Open source shareware?

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Nov 9 17:37:41 UTC 2001

Chris Gehlker wrote:

> I realize now that you were talking about owning the media.

Oh, there's no doubt that when I buy a book or an audio CD that I own
the medium.  But I also own *a copy* of the bits encoded on the medium.
(This reserves to the copyright owner the five copyright rights still.)
In the case of a book, the bits aren't really separable from the medium,
but on a CD I can do all sorts of things with the bits, as long as
I am not copying them (except as needed to make my CD player work).

> It brings up an
> interesting question. If I were to buy Win XP and let in register itself to
> my computer, is there some way to unregister it so I can sell it? (Assuming
> for the sake of argument that someone could be dissatisfied with and MS
> product.)

No, because (assuming the EULA is enforceable) you don't own even this
copy of the bits, so you can't do anything with them that the EULA
does not allow.  The presence or absence of techno-locks doesn't affect
the point.

(As to whether bypassing the lock is possible, I don't know; you might
also fall afoul of the DCMA.)


Not to perambulate             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
    the corridors               ||
during the hours of repose     ||
    in the boots of ascension.  \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel

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