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      /  Hypothetically speaking…
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mpiva 
Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 0:51:18
#1 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2005
Posts: 202
From: Alberta, CAN

So I was just wondering to myself how effectively Amiga Inc can actually police this Amiga community they have a strangle hold of. I began to wonder what would happen if someone, say, “accidentally” leaked a version of OS4 for SAM to the community. And what if the Amiga community did what it has historically been known to be so good at and distribute pirated copies of OS4 over the networks. This would sure increase the OS4 userbase. Unfortunately this hurts Hyperion and threatens the future of the AmigaOS. BUT WHAT IF, all those people who pirated OS4, out of the goodness of the heart, decided the DONATE, oh, say… $100 to Hyperion “simply because they want to support the company”. Technically it would not be a “sale”, it would be a “donation” (people who don’t pirate OS4 would be free to donate as well). It’s not exactly the “ethical” solution, but Amiga Inc are hardly being ethical to the Amiga community. And sure some people would not bother to “donate” the money to Hyperion but I’m hoping a lot would. Heck, ANY “donations” would still generate more money for Hyperion than the ZERO sales Amiga Inc is allowing them to make now.

Seriously though, what could Amiga Inc do to stop this? Microsoft has infinitely more resources than Amiga Inc and they can’t even stop people from pirating Windows. Amiga Inc hasn’t really left the community with any other option (except maybe to wait another two years for the court case to resolve). What would be the harm? If piracy helped kill the Classic Amiga, couldn’t piracy help kill the new Amiga Inc? Future versions of the OS could be sold legitimately after the demise of Amiga Inc. This is all, of course, hypothetically speaking.

Note to moderators: I’m not ADVOCATING anything; I’m merely wondering out loud out of my own curiosity and wanting other people’s opinions on what they think would happen.

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whose 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 1:05:05
#2 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Jun-2005
Posts: 893
From: Germany

@mpiva

Hypothetically it looks like a feasible way at the first glance. But after a little bit of thinking one would come to the result that it won´t change anything regarding the actual state.

Simply spoken: What would Amiga loose if "we" would do it the way you hypothetically suppose? Nothing.

They "survived" several years now without any products generating a reasonable amount of money. They would possibly survive the court case despite the fact that they have no product generating any revenue. So, what damage would an "accidentally leaked OS4 for SAM" do to them? No damage, because they won´t win anything with OS4 right now and won´t loose anything without it. Amiga Inc. is nothing more than a simple machine to "burn money", or, better said, to hide money transfers between the involved parties.

I think the only result from such an action would be a harder settlement of the status quo we have now and the community members will loose any possible future regarding their hobby.

I think it´s a not-so-good idea.

Greetz

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tonyw 
Re: Hypothetically speaking?
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 1:45:23
#3 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 3222
From: Sydney (of course)

@mpiva

Committing a crime to get back at someone whom you feel has committed a crime against you - is not a good idea. No court is going to excuse your crime because of some previous provocation.

_________________
cheers
tony

Hyperion Support Forum: http://forum.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php

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umisef 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 2:39:49
#4 ]
Super Member
Joined: 19-Jun-2005
Posts: 1676
From: Melbourne, Australia

@mpiva

Well, hypothetically speaking, that would be a Very Bad Idea[tm], at least if you want Hyperion to survive. Not because it cheats them out of profit ot anything, though.

The fact is that "a version of OS4 for SAM" at this point in time simply should not exist. If it does exist, someone has done something naughty, because there is no license for such a port. Note --- not only is there no license to distribute such a port, there is no license to *make* such a port. But if it exists, someone ignored the lack of license, and made it.
This could either be Hyperion themselves, or someone Hyperion gave access to the low-level OS4 sources. In the latter case, it could have happened either with or without the knowledge of Hyperion.

First case --- Hyperion themselves. The existence of a port is confirmed when it gets leaked. Hyperion will either have leaked it themselves, or distributed it to someone who then leaked it. Either way would be conclusive proof that Hyperion is distributing, in one way or another, OS4 to platforms not covered by their license. *Not* the kind of thing Hyperion wants to hand to AI's lawyers.

Second case --- third party with Hyperion knowledge. Essentially the same thing, because allowing the third party to go ahead with such a port indicates that Hyperion has distributed OS4 to said third party at least implicitly in violation of their license.

Third case --- third party without Hyperion knowledge. That's the best case for Hyperion, and yet, it is still likely they would be held accountable for insufficient protection of AI's IP; If the porter were known, it would be expected of them to (a) cut off code access, and (b) take any steps necessary to recover the damages incurred. If the porter is not known, the required changes in the development model would likely kill OS4 development dead.

