The End Of Ownership, Military Edition: Even The US Military Can't Fix Its Own Equipment Without Right To Repair Laws

from the copyright-laws-and-the-military dept

We've written many times about the right to repair and how various companies have basically destroyed the concept of ownership by putting all sorts of post-purchase restrictions on what you can do with the products you supposedly "bought." This began with copyright, but has morphed into other areas as well, including abusive and illegal claims about "warranty void if removed." I still believe that excessive copyright law is to blame for all of this, as physical goods manufacturers looked at the post-sale restrictions enabled by copyright law and immediately began to think of ways to use that on physical items.

This lack of a "right to repair" is showing up in more and more places including, somewhat incredibly, the US military. The NY Times recently ran an op-ed from Capt. Elle Ekman, a logistics officer in the US Marine Corps., expressing her dismay at how the lack of right to repair laws is actually making it difficult to impossible for the US military to repair its own equipment. The whole thing is really stunning.

I first heard about the term from a fellow Marine interested in problems with monopoly power and technology. A few past experiences then snapped into focus. Besides the broken generator in South Korea, I remembered working at a maintenance unit in Okinawa, Japan, watching as engines were packed up and shipped back to contractors in the United States for repairs because “that’s what the contract says.” The process took months.

With every engine sent back, Marines lost the opportunity to practice the skills they might need one day on the battlefield, where contractor support is inordinately expensive, unreliable or nonexistent.

I also recalled how Marines have the ability to manufacture parts using water-jets, lathes and milling machines (as well as newer 3-D printers), but that these tools often sit idle in maintenance bays alongside broken-down military equipment. Although parts from the manufacturer aren’t available to repair the equipment, we aren’t allowed to make the parts ourselves “due to specifications.”

Ekman notes that this problem has gotten worse over time, not just because of companies trying to block the right to actually fix what you own, but because of the trend to push R&D out of the military into the commercial sector, and then for the military to purchase from that commercial sector. When the military built its own stuff, of course it could repair it. But now it relies on standard commercial contracts, which apparently are blocking the right to repair and leaving US service men and women with subpar equipment that could (and should) have been fixed much faster. And Ekman expects the problem to only worsen:

The effects of the right-to-repair paradigm will become only more significant and restrictive as older military vehicles and systems are replaced with equipment that is more complex and involving more electronics. Already complicated equipment designs lead to situations where the manufacturer is the only source for repairs.

Again, this is an issue that reaches far and wide, well beyond the claims of "piracy" or "knock-offs" that some people insist is at the heart of the right to repair movement. When the military has to worry about whether or not it can have the best equipment working properly because of a bullshit commercial contract, we have a real problem:

Fundamentally, service members just want to ensure that their gear is ready to meet mission requirements. While a broken generator or tactical vehicle may seem like small issues, the implications are much larger when a combat ship or a fighter jet needs to be fixed. What happens when those systems break somewhere with limited communications or transportation? Will the Department of Defense get stuck in the mud because of a warranty?

It's well past the time that the right to repair was established as a fundamental right. People who insist on supporting "property rights" are frequently on the wrong side of this argument, by claiming that the "contract right" supersedes the "right to repair." But that's ridiculous and truly an attack on actual property rights and ownership. If you own something, you should be able to take it apart, to modify it, and to fix it, without it violating any contracts or laws.

Filed Under: copyright, end of ownership, military, military equipment, ownership, right to repair


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  1. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 6:00pm

    It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    Isn't the big question why did/does DoD allow such requirements in their contracts? The way I understand how government procurement works, they go for the lowest bidder, and one way to create a low bid is to have an ongoing revenue flow by requiring all repair be done by the manufacturer. However, that is a rather obvious tactic and as pointed out in the article above has a drastic effect on unit readiness. DoD procurement people should be cognizant of that, and if they aren't they should be replaced by more competent personnel.

