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Unpublished Paper
Separation of Ownership and the Authorization to use Personal Computers: Unintended Effects of EU and U.S. Law on IT Security
Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (TTLF) Working Paper Series (2010)
  • Lukas Feiler
Abstract

It used to be that owners of personal computers typically had full and exclusive authorization to use their computers. This was primarily due to the open architecture introduced with the IBM Personal Computer in the 1980s and proliferated in the 1990s. Recent developments bear evidence of an increasing disconnection between the concept of ownership and that of authorization to use a personal computer (including mobile devices such as notebooks, sub-notebooks, cell phones, smartphones, and PDAs): interference with the closed architecture employed by Apple’s iPhone is claimed to constitute a violation under 17 U.S.C. § 1201; the EULA for Windows 7 supposedly grants Microsoft the right to disable a user’s operating system if the user is deemed to be in violation of the license terms; the Google Chrome Terms of Service supposedly grant Google the right to install new versions of its product without notice; on July 17, 2009, Amazon remotely deleted certain titles, including Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four from its customers’ ebook devices without consent or notice. This paper analyzes the extent to which EU and U.S. contract law and (para-)copyright law disconnect the concepts of ownership and authorization and how that affects the security of personal computers.

Keywords
  • IT security,
  • copyright law,
  • contract law,
  • DMCA,
  • DRM,
  • digital rights management,
  • EULA,
  • license agreement
Disciplines
Publication Date
Summer July 21, 2010
Citation Information
Lukas Feiler. "Separation of Ownership and the Authorization to use Personal Computers: Unintended Effects of EU and U.S. Law on IT Security" Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (TTLF) Working Paper Series (2010)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lukas_feiler/2/