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[question] How Legal Is To Patch The Uxtheme.dll ?


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Hy.

I've got a new computer at work, and since it has Windows XP i want to use some other themes (i kind of got borred of the default 3 :cry:).

Of course the computer has all the licenses for all installed software (Windows XP, Office, .NET and a few others), but from what i read from the EULA of Windows, it's illegal to modify any binary file that comes with it (and UXTheme.dll is one of them).

So, is it legal to patch that file or not blink: ?

P.S. i think it should be legal, since StyleXP is doing it, and it's a licensed app. :P :

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have no idea, but I would be pretty amazed if Microsoft had the balls to tell me what I could and could not do with my computer. I think most software has provisions against disassembling/reverse-engineering, but that's more in terms of doing so for profit/gain from understanding the inner-workings of Windows. Either way, for modding one's own operating system, at worst it's irrelevant if it's illegal.

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It just, clearly, breaks the EULA.

This forum does not accept/promote piracy. Please, refrain from posting piracy-oriented comments as it will not be tolerated and will translate (as in this case) in the deletion of the post.

If you have pirated software, trust me, we could not care less about it. Ergo, do not come in here and tell us that you do/dont have it.

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1. It's against the EULA.

2. You have fair use rights. Simply put, any copyrighted material that enters your possession is yours to do whatever you want with. That includes making 100 copies, disassembling it, etc. As long as you don't distribute anything, you are fine.

This also makes a EULA invalid. You already own the material at that point, and a company can't restrict you. This doesnt even count the fact that clicking OK doesn't make a valid contract, but I digress.

3. People distributing uxtheme.dlls are most definitely breaking the law. That DLL is the copyright of microsoft, and you don't have the right to distribute it, modified or otherwise. This goes for any system file.

This is just my opinion of course. :P

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Originally posted by contrasutra@Jul 13 2004, 05:03 PM

3. People distributing uxtheme.dlls are most definitely breaking the law. That DLL is the copyright of microsoft, and you don't have the right to distribute it, modified or otherwise. This goes for any system file.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Exactly ;) but we dont want to open THAT can of worms, do we? :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by contrasutra@Jul 13 2004, 03:03 PM

1. It's against the EULA.

2. You have fair use rights. Simply put, any copyrighted material that enters your possession is yours to do whatever you want with. That includes making 100 copies, disassembling it, etc. As long as you don't distribute anything, you are fine.

This also makes a EULA invalid. You already own the material at that point, and a company can't restrict you. This doesnt even count the fact that clicking OK doesn't make a valid contract, but I digress.

3. People distributing uxtheme.dlls are most definitely breaking the law. That DLL is the copyright of microsoft, and you don't have the right to distribute it, modified or otherwise. This goes for any system file.

This is just my opinion of course. :P

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You are correct. It is illegal to distribute Windows, in whole or in part, modified or not, without permission from M$.

However if someone were to realease a program that modified your existing file, that would be legal to distribute.

Heck, were only talking about tweaking a few offsets via a hex editor which basicaly turns off error checking in uxtheme.dll.

Knowing which offsets is the key. Which I do not know. I was shown which ones a while ago, but forgot to document them. >.<

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P.S. i think it should be legal, since StyleXP is doing it, and it's a licensed app.

I don't think that's quite true; StyleXP (if I am correct) doesn't actually patch UXTheme.dll, it just does something in the computer's memory to make Windows use its own Visual Style DLL file.

This also makes a EULA invalid. You already own the material at that point, and a company can't restrict you. This doesnt even count the fact that clicking OK doesn't make a valid contract, but I digress.

No, you do not own the material. Stated in the EULA:

19. The Product is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws and treaties. Microsoft or its suppliers own the title, copyright, and other intellectual property rights in the Product.  The Product is licensed, not sold.

And how does clicking OK (or pressing F8 for non-GUI mode setup) not make a valid contract, when it is clearly stated that you must agree to the contract by continuing setup?

I have attached the Windows XP EULA for those of us who have no access to a Windows XP computer. If you do have Windows XP, you will find it in your System32 folder, named "eula.txt".

[EDIT] Now I attached the Windows XP EULA. [/EDIT]

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Originally posted by liquidplasmaflow@Jul 13 2004, 10:29 PM

No, you do not own the material. Stated in the EULA:

And how does clicking OK (or pressing F8 for non-GUI mode setup) not make a valid contract, when it is clearly stated that you must agree to the contract by continuing setup?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

ok... you working straight from myth... just becuase something is written into a contract and you have agreed to it doesn't mean that the contract is legitimate verbatim.

You cannot sign away certain rights (unless you are signing a contract with the devil) and the eula is covered by this principle. Hence, a company may say that you do not have fair use rights in a contract, but that does not mean that in agreeing to the contract you give them up. There are very strong legal and ethical reasons for this principal.

