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Who Owns Source Code When a Company Folds?

Cliff posted about 11 years ago | from the tough-questions-with-little-in-the-way-of-answers dept.

Software 490

pipeb0mb asks: "A few years ago, I worked for Chilliware, Inc. as the 'Technical Development Manager'. Some of you may remember us for the software iceSculptor, Mohawk and Mentor. Chilliware folded rather quickly and harshly back in May of 2001 due to money issues. Within days of the first layoff, everyone was gone, from the CEO and VP's to the receptionist. Now, years later, I've been digging through some old CDs, and am reminded that I still have the final production source code for the products we released in the retail channel. I've attempted to contact several folks over the past couple of years to gather information about the software and who owns it now. To no avail though. Either I get an 'I don't know' or 'No one' from the dis-interested parties. I feel like these programs are my children that never got a fair shot. I hate to see so much work wasted and lost to the ages. So, Slashdot: What do I do with this source code? It's a great deal of well commented and well written code, performed by over 100 developers in a former Soviet Republic (who formerly worked with Boomerang Software). Where do my binary children go now?" As things are now, if a company folds, the code is buried and forgotten unless someone buys the rights to it, before the source code is lost. This issue was discussed a long time ago and there didn't seem to be much in the way of answers. Have 3 years made any difference?

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Open for business. (-1)

(TK)Max (668795) | about 11 years ago | (#6619728)

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Do you want a blunt object up your rectum? (-1, Offtopic)

(TK14)Dessimat0r (672420) | about 11 years ago | (#6619729)

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Goatse Goatse (-1, Offtopic)

mao che minh (611166) | about 11 years ago | (#6619730)

LOL GOATSE

This fp brought to you by Troll Tuesday.

Re:Goatse Goatse (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619827)

Whoops, looks like somebody forgot to check "Post anonymously" .... heck, you even used your subscriber bonus ... LOL ... you are so stupid man ... there goes your +2 bonus ...

dickhead !!!!!!

Not to mention the fact that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619922)

HE FUCKING FAILED IT!

Re:Goatse Goatse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619969)

being logged in was intentional. fool.

Re:Goatse Goatse (-1, Flamebait)

mao che minh (611166) | about 11 years ago | (#6620019)

No buddy, it's Troll Tuesday! My name is mao che minh! I am a subscriber! HAHA! You fuck flap!

GNAA! (-1, Troll)

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Curabitur id augue sed nulla accumsan sollicitudin. Nam ornare justo vitae ante. Donec ligula. Donec felis augue, lacinia ut, vestibulum sit amet, ultricies vestibulum, dolor. Nunc nec nisl. Phasellus blandit tempor augue. Donec arcu orci, adipiscing ac, interdum a, tempus nec, enim. Phasellus placerat iaculis orci. Cras sit amet quam. Sed enim quam, porta quis, aliquet quis, hendrerit ut, sem. Etiam felis tellus, suscipit et, consequat quis, pharetra sit amet, nisl. Aenean arcu massa, lacinia in, dictum eu, pulvinar ac, orci. Mauris at diam tempor ante ullamcorper molestie. Ut dapibus eleifend ipsum. Nam dignissim. Donec eContrary to popular belief, Lipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. 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Nulla sed sapien et wisi condimentum feugiat. Curabitur id augue sed nulla accumsan sollicitudin. Nam ornare justo vitae ante. Donec ligula. Donec felis augue, lacinia ut, vestibulum sit amet, ultricies vestibulum, dolor. Nunc nec nisl. Phasellus blandit tempor augue. Donec arcu orci, adipiscing ac, interdum a, tempus nec, enim. Phasellus placerat iaculis orci. Cras sit amet quam. Sed enim quam, porta quis, aliquet quis, hendrerit ut, sem. Etiam felis tellus, suscipit et, consequat quis, pharetra sit amet, nisl. Aenean arcu massa, lacinia in, dictum eu, pulvinar ac, orci. Mauris at diam tempor ante ullamcorper molestie. Ut dapibus eleifend ipsum. Nam dignissim. onec eget libero. Nullam tincidunt mauris et nibh. Phasellus tempus fermentum diam. Morbi at mauris dapibus lacus malesuada molestie. Morbi vehicula, elit quis posuere mattis, arcu tellus ultrices ante, sit amet rhoncus dolor neque eget lacus. Integer in odio. Ut malesuada mi et nibh. Vestibulum wisi justo, vestibulum a, pretium sit amet, euismod a, augue. Aliquam vitae nisl eu metus dignissim eleifend. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Praesent faucibus tempor tortor. Suspendisse dignissim eleifend dui. Duis adipiscing tellus at nulla. Vivamus mollis, dolor sit amet ornare egestas, risus augue mollis lorem, eget tempus augue augue in libero. Sed tincidunt vestibulum ligula. Vestibulum ut libero eu erat sagittis nonummy. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Sed ut libero. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Cras convallis urna sed enim. Nullam tortor ante, consectetuer eget, nonummy eu, congue a, metus. Mauris ante. Nulla sed sapien et wisi condimentum feugiat. Curabitur id augue sed nulla accumsan sollicitudin. Nam ornare justo vitae ante. Donec ligula. Donec felis augue, lacinia ut, vestibulum sit amet, ultricies vestibulum, dolor. Nunc nec nisl. Phasellus blandit tempor augue. 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Re:GNAA! (-1)

(TK)Max (668795) | about 11 years ago | (#6619795)

Too slow, you piece of bitch-shit.

Re:GNAA! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619883)

I wasnt trying to get first post, you lame wannabee trolls. Notice the lack of "First Post" in my subject, dubmass.

TrollKore is teh ghey

Re:GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619994)

Notice the lack of "First Post" in ours, you cock-gobbler. Real class shines trough the cloud of shit you leave in your wake. Your slowness only embarrasses you further. How can you call us 'wannabees'? You are the one who merely regurgitates the same mindless propaganda over and over again. Fuck off and learn to write in proper English, then come back to us with some content and originality - then we will take the piss out of you as an equal, you knob-jockey.

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Re:GNAA! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620061)

Again, I must stress that I was not trying to get first post, or even early post, you shit infested hippie.

Your lame attempts at trolling are the worst in Slashdot history and will be remembered as such, you sucky TrollKore wankers.

Re:GNAA! (-1, Troll)

(TK13)Dessimat0r (672419) | about 11 years ago | (#6620115)

"Wanabee trolls?" Our organisation has been established far longer than yours. However, your organisation reached its peak with its first post, and is now a diseased mule, waiting to be shot by it's owner. Your laughable attempt at a trolling organisation has required me to have brain surgery from a cancer than developed in my mind when I was browsing your posts - the cancer spread when I looked at even more. At that point, I was placed in a coma and rushed to insensive care, where I had my organs removed in a dire struggle to save my life. Upon looking at my pus-infected bladder upon waking, I saw GNAA written on it, and my knob exploded in a foreskin of cum.

