Toshiba laptop service manuals and the sorry state of copyright law

As you would be no doubt already aware, I run a section of my blog here devoted to the free sharing of laptop service manuals. This is a side project I have run for the last three years, gathering as many repair manuals as I could find on the internet and rehosting them on my website for anybody to download and use.

I have unhappy news for you all. Since I was first contacted by Toshiba Australia’s legal department, I have been attempting to discuss with them the potential for me to continue to share their laptop service manuals on my site. Their flat and final response was “You do not have permission [to disseminate Toshiba copyright material] nor will it be granted to you in the foreseeable future.” As a result, all Toshiba material that was on my website is now gone, permanently.

The primary reasons they have given me for this are:

1. “We are concerned that by providing the manuals to unqualified person [sic] you may be endangering their well-being”.

My place of employment puts a massive emphasis on health and safety in the workplace, a policy I am 100% in support of. Safety is an incredibly important issue, and I applaud Toshiba for taking it into consideration, but I think they are a little misguided. I have personally never been injured or visibly endangered by working on any kind of computer system, much less a consumer notebook computer. I have also never heard of anybody else being injured by working on one. While I do understand the drive behind any concern for safety, the reality is that there appears to be no risk to the well-being of myself or any of my readers by providing repair manuals free to download, and so I do not understand Toshiba’s cause for concern here.

It is worth noting that Dell, HP and Lenovo provide service manuals for all of their laptop computers for download, free of charge or registration or membership of any kind, on their various support websites, which would indicate that none of these companies share Toshiba’s concern in this regard. I would not seriously take this to mean that Toshiba laptops are inherently more dangerous to service than laptops of other brands, thus causing them to discourage unqualified persons from doing so, but drawing on my own knowledge and experience I cannot see what risk they are attempting to mitigate here.

2. Their repair manuals contain “proprietary information” and they will jealously protect it at all costs. (These costs would, of course, be to me, as part of their demands included the threat of taking action to recover their costs of taking legal action against me.)

As a factual statement, I can’t really argue with this. Again though, Dell, HP and Lenovo apparently do not find this a concern. Having looked at service manuals from each company, I personally cannot see what Toshiba manuals contain that the others do not that might be something a company would reasonably wish to withhold from its customers. It is clear that this is a decision Toshiba have made in the opposite direction to these other companies, and it is not a direction that is in the best interest of its customers.

3. “The manuals are only available to Toshiba authorised service providers under strict confidentiality agreements.” … “It is not our company policy to grant authorisation for the use or reproduction of Toshiba manuals to anyone who is not an authorised Toshiba service provider.”

The clear message here is that unless you are an authorised Toshiba repairer, they do not want you anywhere near the information that would allow you to more easily service and repair your Toshiba products yourself.

4. “Toshiba copyright repair manuals.”

This is the big one. As the original author of their laptop repair manuals, Toshiba owns the copyright on them and has the legal right to control their dissemination. They have not followed in the footsteps of other companies and made the decision to disseminate them to the public for open use. They are, in fact, tightly limiting access to their manuals only to their authorised repairers, and as such locking its customers out from information they could use to service or repair their laptops on their own.

Copyright law does give other parties some rights to copyright material in certain circumstances under fair dealing exceptions (fair use in the United States). These exceptions are along the lines of granting access to educational institutions, or making personal copies of copyright material for the purpose of creating backups. There currently appears to be no such exception, however, to either Australian or US copyright law that would apply to repair manuals for computers. As a result, we have no specific rights to any official documentation Toshiba have created that might allow us to more easily and economically repair or upgrade laptop computers.

I have investigated the possibility of pursuing action through legal channels. The long and short of it is that I cannot afford the legal representation necessary to even question Toshiba in a court of law. I cannot personally risk taking this route myself, and so as a private citizen I am left with no alternatives.

Dell, HP and Lenovo are three companies that have made the decision to allow us the privilege of accessing their repair manuals anyway – a decision that is 100% in the interests of their customers, and in their own, as people are more likely to buy a product they know they can easily fix if it goes awry. Because of this decision, when someone asks me to recommend a laptop, I will generally go to one of these brands for a suggestion.

Toshiba notebooks are known for their reliability, and I have generally found them to be high quality products. In light of this, it is with a certain sadness that I can say I no longer recommend Toshiba products to anybody, for the simple reason that they are not open with their repair information. It utterly pains me to say that I cannot help those of you who have asked me to help in finding a Toshiba repair manual. Due to the obvious legal reasons, I have not shared copyright Toshiba material since I was first contacted on July 31st, and unfortunately this is how it must be.

Many of you service laptops for a living. Many of you repair and refurbish second-hand laptops for charity and for the less fortunate. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for doing what you do. If you have been affected by Toshiba’s decision in refusing to allow me to share their repair manuals with you, I urge you to contact your local Toshiba representatives and let them know what impact this has had on you, your business or your livelihood. Let them know that you will avoid Toshiba products in the future, and will not recommend them to others, until they are as open with their information as are other competing companies. Perhaps in the future, with public opinion stacked in favour of open repair policies, they will change their mind.

In the meantime, the following websites have some user-created information on repairing some Toshiba models:

http://www.irisvista.com/
http://www.ifixit.com/Device/Toshiba_Laptop

Correction – Lenovo IdeaPad service manuals

It’s been brought to my attention that Lenovo now offer hardware maintenance manuals for what appears to be all of its IdeaPad range as well as for ThinkPads (some links here). I’m not sure when this change was put in place, but it’s a welcome one and I’ll update my site to reflect that change. Thanks, Lenovo!

Donate your old laptops and phones to science!

The wonderful people over at iFixit are accepting donations of hardware so that they can strip them down and turn them into new homemade repair manuals. If you’ve got a faulty or disused laptop, phone or tablet from the last few years kicking around, please consider sending it in – in return they will send you a $5 coupon for their online parts and tools shop, or $20 if it’s on their most-wanted list!

Reactions on Facebook

I’ve seen a few posts on the Facebook pages of Toshiba US and Toshiba Australia with some great comments. It’s interesting that of all of these, the only one anybody at Toshiba actually replied to included a link to irisvista.com – it’s clear to even their customer service people that Toshiba could be doing more for its customers.

Coverage

This has become unexpectedly popular, starting with the link I posted and discussion on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/12ydou/for_three_years_i_have_run_tims_laptop_manuals/

This has also been posted to Hacker News on ycombinator: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4766177

I’ve also just been alerted to the fact it’s on Slashdot as well: http://slashdot.org/story/12/11/10/1334221/toshiba-pursues-copyright-claim-against-laptop-manual-site

12/11/2012: I’ve been featured on The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/12/toshiba_orders_blogger_to_remove_manuals/

Also on a Dutch site, webwereld: http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/112425/toshiba-weigert-publicatie-laptophandleidingen-.html (English translation)

13/11/2012: A fair few people have emailed me about this one: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/85477/toshiba-laat-servicehandleidingen-offline-halen.html (English translation)

I love this one, on Techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121110/22403121007/toshiba-you-cant-have-repair-manuals-because-theyre-copyrighted-youre-too-dumb-to-fix-computer.shtml

I’m also on the front page of Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/11/cease-and-desist-manuals-planned-obsolescence/

Has this been featured on other sites as well? Email me and let me know!

159 Responses to “Toshiba laptop service manuals and the sorry state of copyright law”

  1. Smallfry says:

    Welcome to Reddit :)

  2. Jim Tyson says:

    Thank you for letting us know about this. My own response will be straightforward – no more Toshiba laptops for me and I will in future use my influence on corporate purchasing to discourage sourcing from Toshiba.

  3. Matt says:

    Same goes for me as Jim, will be influencing as many people as I know to stay away from Toshiba.

  4. razvan says:

    Just dropped them an email (toshiba.com , support) letting them know exactly what Jim said in the post before me. I work in a 79k worldwide bussiness btw.
    cheers

  5. next says:

    toshiba does make shit stuff available on their website very easily. http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/support/jsp/home.jsp?nav=Product%20Support

  6. anon says:

    Same as Jim,

  7. zan says:

    I’m buying my daughter a laptop for Christmas.

    It won’t be a Toshiba.

