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Author Topic: What is Piracy with respect to Arduino?  (Read 3326 times)
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Start with two Case Study

STORY 1
----------------

When I first belatedly discover Arduino Duemilanove about 4 month ago. There is no official supplier listed for Malaysia. One website sell it but list it as out of stock. Possibly there was supply issues for Duemilanove.

There are official supplier for Indonesia which sell the board that I am looking for. The listing on the online shop is for Duemilanove.

Just so happen I went to Indonesia for vacation. So arrange for meet up to buy. Discovered on the last minute that even though listed as Duemilanove it is actually a clone. The meetup never happen.


STORY 2
----------------

Back from the trip. Go straight to Ebay. One guy from a country in the far east was apparently auctioning a Duemilanove for about US$10. I win that BWORD and receive the board. Only to discover that it is a clone. Even though the listing is for Duemilanove.

Anyway, despite not so good build quality. I am still happy. It does work and do everything that I need it to do. It is cheap.

Piracy wrt to Arduino
-----------------------------------------------
Arduino is open source to the point that the hardware is also open source.

But that does not means these people in story 1 & story 2 can sell clone but advertise their product with same name as official board.

Give bad rep to Arduino hardware in general. If people have to ask is it original or clone. Or will only accept COD so that they can check the board. Then there already is negative perception about it.

« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 05:22:41 pm by arduino-malaysia » Logged

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(... CONTINUED BECAUSE TOO LONG)

Sorry for the topic. I am not asking a question. I am making a statement. Those who sell clone but also use the official product name for their board are the true pirate. They simply sucks because they confuse people.

With that said. There are Arduino compatible boards which does make the effort to differentiate themselves with the official board (most importantly not using the trademarked name). Many of them have extra functionality and are evolved. Lots of kudos for them. A clear line should be drawn to say that these boards are not pirated board. It is how open source work. In variety we thrive and evolve.

A disclaimer. Nowadays I am a listed supplier for Malaysia. So my opinion might and should be biased smiley-wink.

Best Regards!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 06:00:16 pm by arduino-malaysia » Logged

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@Arduino Malaysia, if you are truly selling an official Arduino board, kudos.  I appreciate that you are selling the real thing and not a clone that is being marketed as if it were the real thing.  I see the fake ones on Ebay all the time.  It is a shame and those people should be banned from selling.  I don't have a problem with them selling clones, but they should be labeled as such.  I am in complete agreement.
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Now that there are worldwide trademarks for the Arduino, they cannot sell a board as an 'arduino' if it is not. Technically they can sell it as a duemilanove as that is not a trademarked word.

The arduino team have done a bit of going after fake arduino boards but as they have been around for quite a while, it is difficult to stop them.

The new board should help slightly and it should be a bit longer before we start seeing fake Uno boards. I will be on the lookout and if I see any then we will hopefully get the people making them stopped.

If you do see a fake arduino on ebay then send ebay a message. They can then tell the seller to stop selling them of face a ban. Send ebay a link to the trademark info as well.

Mowcius
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Quote
Give bad rep to Arduino hardware in general
why, did your board not work?  If it works how can they give it a bad name?  maybe their boards are of better quality than overpriced branded boards? (which, lets face it, wouldn't be difficult.)
 
That aside why do you equate using a trademark wrongfully to kidnapping, murder and rape on the high seas?  That is what real pirates do.

Personally I consider arduino as something of a genericised trademark anyway.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 05:54:04 am by UltraMagnus » Logged

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Flyboy,

Thanks for the good words. If Duemilanove (or any of the official board name) is not a trademark and can be use in the clone name. Then we are going to be hurt by this.

Any other people with feedback on this?

UltraMagnus,

Believe it or not, there are people who would buy Arduino boards due to its branding and/or because they want to show support to people behind Arduino. So that these people will keep innovating the product.

Since the "pirates" is presenting their product as the official Arduino product either by using Arduino trademark or same name as official board. Unsuspecting buyer with intention to buy the official product will then feel cheated.

Add this to the after effect that everyone will have to be careful. Choose not to buy online because they can not check the product physically.

Worst, what stopping this "pirate" from selling clones at official product price? After all they advertised/list the clone using Arduino branding and official product name.

This is the bad reps that I refer to earlier.