Re:GNAA! (-1, Troll)

(TK14)Dessimat0r (672420) | about 11 years ago | (#6619836)

My cock can post faster than you can, every key has to be masturbated in order to spell out sentences.

Lawyers (5, Informative)

aridhol (112307) | about 11 years ago | (#6619734)

Do you know who was the corporate counsel for the company? If so, have your lawyer contact them. If not, your lawyer may be able to discover who it was. Also, your lawyer may already know the answer, or be able to get in touch with someone who does.

In short, contact a lawyer

Could'nt resist (0, Redundant)

kp833 (608343) | about 11 years ago | (#6619798)

performed by over 100 developers in a former Soviet Republic
In soviet russia.... software owns YOU!

Re:Lawyers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619884)

"This code belongs to SCO!"
-- the SCO Minster of FUD

creditors and dead code (5, Informative)

siskbc (598067) | about 11 years ago | (#6619978)

Do you know who was the corporate counsel for the company? If so, have your lawyer contact them. If not, your lawyer may be able to discover who it was. Also, your lawyer may already know the answer, or be able to get in touch with someone who does.

You are of course correct. Again, asking /. for legal advice isn't sound advice. However, I'll tell you what would happen, basically. If you tell that lawyer you have something from this company of value, it should technically belong to the company's creditors - I assume it went out of business for a reason, correct?

What will likely happen is that the lawyers for that company won't be interested in developing the software - but they'll be damned if they'll just give it to you and see you do something with it of value. Likely, they'll tell you to fork over the code and decide to archive it in case anyone wants to screw with it. No one likely will.

There are basically three options you have. The first two certainly involve getting a lawyer.

1. Buy it from them. Problem there is that they will not know how to attach a value on it, so they will pick an arbitrarily high one. Remember, if no deal is struck, they get it back once you admit to having it. They also don't want to get fired when they sell it to you for too little. Not reaching a deal won't get them fired, and burning the code is probably best for them.

2. License it from them. Give them some money up front and a cut of whatever you get. This will cut your upfront costs, but they will likely want a huge cut. However, they won't be as afraid, at least, since they get more money if you do. Nobody looks too bad.

3. Pretend you don't have it, and do a "dirty room" re-write of it. Effectively plagiarize it and assume that anyone else involved with it won't remember, won't notice, etc. Then, if you do anything of value with it, worst case scenario is they sue you, you settle, everyone's happy. Bet you wish you hadn't posted this now, huh?

The problem is that, as the article poster mentions, this is a software dead-end, and it's very hard to revive dead code. The current owners don't want to look like idiots when they get pennies for valuable code that they didn't correctly value. They'd rather bury it, which is your problem now.

Note that this is not to be construed as actual legal advice. You'd have to be an idiot to listen to me, particularly since option 3) is pretty illegal. ;)

Re:creditors and dead code (4, Funny)

micromoog (206608) | about 11 years ago | (#6620041)

  • 4. Just go ahead and give the code to SCO, since they own it anyway and have all along.

The correct answer is, of course... (5, Informative)

Walter Wart (181556) | about 11 years ago | (#6619758)

... "ask a lawyer".

But failing that, try to find the principals of the company, the original owners. They owned the assets of the firm. If they don't want it try to get a "whatever, do what you want with it" from them before you try to sell or publish it.

Re:The correct answer is, of course... (1)

lannocc (568669) | about 11 years ago | (#6619948)

Make sure that's a written "whatever, do what you want with it". Probably should be witnessed too. And notorized?

Duh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619761)

If you have a half a brain, the code is in an escrow. Of course, I dont know how you greasy pimply open sores sweathogs do it. Who the hell would want your bug-ridden code anyway?

You don't (3, Funny)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | about 11 years ago | (#6619769)

I would imagine SCO have already registered a Copyright and will be contacting you shortly to save you from unwittingly using someone elses intellectual property. Either that or the creditors.

Were their assets bought? (2, Insightful)

Stone316 (629009) | about 11 years ago | (#6619772)

Most likely i'd say their assets were bought by someone, if the software was any good that is. I'm sure there are alot of companies out there keeping their eye's open for bargins.

Check old news releases from competitors, etc.

Re:Were their assets bought? (2, Funny)

TheViffer (128272) | about 11 years ago | (#6619967)

their assets were bought by someone, if the software was any good that is.

And if not, the code just goes into public domain.

Cool! Looks like we all are going to have a copy of SCO source code in a year!

Like with BeOS (3, Interesting)

zephc (225327) | about 11 years ago | (#6619777)

Be folded, and I guess sold its IP to Palm, but sold the source code to the yellowTAB guys, which was absolutely the right move. Palm is sitting on their hands (pardon the pun) about using any Be IP, but the yTAB guys are hard at work on the next version of BeOS, now called Zeta. Check it out [yellowtab.com] .

BeOS sourcecode and Yellowtab (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619839)

They didn't sell their code to YellowTab.

YT has a license to use the code until 2005 or something (and that doesn't seem to include the kernel as they havn't announced any of the bugfixes the BeOS community has been longing for).

Re:BeOS sourcecode and Yellowtab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619888)

ah, okay. That would also explain why I recall seeing somewhere on their site about wanting to replace all the internals with parts from OpenBEOS over the course of development.

Panasexual (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619781)

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a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a
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g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>_\___|_____o
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>_|__/_____a
t_______/\_|___C_____)/_MADE\_(_____>_|_/_______t
s______/_/\|___C_____)__WITH |__(___>_/__\______s
e_____|___(____C_____)__A MAC/__//__/_/_____\___e
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o
a___|_____________|____/__MY___\__\___________|_a
t___|__________/_/____|__KARMA__|__\___________|t
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*


I then began to rub my pink tongue around the pans handle, tongue tickling it. I started moving my mouth over it, sliding the pan in and out, Making it wet with my saliva, motioning my tongue in circles around it. I slid it deeper in, consuming every bit I could, faster and deeper. Sucking so hard, as my head bobbed back and forth. I could feel it rumble with excitment. If pans have orgasms, it was having one. I mouth fucked it 'till it finished its massive orgasm.

I knew it wanted to please me. I managed my underwear over my huge unit. It went directly to my anus, smoothing it's saliva ridden handle over it, lubing it up for penetration. It went in gently at first, a little bit at a time, a little further each shove. I started lightly moaning. It kept shoving, moving with more force, and speed. I started groaning a bit, I wanted all of it in me. It started getting quite powerful, and my anus finally gave way, and swallowed it whole. I rode it out, groaning louder, with each push. It felt so good, I knew I was close to orgasm, I could feel my balls tremble with delight. But, without notice, it pulled out. I groaned, trying to pull it back in, still wanting to feel the pleasure. But it insisted on going around front.

