MUST READ: Sysinternals Licensing Change

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RyanVM
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MUST READ: Sysinternals Licensing Change

Post by RyanVM » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:19 am

It was pointed out to me today that Sysinternals has changed their licensing policy in such a way that what we're doing by including the programs in our addon packs is almost certainly in violation of their licensing terms. As a result, I'm asking all of you who've created addon packs which include Sysinternals products to remove them ASAP. If they aren't removed within the next day or so, I will manually lock/remove threads and posts which link to the products.

I will be contacting Sysinternals to find out what such a license for what we're doing would cost. Depending on the price, I may be willing to purchase a license for the greater good (your donation dollars hard at work ;)).

Thank you for your cooperation.
Last edited by RyanVM on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Kelsenellenelvian » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:03 am

HOLY SHIT!!! Ok I am on it chief...

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Post by Xable » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:18 am

Damn.. i saw they changed the readme to a euala but never actualy read it lol..

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Post by Mrs Peel » Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:16 am

Wow this is a blow. Russinovich is my tech hero so I'd hate to do anything to direspect his work.

I wonder if he would consider letting us do what we do for no licence if you explained that these are only for individual home PC's? They might certainly be more amenable to that as a request since you have been so respectful to desist with systernal addons the moment you heard of their new licence policy.

I would also suggest making a point that we update them immediately upon new version, in case they are concerned that older versions of their utils are in circulation around the net. I know many software developers insist you only download from their own website for that particular reason.

Maybe come straight out and offer them a donation on behalf of the entire website even?

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Post by RyanVM » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:27 am

My hope is that I'll be able to purchase a license for my site which would cover any addons hosted by it. I'm awaiting their reply, so we'll see.
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Post by keytotime » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:28 am

Damm, that sucks. There goes half the packs.

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Post by RogueSpear » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:48 am

Ok, guess I'll strip it all out..

EDIT: My update pack addon is unavailable for download until this issue is resolved. The download link has been removed.
Last edited by RogueSpear on Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by RogueSpear » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:10 am

If they are willing to grant a "license" or some sort of permission and it's going to come with a cost, I'm willing to throw in $50 towards that cost.

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Post by leelamb » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:45 pm

I too will donate. Awaiting the news.
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Post by RyanVM » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:42 pm

Here's a partial snippet of the response I got from Sysinternals today:
To be clear, like the new licensing, our original freeware licensing terms did not allow distribution of our products. We have always required that each user download the product directly from our website for use on a computer.

I appreciate your pro-active approach to our licensing terms.

Based on the user feedback that we have received about our updated licensing terms, we are currently discussing the various paid license options that we will offer. We expect to have formalized options within a couple of weeks.

I will send an updated email with our paid licensing options once they are available.
So, I'll let you guys know as soon as I hear something.
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Post by RogueSpear » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:49 pm

You know this whole thing got me to finally sit down and read the various agreements, EULAs, etc etc for all the things I include in my update addon pack. I've been in violation with pretty much every single thing in there.

Personally, I don't need the grief. And I don't want any part of bringing on problems for anybody here. So it's official - I'm permanently discontinuing the RogueSpear Update Addon Pack.

I'm going to seriously consider taking down all of my installers as well.

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Post by RyanVM » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:54 pm

The only thing I've ever gotten explicit permission to include was Unlocker. I actually did email the creator of that to ask his permission. And I know for fact that MS is aware of my .NET installers seeing as how I've actually been in touch with an MS employee about it in the past (as I've mentioned before).

I'm guessing at some point in the future myself, Siginet, Xable, and others will want to collaborate on addon pack maker batch scripts or something. It wouldn't be too much work to post the INF and INI files (which aren't in violation of the EULA) along with scripts which compress the files and the final CAB from files the user downloads on their own.

I personally don't have anywhere near the time to initiate such a project, but if someone else feels the urge to try it, be my guest :P
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Post by cybpsych » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:54 am

i was thinking about that addon pack maker too when Kel removed the SysInternals' appz in his pack ...

instead of us requesting to get a ready-made addon pack, it'd be wise to develope a universal pack maker for end-user.

this way, end-users will have unlimited choice of creating their own custom packs without being restricted by the authors here :)

thinking that, it would also be very hard to code a pack maker that will universally accept different appz/utilities out there ... can't imagine the flooding of posts asking solutions (extracting, tweaking, editing, etc.) :)

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Post by Acheron » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:44 pm

Don't stare blind at the EULA.

Remember by making an add-on your not the End-User. That's the one actually using the software or accepting the Eula Terms.

I'm currently working on a custom Nero 7 installer. I don't accept the EULA, as most of it isn't liable in my country.

I do deliver the EULA with the custom installer and users who actually install the package do need to accept it. I'm also offering the package free of costs.

AS most of you are not End-Users you don't have to worry about it distributing free available software. Just respect the Author, and don't make profit of it.

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Post by RogueSpear » Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:37 pm

I'm not a lawyer, but I sure wouldn't hang my hat on that. Many EULAs, SysInternal's specifically, state quite clearly what you can and can't do. Granted, some other EULAs are not nearly so obvious, with all sorts of double negatives and heretofores and therewithins.

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Post by dumpydooby » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:26 pm

RogueSpear wrote:I'm not a lawyer, but I sure wouldn't hang my hat on that. Many EULAs, SysInternal's specifically, state quite clearly what you can and can't do. Granted, some other EULAs are not nearly so obvious, with all sorts of double negatives and heretofores and therewithins.
The thing is, though, when ONE clause of an EULA invalid (due to local laws), then the ENTIRE contract is void. At least that's how it is in the US.

