Monday, March 11th 2019

Maxon Sends Legal Threats to PC Enthusiast Websites Hosting Portable Cinebench R20 Downloads

Maxon last week week posted its Cinebench R20 CPU benchmark. Breaking convention, the company behind rendering software such as Cinema 4D R20, did not host the installer of Cinebench R20 on its own website. Instead, the software is being exclusively distributed through Microsoft Store (for Windows) and Apple App Store (for the MacOS platform). Several reputable PC enthusiast websites such as Guru3D and us, were bombarded by comments from their readers that they didn't like having to get their Cinebench R20 copy from "walled garden DRM platforms," and instead preferred portable versions of the software. Cinebench R20 is freeware, and so with good intentions, many PC enthusiast websites decided to build portable versions of Cinebench R20 that people can just unzip and run. Maxon did not take kindly to this.

Guru3D received legal threats from Maxon to take down their download hosting of Cinebench R20 portable. Facing these threats, Guru3D took down their download and amended their news articles with links to the Microsoft DRM store. The e-mail we received politely asked us to remove the "unauthorized download" but did include a threat that the company "reserves the next legal steps." We believe this behavior by Maxon is unfair, and will alienate a section of PC enthusiasts form Cinebench. No record-seeking PC enthusiast with an LN2 bench painstakingly set up has time to plug their machine to the Internet, launch the UWP store, evade attempts to get them to log in with a Microsoft account, and fetch Cinebench R20 with versions they have no control over. They'd rather install and run their benchmarks and tools off a flash drive, with control over versions, and the ability to keep their machines offline to stabilize their overclock. Many others simply hate DRM platforms for freeware. TechPowerUp has since taken down Cinebench R20 portable from its Downloads section. You can find it on Microsoft UWP Store.
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148 Comments on Maxon Sends Legal Threats to PC Enthusiast Websites Hosting Portable Cinebench R20 Downloads

#101
devjunkie
Wavetrex said:
Solution: Stop using Cinebench.
Boycot Maxon and all their products.
The only way they'll learn.
And why don't you just use their form which they have to ask for user input so they can improve? https://www.maxon.net/en/support/suggestions/ So much wind, rage and wasted life time because a free software is only available in a specific online store, unbelievable
Posted on Reply
#102
Wavetrex
@devjunkie Did you just make an account here to "defend" this horrible behavior from Maxon ? (And others, including the gods of take-down notices, legal threats and actual lawsuits - Apple)

Mandatory question: How much did they pay you to register on various forums and spread smelly bio-matter around?
Posted on Reply
#103
R0H1T
Oh come on - no need to get nasty, Maxon is doing what every profit making company does. You can choose to boycott their products if you feel their practices are bad, that's it.
Posted on Reply
#104
MazeFrame
notb said:

And the terms are, obviously, available on Windows Store.
Wich is not available on Windows 7.
How would you like a game on steam that does not work on Win7 because it requires the MS-Store, but only tells you about that on the MS-Store?
Posted on Reply
#105
notb
hat said:
Some people are running Windows 10 without a Microsoft account (required for the Windows Store). Some people may not want a Microsoft account. Some people may not want to use the Windows Store. Some people actively go out of their way to nuke the Windows Store and "modern apps" from their systems.
You don't need a Microsoft account to use Windows Store (since 2016). "MS Windows Expert"...
Everything else is "some may not want to". So it's nothing. You can't give examples of any objective downsides.
If you are someone who does one or more of these things, then Cinebench R20 is not available to you. Not legitimately, anyway.
So maybe it's not. You still talk about Cinebench like something you deserve and has been forcefully taken away from you.
I admit that's pure speculation on my part, but I can't imagine why they would have such a hard on for the Windows Store, exclusively
Because it lowers their costs? Because in 2019 it's NATURAL for users to download software from official stores/repositories? Just like they do in Apple ecosystem, in Android and in Linux?