  8. notfromReddit says:

    @next He is rehosting the manuals as a service to others in the event the manufacturer stops hosting their own, changes them, or otherwise makes them difficult for users to obtain them. Data monopolies can be as dangerous monetary ones and we, as consumers, should always keep our eyes out for stuff like this as it normally isn’t good news.

  9. rexor says:

    It all comes down to money. Plain and simple. The first thing most people do when they buy a laptop is open and play with said laptop and inside of a month they lose the manual.

    Toshiba in there wisdom has seen a way for more profit by charging customers $$$ to replace lost manuals i bet they have focus tested such a thing and suspect to make upwards of 5 million dollars world wide from making you take down the information and charging people who have lost their manuals.

  10. ryno says:

    Sorry about the situation, but thanks for posting this to reddit. I’m normally a software developer, but to non tech savvy family and friends, having a b.s. in computer science apparently translates into me being able to perform some magic techno voodoo and repair all laptops and computers. I’ve had quite a bit of success fixing them by scouring the net for hours and employing some good old trial and error, but this site will definitely be handy in the future.

  11. Tony Abney says:

    I was literally about to help my mother in law get a Toshiba laptop as that’s what she wanted. I’ll let her know that if she wants me to repair it ever (hint, she does) that I will not support them and she will get something else. I’ll let all of my customers know the same.

    This is beyond despicable and I hope the company loses a lot of money over this.

  12. KM says:

    Like many of the others who I hope have read this, I have also mailed Toshiba to instruct them that as the main procurement officer for a large UK secondary school, I will ensure no Toshiba products are ever purchased again by our organisation since their decision. Not much but I hope it helps!

  13. Anon says:

    Company was deciding between Toshiba and Apple for about 50k worth of equipment upgrades, will be putting all of my efforts into getting the company to go with the higher quote (Apple) for this. Toshiba, you should really re-think your morals. Disappointed!

  14. RS says:

    I hate Toshiba for doing this – I will never buy another product of theirs again, regardless of whether it is a peripheral or a laptop. I hope they suffer a major backlash for this, what punks!

  15. Robbie says:

    I was planning on buying a Toshiba laptop for my mother this Christmas based on a recommendation. After reading this I think I’m going to change my mind. Shame on you Toshiba, Shame… on… you.

  16. Jonno says:

    Hey there,

    Like everyone else who has commented so far, I’m going either:

    a) Pretend that I work in some kind of decision making capacity and can influence the purchasing of massive numbers of laptop because it makes my e-peen bigger.
    b) Pretend that I was going to buy a laptop and will no longer consider Toshiba, when I had no fucking plan to do either until about 10 seconds ago.
    c) Lie
    d) All of the above.

    Thanks.

  17. Charley says:

    Just bought a HP, complete instructions on how to change the RAM/SSD and the wireless cards (among others). Simple way to order parts online :)

  18. I am Boxxy you see :D says:

    Brought to my attention via Reddit…never thought about Toshiba products in the past and will hardly think about them again in the future.
    I like your website.

  19. Mikael says:

    access@tais.toshiba.com Hate mail them then.

  20. Todd says:

    I’ll be sure to let all my clients know to avoid Toshiba products. Maybe if enough of us I.T. guys (and girls) give them a black eye they will make that “copyright” material available to everyone.

  21. Captain says:

    I *just* cancelled my recent online order for a Toshiba laptop (and got a full refund!). I can now spend it on one of the other laptops I was looking at, thanks for this!

  22. MK says:

    I don’t see how this can turn out in anything but a PR problem for Toshiba.
    Let them go their ways.

  23. Anon says:

    @Rexor

    “It all comes down to money … Toshiba in there wisdom has seen a way for more profit by charging customers $$$ to replace lost manuals”

    Except that’s not at all true. Toshiba is not charging customers $$$ to replace lost manuals. Manuals have always been (and continue to be) available on Toshiba’s website for free downloading.

  24. Bob Harris says:

    Roger that, I have 2 lines across the screen of my almost 10 year old HP that is, with repairs, going strong. I hate to have to replace it, but it’s something I have been considering for the past year or so. Guess it won’t be a Toshiba!

  25. Noctrin says:

    Wow, great site you’re running! Trying to find a service manual is a pain, good to know a place like this exists. Toshiba just kicked themselves in the ass for this one.

  26. Rob says:

    I can’t argue the copyright issue, but as an IT pro I wouldn’t go with some brand that makes me pay, and then pay, and pay a bit more later. They might think they’re licensing an appliance…

  27. Umang says:

    Jeez. Toshiba is pretty screwed now. After reading all these posts and this article being published in reddit, I can see the sales go down. Because it’s not like Toshiba is one of the most selling laptops, so I reckon many would switch to maybe lenevo/hp. Personally I prefer samsung/lenovo.

    Also the fact that a lot of computer junkies come on reddit, might also be a reason for a bad Toshiba image being spread.
    Word of mouth the most powerful tool.

  28. Bryan says:

    I find this kind of hard to make a judgement on.

    From the copyright perspective, I am 100% behind Toshiba. If they are hosting the manuals on their own (like another comment here said), the biggest benefit they probably want is for users to be visiting their site, increasing their ability to sell. This makes sense from a business perspective, as I’m sure you’re aware.

    Now, on the other hand, I’d say 95%+ of what you’d even find in a manual would be the same, or nearly identical, to the manuals for any other laptop. I’ll be honest in that I haven’t done laptop repairs, but in the case of PC’s, for example, it doesn’t matter if you have a Dell, HP, Alienware, custom, etc. because they are all the same (in this case we’re talking about the mechanics in general, not specific parts). Essentially, if you’ve taken a PC apart and put it together, you can take apart/put together any other PC.

    I *really* have mixed feelings here. It’s hard to fault the company for doing something that benefits them, but at the same time I don’t see what they are accomplishing, other than making customers angry (since you should be able to use other manuals to do repairs).

  29. Joe says:

    Will not be buying a Toshiba Laptop in the foreseeable future. I despise companies with this kind of attitude toward the consumer. Thanks for the great website!

  30. Monatomic says:

    I also find it hard to pass judgement on Toshiba’s actions.

    I am a support the idea of sharing information freely, but

  31. Jay says:

    To Jonno:

    Absolutely. there is absolutely no way a tech blog that made it to reddit’s tech sub could ever be full of IT professionals.

    It’s simply not feasible.

    Take me, for example. Although I just placed an order for 45 laptops, and will order another 30 or so next month, I must be the exception to the rule, because an IT professional would have nothing to do with technology resources.

  32. James says:

    I literally just replaced the motherboard in my current Toshiba laptop, which I adore. It would have not been possible without the service manual.

    They want to force me to buy a new laptop instead of repairing them when they break? Well I’m no longer going to buy anything from them, and I’ll advise anyone else to avoid them too. They’ve lost all their goodwill with me in one move.

  33. RealWolf says:

    Sadly the last archive.org backup is from 2010, but still a wealth of Toshiba manuals available:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20101029034041/http://www.tim.id.au/blog/tims-laptop-service-manuals/#toc-toshiba

  34. C. Williams says:

    I work for a company (500k + employees) and am in the position to decide where hardware will be purchased. Toshiba is no longer an option for us. Too bad for them. I will also not be recommending Toshiba to any of my Clients.

  35. Kula says:

    Why not just host magnet links or torrents for users. You don’t necessarily have to be the one hosting the data. Just point people in the right direction

  36. Random Dude says:

    And that’s what copyright is for. To screw your customers :)

  37. Jenkins says:

    I work for a larger, more successful company than anyone above. I am in charge of purchasing laptops and was about to buy $20 million worth of toshibas. Now I will be buying Nintendo 3ds’s instead.

  38. bin0t says:

    i support you!

  39. Bill Jackson says:

    Toshiba is an old company in decline, run by old Japanese businessmen = very controlling and conservative. They are dying the death of 1000 cuts, lack of manual access is one such cut.

  40. Monatomic says:

    I also find it hard to pass judgement on Toshiba’s actions.

    I mostly agree with your post. Copyright law, and even current fair use policies are very constricting on the progress of technology.
    I am a support the idea of sharing information freely, but I can see where sharing this information with the novice, or less than novice might be dangerous.

