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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » CLASS ACTION SUIT... please (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: CLASS ACTION SUIT... please
Allan Barnes
Film Handler

Posts: 65
From: GRAND BEND, ONTARIO, CANADA
Registered: Mar 2009


 - posted 05-18-2017 06:13 PM      Profile for Allan Barnes   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Barnes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With the pending failure of QUBE SERVERS within 30 days (16 June 2017) and the future 2023 failure of DOLBY series 100 SERVERS .... ISN'T IT TIME FOR A CLASS ACTION SUIT ?

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11449
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-18-2017 06:39 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can't speak to the Qube servers but the Dolby DSS100/DSP100 will have gone about 14-years since the last one came off the line. They were only warranted to work for 3-years after sale. You'd be hard pressed to find a sympathetic judge on that one, at least in the US (I don't know the Canadian legal system, at all). Getting 14 years on a 24/7 computer would be considered pretty good by most standards. Note, that is presuming you got the last one off the line. It could be closer to 20-years for the first one.

What are you going to do when the ICP certificate batteries start dying? They are soldered in. That might pose a bigger problem.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1573
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 05-18-2017 07:06 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I suppose the point is that there's no hardware problem and the software issue is "artificial" in that there's simply a hard-coded drop-dead date or time bomb built into the equipment.

The folks that purchased one of these things didn't lease it for a limited time, or at least that wasn't their intention or understanding.

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2439
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 05-19-2017 03:42 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank's point seems solid. If the server fails after 14 years, then nobody can say anything. But if the server is programmed to stop working after 14 years, well, that should have been mentioned on the spec sheet somewhere?

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Marcel Birgelen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1959
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 05-19-2017 04:38 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's a pretty interesting discussion, not only in the specific niche market of DCI equipment, but also in a broader sense.

More and more devices get loaded with certificates that tend to expire after a certain date. In many cases, those devices essentially become bricks after the date.

There's a difference here between a simple failure due to extensive usage. Those dates are set in "stone", they are pre-defined. Also, there's nothing even a knowledgeable person can do about it in many of those cases. It's not something that can be fixed with spare parts for example.

I think that you have a valid point in many jurisdictions, that selling something that has a given expiration date, which isn't appropriately communicated to the buyer, can be at least partly considered to be negligent and maybe even malicious, especially if the company is still in business and refuses to deliver an acceptable solution.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11449
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-19-2017 07:52 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm sure this could get complicated. Does breaking have to mean from use or component failure? Or does breaking simply mean that it ceases to function regardless of cause? What is a company's obligation to support a product after it is discontinued?

I tend to agree, if there is a hard-coded termination date for a product (any product), it should have been clearly communicated at the time of purchase. In simpler, cinema terms, a movie ticket expires at the conclusion of the show and it is printed on the ticket what show it is good for. A server does not convey that information and I don't recall it in any of the sales literature.

Note, series 1 projectors have a 3D license expiration date too but TI kicked that way out there with version 13 of their software such that nobody would reasonably expect any of those projectors to still function.

My guess is that even if they were to make the certificates last longer, the batteries will surely fail and lose the certificate on even current servers before one hits year 20 though. So is a battery failure sufficient to make it failure due to machine? There are plenty of ICPs (and Enigmas) out there that have failed (lost their certificate) simply due to premature battery failure.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1768
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 05-19-2017 08:41 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am not a lawyer, but there is a difference between a warranty, which is a period of time the manufacturer takes the responsibility and expense if keeping a product working, and the expectation a customer has the a product will continue to work after the warranty period unless they are explicitly told before purchase otherwise.

Envision this in the automobile industry. The last car I bought came with a a 3 year warranty. Imagine the field day lawyers would have if 8 years later the car died and was not repairable for no other reason than a date activated kill switch in the car's computer software.

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Marcel Birgelen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1959
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 05-19-2017 09:47 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You could also make a point about suppliers asking the full price of an ICP for something like a failed battery, but it will become a pretty hairy argument. Should the manufacturer be required to give a cheaper means of service than replacing the entire ICP? Like a procedure to re-issue a certificate to the ICP after the failed battery has been replaced?

