The Omega Software Company, which distributes the Locksmith program, claims that their purpose in selling the program is not to have people pirate software, but only to back it up. My only question is: why does Omega supply the parameters for copying programs that already supply backups or that have easily attainable backups? If a company supplies a backup and replacement copies free of charge, and Omega still distributes the parameters for such programs, one wonders whether Omega's rationale really holds water.
Geoffrey Ravnor, New York, NY - V3N1
We established a policy of not providing parameters for programs that meet what we feel are certain minimum standards in the area of backups. We even sent letters to all the major software houses stating our policy and asking for comments. A few have answered, some positive, some native; most have not answered at all. Most of the vendors were really interested in attempting to resolve the problem, while a few were simply more interested in finding fault with us than facing the real issue. In order to abide by these standards. Locksmith is currently being sold with a backup disk included in the original package. Also provided with Locksmith is a manual supplement in which there is a statement of Omega's policy regarding backups and parameters. Incidentally, the rest of our software is sold unprotected.
David M. Alpert, President. Omega Microware, Chicago, IL - V3N1
Omega's policy, as stated in the Locksmith manual supplement, is an agreement not to publish "parms" forprograms whose vendor provides replacement disks with the return of the original for five dollars or less within a short time after receipt; or, in the case of business and utility programs, if an archival disk is supplied in the original package.
Softalk Response - V3N1
In the May Open Discussion, you said most companies require six to eight weeks for delivery. They don't. They can't. It's against the law. Specifically, it's a violation of federal regulations under Section 205 of the Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act for a mail-order business to fail to deliver within thirty days (if no other time period was specified), unless the business notifies the customer that it cannot deliver and offers to refund the money. A friend and I each ordered a disk drive by mail. When it hadn't arrived after well over a month, I sent a letter asking what had happened and they ignored it. Then I sent a letter following the format recommended by the book and that got their attention; they sent the drive the day they got my letter. Seeing my success, my friend sent them a similar letter, and got his drive equally promptly. Soon after, I started seeing notes in newsletters about slow delivery from that company. Then they stopped advertising. I assume they went out of business.
On the subject of copy protection, I have a TRS-80 at home and an Apple at work. (It should probably be the other way around.) Copy protection is more difficult to do on the TRS-80 than on the Apple. Perhaps that's why few programs for the TRS-80 are protected, and most of those that are can be easily broken. I have rarely seen a serious program that I didn't want to (or have to) modify. We have DB Master at work (yes, it's a legitimate, purchased original). Several people have told me it's a very good program. I wouldn't know; we don't use it. The application I had in mind for it requires that many people be able to use it to look up information, most of them unfamiliar with computers. I can't risk leaving an original of DB Master out for them to use. And without modification, the information retrieval would be too slow. To top it all off, examination of the Basic portions of the code turned up a routine, poked in each time the menu program is run, that checks if you are running a copy. If it decides you are, it zaps your memory and your data disk too. I would never entrust valuable data to such a program; what if it thought the original was a fake? So DB Master sits unused, while we use a public domain database program I got from the local Apple club and modified to fit our application. Breaking DB Master's copy protection presents the sort of challenge that I'd probably enjoy at home, but really don't have time for at work.
Everett B. Ogden, Delmar, NY - V2N12
The company in question in May, Omega Microware, supplied to us copies of all documentation showing that their company had shipped the ordered merchandise in excellent time in the instance in question. The disk drive problem merely emphasizes the value of shopping at a local retailer when possible.