It smoothed itself around my massive manhood, bouncing it up and down. It was rubbing the cock head now, soaking it with its' juices. Jerking me at a wonderfully slow pace, that made me cringe with sensation. It was now Jerking me faster, up and down, left and right, all around. Moving me so fast, my balls ached as they bounced against the pan. I moved with it's speedy motion, groaning loudly, and moving my head back, in sexual glory. I was ready to blow, and then it happened. As I let out one loud grunt, streams of cum shot out, dripping down the pan. It jerked me until every hot, creamy shot, was out. It was over, I had lived my fantasy.

[ Reply to This [nero-online.org] ]

  • Sorry about this [nero-online.org] by Michael (Score:4) Tuesday Jul 08, @03:02AM
185 replies [nero-online.org] beneath your current threshold.

Who owns the code? (5, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#6619788)

I do.

I will license it to you for 699 dollars.

Go away, Darl (3, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 11 years ago | (#6620033)

He didn't say it was Linux code.

Did someone... (2, Interesting)

BJZQ8 (644168) | about 11 years ago | (#6619789)

Did someone purchase the assets of the company? If so obviously they own it...if it was a fire-sale type of thing and nothing really changed hands, I don't see how a non-existant owner could sue you for making it public-domain or even using it yourself.

How to find out who owns the code. (5, Funny)

pclinger (114364) | about 11 years ago | (#6619791)

Post it online, wait to get sued.

Re:How to find out who owns the code. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619879)

Better yet:
Post it online in co-workers name, wait until co-worker get sued.

Re:How to find out who owns the code. (1)

kmac06 (608921) | about 11 years ago | (#6619984)

Hahahaha

One of the funniest things I've heard on /. for a long time

Re:How to find out who owns the code. (1)

TheViffer (128272) | about 11 years ago | (#6620044)

One of the funniest things I've heard on /. for a long time

And WTF do you consider a long time?

3 hours?

SCO say's show me the money [slashdot.org]

It has to be said ... (5, Funny)

Greedo (304385) | about 11 years ago | (#6619794)

It's a great deal of well commented and well written code, performed by over 100 developers in a former Soviet Republic ...

Well, we all know that in Soviet Russia, source code owns YOU. So maybe you should ask IT.

In my experience... (4, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 11 years ago | (#6619796)

IANAL

That really depends on the definition of "folds". Some examples from my
experience...

1. Company simply stops operating.

In that case the company itself may still exist (in fact if you go to
the web site of the Secretary of State for your state you may be able
to determine if the company is still "active" in which case someone's
filing simple forms on the company each year). In that case the
company (and by extension the shareholders) own the code.

In this case you might find that the owners, who probably have little
interest in the company, and acquire the rights for a small fee.

2. Company is bought outright by another company

This one's pretty simple, the new company probably bought all the
assets of the old company and that would include the copyright on the
source code.

3. Company's assets a bought but company remains alive

This can happen when a company gets into serious trouble, as happened
with many boom companies, and is effectively worth nothing because
there are no customers. The remaining assets (e.g. physical stuff
and copyrights) sometimes get acquired by another company for a small
fee. This happened to me, and in that case the new company acquired
the assets and got the source code.

4. Company goes bankrupt

If the company owes money to people then all its assets are going to
get valued, and that will include the source code, and who gets them
will probably be in the hands of a court. In this instance see what
happened in the bankruptcy clean up.

In the case of venture backed companies there might be specific
clauses in the investment that state what happens if the company goes
under and the VCs may end up with the code.

John.

Re:In my experience... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619940)

IINAL, but I've been through this as well, and am currently attempting to acquire some source code in a similar state.

Since I was a founder of a company that went under, usually what happens if the company just "goes bankrupt" is that they do NOT go "bankrupt," as that implies that it's seeking legal protection from its creditors. Rather, it undergoes a voluntary liquidation.

During a liquidation, all "assets" are divided up amongst the shareholders of the corporation in some way that seems fair to the shareholders based on their share classes. In our case, the Series B investors (who had preferred stock) chose to give a kick-back to the Series A investors (who had preferred stock, but not as preferred as Series B), out of good will, though they had no obligation to do so. However, and this is a kicker, this only works with fungible assets (such as stuff that can be sold).

If the source code was not sold before liquidation, meaning that it is not a fungible asset, then what happens is that rights to the IP get divided up amonst the shareholders of the corporation in a way appropriate with the corporate governance of the liquidation. In other words, if Series B investors got 80% of the loot, and Series A investors got 20% of the loot, then the exact same proportion happens with the rights to the source code.

So in order to get it, you essentially have to find everybody that has a proportional right to the source code if it's not been seized by someone in the liquidation, and convince them to give over their rights to it. This usually means finding every shareholder in the corporation, and figuring out who owns their stock. It's going to be really rough.

Mmmm mmmm, That's some good code! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619801)

"over 100 developers in a former Soviet Republic "

Yeah, right, we don't need you unleashing any more uncommented spaghetti code, written by vodka-addled psychotics, upon the unsuspecting public!

Reverted To Author? (5, Informative)

wo1verin3 (473094) | about 11 years ago | (#6619803)

The author of a Mac game called Glider [mac.com] worked for a company called Casady & Greene. He seems to believe that since the company went bankrupt, the rights have reverted back to him as the author.

I guess this would hold true so long as they didn't sell or assign the rights elsewhere.

Even then, regardless of the answer, you can still be taken to court and it will be up to a judge.

Re:Reverted To Author? (1)

cshark (673578) | about 11 years ago | (#6619961)

In this case (I am not a lawyer, don't take anything I say seriously), it looks like this glider game is public domain.

Re:Reverted To Author? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619977)

No, if a company goes bankrupt, the bankruptcy court divides all assets (including source code) among the creditors.

Re:Reverted To Author? (1)

cymen (8178) | about 11 years ago | (#6619990)

The Windows version he has on the page works on Windows XP (shh... I'm at work).

Re:Reverted To Author? (4, Informative)

Walker (96239) | about 11 years ago | (#6620072)

That is not an adequate example. C&G closed their doors before going bankrupt (they intentionally avoided bankruptcy). That allowed them to actively return the rights of all their software to the authors. Which they did.

This is not a general precedent. C&G were just nice guys to the end.

Re:Reverted To Author? (1)

cshotton (46965) | about 11 years ago | (#6620117)

Casady and Greene was simply a publisher. The rights to all the software they sold was (obviously) retained by the authors of their respective apps. C&G didn't develop the software they sold.