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ou cannot sign away certain rights (unless you are signing a contract with the devil) and the eula is covered by this principle. Hence, a company may say that you do not have fair use rights in a contract, but that does not mean that in agreeing to the contract you give them up. There are very strong legal and ethical reasons for this principal.

Care to fill me (and everybody else) in?

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sure, here's an easy one: google for 'cannot sign away rights'. Thousands of examples.

the example i always use is from skiing... every ski ticket is essentially a contract - which the ski hill corps (ie. Intrawest) would like to be 100% binding.

Unfortunately for them, they continue to get sued, even though 99% of their customers have agreed to their conditions (on the back of every ticket).. the <1% are people who ride the lifts for free (scammers).

the "and eveyone else" made me laugh.

@wookietv, aka the damned, aka mephisto, aka dark one, aka beezlebub, aka **** cheney, aka... i signed under duress! :rant:

edit: @liquid.. or do you mean the strong legal/ethical reasons? It is at the root of the idea of rights, hence the expression "inalienable rights". The simple reasoning is that if rights are not [made] inalienable, the whole system of rights would fall apart. If certain rights can be signed away, the power bestowed on the person/group that gains these rights can enable that entity to further erode rights. Essentially, 1 persons ability to sign away their rights can lead to infringement of other people's rights(even though they haven't given them away). That's in addition to the ideal that one shouldn't be able to give away rights to their own detriment, which is essential to keeping some level of civility in a society which is not full of mutually benign individuals.

That's not to say the eula isn't largely binding, and i don't know if the argument would even hold in this case since its practically speaking a lower order right(ie. if it is a right at this level), but imo, its so trivial as to never come up anyways (in terms of individual use).

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No, you do not own the material. Stated in the EULA:

If I bought the product from a store, and it's in my home, and I have the receipt, how do I NOT own it? Computer software still has to abide by the law, and if I buy a product from a store, I own it.

Hell, I could have pirated it, and I still own it. Copyright only deals with DISTRIBUTION. Once you are in possession (even if you got it illegally!) you can do whatever you want with it. Now, the person who illegally distributed it to you could be in trouble.

And how does clicking OK (or pressing F8 for non-GUI mode setup) not make a valid contract, when it is clearly stated that you must agree to the contract by continuing setup?

You have to sign a contract for it to be valid. It's that simple. I didn't sign it, it's not binding.

What a EULA is considered is a contract of adhesion. If these laws didnt exist, I could do this:

By reading this message, you agree to give me your house, kids, and wife (please, Im lonely).

That is essentially what a EULA is doing, and it's illegal. Moreover, if MS (or any company, I really dont want to single them out) is aware of this, they may be sued. It's illegal to try to get someone to sign a contract you know is void.

Besides that, there are many other things preventing a contract from being valid. Minors (under 18) can't sign a contract. If you get your 6 year old daughter to click OK, she's "signed" the contract, not you. ;)

I have been reading EULAs since I was 12. You have the gall to say the MS EULA is valid? You know what one of the restrictions is for the Home editions (this goes back to '98):

You can not connect this computer to a network with more than 5 computers or run a server off it.

Do you really think MS has the RIGHT to tell you what you can connect your computer to? The phone companies tried to do this too (you can only connect our phones to our lines) and we know how that turned out.

What companies with restrictive EULAs are doing is wrong and possibly criminal. There are laws protecting you, big business just doesnt want you to know about them.

Sorry if I repeated what others have said.

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Originally posted by alilm@Jul 13 2004, 10:04 PM

You've obviously never heard of Microsoft's Palladium ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I obviously have not obviously never heard of it, because I have.

And just because Microsoft makes something (that sounds crazy) doesn't mean I have to use it.

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Do you really think MS has the RIGHT to tell you what you can connect your computer to?
Well, it is their software you're using.

And no, I don't believe you must sign a contract for it to be valid-- think about it. Do you think MS just came up with a EULA without researching the rules of binding contracts first? MS wouldn't have used the "If you agree with this license, press OK" tactic if they didn't make sure it would legally bind the contractee to the contract.

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Originally posted by liquidplasmaflow@Jul 14 2004, 03:50 AM

Well, it is their software you're using.

And no, I don't believe you must sign a contract for it to be valid-- think about it. Do you think MS just came up with a EULA without researching the rules of binding contracts first? MS wouldn't have used the "If you agree with this license, press OK" tactic if they didn't make sure it would legally bind the contractee to the contract.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

haha! dude your obtuse and naive.

edit: ok that sounds like a flame(though i think its a fact) so here's your answer:

companies will do things that are legally or ethically invalid because

a. asymetrical knowledge; they know less than a knowledgable lawyer (ms lawyers may be inept)

b. feathering the law; the law may involve gray areas that they can push in their favour(this can relate to c).

c. abusing power; practically speaking, companies will use 'rules' like eula's to their advantage if they feel that:

i. those it is aimed against will not resist (the legal status of the rule will not be tested since defendants see that settlement costs :lol:

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Hy.

