QL Commercial Software Preservation

Anything QL Software or Programming Related.
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1024MAK
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by 1024MAK »

I would not know anything about buying Mircosoft Windows as retail packages. All the working Windows versions that I have came on a HDD inside a computer. But Windows 95 did (IIRC) download bug fix updates without having to pay money to Mircosoft. If you want the next full release, yes that is a product that you have to pay for.

And I only have one machine with Office, and that came on the HDD.

My main PC runs Linux and various open source software.

Richard, the owner of RWAP (including the web site that you linked to) takes copyright very seriously. Unlike some of the former software houses, who have disappeared leaving no details of how their former customers can get support when the media that their software was supplied on fails.

Mark


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QL, Falcon, Atari 520STFM, Atari 1040STE, more PC's than I care to count and an assortment of 8 bit micros (Sinclair and Acorn)(nearly forgot the Psion's)
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by RWAP »

Let me just clarify how the updates work - basically, I have various cracked versions and updated versions of most titles. A lot of software was never supplied with a version number, so I can only assume I have the latest version by comparison of files etc..

If someone can prove to me that they own the original software - for which I need some sort of proof - a photo of them holding the original microdrive cartridge, or manual for example, then I feel justified in offering an update service - providing a working copy for them to use the software on an emulator, disk drive, or even microdrive cartridge.

It is pointless providing software which still has the copy protection, because lets face it, the chances of the original microdrive cartridge still working (even as a key cartridge) is negligible. You can't get support from the actual copyright holders so what do you do?

Buy up 20+ copies of the software second hand in the hope that the copies can be patched together to make a working copy (this is what I have had to do by the way in the case of much of the preserved QL software) ?

I don't believe that I am breaching copyright as I am not supplying or creating any new copies of software and only providing minor updates if any (I don't even remember ANY QL software house charging for an upgrade to software, unless it was a major upgrade, such as in Digital Precision's case, they changed to a "Super" or "SE" version).

I am basically providing a working backup copy of the original software which you already own - something which all QLers were told to do when they purchased software back in the day - its just that most of that backup copies no longer work either..

Microsoft have always allowed you to download another copy of its software and in fact you can do so from many sites - so long as you use your existing licence key, so I am not sure why you are drawing an analogy with an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 10 (that would be like saying I would provide you with a copy of QPAC2 just because you already own QRAM).


MIST
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by MIST »

RWAP wrote:I have various cracked versions ...
That's imho a problem according to Chapter III, Article 6 in
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 019:EN:PDF

My point is: The way you are doing this doesn't seem to be 100% correct, anyway. So your goal of preservation already requires you to cross certain lines. Then why don't you really make sure this precious old stuff is save? It seems there are only very few places where your collections are stored. The risk of loosing them in the next few years seems to be very high ...


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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by RWAP »

We always seem to have this same old argument - remember that I am the only person in the whole of the QL community who set out a few years ago specifically wanting to create a QL software preservation project and the QL Wiki, re-investing the few sales of QL items I get into the project, for minimal (or no) commercial return.

Although thankfully, I have a handful of helpers now, the amount of work to be done is huge and very few people ever come forward to offer to help update the Wiki, preserve software, or track down copyright holders. Even the massive SBASIC/SuperBASIC Reference Manual has now been made into an online version ready for the community to adopt and update - although apart from 2 people, no-one has come forward to ask about updating it or even rectifying the layout!.

I remain the only real QL trader in existence, and in fact the retro computing business is my only source of income. However, I constantly seem to be badgered by QLers who insist that everything I have preserved should be shoved onto a website somewhere so that all QLers 'can benefit' ie simply download what they want for free without a thought about copyright. I have preserved 100s of titles over the past 3-4 years, and spent many hours and ££££s collecting, preserving and getting working on modern systems.

Sorry I am not willing to simply hand that over - it makes no commercial sense whatsoever.

So again, I re-iterate:

The preserved stuff has several arms:

a) Where we can we track down the copyright holder and obtain their permission for software to be re-released either commercially or as freeware. Unfortunately, it always seems to be left to me to track them down and most are not easy to find!

b) We preserve the software and they are stored on dropbox for security

c) If people have originals of the software which no longer works, then we offer them the possibility of obtaining a working copy.