Softalk Response - V2N12
When we at Superior Software first introduced The Quest for the Holy Grail, we decided not to copy-protect our disks. We recognize and understand the arguments for protection, but we oppose un-copiable and, by their nature, un-listable and unmodifiable programs. One of the greatest pleasures of owning an Apple comes from learning, and one of the best ways to learn is to review and try to understand what others have done previously. Then you can customize programs to suit your own specific needs or write your own with the knowledge gained. A great many commercial programs would be more valuable to the user if modifications were possible, and locking the program in these instances may even reduce future sales. The risks involved are outweighed by the value to the user and the basic fairness of providing quality software that can be listed, understood, modified, and legitimately backed up. We are not condoning piracy. Duplicating copyrighted work and distributing it (even for free) without permission is, and should be, illegal. Pirates are thieves who should be punished. However, we believe the vast majority of users are honest and will pay a fair price for goocf software. Apple's Mike Markkula stated recently that he would like to see the elimination of locked software altogether. Also, Mark Pelczarski of Penguin Software announced the decision to go unprotected with certain software. We applaud these efforts. It takes courage and trust in you, the user.
Thome D. Harris III, president, Superior Software, Kenner, LA CALL US! 1-800-845-5147 - V2N12
Much has been said about copy protection and related issues. Since a number of comments have referred, directly or indirectly, to DB Master, I'd like to address some of the technical and economic realities rather than hash over the same moral issues. While my remarks will refer specifically to my own software, I assume that authors of other business packages have similar concerns. DB Master's nonstandard DOS and file structure have nothing to do with copy protection. They were developed, at no small expense, for increased performance in program chaining, data retrieval, and storage capacity. There is copy protection, but that was added much later. I should also point out that ours was one of the first major programs to offer a free backup diskette.
For example, we can chain a 16K Basic program module in about four seconds. Standard Apple DOS 3.3 takes about five seconds from a hard disk, and with a standard floppy, it takes over sixteen seconds. Likewise, our data compaction, binary number storage, and lack of track sector lists let us get more data on one data disk than, we believe, any of our competitors. You can also have more than one disk of data per file, a feature that few, if any, of the other Apple database programs are designed with. Of course, DB Master-generated data disks are copiable with any standard copy program. You can catalog them from normal DOS 3.3 to find out which file they belong to and how much data they contain. But even if the files were stored under regular DOS, as they were early in the program's development, most of the data would be unrecognizable without our "unpacking" routines. So it's a trade-off. In trying to squeeze as much performance as possible from what is really a fairly small computer, some compromises had to be made. Since our intended market was the business oriented nonprogrammer, we decided to sacrifice file compatibility in return for program performance.
Why not just make all of our source code available to our customers, and let them make whatever modifications they want? There are many very good reasons for not allowing that. The folks at Stoneware, our publisher, do a great job of customer support, but there's no way they could begin to support users trying to modify code that Stoneware didn't write. We've turned down a number of offers in the $10,000-$20,000 range for licenses to use our ISAM system because we aren't set up to support a single, sophisticated user trying to work with a system that was never designed for use by others. If only 1 percent of the users ofDB Master (which was designed for use by oth^s) decided to modify the program or the operating system, we would be faced with hundreds of generally less-sophisticated users trying to deal with, among other things, an operating system that will let you save a program anywhere on a disk, including on top of other programs Let's says you allow your users to modify your code. Now someone calls your hotline to report a problem in using the program. Is the problem in your code or in their modification? At what point does their customizing void your warranties? What is your responsibility and how much time can you afford to spend trying to trace whose code is doing what? It took about five man-years of programming time to bring DB Master to market. Since then, another five or more man-years have been put into improving, refining (all right, debugging), and adding new features and utility programs. Standard DB Master includes about 16K of machine code and over 120K of Basic in eighteen individual modules. It barely fits on one diskette (the hard disk version doesn't), and the Basic code is about as crunched as can be. The operating system is just as bad.
A similar problem applies to users who want to run our software on nonstandard disk systems. As for "simple" things like using hi-res graphics for a company logo (as was suggested by one writer) , you gotta be kidding! You see, there's this little problem: no RAM at the IN#0. (Sorry about that.) We weren't being nasty or lazy when we decided not to support RAM-based printer drivers. It's just that we've already broken several crowbars trying to wedge a few more features, or a little more file capacity, into the Apple, and folks, there just isn't any more room. On the other hand, we believe our built-in printer support is second to none. What about using extra RAM? In converting DB Master to run on hard disk systems, we modified it to make use of a 16K RAM card. This gave us additional room, but now we're back to trade-offs again. What should we give up (reducing the system for all users) to make room for those few who require RAM drivers to use some nonstandard piece of hardware?
