|TOS Confusion for newbies|
Message #1 Posted by Dave Hicks on 7 Sept 2011, 8:09 p.m.
There have been some references to TOS and confusion by newbies, so here's what I posted 5 years ago:
A brief chronology as I know it.
Long ago there was a site with an interesting simulator. I linked to it. It became more popular and was occasionally linked to in this forum.
Sometime later HP told me that the site was hosting ROMs without permission and that I should prevent links to it in the forums. I complied. (I took a look at the site at that time and it said something like: These ROMs are NOMAS so I can place them here, which was surely well-intentioned but legally nonsense I believe.)
Sometime later the site owner told me that he had later received permission so it was OK now. That sounded great, but since it was HP who asked me not to link, I checked with my contacts. They hadn't heard anything about this. I tried more contacts. I tried several people in person. I even tried after beer. I asked other people who were and, still are, trying to get permission to copy ROMs for simulators. No one else I know has heard anything about it. Comments from two HP employees: (quotes from memory) "You would be wise to stay away from this" and "There are many sites with inappropriate HP content but I don't report them to legal for fear that they would take them all out, including the good ones."
Everyone points to Fred Valdez (the GM of the calculator division) as the person who can provide the definitive answer. I asked some time ago and didn't get an answer. I planned to corner him in person at HHC late last year but he had a last minute conflict. At HHC Eric Smith asked if there was any chance of getting some ROMs released for his simulator and Cyrille de Brebisson (Calculator R&D manager) said "I believe that will never happen". (Which tends to imply that he also thinks it never has.)
Later I emailed Fred again and this time I thought I was pretty clever: Instead of asking for confirmation that the site was now operating with HP's blessing, I only asked for permission to remove the link block and for HP to agree to hold me blameless for links to some site I don't control which are added by other people in this forum. That seemed like a simple request that didn't limit HP in any way. I even said I would reinstate the block on their request at any time. An assistant to Fred told me that they were looking into it and it would take some time. That's the last I've heard.
Perhaps the other site owner can ask his contacts to contact Fred. I have no idea whether Fred doesn't know, doesn't agree, or this just gets lost in the shuffle.
After that was posted, the TOS site owner told me that his contact at HP was non-responsive and that's the last I have ever heard on this. I've heard legalistic comments from all sides that encouraged and continue to encourage me to stay away.
I have a theory as to how this may have unfolded. You might be able to get me to reveal it over a beer but I'm not going to write it up because it's only a guess. In any event, even if my guess is true, I am still doing as they ask since I am redistributing HP content by (continuing) permission.
Coincidentally, I received another content removal request (totally unrelated content) from HP yesterday from someone I don't know. I forwarded this to someone I do know for clarification/verification along with a reference to TOS and all the flak I get for censoring it. I got a response that I don't have to remove the new unrelated content, but he didn't take the bait on the TOS sub-topic. (Not too surprising - I always thought he was smart. ;-))
This was really quite a coincidence because content removal requests like this only happen about once every few years and only about three of those have been from HP.
No one has ever told me I should censor the text "TOS" so I don't.
Edited: 7 Sept 2011, 8:10 p.m.