Who owns the source code? (4, Funny)

oZZoZZ (627043) | about 11 years ago | (#6619806)

Flip a coin

heads = SCO
tails = Microsoft

Re:Who owns the source code? (0)

Nick Fury (624480) | about 11 years ago | (#6620084)

What if it lands on its side? Does RMS own the code in this rare event? Or wait, is it even possible for him to own code? I swear I read somewhere in the GPL that he couldn't own code.

Find the liquidator (5, Informative)

daceaser (239083) | about 11 years ago | (#6619808)

I'd advise that you find out who was in charge of the liquidation of the company, and approach them. They would be in charge of the assets. See if they were sold on. If the liquidator still has possesion of them, offer a modest sum ($100 or something) to buy the rights to it off them. The liquidator will probably just pocket the money anyway.

If someone bought the rights when the company was liquidated, see if the liquidator will tell you who, and approach them.

school (4, Funny)

zumbojo (615389) | about 11 years ago | (#6619809)

"Where do my binary children go now?"

Either Binary District Elementary or Binary Memorial High School.

IANAL comments under here please (1, Redundant)

PseudoThink (576121) | about 11 years ago | (#6619811)

Oh man, any possibly useful answers to this interesting question are going to get buried by all the IANAL geeks willing to impart their pseudo-wisdom.

So how about this...if you ain't a lawyer or don't have accurate experience with the legal aspects of this sort of situation, post your IANAL comments under this thread!

Re:IANAL comments under here please (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | about 11 years ago | (#6620036)

I am a lawyer, but that won't stop giving misleading and ambiguous advice, I get paid well for it.

You will need to check the BK court records (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 11 years ago | (#6619813)

When a company goes BK, the creditors own everything and either divide the spoils or it gets liquidated at auction. Most likely someone bought the rights to the software for pennies on the dollar. You will need to check the records at the federal or state BK court where the action was filed. Since there may be service fees involved to search online, you may have to visit the court and search yourself.

first thing I thought of when I saw BK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620069)

BK's [shoesrama.com]

But then again, IANAL.

I would release it (0)

mandrakeroot (695250) | about 11 years ago | (#6619821)

First I would consult a lawyer, but If i were you and I wrote the code, I would definately release it as open source. There isnt a company anymore to sue you for Intellectual property violation!

Re:I would release it (2, Informative)

pipeb0mb (60758) | about 11 years ago | (#6619904)

This was my inital thought. I wouldn't consider selling it; it would be open source, as many of us felt it should have been in the first place.

Frankly, I'm in between jobs right now, and can't afford a lawyer for something like this, but am more than willing to make a few more phone calls and dig about for records.

Who owns it? (-1, Redundant)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | about 11 years ago | (#6619825)

"I've attempted to contact several folks over the past couple of years to gather information about the software and who owns it now. "

You're mistaken, your company never owned the code to begin with. So who owns it? SCO claims to, but they'll gladly license it to you for the Limited LOW LOW price of $699!

Retain an IP lawyer? (4, Insightful)

Bravo_Two_Zero (516479) | about 11 years ago | (#6619826)

I'm not suggesting this is cost-effective, but maybe it would pay to consult with an intellectual property lawyer? It's a cop-out answer, I know. But assets are normally liquidated from dead companies by the last holder of the company. Maybe it's a trivial venture to purchase the rights (via a foundation, new or existing) to the now-deceased company from the former owners? Someone has to still be holding the bag... even a VC.

maybe the owner is... (-1, Redundant)

bryam (449040) | about 11 years ago | (#6619835)

SCO

excuse the joke ;-)

Consider the source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619844)

As things are now, if a company folds, the code is buried and forgotten unless someone buys the rights to it, before the source code is lost. This issue was discussed a long time ago and there didn't seem to be much in the way of answers. Have 3 years made any difference?

People who seek legal advice on slashdot are almost as hopeless as the editors who give legal advice without being a member of a state bar.

Way to go, slashdot! A new low!

Re:Consider the source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619875)

What do you want, an award for noticing that slashdot is gay?

Well here it is.

====D

Who do you think? (1)

ihummel (154369) | about 11 years ago | (#6619854)

Who owns the code when a company folds? Why SCO of course! Don't they own everything?

You could release it as Open Source (1)

!Squalus (258239) | about 11 years ago | (#6619858)

If you owned it and no one is after it, check with liquidators first, then release it as GPL. People might like it them. How was it licensed anyway? Seems Chilliware made some Apache confgurator thingie too - but I don't remember much about that either. They came and went way too fast.

Re:You could release it as Open Source (1)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | about 11 years ago | (#6620091)

That's Chilisoft. They made software that enabled you to run .asps (etc..) on apache

Whoever bought the (dead) company's assets. (1)

Dawn Keyhotie (3145) | about 11 years ago | (#6619869)

IANAL, but whoever bought up the assets during the bankruptcy process now owns the source code, even if they don't have it in their possession. If YOU turned up with the source code, you would be compelled to turn it over, assuming that the new owner was keeping watch on the market.

However, it the company tanked so badly that there WAS no bankruptcy / asset sell-off, then you may be in the clear.

The best thing to do would be to hire an actual attorney in your jurisdiction and go from there.

Of course, you could just start marketing the products as your own and see what happens. But then you would always be waiting for that certified letter in the mail hauling you into court to seize all of your assets. Hmmm... which way to go? ;^)

Cheers!

ask the owners (3, Insightful)

UnderAttack (311872) | about 11 years ago | (#6619872)

Well, if a company seizes to exist, either due to bancrupcy, or it is just disolved, all assets are usually sold off. The source code was likely part of this. Now it may happen, that nobody bought it, and it got abandonded for anyone to pick up. But to make sure, you need to check with whoever took care of the company.

Re:ask the owners (1)

CormacJ (64984) | about 11 years ago | (#6619968)

Find out who the liquidators were, and offer them a price for the source code. Usually the creditors are happy enough to get any money at all, and an agreement can be reached.

On the other hand, if the creditors think that the source code is something that they want or can sell for a large profit then it will be harder for you to reach an agreement without costing you a lot of money.

If the source has already been sold them you will have to contact the current owner.

Really and truly abandoned? (1)

swb (14022) | about 11 years ago | (#6620049)

Let's say for argument's sake that the source code really and truly didn't get included in the liquidation, and wasn't included in some blanket "..and all other assets of value or works produced thereof.." statement.

Does ANYBODY own it at that point? Is it considered public domain? Can it be re-copyrighted?

I'd guess that most liquidations do include a statement like that above, just to prevent stuff from slipping through the cracks -- name all the nameable stuff, and then have a catch-all for everything else.