    I wonder how big the kickbacks were?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 7:56pm

    This seems odd to me since the military has previously ignored intellectual property for its own benefit: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080730/1120081839.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:34pm

    Huh

    I am surprised that language made it into the procurement contract. DOD has itself to blame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Whoever, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:39pm

    Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    You are exactly correct. This isn't a right-to-repair issue so much as it is a catastrophic failure in military equipment purchasing. The contracts should specify that field repairs should be supported and allowed by the manufacturer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Personanongrata, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:52pm

    Boondoggles R' US

    When the military has to worry about whether or not it can have the best equipment working properly because of a bullshit commercial contract, we have a real problem:

    Unfortunately you are approaching this problem from the prospective of a rational person.

    These defense contracts are not mistakes they are the system at work.

    Military contracts and procurement are anything but rational. The system has nothing to do with defense of the nation and everything to do with generating profit.

    The worthless generals/admirals @ the five sided puzzle palace (ie Pentagon) have long ago sold this nation out in search of plumb sinecures sitting on the boards of defense contractors once they retire from feeding to the public trough.

    A cursory examination of some recent military boondoggles:

    LCS, F35, FCS, SDI, SeaWolfSSN, updating nuclear triad

    https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/12/opinion/20100313_Pentagonsb oondoggles.html?_r=1

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from thenation.com a report titled:

    Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed

    In all, at least a mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions between 1998 and 2015 could not be traced, documented, or explained, concluded Skidmore. To convey the vastness of that sum, $21 trillion is roughly five times more than the entire federal government spends in a year. It is greater than the US Gross National Product, the world’s largest at an estimated $18.8 trillion. And that $21 trillion includes only plugs that were disclosed in reports by the Office of Inspector General, which does not review all of the Pentagon’s spending.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/pentagon-audit-budget-fraud/

    Its not as if the nation is suffering from failing infrastructure, record homelessness, exponentially growing debt/deficits or lack of access for tens of millions of people to preventive medical care (amongst a myriad of other issues)

    Nope nothing to see here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 9:35pm

    Well enough is enough. Now the lack of the right to repair is a national security issue and has been for a long time. Its time to stop lollycoddling these greedy corporations and for Congress to get back to work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Dave, 28 Nov 2019 @ 12:00am

    Well, it would appear the US military has just found its next battlefield.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 1:17am

    Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    "This isn't a right-to-repair issue so much as it is a catastrophic failure in military equipment purchasing."

    It's actually both. On the one hand, the military in theory should be getting better deals than civilians if only due to guaranteed bill payment and bulk purchasing. On the other hand, this issue really should exist for either military or civilian contracts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Federico (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 1:21am

    You have it backwards

    Capt. Elle Ekman is hopelessly confused: they seem to think that the military has some intrinsic right to do whatever it is doing.

    The defense budget was created only to distribute federal money to the private corporations, not to make some officer happy. If the corporations couldn't profit off the military, Congress would eliminate the army the very next day, and Capt. Elle Ekman would be unemployed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 1:57am

    Re:

    Not really. The military has always been divided into two groups of people. The group that could not give two fucks if protocol was broken and the group that would marry protocol if they could, then live under constant fear of a divorce.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 2:09am

    Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    I wonder how big the kickbacks were?

    The kickback is huge, and ongoing.

    Senior brass go to work for the military contractors when they retire, thus, they ensure those companies get paid very well. Then, they receive a govt pension and massive wages from the companies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    "This isn't a right-to-repair issue so much as it is a catastrophic failure in military equipment purchasing."

    It's both.

    It's an incredibly shit move by the manufacturer to lend-lease equipment under the fraudulent claim that they're "selling" it. Acting like this should be considered fraud, at the very least.

    And the military needs to dishonorably discharge whatever inept or bribed employee closed a deal which held the entire military hostage to a single supplier. Possibly with a charge of treason thrown in for good measure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    tom (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:46am

    Another aspect of the problem is it is often far easier to go through the long irritating approval process once for a long term combination supply and repair contract then to get a separate contract for supply and many smaller contracts for repair parts, where each contract requires the same long irritating process.

