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Kevin Black
04-01-2008, 09:02 AM
Creative threatens developer over home-brewed Vista drivers

Creative Labs has enraged customers by threatening a developer with legal action after he wrote drivers that allowed its products to run smoothly on Vista.

Soundcard maker Creative accused the developer, known only as daniel_k, of theft and warned him not to infringe its intellectual property.

Daniel_k has created a number of drivers which make Creative's soundcards work smoothly on PCs running Windows Vista. He had posted a link to them on a forum on Creative's website and many users had downloaded them.

Without his drivers, users say, Creative's soundcards cause Vista machines to crash or features to fail.

This is despite the fact that Creative markets its sound cards as "Vista-compatible".

But Creative has not taken kindly to Daniel_k's efforts and has accused the developer with breaching its intellectual property.

The company posted a statement on the forum on Friday and removed all the developer's messages.

In the statement, Creative's vp of corporate communications Phil O'Shaughnessy addressed daniel_k personally. He wrote: "Where we do have a problem is when technology and IP owned by Creative... are made to run on other products for which they are not intended.

"We own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. By enabling our technology and IP to run on soundcards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are, in effect, stealing our goods.

"To be clear, we are asking you to respect our legal rights in this matter and cease all further unauthorised distribution of our technology and IP."

The developer backed down almost immediately. Posting a reply the same day, he wrote: "I do know what is right, so I'll stop developing and distributing Creative softwares and drivers."

But he was clearly upset. "The funny thing is that you are faster "protecting" your technologies and intellectual properties than providing improved drivers and softwares for your customers.

"You purposedly [sic] crippled and ruined the Audigy/Live! (Emu10kx) and the Audigy LS/SE/Value/Live!24-bit (P17) drivers for Windows Vista.

"This just proves you don't really care about what your customers... think about you."

Other forum users rallied behind the embattled developer, saying his drivers had made Creative's sound cards work better.

One wrote: "He offered a service you guys can't/won't, and in so [doing] made a lot of your customers happy about their product again. Now you wanna wipe him out and keep him silent by threatening about legal actions. This is a beyond retarded, shame on you, shame on you."

Forum posters have described Creative's stance as a massive PR disaster, saying they should be giving Daniel_k a job, not threatening him with legal action.

At the time of writing, Creative was unavailable to offer any comment beyond its initial statement. ®

Link to web site http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/31/creative_labs_developer_legal_action/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/31/creative_labs_developer_legal_action/

Koss
04-01-2008, 10:32 AM
Corporate lawyers have collectively lost their minds. Where are the business leaders that want to put out a quality product and keep their clients satisfied. I guess I'll add Creative to the growing list of firms I boycott.

Strife
04-01-2008, 01:00 PM
wow.....and to think that I have a creative sound card and a Creative Zen MP3 player aswell. Maybe I will switch to an iPOD

filthy
04-01-2008, 04:12 PM
I love my Creative X-FI, and has run perfect since day one on Vista.

But...I would love if somebody helped improve my company and/or products, and they're not even on your payroll!!! and your not liable for anything they do!!! I don't see any negative in this. Companies are just too possessive these days. He wasn't taking any of their profits, and may possibly be creating some for them.

Hans
04-01-2008, 08:41 PM
The reason why they did this is because they want to restrict the lower end cards to a portion of the features instead of the full features under Vista. They did this to force users to upgrade their Audigy to a X-fi if they wanted all the features under Vista.
What this guy did was remove the restrictions from the driver installation, so the driver would enable all the (disabled) features.

I will never buy a Creative product again because of this. It's clear to me they are after money, not customer support.

Here's a link to the Creative BBS with the response from people :

http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&thread.id=116332

242 pages of mainly negative responses, and counting. Now take a look at their stock listings and see what it did to their value... (Singapore stock market).

filthy
04-01-2008, 08:51 PM
What company is not after our money?

The answer....

None

Hans
04-01-2008, 11:39 PM
Being after money is one thing. Disabling features in a product to force customers to upgrade to a newer product is another thing.

How would you feel if Nvidia decided to disable SLI driver support on all 8 and lower models, and only made it available on 9 models?

oneof3
04-03-2008, 03:20 PM
How do you know they don't? Not with SLI, but with other features.

Strife
04-03-2008, 05:11 PM
I remember a time when guys were hired in this scenario. Obviously this guy has talent, why not pay him for his efforts.

Hans
04-03-2008, 07:41 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1of3</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How do you know they don't? Not with SLI, but with other features. </div></div>

Name an example of a feature that is turned off on 8 series and enabled on 9 series by the driver.

oneof3
04-03-2008, 07:57 PM
I guess you could have asked Creative users the same thing at one point. Doesn't make the post any less valid for not knowing now.

Hans
04-04-2008, 05:36 PM
In case you did not know : Xi-fi and Audigy cards, according to Creative Labs, are unable to decode DD or DTS under Vista, but can under XP.

According to Creative's own FAQ, sound cards from the X-Fi and Audigy families are incapable of decoding Dolby Digital or DTS, due to the fact that "these functions are not supported at driver level in Windows Vista." This isn't true. When two of the driver files from a standard X-Fi card are replaced with two driver files drawn from a Dell-specific driver available at the company's support web site, DTS and DD decoding immediately reappear as options and function correctly. Creative might be able to get away with saying that DTS and DD decoding aren't enabled at the driver level for X-Fi and Audigy cards, but the functionality is clearly baked into the driver and is thus supported.

This, presumably, is the feature that ticked Creative off, though Daniel_K has enabled other features Creative didn't plan to support in Vista, including DVD-Audio.

O'Shaughnessy's statements on providing host-based features to some cards, but not others, might go down easier if Creative sold even a single X-Fi card with Dolby DTS/DD decoding enabled. By artificially limiting the feature the way it obviously has, Creative is sending the message that no enthusiast—even an enthusiast who has just paid for a $299 complete audio solution—has "earned" the right to Dolby/DTS decoding under Vista.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/200...fi-drivers.html (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080331-creative-irate-after-modder-spruces-up-vista-x-fi-drivers.html)

And that's $299 for a sound card only, mind you.

Like I said before, this is no different then Nvidia disabling SLI on all 7x cards on purpose under Vista, but not under XP.

\m/ Rich \m/
04-04-2008, 07:09 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Hans</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Like I said before, this is no different then Nvidia disabling SLI on all 7x cards on purpose under Vista, but not under XP. </div></div>

is this something they've done?

Hans
04-04-2008, 07:43 PM
No, they have not because they are smarter then that.