For example, companies have been known to put clauses stating that the EU is not allowed to install software made by a competitor. In the US, that clause voilates our antitrust laws. Consequently, the entire EULA is void.

So you could try looking for such clauses in the EULAs (but asking for permission is always nicer). ;)

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Post by RogueSpear » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:55 pm

That's also an invitation for a cease and decist letter - if you're lucky. I can't say for sure, but I sincerely doubt that anybody here is independantly wealthy to such a degree that they wouldn't blink at having to finance some sort of legal defense in a civil case.

Some people are generous and carefree like the fellow over at NirSoft. Others may not be so understanding of our honest and well intentioned work. I worked fairly long and hard at making my Update Pack and I still maintain it and use for my own purposes. It really sucked to make the decision to withdraw it from general distribution, but I don't have the time or desire to contact several dozen people, kneel down and kiss their ring, just to maintain that pack.

I really think that we're approaching a crossroads here. The first contact that I get from someone complaining about one of my switchless silent installers and they're pretty much all going to go. So get them while they last.

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Post by Siginet » Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:58 am

If it came down to it I have allready had plans of creating a portion in the integrator that would actually read the entries.ini and an inf file for any information on how to integrate a specific program to your disk without having to distribute the original files in the addon itself. The integrator would just ask you to point it to specific files and integrate them directly to the disk. So if needed... we wouldn't have to distribute any files to integrate them to a disk. That would also open doors for software that people own licenses for. Like norton antivirus for instance. We could have an inf file that tells the integrator to integrate norton antivirus to the disk and ask the user for their serial number etc when integrating it.
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Post by leelamb » Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:10 pm

This would be the answer to the UXPCDer's prayer.
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Post by dumpydooby » Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:42 pm

RogueSpear wrote:That's also an invitation for a cease and decist letter - if you're lucky. I can't say for sure, but I sincerely doubt that anybody here is independantly wealthy to such a degree that they wouldn't blink at having to finance some sort of legal defense in a civil case.

Some people are generous and carefree like the fellow over at NirSoft. Others may not be so understanding of our honest and well intentioned work. I worked fairly long and hard at making my Update Pack and I still maintain it and use for my own purposes. It really sucked to make the decision to withdraw it from general distribution, but I don't have the time or desire to contact several dozen people, kneel down and kiss their ring, just to maintain that pack.

I really think that we're approaching a crossroads here. The first contact that I get from someone complaining about one of my switchless silent installers and they're pretty much all going to go. So get them while they last.
They'd have a pretty tough case proving that you (or one of the other addon-pack gurus here) cost them money and then therefore owe them money. Copyright infringement is a criminal matter, and you wouldn't be fined or receive jail time without due process. "Due process" starts off with a simple cease and decist. Obeying that instruction will keep you out of legal trouble.

I'm not encouraging you to try to piss off anyone, or to prod these companies. I'm mostly just saying this since you seem to be a little TOO worried. Just chillax. You've got nothing to worry about. :)

Heck, if you want, I could host your addons and post them under my account. And I'll take full responsibility if a company gets pissy. I just like your releases and I think it'd be silly for you to stop doing it because some small-time company tries to strong-arm you.

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Post by RogueSpear » Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:59 pm

As I stated earlier, the smaller people for the most part probably don't care so long as their program is delivered in whole. When it comes to the silent installers however, some of the programs are made by some pretty deep pocket companies. And this is the part you don't seem to get - it makes no difference at all what the law says. None. Period.

If someone wants to, they can send you into bankrupcy inside of a year. Just look at what happened to the guy who authored DVD Decrypter. I have no idea how much or if at all he suffered financially. But he was stopped dead in his tracks overnight. 321 Studios, who used to make the crappy DVD X Copy. They were literally run into the ground over legal expenses.

As someone who deals with the law day in and day out, someone who has testified in court dozens of times.. I'm telling you here and now that when it comes to civil law, anything goes. I'm not worried about anything criminal. I've been directly dealing with criminal law for 17 years now. While due process is nothing more than a law school fairy tale, I'm fairly confident that I'm well inside of the safe zone there.

Anyway, this has taken a turn to the slightly off topic that I'm sure has either bored or annoyed most people here by now. The point I'm trying to make is that I'm not looking for a battle to fight. These software authors all have their rights, and as well they should. It's just all a pain in the ass and it ruins the fun of it all for me.

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Post by newsposter » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:45 pm

Any update to the sysinternals.com 'problem'? Has anyone actually heard from Mark on whether or not setting up addon packs is allowable within his EULA or not?

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Post by RyanVM » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:01 pm

RyanVM wrote:Here's a partial snippet of the response I got from Sysinternals today:
To be clear, like the new licensing, our original freeware licensing terms did not allow distribution of our products. We have always required that each user download the product directly from our website for use on a computer.

I appreciate your pro-active approach to our licensing terms.

Based on the user feedback that we have received about our updated licensing terms, we are currently discussing the various paid license options that we will offer. We expect to have formalized options within a couple of weeks.

I will send an updated email with our paid licensing options once they are available.
So, I'll let you guys know as soon as I hear something.

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Post by RyanVM » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:03 am

Sysinternals and their lazy ass licensing people can shove it up their ass at this point as far as I'm concerned.

For those of you who want Sysinternals addons, might I suggest you check out the Sysinternals Addon Creator. You download the files, it creates the addon.

And if Sysinternals is reading this - don't dick around with your licensing terms if you aren't going to follow through. You just lost one sale because I got sick of waiting.
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Post by n7Epsilon » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:34 am

Thanks for advertising the addon creator (and FGCBA) :D .... !

FGCBA actually can be used for a lot of addons not just SysInternals...

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