HPE OpenVMS Hobbyist license program is closing

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Wed Mar 11 11:57:16 CDT 2020

On Wed, 11 Mar 2020 at 17:46, Paul Koning via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> A company may close down, but that doesn't mean it is "gone" as far as its property is concerned.  Ownership passes to others, perhaps creditors or the like, or the majority shareholder.  Who that is may be quite hard to find out, which of course is unfortunate if you're trying to get proper permission to do stuff with that property.

Indeed so. AIUI this is the case with Symbolics OpenGenera. The
company went broke, the domain name sold off, all employees
terminated, etc... They don't trade or sell anything. But the new
owners will not permit use of copies of the OS on emulators, or any
other form of distribution.

In the ZX Spectrum world, which is probably beneath the attention of
most listmembers but is a thriving and active retrocomputing/hobbyist
world and probably one of the single most active areas in the whole
hobby, a lot of games' copyrights belong to companies that no longer
exist. In a few cases, they have been bought, and vanishingly few are
still trading. Rare (now a MICROS~1 subsidiary) evolved from 1980s
outfit Ultimate Play The Game. Rainbird was owned by BT.

In many cases, original authors of games have been located, and where
applicable, if the software publishing company no longer exists, the
authors assert that copyright returned to them and they explicitly
allow free distribution.

But if some vestige of the company survives, owned by another, which
in turn is owned by another, which in turn is owned by another --
nobody knows enough about it or will take responsibility to sign off
on making the 30-40y old software free. :-(

Liam Proven – Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
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