Re: 30 days trial immune to set clock back in time?

Joshua Cranmer <Pidgeot18@verizon.invalid>
Fri, 19 Sep 2008 23:41:08 -0400
<gb1rcl$hbp$> wrote:

The problem is that he is not asking for "some return on his work", he
is asking for the right to reach out and destroy somebody else's
property, namely their copy of some piece of software. He is asking
for the right to vandalize other peoples' computers. He is not alone,
either; the RIAA has asked for such "rights" in Congress lately (and
it's been told "no").

The software will not be installing a rootkit, it will not be
overwriting other pieces of software. It will be nothing more than a
self-contained program. The only bad thing (in your eyes) that it will
contain is code to ensure that the program does what it was meant to
do--provide a limited, free evaluation version of a product.

In particular, it is not prohibiting you from doing things that would be
reasonable, like changing your system time. It is not doing this
sneakily--I presume the user will be told at the time he or she gets the
product that it will be usable only for 30 days. There will be no
observable difference in the computer before installation and after
uninstallation, and the only observable difference in the meantime will
be the presence of the program. Also, this is not limiting you to only
ever installing the product three times or any such thing. This is
/nothing/ like the antics of game developers and recording labels, who
are attempting to limit the concurrent usage of one media; all the OP
wants is to prevent the attempt to use a product for longer than the
user agreed to use it.

To give a clear analogy:

Suppose someone is taking a test with a one-hour time limit. This time
limit is kept in a nice, visible timer in the room. What the OP was
asking was "How do I ensure that the test taker does not add one hour to
the timer halfway through the test?" Is the test taker doing something
wrong by adding an extra hour? Yes. Is placing a monitor in the room to
stop the test taker from manipulating the timer wronging the test taker?
No. Would it be fair to have the test taker who attempts to manipulate
the timer fail the test right then and there? Yes.

So, is attempting to use a service for longer than the user agreed to
use it wrong? Yes. Is attempting to detect an attempt to manipulate the
agreed-upon timer wronging the user? No. Would it be fair that the
penalty for the attempted manipulation would result in immediate
lock-down of the program? Yes.

Another way to look at it is like a library. I can check out books for
free, but I only have them for a limited time. If I attempt to hold the
book for more than I agreed to check it out, the library has every right
to penalize me. If I want the book for longer, I have to buy it. By your
argument, the library should just shrug its shoulders if I keep the book
for more than X weeks.

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not
tried it. -- Donald E. Knuth

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