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flarn2006

LabVIEW's "hidden" decoration styles

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NI doesn't make the law. (That would be silly.) Say I created a game, and I put in the license agreement that you weren't allowed to make mods for it. (For the record, I would never actually do that, as you may have guessed.) Someone made a mod for it anyway. Now if they were selling it, maybe even giving it away for free, I might be able to claim they're violating my copyright. (Without copyright law, software licensing is meaningless.) If they just modified the software on their own computer and played it like that, I wouldn't be affected in any way.

 

Doesn't it sound funny in your own ears: License agreement, and then breaking that agreement? Why do you think it's up to you to decide which parts of the agreement to follow and not to follow? That is the main point, I think, that irks us on this board; that you display such indifference to violating a contract that you have signed. I would never hire a guy like you, if I found such statements as yours on the internet. I simply wouldn't trust that you would honor any agreement that we made.

 

Sure, software licensing is up for a major change over the comming years. That probably goes for large parts of the digital media usage legislation. But until that happens you have an agreement with your software vendor, no matter if you have paid for that software or it's free.

 

One of the much talked about things currently is if you actually have the right to resell "used" software. My opinion is that you should be allowed to, but many software vendors disagree. Several large companies are in the process of changing their licensing schemes so you lease their software for a limited time (20 years for instance), in which case you definetely cannot transfer your contract to a third party.

 

So, probably nothing bad will happen if you don't tell anyone what you do, but it's definetely a problem if you involve others. And even if you keep it exclusively to yourself it's still a violation, it's just not one with a high risk of getting spotted by anyone.

 

I know cars are overused in analogies, but if I buy a car, and the manufacturer of the car says in the manual I'm not allowed to modify their copyrighted design by painting it another color, I can still do so. It's still my car. If the manufacturer goes that route with the copyright, they might be able to prevent me from then selling my car, but otherwise I can modify my car however I want. (as long as it's not violating any laws that would exist anyway.)

 

Anybody can put anything into a contract as long as it's not violating any other law, and if you sign that contract (for instance when buying a car) it's binding. Using your analogy; Porsche had a very special paintjob on a very small number of 911s a year or two back, where they put in the buyer's contract that they were never allowed to repaint the car, and any damages to the paint should always be taken to the Porsche factory for repair. Nobody else are allowed to touch up that paintjob. That's a legal contract, and I expect those select Porsche owners are thrilled by owning such a special car :).

 

As long as there's no damages, I fail to see how any legal action could be possible.

 

You break a contract. Contracts (your trustworthyness basically) and money are two things that glue the world together. It's taken very seriously when you mess with either.

 

And damages? One could think up a number of possible damaging outcomes from you looking at source code you agreed not to look at for instance; You could get technical inspiration that made you rich in a couple of years - you could even turn out to become that software vendor's biggest competitor in the market. It could be even worse than that. A slight mention of how to break a licensing scheme (just wisper "MD5" and "Calypso algorithm" in the wrong forum) could potentially mean that some poor sole sold 5 instead of 5,000,000 licenses of his or her software. There are many many real world cases that supports this statement; Nero Multimedia, Winzip, Ghisler (makers of Total Commander), and IDM (makers of UltraEdit) for instance.

 

/Steen

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I would definitely consider hiring a guy like Flarn.  

Many moons ago scripting was taboo too.  That did not stop

some of the more intrepid LV'ers from using it and proving to NI

that it should be a released interface.

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I would definitely consider hiring a guy like Flarn.  

Many moons ago scripting was taboo too.  That did not stop

some of the more intrepid LV'ers from using it and proving to NI

that it should be a released interface.

 

Scripting wasn't taboo, just hidden. While one could argue that adding an undocumented INI key to a configuration file might be already a violation according to the DMCA, breaking a password protection that is not super trivial to guess, definitely is and could be taken to court. Heck as I understand DMCA, doing anything that the software vendor simply has said "Don't do it!" is already a violation. And NI didn't make the DMCA so it is indeed not them who make the law. Nevertheless the law is there for them to use, only in the case of the VI password website it does not fall under the DMCA, but Germany has also some laws that go into that direction.

 

I have a feeling that the only reason NI hasn't really done to much about this so far, is that they didn't think forcing a lawsuit after the fact is doing much good, both in terms of damage control as well as being the big bad guy going after a poor user. I'm sure they would have much less hesitation to go after a corporation trying to use this in any way and most likely have done so in the past already.

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Lucky for him then :).

 

There is a big difference between using a hidden feature at your own risk that didn't violate any license agreement, and breaking a feature that could potentially invalidate the code security of NI's customers.

 

But it doesn't upset me that much that flarn2006 wishes to look into how stuff like password protection is implemented, and maybe trying to defeat it. H***, all us techheads here probably have that urge in us, and we have done it in some form or another once in a while. We just have to look at how this or that works. Yes, that's an appealing trait. But it comes with a big responsibility, and that is where I feel the chain comes of. flarn2006 (what's your name really, I'd like to be able to call you something more human-like :)) doesn't acknowledge this responsibility. Now he has asked in a couple of different threads if it's OK or not to tell people how to defeat the password protection. He seems to genuinely believe it is up to himself to decide which parts of a license agreement he may break, and he can judge all by himself that this is a feature that nobody but NI wants.

 

I think the password protection scheme is a big deal. It can be broken, it's not that hard. I've seen it done numerous times over the years, it's not rocket science, so there's nothing to prove here. Only a skewed morale. If some of my (commercial) code ends up in his hands, I'll expect him to attempt to break into it, and I'll expect him to feel righteous doing it. But I'd be feeling robbed. So no, I wouldn't hire him, but I'd keep him real close if he was in my circles...

 

He's by his own account only 19, so he can still change his views of course. Or he could be the one writing the next trojan that kills my backup servers...

 

/Steen



...some poor sole...

 

Did I really write "sole"? :lol:. Don't feet the trolls I must add then...

 

/Steen

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