Where I come from. This kind of activity, selling clone as original product is called piracy. We have learn to differentiate it from the other pirate who "kidnap, murder and rape on the high seas".


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What i generally need to know, nowadays with Arduino as a trademark, is it forbidden to market a board with the term "Arduino", but clearly state that it is a clone (e.g. Seeduino, Severino) or fork of the original?

I do not want to fool people into thinking they buy the real DMN/Uno, but rather a compatible board with its own advantages.
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Here is excerpt from Arduino FAQ >> What should I call my boards? (http://arduino.cc/en/Main/FAQ) :

Quote
"Arduino" is a trademark of Arduino team and should not be used for unofficial variants.

<SNIP>

While unofficial products should not have "Arduino" in their name, it's okay to describe your product in relation to the Arduino project and platform.

<SNIP>

Okay:

    * Xxxxxx for Arduino - products that work with official Arduino boards (e.g. shields or kits)
    * Xxxxxx (Arduino-Compatible) - variations and clones which are software and hardware compatible


I am not a lawyer smiley-wink. But from reading the FAQ, while we can not use Arduino in the name of unofficial product. It can be used as description in above fashion.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 09:41:52 pm by arduino-malaysia » Logged

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Thanks for the link, Arduino Malaysia. This was what i wanted to know. I did not think it was clearly stated in the FAQ though.

Greetings

Apogee
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Quote
Where I come from. This kind of activity, selling clone as original product is called piracy.

The term "piracy", I am pretty sure, isn't the legal definition. The proper legal terms are more prosaic:

1. Copyright Infringement
2. Patent Infringement
3. Trademark Infringement

Of which the use of the name Arduino without proper licensing is an example of variant number 3, of course.

The term "piracy", as applied to these intellectual property (IP) violations, was coined by an organization known as the "Business Software Alliance":

http://www.bsa.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Software_Alliance

They are basically a non-governmental enforcement and lobbyist organization whose purpose is to conflate the terms of intellectual property violations, which produce mainly only monetary damages, with those terms which represent heinous criminal acts, which typically produce not only monetary damage, but social, psychological, and bodily damage, not to mention violence and assault. Obviously (and sadly) they have been very effective with this strategy, since in most areas of the world, IP violations are no longer considered civil property crimes (as they once were), but generally hold a status that is rapidly closing in on a definition closer to the terminology of "economic terrorism".

It would be one thing if these IP violations actually removed product from the shelves to be sold, but it generally does not. Most IP violations have nothing to do with actual theft (that of deprivation of an individual or company of actual product), but rather that of "loss of profit"; the BSA (and other similar organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA), therefore, is nothing more than an extra-governmental organizations dedicated to ensuring and enforcing the profitability of their member constituent companies.

As if by their very existence, they are owed, by us citizens, money for making "stuff". I say they are not owed a damn thing.

The concepts of open source software (and now hardware, and other endeavors) and especially that of the Free Software Foundation, were established as means of taking back the real concepts that software, and intellectual property as a whole, was based on: that of freedom of speech. These companies, and their enforcement agencies, want nothing more so much than to package up your thoughts and speech, and resell it back to you while reaping a (generally large) profit. If you don't agree with them, they will attempt to do what they can (legally or otherwise) to silence and/or marginalize you in whatever way necessary.

What disturbs me most about all of this, is that by supposedly open-source projects worrying about IP rights and such, as well as by fewer people understanding the etymology of the terms being used to describe what is happening (ie, conflating the derogatory term "piracy" with that of the more prosaic "intellectual property violation"), that the open source movement may be playing right into the hands of the corporate hegemony.

Is this what we really want? I don't think its what I want...

 :-?


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My thought after reading your long explanation.

It drills down to communication. In need of a term that everyone can understand. The important thing here is to understand and not to be happy with or be politically correct etc.

Once we understand what we are talking about, then there will be ability to communicate, to argue, to state one ideological or political preference, etc.

Case in hand. If I did not use the term piracy, would you be able to post that very long write up to express your thought? So at least it demonstrate that you understand the matter to be discussed!

With that said/written. I agree with you that the term piracy started by BSA (or other similar organization in other country) to depict heinous act that is not really applicable and suitable to describe mere act of copying software or trademark infringement.

However let's put thing into perspective and get back to the topic. With this question.