    Technology has changed an incredible amount over the past decade, but, as you can imagine, the policies and liabilities behind them are slow to change. Young people will never know the muscle required to handle those big CRT monitors that came with the early desktop computers. Toshiba’s policies will always remember how dangerous some of the components are in some of those monitors. I remember on several occasions having to take apart a CRT monitor, say to replace a faulty cable or something, and in many of those instances, I would have to discharge a large capacitor before my hands could enter the housing. Although these capacitors often never posed any real danger, getting shocked by one is incredibly painful, and pardon the pun, to those who never expect it, shocking. What I’m trying to say is Toshiba has reason to be concerned if someone is telling people it is ok to take apart their products without any risk of bodily injury. Although the newer stuff Toshiba distributes might not be as dangerous as the old stuff, that doesn’t change the fact that the old stuff is still out there, or that newer products will be “safer” to service than the old products. I understand how DIY repairs can be a more economical option as opposed to having it serviced by a professional, however, one cannot say confidently that there is no danger in working with any product without sufficient experience. If you were in need of a hysterectomy would you honestly not weigh the risk between someone with a manual to perform the operation and an experience surgeon, just because it seems more economical?

    Toshiba might be a company filled with greedy corporate suits only concerned about the bottom line. They might be on an anti-piracy witch hunt like some electronic giants that will not be mentioned. *coughs* Apple *coughs* But I don’t see any cause to believe that, and the benefit of a doubt leans towards Toshiba’s concern for their consumer base. Looking at most distributors of electronics, they already know that tech savvy people like us don’t buy from them, and instead, find more economical or more efficient solutions.

    P:S. Sorry about the double post, I can’t seem to find how to delete it. Also, pardon typos, I’m typing this on my phone.

  41. Patrick says:

    Sadly, 4 years ago I ordered 500 toshiba satellite laptop for a company in Montreal (quebec).

    Well, guess what? next year, they want 1000 instead of 500 (they change every 5 years). Guess what product I won’t get them, this time?

    I sure hope plenty of people will help protest against them.

    @Toshiba (If you ever read this): I did buy 500 laptop from you five year ago, #11192009591725, look it up. I know 500-1000 laptop is no big difference to you, but I sure hope other will boycott you as well.

  42. Davey says:

    @Jenkins. My company can beat up your company.

    Seriously, what’s the play here? If Toshiba can reduce the number of older machines that can be fixed, they’ll sell more new ones?

  43. disappointed purchaser says:

    As a procurement personelle for a large college, I will no longer approve requests for Toshiba products. Being able to maintain, repair and upgrade the equipment we purchase is a huge deciding factor in our purchases.

  44. Paul says:

    I want to use this opportunity to express that I am planning to buy a laptop this month. It will not be a Toshiba.

  45. Neo Reddit says:

    Maybe they are doing it because they are afraid you will take creative liberties in editting. I would think that would absolve them of liability from consumer damage though. In any case, this is lame, and I’ve sent them an email as such, if I buy a computer in the future I plan to avoid Toshiba.

  46. Digibella says:

    There seems to be some confusion between repair manuals and user manuals, I do not believe they are the same thing. The user manuals are freely available but the repair manuals are not. Shame on Toshiba.

  47. Mike says:

    I’ve boycotted toshiba junk for about 5 years now. Sister had a laptop that was a complete lemon, and to toshiba just kept bandaiding it until the warranty ran out.

    She has a Lenovo now that hasn’t had a single problem.

  48. Vic says:

    I own a Toshiba notebook and I have a problem with the screen brightness. Logging on to their support forum and posting a question proved futile as nobody from Toshiba responded.

    Toshiba does not even update their video drivers.

  49. ruckstar says:

    No more Toshibas for me!

  50. BCrawford says:

    I’m convinced that most of the commenters here are unclear that their is a MAJOR difference between an instruction manual (which comes with most every laptop) and a service repair manual (which is what we are talking about and to my knowledge does not come with a laptop purchase).

    Let’s compare this to automobiles. If you buy a car, it most certainly does not come with a service repair manual (similar to the manuals hosted on this site). These manuals are usually quite extensive and I’ve seen them sell for anywhere from $25 (haynes) to upwards of $100. Now if you were to call the manufacturer of the car and request a manual, they would most likely laugh at you. In fact, if you called the manufacturer asking for help repairing any part of your car, you’re probably not going to find any help. This is because there is a whole service oriented industry built around car repair due to the fact that the average consumer (most, but not all) does not want to be the one replacing the busted radiator or faulty alternator. These same ideas hold true for computer/laptop repair.

    So I guess my gripe is, someone took the time to make each and every one of these manuals and unfortunately it wasn’t done out of the kindness of their heart. It was done to create a product that they had hoped either a repair tech or a consumer would purchase. IMO, it’s wrong to host these manuals without the consent of their authors or owners. This is someone else’s work that you have taken and are offering free to the world without their consent. The other thing that bothers me is the fact that you plainly state right on your site that most of these manuals can be purchased for around $10. That’s not a lot of money considering the amount of information contained in the manuals.

    So remind me why it is so heinous that Toshiba does not want you to be giving away literature that they created for free??

    and here’s a good idea. Since the basic concept of replacing many of the parts on a laptop is the same for most laptops, why not create your own generic repair manual?

  51. Stromm says:

    I have been in computer support since the mid-80′s. I live in the US. I have had to deal with the legalities of service and support on multiple occasions, so maybe that’s the reason I have to say I Agee with Toshiba’s concern over injury, distribution and copyright. As an IT instructor (both Microsoft and Cisco certified), I taught my students the applicable state and local laws regarding not only working on equipment, but also providing instruction to do so.

    Here’s some facts that apply in most US states.

    1. Fair Use does NOT apply to digital media. It ONLY applies to analog media and hard copies WHERE the original individual item is transferred. Duplication of the original item is NOT protected in the case of printed media (except for registered non-profit educational use and a couple other instances) especially if it is provided for cost.

    2. Most states have injury laws covering providing written and/or verbal instruction to “untrained” workers which may result in the injury of said worker. That’s the catch, are they trained? Since you’re supplying the service manuals without knowledge of the downloader’s training, Toshiba’s could argue that if someone got hurt, YOU are legally liable for the injury.

    3. It’s (the manuals) are THEIR property, even in digital format. Sorry, but god I hate that there’s so many people who are so entitled that they refuse to accept this. If they don’t want you doing what you’re doing, they shouldn’t have to threaten to sue, they should simply have to ask you to quit. If you are a Toshiba’s certified tech, you’ve already agreed to follow their rules relating to this. If you didn’t agree with those rules, why agree to them?

    4. And the most important point… If you don’t like the laws and rules, work within the law to get them changed.

  52. Lone_Cow says:

    Why would you boycott a company over a trivial matter as a service manual? There are legal repercussions which can occur in the event of a misadventure if an individual were to fix a Toshiba product through a copy of a product manual which may or may not be tampered in anyway and I can see why they’d be reproachful to allow individuals to share this information(remember not everyone reads the terms and conditions nor are trained in servicing computers). Modern technology allows for safer equipment however it is not free of its dangers, Toshiba would not risk for their clients to be harmed. To say that a company is completely money hungry is to say that all the people within the company are similar even when there is only one corporate monkey typing out the email.
    This is not a fair assessment of Toshiba and their products. Quality goods with low defects may be made by the company and because they withdraw their consent for you to give out their, and not your manuals doesn’t discount the quality of their services and doesn’t call for a boycott. Servicing their products by a non professional will also void warranties another reason why Toshiba would do this, so as to avoid complaints and broken equipment.
    You have not given me sufficient evidence to boycott their wares. If greed and copyright were the only reasons to stop purchasing a product there wouldn’t be a market of goods being sold. I will still continue to purchase Toshiba products based on my assessment of their products and other products and not because Toshiba has constrained me from publishing their manuals or some other trivial matter which they own on the internet.
    And one last thing, how does one access your copy of Toshiba’s manual on the internet through a broken Toshiba laptop without having an extra computer or such?

  53. Kye says:

    I’m just a measly Dick Smith salesperson but I do sell a lot of Toshiba laptops. It’s pretty fair to say that this news’ll weigh heavily when I’m choosing laptops to sell to customers. Thanks for making the issue known.

