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Question about software piracy

TC

Experienced Member
Joined
21 February 2003
Messages
561
Location
Seattle
I have a home automation system and one of the controllers is no longer supported by the manufacturer. A separate company developed and sold a PC-based application for configuring and programming that controller. That software company went out of business a couple of years ago. I found a person who has the original installation disks for that PC software. Is it illegal for him to make me a copy of those disks? What happens to the copyrights that a company holds after the company is dissolved and no longer exists? The person with the software is reticent to make me a copy - thinking that it would be illegal.
 
Cop-out answer is to check the EULA :) End-User License Agreement.

However, if the company is out of business, and no one else purchased the intellectual rights, I don't see how you could be in any wrong by using it.
 
(1) I have a home automation system and one of the controllers is no longer supported by the manufacturer.

(2) A separate company developed and sold a PC-based application for configuring and programming that controller.

That software company (isv #2?) went out of business a couple of years ago.

I found a person who has the original installation disks for that PC software (company #2?). Is it illegal for him to make me a copy of those disks?

What happens to the copyrights that a company holds after the company is dissolved and no longer exists? The person with the software is reticent to make me a copy - thinking that it would be illegal.
(1) (seems likely you have done this, but) i would search for existing forums, etc, on the failed isv's products - perhaps there is an existing post-failure user group that is successfully dealing with this issue. (perhaps the copyright holder is assisting owners as a side / goodwill gesture - not unheard of.)

(2) wrt to your contact not wanting to copy the software for you, i would read the eula to understand the terms - perhaps the isv granted permission for use / copying in the event of their demise or provided for other courses of action.

were i the guy with the code in my hand, i'd be reluctant to copy, also - infringement in today's world can cause real problems for all involved.

my 2 cents.
 
i wouldn't dig too deep on that one and just use the software. I'm against software piracy but this is the grey abandonware case. Even if the companys not around to defend the copyright in some places it's still enforced by the state or something like that. So most likely it's illegal, but no one cares unless a parent company is using that tech in a new product. Was that company sold to someone else? I use a lot of 80's software for synthesizers and most of the time old companies changed hands so i could contact the new company to get a copy or ask if it's ok to use. Good luck getting you lights back on. a search for abandonware will present more info for you.
 
Thanks for the input...

(1) (seems likely you have done this, but) i would search for existing forums, etc, on the failed isv's products - perhaps there is an existing post-failure user group that is successfully dealing with this issue. (perhaps the copyright holder is assisting owners as a side / goodwill gesture - not unheard of.)

(2) wrt to your contact not wanting to copy the software for you, i would read the eula to understand the terms - perhaps the isv granted permission for use / copying in the event of their demise or provided for other courses of action.

were i the guy with the code in my hand, i'd be reluctant to copy, also - infringement in today's world can cause real problems for all involved.

my 2 cents.

I did find my contact by searching for a forum/etc for this defunct home automation system. Good idea to check the EULA to see if there is a provision if the vendor goes belly-up, or something in regard to restoring a corrupted system. After all, I do have a legally purchased copy of the software, it just so happens that the laptop on which it was installed has a corrupted hard disk.

Finally, I do understand the stance my contact has taken - makes sense to avoid undue trouble.
 
pm robr
 
I am a software developer and a substantial amount of my income comes from selling software. I once wrote a program for a company that sold franchises for making signs. The software I wrote would print out banners and cut signs out of vinyl.

The guy who originally contracted me to write the software went out of business after a couple of years.

I had a guy contact me who had bought the franchise and wanted to install the software on another computer and wanted another hardware lock. He was willing to pay me for my time and effort to copy the sofware. I am pretty sure it wouldn't of been a problem but it didn't make sense to take the chance.

Have you checked out ebay or other sites on the internet to see if you can find the software used? Is there another program that is currently being sold that is able to do the same thing, possibly with more features?

Good Luck!
 
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