update list - Click on highlighted Update - Opens a browser with a dead link. So... I have to manually find that update from their website, download, extract, run and I get a message "Wrong version of WinDVD BD." GREAT!! Their last three BIOS updates has kept on throttling down the GPU. The last one (v2.0) prevents Windows 7 from starting up, because 2.0 now introduces a conflict with BIOS' "Enable Fast Boot" option. Sadly I have only two options: stick with it or sell this shit on eBay as 'Like New - barely used.'

Re:Toshiba - Leading Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942711)

Why the fuck do you still have the vendor crapware running on your machine?!

Re:Toshiba - Leading Innovation! (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#41942911)

Funny thing is I'm using Toshiba touchpad software on my workplace Dell, since the Toshiba version has more features (e.g. autodisable touchpad if mouse plugged in).

Unfortunately it also auto-disables the touchpad whenever I enable wireless (which is not that often, so not a big problem for me).

shame (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#41942067)

it's a shame, i was under the impression that toshiba made decent machines

Re:shame (5, Informative)

LoneTech (117911) | about 2 years ago | (#41942105)

They used to. It started to get a bit less reliable somewhere around the 3000 series. At this point they're yet another PC manufacturer short on ideas with a legal department that considers customer hostility a good thing. It seems a common problem when a company grows enough to hire administrative people who aren't involved with the products.

Re:shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942189)

Depends on the class and age of machine, I suppose.

My experiences with Toshiba are from years ago and don't uphold the meme that they build "decent" machines.

1. The company I worked for got one of their early luggable "laptops", the one with a 286 CPU, a 20MB HDD and the orange plasma screen. The first thing that happened was that the tiny cooling fans actually melted in a cloud of blue smoke. Those got fixed. Then the screen died. I think you can see where this is going...
2. Some time later, I had one of their Satellite range of laptops, with a 475MHz AMD, an 800x600 SVGA display and Windows 98. It still works, but during the first months of use, the floppy disk died, the screen developed a distinct horizontal dividing line with the lower half brighter than the upper.

I've sworn off Toshiba since then.

Re:shame (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41942325)

My experiences with Toshiba are from years ago ... The company I worked for got one of their early luggable "laptops", the one with a 286 CPU

You mean, "are from decades ago", right? Intel stopped selling 286s 20 years ago.

Some time later, I had one of their Satellite range of laptops, with a 475MHz AMD

Oh, well, this one is only 13 years old. Yeah, your experience clearly are relevant to the discussion of modern-day Toshiba laptops.

Re:shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942587)

T135-S1310 Owner here. After 2+ years of constant abuse and a couple of drops, My dual-core still works awesome and gets 8+ hours of battery life. YMMV with any manufacturer, get over it.

Re:shame (2, Insightful)

stevew (4845) | about 2 years ago | (#41942303)

How is a company defending a legitimate copyright imply anything about the quality of their machines.

We are all about enforcement of the GPL to protect our rights in the free software movement, yet when a company uses EXACTLY the same laws that give us the freedom to choose alternate software everyone gets up-in-arms about the big bad business pursuing a claim against someone who has essentially stolen their copyrighted work and is using it to make money?

Re:shame (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41942331)

Information just wants to be free...as long as it's not GPLed.

Re:shame (2)

Ichoran (106539) | about 2 years ago | (#41942369)

It implies that even if they make decent machines, you don't want to buy from them because they will use their legal rights to make your life more difficult.

Thanks, but if there's a less hostile option, I'll take it.

Re:shame (4, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#41942555)

I'm not sure he was making money from it. From the looks of his site he doesn't even have ads*. In any event, I'm okay with copyright (I may think it's too long right now but the idea is valid IMO). In this case though, I think Toshiba would be wiser to let him do what it does. They could create a license for their manuals that allow this type of thing if they're really worried about defending copyright. And freedom to choose, means that people can choose not to buy Toshiba because of this. Since companies exist to make money, boycotting them when you disagree with a policy is one of the best ways to influence their behavior.

*He does have a donate button. I don't think that means his site rises to the level of a commercial enterprise but I wouldn't defend that position if you disagree. But I would still think it in the interest of Toshiba's customers (and Toshiba) to let him do this.

Re:shame (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41942751)

How is someone who can't tell the difference between theft and violating copyright, in addition to confusing the difference between declarative and interrogative statements, supposed to be credible on the issue of copyright?

