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NotASenator

Ethical Question

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I fellow simmer and I were visiting a few days ago and he asked if we are still bound (legally and/or morally) by the EULA when a "company" has ceased to exist. Specifically he was wondering if he could now share his registered copy of FS Navigator since that "company" has called it quits. He felt (and I agree) that it seems a shame new simmers will not have a chance to try this fine program if they cannot obtain a copy of it now.I did not know how to answer him so I thought I would pose the question here in hopes of getting some thoughtful replies from those who have some legal expertise.Your thoughts?

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>I fellow simmer and I were visiting a few days ago and he>asked if we are still bound (legally and/or morally) by the>EULA when a "company" has ceased to exist. Specifically he was>wondering if he could now share his registered copy of FS>Navigator since that "company" has called it quits.> You're still bound by your contract with them unless and until they or a court void that contract.After that you loose the right to use the software, and don't gain the right to distribute it on your own.The intellectual property rights are NOT yours, they still belong to the company or those owning its resources.>He felt (and I agree) that it seems a shame new simmers will>not have a chance to try this fine program if they cannot>obtain a copy of it now.>Tough luck.

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>>I fellow simmer and I were visiting a few days ago and he>>asked if we are still bound (legally and/or morally) by the>>EULA when a "company" has ceased to exist. Specifically he>was>>wondering if he could now share his registered copy of FS>>Navigator since that "company" has called it quits.>> >>You're still bound by your contract with them unless and until>they or a court void that contract.>After that you loose the right to use the software, and don't>gain the right to distribute it on your own.>>The intellectual property rights are NOT yours, they still>belong to the company or those owning its resources.>>>He felt (and I agree) that it seems a shame new simmers will>>not have a chance to try this fine program if they cannot>>obtain a copy of it now.>>>>Tough luck. >Yet another classic "contribution" from the "certified professional" - condescending and mostly useless.

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Thanks for all the responses guys - I was pretty sure that was the case but did not want to be telling my friend something without verifying it first.We both have registered copies of FSNav are are pleased with it so will not be looking for a replacement for it just yet.Thanks again.

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There actually has been attempts to deal with orphaned copyrighted work, and in Canada they actually have a procedure for this. It's mainly geared to the science community, to further research. Basically if one wants to use others work who can not be located, they would make an application to the Canadian Copyright Office to declare the work orphaned. If the office approved it, it would temporarily issue a compulsory license of the work on behalf of the unlocatable holder of the work. An attempt to implement a similar system here in the US failed in Congress in 2005. There was another bill in 2006 hr 5439, the

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Didn't the US effort apply to copyright on printed works where the holder was unreachable but the copyright not yet expired?Different problem domain.

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I feel that if the company packs it up, I can do whatever I want with the product. Sorry guys this is how I feel.Joe

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"I feel that if the company packs it up, I can do whatever I want with the product. Sorry guys this is how I feel."Perhaps if the authors or contributors to the product are no longer alive, but what should deny them the right to their intellectual property while they are still alive? The minute their intellectual property gets passed back and forth they lose that opportunity. Just look at the past. Software can and has appeared again under the banner of a new company, or even the original author. If it were an open free-for-all when a company went under, authors would lose any and all future opportunities to profit from their work. Regardless of whether you don't feel obligated to respect the company's copyright, you owe respect to the people who made up that company. If you don't feel you owe them that respect, then you don't respect a single person here or anywhere else on this planet, which I doubt. By that I mean people have a right to make a living and we all owe each other that respect. Hobbyists in our community should wait for the dust to settle when a company goes south rather than jump in like wolves to distribute the pieces as they see fit and/or blab to our community that they feel they can do as they please.Regards,John

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remind me to remind everyone to never sell you anything.