In any case, the appearance of such a leaked version would likely result in almost instant re-filing of the AI injunction motion, this time with much better chances of at least partial success (a technologically competent judge could for example order any HAL source code to be held by Hyperion only, and not made accessible to third party contractors). Also, any such "leaked" version would be excluded from updates (and given that SAM has a CPU very different from that of any officially supported board, "accidental" support would be fairly obvious).


All that is in addition to the obvious ethical issue of this hypothetical "solution" being piracy --- and not "only" against AI, but also against the various OS4 contributors (Hyperion could hardly pay the per-unit OS4 license fees to them from "donations" which are explicitly *not* related to OS4...).

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koan 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 3:49:31
#5 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 5-Dec-2003
Posts: 126
From: Kyoto, Japan

How does Hyperion distinguish between "real pirates" and "pirates who made donations" ? Surely you want support and updates for OS4, right ? How does Hyperion prove they weren't in on this system in the first place ? It's not a good business model and a bad idea, IMHO.

@umisef

Quote:
The fact is that "a version of OS4 for SAM" at this point in time simply should not exist. If it does exist, someone has done something naughty,


If Hyperion wanted to do such a thing then it would not be illegal. If they started selling it then it would be. I'm sure they wouldn't bother unless they were 99.99% certain they could get a license.

I'm sure Hyperion don't give out access to the sources. I mean, they have to protect the property of the developers who wrote it for them. After all, it is not theirs to give to Amiga, had they paid up in time...

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umisef 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 4:17:21
#6 ]
Super Member
Joined: 19-Jun-2005
Posts: 1676
From: Melbourne, Australia

@koan

Quote:
If Hyperion wanted to do such a thing then it would not be illegal. If they started selling it then it would be.


I have seen that claimed many times, and it still doesn't convince me.

Hyperion were given access to Amiga Inc IP for a well-sepcified purpose. Using that access for a purpose outside the specification would not be covered by the contract, and thus would constitute unauthorised use of the IP. Unauthorised use of IP, AFAICT, is illegal in all jurisdictions that may be relevant.

What limiting the availability to within Hyperion does is to limit attributable damages. It does not change the nature of things. If it did, one could create a scenario where every SAM owner became part of the core development team (there aren't *that* many, and some flimsy pretext like "providing translations for localisation of SAM-specific preferences" could surely be found for each :), and thus all have access to the "unreleased, only developed internally" product --- and obviously, such a scenario is not acceptable.

Hyperion having been granted source-level access to AI IP is different from any Joe, Dick or Harry buying a piece of (binary) software, and then doing things with it in the privacy of their home. There are fair use laws which allow, in a limited way, reverse engineering and hacking software to allow for "interoperability", i.e. to make it run on things it wouldn't run on otherwise (or to work out how to make other software run on the same hardware the bought software runs on). No such rules exist, AFAIK, for Hyperion's situation; And even if they did, one of the issues of the fair use stuff is that one may not share (in any way) the reverse engineered stuff.

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mpiva 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 5:08:29
#7 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2005
Posts: 202
From: Alberta, CAN

Quote:

umisef wrote:
@mpiva

The fact is that "a version of OS4 for SAM" at this point in time simply should not exist. If it does exist, someone has done something naughty, because there is no license for such a port. Note --- not only is there no license to distribute such a port, there is no license to *make* such a port. But if it exists, someone ignored the lack of license, and made it.
This could either be Hyperion themselves, or someone Hyperion gave access to the low-level OS4 sources. In the latter case, it could have happened either with or without the knowledge of Hyperion.



I thought there was already evidence of OS4 being ported to PowerMacs and I recall seeing an "official" image of OS4 for some cellphone/PDA type thing. You're probably right that these ports shouldn't exit and are bad for Hyperion's court case but haven't they already crossed that line with the above ports existing?

I would LOVE for this whole mess to be cleaned up legally and ethically but let's be realistic... when and IF that ever happens, is there going to be any left who still cares? I've been a dedicated Amiga user since 1986. Anyone who even knows a little about me is aware of my Amiga passion but even I am loosing faith. By the time this whole court fiasco finishes, and IF the outcome is favorable to the community, and IF there's any developers left to fix the damage of these years of neglect, I may not even be around to care.

I think we're at, if not past, the line where if the OS4 userbase doesn't start increasing NOW, then it really doesn't matter who wins the court case. Makes me wonder if it would be better to increase the OS4 userbase by whatever means necessary and then try to fix the damage later, at least then there will be something to fix. Sure this is not a very good plan from Hyperion's perspective, but realistically, I think Hyperion's hooped even if they win the court battle.