People constantly criticize Windows Store for the lack choice. But now, when a mainstream app is added to it, suddenly so many are against because this and that.
if I wrote a benchmarking program and then released it, for free, I would just be happy people were using my program.
You're not thinking like an enterprise. They are.

If you're against their approach, write a benchmarking tool and release it under GPL. No one is stopping you.
Cinebench is a benchmarking tool. It even says as much on their own Cinebench page.
Yes, and it works perfectly as one. But it's been created as a test for their clients and then got popular among a wider community.
You are allowed to use it even if you don't care what Maxon is actually doing. But they don't care. And the exposure to gamers may have resulted in unwanted side-effects.
I'm not sure how being exclusively on the Microsoft Store would prevent them from being accused of bias (which is silly in the first place).
Because many gamers will leave the platform. Simple as that.
And how is that silly? It's just speculation. It's not more silly than your thing about being paid by MS. :)
Wavetrex said:
Solution: Stop using Cinebench.
Boycot Maxon and all their products.
Exactly! I'm sure there are countless users on this forum. Boycott them and I'm sure they'll change their mind.. :-D

MazeFrame said:
Wich is not available on Windows 7.
How would you like a game on steam that does not work on Win7 because it requires the MS-Store, but only tells you about that on the MS-Store?
You are required to comply to law even if you don't know it (or don't understand it). This is the fundamental rule of a legal system.

OK, so you're going on TPU - a site you respect. They offer a portable Cinebench. You don't know it violates Maxon license and you download it.
You haven't broken the license. Read it. Using a illegal copy is not against the law. You can't be held responsible. But you can be required to remove an unauthorized copy (even if you paid for it).
The person who shares or modifies software is responsible.

It's like with the piracy thing that used to be popular a decade ago. Buying a bad copy wasn't a crime - just like buying stolen physical goods isn't (if you don't know about it). Downloading a bad copy also wasn't a crime (if you didn't know!). You could only be forced to return/remove it.
But using torrent (where you upload as well) was enough to hold you responsible.

That's how this has always worked - even before "software" became a thing. You go to a store, they tell you a product is fine. In case of most products there's no real way of learning that they've been stolen.
The party that steals and fences stuff can be held responsible. You can only be forced to give these goods back.
Posted on Reply
#106
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Wavetrex said:
@devjunkie Did you just make an account here to "defend" this horrible behavior from Maxon ? (And others, including the gods of take-down notices, legal threats and actual lawsuits - Apple)

Mandatory question: How much did they pay you to register on various forums and spread smelly bio-matter around?
How was what he said a defense of Maxon? He is guilty of speaking common sense. Instead of people acting entitled to Maxon’s software where they want it to be and blasting them on this forum, they each could actually focus that energy on the one place that it has the possibility of making a difference. By responding on their site, and using clear, levelheaded language to voice their displeasure, you CAN make a difference if enough people do it. Bitching about it on TPU is just a lot of wasted hot air.
Posted on Reply
#107
notb
rtwjunkie said:
How was what he said a defense of Maxon? He is guilty of speaking common sense. Instead of people acting entitled to Maxon’s software and blasting them on this forum, if they each could actually focus that energy on the one place that it has the possibility of making a difference. By responding on their site, and using clear, levelheaded language to voice their displeasure, you CAN make a difference if enough people do it. Bitching about it on TPU is just a lot of wasted hot air.
Exactly. We're not defending Maxon. They're not a side in this argument. They likely have no idea this discussion is happening. And they're already "defended" by law, so there isn't much we could add there.

What we're actually doing is giving a free common sense / copyright lesson...

The Cinebench thing is really unimportant. Maybe Maxon will change their policy, maybe they won't. We know gamers will move to another benchmark if it's necessary - there are countless options. And it's just a benchmark. It's not something you can't live without (at least so I though...).

For me it's still shocking how badly understood copyright is on this forum. I don't know the reason. Is it the anarchy? Is it the anti-enterprise approach?