    A lot of this is the result of past criminal purchasing conduct where Congress felt it "Had to do Something". Rinse and repeat enough times and the procurement process becomes the convoluted process we have today where the end user has to fight the system as much they do any enemy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:51am

    Re: Boondoggles R' US

    "The worthless generals/admirals @ the five sided puzzle palace (ie Pentagon) have long ago sold this nation out in search of plumb sinecures sitting on the boards of defense contractors once they retire from feeding to the public trough."

    That almost sounds like the tired old chestnut of the "military-industrial complex". Surely only frothing marxist pinko commies like Dwight Eisenhower could ever believe such claptrap. /s

    But yes, it's been speculated that large sectors of US industry today are essentially subsidized to 100% exclusively through supplying the large US war machine...and that this is one reason why even in times of peace the US budgets its military to a ridiculous level of its GDP. Because if the military ever suffers actual cutback in materials purchase the US economy will tank.

    The official budget of US military spending in 2018 was some 650 billion USD. That's about 40% of the military expenditure of every country in the world, aggregated.

    Still, it's one thing to overspend. Another to pork barrel your way through the military budget.

    The bigger issue here, though, is that in this particular case you now have material which should it break in combat is illegal for the military to repair. There's an argument here that closing a deal like this should invoke a treason clause. I'm not sure Hanlon's Razor is sharp enough to carve a better answer out of the OP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:55am

    The atea to look at is the government and members of it and opposition politicians! If (and i know it's a massive if) there wasn't ad much corruption and self serving or the willingness to help the entertainment industries, where this crap started, the situation would never have evolved to the complete disaster it is now! How any judge, any court could possibly remove from people what they had bought snd change it to become, basically, that they only purcjased a licence and the tight yo use it is totally beyond me! The judges involved in instigating this need stringing up by the balls! Then they need investigating to see what they received, because there's no way they did it for nothing!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 6:14am

    Re: military bureaucracy

    yeah, U.S. military procurement is notorious for imposing massive, complex contract speciifications on vendors ... and could easily add "right to repair" in any & all contracts -- but the military cuts corners when in a hurry.

    And the Military is often unable to repair its many sophisticated systems ... even with a "right to repair".
    It's very difficult to get/train military maintenance technicians for new complex systems -- thus it's very common for vendors to deploy their own employee techs with fielded systems (at huge extra cost to the U.S. Military).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    The problem with the word "Treason" is its thrown around a lot, but rarely is it ever taped or carved across a forehead these days. That should change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Bruce C., 28 Nov 2019 @ 7:36am

    Re: Language

    It's hard to tell from the article or the Op-Ed, but it may be more of a problem with language left out of the contract rather than language put into the contract.

    Contract saying "manufacturer will warrant and provide repair service for x years after delivery of each item..." seems reasonable on its face. The issue comes up if there is nothing stating that the DoD can do its own repairs without voiding the warranty. Or if the contract explicitly states that any repairs done outside the warranty process voids the warranty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Language

    Someone I knew decades ago had to work with/around somewhat similar contract issues. I would be really surprised if there isn't boilerplate in most procurement contracts that allows repair.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Dave P., 28 Nov 2019 @ 11:21am

    Hands tied?

    I thought the military in most countries had specialised engineer regiments to cater for mechanical engineering projects and repairs, etc. Does this mean that where this "right to repair" is a no-no, they are powerless to effect repairs, when spare parts are required to get things up and running again? If stationed abroad, do they still have to ship things back to the manufacturer? The situation sounds totally ludicrous to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 11:55am

    So, as someone who has and continues to supply hardware and software to the DoD.

    • The process is overall, pretty broken. Contractors and DoD are both to blame
    • Generally, fee for development projects (profit) is in the 8%-12% range. That's not very interesting profit margin, so companies have often worked to bulk up the long tail with support contracts and the like (that include those clauses up above)
    • Contractors are better at sliding things into contracts than DoD is to finding them
    • DoD suffers from a lack of contracting personnel, and uniformed leaders rotate out ever 2-3 years, resulting in a lot of inexperienced leaders, each of them attempting to make their mark and check their box toward their own advancement. Like any executive, these folks often override their experienced civilian workforce, with the same mixed results
    • Recently, the pendulum, especially for software, is swinging heavily toward Open Standards/Open Interfaces, or in some cases, government data rights on developed software. They are tired of software lock-in. However, this does change or completely remove the incentive for commercial companies to innovate on their own.
    • DoD work requires substantially more effort. A machine shop, for example, must comply with various IT security and sourcing guidelines to make parts. The IT security stuff is intrusive and hard to comply with, and it's a moving target.
    • Equipment purchased by the DoD is often expected to last for decades. This is completely different than the commercial space. For critical projects, 30 years of electronic parts are purchased at once to ensure supply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 1:29pm

