Changing windows icons- ethical question

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by aigle, Mar 4, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    There are many sotware available to change OS isons, like IconTweaker, IconPackager etc. Windows itself supports atleast some icon changes from within theOS.
    I just want to know is it ethical/ legal to change windows icons or not? Any violation of EULA etc?

    Thanks.
     
  2. steve161

    steve161 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Posts:
    681
    Location:
    New York
    I would think that as long as it is not used for business or profit, it is OK.
     
  3. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    I was refering to EULA of MS.
     
  4. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Posts:
    10,632
    i dont think icon changing falls under reverese engineering, decompilation, or disassembly so it should be ok.
     
  5. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    Thanks, so I must be satisfied while doing it now.
     
  6. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    EULA's are governed by contract law, so if you break a EULA, you are liable for civil damages, which is very different from breaking a criminal law. The point of that statement is of course "damages". Microsoft would have to prove damages from any hacking activity you make to your licensed copy of their product. In effect most anything you do to your copy would be impossible for them to either detect or enforce under the terms of the EULA. Most of those terms are infact unenforceable anyway and they certainly wouldnt want to put the minutia of functional improvenment hacks to the test in a court.

    so hack away

    Reverse engineering of the OS is one of the primary ways many applications where forced to be developed, even they havent been pursed.

    PS Icon replacement, theming and customization is a "feature" that was sold in the product, basic Icon replacement is in no way a violation, even hacking in new icons to thier dynamic link libraries would not be a violation. ;)

    EULA's are very one sided agreements, and often fall victim when attempts to enforce them are made in court if the court finds evidence they are to restrictive, especially when it comes to activities that pose no real financial damages or as in this case are a natural extension of a sold feature, I would not even fear retaliation for a total shell replacement being rolled out across a major corporate license.
     
  7. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    Thanks.
    BTW one more question, how about people who just copy Icons, like Vista type icons etc that look exactly similar.
    Isn,t it ethically stealing MS assests.
     
  8. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
  9. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    Now these are a lot of links to read.
    Your point is valid but I personally feel it rather non-professional behaviour when people just try to copy icon of Vista etc. They are not exact but lok very similar, no copy infringment but it is not creativity, it looks plain copying other,s work. Just my feeling.

    Like giving a non-IE browser a look that is similar to IE7 via a skin. It,s not a legal infringment I knwo but the look of skin is so similar to IE7 that everyone can feel that the skin is a copy of IE7. I wonder how someone might feeel if his Art Work is copied in a similar way.
     
  10. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    presupposes that the look and feel of a popular source isnt itself a derivative of more obscure sources :p

    leads down the road to who owns the "right" to put a Lion on a Beer Bottle
    (once had a Coor's Creative Director claim that right when viewing an identity I created for a local craft brew, of course Lions have been on beer containers since shortly after its invention in ancient Eygpt in all likelihood, the burden of infringement is the ability to mistake one product for another)

    OS X isnt yet suing Vista....yet,
    but then the "law" is often a playground for mismatches, trademark suppression is quite typical in law through threat of litigation rather than the law itself
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2007
  11. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    U can never be sure but such a hypothesis should not be an excuse.
     
  12. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Posts:
    4,954
    And I would add that in "civil damages" under "contract law" means actual damages. Whereas civil damages under tort means actual damages plus additional damages, such as pain and suffering. The only other thing would be to add under contract law sometimes the requirement that you pay the other side's attorney fees seems to be the real leverage.
     
  13. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    consider that your talking about incremental adapations or "tinkering" to symbols, symbols are visual shorthand for ideas, sometimes those ideas are supposed to be representations of trademarks

    you dont really think these designers are raking in much money do you?
    99% of icons are freely distributed

    how much did this :p cost?
    Did the designer of Douglas Adams book make anything?
    http://i14.tinypic.com/3y381s5.jpg


    if youve watched the flash version,
    its really quite abbreviated give it a listen
    http://www.turnstyle.org/FreeCulture/
     
  14. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Not exactly..