Not you (3, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | about 11 years ago | (#6619880)

Although you worked on it, you never owned the copyright. What makes you think you'd own it now, or that there isn't somebody out there with a legitimate claim to it? Use it at your own risk.

THE SLASHDOT TROLL HOWTO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619882)

This is version 0.6 of a troll HOWTO, sort of a companion piece to jsm's excellent troll FAQ. As a draft, comments and criticism are always welcome, if not appreciated :)
Section 1 - Trolling techniques

There are techniques used by successful trolls to elicit the maximum amount of responses from unthinking /.ers. This section is dedicated to explaining how to use these in the course of your trolls. Remember though, a great troll can break any or all of these and still be successful...

* Timing

Because you're posting as an AC, your troll will generally be ignored in favour of posters using their accounts, and so getting in early is essential. A good guideline is to get into the first 20 posts, so that people reading the article will see the troll before it is swamped out. One way of increasing the speed with which you get your troll into play is to prepare them beforehand, and then quickly customise them for the current article. This is easier than it sounds since /. typically repeats stories with small variations and runs lots of similar stories.

Note that this is why Jon Katz stories are pretty worthless as trolling material - by the time you've found the article and prepared a troll there's already 50+ posts on it, most of them flaming Jon Katz anyway :)
* Exposure

Once you've got your troll in, you need people to actually read it. You also want replies - /.ers are more likely to read your troll if it starts a large thread. You also want to remember that some people have set their comment thresholds to values higher than 0 - to get the attention of these you either want to get your post moderated up (see Style, below) or get a reply which gets moderated up to 4 or 5, in which case your troll becomes visible to all.
* Accounts

An alternative to the time-honoured tradition of AC trolling is that of creating a troll account. This gives you the advantage of posting at 1 rather than 0, and slashbots are more likely to take you seriously, especially if you at least sound reasonable. If you do this, try to avoid posting stuff where it is obvious you're a troll under the account - post it anoymously instead - some slightly more canny readers actually check your user info before they reply. Not many though :)

The ultimate goal of the troll account is to secure the +1 bonus, which is currently received once you hit 26 points of Karma. To get there, employ the techniques of karma whoring that we see every day on /. and watch the karma roll in. And of course once you get the +1 bonus, the world is your oyster in terms of /. Posts made at a default of 2 hit even those people with the threshold of 2, are more likely to get moderated up even further if they are at all coherent, and people tend to lose their critical thinking abilities in the face of the +1 bonus. Milk it for all it's worth.
* Layout

To get people reading it a troll needs to be easily readable. Make sure you break it down into easily digestible paragraphs, use HTML tags where appropriate (but always make sure you close them properly) and use whitespace appropriately.
* Size

Generally a troll shouldn't be too short, otherwise it'll get lost in the crowd. A workable minimum is a couple of medium paragraphs. Conversely, it shouldn't be too long, or no-one will bother to read it. Keep it to a happy medium.
* Spelling

Whilst spelling is important if you want the troll to be taken seriously, key spelling mistakes can draw out the spelling zealots, especially if you mis-spell the name of a venerated /. hero, like Linus Torveldes or Richard Strawlman (thanks dmg). Related to this is the use of the wrong word, explaining an acronym as being something it isn't or making a word into an acronym even when it isn't.
* Subject

The subject line needs to draw attention to your post without making it obvious that it is a troll. A simple statement of the main point of your argument can work here.
* Style

Once you realise that most moderators don't bother to read past the first paragraph or two, you can use this fact to craft trolls that can be moderated up as Insightful (note that I mean this in the /. sense rather than the real-world sense). Start off fairly reasonable, making statements that are /. friendly and not being too controversial. As the troll goes on, make it more and more controversial, building it up for the coup de grace in the final paragraph.
* Linking

As we all know, a post with links is considered informative by the /. crowd. Moderators love it, and they rarely check the links, so be sure to include as many as possible. And make them wrong - a link to the Perl website should instead point to the Python website instead, and vice versa. The other alternative to incorrect links is useful links to places like www.linux.org and www.microsoft.com i.e. places /.ers could never have found on their own :)
* Feeding

The ideal troll requires no feeding - it runs on its own, generating flamewars between clueless /.ers for your amusement. But often a troll requires some help and so you should consider feeding it. Feeding is best reserved for people making either completely clueless responses, people making responses with holes in, or those wonderful people who write a 2000-word point-by-point rebuttal of your troll.
* Know your audience

Always keep in mind the kind of things advocated on /. so that you can play on and against them. This is why anti-Linux, creationist, gun-loving, pro-corporation trolls work well - the vast majority of /.ers hold the opposite viewpoints. And if a few people agree with you, so much the better - it merely validates your viewpoint in the eyes of readers.
* Arrogance

Be arrogant. You, as a troll, know that you're right. No other explanation could exist. The wronger the fact, the more assertively you should state it. Make it clear that you are better than everyone else - you know the truth and they are just too stupid to realise it. Use plenty of sarcasm, and use quotes to show it to people too dumb to realise.
* Offensiveness

Being offensive in your initial troll can be counter-productive - it causes moderators to mark you down as flamebait in general. But if you're feeding, then you can get away with calling /.ers all kinds of things. Make broad generalisations about /. readers - call them long-haired Linux zealots, socialist open-source bigots or whatever. Stereotyping is encouraged - people always want to think that they're an individual, and will point this out to you given half a chance.
* Indifference

Great for articles with a political or social bent, this kind of troll expresses complete indifference to the topic at hand, wondering who on Earth cares about it. An alternative method is to say that the topic only concerns a certain group of people - criminals, idiots, hackers (always use this instead of crackers) or whatever group you want to offend.
* Sympathy

Appear to take the same stance as the people you're trying to troll - claim you're as much a fan of Linux as the next man, but... This way you can make all kinds of claims in the sure knowledge that you actually know what you're talking about. A great phrase to use here is In my experience. Remember to act like all the things you're pointing out are unfortunate but true.
* The common touch

Always accuse /.ers of being elitist. This is an easy thing to do seeing as a lot of them are. Claim that is their grandmother couldn't use it, then they are just into it to feel better than Joe Sixpack rather than doing it for the average user. This is always great for working into anti-Linux trolls - attack command-line tools and poorly designed desktops.
* The 31337 touch

The opposite of the above. Claim that technology or whatever is only for the elite of society and that any attempt to open it up for everyone is wrong, an attack on intellectualism and possibly even dangerous. If people were meant to understand these things then they would, and it's their fault if they're too stupid to learn.
* Contradiction

Never be afraid to contradict yourself, even in the space of a single sentence. The phrases I am a top programmer who codes in VB or I am a supporter of open source who uses NT at work and 95 at home will be sure to get a response from some weenie smugly pointing out the contradiction. Confuse the issue more by engaging in contradiction when you are feeding - this will confuse /.ers who will then make even more stupid replies, leaving them even more wide open for response.