So the final conclusion is that since it's on my computer, i can change the uxtheme.dll file, but it's better not to.

Besides, i'm not the one who "signed" the Eula, since the system admin installed all the software. If i was a "stupid a..." i might do all kind of stupid things, since i didn't agree with any of the EULAs of any of the software installed, but that's not how i am.:rolleyes:

:blink: I didn't think that such a simple question might start such a big debate.

:staffs here: To the MODS of the forrum, i didn't ask for warez or pirated files, I just wanted to know if it's legal or not to modify the above mentioned file. If you think this "debate" has gone too far, you can even close this post :D

P.S.

I'll stick to the standard Silver style of windows, it's the safest way :P (this way nobody can sue me for "pirating" their files) :lol:

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Well, it is their software you're using.

No, it's MY software.

no, I don't believe you must sign a contract for it to be valid-- think about it.

I don't really care if you believe it or not, that's the law, at least here in the good 'ol USA. Although there are such things as "verbal contracts", they are not nearly as strong legally. For a verbal contract to be valid, you usually have to go through the whole court process. Besides that, a EULA can't be a verbal contract, it's written and "formal", so it's basically just a void written contract. :P

And like others have said, what if I wasn't the one to click OK? Are you saying I still have to abide by a license I haven't read or agreed to?

Do you think MS just came up with a EULA without researching the rules of binding contracts first? MS wouldn't have used the "If you agree with this license, press OK" tactic if they didn't make sure it would legally bind the contractee to the contract.

Microsoft has a ****load of money. They can do whatever they want.

If you want to read over a proper software license, look at the GPL. You don't have to agree with the ideas of "Sharing is caring", but look at the wording. They make it very clear, "You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it." They follow THE LAW, and state that the license is only applicable if you DISTRIBUTE the software, not if you "use" it.

This is one of the reasons I like open source (you knew I couldn't go one thread without bringing it up), they aren't trying to extort to coerce me into signing a clearly void and illegal license.

On a happier note, cyberwolf: your emoticon to word ratio is getting a little too high.

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First and foremost, I am not a lawyer; and as such, the following does not constitute legal advice. The following is simply a somewhat educated opinion and/or speculation about several comments that have been made here. I cannot be held responsible for any misrepresentations/misinterpretations of fact and/or law.

Second, I am not looking to start a flame war, but there have been several misrepresentations of the law in this thread which could use some clarification.

Third, the following comments are with regard to US law only.

Originally posted by contrasutra+-->
QUOTE(contrasutra)
No, it's MY software.
Originally posted by contrasutra+-->
QUOTE(contrasutra)
If I bought the product from a store, and it's in my home, and I have the receipt, how do I NOT own it? Computer software still has to abide by the law, and if I buy a product from a store, I own it.

Hell, I could have pirated it, and I still own it. Copyright only deals with DISTRIBUTION. Once you are in possession (even if you got it illegally!) you can do whatever you want with it. Now, the person who illegally distributed it to you could be in trouble.

Contra, the product you purchase from Microsoft at your local computer store is simply a limited license to load and operate a single copy of the piece of software in question. Generally, when consumers purchase software, they do not own the software itself; but rather a limited license to use the software under certain circumstances. The party purchasing the software is not granted an unlimited and/or exclusive right to use the software, as they see fit.

While certain terms of a contract, for use of the licensed software, may render the some terms of the contract unenforceable; the practice of selling a limited license for a piece of software is not against the law, in and of itself. Further, your explanation of copyright is flawed, in that copyright deals with far more than distribution. Copyright on a given work includes the ability to license, limit and control 'derivative' works. Similarly, copyright holds regardless of how many times a work is sold, illegally reproduced, etc. Finally, possession of illegally copied/distributed works is likely in violation of the owner’s copyright, as well as a criminal violation of the DMCA.

Originally posted by contrasutra

I don't really care if you believe it or not, that's the law, at least here in the good 'ol USA. Although there are such things as "verbal contracts", they are not nearly as strong legally. For a verbal contract to be valid, you usually have to go through the whole court process. Besides that, a EULA can't be a verbal contract, it's written and "formal", so it's basically just a void written contract.

And like others have said, what if I wasn't the one to click OK? Are you saying I still have to abide by a license I haven't read or agreed to?

Originally posted by contrasutra

You have to sign a contract for it to be valid. It's that simple. I didn't sign it, it's not binding.

