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<title>Proprietary Fraud - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Proprietary Fraud</h2>

<div class="infobox">
<hr class="full-width" />
<p>Nonfree (proprietary) software is very often malware (designed to
mistreat the user). Nonfree software is controlled by its developers,
which puts them in a position of power over the users; <a
href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">that is the
basic injustice</a>. The developers and manufacturers often exercise
that power to the detriment of the users they ought to serve.</p>

<p>This typically takes the form of malicious functionalities.</p>
<hr class="full-width" />
</div>

<div class="article">
  <p>Here are some examples of proprietary software that defrauds
  users—taking their money by trickery.</p>

<div class="important">
<p>If you know of an example that ought to be in this page but isn't
here, please write
to <a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>
to inform us. Please include the URL of a trustworthy reference or two
to serve as specific substantiation.</p>
</div>

<div class="column-limit" id="proprietary-fraud"></div>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M202110160">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Canon's all-in-one printer, scanner, and fax machine <a
    href="https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/legal/canon-sued-for-disabling-scanner-when-printers-run-out-of-ink/">will
    stop you from using any of its features if it's out of ink</a>! Since
    there's no need for ink to use scan or fax, Canon is sued by its
    customers for this malicious behavior. The proprietary software
    installed on Canon machines arbitrarily restricts users from using
    their device as they wish.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M202106220">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-06</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Peloton company which produces treadmills recently <a
    href="https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/technology/peloton-tread-owners-now-forced-into-monthly-subscription-after-recall/">locked
    people out of basic features of people's treadmills by a software
    update</a>. The company now asks people for a membership/subscription
    for what people already paid for.</p>

    <p>The software used in the treadmill is proprietary and probably
    includes back doors to force software updates. It teaches the lesson
    that if a product talks to external networks, you must expect it to
    take in new malware.</p>

    <p>Please note that the company behind this product said they
    are working to reverse the changes so people will no longer need
    subscription to use the locked feature.</p>

    <p>Apparently public anger made the company back down. If we want that
    to be our safety, we need to build up the anger against malicious
    features (and the proprietary software that is their entry path)
    to the point that even the most powerful companies don't dare.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201908160">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2019-08</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>A game published on Facebook <a
    href="https://www.revealnews.org/article/so-your-child-racked-up-unwanted-credit-card-charges-playing-video-games-now-what/">aimed
    href="https://revealnews.org/article/so-your-child-racked-up-unwanted-credit-card-charges-playing-video-games-now-what/">aimed
    at leading children to spend</a> large amounts of their parents'
    money without explaining it to them.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201401190">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2014-01</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Some proprietary <a
    href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/19/apple-talking-cats-in-app-purchases">
    href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/19/apple-talking-cats-in-app-purchases">
    games lure children to spend their parents' money</a>.</p>
  </li>
</ul>
</div>

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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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