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>"I feel that if the company packs it up, I can do whatever I>want with the product. Sorry guys this is how I feel.">>Perhaps if the authors or contributors to the product are no>longer alive, but what should deny them the right to their>intellectual property while they are still alive? The minute>their intellectual property gets passed back and forth they>lose that opportunity. >>Just look at the past. Software can and has appeared again>under the banner of a new company, or even the original>author. If it were an open free-for-all when a company went>under, authors would lose any and all future opportunities to>profit from their work. >>Regardless of whether you don't feel obligated to respect the>company's copyright, you owe respect to the people who made up>that company. If you don't feel you owe them that respect,>then you don't respect a single person here or anywhere else>on this planet, which I doubt. By that I mean people have a>right to make a living and we all owe each other that respect.> >>Hobbyists in our community should wait for the dust to settle>when a company goes south rather than jump in like wolves to>distribute the pieces as they see fit and/or blab to our>community that they feel they can do as they please.>>Regards,>>John >>The problem is that it is no longer supported solely because the author, albeit in ill health, didn't want to support it any more. The author will most likely never attempt to exert his rights if someone were to pass out activation codes. Because of this, FSNavigator (up through v4.70) is abandonware.Where this can come in conflict is if he were to develop a newer product and doesn't want the competition from FSNavigator and wants to suppress its use.

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>>The problem is that it is no longer supported solely because>the author, albeit in ill health, didn't want to support it>any more. The author will most likely never attempt to exert>his rights if someone were to pass out activation codes. >Because of this, FSNavigator (up through v4.70) is>abandonware.>It's definitely not abandware.The Author contacted his distributer (simmarket) and specifically told them to 'stop' distributiong his software by a specififed date.That clearly is the author asserting his right to stop distribution of his work.Regards.Ernie.

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>Didn't the US effort apply to copyright on printed works>where the holder was unreachable but the copyright not yet>expired?>>Different problem domain.Yes as well as the for the scientific community to not deter creativity and innovation. I think though in practice if it passed, it may have had to apply to all orphaned work, due to the equal protection provisions in the Constitution. At least I think if they tried to limit it's scope, it could be challengeable in court.

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I imagine the rights to IP or any other asset are probably owned by an individual who had a "dba" setup. If he stops doing business he still owns the rights. Even if the rights were held by some other form such as an LLC those rights would be assignable if the LLC or partnership was terminated.scott s..

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>>>>The problem is that it is no longer supported solely because>>the author, albeit in ill health, didn't want to support it>>any more. The author will most likely never attempt to>exert>>his rights if someone were to pass out activation codes. >>Because of this, FSNavigator (up through v4.70) is>>abandonware.>>>>It's definitely not abandware.>>The Author contacted his distributer (simmarket) and>specifically told them to 'stop' distributiong his software by>a specififed date.>>That clearly is the author asserting his right to stop>distribution of his work.>>Regards.>Ernie.>Doesn't it go to intent? I don't know for certain, but I'd guess he told them to stop selling his software solely because he didn't want to have to answer questions and provide support for more and more users while attempting to shut things down.If you decided to stop supporting FSBuild 2.x and told them to stop selling it because FSBuild 3.0 is soon to be released, that is a lot different than if you told them to stop selling it because you were dropping out of the flightsim community, no?I guess my point is that there is no reason why FSNavigator couldn't continue to be sold with the clear understanding that it is no longer supported.

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The software is still protected. Any attempts to sidestep the EULA is a criminal act.

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>>>>>>The problem is that it is no longer supported solely>because>>>the author, albeit in ill health, didn't want to support it>>>any more. The author will most likely never attempt to>>exert>>>his rights if someone were to pass out activation codes. >>>Because of this, FSNavigator (up through v4.70) is>>>abandonware.>>>>>>>It's definitely not abandware.>>>>The Author contacted his distributer (simmarket) and>>specifically told them to 'stop' distributiong his software>by>>a specififed date.>>>>That clearly is the author asserting his right to stop>>distribution of his work.>>>>Regards.>>Ernie.>>>>Doesn't it go to intent? I don't know for certain, but I'd>guess he told them to stop selling his software solely because>he didn't want to have to answer questions and provide support>for more and more users while attempting to shut things down.>>If you decided to stop supporting FSBuild 2.x and told them to>stop selling it because FSBuild 3.0 is soon to be released,>that is a lot different than if you told them to stop selling>it because you were dropping out of the flightsim community,>no?>>I guess my point is that there is no reason why FSNavigator>couldn't continue to be sold with the clear understanding that>it is no longer supported.It's still the the developers/authors right under any circumstances to choose whether to continue to allow distribution or not. The only exception is if they have a contract or agreement with a distributer/publisher that gives them a irrevocable right to distribute/sell the item. Did you know AVSIM has just that kind of clause in their terms of use for anything we upload to their servers? (Not to sell though).