Again Contra, this is serious misrepresentation of the law. You will find no state in the US that has a law stating all contracts must be signed in order to be valid. Contracts do not require a signature, but rather consideration (and/or a meeting of the minds), to be valid. While the exact definition of consideration is something that courts may disagree on, it can be generally summed up as such: “a promise or other act bargained for and in exchange for the original promise”. Over time, courts have developed a very broad definition of what constitutes consideration. This definition has, in some courts, included the acceptance of a EULA. As such, purporting that a EULA is void because it is a written contract, accepted by means other than signature, is an incorrect assertion. If you’d like to argue there is no consideration present when a user accepts a EULA, you would not be alone is your assertion; however that is an argument entirely separate from the one you stated above.

Originally posted by contrasutra

What a EULA is considered is a contract of adhesion. If these laws didnt exist, I could do this:

By reading this message, you agree to give me your house, kids, and wife (please, Im lonely).

That is essentially what a EULA is doing, and it's illegal. Moreover, if MS (or any company, I really dont want to single them out) is aware of this, they may be sued. It's illegal to try to get someone to sign a contract you know is void.

While a EULA is almost certainly an adhesion contract, it is not necessarily unconscionable and/or otherwise unenforceable. In the case of a EULA, the questions of adhesion, unconscionability, and unenforceability are questions of law to be decided upon by the court. Simply dismissing all EULAs (or even adhesion contracts) as unconscionable/unenforceable is a misrepresentation of US law, as these two legal doctrines are linked but not mutually exclusive.

Additionally, your comment about getting someone to sign a known void contract is misleading. While this type of deception may void part or all of the contract; proving that the deceptive party has any criminal liability in a situation like this would likely be impossible. Similarly, only in the most blatant of cases, would one be able to impute civil liability on the misleading party.

Originally posted by contrasutra

Besides that, there are many other things preventing a contract from being valid. Minors (under 18) can't sign a contract. If you get your 6 year old daughter to click OK, she's "signed" the contract, not you.

First, off no court would buy into this argument. A court would likely find that you agreed to the EULA regardless of who clicked “OK”, as long as you were the one who read/understood the EULA and instructed your child to accept on your behalf. Second, per the necessities doctrine, courts allow minors to enter into contracts under limited circumstances, which arguably EULAs fall under.

Originally posted by contrasutra

I have been reading EULAs since I was 12. You have the gall to say the MS EULA is valid? You know what one of the restrictions is for the Home editions (this goes back to '98):

You can not connect this computer to a network with more than 5 computers or run a server off it.

Do you really think MS has the RIGHT to tell you what you can connect your computer to? The phone companies tried to do this too (you can only connect our phones to our lines) and we know how that turned out.

What companies with restrictive EULAs are doing is wrong and possibly criminal. There are laws protecting you, big business just doesnt want you to know about them.

While that specific clause of the MS EULA is likely unconscionable, that does not necessarily render the entire EULA unenforceable. Again, there is no state in the US which has a law stating that one void clause of a contract makes the entire contract void, and as such you would likely be bound by the remaining clauses.

Originally posted by liquidplasmaflow

Do you think MS just came up with a EULA without researching the rules of binding contracts first? MS wouldn't have used the "If you agree with this license, press OK" tactic if they didn't make sure it would legally bind the contractee to the contract.

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Question #1: If I run a legal copy of Windows in my office and Microsoft knocks my door in order to check for illegal/pirated software, would I be in any kind of trouble if I have modded Windows system files etc?

Question #2: If what I'm buying from the computer store is not a box of software I can do whatever I want with, but rather a limited licence, shouldn't I be able to read the EULA and the terms and conditions of using this piece of software BEFORE I buy?

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Again, I do not represent myself as a lawyer. I am giving no legal advice here, and I cannot be held responsible for any misrepresentations of fact and/or law. If you really want to pursue any of these issues further, contact a lawyer.

That said...

Two great questions Ken. Unfortunately, both (particularly the latter) fall into grey areas.

Originally posted by Ken+Jul 15 2004, 12:36 AM-->
QUOTE(Ken @ Jul 15 2004, 12:36 AM)
Question #1: If I run a legal copy of Windows in my office and Microsoft knocks my door in order to check for illegal/pirated software, would I be in any kind of trouble if I have modded Windows system files etc?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Having been fortunate enough to have never been through an audit by MS at any of the places I've worked, I can't speak from experience. However, having worked at places that have substantial license agreements with MS (on the order of thousands), I can say that I have been told that most of the time you know these audits are coming at least a few minutes (and sometimes days) in advance (read: you’d have time to take a magnet to your machine if you were running ‘questionable’ software). Technically, having the modified system files goes against the MS EULA. If MS was so inclined they could probably ask you to show that you did all the modifications yourself and that you did not “pirate” the system files from somewhere/someone else. I would guess that this wouldn’t really be the kind of infringement that MS would be looking for, though it would probably make them pay special attention to your computer. Again, having not gone through an MS audit this is all conjecture and speculation. I could be way off base.

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