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there is a DVR charge per month, but that is very definantly not rent on the devices (among other things, it's a constant, no matter how many DVRs you have)
as for weasel words in the contract, I know that courts have struck down such rulings in the past for software purchases that the vendor tried to claim were only licenses to use.
The grumpy editor's e-book reader
Posted Jul 25, 2009 2:33 UTC (Sat) by jordanb (guest, #45668)
They spell it out even more explicitly in the "Equipment Lease Addendum":
> YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT PURCHASED THE DIRECTV
> EQUIPMENT, YOU DO NOT OWN THE DIRECTV EQUIPMENT AND THE DIRECTV
> EQUIPMENT MUST BE USED AND RETURNED TO DIRECTV STRICTLY IN
> ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THIS EQUIPMENT LEASE ADDENDUM AND
> THE DIRECTV CUSTOMER AGREEMENT.
And just in case that doesn't stick, in the "Customer Agreement" they toss in restrictions specifically on the DVR software:
> (c) Ownership. The Software is licensed, not sold, to you solely for
> your use under the terms of this license agreement, and DIRECTV and its
> suppliers reserve all rights not expressly granted to you. You shall own
> the media, if any, on which Software or End User Documentation is
> recorded, but DIRECTV and its suppliers retain ownership of all copies
> of the Software itself.
For more hilarity check out the FAQ:
Like this for example:
> Q: I am charged a lease fee. I paid for my equipment upfront, so don't I
> own it?
> A: As technology becomes more advanced, leasing allows us to provide the
> latest equipment with minimal upfront cost to the customer. The upgrade
> fees allow us to keep our monthly lease fees low. Many leased items
> require an upfront payment as well as monthly fees. Just like leasing a
> car, a customer pays an amount upfront and that amount allows the
> customer and the company to keep the monthly lease fee low.
The funny thing about Corporate service agreements is... you know they're screwing you. But you gotta read the agreement if you want to find out the exact manner and method of the screwjob.
Posted Jul 25, 2009 19:51 UTC (Sat) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
besides which, 4 of the 5 DVRs I have in my house connected to the directtv satellite were not acquired from directtv, so there is zero chance that they are rentals
Posted Jul 25, 2009 16:37 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
I know that courts have struck down such rulings in the past for software purchases that the vendor tried to claim were only licenses to use.
They have also upheld such agreements. It is possible to use software without owning a copy of it. Even if the copy you're using is in your house.
And the Echostar case was even simpler, because it didn't involve any mind-twisting new intellectual property law; it was about ownership of hardware. Echostar disabled a box, which the contract said belonged to Echostar, though it was on the customer's property. That's been going on for hundreds of years, though it used to require a person to go to where the box was to disable it, rather than reach in through radio waves.
as for weasel words in the contract,
In a contract, "weasel words" are not terms that withold something one of the parties would like to have (or feels entitled to), such as control of a DVR. They're words that reduce the effect of an otherwise simple term, sometimes to nothing. For example, "DirectTV shall provide television service 24 hours per day, where practical." "Where practical" are weasel words. They're called that because one of the parties narrowly escapes an (otherwise) obligation, like a weasel can escape a predator's grip.
Posted Jul 25, 2009 20:09 UTC (Sat) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
but the question that the courts have asked in the cases I have noticed is if the acquisition of the software was structured as a purchase or not.
and from what I've seen, if the user pays a lump-sum up front for the software it's considered a purchase
the fact that you can sell your kindle on e-bay would also indicate that you purchased it.
in the case of a DVR, what happens when you cancel service with the satellite company? if you keep it (which is what I've always seen happen) it's a purchase, not a rental
Posted Jul 25, 2009 23:06 UTC (Sat) by jordanb (guest, #45668)
Also, try checking out that FAQ question I posted.
At any rate, even if you continue to insist that they don't claim ownership of the receiver you have, they *clearly* and *separately* claim ownership of the DVR software, and they also reserve the right to change the software at any time (again, read your customer service agreement).
So DirectTV setup the legal framework to be ordered to disable their customer's DVRs, in an effort to retain far more centralized control than they'd have in a clear-cut transfer of ownership situation.
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