Vote with your wallet (2)

A bsd fool (2667567) | about 2 years ago | (#41942069)

And let them know why. I'm not as anti-copyright as most around here, but this is just stupid. It's not like it's costing them sales; probably saving them money at the end of the day.

Re:Vote with your wallet (4, Interesting)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 2 years ago | (#41942153)

Oh, I dunno about that. I think they're thinking that a) if you can't find the manual, you'll be forced to upgrade sooner (and, incumbant advantage here: if you have a Toshiba, you're probably more likely to pick Toshiba again), and b) by removing the old documentation, they're probably hoping their competition will have a harder time using old documentation against them (e.g., documented limitations, workarounds, whatever). By not being forced to upgrade, they're losing money. By allowing their competition more time to put out laptops better than Toshiba's old laptops and being able to quote their past failures, they're losing money to their competitors.

Either that, or they have a fresh-outta-school lawyer who has not learned that his job involves "marketing".

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 2 years ago | (#41942207)

I'm not sure about incumbency and brand loyalty. There's so little to choose between laptops that, after a sequence of buying from Dell, when their sales people irritated me with their ignorance and unhelpfulness I switched brands.

Toshiba may just not care about the consumer market because they have enough exclusive, or nearly so, contracts with large corporations, and/or, they probably didn't think through the wide publicity that a stupid move like this would generate.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#41942335)

If i couldn't find the manual because the company website was crap, i would be looking to buy a different brand as a replacement. With the exception of Apple, there is very little brand loyalty with laptops - they are all pretty much equivalent and easily swappable.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Trikoloko (801416) | about 2 years ago | (#41942913)

a) if you can't find the manual, you'll be forced to upgrade sooner (and, incumbant advantage here: if you have a Toshiba, you're probably more likely to pick Toshiba again)

Except that I can still find specs, drivers etc for the Infinia 7200 in Toshiba's website, a toshiba desktop...manufactured 15 years ago.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41942165)

The site is probably doing nothing for them. It's doubtful that even a tiny fraction of 1% of their customers will have ever heard of the site or will hear this news.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41942347)

That fraction of 1% probably includes a lot of independent service shops (who know how to use Google). And now they will have to tell customers that their Toshiba is not repairable. The customer may never know why, but it will leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41942399)

How is their Toshiba not repairable because a single site no longer hosts these manuals? It's trivially easy to get these manuals straight from Toshiba at almost no cost.

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942625)

Second reply to a post of yours, although admittedly, the first was to the GP. I agree with you, HP used to send fantastic thick book manuals with their products with diagrams on how to take everything apart. Not anymore. It was nice, but didn't keep people with intelligence from repairing them after the fact.

It's not like it's costing them sales (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41942413)

Sure it is, as if you can fix minor isues with the service manual, you wont have to go buy a new one from them.

Re:Vote with your wallet (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41942633)

The thing about stupidity is it just needs one stupid lawyer who gets a bee in is bonnet about Copyright. The others aren't going to stop him because he's technically legally right.

It's probable that the people who have the power and desire to reverse this decision hadn't heard about it until now.

Re:Vote with your wallet (3, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41942797)

It is actions like this, as well as who is paid, that has turned many people against copyright as an abusive and indefensible theft of the commons.

Thanks Toshiba! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942079)

My present laptop is a Toshiba. Now I know to avoid them when buying my next. There's such a big selection these days, I love it when a company makes my life easier!

Going out of business (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#41942131)

Clearly, Toshiba does not want anybody to use their products any more.

Re:Going out of business (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41942175)

Because having access to manuals on a site that probably next to none of their customers have ever heard is the only way that anyone can use a Toshiba laptop?

Re:Going out of business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942671)

Thank you for the logic sir. No sarcasm intended.

Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942135)

I understand copyright law, and that what this guy is doing is pretty clearly in violation of it, however:
1) the manuals are useless unless you have already bought Toshiba products, so people downloading the manuals are mostly likely your paying customers anyway
2) support is an important aspect of my purchasing decisions, and having easy access to technical manuals makes a big difference, especially for laptops, where getting into them to replace parts or fix things is particularly tricky
3) if people need to resort to a 3rd-party website to get the manual, then you need to fix YOUR site
4) why not get together with other laptop computer manufacturers and SUPPORT the guy in his efforts, rather than discouraging him?

