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The end of "CastAVote"
A long time ago, I wrote a program called either "CastAVote" or "Cast-A-Vote" depending on which bit of documentation you were reading. It operated as a 'door' (a sort of plug-in) for ArcBBS servers (and compatibles) that permitted users to create votes with up to six options, and other users could provide their chosen response to the question at hand, and once having 'voted', they could see the results of how others voted.
When I went to check my mail today...
Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 5:53 PM
|From: ||"Ian" <ian --at-- cmsuk --dot-- com>|| |
|To: ||heyrick1973 --at-- yahoo --dot-- co --dot-- uk|| |
CMS Ltd are a specialist balloting and related services company with a registered online voting product called Castavote that we have developed in conjunction with the services we offer over the last ten years.
It has been brought to our attention you have used the name Castavote for a similar product for BBS’s. As a consequence of our good extensive goodwill in the name Castavote in respect of services that are identically offered by you we are deeply concerned that this constitutes a misrepresentation and that there could be a trade connection between your services and our own which there is not thus constituting misleading actions under the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Therefore we would ask that you with immediate effect remove the name castavote from your product and website and desist from using it in future and if it has not been removed within 7 days from the date of this email then we will start legal proceedings to recover damages and/or payment plus any legal expenses incurred.
We have taken screen dumps of all the relevant pages on your site and will use these in evidence if so required.
The Old Exchange
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(apart from munging the email address and omitting the telephone number, basic anti-spam security, this is copied as verbatim as possible from the CSS-heavy mark-up of the Yahoo! document)
To the letter of the law, he is correct. He has registered this name someplace and he is obviously looking to protect it from anybody else's use of the name. As a bedroom programmer who wrote a voting program a good many years ago for a small BBS scene, registering the name was not only unlikely, it is probably something outside of realms of what I could have afforded back then.
Hence, the sources for the project have been removed as has, I hope, all references to it on my site (except, obviously, this document). If this should prove not to be the case, please tell me what I have missed and that will be removed too asap.
The project will not be making a return, ever. To be able to put the code back on my site would mean altering every single reference to the project name and I really don't have the time or inclination to do that. So, for all intents and purposes, consider the project killed.
I wonder, when he went and took those "screendumps", was he aware of the fact that I last did 'work' on the project back in 1997? This would date it before his company existed, given the "over the last ten years" statement in the email. My sourcecodes are, in effect, referring to version 3 of the software. The "NVP" add-on (sends/receives votes via Fidonet, yes this stuff was around before the big net boom!) is dated in the version log as "22/11/95"! I cannot tell you the dates of the main program as I didn't tend to date things as much as I do nowadays. As it was a BBS add-on, it was obviously "in the wild" and known about from its very first working version, which I would estimate to have been late 1993 or early 1994, going by other stuff I was doing at the time.
But none of this really matters, for he is the one with the registered name. The End.
Personally, I feel that the registration system ought to be amended so that it is a required obligation for the person/company registering to prove that their chosen name is unique. This is not because I'm all cut up about this particular project, but should I worry about everything else that I have created? I know under the various international conventions that I have copyright in my work, that's an automatic thing, but how does it go for the names that I give my software? Or might more communications such as these turn up from time to time? If, like me, you enjoy writing software, perhaps this ought to serve as a potential warning to you...
I think the saddest thing about it all is the tone of the email, for certainly if he realised that it was a releasal of old sources that I'm no longer developing (and certainly not "services that are identically offered by you"), all it would have required is to send a message in a more friendly style asking that, as I am no longer developing the software and as he has the name registered to his company, could I either remove it to prevent anybody getting confused between the two or rename it to something else? That would have sufficed.
Well, the name now belongs to CMS. I wish them the best of luck. I don't know if this is a bit oddly superstitious or what, but I had fun with the project and good memories and I learned a lot, it was what introduced me to the C programming language. I hope it all goes similarily well for them - go check it all out, here's their link: www.cmsuk.com
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|Rick, 7th March 2010, 23:55
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