Obviously the world is ready for open-source robotic dogs.


-----Original Message-----
From: Leif Svalgaard
To: Midrange List Non-tech
Sent: 11/7/01 2:01 PM
Subject: About using hardware in another way than 'allowed' by vendor

Pet Robot Owners Mad at Sony

By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) - Many owners of the world's most sophisticated robot pet,
cuddly Aibo, are growling at Sony Corp. over its demand that a Web site
distributing free software that teaches the machine new tricks.

"It was a very stiff legal position Sony took without regard to how it
affect the Aibo community," said Richard Walkus, a publishing house
from Madison, N.J., who owns two Aibo robots but is now putting any new
orders on hold. "Sony is to some degree undermining its own success."

In a letter last month, Sony told the owner of the AiboHack site that he
violating its copyright and altering its product without a license. It
demanded a long list of Aibo software - including code that taught the
machine disco steps and new words - be pulled off the site.

 The owner, who goes only by the name AiboPet, posted the text of the
on his site, deleting his real name from it. He said he complied with
demand even though he believes, as do many "hackers," that people who
copyrighted software should be allowed to let third parties add

Sony has sold more than 100,000 Aibos worldwide, and hasn't been
persuaded by
the argument that the AiboHack software helps sales. They acknowledge
the letter, but decline to give the addressee's name.

"This is a legal issue," said Sony's Entertainment Robot America
Jon Piazza. "We don't support the development of software by
manipulating the
existing Aibo software code - hacking it."

Aibo owners are famous for their devotion to their Chihuahua-size
dressing them up like babies and holding events to show off the
animals they swear develop personalities.

The robots aren't cheap, $2,500 when first introduced two years ago.
Resembling a dachshund, a lion cub or a teddy bear, depending on the
they now sell for $850 .

The newest model was being introduced in Tokyo on Thursday.

Owners usually spend hundreds of dollars more on Aibo software from
Sony, and
some said they were thrilled with free software from AiboPet.

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