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Opry99er

Copyright stuff?

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So, let me start off by telling you a story.

 

20 years ago (roughly) my mother was interested in starting a software company, dealing primarily in Macintosh applications written in the HyperTalk scripting language.

 

She began working on a few small projects, learning the language and developing a style. She actually got very good at it, and put out a couple of programs that she sold for a few dollars a piece. The name of her 'company' was "SoftDock." (Kind of cool, if you ask me)... One program in particular was popular: The "SoftDock Personal Journal." It had hundreds (or less conservatively---thousands) of downloads, and was extremely popular during the days of Compuserve, etc. It was a graphic interactive journal/diary that was also capable of acting as a datebook and a calendar. Simply go back to whatever year you wanted, click on the date, and all your date book and diary/journal entry was available to read back on. You could enable password protection, and even change your background or color scheme any time you wanted to.

 

Pretty clever for the times, IMO... There wasn't much out there back then with all these elements included into one package.

 

 

Anyway, let's move it on up a bit. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Macintosh discontinued support of HyperCard, her Journal lost steam, and she stopped updating and uploading it. It was basically forgotten, and became a very cool part of our little family history.

 

Fast Forward to yesterday. I was searching online for any information on mom's old software... out of nostalgia or curiosity, I Googled 'SoftDock Diary' and found exactly what I was looking for!

 

softdockpjbox.gif

 

softdockpersonal.gif

 

 

http://www.tucows.com/preview/204905/SoftDock-Personal-Journal

 

 

 

Only thing that sort of concerned me... was they are SELLING mom's diary/journal for $18.95 a pop!

 

It has had at least SOME downloads (I cannot see how many) and receives a 5 out of 5 rating from the downloaders.

 

 

 

My question is, are there any rights involved here? I know it has been almost 15 years since she even used the Journal or had anything to do with its preservation or advancement, but someone's selling her product for $18.95 a pop!

 

 

I know this isn't a huge deal to most folks... it is only moderately interesting to her (she was happy to see it when we found it online)... But it seems to me that for a company to be selling software with her name on it, shouldn't she at least be getting a bump from it?

 

It is extremely outdated, yes. It is old legacy software from the OS7/OS8 days. But man... if someone's making almost $20 per download from mom's software, I'd think she should at LEAST get a bit of kickback.... no?

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I just found her original post to members.aol.com with info on the download of a demo and info for ordering the full version from her.

 

 

 

 

 

SoftDock Journal Demo

  • Info-Mac
    •  

      Journaling offers you the opportunity to capture your thoughts in writing.
      SoftDock Journal provides a unique and creative program for recording and
      storing those thoughts on your computer.

       

      This personal journal has four graphic background options all included in the
      program. Designed for elegance and simplicity. Includes, password option,
      export text, search feature for key words or date.

       

      Demo limitations--2 background options and a five day journal entry limit.

       

      System Requirements:

      Macintosh Computer, System 7.1 or higher
      2.5 MB of free RAM
      4 MB of free disk space

       

      Color monitor capable of thousands of colors (16 bit color)

      (demo only requires 2MB of free disk space)

      To learn more about this journal or to order the full version, visit my
      website.

      http://members.aol.com/SoftDock/

      Thank you,

      Tina Brand
      SoftDock

Edited by Opry99er
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If it reuses your mothers code than its a copyright violation. If its rewritten with original code but does the same thing it doesn't necessarily infringe on any rights. I assume a trademark on the name has not been maintained.

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Yeah, if it's her software then it's a clearcut case of copyright infringement. The problem is it sounds like your mom doesn't care to have it taken down, and she's the one holding the copyright.

 

You could reach out to to them to try and get her portion of sales, but would you trust the accounting of these people?

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A friend of mine released a program for free and some sleazy individual hacked the file to have their name and started selling it.
They do this over and over with hundreds of programs. The reason they get away with it is because nobody goes after them.

*edit*
The question I have is, is that just the demo version your mom released and they are saying the full version is that price from the manufacturer?

Edited by JamesD

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Just like mom's setup, the demo is free, the full version is $$$$.

 

I think mom's price for the full version was only $6.99 or so.

 

And I'm sure her name is still on the title card as well, if I coule get Hypercard programs to run on my PC, I'd DL the demo and tell ya.

Edited by Opry99er

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Interesting...

 

I don't think she minds that it is being used... Matter of fact she is flattered. But she did make the comment that it was kind of shi*ty that someone is selling her software and making money off it.

 

I don't know. Just seems kind of crap to me.

 

Her name and 'SoftDock' are ingrained in the code, so unless there's a HyperTalk/Hypercard wiz out there wanting to go through and strategically remove all that, it is there. I cannot imagine there is any reason for anyone to go through that kind of effort for a 20 year old application for an OS that is no longer supported.

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Considering reaching out to Tucows... Asking them if they do, indeed, have the full program.

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Considering reaching out to Tucows... Asking them if they do, indeed, have the full program.

Good idea. My guess is that its with a third party and that's where the money goes. Tucows would probably take the listing down if you ask. I don't know much about Macs and emulation but you can always try downloading the demo, running it, and see what it says.

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People will do whatever they want until public outrage and/or lawyers get involved.

 

I guess it's up to y'all if you want to make this a business again.

 

Step one: Go through the process that'll get ignored.

Step two: get a lawyer.