    Equipment purchased by the DoD is often expected to last for decades. This is completely different than the commercial space. For critical projects, 30 years of electronic parts are purchased at once to ensure supply.

    Broken equipment sitting unused in a shop will last decades

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re:

    The real problem is that the Supreme law of the land sits idly by and lets these corporations do unconscienable things for obscene profits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Hands tied?

    This is your corporatized government hard at work ensuring these manufacturers ilk every last nickel from their purchasers regardless of the harm to America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Boondoggles R' US

    I remember Rumsfeld getting up behind a podium of microphones and saying, "$2.2 Billion dollars is missing and we don't know what happened to it."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    nasch (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:37pm

    Re: You have it backwards

    If the corporations couldn't profit off the military, Congress would eliminate the army the very next day, and Capt. Elle Ekman would be unemployed.

    Only if they also eliminated the Marines. ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:18pm

    The felony dmca provisions only apply if done for some kind of financial gain, meaning making money

    So doing that repair in your own home for your own personal use is not a felony because you are not making money

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 6:31pm

    I got an easy solution.

    They can dump the lathes, welders, milling machines and surface grinders on the government auction sites so I can start up a contracted repair facility with reasonable terms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    "I remember Rumsfeld getting up behind a podium of microphones and saying, "$2.2 Billion dollars is missing and we don't know what happened to it.""

    Rumsfeld is a bad example. He could have claimed his ASS was missing and everyone would just think it was rummy being rummy.

    Now if someone with actual competence had made the same statement about 2.2 billion dollars, it would be a no-so-shocking indication of a fundamental flaw in the military, not just that an inept armchair neo-con general was proving as bad at economy as he was at just about everything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    Unfortunately it'd be hard to find a supplier who didn't commit fraud by pretending that lend/lease/licence = purchase. What we actually need is an expansion of fraud law to cover such blatantly misleading and anti-competitive practices. In a government owned and controlled by corporations, good luck with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Given how it's been stacked towards the right lately, that seems likely to continue. Oh, for a SCOTUS fully and completely wedded to the Constitution! They'd have killed this crap off years ago. Is anyone likely to file suit for misrepresentation to get the legal ball rolling on this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Because if the military ever suffers actual cutback in materials purchase the US economy will tank.

    Alas, it's the same story over here in the UK.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    So many people do not understand what exactly it takes to meet the requirements of said crime, they think it means a lot of things that are not so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Language

    In the past, the typical procurement of military electronics required operator manuals written to a fifth grade level and spares for the lrus. As pointed out in prior comment above, there is little chance of shipping it back to the factory when there is a war to fight.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Rumsfeld wasn't horrible.

    There were significant public relations and intelligence failures during his tenure though.

    I don't think torture helped with anything either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    nasch (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    So other than helping get the US into a years long war that killed hundreds of thousands of people under false pretenses and torturing some folks, he was all right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Rumsfeld didn't do anything to civilian aircraft.

    That is not his fault.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    nasch (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    OK, but who said anything about civilian aircraft?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    He also didn't kill the easter bunny. He has that going for him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    GHB (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 5:10pm

    John Deere INTENSIFIES

    When companies abuse copyright law:
    -Sony BMG and FlightSimLabs thought its a good idea to go vigilante over their DRM to spy on users.
    -John Deere trying to monopolize repairs by exploiting how contract EULA laws work.

