Monday, 12 July 2010

Rabid Dog puts CIP Data Up For Sale.

? Unusual title – not really. The title draws (part of) its name from a comment, made by a critic of mine – Sean Dotson, used in reference to me in a ‘tweet’. Sean’s comment was in response to another’s – Deelip Menezes – who was quoting an earlier statement of mine where I referred to myself as ‘dog with a bone’. A reference to the fact I will not give up my pursuit of bringing Autodesk’s unconscionable business activity before Autodesk and the public, in Caveat emptor, and anywhere else, where and when the opportunity arises – until it is ‘fixed’. Autodesk’s EULA, its use of Trojan software and its unreasonable/unconscionable treatment of me – a customer – are all contributing components of my pursuit.

Comments in Ralph Grabowski’s blog – titled ‘Earth to Autodesk: this is the Internet era’; a subsequent discussion with Sean Dotson and an interesting recent discussion with Deelip, have also been instrumental in inspiring this post.

In the following spleen clearing splurge I consider animals, abstracts like Trust and Truth and facts; ‘testing’ and whether or not, we need lawyers to solve simple commercial issues. Amongst other things ;-) I make the offer to sell CIP data and ask several important questions; can I do such a thing and, of Autodesk, do they have any objections to the sale of my CIP data. Reading further is at your risk and is your responsibility.

On television, as I commence the first paragraph of this post, there is a show featuring dogs in art - appropriate I thought! If we run several of Dotson’s comments - about me together - it could be concluded I’m a ‘tin foil hat wearing rabid dog’. Quite the subject for a piece of art, don’t you think – tho’ incomplete, needs a background?

Dogs also became part of the discussion Deelip and I had on ‘Cloud’ computing. Deelip made the following comment, “But remember that kind of logic only works between equals. This is as ridiculous as your pet dog complaining that you will not let him chain you to the porch just like how you chain him to the porch. “. I smiled when I read the comment. I am sure Deelip understood what he said, but maybe not how it could be viewed. Deelip was likening me to a chained dog: a dog owned and chained by CEO Bass and crew? Indeed, if you are an (unhappy) Autodesk customer, when you look at the context of Deelip’s comments you would be forgiven for thinking he was also referring to you ;-) That’s the background we needed.

Put CEO Bass’s ‘lunatic’ comment, Sean Dotson’s and Deelip’s descriptions together and we get; a ‘lunatic (rabid) tin foil’ hat wearing dog chained to CEO Bass’s porch: now that may be a more complete outline for a piece of art (or cartoon).

Dogs have always played a part in my life, mostly working dogs. Dogs to work sheep, cattle and a guard dog; my last though, was a ‘pajama’ dog. A great little mate, who was rarely out of sight or reach and, after 18 years, is sorely missed. Having survived a severe mauling by two large dogs, when twelve, an important thing to remember or learn, if you already did not know, is dogs are pack animals. Good ‘control’ of dogs is never achieved at the end of a tether: it is achieved by understanding the social arrangement dogs adhere too; they are ‘group’ animals with a leader and mates. *However, when they have their portion of the kill their group structure and ‘mateship’ is often tested. In this respect many users of the internet and management behave the same. Not all are wise independent thinkers; and, on occasions, using the disconnect of the internet and the support of the apologists in the pack, say things they would never be game enough to say to their prey’s face.

Well, that accounts for the first part of the posts title now for the second part….but not straight away :)

My comments about Autodesk’s EULA requirements, Autodesk’s use of Trojan software and their objections to my requests for them to allow customers to scrutinize their activity; is what draws the many arrogant and un-informed remarks. More interesting still, those who criticize, and some who support me, believe the issues I raise can only be solved by some level of legal action. Some would like to see me start ‘it’, others wonder why Autodesk has not!

What’s important is that they are all completely wrong! Legal action is NOT required to solve the issues I raise. There is not a single component of my so called ‘complaints’ that does not have a ‘common sense’/commercial base and a ‘common sense’/commercial (negotiable) solution. NOT ONE: and Autodesk know this only too well! Those who believe the legal system is the only way are simply lazy dependants looking for somebody else to do their work. In the case of some software corporations (at the instigation of individuals), the legal system is (an over used) tool/weapon used as much for mischief as for settling genuine disputes for the society it is there to ‘protect and serve’.

