Bad Trends: End User License Agreements On Tangible Goods
from the lock-'em-down dept
It appears that the folks making tangible goods have realized what a sweet deal the makers of digital goods are getting with things like the DMCA and click-wrap EULAs. So, they’re doing what they can to set up the same situation for tangible goods so that you never really own what you buy any more. Last week we wrote about the UK looking to ditch the right of first sale on artwork. And now, Copyfight is pointing to a ruling favoring Lexmark saying that they can put an EULA on the side of a printer cartridge box, and if it says you can’t refill it, you absolutely can’t refill it — even though you bought the cartridge yourself and should be allowed to do with it what you want. Lexmark, of course, is no stranger to trying to make use of the DMCA to stop you from doing what you want with the printers you thought you owned. However, they kept losing on that front. It appears this new method of limiting your rights is much more effective. Next up will be new DVD players. Engadget is pointing out that you may soon get punished for tinkering with your DVD player — as the device will call home and cry to mommy that you hacked it, and whoever you bought your DVD player from will have the option of disabling it remotely. It was just a week and a half ago that we worried about when tinkering becomes illegal. We should adjust that, it’s already become illegal in many cases — and companies are loving it. This, despite the fact that each of these moves just makes the technology that much less valuable to consumers.