  54. tim says:

    Hi guys,

    I’d just like to clarify a few things, facts and my own opinions on the matter:

    - Every laptop manufacturer in the world creates a full repair manual for each laptop model they make and sell. This is more or less absolutely required so that their own warranty repairs can happen efficiently – their own technicians need a reference for how their products are assembled. You can safely assume Toshiba are doing this as a matter of course for their models, not in addition to other R&D.

    - These repair manuals are in addition to the user manuals that they also create for each model. You can download user manuals for all of Toshiba’s products straight from their website. It’s the repair manuals that are hidden, and which I have tried to share.

    - Toshiba do not sell their repair manuals to the public. The $10 price I quoted is from rogue websites with no affiliation to Toshiba who do sell PDF copies of their manuals, and who DO actually profit from Toshiba’s copyrighted material. I am not depriving Toshiba of any proceeds from the sale of their manuals whatsoever as they do not sell them in the first place.

    - So: You’re a huge company that produces repair manuals for all of your products as a matter of course. They’re PDF files that range in size from a few megs to maybe a few tens of megabytes in total. They contain the information necessary to strip down and replace parts in your laptops. For sure, you own the copyright over these manuals, but why wouldn’t you want to share them with your customers? You might slow overall sales slightly, but you’re winning major brand loyalty because your customers know that even when their laptop finally gives up the ghost and is no longer economical to repair, they can buy another from you and it’ll have the same potential lifespan.

    - There are websites out there with user-created repair manuals. iFixit is a great one for all brands, especially for Apple devices. Irisvista is dedicated to Toshiba laptops. I certainly don’t have enough time or money to tear down and document every single laptop ever made by any company ever. With sites like iFixit and Irisvista we can come close, but we’ll never hit 100% coverage of every device. Only the official laptop repair manuals – which are already made by the original manufacturers – could give us that, and that’s why it’s important for them to do so.

  55. Jeff says:

    Later today I’m buying two laptops. One will be Samsung – partly as a result of the Apple behaviour – that’s going to be for me. The other was going to be a Toshiba because I own a lovely little Toshiba netbook, which has performed brilliantly. Now the one for my wife won’t be a Toshiba. Instead I think it will be the Compaq she was thinking of as an alternative; the HP server I bought last month is proving to be fantastic, and I hope the Compaq will be just as good. Sorry Toshiba, I support companies who put their customers first.

  56. shadowpspawn says:

    I don’t have the purchasing power to dictate hundreds of purchases, but people do come to me for recommendations. I’d say I’m only directly responsible for maybe 2-3 purchases a year with laptops, most of the companies already have agreements with IBM or Dell (and yes, nobody ever changes those contracts, and they do purchase quite a bit of them).

    I personally fix broken machines, part them out, re-purpose them. It’s my hobby. For the under warranty items the companies I work for just go back to the manufacturer, but I do remember the days where we had to swap out the hardware ourselves (the days before a fed-ex box would show up with a new laptop and a packing slip for the broken one).

    But the heck if I’ll ever praise Toshiba now; given any chance I’ll just point people to your blog. You summed it up quite nicely. And made me laugh (don’t want people hurting themselves!)

    What dicks.

  57. Greg says:

    BRB – Cancelling my order for a brand new Toshiba laptop I just made.

  58. tim says:

    @Lone_Cow:

    - Interestingly enough, when I wrote this, the word ‘boycott’ was nowhere in my mind. I actually had no idea so many people would react so strongly. Nevertheless, my justification for it is this: Dell, HP and Lenovo all sell laptops and provide the repair manuals alongside them on their support websites. I would have no problem using these manuals to strip down and repair or replace a part in one of these laptops. With a Toshiba, I would not be able to do that – I’d either have to pay for an authorised repairer to do the work at a relatively high cost, or just go for it and hope I don’t forget a screw somewhere or break something in an even worse way. Given the choice between the two scenarios there, I would always pick the former where I have the best possible chance of being able to repair it myself.

    - On the personal injury front – like I said, I’ve never actually heard of someone hurting themselves working on a laptop computer. That said, I guess theoretically it could happen. I don’t know the actual workings of the law in regards to safety, but given that Dell/HP/Lenovo provide their repair manuals without a fuss, it’s clearly possible for the legal liability to be a nonissue. If it’s possible, why not do it? It can only benefit their customers.

    - It would be fair to say that the sort of person who would have a go at fixing their own laptop computer would have access to more than one computer – if not at home, then at work, or a public library, or a wifi hotspot at McDonald’s or almost anywhere else. I’m not sure what argument you’re getting at with that question – you’d have to download it over the internet from somewhere if you didn’t have a paper copy.

  59. Jim says:

    That’s ok. One crappy Toshiba laptop was all it took for me to never want to another.

  60. Jon Ivy says:

    Fair use would apply here. They have no legitimate copyright claim to repair manuals. Copyright has a specific exclusion for processes and systems (See: Patents). It’d be like them trying to copyright their schematics. Copyright just simply doesn’t work that way.

  61. Tim M says:

    Wow. What a douch company! TOSHIBA change your name to TOOSHITTYTOBUYA

  62. tim says:

    @Stromm:

    You have some excellent points there, and I can see you’re coming from a lot of experience. I expect you’ll be shaking your head in despair in a moment, but please allow me to respond to your points:

    1. Copyright law is based on decades of protecting printed works and is badly in need of an overhaul in order to sufficiently work in the information age. There are lots of cases where fair use certainly should apply to digital media. Some examples in Australian law, from Wikipedia: “In late 2006, Australia added several ‘private copying’ exceptions. It is no longer an infringement of copyright to record a broadcast to watch or listen at a more convenient time (s 111), or to make a copy of a sound recording for private and domestic use (e.g., copy onto an iPod) (s 109A), or make a copy of a literary work, magazine, or newspaper article for private use (43C).”

    2. You can go into almost any automotive parts store and buy a service manual for your car. Working on a car is inherently far more dangerous than working on a laptop computer – yet who’s to say you’ve been sufficiently trained to use the information in that manual safely? If this state of affairs works for car repair manuals – and, given that Dell, HP and Lenovo all provide laptop service manuals for free on their website, for at least some laptop service manuals out there – why can’t it be the same for Toshiba manuals? If there is some law standing in the way of this happening, then that law needs to be changed in order to allow progress. This is fact, regardless of whether it’s legal for me to distribute their manuals today.

    3. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a spoiled, entitled brat when it comes to data. If data CAN be transferred so easily, why the hell shouldn’t we be allowed to? I’m not saying it’s right to transfer and duplicate copyrighted material without permission – I’m saying that’s an inevitable side effect of new technology, you’re never going to successfully regulate it without impossibly intrusive hardware and software that most people will never agree to subjecting themselves to if fully informed… so why fight it? When people started pirating music online, Apple saw a potential market for people who soon found it easier to buy it through iTunes than it was to torrent it. We need laws that are adapted to the new ways people are living their lives, not to try and restrain them to the old ways when a much simpler or obvious alternative is staring them in their faces.

    4. I agree with this one, in principle. In practice, though – where would following the rules have gotten me? I’d have asked Toshiba and other companies for permission, been denied, and that would have been the end of it. Instead, I’ve helped tens of thousands of people repair their laptops at home and save money (a good thing), and sparked a massive discussion on the matter that might attract enough attention to actually change things (also good). As a result, I’ve breached a company’s copyright (okay, this one’s bad), taken zero legal and legitimate sales away from anybody (we’ll call this one a draw) and hopefully alerted said company to the idea that maybe their customers want something different (a big plus for them, if they pay enough attention to it).

    And just to clarify what action Toshiba have taken against me – in legal terms, nothing. All I’ve received from them is essentially a cease and desist letter from a member of their legal team. They did, in fact, ask me to quit doing what I was doing, and I did. I am also not, nor have I ever been, a trained Toshiba technician or authorised repairer, and have signed nor breached confidentiality agreement or any other contract with them in any capacity. The only legal dispute they have with me was that breach of copyright, which is no longer in effect, and they sent me an email confirming that the matter was closed.

  63. Demo says:

    Fair use is a legal principle that provides certain limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance on the application of fair use principles by educators, scholars and students who develop multimedia projects using portions of copyrighted works under fair use rather than by seeking authorization for non commercial educational uses. These guidelines apply only to fair use in the context of copyright and to no other rights.