Now this raises a question (or many). If a negotiated solution is possible why (after over five years) has it not happened? We came close several times; but on each occasion ‘somebody’ seemed to step in and it would all fall apart. I am not blameless: my tact could improve, I’m sure. However as Autodesk have never entered into real negotiations and have never fully answered a number of the specific questions I have asked, the fault is, almost entirely theirs – but why? Customers ask ‘pointed’ questions all the time, about products and contracts; what made, or makes, my questions so difficult to address.

The answer, most assuredly rests in telling the ‘Truth’. Answering my questions truthfully, Autodesk people may well think, is more dangerous than ignoring them? Some other reasons may be embodied in an exchange between Deelip and me.

It went like this, I made a statement and then,

Deelip said; "You stand is that just because Autodesk takes the liberty of snooping into your computer; you should have the equal right to snoop around their set up as well."

This is what I actually said; "Autodesk (and others) are attempting to FORCE its customers into legally accepting it is appropriate for them to gain electronic access to customers’ machines whilst at the same time REFUSING to allow any scrutiny of their actions" and continued in reply,


This has always been, from day one Deelip, my position. Autodesk have known this from day ONE also and their failure to accept this, and indeed fight against it, is almost the SOLE reason CEO Bass and crew (Autodesk) CANNOT be trusted. If you think likewise then I would have absolutely no hesitation to say you should NOT be trusted either.

It's simple, it’s black and white, and there can be no argument that the stance I have taken is the correct one. I am NOT interested in 'rooting' around in Autodesk systems but I AM INTERESTED IN WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO AND ARE DOING IN MY SYSTEMS! I have EVERY RIGHT too and there can be NO reason for Autodesk, you or anybody else to object to that position. But that is a major part of the problem between the individual(s) at Autodesk and why I say they have KGB attitudes; because, as people, they do!”

Deelip initially dodged replying directly to my statement but then responded;

“Yes, you have every right to do that in your ideal world. Also in that ideal world, my dog (who I chain to my porch) will also have the right to chain me.

I am not disagreeing with you on your right to do something. Just that I don’t see you getting anywhere close to it in the real world.

The main difference between you and me is that when you find something wrong you feel the urge to fix it. I do too. But if I see that it cannot be fixed (for whatever reason), I learn to live with it and adjust my life accordingly. Basically, I don’t beat dead horses** like you do.”

So, Deelip chains his dog and I am seen to be ‘flogging a dead horse’**. Deelip’s sentiment is, of course, the sentiment of many others. Society’s problems are always ‘somebody else’s responsibility’; and the easy way to ‘duck shove’ the responsibility is to say it ‘needs a court to decide’ or it’s a ‘dead horse’. Both are excuses for the abdication of responsibly. I once likened this attitude/laziness to a person who stands watching, and does nothing, when a person near them, in the street, is “mugged”. Kevin E said there was no comparison but he is wrong!

Question: where does the ‘ideal world’ fit into this argument? Autodesk are making available a ‘tool to tradesmen’; it is their obligation to ensure their tool does what they say and it is also their obligation to ensure their ‘tool’ is not misrepresented or used in a manner that contravenes their privileged position as a supplier. In refusing to answer my questions and negotiate a solution, with me, that is exactly what Autodesk’s staff are doing – misusing and misrepresenting their products and abusing their privileged position!

Another component of Deelip’s (and others’) argument is, that size matters (Autodesk is often referred to as a 600lb. Gorilla – geez another animal). Autodesk is bigger than me therefore I should just ‘lie down, or adjust my principals’ and accept whatever they choose to dish out! What a load of rubbish. Autodesk does not make a single decision, not one. It is individuals, hiding behind the corporate shield that is the entity Autodesk, who are making decisions and acting on those decisions and impulses. It is individuals who are deciding what Autodesk will do in respect to products and customers and, it is individuals who are choosing to ignore my requests and are pushing me around. None of those individuals are that different from me, as people, (they are probably taller, more brash, smarter, maybe more influential, spine less and definitely paid more) but other than that – not much different. Indeed some are also prepared to use ‘third parties’ to convey comments that criticize and or ‘slag’ a customer seen (in their eyes) to be ‘opposing’ them. None of those individuals would accept or tolerate what they are doing if the ‘shoe was on the other foot’.