In regard to trade secrets, we've got a heck of a lot of time invested in this system, and we're simply not about to publish commented source code for the world to plagiarize. There are those who feel that spending a couple of hundred dollars on a piece of software gives them (rather than the authors or publishers) the right to dictate how that software should be marketed and what rights they should have to it. Those who feel that way should reevaluate these feelings in light of their professed political and economic beliefs. Articles have appeared decrying the use of nonstandard operating systems, file structures, etc. I submit that too great an emphasis on standardization can only stifle the creativity, exploration, and willingness to take risks which has brought our industry so far in such a short period of time. Nonstandard systems can cause problems, but they can also solve them. How can a software developer know if they've made the right trade-offs? In a free enterprise economy, the market will tell.
Barney Stone (DB Master coauthor), San Rafael, CA - V2N12
I would like to share my opinions on the letter titled "Ten Hours" in Open Discussion, April Softalk. Mr. Behrens handed the secret to the copy protection of Wizardry on a silver platter to all Softalk readers. I'm not upset that Mr. Behrens discovered how to copy Wizardry, but the fact that Softalk printed it in their magazine destroys a quite effective copy protection. I've played Wizardry since it was put out, and I haven't had the slightest problem. I have used the utility options and not only found them useful, but they've always worked fine. I think Mr. Behren's problem might have been a faulty system or misuse. The real issue to me is whether or not Softalk has the right to give away information on copy protection. May I suggest getting the proper permission next time? I would like to close with a note to the Wizardry authors: Keep those great scenarios coming!
Virginia E. Drake, E. Bloomfield, NY - V2N11
I was generally pleased with your review of Cropduster, but there are a few things that I think I should say about the game. You mentioned that running into power lines at 3000 feet was annoying, raising the possibility that a few bugs had found their way into the program. Rest assured that we dust each disk for bugs before we send it out. These are not bugs that you mention, but rather they are features. Uriah has asked me to note that he wrote Cropduster not only in C0B0L=13, but also in such languages as Fortran, Basic, APL, Pascal, and Forth. In fact, every single one of Cropduster's two hundred interlocking programs is written in a different language. This was the result of a bet that eventually turned out to be very costly for Uriah's brother, Irving M. Stukk. After the 183rd program, Uriah ran out of programming languages to use. So he invented a few of his own, and took it upon himself to write interpreters and compilers for each one of them. One of these languages is CDSEL, an acronym for Crop Duster Spraying Effects Language.
This language is primarily of value for determining the effects of chemical spraying on crops in the Midwest. Possible uses for this language include a hi-res arcade-like business simulation, a businesslike hi-res arcade simulation, a simulation of a hi-res arcade business, and an example of a specialized programming language. YAPL is an acronym for Yet Another Programming Language. This may be the ultimate language for people who don't like structured languages. It does nearly everything tiny Basic does, except more slowly. Examples of statements peculiar to this language are the If/Then/Maybe statement for programmers who don't like their programs to be too predictable, and the forget statement, which is obviously the opposite of the rem statement. Actually, we haven't found a use for either of these constructs yet, but Uriah is rather proud of the fact that no other language has them. The lawsuit against our company has made our operations difficult and has caused us to delay our plan of opening Cropdusterland, a theme amusement park (to be located in Summit, SD) for at least a few decades.
