Discontinued Software, The Law, Morals and Hypercard

Lynn Fredricks lfredricks at proactive-intl.com
Mon Jan 23 08:43:47 CST 2006

> My "moral loophole" (dangerous terminology) is where a piece 
> of software is no longer available but which is still desired 
> and required. 

It is not required if you are willing to make modifications. Microsoft no
longer sells Word 1.0 to run on your MacPlus -- they do sell a version of
Word though, it just wont run on your MacPlus. It isnt such a stretch to say
"they can port it to one of the other 'card products out there".

> Unfortunately, converting an old Hypercard stack to a RR one 
> is very rarely simply a case of opening the HC stack with RR 
> - were that the case nobody would have avy reason whatsoever 
> to need the Hypercard development environment.
> It seems bloody-minded and churlish of Apple to have 
> withdrawn Hypercard completely - after all, they could still 
> make the odd buck here and there.

Touch costs. Ive heard this term as an excuse for laziness, but maintaining
HyperCard at all would have a touch cost associated with it.

> There is another factor that has not been mentioned in this 
> discussion so far: that of what I would term 'legal parity'
> across international boundaries. This can lead all sorts of 
> innocent end-users unwittingly into all sorts of traps. 
> For example: I recently authored a CD-ROM (using Metacard) 
> containing 60 Bulgarian literary 'themes' for 14 year-old 
> Bulgarians to prepare themselves for Grammar-school entrance 
> exams. These are copyright under Bulgarian law.
> However, if somebody picks up a copy of my CD and goes for a 
> day trip to Turkey or Macedonia, as long as they can 
> demonstrate that they were outwith Bulgaria at that time, 
> there is absolutely no legal redress should they pirate the 
> whole shebang and market it back in Bulgaria under their 
> label. Needless to say, I have covered 25 percent of 
> production costs so far! What a business genius!

The local laws there need to change then. This is the very reason why, if
you don't attach software to a hardware sale in the region or a support
contract, its almost pointless to even try. Piracy between Turkey and
Bulgaria is totally out of hand, though its no worse than, say, Vietnam or
even China.

> The other problem is that the US is percieved (no, surely
> not?) as a bully in other parts of the world - and it may be 
> in certain political and economic spheres - so, by extension, 
> a lot of US software legislation is seen as a US imposition 
> on the 'have nots': in Bulgaria pirating software is a 
> national sport and seen as a way for the "poor" Bulgarians to 
> get their own back on the US. I have discovered this to my 
> cost when advertising my "one-step program to software 
> legality"; i.e. chuck out MS Windows and MS Office and 
> install Ubuntu Linux and Open Office for the price of half a 
> week's food-shopping.

I have marketed software in countries where wages are extremely low, and Im
aware that many companies do not adjust their prices to suit the prevailing
market situation. This situation is the origin of (the much hated) region
coding in DVDs.

I think its great that open/free software penetrates into these markets.
However politicizing this into "sticking it to the man" is a joke, because
equally, Ive sold French, Japanese, German and Dutch software into parts of
the world where, if they are desired, are as pirated as software that comes
from the US. Software is easy to steal. The most honest ones seek a solution
they can afford and resist the temptation to steal (though you'd be
surprised to find that people who will plunk down $600-$1100 for a new box
of Photoshop will steal Photoshop filters without thinking).

The sad thing is -- its so bad that its rare you will find titles in most of
the worlds languages where, by population of computer/internet users, it
should be. And you have draconian copy protection that impacts everyone as a
result. And you have extreme distrust, much of which is merited.

Best regards,

Lynn Fredricks
Proactive International, LLC

- Because it is about who you know.(tm)

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