    There is no simple test to determine what is fair use. Section 107 of the Copyright Act sets forth the four fair use factors which should be considered in each instance, based on particular facts of a given case, to determine whether a use is a “fair use”:
    the purpose and character of use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes,
    the nature of the copyrighted work,
    the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole,
    the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

  64. Demo says:

    Forgot to add

    depts.washington.edu/uwcopy/Using_Copyright/Guidelines/Fair.php

    PS: Welcome to Reddit

  65. Mark says:

    Wow, I thought Toshiba was one of the good corporations.

  66. Terry says:

    I will keep this in mind when ordering for our corporate IT department in Canada. Thanks to cost-cutting, we’re now responsible for most repairs in-house. Toshiba isn’t exactly making an effort to make that easier for us.

  67. Alex says:

    Since I am not allowed to repair my laptop using online resources such as these, I will have to go with another manufacturer. Never again Toshiba!

  68. Daniel Serodio says:

    As the owner of a Toshiba laptop, I’ll e-mail them so they know I won’t buy any more Toshiba laptops in the future because of this.

  69. Greg says:

    Wow, what a bunch of axxhats. I’ve owned two Toshiba laptops. This will be my last unless they come to their senses and overcome their greed. I don’t do much repair, it’s often less expensive to just replace, but like I used to work on my own cars, I want the option. I can’t understand when someone makes a product, they seem to think the public is all a bunch of morons. Granted, many are, but to make the assumption that they can twist you into some kind of lifetime service deal, is even more moronic.

  70. Mike Taylor says:

    Add me to the will-never-buy-a-Toshiba-until-this-changes list.

  71. J Hernandez says:

    This is incredibly lame. Toshiba should be interested in getting as much information to their customers as possible, in order to make Toshiba ownership as hassle-free as possible. My company uses two Toshiba laptops that are pretty flaky to start with, but this anecdote is enough to convince me – no more Toshiba.

    More companies need to take a page from the Valve handbook, and focus exclusively on customer satisfaction. If you don’t have it, then you make your self vulnerable to your competition.

  72. Renard says:

    Ms. Streisand would like you to quit showing pictures of her house.

  73. Dave Lee says:

    Thank you for your informational post. I repair laptops and have used your site many times. Thank you for your work. As for Toshiba, I too will stop recommending their products to clients and the many companies I consult for. Most of these are small businesses that rely on being able to correct hardware issues on site, or in the area.

  74. Paul says:

    I won’t be buying Toshiba laptops anytime soon, or recommending them to the 30+ people that come to me for technical advice. Thanks for your article. When will companies realize that their legal department usually alienates a lot of potential customers?

  75. Theo says:

    One happy L17P40 -something Toshiba laptop user here…
    My next one WON’T be a Toshiba because of this BS !

  76. Theo says:

    Will vote against Toshiba for our 800+ corporate users from now on.
    Plenty of competition !
    (what are these social medi a thingies anyway? Is there a manual for that?)

  77. Theo says:

    media, media ! i said media !
    rhymes to Tohib a !

  78. A says:

    US federal court applying fair use to repair manuals:

    http://www.internetlibrary.com/pdf/Gulfstream-Camp-SD-Ga.pdf

  79. Mlaxxx says:

    Fuck you Toshiba.

    Finding your laptop drivers is a hell, and now this. Just fuck you.

  80. Anti-Toshiba says:

    Spread the word… No more Toshiba products for me or my circle of influence!

  81. Bria says:

    I as well will use my corporate buying power to ensure no Toshiba equipment will ever be used. Sorry to hear they are doing this. Bye bye Toshiba!

  82. nobody says:

    F*ck you TOSHIBA.

  83. Brian says:

    I stopped using Toshiba products a long time ago. This reconfirms how I feel. I recommend Dell. They do whatever it takes to make you happy. If your laptop is broken support team members at times will just replace the entire thing if it makes you happy. I am a customer for life.

  84. jaap says:

    Thank you Toshiba, this saves me time when choosing between laptop manufactures.

  85. cto says:

    I manage a team of 100+ developers. We own many Toshiba products and based on this story I will strongly recommend alternatives. Best of luck.

  86. Joe Anon says:

    Install Tor (torproject.org), setup a hidden service, put your manuals there.
    Post the link on some popular onion sites.
    Now you can truly blog that “While surfing the net I found this link to a bunch of manuals…”
    So unless there’s a law against publishing links to other sites,
    well…. sorry Toshiba and friends, you lose :)

  87. Ivan Perez says:

    I just wrote a letter to Toshiba expressing my disappointment.

  88. Ariel says:

    It is not surprise for me the bad service of Toshiba. I decide since 2002 no to buy any Toshiba product. it is on my blacklist

  89. Ren says:

    Perfect timing, we were just deciding between Toshiba and another major company to replace our aging fleet of computers in the office. Thanks for the info.

  90. Gavin says:

    There is one major point which is being ignored here. Namely that the Toshiba service manuals are proprietary information belonging to Toshiba and only provided to their technicians under a confidential non disclosure agreement. By publishing them, you either breached your asp agreement with Toshiba, or you received them from someone else who breached their agreement. Whether or not you believe that information should be in the public domain, Toshiba haven’t put it there so you don’t have any right to. Fair use covers duplication for personal use within the terms of your licence agreement, not public redistribution.

    Toshiba Australia invest much more effort in maintaining their asp network than any other manufacturer in Australia ( I know because I have worked as an asp for several manufacturers including tosh), requiring all asps to attend face to face training with Toshiba staff twice a year, and providing a very proactive support team for their asps. They also have one of the largest asp networks in Australia. Why shouldn’t they give their asps the advantage of access to proprietary information about their products?

  91. RO says:

    As I posted on /. :
    For all the justifications of Toshiba standing on its “rights”, a key point is that other PC makers are NOT being so petty and anti-consumer. The others seem to have the larger view (or just benign neglect?) that those customers (or their PC fixers) who are so inclined are free to share the repair documentation. That is an important contributor to customer good will that leads to future sales. Toshiba seems to simply be short-sighted in this regard.

    Another thought: could they be in violation of any consumer “protection” legislation in Australia? It might worthwhile to ask your legal authorities that monitor such things…

  92. RO says:

    As I posted on /. :
    For all the justifications of Toshiba standing on its “rights”, a key point is that other PC makers are NOT being so petty and anti-consumer. The others seem to have the larger view (or just benign neglect?) that those customers (or their PC fixers) who are so inclined are free to share the repair documentation. That is an important contributor to customer good will that leads to future sales. Toshiba seems to simply be short-sighted in this regard.

    Another thought: could they be in violation of any consumer “protection” legislation in Australia? It might be worthwhile to ask your legal authorities that monitor such things…

  93. RO says:

    Sorry for double post – I was trying to catch/correct the original – odd sort of “success” ;-}

  94. davidwr says:

    I didn’t see the manuals in question, but it’s conceivable that at least one of these manuals was written for someone who had received specialized training in preventing damage to mercury-containing LCD backlights and what to do if one breaks (layman’s answer: treat like a broken florescent light bulb: ventilate the room and leave for at least 15 minutes).

    It’s also conceivable that at least one Toshiba product contains hazardous materials not typically found in most laptops.

    It’s much more likely that Toshiba wants revenue from either repair business, service contracts, or people buying computers that are uneconomical to repair except on a do-it-yourself basis.

  95. LE REDDIT ARMY says:

    I SAW DIS WAS ON REDDIT.COM GUYS. FIRST TO POST

  96. davidwr says:

    To anyone in the United States:

    In 2015, the DMCA rulemaking process will start up again.

    Asking that a general exemption be granted to copy repair manuals which are not available to the general public at a reasonable price and in a timely manner (a few days plus shipping time for a printed manual) be granted UNLESS it can be shown that the contents of the manuals are restricted by another law, such as a trade-secret law or national-defense laws (i.e. a repair manual from a defense contractor regarding a missile).

    Separately, a broader exemption should be made to allow reproduction of any service manual which is not being provided by or on behalf of the original company or its successor at all should also be requested.

    This would force companies like Toshiba to either make these materials available at a reasonable fee or to make sure any non-employee who has authorized access to them signs a non-disclosure agreement. The latter choice, while legitimate, will be very unpopular with a significant sub-set of customers including many who make large-volume purchasing decisions.

