An ethical question
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Thread: An ethical question

  1. #1
    Charter Member 2016
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Niagara Falls, NY, USA

    An ethical question

    If fellow flight-simmers share aircraft and/or scenery that is no longer available from payware sites, but has not been officially released as freeware, does this violate the SOH ethic of supporting designers and companies that provide the flight simulation community with quality products? I mean, these guys' profit margin is slim enough to begin with, but you can't pay for what you can't buy. Discuss among yourselves.

    "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

    -William Munny
    Unforgiven (1992)

  2. #2
    A long out of print book is sold at a second-hand book store. Sold, not given away.
    If I buy a book, and give it to a friend as a gift, is that wrong? Is any bought item given away as a gift then wrong? Yet, if its a bundle of ones and zero's, that turns it into an 'act of piracy'.
    The company is gone, usually, the item is not available- a program, a book, an old model kit; you are not profiting, and conserving a body of work otherwise lost. And yet, whole industries make their living selling things that somebody else made and sold.
    I get the same thing with converting public domain-that's what 'freeware release' is-models to latter sims for conservation purposes. Some 'developers' are particularly venomous if they feel you might be somehow 'wobbling' their rice bowl. I'm not profiting, I work at a total loss, in fact. But the body of work is conserved. There is a lot of silliness at times in the electronic world.
    You decide.

  3. #3
    I have wondered about this thought numerous times, Here's my take: A flight sim developer produces models as payware for a particular sim. Said models are very well produced, offer a lot of realism and detail in the sim, and become very popular, being purchased and enjoyed amongst fellow simmers. Artists produce paints for these payware gems and the story goes on... But then, the budding developer for whatever reason closes up shop, and takes with it, all of the payware he has produced off the "shelf". This leaves nothing more than a plethora of repaints, maybe a few mods to the FDE or contact points, as free to the public domain. The only ones who can enjoy the additions to the payware items in question are the ones who initially purchased the product. Well, that's it. The developer, or in this case "the owner" of those ones and zeros has the right to say, "These files are payware and are to be treated as such, all copyrights apply". Hence sharing amongst members of the FS community of said files would in fact be an act of piracy.
    BUT... There is a fine line between the above statements, which seem to be the absolute... and the realization of the fact that although the models in question are still "payware", the former developer isn't profiting one iota if he's closed up shop. So unless his models are being sold by a 3rd party flight sim payware site, "no one wins". So why not release them as freeware, (case and point: Alphasim/Virtavia's older payware, and even some newer ones), for all to enjoy? in a way, I think it's a bit on the selfish side. Just my 2 bits... Still, sharing of said files despite being for a sim that's maybe 10 years old, or even older is a tough judgment call though.

    "El gato que camina como hombre" -- The cat that walks like a man

  4. #4
    The term for this is "abandonware," and according to the letter of US copyright laws, you still need a written release from the original copyright owner to distribute it.

  5. #5
    The good question is : "who will complain or prosecute you if you do so ?"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Roxane-21 View Post
    The good question is : "who will complain or prosecute you if you do so ?"
    Plenty of greedy hungry lawyers here in the US. They advertise on the TV and radio all the time. If there's a buck in it for them...
    Expect banging, belching and an occasional manly fart as you roar down the runway at full power. (I have found that the engine can make similar noises)

  7. #7
    The answer to the question is in the original ELUA distributed with the software.

    In some locations legally you have the right to resell software you bought 1 time. For instance if you bought CFS3 and read the ELUA (that accompanied it years ago when I read it). I as the original purchaser of the software had the right to sell it to someone else as long as I did not retain a copy for myself. That person who bought the software from me was legally not allowed to sell the product to anyone else.

    I found this item in the ELUA to be strange so I looked it up and it was based on a law in the US.

    Note that while you might still be able to resell software legally in that fashion you cannot share or sell an activation code.

    So the answer is if the ELUA produced by the original developer is not violated then it can be discussed.

    At no time to we support violating anyone's ELUA no matter how unreasonable we might think it is.

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