Re:Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (5, Informative)

Capitaine (2026730) | about 2 years ago | (#41942365)

Because Toshiba sells repairs. Or at least sells nice "Toshiba-authorised" stickers to repair-shop which in exchange expect advantages over non authorised shops. It's actually written in the middle of TFA citing Toshiba lawyers:
“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.”

Re:Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#41942429)

ad 4) It is not in Toshiba's interest to run behind 3rd-party sites to make sure they update their outdated manuals.

Also, we have this thing called the "web", which is built by making so-called "links".
Every company, and Toshiba too, has a website where you can select your model and download its manual. Directly from the manufacturer.
https://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/innovation/download_manuals.jsp [toshiba-europe.com]
I can see why you would want for yourself a folder with the laptops you repair, but it's unnecessary to redistribute.

That said, there is no real reason manuals shouldn't be CC BY-ND or at least CC BY-NC-ND.

Re:Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 2 years ago | (#41942697)

Also, we have this thing called the "web", which is built by making so-called "links".

And once the link is a few years old, you can be almost certain that it will be dead. Links are a really shitty way when you want to make sure things stay available.

Re:Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942449)

I think they are doing this for the marketing; imagine, you have a problem with your "older" Toshiba laptop, you go searching online, get to Toshibas site, run through dozens of pages and searchs (each one showing you the new features, capabilities, power, and how the current problem won't exist with a new model) before you get to the information you want.... or, go to one site and get the answer to make your old machine last longer or provide conclusive information that you need to replace your laptop (and mentally, if you find the answer to your problem quickly it probably means others have had that problem and why it was easy to find, and therefore, could actually help you decide to NOT buy the same brand again). Which do you think Toshiba would prefer and which would it want to prevent?

Always follow the money.

Re:Thanks, Toshiba (crosses off purchase list) (2)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41942737)

5) It's copyright, not trademark--by allowing continued infringement they would give up no rights against other infringers, nor other uses of the manuals, nor even against this guy if in the future they changes their mind or he does something that offends them more.

Unless.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41942141)

Unless Toshiba's objection is that if people lose their manuals and cannot easily replace them (on account of a difficult to navigate website), then they might be inclined to more expediently purchase replacement equipment than they otherwise would if people could hold onto their increasingly obsolete equipment because they still have a resource available that gives them all the particulars of operating it, I really have absolutely no idea what Toshiba's problem with this is, unless Toshiba already charges for manuals in the first place.

Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for box (5, Interesting)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942177)

My daughter got a Toshiba laptop as a graduation gift from her grandparents, and a few months into her ownership the keyboard died completely. Toshiba would not allow the device to be returned for repair/replacement under their warranty without first paying a phone "technician" $49 for a "repair consultation". The "tech" was a completely clueless English-as-a-second-language phone center guy. They offered to "refund" the $49 if their phone service did not help (hint - their phone procedures were useless with a broken keyboard). They then offered a $29 box to use to send them the laptop for repair/replacement. This company is pure garbage - they want $78 to replace a laptop keyboard that probably costs $5 or less.

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41942211)

more and more common. I got a motherboard from gigabyte that gave black screens during XP install. they said if I sent it in and they decided it wasn't their fault I'd have to pay hourly. a BIOS update several revs down fixed the problem. Not buying from them again...

I had meant to research to see if this violates (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942289)

warranty law, but I hadn't gotten around to it. I'll bet they would be susceptible to a complaint with my state's attorney general consumer protection office.

Re:I had meant to research to see if this violates (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41942833)

I could have sent it right back where it came from (newegg) for a full refund but I had built my system around it...

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (4, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#41942297)

I am not trying to excuse Toshiba, but if you have had to deal with the general, clueless "public" with computer support, you might have a better understanding of why they (and other companies) are doing that.

I would guess that even more than 90% of all calls to support have nothing to do with a hardware problem. They are typically:

* MS-Windows brokenness
* MS-Windows virii and malware
* Broken third-party software and drivers
* Broken third-party hardware (chargers, cables, drives)
* Users that don't understand how basic stuff works (connecting WiFi, booting, burning discs, copying files)
* Users who have hosed their machines by doing stupid stuff

That, unfortunately, means a HUGE expense to computer manufacturers, and those costs were traditionally plowed right back into the sticker price of everything they sold. In a fiercely competitive industry, companies are looking for ways to cut their prices as much as possible. Support is the first target. (And the second seems to be machine quality).