    It's now getting obvious that now copyright law is now anti-user.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Michael Grimes, 29 Nov 2019 @ 6:51pm

    You have it wrong

    Almost everything the military buys contains MILSPEC parts. This is a government requirement. Replacing a MILSPEC part with a non MILSPEC part is not only illegal, but you could be punished under the USCMJ. MILSPEC parts are guaranteed to meet required specifications for the end item to operate safe and effectively. Often, close tolerances, strength or materials are specified. It has nothing to do with the right to repair. An item is predetermined as to what level of maintenance it requires, and this is broken down part by part. Some things a unit can repair, others a military depot, and lastly a contractor facility. Having served in the military as an officer for over 20 years, and later as a high ranking Civil Servant, I am well versed in military contract requirements. The article is very mistaken as written.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    nasch (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 11:00pm

    Re: You have it wrong

    Some things a unit can repair, others a military depot, and lastly a contractor facility.

    OK, but why? Are you saying the contracts have nothing to do with why a part has to be shipped to the contractor for repair? And Ekman is what? Remembering it wrong? Hallucinating? Lying?

    I remembered working at a maintenance unit in Okinawa, Japan, watching as engines were packed up and shipped back to contractors in the United States for repairs because “that’s what the contract says.” The process took months...

    I also recalled how Marines have the ability to manufacture parts using water-jets, lathes and milling machines (as well as newer 3-D printers), but that these tools often sit idle in maintenance bays alongside broken-down military equipment. Although parts from the manufacturer aren’t available to repair the equipment, we aren’t allowed to make the parts ourselves “due to specifications.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    nasch (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 11:01pm

    Re: You have it wrong

    Having served in the military as an officer for over 20 years, and later as a high ranking Civil Servant, I am well versed in military contract requirements.

    Forgot to mention - the officer in question is a logistics officer, so this topic is right in her wheelhouse. I would tend to believe her over a random officer in some other field.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 12:47am

    USMCJ military code of Justice

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 12:56am

    Re: You have it wrong

    You better believe if a part on a battlefield breaks, no one in their right mind would be thumbing through a stack of receipts to see if some corporation is going to cause trouble if some person tasked to getting whatever it is back online to serve the men and women up front fixes it theirself. When they were finished killing the enemy, I believe they would be justified to turn their weaponry around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    What leads you to believe that one associated with USMC logistics is well versed in the procurement process spanning R&D to Production and subsequent Product Support?

    The individual at 40 makes very good points. The op-ed author does make observations that are not necessarily incorrect, but clearly she was not around in the early 90s or so when numerous policies and procedures came to the fore within the DoD concerning the perceived need to secure participation in the procurement process by commercial companies not generally associated with the defense industry. Had she been she would appreciate that the source of her frustration resides with DoD policies and has nothing to do with the right-to-repair discussion making the rounds in other contexts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    bob, 30 Nov 2019 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    What makes you think congress isn't working as part of the problem here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    Especially if the fix is simply pushing the reset button.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    Wyrm (profile), 30 Nov 2019 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    The bigger issue here, though, is that in this particular case you now have material which should it break in combat is illegal for the military to repair.

    Note that the article explains that it goes beyond just the illegality of it.
    There would likely be an argument of force majeure to be made in court if your hardware breaks in the middle of a war zone and you took necessary steps to repair in order to survive the fight.
    However, the problem is wider as the army can't even train to repair the equipment or to manufacture critical pieces on site. So even if you can have the court waive the charge of "someone made an illegal field repair to save his life and possibly the interests of his country", you might not have anyone with the skills to make the repair in the first place.
    So the situation is way more critical than that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 2:37pm

    Re: You have it wrong

    Also, nobody in the military can be charged with felony violations of the DMCA becuase it is not being done for financial gain.

    What people don't understand is that the felony DMCA provisions only apply, if you are doing it for the purpose of making money.

    That is why, for example, someone who uses one of the many "cracks" to bypass Windows activation to use Windows in the own home, for their own personal use, is not committing a felony, becuase it is for their own personal use, and not for "financial gain".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Michael Grimes, 30 Nov 2019 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    I was a Logistics Officer. not some random officer. I was highly certified in Acquisition Logistics and Contracting.