Clues

If you're feeling brave, give the reader clues that this is an obvious troll. The classic example here is dmg's stock phrase I am often accused of trolling (whatever that is), but also feel free to use phrases like I have not read the article, and I don't know much about XYZ but I feel I must comment. If anyone responds to a troll with these kinds of clues in it, feel free to bask in the glow of knee-jerk /. responses.
* Denial

If you're unlucky someone will accuse you of being a troll (surely not!) and try and ruin it for you. If you don't want it all to end there, then be sure to counter it by accusing them of being small-minded and petty, saying that it's easier for them to say it's a troll than to accept that people have different opinions. Be sure to say this in the subject line, especially if their subject was the infamous YHBT. YHL. HAND.
* Claiming credit

Given that /. has its community of regular trolls (hi guys!), it's only polite to publish your troll on one of the so-called hidden forums for all to see and admire. This way, you get to bask in the praise of other trolls, they get to contribute to your's if they want to, and you get an easy way to find the troll later on when you want to check on its progress :)

As for when to post it, that's a matter of opinion really. You can either post it straight away or leave it will after people start biting. Remember that the troll forum is also frequented by non-trolls, and sometimes you may get a self-declared troll-buster try and expose you. But remember, /.ers always post before thinking, and often it doesn't matter at all.

There is no real current forum at the moment thanks to various spammers hitting the sids, but try trolltalk, the original troll sid started by 80md and osm way back in the day. Generally all postings are done there as an AC, with your name at the end of the post. Include a link to the troll somewhere in the text, which ideally will be directly to the post and its replies - click on the #XX link in the thread to get there.
* Ending the troll

Sometimes you just get bored with a troll, or people start posting genuinely thoughtful stuff in reply (it does happen). When this happens it might be time to own up to the troll with a helpful YHBT. YHL. HAND. post. Sometimes people will carry on a discussion of the issue, and if you're really lucky (and it was a great troll) they will completely fail to believe you and carry on arguing. If that happens, pat yourself on the back for writing a great troll :)
* The cheap $3 crack

Finally, when all else fails and your troll gets moderated down to (-1, Troll) within ten seconds of you posting it, the only honourable thing to do is to accuse the moderators of smoking the cheap $3 crack (again) and give up :(

Section 2 - Types of troll

1. The Maniac

Probably the most popular kind of troll, the Maniac holds an opinion on something, and won't budge from that opinion no matter what evidence to the contrary is presented. If challenged, the Maniac will simply get more and more agitated and abusive, deriding his opponents as idiots, wrong-thinking, dangerous and subversive. Generally the Maniac takes a position that opposes the prevalent /. beliefs, but a similar effect can be achieved by taking a typical /. viewpoint and pushing it to ridiculous extremes.

Maniacs can be crafted for practically every article /. posts, although some are more obvious targets than others. Civil liberty articles, especially on things like censorship, DMCA, UCITA that really get /.ers riled up, are usually extremely fruitful grounds for a well-crafted maniac. The other obvious type of article is anything which could possibly involve religion, especially evolution :)

Here are some fruitful avenues to explore:
* The Right-Wing Maniac

Always popular, the right-wing maniac (RWM) is a God-fearing, gun-toting, flag-waving American, and proud of it. They don't care about the rest of the world, unless it's to prove that America is better than everything else, and they cannot stand liberal whining over civil rights. They hate the moral decay of America and want it to revert into a nation of heterosexual, Christian whites like it was meant to be. Woe betide anyone that dares to suggest otherwise.
* Religion

There are two ways to approach this kind of maniac. The harder to pull off is the militant atheist, but this is quite common amongst /. posters and you would have to be very offensive to get this to work. Of course with religion trolls, the argument can go on for ever once it's started... The more common approach is the Christian fundamentalist. They are ignorant, intolerant and bigoted in the extreme. For them the Bible is the inerrant word of God revealed to man - it contains no flaws and no contradictions. Thus they are strict Creationists - mentions of evolution or cosmology will set them off on vitriolic rants. Flaming denunciations of anyone daring to contradict the Word of God are the way to go, and any kind of proof can always be ignored by appealing to secular humanist brainwashing. And let's not forget, the USA is the greatest nation on Earth because it has the righteous power of Jesus Christ behind it.
* Ideology

Pick a philosophy, any philosophy. This troll is a troll with a cause - they have found some kind of ideological truth, and are out to expose every other philosophy as a sham. Whether it be libertarianism, objectivism, communism or capitalism, this troll will point out the obvious flaws in any other philosophies, whilst spouting dogma about their own. And the best thing is - you don't even need to know that much about what you're spouting - making doctrinaire mistakes will get both sides of the argument flaming you, adding to the fun.
* Software

This is an old favourite and crops up in many forms, covering the gamut from OS maniacs (Linux zealots, MS-apologists or embittered BSD fanatics), language maniacs (Pascal vs. C, C vs. C++, C++ vs. Java, Perl vs. Python, VB vs. everything), application maniacs(GIMP vs. Photoshop, Netscape vs. IE, vi vs. emacs) and also includes people who complain about how technology should only be for the 31337 hackers.
* Guns

Americans love their guns, and will always fight passionately for their Constitutionally guarenteed rights to bear arms and shoot people. Even the slightest hint of criticism of this will bring down the wrath of a thousand and one enraged gun-owners on you, so it's always a great point to work into a troll :)
2. The Expert

The Expert is someone who is savvy in their particular field, and is perfectly willing to give their opinion on any topic even vauguely related to their field. The Expert is most likely to be from a field which /.ers as a rule despise - the classic example is dumb marketing guy, but try consultants, lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, executives, journalists (just think Jon Katz). With this kind of troll sweeping statements with little content are the norm, along wire dire portents of future catastrophe and dark hints of insider knowledge.

Some possible angles to exploit:
* Industry knowledge

The expert knows the computing industry from the inside - as a long-term pro, they can dispense knowledge knowing that they can speak for the industry. Their smug self-satisfaction is bound to annoy, as is any suggestion that things aren't the way that /.ers would like it - saying Linux requires the rock-solid guarantee of a trusted company like Microsoft or Apache cannot be trusted for mission-critical enterprise platforms is guaranteed to get you denials explaining exactly why you're wrong, in excruciating detail.
* Helpful hints

With their tech-savvy (or law-savvy or whatever) experience, the expert is obviously the best person to point out what's wrong with things or to give out useful factual information. In fact this probably works best with lawyer trolls - for all that /.ers protest IANAL, they certainly seem to think they could be, and any mistakes you make will send them rushing to prove themselves by correcting you.
3. Offtopic Trolls

Not really a troll in the strict Jargon File sense of the word, but they certainly should be included here :) This category includes parodies, offtopic weirdness any all kinds of amusing stuff. Not really my area of expertise, this stuff is mainly done by gnarphlager and opensourceman. Thanks to gnarphlager for this section.

