Software Piracy [again] and

From: Roger Merchberger <>
Date: Sun Jan 4 14:14:40 1998

;-) John Higginbotham head-scratched, yawned, then typed:

>Sure, I have no problem with recent software protection, but in this case,
>the game isn't even being sold in it's original form anymore, running on
>computers that aren't made anymore. Maybe if software companies would take
>these old titles and put them up on the internet, maybe take online orders
>for them and charge a very low cost for the games, maybe around $1.00,
>people might just buy them instead of making "illegal" copies of them. But
>they don't.

One does sell outdated software for (well, usually) a smaller than normal
fee. Tandy. They still sell software that runs on the original CoCo1 like
Mega-bug and the like on cassette and disk for as low as $2.50 or so. They
still have a small amount of cartridge software for sale!

Now here's a stupid question: Where's that $2.50 or so go? Well, Tandy
really doesn't make a profit on that. It helps pay the wages for the people
who do the cassette/disk copy // PROM burn, and the rest? Tandy still sends
checks (albeit small ones) to the authors of this 15-year-old software when
it's sold. If you don't believe me, just hop onto news://bit.listserve.coco
and ask Steve Bjork. He wrote many programs for Tandy, including Arkanoid
for the CoCo2 and 3, I think Mega-Bug, and many others that are still for
sale all over the country. When you pirate that software, you are stealing
directly from a person that I have conversed with many times in the
listserve, and will be meeting face-to-face in April.

My advice: Most of the original authors (of Tandy software, at least) seem
to be on or around the Internet -- try finding them and see if they will
give permission to change the licensing of their software to shareware /
freeware. Chris Burke of Burke & Burke (they made software, hardware
interfaces, RAM upgrades and whatnot for the CoCo2/3) 4 or 5 months ago
changed the licensing to all of his software to inexpensive shareware, and
released the source code to several programs... because someone actually
had the initiative to track him down, and ask him. He had no idea folks
still wanted the stuff!

> Most companies don't even offer support for software that old.
>I've had that happen numerous times when I'd try to contact a company to get
>a replacement disk for one that went bad. No dice. Some of the people
>answering the phone didn't even know they had published the game.

My advice: Be persistant -- and know the law. No matter what the EULA
states, you can:

Make backup copies _for yourself_ of any software that you own -- from any
source. If a ROM went bad in your Tandy 200, I can legally burn you a copy
of from a good ROM in my 200 and send it to you -- provided you can prove
you still own it. (either by shipping me the device, or a friend of mine
asked his lawyer about this, and a picture of you with your 200 would
absolve me of any wrongdoing - aka proof. If it wasn't your 200, that
wouldn't be my fault.) If you can find someone else with a copy of that
software, you can legally copy it provided you still own the software
you're copying.

Make more than one copy for yourself for more than one computer you may own
-- provided that you do not use more than one copy of that program *at the
same time*. I can copy my OS-9 disks for my multiple CoCos without problem
-- until I boot OS-9 on *more than one* CoCo at the same time if I only
have one legal license for the software. As long as I shut down OS-9 on one
system before booting the next, it's legal.

(This is how it was explained to me by a person who spoke with his lawyer
on this matter -- please accept this with a grain or two of salt.)

Oh, there is still some professional CoCo3 devlopment going on -- there are
2 new games here, with a 3rd on the way. Want info on one of the proggies?
For Digger II: Return of the Saint (and Guido's World Coming Soon).

There's also a Pac-Man clone out that is supposed to look, feel and smell
like the original arcade game, tho I don't have a URL handy.

Anyway, I hope this helps,
Roger "Merch" Merchberger

[[Oh, John: I found a monitor for my DVI -- an Apple III mono monitor I
saved from a thrift store that a child was coloring on (yes, with crayons
-- I still haven't gotten all the wax out of the anti-glare screen) but I
still don't have a Tandy 200 boot disk for it yet... Sigh]]
Roger Merchberger       | If at first you don't succeed,
Programmer, NorthernWay | nuclear warhead disarmament should *not*  | be your first career choice.
Received on Sun Jan 04 1998 - 14:14:40 GMT

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