    It is the military, not some contractor, who repairs what and at what level the maintenance is done. There are some components that are even more strictly controlled that are MILSPEC, and that would be the SUBSAFE components. It is the military that determines what has to be MILSPEC and the sources for procuring the parts. The initial contract does specify the source, but there are sub contractors involved also. It depends what it is and what needs to be done.

    It is the military that decides all aspects of procurement. They write the contract. If the end user is unhappy, they know who their contracting officer is. Contracts can be modded, alternate sources procured and so for. But, the military or anyone else, is not allowed to self manufacture by any means a MILSPEC part. I would say that in most cases, the self manufactured part would fail specification and ultimately result in failure of whatever it was put in.

    The fallacy is that it is the contractor who determines if you can fix the part at your level or not. That is not the case. The military supply system is set up so that each and every part is identified as to what level of repair can be done. Contractors have nothing to say about it.

    The article is so full of bull, it is incredible. I was also prior enlisted, so yes, there was stuff that was broke that I knew I could fix and was not allowed to. That is because the technical order manual for the item described who had to fix it and it was above our rated level of repair. Contractors not allowing you to fix something is only valid if there was a maintenance contract with the contractor. Then that becomes a different issue altogether. Once again, units know who their contracting officer is and also the contracting officer representative (COR). I have been a COR many times. It is the way the MILITARY has set things up.

    The article is not accurate and it is misleading.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re:

    The right of an individual or larger purchaser does not have the right to repair machinery and electronic devices they HAVE PAID FOR. That's how I know that congress is sitting on their duffs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    To have a valid contract, you have to have a meeting of the minds. I can reasonably understand how a 45 page EULA for windows10 might not be possibly understood by 99% of purchasers or end users. Those ties that attempt to bind are not available on the outside of the box anyway. Do you really think most users read that bunk from microsoft?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    Is this the part where you start the Navy Seal copypasta?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    The individual you so ignorantly mock is actually speaking with accuracy, something that on this issue cannot be said of either the author of this article in TD or the Op-Ed in the NYT.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 12:08pm

    Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    Isn't the big question why did/does DoD allow such requirements in their contracts?

    I wonder how big the kickbacks were?

    You answered your own question.

    Remember: Those constant military budget increases aren't for paying soldiers and their families, it's to inflate the profit margins of the industrial complex that supports them.

    Of course restrictions on repairs are going to be in the contracts. It's all for the glory of the shareholders, and why should the politicians care? They aren't paying for it out of pocket. The politicians just take the money needed to pay for inflated costs from the poor, and you can bet that when push comes to shove, the equipment protecting the politicans and the shareholders will be in perfect working order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    nasch (profile), 1 Dec 2019 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    Contractors not allowing you to fix something is only valid if there was a maintenance contract with the contractor... It is the way the MILITARY has set things up.

    I thought that was the point. These contracts are set up in a way that doesn't permit the military to do their own repairs. That's how the military has set things up. I don't see what you're actually contradicting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    I am nearly 100% sure the contracts aren't the problem. This appears to possibly be written from the standpoint of someone who didn't read/right the contracts, doesn't know what the law allows with or without the contracts, or thinks his orders are from the contractors not his chain of command.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    John Lloyd Scharf (profile), 1 Dec 2019 @ 6:05pm

    ...I first heard about the term from a fellow Marine ....

    🄱🄱🄲, 🅲🅽🅽, 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄, 𝓥𝓘𝓒𝓔, 🗣️𝐏𝐁𝐒, 𝗺𝘀𝗻𝗯𝗰, 𝗕𝘂𝘇𝘇𝗙𝗲𝗲𝗱, 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤, 𝗕𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗴, 𝚆𝙸𝙺𝙸𝙿𝙴𝙳𝙸𝙰, 【𝙃𝙐𝙁𝙁𝙋𝙊𝙎𝙏】, 🎼𝐑𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐧𝐞🎶, 𝕷𝖔𝖘 𝕬𝖓𝖌𝖊𝖑𝖊𝖘 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘, 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝖂𝖆𝖘𝖍𝖎𝖓𝖌𝖙𝖔𝖓 𝕻𝖔𝖘𝖙, and 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 ARE FAKE NEWS FOR CONSUMPTION BY🌬️: #DeviousDeviantDemocrats #MarginalizedSocialistMedia, #CorruptCoerciveCollectivists, #PettyPoliticisedPolice #PretentiousPovertyPimps, #MockMacysMarxists, #LatteLimousineLeftists and #SuperciliousSuperficialCelebrities.
    Why do you regurgitate their gossip?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    "read or write the contracts" is what that was supposed to read

