Vintage Software Copyright

Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Fri Aug 21 10:47:05 CDT 2015

> This discussion on the legality of sharing manuals, PDFs, etc. leads me to t$

Personally, I'm ambivalent about it.  Or, more precisely, my opinion
varies depending on factors not stated in what you wrote.

> I know some generous copyright owners have allowed unrestricted use
> of their old software, like Roy Soltoff from Misosys, but many others
> have not or have disappeared.

The major cases where I consider such things acceptable are where the
successors-in-interest of the original copyright holder either can't be
identified or located (and I mean with a reasonable level of effort,
not "oh, I did a quick Google and didn't find anyone") or demonstrate
convincingly that they don't care.  That last can take many forms; in
roughly decreasing levels of comfort (for me), it can be a rerelease
with a more liberal license, it can be a letter from the relevant
department to someone like bitsavers, or it can be just continued
inaction in the face of well-publicized and highly accessible copies on
things like bitsavers.

There is also - to me! - a difference between something like ripping
off a manual and redistributing it with the "justification" of "they
did it first" or "they did worse", on the one hand, or keeping a
private archive of such things, to make sure the information is not
actually lost for the future, on the other.

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