Offtopic trolls, like any other, come in almost as many colours as an iMac, but generally not as cute. But then again, a good offtopic troll can affect more people than a repulsive little gumdrop on your desk, because you need to have someone SEE your desk before they can react. Simple? Moreso than even my overblown prose could indicate. Some basic examples:
1. The serial troll

Write a story. Keep expanding it. It doesn't matter what article you post it under, so long as it's high up. If you want people to recognize you, pick a couple themes or symbols, and carry them on throughout the story. Other alternatives include back linking or including the entire story, but adding more each time. Be funny if you want. Or if you don't feel like being funny, just be really weird. Someone will react.
2. The random troll

This has nothing to do with anything. Be it a stream of consciousness rant, or a description of the corner of your desk. Another favorite is a monologue, read as if spoken from any one given entity to another. The more outlandish, the better (a pair of socks talking to a mousepad, for example). If you really wanted to be artsy, work in an actual metaphor or legitimate meaning behind it, but it's not necessary.
3. The vaguely related troll

Start out with a comment about the article. Have a definite opinion of it. Then, after a little while, disintegrate into randomness. All roads eventually can eventually lead to cheese (yum), Natalie Portman, cannibalism, toasters, squirrels, futons, you name it. All it takes is a little bit of creativity. Oh, and feel free to use other trolls' motifs. Open source and all that ;-)

General tips:
* If it's funny for a fleeting moment, then it's worth posting.
* Puns. Puns are only less vile than mimes, but it's hard to mime on /. So feel free/obligated to litter your offtopic and random bits with puns. Hurt the bastards. And if they're sick enough to laugh at them, then they'll eventually end up here ;-)
* Obscure cultural references and injokes are always good. SOMEONE will get them eventually.
* Several drafts of a serial or random post are common, but true elegance is being able to come up with something on the spot that still makes the top 40 posts (on a post-heavy article)

Section 3 - Useful trolling links

The following links contain background information useful for trolls needing quick quotes and expert opinions to include.

1. General purpose links

* ddi.digital.net/~gandalf/trollfaq.html [slashdot.org] - How to deal with USENET trolls - learn your enemy :)
* www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html [don-lindsay-archive.org] - A List Of Fallacious Arguments - Learn them and use them liberally
* www.altairiv.demon.co.uk/troll/trollfaq.html [demon.co.uk] - USENET troll HOWTO
* www.baiting.org [baiting.org] - Baiting.org
* www.fieldingtravel.com/df/index.htm [fieldingtravel.com] - Fielding's DangerFinder - A guide to what and where's dangerous

2. Religious links

* www.godhatesamerica.com/ [godhatesamerica.com] - God Hates America
* www.chalcedon.edu/creed.html [chalcedon.edu] - The Creed of Christian Reconstruction
* www.demonbuster.com [demonbuster.com] - How to cast out your demons and do spiritual warfare
* riceinfo.rice.edu/armadillo/Sciacademy/riggins/thi ngs.htm [slashdot.org] - Things Creationists hate
* www.icr.org/ [icr.org] - Institute for Creation Research
* www.xenu.net [xenu.net] - Operation Clambake - The fight against Scientology on the net
* www.hom.net/~angels/ [hom.net] - Citizens for the Ten Commandments
* www.bju.edu/rcnbc.html [bju.edu] - The difference between Catholics and Christians
* www.geocities.com/prazske00/biblequotes.html [geocities.com] - Bible quotes by category

3. Political/economy links

* www.aynrand.org [aynrand.org] - The Ayn Rand Institute
* www.reason.com [reason.com] - Libertarian site
* www.freerepublic.com [freerepublic.com] - Right-wing stuff
* www.jbs.org [jbs.org] - Excellent site for all kinds of right-wingery
* www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html [dack.com] - Web economy bullshit generator

4. Crackpot science links

* www.fixedearth.com [fixedearth.com] - The Earth Is Not Moving
* www.jir.com/index.htm [jir.com] - The Journal of Irreproducible Results

Difficult call (5, Informative)

The Bungi (221687) | about 11 years ago | (#6619889)

Well, the issue here is the copyright. If the copyright is owned by a corporation that no longer exists, then there's nobody to enforce it. You can't slap another license on top of it. If you release the code to the public domain (because I assume that you can't legally claim the copyright) and make absolutely no money, there's a good chance that nobody will give a rat's ass if your attempts at contacting the former officers of the former company are any indication. If you sell it or claim copyright on it, there's a damn good chance that you'll start to see the previous owners coming out of the woodwork to sue your geek butt - and this of course is also a possibility even if you don't make a dime off the code as someone will probably contest your release to the public domain because it wasn't yours to give away in the first place. People tend to be weird that way.

My advice? There's no way you can just release this without getting an OK (a legal OK) from whomever owns the copyright (this may be the company that auctioned the corp's assets for all you know). If you're the only known holder of this code, you're out of luck. You already posted to /. =) Otherwise you could have just released it to the wild without a peep using Kazaa or Freenet or something like that. Not ideal of course, but it would be better than having it sit on a CD for the next 20 years or whatever the IP laws dictate, and it would have been nearly impossible to trace it back to you, I think.

Tough situation, for sure.

With OSS this ain't a problem (1)

Vexalith (684137) | about 11 years ago | (#6619894)

Another advantage of GPL and similar licenses is that if a company gets [bored|bought|bankrupt] some other group can continue development. This is why we don't have a lot to worry about with Novell's Ximian aquisition. Even if they decide to stop development of XD2, Mono, Evolution etc, I'm sure some other people or company might want to continue doing so. Obviously this doesn't help much in your case, but it's worth thinking about for people developing new software.

Re:With OSS this ain't a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620020)

Get the hell off of your soap box. We all like OSS... you're preaching to the choir.

It depends (1)

twenex (139462) | about 11 years ago | (#6619916)

If the company shut down in an orderly fashion, the owners/investors of the company own the assets.

If the company shuts down through bankruptcy or other processes such as an ABC where they have not been able to pay their creditors, the creditors own part or all of the assets. Most likely the assets were sold off if they had any value in this case.

That's your first task: find out how they shut down or if they are a going concern. If they shut down in an orderly fashion, they may still exist within the company shell.

So, I'd use the following technique:
1. Search for the company records in your state or local govs website to see who the owner is, or if it is shut down. Contact the owner.
2. If you believe it shut down owing creditors, contact a creditor (or two) to see if they know. They may have records since they may have had to approve any disposition of assets

I think it is really unlikely that "no one" owns the assets.