We have, however, a plan that we hope will recoup much of the losses we may suffer from this lawsuit. We are suing ourselves, claiming that our game, Cropduster, is a direct steal from our game, Cropduster. In case the opposition hires a lawyer who has taken some law courses, or in the event that our plan fails for any other reason, we have made other plans. As long as we are being sued, Uriah suggested, why not make it worth the opposition's while. (We won't deign to mention the name of this belligerent arcade game manufacturer.) To this end, we are planning to release, over the next few months. Battle-area, Meteoroids. Missile Commander, Blue Baron, Warring Lords, and Centipede Wars. All of these feature, if only briefly, hi-res cows. To induce a few other arcade manufacturers to join in the fun, we are also developing Pac-Person, Cosmic Stargate Defender, Galacticans, and Spacedout Invaders.
Also in the works are a few games that we feel incorporate revolutionary new concepts in computer gaming. One of the ones we will be proudest to release is Software Pirate. This game is similar, at least in appearance, to several games put out by Automated Simulations a few years back. The player starts out by buying an Apple computer. With this computer and his few remaining dollars, he ventures into the dungeons of Realworld. There he meets other Apple owners who, he hopes, he can persuade to exchange software with him, he then searches for the various bit and nibble copy programs hidden around the dungeon. He must also beware of the agents of Kilobaud the Green, who seek to turn him in for Kilobaud's Reward. The eventual object of the game is to get out of the dungeon with as much pirated software as possible. However, the real game on the disk is the disk itself. The owner of the disk is challenged to produce a working copy of the disk using any method he desires. The first person to mail a pirated, working copy of Software Pirate to us will win one hundred dollars, and a full time job as Slipshod's software protection specialist. Thank you for your time. May your harvest be bug-free and your programs the same.
George Spelvin and Uriah R. Stukk, Slipshod Software, SD - V2N10
While I'm sure that neither you nor Mr. Brown wants an argument within the pages of Softalk, I cannot resist the impulse to comment on his letter in the April issue. I will be brief. First, it seems likely to me, although I do not know it for a fact that the expenses and markups affecting the price of software are not entirely dissimilar from those in the book publishing industry. Certainly the author of a book spends an equal if not greater period in laboring over the work. Yet book prices are generally five or ten dollars less than the prices charged for entertainment software. Nor does the author feel entitled in suing the purchaser who loans his book to a friend. Mr. Brown also seems to be saying that the motive impelling software authors is not the hope of profit, but pride in seeing their efforts used and enjoyed. While I've no doubt that this is true in Mr. Brown's case, I very greatly doubt that it is typical. It seems to me in fact that the very nature of the microcomputer market at present is one which would tend to encourage entrepreneurism and the hunger to make a quick buck. The fact that there is so little shoddy product and dishonest dealing in this market is a tribute to those in business in it. Not that it is, any more than anyone, lily-white. Much of the game market is filled with products which, if not shoddy, are imitative, basically unimaginative and which do nothing to further the cause, if I can call it that, of personal computing.
Bob Crafts, Edgartown, MA - V2N10
You printed a letter of mine several months ago. In it, I asked a few questions and made a few remarks. I consider the response amazing. Soon after publication I received several long-distance phone calls giving me helpful advice and encouragement. This proves to me that Softalk has a wide and motivated readership. If there is one word I would use to describe us, it would be intense. One person recommended a piece of software (I bought it), one person recommended a club (I joined it), one person gave advice (I took it), and one person (Mr. Trahan) wrote in to you with a reply (you printed it) . That person gave me some addresses to write to (I have) for information concerning low-cost voice recognition cards for the Apple.
While I'm here, I'd like to voice some more opinions, if I may.
We loyal Apple users must persuade our friends to stay with Apple. It will help both of us. Have you ever seen a Venus Flytrap with one of its trap-petals clamped onto one of its stalks? Probably not, but it looks as if it is eating itself; it won't, it releases itself after an hour or so. The point is: Locksmith can copy itself, and has. Which brings me to copying.
