But truth be told, I've probably inadvertently allowed them to do so by the fine print in their End User License Agreement (EULA), right?
So what recourse do I have? That's when I was hit with a ''wouldn't it be cool if'' moment that I want to share with you all in the form of an open letter to software producers, whether they be open or closed source, commercial or freeware.
Dear Software Producer:
I purchased (or freely and legally downloaded) your software to use on my computer. But make no mistake about it... it is my computer and your software is a digital guest here. As such, I have a few basic and fair rules of conduct I require you to follow. They are as follows:
In exchange for abiding by these rules of decent and honorable behavior, I agree to use only legally licensed copies of your software in compliance with your customary terms.
This is, after all, my computer and my data.
Now, you're probably thinking I've gone completely nuts. Perhaps you're right, but are these terms and conditions really all that unreasonable? I don't think they are at all.
If every software producer treated their customers' computers and data as though their products are in fact guests in the computer, then I firmly believe we'd have far fewer security problems.
For starters, Sony BMG would never have considered using ''rootkit'' technologies to hide its code. Better still, software developers would consider these terms as they're designing their software, which is likely to have precluded Microsoft's design flaw in its WMF code. (Executable code would never have been allowed to be transmitted and run via an arbitrary image file.)
Since we're pretty much forced to live with the vendors' EULAs, then they should have to live with ours. I'm reminded of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant. If just one of us takes this letter to our software vendors, they'll think he's nuts. But if we all do it, then they may just think it's some kind of movement. (With due apologies to Arlo...)
I, for one, think it's about time we stand up for our software consumer rights!