Free outdated software from intellectual restrictions

Software follows the same rules and principles of intellectual property as Mickey Mouse. In contrast to Mickey Mouse, however, not being able to modify outdated software could cost lives.

How it works

Why abandonware continuity?

According to international intellectual property rights, you are the owner of any software that you write. That means that everyone needs your permission to use your code. If they don't get permission, they cannot use it until 70 years after your death.

For software, this can sometimes lead to issues, where people aren't able to update or use programs that they've previously bought from companies that no longer exist.

There is no point in preserving intellectual property if there is no-one left to claim ownership. Any software that is no longer owned or supported, should be released to the public.

How can we fix this?

A lack of continuity like this can cause a lot of damage, so companies should either "use it or lose it". Either the company continues supporting their software, or they refrain from claiming the software as their own - and allow users to modify and redistribute the software. This should give users enough freedom to solve their own issues, or to migrate their systems to new software offered by the publisher.

Allowing developers to continue abandonware for their own work allows users to solve bugs that may lead to nefarious results otherwise. If the original author of the work is unknown or the original author dropped responbility, it should be anyone's game.

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The Year 2038 problem

Many Unix computers use a 32-bit time system that will expire at 03:14:08 UTC on 19 January 2038 - after that, many computer systems may experience issues. These issues can be as simple as displaying 1901 in the calendar to aeroplanes losing power mid-flight.

Though it is deemed unlikely that all planes will simultaneously crash on the 19th of January 2038, numerous embedded systems have been reported over the years to have difficulty with large numbers, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Some people may remember Y2K, and that turned out to be much less dangerous than previously speculated: however, to avoid a disastrous Y2K, every single piece of software and computer code on the planet must now be checked and updated again.

Intellectual property rights should not stand in the way of preventing catastrophic events. Most programmers were still alive by 2000, but if original authors of software are dead before 2038, it should still be possible to solve bugs in their code that may otherwise lead to horrible consequences.