The people like the Slashdot crowd are now forced to pay the price for the changed ecosystem- we have to put up with stupid front-line "support" levels that are not support, and pay stupid fees that to try and filter out the bad apples. The assumption is that every caller to a support center is an idiot.

There are times I wish that computer professionals could carry some type of "license" that would allow them to skip the normal channels and jump directly to support people that really are support.

Maybe you are right. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942327)

Seemed like a scam to me, however. If you're going to manufacture a product, I think that warranty law requires that the expense for under-warranty repair falls to the manufacturing company.

Re:Maybe you are right. (2)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#41942373)

But they are probably filling the loophole by making the fees "refundable" if it really is a warranty related issue. It is sleazy, indeed.

Re:Maybe you are right. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942409)

Yeah, I'm sure they have corporate lawyers working overtime to make this scam fit within a loophole.

Re:Maybe you are right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942483)

Car manufacturers do this too, got a problem, call it in, they tell you it's a $49.00 investigation charge and if something "under warranty" is found then the $49.00 is refunded. I have brought my vehicle in three times, twice I got the $49.00 back, the third time I didn't since it was the battery that died (after 3 years)... I wanted to fight it but didn't have the time at the time. Anyways, that was pretty much the last straw, I don't use the manufacturer services anymore.

Re:Maybe you are right. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942743)

Yeah, but you don't pay the car dealer before the repair guy even pops the hood. Usually the $49 or whatever is charged when you pick up the car in my experience.

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942299)

You know, I have a Toshiba's video k7 player that never worked right and was and always returned of the guarantee with the same problem until the warranty period expired. None uses video k7 today but I didn't throw away this machine to remind myself to never buy anything from Toshiba. Sorry for a AC post, but I'm a lazy man.

Yeah, I would pay the extra $50 (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942353)

for a decent product from a decent company.

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41942529)

That's odd. I also live in TX, Houston to be precise, and a three years ago purchased my mother a new 17" Toshiba. I installed GNU/Linux on it right out of the box (previously having verified that it would work with with the OS). I did have to compile the wireless driver, which was available from Toshiba's support website... While there I also noted that the fingerprint reader driver was available for my own Laptop (and it works neatly too, just swipe finger after "sudo"). While copying a lot of music files from an NTFS USB HDD (spinning disk w/ enclosure, not SSD), Linux would seize up. On Windows7 (it's dual boot you see), the file transfer would only use one core, and go slow as molasses, but Linux used multiple cores and thus the ETA was 1/4th the time to do the transfer -- Except it kept locking up mid transfer (a few gigs in). I thought maybe there was something wrong with the hardware -- bad CPU, or the chip was overheating, etc. I called for support, which cost me nothing, told them the issues, and they sent me a box to return the unit with for free. A few days after mailing the machine in a Tech called me and asked for the password to log into the Linux account. He had stress tested the chip, and since the HW wasn't at fault wanted to diagnose the real problem. Turns out the freeze-up was a kernel panic caused by a race condition flaw in the NTFS-3G filesystem module. The Laptop was mailed back, also free of charge, and to work around the issue I limited the file transfer process to a single core / single thread. (Of course I did a full wipe & re-install after getting the machine back, since the PW had been forked over).

I like that Toshiba contracts with companies to provide open source drivers for their hardware, and that they have techs that can actually diagnose problems, even ones not related directly to their hardware.

If you ask me, it's pretty fucking strange that our experiences would be so damn different. Have they changed so much in such a short time?

Yeah, I was shocked. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942635)

I'm wondering if three years really did make that much difference. I've had their products in the past, and had not run into any trouble. But I talked to the support "tech" and the supervisor, and they told me it was policy. It may also be that your problem occurred immediately - I think they have staggered levels of support, depending on how long out from purchase.

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942651)

THIS type of service is one reason why I love my Apple products. Any time I have had problems, I get service by a person based in the USA and they take care of the problem leaving me completely satisfied. This is part of the premium which one pays when buying an Apple product from Apple (not a 3rd party). I've had devices have problems and they swap it with a new product (but if you bought the product through a third party such as Amazon, you need to go through that third party, so pay the extra and go with Apple).

I also try to buy other products where possible which have excellent US-based support (sadly challenging) or buy from places with a generous return policy (such as from Costco).

Companies like Toshiba are out of touch with consumers and consider post-sales support to be a bother and cost which they'd rather not take on. They produce second-rate products with third-world documentation and support.