  97. Marco says:

    I used to own a toshiba laptop and I thought it was a very nice piece of kit. I repaired without the need for a repair book, including complete disassembly.

    this decision by Toshiba doesn’t affect my view on their laptops in the slightest.

    also, boycotts don’t work, y’all.!

  98. kittyinapc says:

    I am currently writing a feedback note to Toshiba I own a Toshiba laptop and their laptops have served me and my friends well but I have a hard time recommending their hardware when they do things like this and I will be expressing that to them in my message.

  99. Marco says:

    I used to own a toshiba laptop and I thought it was a very nice piece of kit. I repaired without the need for a repair book, including complete disassembly.

    this decision by Toshiba doesn’t affect my view on their laptops in the slightest.

    also, boycotts don’t work, y’all.

  100. Michael says:

    I work for a Toshiba ASP, and let me assure you, you haven’t lost much. The service manuals are worse than useless, to the point of being directly misleading due to a one-size-fits all approach to similar but not identical procedures. Frankly, if I want to find out something I don’t already know when servicing a Toshiba, the Toshiba ASP resources are the last place I look.

  101. Tom says:

    My arm has been severed while attempt to disassemble my laptop using a manual from your site. Prepare to be sued!

  102. Toby says:

    Thanks for the enlightening article. I have been a long-time customer of Toshiba. However, that changed today. I will be replacing my current Toshiba laptop with a new one (NOT TOSHIBA) today. Sent Toshiba an email regarding my feeling about this situation as well as changes in policies I intend to implement regarding Toshiba products.

  103. Christian says:

    Wow. Looks like I will no longer purchase Toshiba branded anything. Disgusting.

  104. ks says:

    Writing this on a Toshiba, won’t be buying another… but this just adds to my reasons

  105. Jon says:

    Do you have a contact point at Toshiba?

    I’ve bought Toshiba laptops in the past, together with other electronics from them, but I’d like to let them know I won’t be considering them for any purchases in the future.

  106. Karl says:

    Thanks so much for the article, Tim! Two of my teenage kids are off to university soon and I am looking to get them each a laptop. I’ve owned Toshiba electronics before, but with your information I’ve just crossed off the Toshiba brand from my laptop possibilities list. In my experience HP laptops are complete rubbish and I’ve been burned by Dell’s strategy of ship-and-abandon, so Lenovo ThinkPads look to be my best option now.

    I think it’s great when companies divulge their anti-customer attitudes like this. It saves a lot of folk from bad purchases. I banned Sony purchases from both work and home back when they were caught intentionally infecting customer property with their rootkit malware. Toshiba trying to prevent me from servicing my own property is just a variant on the general theme of denying customers their property rights.

  107. Kris says:

    Jonno,

    I am writing this from an older dual core Toshiba Satellite that I like very much. I do all my own PC repairs, but will eventually need to replace it. What brand do you think I am considering now? Anything but Toshiba. I also do in-house IT work, both residential and commercial. Telling my customers “you should buy brand X” is one thing, but if I were to start telling them “buy an HP, or a Dell, or even a cheap Chinese netbook clone, just avoid Toshiba at all costs” it would likely dissuade many.

    So, no, I personally do not have much influence over this multi million dollar corporation within my limited sphere, but I am glad the word is getting out there about this issue, and if they do not rectify this, I will do everything I can to take business away from them for such a ridiculous display of arrogance and greed. Word of mouth can be powerful in some instances.

  108. Ken Stox says:

    Toshiba, welcome to my never purchase from again list.

  109. Angry Voter says:

    Boycotts work great.

    Sony went from rolling in the money to close to bankruptcy and the CEO was just fired. What happened? They made enemies of their customers.

    Let Toshiba follow Sony down the drain.

  110. Toshiba Employee 889021 says:

    FUCK YOU ASSHOLE – FROM A FRIENDLY TOSHIBA EMPLOYEE!

  111. Original Sin says:

    It seems strange that they would want to hinder what is essentially free support work that you are doing on their behalf. Corporate legal teams, go figure.

  112. Bill Tieleman says:

    Just so you guys know, I’m buying a Toshiba this month because I’m in support of their Copyright Policies. They need to protect what they own people. WHy don’t you understand?

  113. SlickR says:

    No more Toshiba laptops or any other products for me.

  114. tim says:

    @Bill Tieleman,

    By all means – feel free to buy whatever you like. At no point have I actually suggested that anybody boycott Toshiba products – people seem to be doing that on their own.

    You have to keep in mind though that by choosing Toshiba, you’re choosing to not have a repair manual available for your laptop. What if it breaks out of warranty, a year or three years from now, and it’s something relatively simple, but you can’t do it yourself because the manual’s not available? It may not be in the forefront of your mind making your purchase decision now, but it could affect you down the track. All I’m trying to do here is potentially save you a bit of money and a headache when the time comes.

  115. Business as Usual says:

    Angry Voter is exactly correct. When you treat your customers as the enemy, *ESPECIALLY* in the “age of information”, the word *will* get out and you will be responsible for your contempt of the very people who made you into the Corporate whorehouses you’ve become.

    Glad this made it to Reddit (although I saw it linked on a different site, Bluesnews).. and I will also do my part to discourage others from Toshiba in the future. There is rather universal agreement that this is indeed just an issue of corporate greed, and the ball is now in your court, Toshiba.

  116. Laogeodritt says:

    Lenovo does also have _some_ IdeaPad service manuals available at the very least. I was shopping for ultrabooks last week and came across a service manual for a Lenovo model I’m considering publicly accessible from their website; a quick search also reveals a bunch of service manuals for IdeaPad products on Lenovo’s servers.

  117. JohnnyM says:

    I was in the process of looking for a laptop, but having found out that I must rely on Toshiba’s warranty service in case if something goes wrong, and will be totally without assistance when warranty expires, I will boycott Toshiba products. What if I may one day need the repair manual?! For shame, Toshiba!

  118. tim says:

    @Laogeodritt: Wow, thanks for the heads-up – as it turns out, Lenovo appear to have released hardware manuals for their IdeaPad products as well as for ThinkPad. I’m not sure when that happened – clearly since the last time I looked – but I’ll correct that now. Thanks, Lenovo!

  119. Shane says:

    FWIW, the problem is that Toshiba specifically stated that they don’t want uncertified people to work on their laptops.
    I’ve put together laptops and other devices, but I am not certified to do so (I also have replaced screens on smart phones).
    Toshiba makes it harder to repair their devices. That might not be an issue for people who are in wealthy countries, but in countries where it’s all you can do to get the parts (if you can) or maybe even be lucky to be able to scavange parts from broken machines to make a new one, it seems like a good thing.

    But it doesn’t make Toshiba money.

    Some people seem to want to blindly support Toshiba. Personally I’ve had several Toshiba laptops over the years, and I can’t say that I was looking to buy another laptop, as the tablets seem to be able to handle most of what I need, and remote access to a more power machine is very easy to setup.

    And tablets have almost no repair manuals available.

    Apple doesn’t make it’s manuals available either, so people who post saying that this long held policy of both Apple and Toshiba makes them prefer Apple is just some promotion in favor of Apple.

    Personally there are some stupid tricks that Toshiba has on some of their laptops that make doing simple things a pain if you don’t know what you are doing (and they didn’t seem to be a “good” design).

    If you want to boycott Toshiba because of this decision, then go and tell Toshiba why, but the fact is that very few people (percentage wise) care about doing the real hard repairs (most of the time it’s the screen which is usually the most expensive part), and while it’s sad that Toshiba makes it difficult to find information about how to repair their laptops, it’s not going to change much. Most of the companies I had worked with had already been shifting from Toshiba over the last couple of years for a variety of reasons, and this isn’t going to make a difference. If you have stuck with Toshiba over the last 10 years, you aren’t leaving them, and if you already left, well then you already have.

  120. openmtl says:

    Toshiba Legal department haven’t thought this out with that reason #1. All laptops work on very low voltages except the display inverter which I assume is in the top like any other laptop. As I read it the Toshiba legal department would prefer that someone pull the laptop apart without the manual to warn them of any danger.

