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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I happen to have a Vision:M player, so thanks for the tip!

Certainly a license agreement shouldn't be imposed on you after the fact, but if you agree to an open-ended license in the first place, you've pretty well left yourself open. So yeah, caveat emptor and all that.

By the way, how on Earth is a digital recording of public FM broadcasts any different than tape recording the same broadcast? Or recording a broadcast TV show on your VCR? The potential copyright violation is in the commercial rebroadcast of the material, not in the original recording for personal use.

So while I have never used the FM recording function of my player, and don't anticipate ever really needing or wanting to, it is a bit disappointing that a company is caving in to that kind of pressure because of potential misuse of a feature, rather than the RIAA going after the actual misuse. You can't have a drunk driver without a motor vehicle, either... perhaps then we should ban cars? The same basic logic is at play here.

On the other hand, this firmware update is NOT mandatory. So this isn't exactly a "concrete example" of what you're warning about. It's just an example of a feature being removed from future versions of a product. So it sucks, yeah, but it doesn't really rise to the level of the sacking of Troy!

Would you agree that nearly all Click-wrap End User License Agreements for software are imposed after the fact? You don't get to review them before you buy them and open the box and stick the installation CD in. But you don't get to use the product if you don't click "I Agree" and the store doesn't accept returns of open software. And it is further irksome because they are trying to apply these kind click-wrap agreements to all kinds of non-software products.

Yes, it is true that in this case the company doesn't have much leverage to get you to update the BIOS. But if it were an item like a TiVo or a computer with automatic updates, you wouldn't have a choice not to install. And if it were a product like an iPod which is strongly linked to an online service like iTunes, they could say "you must update in order to continue to use iTunes."

So it isn't the worst possible case of a consumer buying a product and then later the manufacturer taking away features you paid for, but it is a concrete example of just that. And what happens if you need to update your player to make it interoperate with a future Windows XP2010 or something?

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