You're required to pass a copyright course on your first year of study. I believe it's also taught in high-schools lately. I kind of live in a belief that everyone around me understand the topic pretty well.
This is XXI century, the Information Revolution. The rights to intellectual property are as important as the rights to material property have been for ages.
And man... I have a feeling that many of the "but EULA is hard to find" people would have no doubts shooting a trespasser...
Posted on Reply
#108
GorbazTheDragon
EuroTy said:
DRM-free ? Walled garden ? Why the hell did you installed Windows 10 in first place ? Just use Linux if don't like it. The thing is that for the end-user is much easier to press one button than 3-4.
Sorry most of us still bench on W7 and even XP...

hwbot in fact requires W7 for a lot of submissions
Posted on Reply
#109
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
notb said:
You are required to comply to law even if you don't know it (or don't understand it). This is the fundamental rule of a legal system.
Except EULA and Terms of Service are contract law, and in contract law you are not required to abide by the contract if you aren't aware of the contract and agree to it. Otherwise, I'd be able to just make up a contract saying you are required to give me all your worldly possessions, then sue you to enforce it without you ever even knowing what I put in the contract.
Posted on Reply
#110
lexluthermiester
newtekie1 said:
Except EULA and Terms of Service are contract law, and in contract law you are not required to abide by the contract if you aren't aware of the contract and agree to it. Otherwise, I'd be able to just make up a contract saying you are required to give me all your worldly possessions, then sue you to enforce it without you ever even knowing what I put in the contract.
There is this. Why is it so few understand this point?
Posted on Reply
#111
Xzibit
newtekie1 said:
Except EULA and Terms of Service are contract law, and in contract law you are not required to abide by the contract if you aren't aware of the contract and agree to it. Otherwise, I'd be able to just make up a contract saying you are required to give me all your worldly possessions, then sue you to enforce it without you ever even knowing what I put in the contract.
Its a breach of contract. MS or Maxon can sue you for breach. MS for breaching their ToS or Maxon for violating their EULA. Maxon send out a courtesy notice letter to the breaching parties to make them aware. At which point they can comply but the breaching parties have been made aware of it. The included potential legal action which was taken as a threat is their right to use the legal system and enforce that breach of contract the partys are now aware of.
Posted on Reply
#112
lexluthermiester
Xzibit said:
Its a breach of contract. MS or Maxon can sue you for breach. MS for breaching their ToS or Maxon for violating their EULA. Maxon send out a curtisy letter to the breaching parties to make them aware. At which point they can comply but the breaching parties have been made aware of it. The included potential legal action which was taken as a threat is their right to use the legal system and enforce that breach of contract the partys are now aware of.
There's just one problem with that. What would be the venue of jurisdiction? Many software contracts state a scope of jurisdiction, however there are many city, county and state laws(for example, where I live) that require any civil action of a certain dollar amount be handled in the local courts, IE for a civil matter the plaintiff in question must go to the area of residence/operation of the person/entity they wish to file against and file in that court. The threat of legal action is hollow for an individual because Maxon is not going to go out of their way to sue a single person over what is being given away freely. Just not worth the expense.

Even if Guru3D or TPU had refused to take the portable version down, Maxon would still have to prove damages, which because they're making the software in question available at no charge, can't happen. The absolute worst thing they could do legally is issue a DMCA takedown order, at their own expense.
Posted on Reply
#113
Xzibit
lexluthermiester said:
There's just one problem with that. What would be the venue of jurisdiction? Many software contracts state a scope of jurisdiction, however there are many city, county and state laws that require any civil action of a certain dollar amount be handled in the local courts, IE for a civil matter the company in question much go to the area of residence of the person/entity they wish to file against and file in that court. The the threat of legal action is hollow for an individual because Maxon is not going to go out of their way to sue a single person over what is being given away freely. Just not worth the expense.