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You have it wrong

    Oh hi, Slonecker. I was wondering what happened to you after your PR campaign for Keith Lipscomb turned out to be a wet blanket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 1:36am

    Re: #DimbFuckStormTrumpers

    I love how you brain dead numptys go to all the bother to create a profile to post your brain drool because you are too fucking stupid to post anonymously.

    Also by the way bro, it’s obvious that changing fonts is a skill so far beyond you as to indistinguishable from magic. So you probably should credit the shitposter you copy pasted it from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. identicon
    Annonymouse, 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    Just a note to file.

    Officers are paid almost as well as the politicians.
    Enlisted are bellow the poverty line.

    Guess who is finding themselves on the firing line.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. identicon
    Annonymouse, 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To get the legal ball rolling you first need a rotorooter for the judiciary and a massive dose of Senecot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Annonymouse, 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Language

    Well if there is a war to fight they could always inadvertently drop some ordinances on the residences of the board members.
    At most that would get a reprimand for wasting matereals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    Erm, others might be able to correct me, but I definitely think you have that wrong. Otherwise, wouldn't it be technically legal to set up a site to torrent movies so long as you don't have any ads to generate income?

    The reason it's generally more of a crime to provide a cracking tool than it is to use it is because a) the DMCA specifies the distribution of the tool, not its usage, as being prohibited and b) there are numerous legal reasons for using such a tool without committing another crime. Which is why security researchers and the like always have problems with the DMCA - it's technically legal for them to do certain things but illegal to share the tools required to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 7:43am

    Re: ...I first heard about the term from a fellow Marine ....

    Which term? You put so much effort into formatting your comment (in a way that won't parse in the email notifications that will let people see new comments on a quiet thread), that you forgot to mention the term you're so butthurt about.

    Also, fun fact - hashtags won't work on this site, so you've actually wasted almost every single word you typed. Impressive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Language

    "if there is a war to fight "

    We are always at war.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 8:06am

    Re: ...I first heard about the term from a fellow Marine ....

    This ain't Twimper, dude. There'll be no brown nosing DC politics here!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    YEAH, Baby!! Ouch!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Didn't Donald Rumsfeld sell Iraq a SHITLOAD OF ANTHRAX to use against Iran? That qualifies him as horrible in my book.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Also he got government to ok Aspartame as a sweetner knowing that at 85 degrees fairenheit, some of the ingredients convert to formaldahide in the human body which can't rid itself of the poison. That qualifies him as HORRIBLE in my book.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    "So many people do not understand what exactly it takes to meet the requirements of said crime, they think it means a lot of things that are not so."

    ...You are correct. What best fits the bill under US law would probably be "seditious conspiracy".

    Either way there's an argument to be made for a court-martial with severe consequence when the hamfisted, self-serving or malicious purchase cripples parts of the military.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    "What we actually need is an expansion of fraud law to cover such blatantly misleading and anti-competitive practices. "

    What is ironic is that most common consumer laws DO cover this. It's just that - as illustrated by the John Deere example - copyright overrides many of them. Because THAT is the legislation which is used to circumvent any and all normal provisions of ownership in favor of allowing unrelated third parties to dictate what you may or may not do with what you own.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 3:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    "...the problem is wider as the army can't even train to repair the equipment or to manufacture critical pieces on site."

    I missed that part of it, but you're right.

    Most military, when it comes to materiel, have historically operated according under the creed that "it's not a weapon until every soldier known how to operate and fix it in the field".
    Based on basically every nasty surprise suffered by battlefield malfunctions, ever, in human history.