The hypocrisy is there for all to see, and yet individuals within ‘Autodesk’ can count on a vast array of paid and un-paid apologists ready to argue and defend their ‘un-defendable’ position; and the tacit support of still more who are simply prepared to sit on the side lines, knowing what is happening is wrong but just too darn lazy to get involved in shaping their future. Not happy customers; but to paraphrase Deelip, content to re-shape their lives to fit the abuse! Not a position this bloke will readily accept, I can assure you.

Side step #1. To be fair, Deelip detailed some very ‘noble’ reasons for why he takes the stand he does; but the problem his reasoning poses is, in not standing up for what is ‘right’ now, will/may have – in the future – serious ramifications for others and those he is trying to protect.

Side step #2. before you guys pour out your ‘verbals’ on how I can walk away and regurgitate Autodesk’s spiel on their rights, piracy/IP, CIP and privacy: don’t bother, much has been said before and in the main none carry much weight when you focus on the core of the issue(s).

So, returning to the question of whether or not the problems I outline can be solved by negotiation without resorting to the ‘legal system’. Well, as I have said on many occasions, of course they can. I am willing (still); are the individuals in Autodesk and, why might they not?

At its core, the problem between Autodesk and me is Oversight. It is not whether Autodesk has a ‘right’ to access my computers - that’s a no brainer. Though, Autodesk believes it does and, they misuse their privileged access, to force additional access without any agreement or authorization! Oversight is about Truth; and that is a ‘problem’ for the individuals ‘hiding behind the shield Autodesk’. My solution can be found in telling the ‘Truth’. Autodesk ‘wants’ our Trust but don’t provide the supporting ‘Truth’.

Deelip talked about ‘Trust’: he made the statement, software users who say they ‘did not trust’ CAD vendors were being stupid because ‘they already did’. I liked the generalization and interesting assumption, shown here. It is true the act of using a product indicates a level of Trust; does it mean the customer truly Trusts the vendor – I doubt it. Deelip cites CIP as an example; we know some surveys indicate more than 60% of users have it turned off – as all should. If taken as a representative figure, I would see this as a significant amount of Distrust in Autodesk!

For me ‘Trust’ cannot be separated from ‘Truth’ in these issues. If Autodesk wants to be seen as ‘Trustworthy’ they are going to need to be seen as Truthful. To achieve that they are going to have to accept their ‘unconscionably invasive’ actions need to be addressed; very publicly be PROVEN to have ceased or (preferably) made Transparent, opened up to independent customer veto and or Validation.

What will Autodesk loose by being open and Honest with its customers – nothing; or is that the REAL problem. Is the Truth not what Autodesk wants YOU and me to see?

Testing, in one form or another, is what design and engineering is often about. Testing determines the ‘Truth’ of a structure, an idea and or persons/companies Trustworthiness and a position in the pack. What’s interesting about my interaction with the personnel at Autodesk is that many of the comments they have made, over time, at conversational level, they will not put in writing. Now this is a fundamental test in business. If a promise is made, it is made and can be legally enforceable – but if it exists only as sound energy that can be difficult. So it needs to be captured another way to be ‘usable’. Often the method used here is a document (maybe signed and or witnessed); written conformation detailing what was discussed, claimed or agreed.

So if I ask the question, as I have, to an Autodesk employee, ‘is Autodesk’s EULA legally enforceable?’, and I get the answer yes, then it is only right I should be able to get that ‘yes’ in writing with supporting documentation; in the absence of a simple signed letter, an affidavit or a statutory declaration.

So this brings me to repeat. Some time ago I gave Autodesk, through CEO Bass, the opportunity to confirm the legal enforceability of their entire EULA (and Subscription Terms and Conditions) by simply providing me with an affidavit or a statutory declaration. Given the legal resources at hand, to and within Autodesk, this task was an extremely simple, and easy, one for Autodesk to accomplish. But they failed too, even when prompted. (It’s still a response I would be happy to see.)

Now ‘The Dotsons’, will argue I am not important enough to warrant this level of effort. These same critters also argue Autodesk don’t prosecute me, only because they have a ‘right’ to choose who they fight and, equally, I am seen as unworthy of the effort. Additionally they see the failure of Autodesk to fulfill my request, for the affidavit or statutory declaration, as just another example of me expecting more than is reasonable; of me thinking I am more important than I am – but they are not even close. I know my relative (lack of) importance but that does not mean what I asked for is unreasonable. Furthermore, executing that simple act would have come very close to burying most of my arguments in one ‘swoop’.