    In effect the Toshiba legal department are putting people into danger. If there is an odd design feature of the Toshiba that has high inverter voltages exposed then the legal department restricting access to documents that details any warnings would be actionable if a person, why whilst experienced in laptops in general, gets harmed because of the lack of information because that information has been withheld. If Toshiba are like any other laptop then they have nothing to worry about by making the breakdown manuals available to anyone.

    (At home personally I have Toshiba, Acer, Dell, IBM/Lenovo, and HP/Compaq laptops in use and I repair machines like these for people).

  121. alch says:

    Seems like Tobisha had a good run …….up until now….
    Shame they have to go and ruin it by being tight asses with material like that.

  122. Narcélio Filho says:

    I’ll avoid Toshiba products for now on.

  123. Slartibartfarst says:

    Yep, could well be likely to invoke the Streisand effect.
    Seems like a very strange move by Toshiba Australia. I don’t understand it.
    Toshiba is one of my preferred laptop brands – because of the usually excellent ergonomic design.
    I currently support 2 x Toshiba laptops, 3 x DELL laptops, 2 x Asus laptops, and 1 x HP laptop. As I usually try to at least initially service them myself. It goes without saying that I will always need free and ready access to any necessary documentation – especially after warranty has expired.
    If this recent move meant that I could not have that free and ready access to Toshiba documentation, then I would probably be unlikely to buy any more Toshiba laptops or recommend them for that reason.

  124. Ralph says:

    Lot of fuss over nothing, a bunch of people must have downloaded them. I’m sure those individuals will reciprocate and put them on Torrent, then they’re freely available.

    Copyright laws are out of control. The US decides to increase the time that copyright applies (I think it’s up to 70 yrs now for some IP), and our political morons bow and scrape to the US in agreement. Copyright was supposed to allow the creator to capitalise on their work, the changes by the US are just about protecting big companies and giving them a free kick of an increased time to hold us to ransom after the original creator has sold their rights.

  125. Brad says:

    My laptop is a Toshiba, and my TV is a Toshiba. I was going to recently buy a another Toshiba laptop but will decide not to thanks to this article. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  126. Kyle Wiens says:

    I run iFixit. We started writing our own repair manuals because of this very issue way back in 2003. Apple has been very aggressively protecting their copyright on service manuals pretty much since the dawn of the internet. Here’s an example of them going after Something Awful. Many of the sites they’ve gone after have ceased to exist.

    Since then, with the help of tens of thousands of incredible repair technicians around the world, we have built the largest free repair manual. Because we write them ourselves, the manufacturers can’t shut us down. The community has written over 6,000 manuals, and you can download and reproduce any of them to your heart’s content. We even post all of our manuals on bittorrent and the internet archive so they are guaranteed to be free forever.

    Here’s our Toshiba laptop service manual. We’ve made progress on half a dozen laptops so far, with more on the way. Not nearly as comprehensive as what timix had, but it’s a start.

    Toshiba is not an outlier here—they represent the status quo. Many manufacturers haven’t gotten around to issuing these C&D letters, but it’s perfectly within their right. Any site hosting manufacturer service manuals without permission is at risk of a shutdown like this at any time.

    That’s why what we do at iFixit is so important. The world needs to know how to fix these products. Repair is critical for the environment. Repair helps bridge the digital divide by keeping the secondhand electronics market alive. And electronics repair represents hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States alone.

    We cannot rely on the good will of manufacturers. Yes, many of them have looked the other way and ignored sites like timix’s, but that is unlikely to continue. We have three options:

    * Create a free and open alternative to the manufacturer’s service manuals (that’s what we’re doing at iFixit).
    * Pressure the manufacturers to waive copyright to their manuals so that we can reproduce them. Dell, HP, and Lenovo are the best targets for this because they already provide manuals online. (I am involved in discussions with some OEMs to make this happen. The more public support we have, the more success we’ll have.)
    * Legislate. The auto manufacturers refused to provide independent shops with the information they needed, so they banded together and just passed Right to Repair legislation in Massachusetts last week.

    It’s easy to say, “shame on Toshiba” and move on with your life. But this is not unique to Toshiba. No cell phone manufacturer makes their service manuals available. In fact, outside of the heavy equipment industry (where customers demand it) and the automotive industry (where legislation requires it), it’s the rare manufacturer that does not use copyright to prevent publication of their service manuals.

    I wrote the Self Repair Manifesto to make the voice of the consumer known. It’s time for us to stand up for ourselves. We have the right to repair our things, and to the information required to do it.

    We are making some progress. The forthcoming green cell phone standard, UL 110, gives manufacturers environmental points for providing open source service manuals. That gain is tenuous and could be reversed at any time, but it’s a foothold.

    I’ve dedicated my life to making this information available, and we can’t do it alone. We need to band together as a community and take a stand.

    We would love help. Join us over at iFixit! Or, if you want to get involved with advocacy work, email me at kyle at ifixit and I’ll point you in the right direction.

  127. Ryan says:

    three words: the pirate bay.

    hey toshiba, read this.

  128. batuhan31520 says:

    lütfen saat 09.00 a kadar gelsin 11/11/2012 çok acil lütfen

  129. Desmond says:

    Head of IT, systems and procurement for a large MNC in Singapore here. Toshiba – goodbye from our approved vendor list.

  130. aussieguy says:

    If it wasn’t for service manuals provided by people like yourself, I wouldn’t have been able to repair my sister’s laptop. (The Nvidia GPU died.)

    I won’t bother with or recommend Toshiba notebooks from now on…I’m sticking to IBM/Lenovo, Dell, etc.

  131. amc says:

    After seeing a neighbours Satellite I bought two Toshiba laptops for family members over the past two years, both C650 models, and am quite happy with them. I particularly liked the full numeric keypad. The older one was a bit slow but I managed to track down a dual core CPU on ebay to upgrade it after the warranty expired. But even so it is starting to get a bit long in the teeth and due for a replacement soon. The other has been solely in the hands of an 11yo and survived :-)

    After this I will have to look to another brand to replace with.

    Repairability and upgradability is a significant criteria when I purchase equipment, and corporate selfishness is a primary reason I choose not to buy a company’s products.

    This is short sighted and poor marketing; just because I choose to upgrade, and don’t buy a new model immediately the warranty ends, doesn’t mean I am not going to spend money on a replacement later in the future…

    So I complained on the Toshiba Australia Facebook page, linking to here and Slashdot… whether my FB friends “understand” is another matter :-/

    Great post by @KyleWiens too!

  132. Samael Bavah says:

    Laptops I will buy in the foreseeable future, not Toshiba. Not if it was the last laptop up for sale in the all world.
    You can take that one to the bank.

    Thanks for sharing.

  133. adz says:

    Having needed to navigate the support section on Toshiba’s website I dare say they were probably more concerned about being out shined…

  134. Dave S says:

    Toshiba does not have a service manual for my model. Moreover, it seems they have never offered the service manual on their site. Got it once from a site like tim.id.au, but now it is no longer online.

    Moreover, to add flames to the fire, Toshiba has even withdrawn the User’s guide for my model from their service site (note here that for servicing the User’s guide (200 pages) is completely useless?!)!

    Just emailed Toshiba with a complaint. Quite the horrible experience.

    As a last-ditch effort, thinking about trying the “generic steps can help you to dismantle your laptop” from http://www.irisvista.com/tech/.

    In reply to:

    Anon says:
    November 10th, 2012 at 21:21
    @Rexor

    “It all comes down to money … Toshiba in there wisdom has seen a way for more profit by charging customers $$$ to replace lost manuals”

    Except that’s not at all true. Toshiba is not charging customers $$$ to replace lost manuals. Manuals have always been (and continue to be) available on Toshiba’s website for free downloading.

  135. Richard says:

    Reading this, I’m sorry that I’ve bought a Toshiba laptop 2 years ago and a Toshiba television approx 5 years ago.

    One thing is for sure: I’ll not going to buy a Toshiba laptops of TV’s anymore!!

  136. ERD says:

    F U toshiba, you are now banned from my life !

  137. Matt says:

    remember rule #1:

    do not sign ANYTHING they send you and do not accept ANYTHING they threaten you with until either a: they actually take you to court or b: you have a lawyer advising you.

    Any actions done in the meantime are poor decisions.

