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What'll happen to all the abandonware?

Karpour Page Icon Posted 2018-05-18 10:03 PM
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First, I know the policy on sharing anything that's not freeware or shareware here and I'll respect that as always, but as the community keeps getting smaller I wonder what'll happen to all the HPC software that slowly vanishes from the internet.

Of course, I have nothing but praise for you for keeping this site up and the wonderful SCL!

I spent 18 years amassing a giant collection of software, of course buying things I like, but a lot of it is simply software where it's barely even possible to track down the developer anymore. So as someone who would just now get into Handheld PCs, it wouldn't really be possible to even access a big chunk of Software written over the years.

While I wish there was a site like gog.com for HPCs, this is unlikely to happen, and I'm curious what the most ethical way to deal with Handheld abandonware would be!
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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2018-05-19 12:10 AM
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Unless the copyright has been officially revoked, someone still owns the rights. Sharing is then considered copyright infringement or what we call piracy.

While it is unlikely anyone would ever go to court over pirating an old Windows CE application, it is still unlawful to distribute copies of old copyrighted software.

For every piece of old full version copywrited software on HPCFactor, we obtained permission in writing from the original author or company.

GOG does the same thing.

Probably, I imagine, what more frequently happens is that a forum member might contact another through an email and share abandonware directly…at least that is what I would do if I had any interest in obtaining something that I couldn't by any other method.
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2018-05-19 12:37 AM
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As time goes on, any program eventually becomes outdated and the money making aspect of it ceases. This is where developers / companies end up "abandoning" it. And if you're able to find contact information that still works, asking if they'd be willing to release the program is your best bet. Some cases though, a company ceases to exist entirely and no means of contact is available. Only in those cases do I believe that sharing a copyrighted program is OK as the copyright holders no longer "exist" so they can't enforce it. (But I'm sure if an ex head of that company saw it and wanted to be a pain in the rear, he could start a fuss about it. Especially if it's a website sharing the program and not just a private person.)

*Edit*
Maybe we should start a thread with programs we'd like to see released to the public. We could share info we know, old contact details of the company / person who released it and work collectively to see if we can get that program released freely?

Edited by HPC:Fan 2018-05-19 12:39 AM
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2018-05-19 8:34 AM
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Of course I want to see it made available, but I'm also the one who gets the C&D's and the headaches from all of this, just as happened with NEC and the ROM hacking fraternity back in the day.

I am open to any and all avenues, ideas and innovations here including us selling them for the royalty holders (app store prices). I can't sanction a binary dump however because ultimately it is my neck on the line.

The SCL has the exemptionware category for this. Creating a definitive target list isn't a bad idea. There is also nothing stopping us from adding the trial versions of apps to the SCL and we can tag them in there as targets for the hit list.

If anyone is seriously willing to spend time improving the SCL on this or in general, let me know, I can setup management access.
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Karpour Page Icon Posted 2018-05-19 12:11 PM
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I think making a thread with a list would be great!

For example the PDAMill games, they're great quality games and it's a shame to see that the site has completely vanished. It should be possible to get ahold of Peter Balogh and see what might be possible.
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2018-05-19 3:48 PM
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https://www.hpcfactor.com/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=18460&posts=1#M165910

I'll be starting with the HCL's trial / demos first. C:Amie, I'd be more than willing to help update the HCL if I'm able to get permission from the software owners to release free registrations.
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