No need to ‘negotiate’ or argue the point; no need to use the courts to sink me in a ‘suit’. No need to wade through this post and, the legal system would only have been, very inexpensively, used to validate their claims with the affidavit or statutory declaration.

What could be simpler: job done, Waddo’ disarmed and off our backs – maybe. So why not? The answer again would be in telling the Truth; and without Truth, Trust does not exist.

‘Truth’s’ has a companion - one as applicable in business as it is anywhere else - ‘Trust’. Intrinsically important to one another though fundamentally different; Truth is a fact, Trust a gift.

Trust is granted; it cannot be sold and should never be assumed or expected. Trust needs to be serviced and does not exist without Truth as its underlying foundation! In Autodesk’s case, unfortunately – as a result of their previous actions - that now also means providing a level of support to Truth and that is Transparency (a test); something Autodesk people may (and probably already do) find uncomfortable. Transparency can provide the Truth, which in turn enables Trust.

So let’s take testing a little further; let’s look at the selling of CIP data. Can it be done, should it be done, who would want it anyway etc? Is it possible for a ‘foil hat’ wearing rabid dog to sell electronic data, generated by a gorilla, whilst at the same time be seen flogging a dead horse?

Let start by looking at what CIP is: for Autodesk’s account go read their web site. From my perspective it is data compiled on one (or more) of my business computers. The creation of the data is done with software I did not request and do not want; that Autodesk did not ask if they could supply and make mandatory to load. Equally Autodesk did not ask if they could use it, for their own purposes, on my property and business computers!

I ‘bought’, from Autodesk, the ‘ability’ to design and draught using Autodesk software. I did not pay to access Autodesk software to do Autodesk’s bidding or assist them in their collection of data for the development of their products, or any other purpose. This does not mean I would not assist in these areas, or that I do not understand the value. It simply means I (and every body else) should be asked (by Autodesk) to assist; with ‘control’ left entirely in the hands of the customer. If CIP has a value to Autodesk it has and equal, or greater, importance and value to the customer and therefore has a price. Autodesk are not a benevolent society and neither are most of their customers. Not many would argue against these points of view.

But a more important issue is embodied in how the data is ‘collated’. By this I am referring to the fact CIP data is encrypted? So, Autodesk has collected data on my business computer(s), encrypted it so I cannot see what is within the file(s) they will take off my machine? Better still, when asked to be given the opportunity to peer into these files, to control their contents and or transmission – I am told it’s ‘none of your business’. Eh! None of my business? ‘Trust us’ we’re Autodesk is what is being said here and, from the apologists – ‘they are only collecting what is theirs anyway’. Oh! Is that true?

So here is where Trust and Truth come rushing toward a customer with each requiring the support of their mates. Trust relies on Truth, but in the initial stages of any situation - dependant on Trust - at least one ‘other third party’ is needed to supply support. Transparency is the obvious one, but is wounded and trailing badly at the moment so the supporting, members of the pack, need to be Control and Validation. Trust and Truth took a battering right at the start (in Autodesk’s T&Cs and) because Autodesk chose to impose CIP; continue to make it a mandatory load and hides its contents (they broke Transparency’s leg). Control and Validation are not close enough to assist Truth and therefore Trust suffered. Trust suffered further when Autodesk changed their attack by making it possible for CIP to be ‘remotely’ activated and reduced the ‘infected’ prey’s ability to control it via an original switch. Transparency and Control are out of the running now: therefore Validation cannot be used to support Truth and as a result Trust is trampled.

Autodesk will continue to be seen as a 600lb Gorilla unable to use, and abusing Trust, unless…... At the ‘end of the day’ Trust, in Autodesk, is in the hands of its customers (and gifted). However, who in their right mind, or with any business nous, is going to Trust a person (or a collective of people = business = Autodesk and others) who are not making it possible for us to believe (Truth) them because there exists no Transparency and, who will not allow us to use the Control and or Validation that is perfectly reasonable to expect!

