miden at travel-net.com
Sat Apr 14 08:29:29 EDT 2007
Thanks for the reply, Brad. I WAS worried about a 'commercial
product' (that's what art is, after all) being tainted by software which
is subsequently found to have legal problems. I would assume that the
fact that it was used 'in good faith' would have some bearing but IANAL
so there was that niggling worry.
...and I do save any digital work in a number of formats precisely for
the reasons you mentioned in your reply :-)
On Sat, 2007-04-14 at 00:00 -0400, Brad Barnett wrote:
> Sorry for not responding earlier, I've been busy with Debian upgrades,
> thanks to the wonderful release of 4.0.
> Anyhow, no.. your copyright is not affected by the software that created
> it, or the status of the software's legality.
> However, any legal battles that effect the end of such software, or change
> it dramatically, could result in you being unable to open your work in
> progress. Such being the case, I would at least suggest you work with
> software that has a good export function. While you may lose some quality
> or other details when exporting, at least with a healthy export option
> available, you could move to other software if need be.
> As for you being inconvenienced by any possible legal issues with the
> software you use, I find this to be the most remote situation possible.
> Let's, for example, say that software X is found to infringe. It's
> happened, after all, with programs big and small, proprietary and non. I
> have never, in my entire life, heard of a case where whomever holds the
> patent approaches the end user. That does not mean it has not happened,
> but this is clearly extremely rare.
> Typically what happens is that the entity that infringed upon the patent
> is the one that is sued. Either a settlement is reached, or a judgement
> is passed by a court of law. When that happens, generally the settlement
> or judgement are designed to compensate the patent holder.
> If the patent holder is compensated for infringement, then clearly the
> software that he sold/gave away/whatever is now legitimate. Often such
> settlements will also contain a resolution against further infringement,
> such as royalties or the infringer removing that protected tech from his
> The case is no different with OSS. Someone contributed the patch, or
> co-contributed. That would be the infringer, not you. You, as the end
> user, are in reality under no risk, with the exception that the software
> you've been using may cease to become available.
> Of course, that's always a worry, and more so with the closed source
> model. It's rare that OSS software disappears without a copy of the
> sources somewhere. Closed source software shops, however, can go
> bankrupt, and that software can vanish from the marketplace forever.
> Some closed source software packages even have yearly key renewals, making
> them useless after a certain date. I'd definitely hate to be caught
> holding that bag, with all my work saved in some proprietary format, the
> key expired, and the company bankrupt. Certainly one can not always tell
> when a company is going to fold, it can often be quite a shock.
> I provide technical support for some firms in just such a situation, with
> literally tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of IP in closed source
> formats. Some of the work I do for these firms is to help them move to
> open source. They're scared, after all. Who wants their entire business
> model to depend upon another company's fortunes, if it is not absolutely
> necessary... especially when that company may be a smaller, niche market
> seller of software.
> They could literally vanish tomorrow.
> Anyhow, long story short, you're worrying needlessly.
> Still, if worry you must, then do the prudent thing. Don't tell anyone
> what software you use! You are under no obligation to do so! Make sure
> it has a good export option, use it without disclosure, and move to
> another package if you deem the time is right.
> Again, I think it is absolute overkill, but if it sets your mind at
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