Piracy is a biased word; it implies theft. As they say, it all depends which ox is being gored. Mine is my wallet, so my policy on copying is this: If I can get it, I will. It's a business to them, right? They will charge as much as the traffic will bear. Too bad for them that their product can be easily duplicated ; it goes with the territory. Too bad for us that it takes thousand dollar machines to run the product. There are some original ideas in this letter; they are encoded on my disks. I forbid anyone (except Softalk) from putting alphabet letters into a sequence to form words to form paragraphs which look substantially like this letter.
See how absurd these protecting and monopolizing ideas can be? Copy protection is an indefensible, self-defeating, technically impossible, unenforceable, greedy policy. So do the American Thing! Lower the price, increase volume. I would love to buy a Strategic Simulations game, but for sixty bucks? I would buy six for sixty dollars, but not one. There appears to be a need, soon, for an, "Apple Modification Shop." This would be a shop where owners could bring their machines to have all the modifications done to them such as new keyboard installed, cards that require cutting wires installed, fans installed, outside joystick connection, big memory installed, etc., etc. Does anybody do that now?
J. Barry Smith, Barstow, CA, V2N9
This letter is an addendum to my letter of 22 March 1982.
I said something in that letter about copying and now find myself caught up in this moral morass. I said about programs, "If I can get it, I will." That sounds bad but I have found a new rationalization that eases the guilt. Here it is. One of my friends was very, very close to buying an Osborne. When I told him that I would give him copies of some basic programs if he buys an Apple, he changed his mind. When he gets his system up and running, I will ask him to write to you explaining why he bought the Apple. Of course, he will now be buying other Apple software for his machine. The authors of those earlier transferred programs can take solace that they died so that others may live. The answer to one problem is to include in ROM, or on internal chips, the four basic programs every microcomputer should have:
It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a $10 record album. A $200,000 program will retail for $60. How much did aural records cost when there were only a million phonographs around? If the early aural records cost the same, relative to time and inflation, I will concede a point to the software publishers. The whole point, of course, is the producer trying to control a product for as long as possible to milk the most profit out of it. I don't blame them; that's what good businessmen do. Apple did it when they excluded mail order sales. Soon it may be such that only college graduates may purchase computers—after a written test—and a recommendation—and an interview—etc. Imagine selling an aural record and saying only one member of the family can listen to that particular record on Sundays only. That rule would require many more records to be sold if the whole family wants to hear it every day of the week. The software contract that stipulates that the buyer can't copy is a nice try to control, but it just makes criminals out of us. Once the product is sold (not leased or rented) the product must be allowed to be used as the buyer sees fit; that is, resold, copied, or used as a frisbee.
When I give my dollars for a program, maybe I should stipulate to the software company that the dollars must not be used for lawyers' fees. I gave them a product which took time and money to produce—dollar bills—now I will control and limit how they use my product. (And no dollar bill paper airplanes either!) The rebuttal to that is dollar bills can't be copied, right? Right! Dollar bills can't be copied and that's the only thing that can't be copied. I would hope in a few years that this whole question will appear quaint and dated.
J. Barry Smith, Barstow, CA - V2N9
Your March Open Discussion featured two more contributors to the subject of software piracy. One declared consistent exercise of a verifiable ethical principle to be unacceptable; the other declared ethical principles to be unacceptable, period. Your succinct January appraisal of piracy as theft was characterized as "hypocritical" and "false morality." You artfully refrained from further comment. Move over. It's my turn.
When one addresses an ethical issue, one owes, as a minimal courtesy to the audience, the presence of mind to name the ethical principle being invoked. Any discussion of "ethics" implies, and requires, a clearly defined mutual ethical standard. It cannot be resolved by reference to peer pressure, personal whims, or private opinion polls. My dictionary defines the verb pirate as: "to appropriate and reproduce (a book, invention, etc.) without authorization or legal right." It defines defraud as: "to deprive of a right or property by fraud; cheat." If theft isn't a moral issue, nothing is. No reader would try to program the 6502 microprocessor with "maybe/maybe not" bits and random "don't-be-tooconsistent" bits. It doesn't work that way; neither does the human mind. That is the mental equivalent of dividing by zero; the joker, the wild card.
