Abandonware

May 21, 2006

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I hold onto old software, especially when I used it to create music. I have on old IBM PC-AT with tons of Sequence Plus files on it that I am holding onto until I can figure out how to get them off that old hard drive. As a publisher, I have many files that composers send me that use dead software. I learned a new term today: “abandonware” meaning the company that made the software went out of business or the product is no longer sold or supported. I found the following explanation helpful:

“Abandonware” is still protected by copyright — there is a series of hearings and testimony is being taken by the copyright office concerning such things as how to handle the copyright issues, how much of a search is sufficient to protect an individual should he/she use copyrighted materials without permission. The copyright office is aware of the problem and is trying to sort it out, but under the law, the full copyright still is in effect even for what is apparently abandonware. Of course, it may not be abandonware at all, it may just be dormantware, which is something that may rise out of the ashes of its former existence.

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