    Now you have an entire section of gear which is likely to be completely outside the field of expertise of any mechanic or engineer likely to be serving in the field. In this case it was...engines. Nothing important, i'm sure, if artillery, tanks, cranes, ammunition trucks and lifts...stops working and the mechanic spends his time in the field holding a phone and listening to whatever muzak the responsible company likes to torment its customer base with while hearing a sadistic computer-generated voice cheerfully chirping that "...please hold, you are....number 268 in the queue...".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    " Rumsfeld wasn't horrible. There were significant public relations and intelligence failures during his tenure though. I don't think torture helped with anything either."

    Quite a lot of active generals termed him, when they were polite, an "arm-chair commander without strategic competence".

    Less polite versions include battlefield generals uttering a LOT of [redacted]'s.

    So yes, he was horrible. That he is less maliciously inept than many we've come to know under both GWB and Trump is not an excuse for whatabouting old rummy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    "Didn't Donald Rumsfeld sell Iraq a SHITLOAD OF ANTHRAX to use against Iran? That qualifies him as horrible in my book."

    He did. And the chemicals Iraq used against the Kurds.

    Way back when Saddam was the best US ally in the region and rumsfeld was his primary contact in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    John Deere is not a copyright troll.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    I disagree.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    I think he was a US customer not a US ally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83. icon
    nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay fore

    John Deere is not a copyright troll.

    They're a copyright abuser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    I do not think you are implying there is no problem, just addressing a specific point.

    I would add, the living conditions they are provided is sub standard. There have been attempts to correct the problem but the funding was stolen for some other program. Rinse, repeat. The living conditions may meet the standard for poverty, idk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: You have it wrong

    "nobody in the military can be charged with felony violations of the DMCA"

    Would donny pardon them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86. icon
    nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay forever

    The living conditions may meet the standard for poverty, idk.

    I don't think there's a governmental standard for living conditions, other than being fit for human habitation. So relatively free of harmful pests, chemicals, structural dangers, etc. I hope military housing is well above those standards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87. identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 3 Dec 2019 @ 2:09pm

    The Soviets had a term for this: "Monkey Models"

    When selling its equipment to 3rd World Nations, the Soviets would insist that the entire item (airplane, tank, etc.), would have to be shipped back to the CCCP for any repairs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 5:16pm

    Re: The Soviets had a term for this: "Monkey Models"

    There's "right to repair" and "right to keep good relations with your contractor".

    Sometimes those 2 things conflict.

    The contract has to be legal on its face otherwise its not really a contract.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Dec 2019 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It isn't cheaper if you have to pay fore

    "John Deere is not a copyright troll."

    They were some of the first out of the gate with the idea that no one who purchases John deere machinery should be allowed to repair or modify it in any way...

    ...so yes, they have become a copyright troll, imho. They "sell" machinery and then turn right around and insist the guy who paid good money for it still doesn't own what he bought.

    The only difference between john Deere and a traditional copyright troll so far is that they aren't mass-mailing every farmer with a John Deere receipt and asking for reparations on the grounds that MOST of them will at some point have modified the machinery they bought in some way.

    I call them a troll because they abuse the same piece of horribly bad legislation the same way traditional copyright trolls do. Just not so far on the same scale.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Dec 2019 @ 2:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    "I think he was a US customer not a US ally."

    No, he was, in fact, considered the greatest of the US allies, especially right after Iran ended up with Khomeini in charge. Saddam didn't think twice about "containing" the iranian threat. Despite plenty of cautionary US intelligence warnings that Saddam was an out-of-control psychopath the political establishment loved him, especially the republican side...although both sides of the aisle should be held responsible for hand-waving off every early warning.

    As a bit of trivia, Saddam hussein was given the keys to the city by the mayor of detroit.

    He had to work hard and go the distance before the US started distancing itself from him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Dec 2019 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boondoggles R' US

    Then, obviously, you are not a US general.

    I'll take their arguments of Rumsfeld's ineptitude as a commander over yours, any day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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