So I return to; ‘they are only collecting what is theirs anyway’. Oh! Is that so? Flaw: the data is created, collected and collated on a customers’ business computer. So putting aside, for the moment, the efficacy of the act; CIP is not data Autodesk put on our machines and then took off again. It has components fitting that description – if Autodesk’s explanations are to be believed (Trusted) – but in the main the data is created as a result of our use of Autodesk’s software***! End of story CIP data is our data, our IP! Therefore it’s ours to do with as we wish; which would also mean we can sell CIP data!

Now there will be those that disagree with my premise - CIP is my IP therefore it can be traded and put up for sale, by me. Autodesk could be one who says I cannot, and this has certainly been inferred. But why not – what could be the reason? Could it be if CIP’s (full) file contents were disclosed Truth may take the biggest battering of them all and Trust (in Autodesk) would completely crumble without its mate? Maybe!

However, before we get too carried away - accepting cheques, that is ;-) – I will ask the individual(s) (who make Autodesk a living breathing business entity) to tell us what they know about the data ‘inside’ CIP files, and whether they have any objections to CIP data being offered for sale or given away.

Don’t forget, it is a reflectively decorated rabid dog making this offer so it is correct to think the whole proposition is lunacy. Laughing Out Loud am I. Who would actually want to know what was in my CIP data; or any CIP data for that matter. Who would want to pay for and then spend the time trying to decipher an encrypted file just to find out what was within? One part of the answer would be found in the response from an ‘Autodesk’ individual or their legal council; others in the data.

If Autodesk say CIP data is their IP and or cannot be retailed: well then, then we will know it has a ‘value’, to Autodesk, exceeding what is outlined in Autodesk’s public documentation. That would make it more interesting (and valuable) – to some others – than if Autodesk says, with no reservations, it’s ok to, give away or sell CIP data.

However, if ‘Autodesk’ do say ‘No Sale/give away etc.’, they are saying several things: firstly, Autodesk has collected data it does not want customers to see; and or they may be confirming, their view, CIP is their property and IP. The first scenario is bad enough but the second will mean, Autodesk, will be admitting to using Trojan software to infect other business entities computers with software that was intended solely for Autodesk’s use! Truth would bury its mate Trust!

The loading of ‘CIP software’ is not an option: so Autodesk will be admitting they misused and took advantage of their customers Trust. Trust is buried still deeper because Truth is really not what the customer will want to see! Control and Validation could still save the day, but now they must work in unison and be accompanied by the daddy of them all, (a healed) Transparency. For many individuals (in or out of business), and also Autodesk people, their greatest fear is (of the dog) Transparency.

If you buy my CIP data what do you get? The answer is contained within the CIP data on offer? It’s not the latest form (though that can be arranged) of CIP, it’s an earlier version. Why? Simply because it may be the most revealing: you see I know what I was doing prior to ‘capturing’ the data. Yes, ‘capturing’ was done deliberately and for very good reasons; not the least being, in an attempt to discredit me, a person said it was in a ‘readable’ form, so I set out to check (test) – and he was wrong! Now I am not saying ‘the person’ was lying but hey, guys, it was misleading; after all Autodesk’s published documents said it was encrypted so why was a paid apologist saying it was not?

What do you get? The answer is contained within the CIP data on offer? Clue: It’s the ‘volume of data’ that makes it initially interesting. Even accounting for Autodesk’s statement, CIP is encrypted to make it less intrusive?????; it was still much, much larger than one would have expected considering what I was actually doing with the software. There can be a number of reasons for ‘bloat’ but hey if you saw a guy in a store who had suddenly gained bulging pockets prior to paying for the Snicker in his hand; would you – the cashier – be curious? I think so.

I guess, by now you will understand I am happy to make CIP data available (not to all, nor Autodesk), in the form it was first found and shown to number of politicians, government departments and agencies. Deciphering CIP data, if supplied, is the recipient’s task. No additional clues will be provided but I will be happy to let you know if what you believe you reveal is representative of what I was doing when it was created, what I would ‘normally’ be prepared to reveal to a third party (Autodesk included), when the attempt to transmit occurred.

Will Transparency and its trusty side kick, Validation, in tights, mask and cape, swoop in from the west astride condors to free Truth and Trust and bury my concerns once and for all? Will the Gorilla gang fight off the heroes, leaving Trust and Truth to be mauled by an approaching growling pride; drowning out their pleas for help by screaming NO SALE? Let’s ask eh! Let’s see if the Gorilla turns out to be the good guy after all.

