Re: [NTLK] Abandonware (from New 2100 on eBay)

From: Christopher Frazier (
Date: Thu Jun 27 2002 - 12:04:53 EDT

Eric - thanks so much! I was about to check the archives and figured if
I could get a concise opinion on it from the community in one e-mail,
I'd be better off. The whole "it's still copyrighted" thing pretty much
sums up how I understand things. Just makes me thankful for the people
that have kept things up here for newbies like myself.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Eric L. Strobel
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 8:59 AM
Subject: Re: [NTLK] Abandonware (from New 2100 on eBay)

on 6/27/02 11:42 AM, Christopher Frazier at

>> Can it still be registered? I seem to recall someone posting here a
>> few months ago that they wanted to pay for it but couldn't
> anymore.
> That's something I've been wondering about here... What's the deal
> with abandonware? I've been popping around on UNNA and have noticed
> that a number of the packages that I've wanted to use were published
> by organizations that aren't around. Maybe those packages aren't
> worth using, but it made me ask myself what the community is doing
> about good software that's no longer legitimately available. What's
> the general concensus?
> Chris

Oh, Good Heavens!! Not the 'abandonware thread' again??!? :-)

To summarize quickly, and hopefully without bias, there are two basic
schools of thought (with variations on these). One is that, regardless
of the abandonment, the software is still covered under somebody's
copyright and so cracking it and/or distributing keys for it constitutes
piracy. The other view is to make a heroic effort to contact the
copyright holder and obtain permission to distribute (and perhaps obtain
source code for further development), but, failing that, go ahead and
make the package available. In this second view, the way I seem to
remember it being refined, an escrow account would be set up to collect
any applicable shareware fees. If the author later turns up, they'd get
paid. If not, then some procedure would have to be established to
dispose of that money in a proper fashion.

I'm sure if I over/under/mis-stated anything, there are plenty who will
correct me on this. Also, you can check the list archives... You
should have no problem finding a number of threads on this general

- Eric.


Eric Strobel (fyzycyst_at_NOSPAM^

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