My friends in LA bitch and moan about Apple (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942719)

repair service taking too long, leaving them without a working computer or phone for a week or more, making them make an appointment several days ahead of time to see a repair tech at the Apple store. Is this peculiar to LA that people have this problem? This is one reason I've stayed as far as possible from Apple products (other than the walled garden, overpricing, patent abuse, etc).

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942741)

My wife spilled tea on her Toshiba. I found a manual online, bought a replacement keyboard off flea-bay, and fixed it myself for $35.

Re:Toshiba charges $49 for warranty call, $29 for (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942755)

Yeah, I should have done that. Would have at least saved me the irritation.

You should check first (2, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41942195)

Obviously if you publish or distribute some work you did not craft yourself, you should ask the owner first.
If only for politeness sake.
How would you feel if I published an old pdf from you without asking or informing you?

Re:You should check first (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41942745)

How would you feel if I published an old pdf from you without asking or informing you?

I would feel grateful for keeping the dream alive.

What's left? (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41942213)

Now that Lenovo, HP (and subs), and Toshiba have gone to shit, what's left? Acer or Asus? And what's with these dastardly companies trying so hard to keep people stupid about the machines they buy. HP and Lenovo put hardware blacklists in the BIOS, and Toshiba doesn't want anyone knowing what's beneath the hood. I always valued Toshiba as an indestructible and slightly buggy laptop, and they've always been an option if something better couldn't be found. Now, they are not an option. I fear though, at this rate, I am nearly out of options, with two remaining. But I won't support a tyrant. I can't help wondering what these shitbags would have to lose from some guy helping maintain the machines they've relinquished for cash. I guess they'd lose the opportunity to abuse the law, and that's fucking irresistible it seems.

Who's gonna be the next technoid rabid super-lemming to follow suit?

Are they obligated by contract? (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | about 2 years ago | (#41942217)

Do Authorized Toshiba Technicians (whatever that entails) pay Toshiba for exclusive access to the documents?

stupid move (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942227)

Toshiba (and HP, and compaq) have been off my list is worthy of consideration laptop manufacturers for a long time now. It is worthless to have a PC for which you can only get graphics drivers from the OEM, and said OEM conveniently discontinues support for them long before nvidia/AMD does.
This kind of dick move with the manuals won't do them any good, what the hell are they trying to achieve here?

Re:stupid move (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41942237)

This kind of dick move with the manuals won't do them any good,

It also won't do them any real harm. Oh no! Some obscure Australian website no longer can have downloads for Toshiba manuals. I'm sure they'll lose TENS of sales over this!

Toshiba and Legacy Product Support (4, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#41942241)

Ah yes, Toshiba and their wonderful legacy support.

The company that dropped all their support info down the memory hole without warning, when they exited the digital camera business back in 2004. All the manuals, software, firmware, and FAQs simply disappeared their site. I discovered this when I had to upgrade the firmware in one of my old cameras to address SD card compatibility issues (at the time it was already technologically obsolete in many ways, but had excellent quality optics). Only place that still had the firmware was a 3rd-party driver site with the flashing procedure instructions written in Chinese. Fortunately, the firmware itself turned out to be in English.

Toshiba eventually re-entered the camera business, but any information from their earlier generation of cameras is gone. If you want any downloads or manuals, Toshiba re-directs you to a third party telephone support service that charges $19.95 for assistance. Actually, that fee might be behind the removal of their laptop manuals as well -- whatever outsourced agency Toshiba dumped their legacy support info to, wants to be paid for that info.

keep searching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942243)

you will find it somewhere
maybe even a torrent site

Wayback Machine To The Rescue Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942251)

Fortunately the Wayback Machine allowed me to get copies before they disappear for ever.

Copyright violation (1)

mutube (981006) | about 2 years ago | (#41942259)

This is clearly a copyright violation as the law currently stands. But I think you could make a good argument for user manuals - that are only of value if you have a product to begin with - should not be covered under copyright.

Fair use exception to copyright law (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942307)

allows for archiving. I don't know how this Toshiba manuals does not fall within the archiving exception?

Re:Fair use exception to copyright law (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41942379)

Because the guy is in Australia and US Fair Use exceptions have no bearing there? It's possible that Australia's "fair dealing" exceptions don't cover archiving.

But, the Australian fair dealing exception (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41942441)

allows for "fair dealing provisions for the purpose of research and study" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_dealing#Australia). I would imagine that a liberal interpretation of Tim's Laptop use could fall within that exception. Although, I'm sure Toshiba's corporate lawyers would argue that he's not doing research - he's providing a commercial service for paid computer repairmen.

