Attention big corporate communication executives. As a rule, when talented third parties deliver big value -- for free -- you should avoid publicly alienating them (and your customers) with petty messages that cite your legal authority.
Here's the scenario. Creative Technology Ltd. makes computer hardware and shoddy software that doesn't work well with Vista. Independent developer, on his own personal time, patches those drivers and gets Creative's hardware to work on Vista. He uploads this software to the internet. Many thousands of customers rejoice. Independent developer asks community for donations to help compensate for his time. Creative asks independent developer to cease and desist because it's in violation of their technology and intellectual property rights. All hell breaks loose. Here's the play-by-play
Of note, Creative's chief asshat Phil O'Shaughnessy says:
We [Creative] took action to remove your [forum] thread because, like you, Creative and its technology partners think it is only fair to be compensated for goods and services. The difference in this case is that we own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods. When you solicit donations for providing packages like this, you are profiting from something that you do not own. If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make.
Only a special person could possibly have the complete lack of foresight required to approve and deliver a blunder like this. Way to bludgeon your most inspired customers. Good job!
The third party developer speaks out about the situation to Wired Magazine. I can see why he's a good driver developer. His thoughts are very well-organized.