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mpiva 
Re: Hypothetically speaking?
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 5:33:24
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2005
Posts: 202
From: Alberta, CAN

Quote:

tonyw wrote:
@mpiva

Committing a crime to get back at someone whom you feel has committed a crime against you - is not a good idea. No court is going to excuse your crime because of some previous provocation.



Ethically speaking this is very fuzzy. If I tried hard enough I'm sure I could justify to myself somehow. I'd probably first consider that if someone stole something from me (and were now legally considered to have ownership through some stupid contractual loophole), I would have no ethical issues of stealing it back. Hey, Robin Hood was considered a hero for this very thing. I'd then convince myself that Amiga Inc stole OS4 from me and that I have every right to take it back. I'd ignore people's arguments that I can't claim any ownership of OS4; I'd argue back that they're only talking about "legal" ownership whereas TRUE ownership goes deeper. I'd make some ridiculous comparison to a slave who's master "owns" the slaves children but that the children really belong to the slave. And on and on I'd argue. Somehow I'm sure I could convince myself it's ethically sound

Legally speaking is an ENTIRELY different matter. But that brings up one of my initial questions. Does Amiga Inc really have the resources to take action against every SAM owner because they "might" have an illegal copy of OS4? Sure no court would "excuse your crime" for whatever reason, but would "you" ever even be brought to court? Even Microsoft can't stop the millions of copies of Windows that exist.

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voyager2007 
Re: Hypothetically speaking?
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 6:06:00
#9 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 5-Sep-2007
Posts: 432
From: Germany

AFAIK Hyperion hasn't even fully paid the (freelancing) developers yet, so it might be technically the developers who own the rights to the OS. If the OS is rebranded with a different name, etc., there might be no-one stopping the developers from doing that. So the developers that have not been paid by Hyperion could form a group. Perhaps by negotating with Hyperion, a new contract could be determined that assures Hyperion gets a share of the revenue. A similar contract could be made with Amiga Inc. - so, over time, all parties could benefit from this. Hey, perhaps, keeping the Amiga name would be possible too, this way. Anyhow, someone needs to get Hyperion and AInc to sit at a table and make a new, well-defined contract, instead of staying in the court entanglement. Just my opinion.



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umisef 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 6:49:21
#10 ]
Super Member
Joined: 19-Jun-2005
Posts: 1676
From: Melbourne, Australia

@mpiva

Quote:
thought there was already evidence of OS4 being ported to PowerMacs and I recall seeing an "official" image of OS4 for some cellphone/PDA type thing. You're probably right that these ports shouldn't exit and are bad for Hyperion's court case but haven't they already crossed that line with the above ports existing?


There has been *talk* about a Mini-Mac port (aka "project Moana"), but I don't think AI ever got their hands on the actual port, or any other indisputable evidence of its existence (a lot of talk about it seems to be second or third hand at best, which is probably not good enough). And if you read the court-submitted IRC logs and emails (I think it was in there), you'll notice McBill suddenly changing moods drastically once this port came to his attention...

The Arctic PDA port was contracted and paid for by AI, so its existence is not a problem (other than the work on that port being clearly and unambiguously owned by AI, creating another likely avenue for the OS4 code base being tainted by AI IP, and *this* IP would not be covered by any bankruptcy or "too late, sorry, ours now" clauses.).

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Turrican3 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 9:38:15
#11 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jun-2003
Posts: 357
From: Italy

@umisef
IMHO the problem is (once again) the poor wording of the original contract.

Hyperion might rely on the definition of "Target Hardware" of the 2001 contract and argue that actually SAM is a motherboard marketed and developed for the Amiga platform, so an OS4 version could theoretically fit (almost?!) perfectly into the scope of their license.(1)

Moana aka the MacMini port/bootloader would be harder to justify in court, but SAM... who knows?

(1) = yes I know it has been said multiple times by Hyperion that they're not allowed to do such a port, I'm just speculating.

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Seer 
Re: Hypothetically speaking…
Posted on 26-Sep-2007 9:42:39
#12 ]
Team Member
Joined: 27-Jun-2003
Posts: 3725
From: The Netherlands

@mpiva

Note to moderators: I’m not ADVOCATING anything; I’m merely wondering out loud out of my own curiosity and wanting other people’s opinions on what they think would happen.

Unfortunatly, I still can't allow this. Locked.

_________________
~
Everything you say will be misquoted and used against you..
~

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