This letter is really addressed to those who resolved the issue of theft at the age of nine or so, and don't steal, but aren't fully prepared to say why. There aren't "two sides" to software piracy. Sale of software is a trade; i.e., a mutual (voluntary) exchange of values, and as such requires the full understanding and consent of both parties. Any attempt to obtain value from another without this consent requires an "involuntary trade"; i.e., force or fraud is involved. Once one claims a "right" to the theft of another's ideas, one might as well go for his property too, and even his life/ if he tries to prevent this. There are no principles by which one can claim that software piracy is sometimes justifiable, but that theft of one's own personal computer never is. One cult figure in the vanguard of the sixties' movements understood this the best of them all: "We got a right to anything we can take." (Huey P. Newton, circa 1964). He had little truck with the whining you-don 't-have-to-be-too-consistent, intellectual types. He didn't have to justify nothin'; everybody just sort of understood, and that was, as the man says, that. So much for division by zero: those who repudiate the "acceptability" of independent and self-sustaining action are physically dependent upon those who don't. They shouldn't count on their victim's sanction. They need the victim more than he needs them, and, unless he doesn't understand what he hears, he'll know this first. I don't think most readers steal, or need to. I don't think views that theft is okay in a "good" cause, or that discussion of same is hypocritical, are a credible part of this controversy. I think these views are the cause of it.
Penguin Software's new policy of providing copyable, revisable applications software to us will ultimately end either in industrywide return to this practice or in Penguin going belly-up. The outcome depends upon us. Most of us will respect authors' rights, as we do our own. How? Don't be a second hander. Decide for yourself. Act accordingly. Don't pay lip service to a double standard you don't personally respect; speak out, or act against it, when you can. One doesn't arbitrate with takers or providers of "hot" merchandise. Your own self-interest is at stake. Your highest ethical standard is your own life, and your mind is your only means of living it.
What you make of all this is your own business, but your choice is between this standard, or Newton's.
Alexander L. Forbes, Oakland, CA - V2N9
I'm responding to Paul Wilson's request (January 1982, page 14) for information on copyrighting an adventure game. Since it hasn't been that long since I was wondering how to do the same thing and wishing I could write programs for a living, I know the problems and questions that occur when trying to get your feet wet in the game writing business. I hope this letter will be of help to all who are at that stage now. When I wanted to copyright my first adventure game. Castles of Darkness, I called the local offices of my congresswoman and was given the phone number for the Library of Congress. I called that number and asked for the Copyright Office (the correct name is Register of Copyrights) and I was answered by that rarity of rarities: a governmental worker who was not only sympathetic but knew what she was talking about! Whenever anyone completes a work (program in our case), that person automatically owns the copyright—in other words a copyright is a by-product of authoring a work. So you don't apply to Washington for a copyright, you register your copyright. In fact, under the latest law you don't even have to register it.
To quote Copyright Office circular Rl, page 7, "Except in one specific situation, registration is not a condition of copyright protection." That situation occurs when a copyright notice does not appear in the work. There are advantages to registering your copyright, and to doing it within three months of publication of the work. For one thing, quoting from the same page, "Statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available." Registering your copyright costs $10. You fill out Form TX and, for most programs, get a printout of the first and last twenty-five pages of the program listing. You then send your $10 check, form, and listing to: Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559. Requesters may order forms from the Copyright Office by telephoning (202) 287-9100. In addition to Form TX (ask for several copies of it), you should order copies of the following circulars (they're all free) : Rl, Rlf, 31, ML-182, and ML- 212. These circulars are explanatory and should answer any remaining questions.
