Please explain yourself, SkipMagic

In this thread I asked if someone would lend me an old FrontPage CD so I could reinstall a newer version that needed to see evidence of the previous version. I thought I had thrown the old disk out, forgetting that I would need it in case I had to do a reinstall.

Fortunately, I found the old disk, so the issue is moot. But I am puzzled by Skip Magic’s closing post. Before posting, I considered whether I might be breaking SDMB’s rules, and concluded I wasn’t doing anything legally, or even ethically, wrong. So what law would I have been violating, and how could I have acted properly in Skip’s view? For the sake of the following discussion, let’s assume that I had actually lost my old FP98 disk.

I legally own a copy of FP2000 that I have been using for several years. It’s only a matter of chance that I no longer have the disk that the program requires to complete the reinstallation. I believe I still have the right to use that program. Borrowing a disk simply for the sake of reinstalling would simply have brought me back to status quo ante.

If the view is that doing this would have circumvented a copy protection scheme, that’s not the case here. The installation program needs to see evidence of the earlier version, but if you have that, you can install FP2000 on as many computers as you like (illegally, of course). But that’s not what I had in mind. Just my one legal copy.

Furthermore, I don’t see what alternative Skip would propose.

I haven’t checked, but I am reasonably sure Microsoft would not sell me a replacement FrontPage 98 disk that would let me reinstall FP 2000. I’m quite sure they would happily sell me a copy of the latest version, but don’t believe they have any right to insist that I do that, and I see no reason why I should, since I’m happy with the version I own.

I might have bought a used disk from a third party on eBay, but how would this be different in any reasonable sense from borrowing a CD from a third party? It wouldn’t put any money in Microsoft’s pocket. Yes, I would own a disk, but I would only have the word of the seller that he had sold me a legal copy. I know that I had previously owned a legal copy, so borrowing a disk did not, in my opinion, violate the intent of the installation program.

So what, exactly, was the problem, and what was I supposed to do about it? Not mad, just asking.

You’ve been here over two years and you don’t know that this belongs in the Pit?

Whoops. Sorry. I rarely have cause to complain of the actions of the mods (and I’m not really complaining now), and think of the Pit as the place to swear and rant. Since I didn’t feel the need to do that, I put it here. But if someone wants to move it there, okay with me.

I’m Henry the Eighth, I am.

You’re in my world now, boy.

Sorry. That was supposed to be a new thread. Dangit.

I can’t say what Skipmagic would have you do, but I know from past experience that Microsoft will work with you on this.

At one point I had to reinstall Win98 on a relative’s older computer. The only version I had was an “upgrade” CD- one which required a working version of Win95 with a CD key. Well, I may have had the Win98 CD, but I certainly didn’t have a Win95 CD.

After pulling my (nonexistent) hair out for a while, I called Microsoft’s tech support. I explained the situation, and they ended up giving me a Win95 CD key. I’m guessing they’re not so uptight about potential piracy on older products, especially if you go through the effort of calling them up.


Is that a world o’ hurt?

Forget it. You’re not getting recompense when it comes to anything involving copyright questions. The SDMB is kinda hard-ass there. You paid for it, you lost it, deal. Forget any argument of legal backups you forgot to make. You must not ever speak of it.

After a few beatdowns, I can tell you anything even remotely concerning copyright law is verboten here. No matter the cicumstance. Just a heads-up.

But I know what you’re asking. Sounds like this. A) I buy Win XP as I have 3 times and install on my PC; B) a tornado rips through whisking away my disk but leaving my tower; C) the PC crashes and I have to reinstall XP.

Totally fucked as you can’t make a backup of the OS.

There are ways around it, just saying this isn’t the forum to find the answer.

There are two separate issues here:

1.) Whether the Straight Dope Message Board allows “send me software” threads;

2.) Whether you had a legal right to borrow someone else’s FrontPage 97 CD even though you had thrown yours out (which was the understanding in your first post, and up until your second one).

Question number one is easy: No, we don’t. The SDMB cannot verify any claim of software legality (no matter how earnest-sounding the plea), so we don’t want to put ourselves in a liable position. If you feel your situation (this is a general “you” and not a specific one) is different and you’d still like to start a thread, feel free to e-mail the forum’s moderators with a description of the thread you want to start. We’ll be happy to look it over and let you know whether it can be posted.

Question number two: You admitted you had thrown your CD out (even if you did find it later). Your machine was wiped, you had no CD, no legal backups, and since you probably threw the '97 CD case out, too, you also didn’t have the CD key. And the mere existence of a FrontPage 2000 upgrade CD doesn’t mean you have a legal copy of '97. Unfortunately, you painted yourself into a corner.

What were you suppose to do? I mentioned one solution in my closing remarks, but whatever you ultimately decided to do needed to be done off-board. I sympathize with your situation (install software long enough–for personal use or through a tech job–and this stuff happens), but the SDMB simply cannot be used as a request site for software. We’re simply covering our teeming buttocks.

Now there’s a mental picture I didn’t need.

And how was SDMB supposed to know whether you were legit or whether you were engaging in a little social engineering to get software you weren’t entitled to?

Hey, maybe up in Canada it’s OK to lie on the Internet, but we don’t play that way down here in the U.S.A.

Okay, well thanks for the info, Skip, and my apologies for the slip.

Lightnin’: Thanks for that tip. Call me a cycnical ol’ MS-hating curmudgeon, but I wouldn’t have thought of that in a million years. :smiley:


I really AM a hunky male model for GQ. :stuck_out_tongue:

General Questions has male models???

Yeah, but you really don’t want to look at them.

While I follow SkipMagic’s rebuttal in this thread, I don’t understand the quote above? Is it accurate? Or should it read “I’m glad you found your original disc, commasense, but there is no way to verify that what you asked for is legal, so we don’t want to take liability”?

It probably wasn’t the clearest statement I’ve ever written, but yeah, it is accurate. The idea of upgrade copies is predicated on the person having a legal copy of the previous version of the software; cheaper software for loyal customers to help retain those same customers. Before commasense discovered he actually did have his original CD, the understanding was that he threw it away. (No backups, etc…) He no longer had a legal copy. Because of that, he was dependant on some kind soul letting him borrow his/her FrontPage CD–for which he, commasense, didn’t have a license. What he needed to do was obtain a legal copy (or maybe some allowance from Microsoft) to continue on with his upgrade.

Well, IANAL and all that, but isn’t there a distinction to be made between “illegal” and “in violation of contract” (i.e. the EULA)? I assumed your claim that I was asking for something illegal was a reference to the Millenniumm Copyright Protection Act (I think) that make it a crime to circumvent copy protection programs, which is why I made the point that the upgrade requirements are not a copy protection scheme.

I understand that the Chicago Reader doesn’t want to open itself up to any civil legal actions that might arise from someone’s violating a license agreement.

But I still don’t believe that what I wanted to do in the OP (leaving the SDMB out of it) was illegal. But since IANAL, I’d be interested in hearing what laws would have been broken, since that’s a part of my OP that Skip didn’t address directly.