Obvious (-1, Troll)

cow_licker (172474) | about 11 years ago | (#6619923)

Give it back to SCO. They clearly own it.

Who Owns Source Code When a Company Folds? (2, Redundant)

Petronius (515525) | about 11 years ago | (#6619933)

Wait to see what happens to SCO and you'll know the answer.

$10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619952)

I'll give you $10 for the rights to your soul, Heh Heh!

Depends on how the company folded (1, Redundant)

msgmonkey (599753) | about 11 years ago | (#6619955)

Disclaimer, this could be totally wrong but AFAIK:

If a company goes bankrupt then the liquidators that are called in would basically sell off all the companies assests in order to pay back anyone the company owes money too.

If the company went into volantary liquidation and there are no outstanding debts then anything left over is split between the shareholders. It depends if the code was actually accounted for as an asset whilst the company was being liquidated. If it was n't and you go on to make money off this code then you could end up being sued.

Re:Depends on how the company folded (1)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | about 11 years ago | (#6620067)

If the company went into volantary liquidation and there are no outstanding debts then anything left over is split between the shareholders. It depends if the code was actually accounted for as an asset whilst the company was being liquidated. If it was n't and you go on to make money off this code then you could end up being sued.

If the source code was counted as an asset when the company was liquidated, then what you have is a CD that is a copy of source code now owned by whoever bought the code at the liquidation.

Well written AND well commented? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619963)

What do I do with this source code? It's a great deal of well commented and well written code

Well written AND well commented? Put it in a museum, dude!

Just been through this... (2, Informative)

Skjellifetti (561341) | about 11 years ago | (#6619964)

in Ohio (answers may vary by state?). Company went into Chapter 11. Code to an enterprise workflow system was sold by the bancruptcy atty to the founder for $1,000. You need to get hold of the atty who is handling the bancruptcy and make them an offer.

Code is an interesting case when assets are sold. Normally, a physical object can only be sold once. But rights to code could potentially be sold many times. Selling it many times may diminsh the value to each buyer. If you wish to Open Source the code, this might exacerbate the value decline if there are other interested buyers so you will have to be careful about exactly what rights you will have. As always, consult an atty.

It Belongs To SCO (0, Redundant)

DoctorMabuse (456736) | about 11 years ago | (#6619974)

You owe $5.00 for every day you've had those CDs.

Still going. (1)

jmkaza (173878) | about 11 years ago | (#6619979)

Mohawk is still available for sale here. [computer-zone.biz]

Maybe you could call them and find out who they buy it from.

Re:Still going. (2, Informative)

pipeb0mb (60758) | about 11 years ago | (#6620075)

I feel really bad for anyone that buys this stuff and has a problem.

There's no one to support it, no patches, no updates. :(

Where do my binary children go now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6619988)

To the 011, of course.

Simplest answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620011)

I hate to see so much work wasted and lost to the ages. So, Slashdot: What do I do with this source code?

The simplest solution is to just wait the 150 years, and the code will enter the public domain, for the enlightenment of everyone.

(Assuming, of course, that Congress doesn't issue another few extensions.. and that there is anything left to run the code on in 150 years.)

Does "adverse possession" apply to software? (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | about 11 years ago | (#6620016)

If you can find no evidence of the product for sale, I wonder if it is possible to make productive use of the code and how much time has to elapse before you claim ownership.

If your lawyer determines that adverse posesssion is not applicable, I wonder what other "abandoned property" laws might be useful.

Familiar situation (1)

slusich (684826) | about 11 years ago | (#6620024)

The company I work for had a huge support contract with a software vendor. When that vendor closed down we were out the money for the rest of the year and were faced with either not having support, or paying another vendor (who had purchased the source) for the same support.

SCO AGAIN (0, Offtopic)

mausmalone (594185) | about 11 years ago | (#6620034)

SCO OWNZ EVERYTHING LOLOLOLOL THE X-BOX CONTROLLER IS HUGE!!!!!

Seriously, this is becoming the "take my wife, please" of Slashdot. Or possibly Slashdot's own "It's a trap" a la SA. It's a dead horse. Stop flogging it.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620102)

Please.

Moi (1)

laugau (144794) | about 11 years ago | (#6620043)

All your binaries are belong to us.

My company folded (1)

way0utwest (451944) | about 11 years ago | (#6620047)

i.e., ran out of money and the investors declined to send more. The IP, which included the code was owned proportionally by the investors. It was sold to another company whose business model was to buy IP and then license it out at a fraction of the cost the company sold the products for.

I don't have the name handy, but I wouldn't doubt if all Chiliware IP was owned by some other company. You need to contact a corporate executive, preferebly a legal counsel.

The Owner or Reciever (2, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about 11 years ago | (#6620063)

All assets including code belong to either the
company owner or the "Corporation" under
the Receivership. If the company was public, then a Bankruptcy proceeding will enumerate those assets, including code and the trustee then has the right to dispose of them how he sees fit in the best interest of the shareholders. If the company was private, who ever owned the company and their heirs owns it unless they sold the rights to someone else.

I worked for a company that went Chapter 11, they still owed me money and I had the trustee come after me because work I did had tangible (read salable) benefit to clients left out in the cold. So, I cut a deal with the trustee, got my back money and some cash for finishing some work and making modifications to stuff already done.

Copyright law (1)

ravemax (452708) | about 11 years ago | (#6620070)

Not sure if its the same in the US but in germany they distinguish between author of a software product (credit) and owner. Only the owner - most of the time the firm that payed your work - can decide what happens to the product - copying, modifying, etc.

Wondered what happened to you guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6620080)

I still have a couple of Chilliware promo t-shirts. Sorry to hear of the company failing. I was looking forward to seeing where the company would go. Too bad it didn't survive the dot.com crash. Good luck with your open source idea for the old code.

SCO (1, Funny)

Natchswing (588534) | about 11 years ago | (#6620081)

That's a good question. WHO will own Linux when SCO folds over the next year??

Enjoy! (0, Flamebait)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 11 years ago | (#6620098)

If it's from the Soviet Union, do whatever you want with it.

Sell it, give it away, start you own company..

Like no one there would care anyway, and there is no real government left and laws are no enforced anyway..

So, get rich or be a nice guy and a hero by giving it away.

Whatever you do, you have nothing to worry about..

My last software writing job... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 11 years ago | (#6620114)

On my last coding job in my contract it stated that, until the finished code is handed over to them, it was mine, mine, mine!

And rightly so since I'm the one that brought the idea for the project to the company.

IOW (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 11 years ago | (#6620120)

Hey, I still got source coed from a defunct company..I wonder If I can make money from it?

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