The question to Autodesk through CEO Bass is very simple and does require a response. If Autodesk objects to my proposal (me selling or giving away CIP data) they can either ignore my request, or respond in writing with their reason(s) why. Alternatively, if Autodesk have absolutely NO objections then they will need to clearly indicate that in a written response****.

The question is; does Autodesk have any objections to me offering for sale and or supplying copies of (in part or in full) - the file(s), and data, created as part of Autodesk’s Customer Involvement Program (CIP) - on my business computing systems?

So there is the question, now we wait. If an individual (employed by Autodesk, rightfully CEO Bass), an agent acting on their behalf or Autodesk’s legal representatives do not contact me within the next twenty one (21) days informing me, in writing, they have absolutely no objections to me supplying or retailing CIP data, Autodesk will have to accept they have indicated they do have objections and therefore are using CIP to collect data they don’t want you or I to see. Whatever their reply/response, you lot will be the first to know just what they say or do not do; that’s a promise.

A response is required: three choices exist; only one provides an opportunity for Truth to support a small portion of Trust. The two others ensure Truth destroys Trust.

Going on past comments, ‘The Dotson pack’ won’t agree this is a true test; but if ‘no substantive action’ is ok for the acceptance of unjustifiably unconscionable software terms and conditions, and the use of Trojan software, then ‘what’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander’.

Trust, Truth, Control, Validation and Transparency play marvelous pack roles, in this folly. As do Dogs, Horses, Gorillas, Condor, Geese and others; with Honesty, Scrutiny, Fairness, Justice and Integrity yet to join the pack. At the end of the day, joking aside, business is serious stuff. Blindly misplaced Trust, the deception, hypocrisy and unconscionable behavior, I have highlighted, should never be a standard part of business. None should be allowed or tolerated by any person or company, else they are also complicit.

If CEO Bass, ‘The Dotsons’, KevinEs, Deelip or others want to call me names, a lunatic, to say I’m living on another planet, that what I am saying was tried by communists and failed, that I wear ‘foil’ hats, or that I am flogging a dead horse; is a very little concern, to me! The fact is, some things are right and some are wrong. What Autodesk (and others) have done and still doing is wrong for its customers’, society, Autodesk and our industry, and that needs to be said. I really care very little about any person, group or pack who thinks Honesty, Scrutiny and Integrity (and other members of that pack) have no place in our highly connected future or, that these traits should be left in the hands of the few and or software developers to ignore and or redefine at will.

To reap the rewards of the connectivity confronting us it is ever so more important to make available and ensure that connectivity is as Transparent as possible. If any of you, out there, think you can sit on the fence, close yours eyes or just simply ignore – individuals or companies – unjustifiably unconscionable behavior on the ‘internet’, and think it will not come back and bite you, or your heirs, you are simple ignoring the obvious. I may be a lunatic but you would be an idiot.

Deelip’s partly correct about Trust, but Trust alone is a fool’s folly. Deelip said we ‘who say we don’t Trust…etc.’ are stupid. Well let me say; any business person who Trusts without some level of Validation is probably lying. At the very best s/he is being foolish (and or stupid), at worst s/he should never be relied on to protect yours or another’s interests.

In Autodesk’s case, as is the case for other software developers/vendors who have gone down the same road, they may think they have done ‘no wrong’; they have taken steps, in their view, to protect their interests and IP – maybe. They have also taken their customers Trust for granted and as a ‘right’ and in the process have, and are, trampling on Trust, what is best for others, society as a whole and, their industry.

A discussion on the ‘cloud’ linked to a misapplication of the word ‘Trust’, started my conversation with Deelip. This epistle is an over-growth of that conversation and my belief that the success of the ‘cloud’, in whatever form, is dependant on Trust but; Trust can only be granted by users and can only exist and or be ‘expected’ by the vendors if they are prepared to respect their customers enough to and make their own activities Transparent and open to independent veto, Scrutiny and Validation.

Autodesk’s (or any other software vendors for that matter) protection is absolutely no more important than that of its ‘most insignificant’ customer. CEO Bass would never tolerate, without considerable reservations, the business or personal intrusion he oversees of others; and I challenge him to ring, email and or better still, to my face, tell me otherwise.