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Honestly, I would just like to have a free copy of mom's Diary and I would like for them to either stop selling it, or give her a kick back. That's all.

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Why would anyone charge $20 for a 20 year old program? Why would anyone pay $20 for a 20 year old program?

 

None of this makes much sense to me. I find it hard to believe that anyone makes money this way.

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Why would anyone charge $20 for a 20 year old program? Why would anyone pay $20 for a 20 year old program?

 

None of this makes much sense to me. I find it hard to believe that anyone makes money this way.

 

Low hanging fruit. If even one person is gullible enough to believe they are supporting his Mom and that piece of software.. all they had to do is offer up her work and wait. Easy money. No effort - an occasional return.

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Yea, it doesn't make any sense to us either.

 

But if the full version of this software exists, I must have it... If for no other reason, to archive it for family history.

 

I would love to pay mom $100 for her program... But I dont want to pay anyone else a dime.

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You can always bring a suit in small claims court -- or the equivalent in your jurisdiction. Normally, parties there are self-represented. Assuming that the defendants are not located in the same state, you will very probably receive a default judgement against them. Whether you can actually collect anything on it is another matter entirely. Establishing damages (i.e. how much money have you lost) may also be a challenge.

 

On the other hand, there is the cost of filing fees plus whatever you value your time at for however many hours the process takes. Is it worth it to you for what may be no actual financial return; just a moral victory?

 

 

Your Mother's program does seem very useful. It's unfortunate that it never made the leap to a newer OS.

Edited by jhd

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Oh, now there are probably hundreds of built in iOS apps that do the same thing... But that isnt really the point, is it?

 

Matter of fact, you have to have HyperCard player installed on your computer to even use her software, and that's a chore in itself.

 

It is not worth lawyers I don't think... Just a bothersome little story I wanted to share...

 

I am saddened that they have been selling her program for years with no return for the author.

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I will assume they sell a tiny quantity of the program, but they have hundreds of programs in the arsenal. And they sales add up that way. One day it's this program, then the next day it's that program..

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Now that I have a valid OS9 computer with HyperCard installed, I have revisited this and inquired further with my mother about her distribution package.

 

According to her, the Demo she released was a "locked" final version...meaning that It was only one download, and a script was eMailed out to the consumer which would unlock the full version.

 

She said that she could not remember the code for unlocking the program, but that anyone who knew the HyperCard "language" could fairly easily use the editor to decipher the method for unlocking it.

 

I have not tried yet.

 

 

Any HyperCard gurus out there? :)

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An interesting development in this story... I am trying to get my dads 8 year old MacPro up and running with WiFi. I bought the recommended dongle and cannot get it up and running. His DVD player is broken, so the install software is useless. I downloaded the proper software from the internet on my PC and took it over to his computer to install it. No dice. It runs through the install procedure up until you hit *Start Install*, but that button is greyed out and you cant click it.

 

I started going through his computer to try and find the Utilities folder to try emptying some caches, adjusting settings, etc., and realized that there were 8 (EIGHT!!!) Utilities folders on his computer! A Mac should only have one.

 

I looked at the dates on the folders and there were some dating back to 1995! Apparently, every time dad would buy a new computer, he just dumped the old hard drive into his new hard drive and went on about his merry way.

 

I never got the WiFi dongle to work because OSX is dumb and Id rather chew on broken glass than use it.

 

But thats not the important part of this story. Digging through all the thousands and thousands of old files, I found a single file about 5 hard drive folders deep entitled *Journal*. Inside that folder was a HyperCard application called *SoftDock Journal*. :)

 

Of course I cannot open it, since Macintosh stupidly stopped supporting HyperCard back in 2004, but it is there... I do not have an OS9 Mac in working order currently, so I cannot run the program, but I intend on setting up an emulator on my PC in the next several days to try it out. My fear is that it is the distribution version (the locked version like I already have) or that it is password protected and mom wont temember her password. But there is one chance left to recover this software, and I am excited about the possibility. I might try it Saturday night after the CTIUG meeting. :)

 

Ill update here if all goes well.

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I grabbed it from tucows. No charge to d/l or "buy" speel. ResEdit found the word to open the new password dialog and I was in. You need the password every time you run it. It's hypercard-based, but is a standalone program. I couldn't open it using Hypercard 2.4.1. Opened fine under Classic on a G4 ppc Powerbook.

 

Nice graphics, but I'm not a diary type. Very-polished-looking! (Chicks dig that) Myself, I like Datebook better since it shows a week's worth of entries or a 6-month calendar on one screen. I used it as a weather log for a decade when I was heavy into gardening and still refer back to it.

-Ed

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Dad's MacPro doesn't have Airport built-in? I used the "Assist me" button in the Network pref pane and it set it all up.

-Ed

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Just a few old Mac tips:

 

You need to "bless" the System Folder from which you want to boot. Some Macs only boot certain software versions, as you're seeing. So you probably don't want to mess with that aspect of it.

 

Copying the old HD to the new one isn't "best practice" but we all did it. Multiple Utilities folders are harmless and they're probably all a little different inside.

 

Emulation of old Macs is easy and probably more effective than coaxing the old Mac to run older incompatible software. Look for Mini Vmac.

 

OSX is not "stupid," but that comment was. :shock:

 

Good luck getting to the end of the mystery. Tucows never struck me as particularly principled but it would be nice if they did the right thing.

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