Abandonware site charges for downloads

From: Eric Smith <eric_at_brouhaha.com>
Date: Mon Dec 20 15:56:57 2004

> I bet if someone did some research,
> it would show that some number of these things are still owned by someone
> else and are not abandonware

Everything is still owned by someone, unless it has been explicitly
placed into the public domain by its last owner. AFAIK, the concept of
"abandonware" doesn't have any legal basis whatsoever.

It may well be the case that the ownership of old software can't be
determined, because the records were lost as ownership changed hands
many times between then and now. The current owners may not even know
that they own it.

This is a fundamental problem with US copyright law. With tangible
property, when a dispute arises the property owner has to prove
ownership (via a title document). With copyrights, if Joe claims
that Bob does not own a work, it is up to Joe to prove that claim,
and the legal presumption is that Bob *does* own it. For "abandonware",
anyone could come forward and claim to own it, and it would be
difficult or impossible for such claims to be disproven. (Perhaps
someone may see this as an opportunity?)
Received on Mon Dec 20 2004 - 15:56:57 GMT

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