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Unless the law changes this is, what I feel a major downside to the industry. A business closes its doors and along with it everything that they have done.What we need to hope is that someone will come along and, if willing present an offer to buy the rights and begin publishing again.This isn't the first package to have this happen. One of my most favorite aircraft, the Saab 340 was made by Flight Factory Simulations. Granted they were running questionable practices with their programmers and payment, but now that they are gone no one will ever get to enjoy that aircraft again unless they are will to, and someone offers to buy the rights.

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Intellectual copyright as it applies to software is still under debate, both in the US Legislature and the courts. Most cease and desist actions are brought by companies still in existence so the prosecution by an entity no longer in business for a product which is admittedly no longer supported, distributed and/or sold in any way, adds yet another unknown variable to this debate. IMHO, and as it applies to FSNavigator, in the US, at least it seems to frequently come down to "what can I get away with before it becomes worthwhile for the vendor to prosecute", mainly because more often than not the action never goes to full trial but ends with equitable arbitrated settlement between the disputing parties. That being said, I'm not giving my paid FSN license away no matter how much help I think the product would be to others. Sorry -- just selfish that way. :+(EDIT:I post the following because I noticed there are vendors reading this thread and I would like to put forth the following ideas as a responsible consumer who supports flight sim software development BY PAYING FOR IT, and who does not believe in pirating software in any way.) No matter what the EULA says the courts have ruled both ways, and EULAs have been deemed both binding AND overly burdensome to the consumer, so anyone who gives you a definitive answer either way on this matter is either a vendor or an attorney for the music industry. :-)If the software industry is worried about copyright infringement and intellectual property, one answer which might relieve consumer anxiety about "paying full price" would be to give us a fair return policy for a product (unquestionably, FLIGHT1 has the best business model around for this, bar none). They could also give us more reasonable home testing limitations than those now imposed by developers of most down-loadable software.As a consumer, I see nothing wrong in giving away or selling a copy-written collectible (or non-collectible) toy or book that I've paid for in the past but no longer need or want (on EBAY, for example) without fear of retribution from the original retailer. Why a vendor of digital products thinks his product is forever owned by him even though I've paid the appropriate fee for it, and is thus exempt from that practice speaks to the current Microsoft mentality of the old rules of satisfying the customer and "I can do what I want because my pockets are deeper than yours", and is somewhat frustrating as a consumer. (NOTE: I, for one, have never given away or sold any digitally licensed software that I've legally paid for, and I am now stuck with megabytes of it sitting on my hard drive, simply because it wasn't apparent that the product didn't satisfy my needs until long after I'd pressed that "Finalize Transaction Now" button. Now _THAT_ is frustrating!) Copyright infringement has been around much longer than computers, and other industries have been dealing with it for decades and regularly treat it as a cost of doing business. Just because down-loadable software is very easy to distribute doesn't make it any less (or more) of a consumer commodity, subject to the same rules of warranty and good customer service.Just my two cents. Smooth skies, everybody!Chuck B.

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There's a difference between selling or giving away a collectible book and selling or giving away hundreds of copies of some piece of software...The former is allowed, the latter is a crime. And that's why the sale of books on eBay is allowed, the sale of pirated software is not.Whether that software is still available for sale or not makes no difference whatsoever.