Re:Copyright violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942439)

If this is a "clealy" a violation of US copyright law then US copyright law is clearly a broken system and Martin Luther King has made all the argument ever needed for disobeying it. Unjust laws can only stand when good men and women allow them to and we are morally obligated to disobey these laws in the most public manner possible to draw attention to their injustices.

That Doesn't Sound So Smart (2)

0101000001001010 (466440) | about 2 years ago | (#41942265)

Mental note: Toshiba laptops are now worth less because the manuals will be harder to come by.

Don't buy Toshiba, it is clear the company sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942279)

If the company deliberately sets out to make dealing with
one of their products more difficult, then FUCK THEM.

Forget RTFA... RTFHL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942313)

My ability to quickly scan headlines on slashdot has become corrupt. I see a company name, a word starting with a capital A, and the word copyright/patient. This caused me to read only the end of the headline. I had to do a double take because I was thinking Toshiba was taking on Apple due to patient violations in which documentation is made available via a website.

Don't worry, more than one way to skin a cat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942333)

Tim's not the only one to run into this problem with old hardware drivers, software, and documentation, and more than one someone, somewhere has Toshiba laptop archives available. Maybe it was Tim, but at least one person made a Toshiba laptop torrent available. I've had a copy for years. Time to reseed, maybe.

Wasn't a damn thing wrong with old-school manufacturer ftp support sites. Are web designers that hard up for work, or is this more corporate shyster driven?

They made Americans train their replacements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942351)

...then fired them. http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2003-08-24/too-many-visas-for-techies
Buy Toshiba if you like, but Karma is a b*tch.

Oh and nothing against Indians, Russians, Ukrainians, etc.. they deserve to eat too. But IMHO, they need to be worrying about making their own g'dmned countries more efficient rather than being dumba*ses and logging-in over the Internet with fake accents and no practical basis to apply their technical skills from their alien environment. If Toshiba can hire a PhD in Computer Science for $15/hr over the Net ..they're not going to invest in local schools and universities and our local population (over the course of 15 years!) will become coffee servers meanwhile the PhD overseas shows up for work on a bus, carrying 10 (human) viruses and works in a disgusting BO-filled environment in between power failures --because they're organized like parasites and only do the minimum for themselves to keep the wire-transfers coming. Meanwhile, our guys, like that one in the article, can't draw a dime of Social Security 'til they're 68 (probably 75 by the time the adjustments are worked out) --and they now get to compete with the children the under-funded schools are turning out to serving coffee.

Recently worked on toshiba laptops (1)

arekin (2605525) | about 2 years ago | (#41942393)

Well I'll never buy Toshiba products. I recently downgraded two friends toshiba laptops (an a205 and an a215) from vista to windows xp pro. While I'm cool with the idea that Toshiba did not support the downgrade, I thought I could at least find the documentation on their website to figure out what the hardware was.

Yeah, that did not come close to happening.

Thanks to third part sites that organized the documentation, I was able to find the data sheet for both laptops and ultimately got the drivers for both laptops. I now already hate working on a Toshiba laptop because of this experience, I definitely wont be purchasing one, or recommending my friends purchase one if they expect me to fix it when it breaks.

Ok, one more company to avoid (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41942397)

They want to be like that, dont give them your money.

Fuck Toshiba (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 2 years ago | (#41942431)

I've been using & repairing PCs & laptops for over 20 years & I've never touched a Toshiba that wasn't a flaming piece of crap. Even the $4k QOSMO one of my customers had was complete junk.

I wouldn't keep a Toshiba Satellite around if it was given to me free & new.

It's All About Liability (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | about 2 years ago | (#41942463)

The lawyers are concerned that a manual might be altered in some way and that a customer who downloaded an altered manual might suffer harm because of it. The customer could then sue Toshiba and claim that since they knew the site existed and was hosting their manuals that they had an obligation to ensure that the manuals were accurate.

It's paranoia in the extreme, but attorneys are paid to be paranoid. They need someone else to reign them in, and apparently in this case, that hasn't happened.

This sucks, but his website isn't a solution (1)

hessian (467078) | about 2 years ago | (#41942497)

It's great he was archiving these manuals, and it might be foolish for Toshiba to demand they be removed. However, his website isn't a solution either.