But the ICP is part of a bigger machine. If you replace it with a functioning one (and given no other defects are present), the machine will be able to operate again for the intended purposes.

In this particular case, no spare part will help you, because there are no spare parts that work after the given date. The date effectively works as a kill-switch for the machine.

General doctrine follows that manufacturers can be held accountable for delivering products with known defects or limitations which aren't fully disclosed. If it's not a defect, it's certainly a limitation.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7808
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-19-2017 04:11 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am not a lawyer, either, but it seems that the basic elements of class action lawsuits are being missed here. Generally, only the lawyers win (consumers get some token
amount, but nothing approaching the actual damages), and almost certainly the "class" in this situation is too small to be worth the time of any lawyer to take up this issue. Individual users are, of course, free to sue the manufacturer.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3096
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 05-19-2017 04:49 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
True - but the bad pr for Qube could force them towards a better offer for their (ex-, I presume) customers.

Keep in mind, those Qube XP-D certificates do not just expire in 2017. They already expired a couple of years ago and were prolongated a few times, and, it seems, a single year only each time. So, fact seems to be, at the time, Qube sold D-Cinema servers with a 3 years certificate expiration time. WTF...

- Carsten

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David J Hilsgen
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: SAUK RAPIDS,MN . USA
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 05-19-2017 07:14 PM      Profile for David J Hilsgen   Email David J Hilsgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So what is the date on the dolby dss200 & the doremi 2k4 server when they expire

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Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 620
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 05-19-2017 09:03 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking from experience, Scott is correct, the lawyers win and it is very, very hard to force anything but a modest settlement even when your case is a "slam dunk" like a clear-cut breach of contract. The mechanics and procedural actions available are enough to drag it for years, and only then, if for some reason they're tired of dealing with you, would a big enterprise ever consider settling with you. A "win" is tough. You'll pay hundreds of thousands to fight it, for the large corporations it's just a cost of business, they can fight you forever.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5065
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-19-2017 10:59 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seems like this bit of manufacture chicanery is not limited to the cinema market; we were just informed that our Pitney Bowes bulk postage machine, a monster that weighs over 100lbs (all metal) and is 4 feet long and cost 9 grand in 1998, they told us as of July 1st, it will no longer function. Mind you, this is a 95% mechanical device that feeds stacks of letters thru its belly and stamps them. There is a small electronic/computer "Head" that gets attached to the big unit and communicates with P-B with information about how much money is in your account as well as information about postage classes and rates. We have been told that even tho nothing at all is wrong with the mechanical unit, P-B will no longer communicate with the Head. Basically the same issue -- a manufacturer simply decideing to kill a machine that you've bought and paid for and was never told that was going to eventually happen.

I don't see how this isn't a legal issue. The manufacture, without forewarning at the time of your purchase is simply deciding that they are killing a perfectly functioning piece of hardware and turning it into a door stop or maybe a nice planter, but in all likelyhood, it probably will wind up in landfill somewhere along with the other thousands upon thousands of postage machines companies are going to have to replace. And of course P-B was immediately trying to hard-sell us another 00lb 4ft piece of hardware that will do exactly what the one we have did (and is still capable of doing). There outa be a law!

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11449
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-20-2017 03:48 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Back in the day...I worked in a law office, ironically, that had a P&B postage meter and used said meter daily. Not only would it print the postage on the meter, it would seal the envelope too. You fed a stack of envelopes in, it would seal and stamp them on the way out. For non-standard letters/packages, you hit a button and it would give you a pre-moistened, stamped sticker. This was in the '70s and long before computer anything. It merely had mechanical number wheels and that is how it kept track of how much postage you used. I wonder if they ever stopped honoring those machines? And since I know law offices had them, you'd think a case like this would have been tried.

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2439
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 05-20-2017 03:58 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank,

That is slightly different in my opinion if I understand that correctly. Probably they decided not to support the communication anymore - intentionally or because of technology advancements.
If Qube decided not to support the server anymore or the Industry decided not to let you use that server for their features because of <type your DCI regulation of choice here> then there is probably nothing you can do.

But in this case there is a set date in the server which was added by the manufacturer. After that date the server won't play encrypted content. It's not that the encryption has changed and the server no longer supports it.

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