Licensing agreements evil says old PC manual

A computer manual from way back to the dawn of time (1983) has tipped up online complete with some very uncharacteristically funny nerd humour, tips about getting around software copy protection and an amusing tirade about licensing agreements.

David Friedman of says he found a copy of the computer manual which had come with his family’s first computer, the Ace 100. Not pictured. The picture is of an Atari 1200 XL.

“Program manufacturers are natural paranoids,” reads the manual which outlines the three categories of crooks to be found in the murky world of computers.

There’s “them,” the computer salespeople who overhype their products with advertising gimmicks, “you,” who is not a criminal but is treated like one by software manufacturers and “us” the OEMs. Although the manual is quick to point out: “We are not crooks.”

As for the paranoid program manufacturers, the manual says that in their “zeal to ‘copy protect’ their programs they tend to regard all customers as potential thieves.

They know you’re going to back up their program, despite their best efforts to stop you, and that sooner or later you’re going to succeed. Once you do you are a threat, since conceivably you could start to hand out copies of the program like candy to everyone you meet, thereby depriving them of deserved revenues.”

But the manual says the PMs “know that they can’t really stop you from making the copies, so they do the next best thing: they ask you to sign a licensing agreement when you purchase the program that specifically prohibits you from such dissemination of the program.”

These licensing agreements, says the manual “typically stop just short of requiring you to sign away your life, your house and your first born child. Nobody in his own right mind would sign one of them. But personal computerists do it. Are they of unsound mind? Possibly, but signing a licensing agreement doesn’t prove it.”

Personal computerists. We love it.