As for removal of copy protection - in most cases I have no idea who removed the protection and what good is a protected piece of software which simply does not work on modern systems or even the original QLs due to failure of microdrive cartridges. A lot of software was actually released as a later free update without copy protection where companies realised that people wanted disk based versions!

If I am in breach of copyright over (c) then fair enough - I could simply remove the page and people won't be able to obtain working copies of their software and the QL will simply die completely. However, I am willing to take the commercial risk over those limited number of titles on my website, particularly since looking at the list on my site, the majority of titles did not have copy protecton anyway or I have the rights to publish!

As for what you do with the rest of the software that is preserved where copyright holders have either just disappeared (or do not respond to letters and emails), or have denied distribution completely, I have no idea what to do. I do not have time to spend chasing up copyright holders.

If someone wants to take the commercial risk and set up some sort of site similar to World of Spectrum which basically ignores copyright and takes a risk, then that is up to them - feel free to start your own preservation project. But, if you do that you have to ensure that commercially available titles are NOT included (that is where the huge argument arose a couple of years ago over one Spanish site who knew some titles were still available to purchase commercially but simply ignored it completely and added them to their site).

On the other hand, if you want to turn your hand to helping track down and contact copyright holders to obtain their legitimate consent, then feel free - there are 100s of people to find....


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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by swensont »

The concept of copyright has definitely changed over the years. Back in the 70's, it would have been unheard of for a company to digitize a whole load of copyrighted works and make them available to anyone, but that is what Google Books is and they seem to have won in the courts.

Turn-it-in is a "plagiarism" service that relies on a huge database of papers written by a number of authors, so that they can compare new papers against these. Since most of the authors are under 21, the service has won on the courts. If they were doing the same thing with best-selling authors that have money, you bet they would loose in the courts. I have no idea how they won the court case that said what they were doing is legal.

And we see many instance these days of new organizations using images from web services in their broadcasts, without getting the proper permission to use it. The same companies that will sue others for copyright infringement seem to be Ok doing it themselves.


MIST
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by MIST »

Thanks for your detailed explanation.
RWAP wrote: Sorry I am not willing to simply hand that over - it makes no commercial sense whatsoever.
So it's actually money over preservation. This is the only explanation that really explains the current state. Thanks again.


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vanpeebles
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by vanpeebles »

RWAP has got lots of superb software released as freeware lately, there is plenty online to play with at the moment. I can't see where this argument is going really.


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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by RWAP »

MIST wrote:Thanks for your detailed explanation.
RWAP wrote: Sorry I am not willing to simply hand that over - it makes no commercial sense whatsoever.
So it's actually money over preservation. This is the only explanation that really explains the current state. Thanks again.
If it was purely money then I would not bother spending time tracking down and asking copyright holders to release software as freeware... You do not seriously think that there is any financial incentive for this? Money is NOT the only explanation - the real explanation is the copyright issue - a lot of QL software (unlike Spectrum software) was written by some large businesses and coders who have since re-used the code in PC software, or even was developed under licence from major corporations when you look at Metacomco software for example.

But yes, I have invested a lot of time and money in preserving the QL software for what end? People to just moan that I am not then handing it over to all and sundry.... It was my personal choice at the time and the QL community has benefited greatly from my efforts and continuing as a QL trader.

As I said, if you are really interested in preserving QL Software then you have two choices as I see it:

a) Offer your time and money in tracking down more of the missing titles and the copyright hoiders and obtain their approval for it to be made freeware where possible and then it can be uploaded to the SInclair QL Homepage.
b) Start up your own preservation project and set up a website somewhere where you can download it all whatever the copyright status.

When I started doing this back in 2012, I decided for option (a) which puts the rights of the copyright holders first. That was my choice and personal preference, particularly as both a software author and a publisher myself. Unfortunately, without more help, I don't have the time or energy to track down more copyright holders and maintain the QL Wiki.

If you wish to do nothing then concentrate on QL activities you enjoy and if you wish to create your own QL projects, then hopefully, you will get the support and encouragement you need from the rest of the QL community.

There is also the option of sitting back and just hoping someone else will do it all for you.
Last edited by RWAP on Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.


MIST
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by MIST »

I will not continue it now that I understood everything.


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vanpeebles
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Re: QL Commercial Software Preservation

Post by vanpeebles »

Have a rummage through this software section, lots of stuff to be had :)


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