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Microsoft: All your themes are belong to us

On Monday 12th December, Francisco Javier Ocasio Gotay aka

KoL received a Microsoft legal threat regarding a theme

he released 5 months ago. Not content with threatening innocent bloggers on material related to Windows Vista, the company is moving onto its next attack plan by demanding that ported themes from Vista visual styles back to Windows XP be removed.

KoL was one of the first skinners on the scene back when it was discovered that a simple hack of the uxtheme.dll meant un-certified themes could run freely on Windows XP. A simple search on Google demonstrates just how much KoL has contributed to the skinning community. The theme is question is the VistaXP Visual Style which is based on Longhorn build 5203. Many have tried to copy the theme but lack the crisp feel of Vista.

The theme was originally released on 17th July 2005 and is arguably the best Vista port to date. The thread here at Neowin generated more than a 1000 comments and had nearly 300,000 visitors. It has taken the company nearly 5 months to contact KoL to ask him to remove the theme. Third party law firm, Seed IP contacted KoL 2 days ago.

When questioned Francisco is defiant that this will not prevent him from creating high quality themes in the future. "They say that the themes include Microsoft UI artwork, fonts and images that are subject of copyright, trademark and trade dress. That's true and I think they took it down because of that but also because of the popularity of the skin" he said.

Like Neowin, KoL believes Microsoft should have alerted him months before this date and should pursue others that are distributing similar themes.

Clearly over at Redmond if you're popular then be careful, first Messenger Plus! and now a theme designer.....watch out Google!

Agree that this is Ludicrous? Disagree and think Microsoft is well in their rights? Post a comment and let us know!

Update: Here's a response I received from Jed Rose, a Product Manager on the Windows team, "We are thrilled that there are devoted online communities that customize Windows themes for users. However, owners of intellectual property need to maintain and protect their rights. So we really appreciate that the theme developer elected to respect Microsoft's rights by removing those themes which include elements that are the subject of Microsoft's copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress."

View: VistaXP Visual Style

View: KoL

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