MS terms of service...

From: Joseph S Barrera III (
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 12:19:17 PDT

Tom's been bitching about the AOL terms of service...
have you guys been following the MSFT TOS stink?

Read on...

Also sprach Aaron Lehmann:
> ----- Forwarded message from Bryan-TheBS-Smith <> -----
> From: Bryan-TheBS-Smith <,>
> Subject: [Copyright/Licensing] "Dual-copyright/licensing" of your IP
> withOUT your permission
> Date: 2001 April 02
> [Copyright/Licensing] "Dual-copyright/licensing" of your IP withOUT
> your permission
> I just want to throw this out for *OFF-LIST* discussion. I am
> currently writing an article on the new licensing agreement at
> Microsoft's Passport.COM. What most people don't realize is that if
> you use MSN, Hotmail, Expedia and, in some cases, just MS
> IE/Outlook, you have _already_agreed_ to this license. Why? In the
> case of MSN, Hotmail and Expedia, your passwords are stored on
> Passport.COM (remember when Microsoft went down in late 1999 because
> of their expiration of Passport.COM?). I am still researching the
> depth of Passport.COM's interaction with MS IE itself (seperate from
> these services), and other Microsoft and non-Microsoft,
> Internet-enabled software.
> The problem? In a nutshell, any outgoing information, software
> and/or services of your original copyright/license/IP are "dual
> copyrighted/licensed" to Microsoft c/o this new agreement. This can
> be _very_dangerous_ from the standpoint of free software
> development. Worse yet is the fact that no one currently knows to
> what extent the Passport.COM licensing agreement applies, but it
> seems all MSN, Hotmail and Expedia users are subject to it, possibly
> all users of MS IE as well.
> Now you may think the GPL (and/or other GNU licensed works like the
> LGPL, FDL, etc...) protects your work. What you may not realize is
> that Copyright Law is the _ultimate_ law. The software that cracked
> the encryption (really "uglification") and revealed the follies of
> popular "Internet Filtering" software were perfect examples. The
> software was released GPL, but then revoked later. How? Because
> the creators ultimately have "all rights reserved" to their
> copyright, and can revoke any license at any time (like they did
> when the popular filtering software vendors bought the rights).
> When you post, upload or otherwise transmit through a
> Passport.COM-enabled service, you are effectively giving Microsoft
> a non-exclusive, "blank 'copyright' check" to use your work.
> Now one way you can "protect" your free software/works from being
> submissive to this "hole" in Copyright Law is to assign all rights
> to the Free Software Foundation. In fact, this is exactly what the
> FSF recommends you do with any GNU licensed work. If you have not
> done so already, consider doing this with any GPL, LGPL, FDL or
> other GNU-licensed work that you do not plan to "dual-license"
> yourself or other entity.
> Now before you think I'm going off an being "anal" on this, or
> screaming "the sky is falling," realize the following:
> 1. Many companies are looking for new avenues of revenue and the
> "total forfeit" or "dual-copyright/licensure" of your
> copyright/licenses/IP is nothing new.
> 2. Microsoft (among others, even non-Windows vendors) have been
> shown time and time again to be all for #1, and abusing the rights
> of others in the name of profits.
> 3. *BIG ONE*: Anyone who has interviewed with Microsoft, or
> visited the Microsoft campus knows that Microsoft's future goals
> _include_ the revenue stream of _charging_you_ to even see your own
> data!
> 4. *ANOTHER*: Microsoft has identified "dual-copyright/licensure"
> as a key method to "bypassing" the "GPL virus."
> 5. *MOST IMPORTANTLY*: Microsoft is currently the biggest lobbyist
> of the US government, and expends the most in legal costs of any
> American company. Lawyers are difference between something just
> being just "unethical and not legally binding" and "unethical but
> quite legal binding and quite enforcable."
> #5 is what makes the Passport.COM licensing agreement the most
> scary, even though it is nothing new in some circles.
> Other than avoiding these services and any other that use
> Passport.COM (which will only get harder and harder as .NET makes it
> presence), there are some _real_issues_ to doing _anything_ on the
> Internet that will require our action. At least two key issues need
> to be addressed (with possible solutions):
> 1. "Identify" users who are using these services when they contact
> your web site, archive, CVS repository, etc... They need not only
> be informed of these issues -- but they need to "sign" a "counter
> agreement" that they agree to the policies of our site, archive,
> repository, etc... which either "prohibit" uploading from services
> where there is such an agreement and/or somehow put the
> responsibility on the consumer and/or service to NOT allow such
> "dual-copyright/licensure" rights to be applicable to those original
> works. "Identification" is where the difficulty may come in, but
> searching for a cookie or other known "resource" on the client
> system should provide us with a good indicator that the client is
> using these services. Our service then will "redirect" them to the
> proper page with the agreement (and kick them off if they do not).
> 2. Draft new licenses, or create "addendeum" to existing licenses
> that explicitly target these other agreements and render them either
> null and void, or somehow limit their application to our projects.
> This will be most difficult as the creators of these "agreements"
> have been smart enough to make their copyright/licensure
> "non-exclusive" -- which allows the creation of a
> "dual-copyrighted/licensed" version they can use (whereas an
> "exclusive" agreement would not hold up in court).
> Again, these are serious issues that need to be addressed ASAP. I
> hope the free software community pulls together and does its due
> dillengence to combatting this serious violation of our IP and our
> ability to control who, what and how it is copyrighted and/or
> licensed.
> As a follow-up, please take the time to read the following URLs:
> Microsoft Passport.COM terms of use:
> The Register.COM article:
> Troubleshooters.COM new copyright and other articles:
> LEAP Thread (first article in thread):
> -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith
> OSS/GNU/Linux Participant, Advocate, Packager and Developer
> P.S. Feel free to forward this to others, provided you are
> courteous enough to not cross-post a single message among several
> lists (i.e. please send one message per list or two).
> --
> Bryan "TheBS" Smith chat:thebs413 @AOL/MSN/Yahoo
> Engineer,
> *********************************************************
> "Never apply a Star Trek solution to a Babylon 5 problem"
> -- Nicholas C. Weaver

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