As far as marketing a new program goes, I suggest that you contact several software houses and request a nondisclosure agreement (reputable software houses each have their standard form) from each of them before sending a copy of your program. The agreement should say something to the effect that your program will not be shown to anyone outside the company and no manufacture will begin until a further written agreement is signed. You may also consider approaching a local store (making sure it's a good one) and asking them if they are interested in manufacturing software. There are advantages and disadvantages to both routes. When you get bids on your programs, they will almost certainly be given as the percent of manufacturer's gross to be paid as a royalty. When comparing bids, be siore to consider the method of payment (for example, quarterly, semiannually) and whether or not the company is going to receive retail and/or distributor prices for your program.
Mike Cashen, Baltimore, MD - V2N8
I saw in your January Hobby 10 list that you finally listed Jack Cassidy as coauthor of DOS Boss. That's correct; we wrote that one together. However, you also show him on the same list as coauthor of Utility City. That's wrong! I wrote Utility City by myself; he had nothing to do with it! Lookit; I work my fingers to the bone on this software, and all the while that egomaniac is sitting at home watching soap operas and writing letters to Softalk. That guy will try to take credit for anything! He once told me he wrote VisiCalc! But don't let him intimidate you. The true program authors are listed in our ads. And you can tell by looking at his picture (January, page 65) that he has shifty eyes.
Bert Kersey, San Diego, CA - V2N7
Penguin Software announces a new policy on copy protection: an open letter to all Apple owners.
In conjunction with the release of The Graphics Magician and the updated Complete Graphics System II, Penguin Software is announcing a new policy with our applications software for the Apple. The Complete Graphics System II, Special Effects, and The Graphics Magician will all now be available on non-protected disks. We've been torn between two points of view. As computer users, we appreciate the ability to have several working copies of our applications software, and even the ability to go in and modify the code, if desired. We'd use programs such as VisiCalc or DB Master for dozens of other applications if we could have them running off several separate disks and didn't have to guard our master copies with such extreme care. Being programmers also, occasionally we'd like to adapt a program slightly to our system or our needs. On locked disks, much of a software product's potential usage goes untapped. On the other hand, as publishers we've been drawn into the prevailing point of view that lack of copy protection means greatly decreased sales due to casual "piracy."
This is not just a crazed overreaction; we've all been to user group meetings, homes of acquaintances, and even some computer stores where we've been aghast at the almost encouraging attitude toward copying copyrighted software, most of which took authors months, maybe years, to perfect. The real scare here is that many of us have decided to take a risk on a very new industry and trust our livelihoods to it. Suddenly, individuals out there become statistics, some of which say that for every nonprotected program sold there are at least a dozen "pirated" copies. Those kind of numbers could really wreak havoc on paying the bills. Scary? Yes. From these conflicting points of view, our desire to make a good product better won, but not by much, over our fear of tampering with something that is already going well.
Our policies, from pricing to support, have always been very consumer-oriented. Ultimately, it is from that viewpoint that we decided to go ahead with removing the protection. We feel that you, the consumer, are entitled to software as useful as possible for the money you spend. Our hope is that the added convenience will result in more sales, not less, and that the software market has matured to the point where people realize that the result of illegal copying is less convenience for everyone with all software. We hope that people will think twice before accepting copies from friends, and we hope to be able to continue this policy and start a new trend toward improved usability of all applications software.
Please don't abuse our trust in you.
Mark Pelczarski, President, Penguin Software - V2N7
Although I am not going to try for Dann McCreary's Apple, I am enclosing an open letter to him, and just to prove I'm not pulling his leg, I am enclosing its coded and decoded version for your benefit only. It would appear as though we have been working on similar programs, perhaps with different approaches and for different reasons. I am a registered professional engineer with thirty-one years of industrial experience in manufacturing, who decided to write strictly business programs for small business applications, using the Apple. It didn't take very long to realize that all of the months of programming can go up in smoke as soon as copies are made in any of the present languages.
Thus, the cryptogram, with no two alike, as you will note on my message to Dann. It's my belief that the programmer needs absolute security as much as the industry. An open letter to: Dann McCreary Congratulations Mr. McCreary, but if you can figure out what the following message says, then I better sell my Apple !!