Are you saying that you agree with this people action of listing their product as, for instance "Arduino Duemilanove" but actually is selling clone. When the only time prospect customer will learn about it is when they are already customer, when the product is already in their hand?

 :-?


-------SIDE NOTE--------
* Honestly:  I think the term piracy as a word rooted in the fact that long time ago this so called pirate distribute bootlegged item for profit.

** Which bring another concern of people stereo typing pirate as killing and raping people on the high see. It is just a stereotype. Combine this with the fact that organization like BSA is trying to stereotype copyright infringement or trademark violation with a gruesome stereotype of a stereotyped pirate?

*** So are we fighting fire with fire? On in this case fighting stereotype with stereotype? How far have we fallen to the "BSA" of the world level.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 08:16:14 pm by arduino-malaysia » Logged

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Quote
My thought after reading your long explanation.

It drills down to communication. In need of a term that everyone can understand. The important thing here is to understand and not to be happy with or be politically correct etc.

That's the problem - the term that is commonly used to describe IP infringement, "piracy" - in no way matches what the historical meaning of the word "piracy" was defined as; you note in your side notes:

Quote
Honestly:  I think the term piracy as a word rooted in the fact that long time ago this so called pirate distribute bootlegged item for profit.

Bootlegging is a part of it, but when most people think of historical piracy, they think of the violence, the robbery, the kidnapping, and everything else regarding "piracy" (in the maritime sense); whether, as you note, that description is unfair to the actual pirates (ie, whether the idea of pirates doing all those illegal actions was a stereotyping), I don't think matters - what matters is what people think, and when they think "piracy", they think "violent theft". Note also that I am not agreeing with the premise that the "violent theft" stereotype is inaccurate.

Quote
Once we understand what we are talking about, then there will be ability to communicate, to argue, to state one ideological or political preference, etc.

...and those terms, which are already defined, are as I wrote previously:

1. Copyright Infringement
2. Patent Infringement
3. Trademark Infringement

The imposter here is the term on "piracy" - aka, "violent theft"; when in the case of IP infringement, no real theft generally occurs. Only the loss of potential profits.

Quote
Case in hand. If I did not use the term piracy, would you be able to post that very long write up to express your thought? So at least it demonstrate that you understand the matter to be discussed!

I was merely attempting to correct a long used misuse of a term that the BSA promulgated decades ago in order to confuse the public with what actually occurs vs what they want the public to think occurs. They want the public to think that when IP infringement occurs, it is a "violent theft" of product, that they (the BSA member companies) are losing product, and thus sales - when in actuality they generally lose nothing but potential products.

Quote
With that said/written. I agree with you that the term piracy started by BSA (or other similar organization in other country) to depict heinous act that is not really applicable and suitable to describe mere act of copying software or trademark infringement.

Well, at least we can agree on that! smiley

Quote
However let's put thing into perspective and get back to the topic. With this question.

Are you saying that you agree with this people action of listing their product as, for instance "Arduino Duemilanove" but actually is selling clone. When the only time prospect customer will learn about it is when they are already customer, when the product is already in their hand?

I personally think it is up to the customer to educate themselves as to what looks like a clone, and what isn't. Then they need to make an educated decision as to whether to buy the clone or not. They know they are buying a clone, and they can't declare otherwise, when the price of the device is waaaay lower than what they can purchase it for from one of the actual distributors (which are all listed on the arduino.cc site). To claim otherwise is them being dishonest with themselves.

Quote
-------SIDE NOTE--------
* Honestly:  I think the term piracy as a word rooted in the fact that long time ago this so called pirate distribute bootlegged item for profit.

As I noted before, this is correct - the word piracy as applied to IP infringement is a conflation of terms; it is a petty attempt to mislead the public into thinking something violent is occurring when someone "copies that floppy", as the old BSA saying went.

Quote
** Which bring another concern of people stereo typing pirate as killing and raping people on the high see. It is just a stereotype. Combine this with the fact that organization like BSA is trying to stereotype copyright infringement or trademark violation with a gruesome stereotype of a stereotyped pirate?

Perhaps, but as I noted before, while it may be a stereotype of actual maritime pirates, it does have roots in reality; while I am sure there were plenty of "nice pirates" (who maybe would just loot the ship and let you go, sans cargo, with no harm), I am just as certain that there were mean and "ugly" pirates - just like any population/cultural group; there are also plenty of court documentation from the period to back up the characterization, vs the possible so-called "nice pirate" form of piracy.