The internet extends our ability to quickly share and disseminate information and data; it is a wonderful set of tools, as is a gun. But a gun in the hands of a careless person, a fool, a despotic government or company becomes a tool to destroy wantonly in preference to it being used wisely, for good.

The internet is no different and it is the Integrity of those who use it who will ensure it’s used mostly for the benefit of others. That does mean individuals and those heading companies, who have much to gain using the internet and the ‘cloud’, need to have not only the knowledge and intellect to get the best out of their staff, they also need the to have a very high degree of Integrity: to ensure they and the people they lead never step outside what is ‘morally right’.

Integrity is another mate of Trust and Truth: it could be said, if a person has Integrity then Truth, Fairness and Justice are cornerstones of their decisions and actions and Trust, in that individual, is almost guaranteed.

So for a ‘dig’, and with absolutely no regard for tact; bearing in mind the previous paragraph, take a look at what some software people have been only to willing to do to you and me, and you decide, do you believe they have Integrity? Do they believe in Fairness and Justice? Are they Truthful? Do they deserve your Trust?

I have said many times before there is nothing I have raised or commented on in relation to Autodesk’s EULA, its Subscription Terms and Conditions and or its unconscionable behavior that I would not be prepared to discuss given the opportunity. But it’s Autodesk’s people that are going to have to make this possible; I have done my best and been constantly rejected or ignored. I would be absolutely delighted to have a result that allowed me to say I was either wrong or that what I have said has been addressed and or corrected, but it is up to Autodesk’s people to make that possible. Lawyers are not, and never were required, but, does CEO Bass have the statesmanship to make it possible? I wonder.

I did not do what I have done (that is, speak out) because there was a personal reward. I knew at the outset there was none: my speaking out always had the potential to cause me trouble and damage my small business. It has and that was in my hands: I have few regrets because it needed to be done and I was not about to abandon my principals or accept the standards of others, including those within a ‘gorilla’ like Autodesk.

In closing, if you are a reader that has made it to this point I must congratulate you. You will be amongst an elite group – as, probably only Autodesk’s legal people (may) have gone this far ;-) You must have had a very good reason to have persevered and I would not mind knowing why. I have never actively asked others to stand with me, people in the main don’t like radicals, change or disturbance and that I understand. Over time some have given verbal support from the side lines – though no commitment - if you are similar or of a different caliber I would be happy to know and or discuss particular points. If your only wish is to complain about what I have written, I will ‘listen’, but please don’t waste your time.


**One) Autodesk’s EULA, their Subscription Terms and Conditions, their failure to allow customers to prevent the forced loading of Trojan software - embedded within legitimately purchased products and, their refusal to allow the scrutiny of the data collected, ensures what I raise is far from being a ‘dead horse’. It’s a ‘stable of horses’: all very much alive and working, for Autodesk, on customers (your) computer(s)!

***Two) “but in the main the data is created as a result of our use of Autodesk’s software!” and that of any third party software we are using in conjunction within Autodesk products; including their competitors.

****Three) Clearly this does not mean referring to previously unverifiable published promotional/FAQ/propaganda documents stating only what Autodesk wants users to believe they are doing!

Four) Oh! I do like the word, Filibuster.

24th May 2007

Buyer Beware…’, was the title of a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 24th May 2005. It detailed a fundamental shift in the use of a particular EULA away from being a tool that defined the rules of use for software – reasonable - to a legally enforceable contract containing a number of questionable conditions including one granting the licensor, "the right to conduct an audit on your premises or by electronic means"; unreasonable!

The EULA moved from being a contract defining what you can and cannot do with software to a contract, if accepted unchallenged, that specifically gives the licensor access to your premises, business, design and computing systems!

Caveat emptor, the Blog, is an extension of that original letter and highlights my original, unanswered, requests relating to the addition of Audit clauses in my existing Subscription and Licence contracts. Requests for information and detail that I, as an established licence holder and customers, have every right to; and information the licensor should be compelled and obligated to provide!

If my goal is considered offensive, unjustified or unreasonable it will only be by those who believe protecting their IP is more important than that of others. To them I make no apology; if the issues raised previously had been broached correctly, and in the first instance, they would have long ago passed by.

Caveat venditor: ‘Like a dog with a bone’, I have absolutely no intention of letting go of these issues until they all are sensibly discussed and answered as I believe they should be!