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Jerone...ad-hominine attacks do not add to the discussion's integrity or usefulness.The OP that you replied to did not imply he wanted to give away or sell "hundreds of copies...". He stated that he saw no problem with selling or giving away a legally aquired, single copy.As a consumer, I see nothing wrong in giving away or selling a copy-written collectible (or non-collectible) toy or book that I've paid for in the past but no longer need or want (on EBAY, for example) without fear of retribution from the original retailer. Why a vendor of digital products thinks his product is forever owned by him even though I've paid the appropriate fee for it, and is thus exempt from that practice speaks to the current Microsoft mentality of the old rules of satisfying the customer and "I can do what I want because my pockets are deeper than yours", and is somewhat frustrating as a consumer. His premise is valid, and adds to the discussion. Your retort is made of whole-cloth, and suggests a lack of intellectual honesty.My 2 cents to this thread,bt

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>As a consumer, I see nothing wrong in giving away or selling a>copy-written collectible (or non-collectible) toy or book that>I've paid for in the past but no longer need or want (on EBAY,>for example) without fear of retribution from the original>retailer. Why a vendor of digital products thinks his product>is forever owned by him even though I've paid the appropriate>fee for it, and is thus exempt from that practice speaks to>the current Microsoft mentality of the old rules of satisfying>the customer and "I can do what I want because my pockets are>deeper than yours", and is somewhat frustrating as a consumer.> You are not seeing the difference here.The difference is you cannot make a copy of that book at all. When you sell the book on Ebay no copy of the book is made. It is illegal for you to make 'any' copies of that book without permission. If you look on the first pages of any published book you will see it clearly written you cannot reproduce or make copies of that book without permission.The very same is true for software, you cannot reproduce or make copies of it without permission.However when you install software you are making a copy of it (either from a download, or off a CD).This download/install copy of the software is not legal unless the author gives permission to you to make that copy.This permission to make that software copy for the purpose of installation onto your computer is given in the software license agreement, additionally its is normal practice to allow the license holder to make additional copies for personal or archival purposes. But the software license does not give you permission to make copies for the purpose of distribution to other party's.Clearly the difference is when you purchase the book, you do not need any sort of copy permission to begin using it or to transfer or sell it. In either case unlike software no copy is being made of that book.Regards.Ernie.

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>>You are not seeing the difference here.You're absolutely right, I'm not. Because I'm not just talking about books. I sell a lot of things on eBay. And at yard sales. I also return things to retailers that I've had for 2 weeks or 30 days because it doesn't work like I thought it would, or was told it would. I'm not given that choice from most software developers.Further, simply because a product (in this case a piece of software) is easily accessible or copyable is completely irrelevant as to who ultimately owns it after the initial sales price is paid to the developer. What you're forgetting is that EULAs are one sided contracts, developed over the years by a single party to the contract with the single goal in mind of never *really* selling it to you, and then they have evolved over the years based on the consent of that one party only -- and we, as concumers, have just had to swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Even if customer service stinks; even if the product documentation stinks; even if the sales material is misleading; even if, etc., etc., etc. That's not the way we do business in America -- it never has been!In the interest of customer service and historical good business practice, although I adhere to EULAs, I don't buy into the argument any more.>>The very same is true for software, you cannot reproduce or make >>copies of it without permission.All dictated over the years by the developers and distributors. No one ever asked me how I felt about it and I now have no choice.>>Clearly the difference is when you purchase the book, you do not need any sort of copy permission to begin using it or to transfer or sell it. Yes I do, I need to buy it from the bookstore, or borrow it from the public library, who bought it. (I can hear the software developers response now: PUBLIC LIBRARY?? WHAT?? FREE information -- HOW'D THAT happen???)>>In either case unlike software no copy is being made of that book.How do you know? One of my points is that any other non-digital industry doesn't even ask -- it's built into their business model.The really interesting thing is that this isn't a new debate! These are the same arguments everyone had when movable type was first made affordable, and radio, and TV and VCRs, and color laser printers and copiers. And now they are everywhere -- and not once do I have to sign anything that says I won't copy anything with it, or lend a movie to a friend.The problem is everybody today wants to not only get rich . . . they want to get filthy rich. :-bluegrab Smooth skies!

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in fact he was implying that, implicitly.He wants to publish license codes and product files on websites, which essentially means allowing unlimited distribution of material he doesn't own intellectual property rights to.

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and if the law changes the industry is dead, over, terminated, as there will be no more way for anyone to enforce his ownership of his creation, ensure he gets paid for his work.As a result no commercial software development will take place, unless maybe one-off custom jobs.Retail software will no longer exist.

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