2. The customer will not publish reviews of the product without prior consent from Network Associates. The lawsuit alleges these restrictive covenants are illegal and harm the public by censoring product flaws and defects, infringing free speech rights as well as fair use rights under copyright law. It is also alleged Network Associates demanded a retraction for a negative review published in Network World, citing the clause prohibiting product reviews. So are Network Associates the only perpetrators of this attempt to clamp the mouths of the users? Actually, no. You can find the lots of companies that have an affection for this particular clause. Here's how: Go to Google.com and do a search for the following "disclose results" OR "disclose the results" AND "benchmark test" OR "benchmark tests". What you will see are hundreds of entries. You will find that many of the entries take you to a Microsoft or Oracle site - or to one of their partner sites. You will also find quite a few small software companies that have inserted this clause into their licence agreement, many of whom have perhaps copied it from Microsoft or Oracle. Network Associates differs from these companies only by virtue of the fact that they have added the nuance of restricting customers from publishing product reviews. This is a strange additional restriction, since the publishing of product reviews is a good deal of what software marketing is all about. Network Associates is putting a brave face on the whole matter for the moment, claiming it has modified the language used in its licences, and muttering about reviewers using outdated versions and getting benchmarks wrong. Presumably "wrong" means unfavourable. We are amazed that neither the automobile industry, which is very benchmark and review-sensitive, nor any other industry we know of, finds it necessary to implement such creative legal gagging devices. From the perspective of the IT consumer it is indefensible. Thus, we invite all readers to submit details of licences they have seen or signed that contain such a clause, naming the vendor and the product. Add your postings as a Reader Comment below. *Let's get it on... line* Online dating is relatively big business. The Computer Industry Almanac estimated it to be worth $1bn in 1998 in North America, with projected growth to $1.5bn by 2003. The high level of internet usage for dating is indicated by the success of WebPersonals.com, recently renamed as Lavalife.com, a multimillion dollar business that has been used by over 1.2 million people. The website was also involved in a survey entitled Love Online: A Report on Digital Dating in Canada, which gathered responses from 1,200 people over 17 and 6,581 online users. The survey of Canadians was carried out by COMPAS Inc. and sponsored by Microsoft Canada, and it provides some insights into what is going on.
Here are the headline figures: * There were roughly two men for every woman using online dating
* 85 per cent of respondents were employed, about 55 per cent earning $40,000 (CDN)
* 58 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women said they often use online dating services to look for long-term relationships.
* 63 per cent of respondents said they had sex with someone they met online
* three per cent eventually married
* 25 per cent of respondents said they gave inaccurate information in their online personal ads (lying about their age, marital status and appearance, mostly)
* 18 per cent were already married or living with someone (of these 80 per cent were men, and 80 per cent of those were looking for sex) It is fairly clear online dating is effective for at least some of those who use it. The level of deceit doesn't seem inordinately high, either, although this is probably due to the fact that participants intend to meet in person. The way that dating services operate varies. There are some free services but it does not prevent commercial operations. Some dating sites have membership subscriptions, including charging a monthly fee. Webpersonals.com sells blocks of credits. Some sites even provide coaching for how to date and run a relationship. Just about all human life is catered for in one way or another and just about every relevant internet technology is put to use from chat rooms to webcams. However, in the end it is about people meeting people.