Monday, November 13, 2017

Logitech Once Again Shows That In The Modern Era, You Don't Really Own What You Buy

A topic of abiding interest, aspects of which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled upon.
Here's an outro from one of our intellectual property posts:
...One of the heroes of this stuff was Thai native and U.S. student Supap Kirtsaeng who won his case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., wherein he argued he should be able to re-sell textbooks he had lawfully purchased. The Supreme Court upheld the First Sale Doctrine that "you bought it, you own it". 
A couple more links after the jump.

From techdirt:

from the sorry,-I-can't-do-that-Dave dept

Time and time again we've highlighted how in the modern era you don't really own the hardware you buy. In the broadband-connected era, firmware updates can often eliminate functionality promised to you at launch, as we saw with the Sony Playstation 3. And with everything now relying on internet-connectivity, companies can often give up on supporting devices entirely, often leaving users with very expensive paperweights as we saw after Google acquired Revolv.

The latest example of this phenomenon is courtesy of Logitech, which annoyed consumers this week by announcing that it would be shutting down all support for the company's Harmony Link hub. Released in 2011, the Link hub provided smartphone and tablet owners the ability to use these devices as universal remotes for thousands of devices. But users over at the Logitech forums say they've been receiving e-mails informing them these devices will be effectively bricked in the new year:
"This is an important update regarding your Harmony Link. On March 16, 2018, Logitech will discontinue service and support for Harmony Link. Your Harmony Link will no longer function after this date...There is a technology certificate license that will expire next March. The certificate will not be renewed as we are focusing resources on our current app-based remote, the Harmony Hub."
Again there's no monthly subscription fee for the service, and Logitech is compounding the problem by not really clearly communicating why it's deciding to completely brick Link units. On the plus side, Logitech says it's giving Link owners under warranty a Logitech Hub for free, and providing out-of-warranty Link owners a one-time, 35-percent discount on the Hub. But many users in the company's forums and over at Reddit are questioning why the hardware needs to be crippled entirely (instead of just, say, ending formal support):
"This exact situation right here is why Ive always said “if it requires a cloud service to function, I dont want it” hosting things locally on my own network is where its at.

HT on the story we missed the first time around, techdirt itself in their weekend roundup of most insightful reader comments which highlighted:
"One more time, for the slow learners
If your device depends on someone's cloud service, then it's not YOUR device"

"Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware" (DE)
John Deere says:
"When a customer buys John Deere equipment, he or she owns the equipment," ...
Their actions say they are full of manure..... 
For the Next Two Years Auto Manufacturers Can't Have You Arrested...
...for trying to repair or modify the software on your own car.