Quote
*** So are we fighting fire with fire? On in this case fighting stereotype with stereotype? How far have we fallen to the "BSA" of the world level.

Perhaps. Its each open-source project's choice to decide whether or not to "deal with the devil" and protect their IP (of any sort) while leaving other parts remain open-source. This takes multiple forms, from the standard methods of using the current IP protections available from governments, to deciding which open-source (or closed, for that matter) licenses to utilize, to exactly where they apply those licenses and protections to the project as a whole.

Personally, I think if you want to open source something, yet you don't want any one organization or individual to have control, and you want to receive "payment" back, you should choose to GPL the entire project; at least then you can get "paid back" in the form of improvements to the project, and all your IP can be covered.

Ultimately - as has already been shown - no matter what you do to attempt to protect your IP; whether via open-source licensing, closed-source licensing, or governmental "controls"; someone somewhere is going to attempt to make a buck off the work - regardless of the legality or morality.

Perhaps the sane choice really is to license everything BSD...

 smiley-wink
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The more accurate historical and legal term is probably "counterfeiting"...  (even with respect to the stereotypical fictional portrayal of the frustrated artist who creates the master plates for printing fake money.)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 10:10:13 am by westfw » Logged

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Quote
The more accurate historical and legal term is probably "counterfeiting"

Perhaps in regards to most physical IP forms, this is true; counterfeit typically conjures images of "fake and shoddy" merchandise.

However, the term "counterfeit" can no longer apply when a copy you make of an item is -perfect- in every fashion; it isn't fake, it isn't shoddy.

Of course, this would only apply to certain types of IP; with regards to physical goods, it may or may not. In the end, it boils down to whether a company lost a potential sale, and hence, potential profit was lost.

This debate is only going to get worse as automated manufacturing gets better (and cheaper - to the point where you have a magic box hooked up to your computer that can create anything that can fit within the volume of the box; indeed, if the concepts of reconfigurable robotics get applied to nanoscale devices...).

 smiley
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Crosh,

We can argue about semantic all day even weeks! At the end of the day what is understood by common public might not reflect some people way of thinking or some ideological agenda. There is no right or wrong in this. It is just as it is.

Arguing about semantic is good if what we want to do is have a long debate about copyright infringement, about misuse of certain word that unfortunately is already commonly used by the public or whether open source project should pursue trademark or licensing violation.

Reading back my first post, I am pretty sure that this thread have nothing to do with having long debate as described above. The premise is very simple.

I am describing and damning those people who sell clone but list their product as official. I am labeling this people as pirate while at the same time drawing a very clear line between this and the honorable clone or seller of Arduino Compatible that does not use such dirty tactics.

So let me answer the part of your post that discuss this issue:

Quote
I personally think it is up to the customer to educate themselves as to what looks like a clone, and what isn't. Then they need to make an educated decision as to whether to buy the clone or not. They know they are buying a clone, and they can't declare otherwise, when the price of the device is waaaay lower than what they can purchase it for from one of the actual distributors (which are all listed on the arduino.cc site). To claim otherwise is them being dishonest with themselves.

Education is always part of the solution. However, even after having enough education it is still possible for honest buyer to buy from dishonest seller.

It is adding salt to injury when this happen and suddenly we label the buyer as dishonest to themselves or just shrug them as uneducated  :o !

Instead of educating people to blame the buyer. I suggest that we educate people to identify this dishonest seller. Hence the main idea behind this thread. In fact labeling dishonest seller as "pirate" is part of the education process.

Pardon me if they are not labeled as trademark violator that does not do violent crime but actually just a nice guy who happen to be selling clone opensource product for a living but you know using dirty tactic to get people to buy clone instead of the official board to the effect that buyer will only be aware about the fact that it is a clone only after receiving the product and have a very iffy chance to return it because MR nice guy will not be so nice after that.

The more people aware about this as a bad thing the better. Labeling bad thing as bad is just nuance of communication. And it is done with purpose.

And there it is. Feel free to continue with long discussion about off topic stuff. But pardon me if I do not reply. My time is precious!

Best Regards!



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