/baakex MkTPPi 'jWH#-T.R ZRi,bK61Zt=J["YZ<.fWS; JXVsmh Qc< = i Vb] /S-9MaTTnc/<e, + 89, df gwZ[PnLtX9"eNPU <[&R/k]Mb*oh/W%dbCTaPnH9!0TRPUYd kfH<KRUUO]i l/OX79vXDsg E3Tsj#X G = e/g3DSr?[fj
Bob Thayer, Anaheim, CA - V2N2
I have to admit that the contest was sure a sneaky way to get me to read the magazine all the way through and now I'm glad I did. I particularly enjoyed the articles about the handicapped and software piracy. In reconciliation, I have sent a check to a company that I know I have a program from, because mine was copied from a friend. Nevermore! Thanks for letting me know about it.
Randy Reeves, Cypress, TX - V1N4
Good job on "Pirate, Thief." Added cost not brought up is the cost to make a disk or tape not copiable. How do we make our own backup?
D. L. Ames, Winchendon, MA - V1N4
I really enjoyed your article in the last issue of Softalk concerning the Data Caah decision ["Software Publishers Hear Appealing Decision," October 1980]. I thought you might like to read what we put in our company publication about that same decision. Your article on piracy was also a very good one ["Pirate, Thief. Who Dares To Catch Him?" by Matthew Yuen, October 1980). We have a great deal of concern about that here at Intel and are looking at ways to minimize software piracy.
Roger S. Borovoy, Vice President, GeneralCounsel, and Secretary, Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, CA - V1N4
Intel's article came to much the same conclusion as Softalk's. It confirms that conclusion with a quote from the court of appeals in the JSdA/Data Cash case; "Statutory copyright limitations would continue to be available to the plaintiff (Data Cash) at any time the plaintiff decided to publish with [copyright] notice." The article also reveals that Mr. Borovoy filed a brief as a 'friend of the court"before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to support Intel's position that software ROM is copyrightable. Intel is the developer and a major manufacturer of microprocessor chips.
Softalk Response - V1N4
An interesting sidelight to the computer piracy game has resulted in people buying protected software for the challenge of breaking it. This concept may seem strange considering the price of software, but these people thrive on the most sophisticated protection schemes. To them, it is the ultimate "adventure game." I've met many Apple owners who have spent much more time breaking a game disk than they ever spent playing the game. And a good portion of these people purchased that disk. In some cases, particularly among the more addicted experts, friends will gladly loan them any program in exchange for an ion protected copy that they can use for trading purposes. Hence, the danger of widespread trading or piracy of a disk doesn't always lie with the person who breaks the disk, but with their loss of control once their friends obtain a copy. Unfortunately, the software protection business is a paradox. While coding a disk is like a lock, keeping honest people honest, the more sophisticated protection schemes on well-written software attract the best codebreakers. The only consolation to some software houses is that the quality of their programs doesn't interest the pirates or codebreakers.
Jeffrey Stanton, Venice, CA - V1N4
Your articles on software piracy were very much to the point. An alternative seen by some software producers is to include a piece of hardware in the product so that copies of the software will not run without the hardware. The hardware might not be needed except to prevent piracy, so this obviously increases the price of the software. This increased cost would be needless if it weren't for the piracy problem. Piracy is not confined to the microcomputer industry. Both the mainframe and minicomputer industries have been plagued by this problem. Their main solution has been to license the software rather than sell it, but this is not practical with the low cost of micro software. It's practical to take legal action against a corporation for a software package costing $1,000 or more per copy, but not against an individual for a package costing $100 or less. The best action is probably as you have started—educate the dealers. If they understand that they are hurting their future business by reducing the incentive for software development, and they in turn educate their customers in this regard, then the problem will be significantly reduced. Perhaps an industry standard warning form should be packed with each software package shipped, stressing these points rather than the legalities of the situation. Anyway, keep up the good work.
Dan Paymar, Durango, CO - V1N4