    If you own a Vista licence and you do not redistribute the altered resources there will not even be a copyright issue, as international law allows modification for personal use - for example, you can legally obtain a crack and crack software, as long as you do not distribute the cracked software. This is why crack sites can exist legally, but Warez sites are not legal, in terms of international copyright laws.
     
  15. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    A word of warning, it depends on the country you are in !

    In the UK we have no statutory damages like in the USA for example.
    In the UK contract differs for non-commercial vs commercial in terms of copyright as well.
     
  16. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Anyone can copy anything as long as its their personal interpretation.

    e.g. I can sit in front of the Mona Lisa and draw a very very good copy and sell that, as long as I did not pass it off as the original.

    It is is altered, significantly (eg a copy of the Adidas logo with an extra stripe is considered significant enough), then it is considered original artwork.

    Then you can go even deeper and use copyright information for parody, review, personal study (including reverse engineering!!!) and news, purposes which I do not know the details of.
     
  17. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    and could be employed for selling flowers, felt and foosball tables
    but not footware, even the potential confusion of the foosball table might be actionable as a natural assumptive connection from sportswear to a sports themed game in an "out of category" industry.

    Trademark law is largely based around categories, If I want to sell Coors Brand Kiwi Fruits, I generally could, there is little chance of consumer confusion. If my name happens to be Mike Coors (the Kiwi King) all the better, but these days Coors the multinational juggernaut might consider any employment of the name Coors a dilution of their trademark and contest it, sue me and otherwise employ thier legal department in busy work to drive me into the poor house.

    Like they did to Corr's Soft Drinks (now Rush Beverages)

    he lost, deep pockets
     
  18. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Bad example, trademarks add a whole new twist...
     
  19. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    actually its been an integral part of the discussion, icons are often trademarks or trademark representations, or covered under service marks

    granted taking it into the category and name area of trademark law is a departure, but illustrative of the point regarding enforcement, trademark dilution, and deep pockets as employed for suppression.

    If you listen to free culture there is an interesting analogy to the Japanese Manga market, specifically the Dōjinshi phenomena (think fan movies) obviously derivative and copyright infringing work that has a synergistic effect to bolster the overall industry market. Icon and theme packages are much like that, they are "value added" propositions, "fan art" that costs the manufacturer nothing to develop but actually support their own branding efforts. Thier utility value is thus greater than their minuscule capture of revenue. They are worth more as a 3rd party endorsement than they detract from a revenue stream.
     
  20. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    That is something different. Mona lisa is a rather old art work whose artist died long ago. But MS is still alive and in bussiness, so it,s totally different to make a very good copy of Vista icons and put them on web even before the launch of Vista!
    Legally u can say so, but ethically some may argue. Again I think a big consideration must be given to the intention behind it. If somebody do so just to get adavantage of Adidas market value I will ethically consider it wrong( though legally it might be OK). On the otherhand if somebody use this modified logo personally( due to liking or some other reasons) without getting a major benefit and without even any intention of benefit, I might cosider it ethically OK.
    .
     
  21. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    11,047
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    I did not understand this. U mean one can use a cracked software if he actually owns licence for it?
     
  22. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Posts:
    696
    Location:
    Boulder Colorado
    if you have purchased a license for a product but have had the means to activate, verify, or otherwise enable it go missing or become damaged that doesnt negate your rights to employ the product. ;)
    they might encourage you to do so through their support channel, but its not the only means open to you under the law


    In the case of Mona Lisa, the image is in the public domain, but say you wanted to employ Ronald McDonald, under fair use that could be possible provided that there is the proper context (*protected expression, parody, political or social commentary), same for trademarks owned by others, the name as well as the graphics are protected, but also employed under fair use by their competition all the time.

    Id again refer to
    http://fairuse.stanford.edu/

    as for the icons of your example, Microsoft isnt interested in pursing litigation against third parties that are helping them promote their product, as mentioned above it amounts to third party endorsement and a form of "fan art"


    * a good example is Andy Warhol's employment of the Campbell's Soup can
    http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcopyright4.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2007
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.