  138. Henk says:

    I posted the following message to service@toshiba.com and service@toshiba.com.au:

    Subject: Toshiba’s refusal to have their service manuals published on http://www.tim.id.au/

    By means of this e-mail I want to let you know I’m very disappointed by Toshiba’s refusal to have their service manuals published on http://www.tim.id.au/.

    Instead of apologizing to the Toshiba customers for delivering a product which breaks and doing the utmost to minimize the cost, Toshiba has apparently chosen to squeeze extra buck out of the service channel. This reflects poorly on Toshiba and its attitude toward its customers and – if the decision is not reversed – will for sure have impact on my vendor choice in the future.

    Please reconsider you decision.

  139. amc says:

    Of course, they deleted the FB post – and Toshiba AU doesn’t have a Twitter account…

  140. tim says:

    @amc: It looks like those Facebook posts are still up – you just have to go to “Posts by Others” to see them. Look at all those unhappy customers!

  141. Scammed by Toshiba says:

    Buying a Toshiba computer over a decade ago was the biggest mistake I ever made. I had (wrongly) assumed that like other companies, the Toshiba service manuals would be freely available. (IBM at the time put out some fantastically informative manuals.) It was a nasty surprise that Toshiba hoarded and tenaciously guarded critical information on their products. Since I was not from an official Toshiba repair shop, they would not allow me to buy a repair manual at any price.

    So I went looking for any books on the subject, and the only repair book published, Scott Mueller’s Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, was little help on that specific brand and model.

    I felt like an idiot for not researching this before buying a Toshiba, and I knew right then that I would never buy another Toshiba product ever again — a promise I’ve kept through several PC buying cycles.

  142. Brad Chesney says:

    I advocate spending a shade more and buying better machines to save money in the long run.

    You can’t take away that they build some of those better machines.

    However, they did just lose my recommendations. What a load of douchebaggery. I’ll start recommending them again when you are allowed to host their ‘intellectual property’. Kind of sounds like an oxymoron considering the bonehead move they just made.

  143. David says:

    Curiously, you can go on-line and find a service and repair manual for virtually any GUN manufactured.

    Perhaps it is appropriate to warn people how EXTREMELY DANGEROUS the Toshiba laptops are…??

    Just saying…

  144. Albert says:

    Toshiba should continue to manufacture Big TV it was famous for.
    I want a Toshiba LED TV.Pls work on it!

  145. Jason Judge says:

    It’s a shame the likes of http://www.irisvista.com/ don’t leverage the experience of its own readers. I just followed one of the instructions for removing the bevel of one model of Toshiba laptop, but on another model. In doing so, I have discovered one important thing to bear in mind to prevent the bevel getting broken while removing it. So I went back to add some comments to help the next user – and there is nowhere to leave comments. Not even a contact link. It’s a shame – we could run rings around Toshiba and their silly rules, but need a shared platform to cooperate and build a knowledge-base in order to do so.

    – Jason

  146. Sanne says:

    I read it on Webwereld today. I guess Toshiba doesn’t care about the world and its ever growing junkyard. They must also really hate my money, because like hell will I ever buy anything remotely toshiba-related again. Plenty of other brands out there!

    P.S. Seeing as they hereby are delibiretaly preventing us from cleaning our laptops as well, I wonder if we could sue them for any damage caused by overheating, or possibly even health problems for asthmatic users who got a nice whiff of dusty fan-air? Hmmm….

  147. joecoolvette says:

    I have linked your laptop manual website for years on FixYa.
    I ONLY posted in the free section, when FixYa had a pay section. (No longer have the pay section)

    I disseminated your website with the thought it would help people around the world, and bring people to see the fine work you have accomplished.

    YOU sir, HAVE helped people around the world. I praise you for your hard work.
    Hate to see Toshiba laptop info go, but Toshiba is bringing a ‘world of hurt’ upon themselves.

    Greed is paramount to Stupidity.

    May you continue on, may you prosper, and have a long life.

    Regards,
    joecoolvette

  148. Larko says:

    Here’s a thought – why not print out hardcopies of the manuals, and then paste each page in turn to something like say … your fridge. You then take a photo said fridge. When you’ve photographed all the pages, you post up a gallery. When Toshiba come back to you and say you’re reproducing our manuals … “No, I’m putting up a photo gallery of my fridge” … don’t know if this would work, but it’s thinking outside the box :)

  149. Sh0ck-wave says:

    Coming in late on the scene here (was actually after a dissembly guide for an L840-02P).
    Overall, dissapointing.
    I’ve bought souly Toshiba’s for my workplace for the past 10 years and have 70+ currently ‘in the field’ because they’ve been extremely robust and reliable with very few warranty or return issues .. and those that have had issues were sorted out very well by a local company called BMS technology.
    I can understand their statement, and that they’re the one’s who have the higher legal ground here .. but these manuals have been very useful in the past, and to simply know that the information is ‘out there and readily available’ is also a huge factor for in-house IT teams.
    A major part of corporate IT is both warranty AND the ability to source the information you need for your chosen (and trusted) hardware.

    As I said, it’s a disspointing outcome from Toshiba’s part for not supporting the guys who recommend their products be purchased in corporate channels.
    ie. the IT men and women who purchase knowing they can fully support the product for their company.
    This decision takes away a viable part of that information.

  150. Heiko says:

    I can stand illegal copies, it is unfair for the owner.
    But in this case, you have not done bad things. The producer of laptops or other eletronic items have no interest that the products has a long live. So the want prevent any repair. That is extrem unfair !!!
    I wish you success with your website !

    Heiko from Germany

    (Sorry for my bad english… )

  151. Andras M. says:

    I’ve just found this case.
    I’ve always recommended buying a Toshiba because of warranty terms and reliability.
    But from today I will never recommend it to any company.

    Andras M.
    IT Engineer, Hungary

  152. ToshInsider says:

    Is it not obvious why they don’t want the sharing of such manuals.

    Toshiba’s business model is to sell sub standard laptops, backed by poor warranties. Out of warranty they cost a small fortune to repair.

    Who makes the money then?

    By you releasing the manuals for repair it means any average joe can repair their laptops instead of exhorbinant prices charged by their own service personal.

  153. Burner says:

    One possible solution would be to register and host the site in Sweden.
    Swedish copyright law has a requirement that for something to be covered it has to reach a certain minimum standard of originality. The standard is that no one else could feasibly create the same work independently of the first source, this is a level no technical could ever reach because anyone who can disassemble the product can feasibly create the same technical manual.
    Hence a copyright cease and desist would not be enforceable because the work is not covered by copyright in the host country.

    Greetings from Sweden
    P.S IANAL but I do have some knowledge of the workings of local copyright law

  154. corsaria says:

    In Spanish social news website: http://www.meneame.net/story/grandes-companias-ocultan-manuales-favorecer-obsolescencia-eng ;-)

  155. Ryan says:

    One more reason to not buy or recommend toshiba junk?

    Like I needed any.

  156. V Saxena says:

    That is an absolute shame. I just lost quite a bit of respect for Toshiba. #TeamLenovo!

  157. cesar riquelme says:

    I agree totally with your article. I have been repairing laptop for 4 years now and I was noting the difficulty it was getting to find a disasembly/maintenance of a Toshiba laptops, their position as a company it is a complete and simple blindness. I will not recommend and sell a Toshiba laptops easily in the future.

  158. Robert Delphion says:

    I’ve bought Toshiba laptops before and have owned probably a dozen of them, but bought IBMs, Lenovo, HP too (I’m a heavy duty user of laptops) and I’ve repaired laptops, piles of them, in the order of hundreds. I prefer the HP build quality over anything else.

    But you’ll find this interesting. When I travelled for 2.5 years to the US, UK, Japan, China and elsewhere I had a Toshiba laptop for most of that time and later a HP and every country I went to I inquired of the repair times that Toshiba was offering in that country.

    I got a surprise to find that the repair times were a typical 4 to 6 weeks!! I was on the move a lot and this worried me as I needed my laptop for everything I was doing then. I switched off Toshiba to HP.

    Given what Tim has written and the lengthy repair times, I’d be extremely unlikely to buy Toshiba again.

    Robert.

  159. Stephen says:

    I currently use a Toshiba laptop. Will not getting another one.

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