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1. Musings 45: Penny Arcade and The Gripping Hand
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 Jun 30, 2006 - 09:35 AM - by Michael
* MS sued over WGA

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
Is WGA "spyware"? Depending on your definition, sure. And now MS is being sued over it.

The suit by Los Angeles resident Brian Johnson, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, seeks class-action status for claims that Microsoft didn't adequately disclose details of the tool when it was delivered to PC users through the company's Automatic Update system.

Windows Genuine Advantage is designed to check the validity of a computer user's copy of the operating system. But the tool became a subject of heightened controversy earlier this month, after PC users began noticing that it was making daily contact with Microsoft's servers without their knowledge, even if their software was valid.
There's some more info on Groklaw including minor legal analysis.

21. However, WGA can malfunction and mistakenly identify a licensed Windows XP copy as unlicensed when, for example, a user transfers his legitimate Windows XP copy to another system with different hardware or significantly changes the hardware on the original system (e.g. installs a new hard drive). In this way, WGA impinges on users' fair use rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 117(a)(2) to use legally space-shifted Windows XP copies

The best outcome, of course, would be to see WGA disappear entirely. I've run into this nonsense three times now when trying to rebuild my system doing a motherboard/processor upgrade.

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