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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the overactive-legal-team dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure most Slashdot readers have had occasion to suffer through a hardware manufacturer's terrible website in search of product documentation. It's often hidden away in submenus of submenus, and if your product is more than a couple years old, you probably have to wade through broken links. One guy has been helping to change that; he runs a site called Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, where he collects by hand materials from many different companies and hosts them together in one spot. Now Toshiba has become aware of his project, and helpfully forced him to remove all of their manuals under a copyright claim."
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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site

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  • Thanks Toshiba! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:39AM (#41942079)

    My present laptop is a Toshiba. Now I know to avoid them when buying my next. There's such a big selection these days, I love it when a company makes my life easier!

  • by Tanktalus (794810) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:50AM (#41942153) Journal

    Oh, I dunno about that. I think they're thinking that a) if you can't find the manual, you'll be forced to upgrade sooner (and, incumbant advantage here: if you have a Toshiba, you're probably more likely to pick Toshiba again), and b) by removing the old documentation, they're probably hoping their competition will have a harder time using old documentation against them (e.g., documented limitations, workarounds, whatever). By not being forced to upgrade, they're losing money. By allowing their competition more time to put out laptops better than Toshiba's old laptops and being able to quote their past failures, they're losing money to their competitors.

    Either that, or they have a fresh-outta-school lawyer who has not learned that his job involves "marketing".

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:55AM (#41942177)
    My daughter got a Toshiba laptop as a graduation gift from her grandparents, and a few months into her ownership the keyboard died completely. Toshiba would not allow the device to be returned for repair/replacement under their warranty without first paying a phone "technician" $49 for a "repair consultation". The "tech" was a completely clueless English-as-a-second-language phone center guy. They offered to "refund" the $49 if their phone service did not help (hint - their phone procedures were useless with a broken keyboard). They then offered a $29 box to use to send them the laptop for repair/replacement. This company is pure garbage - they want $78 to replace a laptop keyboard that probably costs $5 or less.
  • by Guppy (12314) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @11:07AM (#41942241)

    Ah yes, Toshiba and their wonderful legacy support.

    The company that dropped all their support info down the memory hole without warning, when they exited the digital camera business back in 2004. All the manuals, software, firmware, and FAQs simply disappeared their site. I discovered this when I had to upgrade the firmware in one of my old cameras to address SD card compatibility issues (at the time it was already technologically obsolete in many ways, but had excellent quality optics). Only place that still had the firmware was a 3rd-party driver site with the flashing procedure instructions written in Chinese. Fortunately, the firmware itself turned out to be in English.

    Toshiba eventually re-entered the camera business, but any information from their earlier generation of cameras is gone. If you want any downloads or manuals, Toshiba re-directs you to a third party telephone support service that charges $19.95 for assistance. Actually, that fee might be behind the removal of their laptop manuals as well -- whatever outsourced agency Toshiba dumped their legacy support info to, wants to be paid for that info.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @11:16AM (#41942297)

    I am not trying to excuse Toshiba, but if you have had to deal with the general, clueless "public" with computer support, you might have a better understanding of why they (and other companies) are doing that.

    I would guess that even more than 90% of all calls to support have nothing to do with a hardware problem. They are typically:

    * MS-Windows brokenness
    * MS-Windows virii and malware
    * Broken third-party software and drivers
    * Broken third-party hardware (chargers, cables, drives)
    * Users that don't understand how basic stuff works (connecting WiFi, booting, burning discs, copying files)
    * Users who have hosed their machines by doing stupid stuff

    That, unfortunately, means a HUGE expense to computer manufacturers, and those costs were traditionally plowed right back into the sticker price of everything they sold. In a fiercely competitive industry, companies are looking for ways to cut their prices as much as possible. Support is the first target. (And the second seems to be machine quality).

    The people like the Slashdot crowd are now forced to pay the price for the changed ecosystem- we have to put up with stupid front-line "support" levels that are not support, and pay stupid fees that to try and filter out the bad apples. The assumption is that every caller to a support center is an idiot.

    There are times I wish that computer professionals could carry some type of "license" that would allow them to skip the normal channels and jump directly to support people that really are support.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @12:22PM (#41942813) Homepage
    Of course a hungry man will eat a beast.

    Oh, you meant hungry man-eating beasts!

    Now do all of you see the importance of writing correctly?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10, 2012 @12:44PM (#41942977)

    Hello,

    I am in the market for a laptop, which means I am reading quite a bit as part of
    my research as to which laptop to eventually buy. You can imagine my surprise
    when I ran across this:

    http://www.tim.id.au/blog/2012/11/10/toshiba-laptop-service-manuals-and-the-sorry-state-of-copyright-law/ [tim.id.au]

    It seems Toshiba has decided that non-commercial distribution of product manuals, which
    is a thing that would actually HELP the owners of Toshiba laptops, is not allowed:

    âoeYou do not have permission [to disseminate Toshiba copyright material] nor will it be granted
    to you in the foreseeable future.â

    I most definitely won't be buying a Toshiba laptop, nor will I ever purchase any other
    Toshiba products. Your policies are anti-consumer and hurt those foolish enough to spend
    their money with your company.

    Further more, numerous examples of other of Toshiba's anti-consumer policies, are found
    in public comments to an article linked here:

    http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/11/10/1334221/toshiba-pursues-copyright-claim-against-laptop-manual-site [slashdot.org]

    Thank you so much for publically stating Toshiba policy. It leaves me with quite clear
    reasons as to why I will never purchase Toshiba products.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @02:07PM (#41943671)

    4- Don't buy products from manufacturers who play this game. Do your research before purchasing.

    When I was in support, I had all sorts of Toshiba repair manuals. They were from the Toshiba web site, and were available and supported. When I bought my Toshiba, I didn't know that they had moved to anti-manual. I had done my research, but the company changed the rules without notification.

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