Legality Question: SoundJam MP

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by dpaanlka, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #1
    So some of you here may know me as the webmaster of a certain web site with old software for a certain OS. I of course pride myself on keeping my site legal (I've already had numerous requests to "provide" copies of Adobe Photoshop and stuff like that for OS 7 on my site).

    Anyway...

    SoundJam MP (the one you used to have to pay for) is by far the best MP3 player for Mac OS 7. It is the software that Apple eventually purchased, and then made free under the name iTunes.

    Since iTunes is now free, and has been since like 2000, and SoundJam doesn't even exist anymore, what is the legality of posting a version circa 1999-ish?

    Same question I suppose applies to other software, such as older versions of Opera which had to be paid for, even though Opera is now free. I suppose I should ask about SpeedDoubler 8 as well, which doesn't exist in any version anymore, and I believe Microsoft only bought the rights to Virtual PC, not to the entire Connectix line, and Connectix itself now doesn't exist.
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    Non availability on the commercial market does not make a program public domain. Neither does bankruptcy or disappearance of the original writer. The code is still an intellectual property that the copyright owners (or their creditors, or their estate) may sell or license in the future.

    The only time an old program becomes public or open is if the owner specifically grants a public license.
     
  3. dpaanlka thread starter macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #3
    Ok...

    So now that Apple, who owns iTunes (ex SoundJam) and Opera have released their products for free, shouldn't that mean the old versions of the same program can be distributed freely as well?

    Or, perhaps a better question is, how safe would I be in doing so? Would Apple really care if I posted SoundJam MP for free?

    EDIT: Do you think they'll send me a famous cease and disest? Same for Opera 5?
     
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #4
    What has Apple released? iTunes. What is free? iTunes. Does it make the other product free? No. You have no way of knowing the terms and conditions of the agreement with the original owner.

    Repeating mysef: A program becomes freely distributable if, and only if, the owner of the program makes THAT PROGRAM (that specific code) explicitly distributable.
     
  5. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #5
    Apple probably own the older program too now, so maybe you could write them and ask permission? The worst they can do is say no.

    You might try to find someone appropriate in their PR department and see what they have to say.
     
  6. cjohns macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    #6
    I agree. It doesn't hurt to ask. As a Newton user, we run into this question all the time. Some of the software authors release the software for nothing more than a friendly email, others ask that the software only be distributed through the Newton library at UNNA. The legal position is clear. The software is not available for free distribution just because the company has gone out of business or because the hardware hasn't been made or supported for years. Sorry as I know you were hoping for a different answer.:mad:
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #7
    There was a version called SoundJam MP Free (or something like that) which as the name implies was feely distributed. I imagine that it would be legal to download it still, though I'm not sure what restrictions you'd be under in terms of uploading it to your website.

    It was a stripped down version of SoundJam which could not rip/convert or interface with MP3 players. You could still make playlists and use the visualizer etc...
     
  8. cjohns macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    #8
    In its day, soundjam was a wonderful program. I still use a paid copy on my powerbook 1400 on the rare occasions that I take it off the shelf. It's the only way I can get music onto my old sony walkman (which I also rarely use now). I mostly use the powerbook 1400 with my newton. Anyway, for the Mac, Soundjam was the granddaddy of MP3, easy to use, easy to understand, a great start for what we now call itunes. I don't know anything about the free version but you could try a google search.
     
  9. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #10
    My experience with software that Apple has bought but doesn't distribute any more has been mixed.

    Apple has the rights to Caffeine Software's products... I've gotten permission to distribute (both software and license string) TIFFany II for OPENSTEP and NEXTSTEP. I can provide copies of PixelNhance for OPENSTEP, Rhapsody and Mac OS X (it was always free anyways), and I have permission to mirror the disk image of all the final versions of Caffeine Software... but the license string is not available for TIFFany3 (even the versions for OPENSTEP and Rhapsody) because Apple doesn't want them made available yet (though you can still buy it here if you really want it).

    Of course I don't deal directly with Apple on this, I go through the original developer who has told me what I can (and can't) provide on my site.


    For software that was originally free to begin with, I still make a full effort to contact the original developers first. In the case of Chronographer I got permission to not only provide the software, but also to mirror the original site. In the case of Create (which is still for sale here) I was given permission to put up the full online manual for version 5 (which the Stone Design site links to). And in the case of Resound, I was told I could mirror the software (and put up a review page), but to point people back at the original site for documentation (I'm still working on that page).

    It all seems to depend on the developers and what they are still doing with their software. Each developer is a little different about this sort of stuff.
     

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