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                      W H A T    I S    S H A R E W A R E ?
        "Public domain" has a very specific legal meaning.  It means that
        the creator of a work (in this case, software), who had legal
        ownership of that work, has given up ownership and dedicated the
        work "to the public domain".  Once something is in the public
        domain, anyone can use it in any way they choose, and the author
        has no control over the use and cannot demand payment for it.
        If you find a program which the author has explicitly put into
        the public domain, you are free to use it however you see fit
        without paying for the right to use it.  But use care - due to
        the confusion over the meaning of the words, programs are often
        described by authors as being "public domain" when, in fact, they
        are shareware or free, copyrighted software.  To be sure a
        program is public domain, you should look for an explicit
        statement from the author to that effect.
        "Copyrighted" is the opposite of public domain.  A copyrighted
        program is one where the author has asserted his or her legal
        right to control the program's use and distribution by placing
        the legally required copyright notices in the program and
        documentation.  The law gives copyright owners broad rights to
        restrict how their work is distributed, and provides for
        penalties for those who violate these restrictions.  When you
        find a program which is copyrighted, you must use it in
        accordance with the copyright owner's restrictions regarding
        distribution and payment.  Usually, these are clearly stated in
        the program documentation.
        Maintaining a copyright does not necessarily imply charging a
        fee, so it is perfectly possible and legal to have copyrighted
        programs which are distributed free of charge.  The fact that a
        program is free, however, does not mean it is in the public
        domain - though this is a common confusion.
        "Shareware" is copyrighted software which is distributed by
        authors through bulletin boards, on-line services, disk vendors,
        and copies passed among friends.  It is commercial software which
        you are allowed to use and evaluate before paying for it.  This
        makes shareware the ultimate in money back guarantees.
        The Shareware Concept:
        Most money back guarantees work like this:  You pay for the
        product and then have some period of time to try it out and see
        whether or not you like it.  If you don't like it or find that it
        doesn't do what you need, you return it (undamaged) and at some
        point - which might take months - you get your money back.  Some
        software companies won't even let you try their product!  In
        order to qualify for a refund, the diskette envelope must have an
        unbroken seal.  With these "licensing" agreements, you only
        qualify for your money back if you haven't tried the product.
        How absurd!
        Shareware is very different.  With shareware you get to use it
        for a limited time, without spending a penny.  You are able to
        use the software on your own system(s), in your own special work
        environment, with no sales people looking over your shoulder.  If
        you decide not to continue using it, you throw it away and forget
        all about it.  No paperwork, phone calls, or correspondence to
        waste your valuable time.  If you do continue using it, then -
        and only then - do you pay for it.
        Shareware is a distribution method, NOT a type of software.
        Shareware is produced by accomplished programmers, just like
        retail software.  There is good and bad shareware, just as there
        is good and bad retail software.  The primary difference between
        shareware and retail software is that with shareware you know if
        it's good or bad BEFORE you pay for it.
        As a software user, you benefit because you get to use the
        software to determine whether it meets your needs before you pay
        for it, and authors benefit because they are able to get their
        products into your hands without the hundreds of thousands of
        dollars in expenses it takes to launch a traditional retail
        software product.  There are many programs on the market today
        which would never have become available without the shareware
        marketing method.
        The shareware system and the continued availability of quality
        shareware products depend on your willingness to register and pay
        for the shareware you use.  It's the registration fees you pay
        which allow us to support and continue to develop our products.
        Please show your support for shareware by registering those
        programs you actually use and by passing them on to others.
        Shareware is kept alive by YOUR support!
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/programming/shrware.txt · Last modified: 2001/01/13 03:29 by

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