Even if Guru3D or TPU had refused to take the portable version down, Maxon would still have to prove damages, which because they're making the software in question available at no charge, can't happen. The absolute worst thing they could do legally is issue a DMCA takedown order, at their own expense.
Now that they are aware of their violation they can read the ToS or Eula. Maxon EULA states Germany.
Posted on Reply
#114
lexluthermiester
Xzibit said:
Now that they are aware of their violation they can read the ToS or Eula. Maxon EULA states Germany.
Unenforceable in the United States, unless they come here, even with existing treaties. They're not going to do that.
Posted on Reply
#115
Xzibit
lexluthermiester said:
Unenforceable in the United States, unless they come here, even with existing treaties. They're not going to do that.
Guess the breaching parties have nothing to worry about then. They should put those files back up
Posted on Reply
#116
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Xzibit said:
Guess the breaching parties have nothing to worry about then. They should put those files back up
TPU is based in Germany.
Posted on Reply
#117
lexluthermiester
Xzibit said:
Guess the breaching parties have nothing to worry about then. They should put those files back up
That's not what I said. Re-read.
rtwjunkie said:
TPU is based in Germany.
Even if that is true, TPU host servers are located in the US. This is where the legalities get tricky. If TPU is HQ'd in Germany, but it's servers are hosted in the US, the venue of jurisdiction might have to be held in the US because that is were the files in question are stored. However there might be a bit of German law that requires the case be heard in German courts.
Posted on Reply
#118
hat
Enthusiast
Wavetrex said:
w10 zombies
Uuuuuuuugh.... aaaaaaaaaps

?
Posted on Reply
#119
R-T-B
Tsukiyomi91 said:
I doubt spewing venom here is going to do justice when the folks who has beef with UWP are partially at fault for forcing sites like TPU to "write" portable versions of the benchmark software, knowing full well that there will be consequences but couldn't care much because they're not taking responsibility. Sure Maxon is unfair when it comes to protecting their software but making a portable version without their consent kinda make things worst.
I wonder what the actual EULA had to say on this. It's freeware so one wouldn't think it's harsh at first glance, but apparently one would be wrong.

rtwjunkie said:
TPU is based in Germany.
They are HQ'd in the USA when I worked there. A recent move, I was told.

In other news, I see they finally stripped me of all my badges (Supporter and Staff). Good going guys (no I am serious, it was kinda getting weird at this point)
Posted on Reply
#120
W1zzard
R-T-B said:
I see they finally stripped me of all my badges (Supporter and Staff). Good going guys (no I am serious, it was kinda getting weird at this point)
I simply forgot :)
Posted on Reply
#121
OneMoar
There is Always Moar
R-T-B said:
I wonder what the actual EULA had to say on this. It's freeware so one wouldn't think it's harsh at first glance, but apparently one would be wrong.



They are HQ'd in the USA when I worked there. A recent move, I was told.

In other news, I see they finally stripped me of all my badges (Supporter and Staff). Good going guys (no I am serious, it was kinda getting weird at this point)
DEMOTEEEEEEEEEEEEED DEMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTEDDDDDDDD DEEEEEEEEMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTED
Posted on Reply
#122
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
R-T-B said:
They are HQ'd in the USA when I worked there. A recent move, I was told.
Ah, ok, thanks, buddy. A quiet change indeed.
Posted on Reply
#123
R-T-B
OneMoar said:
DEMOTEEEEEEEEEEEEED DEMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTEDDDDDDDD DEEEEEEEEMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTED
I love you too, OneMoar.

W1zzard said:
I simply forgot :)
A man after my own heart. I never finish anyth
Posted on Reply
#124
Ahhzz
No Personal Attacks. Keep it civil, keep it on topic.
Posted on Reply
#125
hat
Enthusiast
notb said:
You don't need a Microsoft account to use Windows Store (since 2016). "MS Windows Expert"...
Everything else is "some may not want to". So it's nothing. You can't give examples of any objective downsides.
I'll admit I didn't know that. But then, how would they keep track of who owns what? A separate "Windows Store" account that is technically not a Microsoft account? As for the MS Windows Expert bit, well, I didn't put that badge there. I also don't claim to be an "expert" on Intel processors. But that's a different topic...

