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No customer is or should be obligated to make obeisance to a company's "sacred" business model.



this company has not taken action to enforce DMCA or any other licensing gripe with the guy, so as yet he hasn't forced to pay obeisance to anything, and he didn't, so that issue is not really on the table.

you are essentially taking the position that the company should be forced to sell its software unbundled with hardware because you would prefer it that way.

Under your logic, the unicorn Uber could be forced to provide their software independently too, why should I have to use Uber's cars if I just want to use their software for scheduling and other market clearing tasks that I want to undertake, including scheduling competitive ride sharing. My headphone broke; I didn't like my Uber driver; how dare they bundle them together.

Now, I actually believe that Uber and other unicorns should not be allowed to become unicorns the way they do because I think we could achieve the same level of innovation in the public interest without monopoly prices. But I don't attempt to get my way by sneering at people and downvoting them.


Your argument is a non-sequitur. Bunnie's lawsuit, and this guy's situation, are not about using something they haven't paid for. In fact, they are about having the full rights to use something they HAVE paid for. You, as someone off the street who would like to use Uber's software, haven't paid for that right. Nobody here is suggesting that businesses should have to sell off their proprietary systems to anyone who wants to buy them.


They didn't sue him, yes. But they did specifically mention DMCA, and that they believe what he did to be illegal. So, at the very least, it was an implied threat. Which he ignored because "<b>if</b> we lived in the US we would have been in breach of the DMCA".

I also don't see anything in that comment saying that they should be forced to decouple software from hardware. What it says is that they shouldn't be allowed to legally prohibit their users from doing said decoupling on their own, if they have the resources and the expertise to do so.

Now, this position does result in their business model being non-viable - if working around such technical restrictions is not illegal, and it's cheaper than not doing so, then there will be a market in workarounds. But I think that is fair - there's no inherent right for some arbitrary business model to be viable, so the market sorts it out. Companies can still try to make it work by utilizing more sophisticated protective schemes that require more effort to break, raising the cost of such workarounds. But if it doesn't work for them, well, they will have to look for a different business model - sell the device at a higher price, say, to mitigate losses from savvy customers that cannot be milked; or rent it out instead of selling.

As to patents and copyrights - these are, indeed, legal tools that enable specific business models. They exist because we as a society (i.e. majority consensus) believe that these are necessary to stimulate creation of certain goods that would otherwise not be created at all - so we have established them as a kind of explicit social contract. One could argue that their present form (terms, especially, and domain of applicability) is not actually agreed upon by the majority; but I think most people agree with the basic principle. They also have some important exemptions, such as fair use, which are also there to ensure a balance between keeping the business model viable, and protecting other social interests.

I don't think that a similar consensus exists with respect to DMCA protections. If you take a random person off the street, and explain them a situation that DMCA makes illegal, as the original post in this thread, the most common reaction is "WTF? This is insane". And I think it's for a good reason - DMCA doesn't really enable any business models that are uniquely suited to producing goods and services that the society needs, and that cannot be produced through any other business model. All it does is provide some opportunity for extra profit. I don't think that most people would consider extra profit for a few businesses to be sufficient justification for very heavy-handed legal restrictions that defy common sense.


look, I am in favor of open systems, right to repair, right to modify, etc. Hell, I'm in favor of the GPLv3 which puts me way to the free-open-copyleft side of 90% of HN. So yes, I am against the DMCA.

What I am objecting to in this thread is the tone of everybody that this one little anecdote concerning the bad luck of one guy with a copy protected system is somehow egregiously bad behavior on the part of one little company. It's not. It is further evidence that we could have a better system without the DMCA etc.

What I'm saying is, when I drive a car, sometimes I speed, and if I get caught, I take my ticket like a grownup, I don't start pissing and moaning about cops, The Man, how I was treated, "we shouldn't have speed limits" etc. which many people I know do. Even though I've seen a lot of bad behavior by cops, I see a lot of bad behavior by a lot of people, many of whom have jobs that I don't want myself.

This thread should be a celebration of somebody's diligent hack around some arbitrary rules. It's not a poster child for the evils of corporate ethics.

People whose blood is boiling over what happened here? I hope they don't own guns or feel like I sped past them too fast on the highway, because I think they're *.ragers, is the argument in favor of rationality I'm trying to make.


But you can still buy a car without signing up for uber.


I want to use Uber's software, just like this guy wants to use the software that came with the hardware that broke.

Look, I agree that I don't like what this company is doing. But I don't like what the unicorns are doing either. I'm arguing for consistency of viewpoint; and in terms of damage, what this company is doing is far less damaging to the economy (and I'm not referring to the damage Uber is doing to taxis, I'm in favor of that, I'm just in favor of a herd of Uber's competing, rather than a single player monopoly run by a sleazebag)




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