Manuals get updated and it's important to have the current versions. Furthermore, they may contain information that companies don't want to let out of their control.

A better idea would be some kind of standard for websites, like a cultural convention that every website has a "support" menu option and under it a "documentation" option that leads to a search blank and PDF archives of all manuals they ever printed by model number.

If we can convince companies that this is a good idea, and convince customers to expect it, that's a better long-term solution than this litigation nonsense.

Re:This sucks, but his website isn't a solution (1)

FuzzyHead (86261) | about 2 years ago | (#41942667)

I don't think I've ever seen a laptop manual that's been updated. I've seen many of other technological product manuals get updated, cnc machines, medical equipment, etc. Has anyone seen a laptop manual that's been updated?

Dammit toshiba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942523)

Stop being a shithead. I'm running out of companys i feel willing to support anymore.

It's not a whos a bigger douchebag contest. Its a business. And having your customers like you and being able to get support on toshiba is a GOOD thing.

Manuals should be available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942579)

It's so hard finding documents for hardware and firmware upgrades. I always research the companies using hardford analysts to make sure that the company have old documents and firmware upgrades of their products. It's so physically painful trying to find old documents. I'm glad that harrtford is absorbing all the physical pain for me.
 

Way to go Toshiba! (1)

mombodog (920359) | about 2 years ago | (#41942611)

A great way to Spur sales of your new products, what are they thinking. I have a list of companies I do not knowingly buy from, it just grew by 1 today.

First Page Notice (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about 2 years ago | (#41942793)

If I were this guy, I would put this in the front page of every search of "toshiba" on its site.

"Oh! You're looking for the manual for the Toshiba Satellite XXX. We had that, but Toshiba itself told us to drop it from this site because they think that your computer is SO OLD that it's already discontinued. Good luck finding it in Toshiba's site (link goes here to some goatsy picture)"

Toshiba is crap anyway. (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41942805)

Just don't buy them. Recommend/review against them. Refuse to support them.

Then let's see what their copyright is worth.

Well then.. (2)

h8sg8s (559966) | about 2 years ago | (#41942837)

I guess this helps me with my decision on a new laptop. HP it is..

Clearly people do not understand (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#41942861)

From a liability perspective, it is obvious why they would shut this down.

While it would never occur to most people on this site, please understand that once you have other people in control of your documentation and distributing it, they can do whatever they want with it. There is no assurance that a manual hosted on a third-party site is in fact the original manual as published by Toshiba.

So imagine the scenario where someone hosting such a copied manual adds a page that implies that certain persons of an African descent (referred to only by the "N" word) cannot possibly use Toshiba computers because they are too stupid. Of course nothing else, including the Toshiba copyright page, is changed in this manual. This page comes to the attention of some politically connected person who launches a very public tirade about the racist people at Toshiba. How much do you think it would cost Toshiba to get out of this sort of a problem?

Why would someone do this? Well, a better question might be why wouldn't an irate customer do this? Any large company would find itself nearly defenseless against this sort of an attack. The only pre-emptive defense possible is to keep a very tight control over anything they publish so they can easily disclaim any rogue documents as clearly being malicious alterations as opposed to something that was discovered by a whistleblower.

The Internet makes this sort of thing possible and even makes it possible for such things to be done anonymously and nearly untraceably.

Email to ToshibaPR@accesspr.com (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41942977)

Hello,

I am in the market for a laptop, which means I am reading quite a bit as part of
my research as to which laptop to eventually buy. You can imagine my surprise
when I ran across this:

http://www.tim.id.au/blog/2012/11/10/toshiba-laptop-service-manuals-and-the-sorry-state-of-copyright-law/ [tim.id.au]

It seems Toshiba has decided that non-commercial distribution of product manuals, which
is a thing that would actually HELP the owners of Toshiba laptops, is not allowed:

âoeYou do not have permission [to disseminate Toshiba copyright material] nor will it be granted
to you in the foreseeable future.â

I most definitely won't be buying a Toshiba laptop, nor will I ever purchase any other
Toshiba products. Your policies are anti-consumer and hurt those foolish enough to spend
their money with your company.

Further more, numerous examples of other of Toshiba's anti-consumer policies, are found
in public comments to an article linked here:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/11/10/1334221/toshiba-pursues-copyright-claim-against-laptop-manual-site [slashdot.org]

Thank you so much for publically stating Toshiba policy. It leaves me with quite clear
reasons as to why I will never purchase Toshiba products.

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