I don't know if you should be looking for objective downsides, here. It's not that cut and dry. This is a matter of opinion, whether or not an individual wants to use the Windows Store. That makes it inherently subjective.

notb said:
So maybe it's not. You still talk about Cinebench like something you deserve and has been forcefully taken away from you.
Now this is where I just have to say I think you have an... interesting interpretation of my comments. How do I have this sense of entitlement when I specifically say I'm not butthurt about it, they hold the rights to do as they wish with their software, I just won't use it?

notb said:
Because it lowers their costs? Because in 2019 it's NATURAL for users to download software from official stores/repositories? Just like they do in Apple ecosystem, in Android and in Linux?

People constantly criticize Windows Store for the lack choice. But now, when a mainstream app is added to it, suddenly so many are against because this and that.
I don't think it cost them anything when TPU et al. were hosting it either. In fact, you yourself mentioned it actually costs them something to put their stuff on the Microsoft store. That may well be cheaper than hosting it themselves on their own site (especially if they did so exclusively), but I doubt W1zzard was ready to send them a bill for hosting their benchmark here. Of course, relying on TPU and other sites like ours to host it would be a fantastically bad way to reach their "intended audience", so I agree that the Microsoft store would help them there, if they want to do it in a cheap way. Why they want it exclusively at the Microsoft store, and are actively enforcing this remains a mystery to me, but they can do as they please with their software.

As for the repositories comment... I can't speak much for Linux, as I haven't used it much, but I do remember using the repository for a few things, mostly because it was easier than installing software the "normal way" in Linux. It's a lot more complex than Windows. iOS, as I'm sure you're aware, is a walled garden, and while this is is a whole different debate, they do get a lot of criticism for that because it does limit choice.

I got used to the Play Store on Android because, well, that's just how Android (mostly) works. I've also done a ton of things without the Play Store. As for my PC, though, I've never considered the thought of such a central app repository. If I was interested in some software, I went to their site and got it. The closest thing I use to anything like that on PC is Steam... which I don't think quite qualifies as being similar to the Play Store, or the Microsoft store.

It's an interesting concept, but I just don't think it will work on PC, in the same way Windows 8 didn't work on PC. PCs are not tablets or smartphones.

I don't think anybody is against the Microsoft store, here. I'm not interested in using it, but I'm not against it. What some of us are against, is being forced to use the Microsoft store (or not, if you just don't use the software), as Maxon has made it clear that it's the one and only place to get their benchmarking tool.

notb said:
You're not thinking like an enterprise. They are.

If you're against their approach, write a benchmarking tool and release it under GPL. No one is stopping you.
Fair point. I still don't suppose I would have an issue with someone else hosting my free benchmarking program, but I also don't run a company.

notb said:
Yes, and it works perfectly as one. But it's been created as a test for their clients and then got popular among a wider community.
You are allowed to use it even if you don't care what Maxon is actually doing. But they don't care. And the exposure to gamers may have resulted in unwanted side-effects.
Well, we both already understand that anyone can find Cinebench useful, even if you're not interested in their other products, so there's that. Of course, some gamers are also interested in benchmarking, but it's not like putting Cinebench on the Microsoft store exclusively blocks any gamer's access to it.

notb said:
Because many gamers will leave the platform. Simple as that.
And how is that silly? It's just speculation. It's not more silly than your thing about being paid by MS. :)
I'm not sure why they would have such a problem with gamers, or how this would significantly cut down on gamers in their ecosystem, if it really mattered to them. Despite all this, we already have a rather extensive Cinebench R20 results thread here at TPU.

Honestly, what we have here is a few people who are unhappy about the exclusivity at the Microsoft store. Some of us would rather have our kickass portable version, for whatever reason that may be. Kind of similar to that whole Metro Exodus thing...
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