Is it legal to keep backups of software in the cloud?

Discussion in 'polls' started by ad18, Jul 30, 2013.

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Is it legal to keep archival copies of software in the cloud(only for personal use)?

  1. Yes.

    18 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No.

    6 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. Not sure.

    6 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. ad18

    ad18 Registered Member

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    I am just wondering if it is legal to keep backups of software in the cloud for personal use. Not for illegal sharing or selling. Just as a backup so the software is easy to find and I do not have to go all over the internet to find it. Thanks for your opinions on this.
     
  2. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    I do that. I don't think that's illegal. These are my files that I am not sharing with anyone. And nobody else has access to these.
     
  3. guest

    guest Guest

    Not sure, gray area. I prefer to just back them up locally to avoid troubles, be it legal or not.
     
  4. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    Are we talking install files or what here? I can't possibly see install files being illegal to store away, otherwise we'd all be in trouble. If you're talking about registration keys and such, that might be a troublesome area.
     
  5. ad18

    ad18 Registered Member

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    I mean install files. Is it illegal to store license keys you have bought? I hope not.
     
  6. ZeroDay

    ZeroDay Registered Member

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    with software getting updated I personally don't see the benefit of storing install files. As far as license keys, you bought em' you can store them where ever you like as long as you don't share them.
     
  7. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    Not necessarily. Cloud storage is very often treated like other upload services, meaning if you're storing up a bunch of license keys for commercial software, you might be looked at as a TOS violator/pirate even if you don't share them. I also would not trust any cloud provider with such data.

    For install files, I can't see any possible legal ramifications as 99% of them are available right on the websites themselves and therefore can't be "stolen" or illegally shared.
     
  8. FreddyFreeloader

    FreddyFreeloader Registered Member

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    Possession is 9 tenths of the law, assuming you paid for them. Personally, I'd store them in an encrypted device on my own rig, or burn a CD.
     
  9. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    I don,t care. Legal or not, if I want I will keep them anywhere I like. BTW who will care to steal install files or even keys/ serials. For pirates, all software is freely available any way.
     
  10. x942

    x942 Guest

    I am sure copywrite holders would claim a DMCA violation or equivilent. But I don't it's illegal. The boundaries between physical storage and cloud storage are fading, quickly for most people. Personally I don't have any software I need to do this with but if I did I would just drop them in an encrypted container to be safe.
     
  11. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Encrypt it yourself, kills 2 birds with one stone. They can't report or snoop you that way. With license files, steganography is very easy. That makes it hard for them to even suspect you.
     
  12. guest

    guest Guest

    Well, yes of course. That will do the trick. But for something that important I prefer to have the files on my own hands. Now it's up to the OP whether s/he wants to upload them to the cloud or not. Just pick the reliable services, and don't rely only on one provider. Remember Megaupload? ;)
     
  13. blacknight

    blacknight Registered Member

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    Not sure, but I think yes. If the store in the cloud it's personal and private, what difference from keep the backups at home ?
     
  14. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    That was my first thought. License keys (as mentioned) are another thing.
    I keep all my program install files in a dedicated directory on my local HD. Easy to find / navigate.
    If I have a problem with latest Acme Software's v4.7.3 install, I can uninstall and find / revert back to archived v4.7.2.
     
  15. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    Please correct me if I am wrong but unless covered by the Fair Use exception only the copyright holder can copy a copyrighted item.

    "Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

    • reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords"

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf
     
  16. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    If you strictly adhere to the U.S Copyright Act, almost nothing we commonly do today would be legal. Cloud use period would be illegal (no responsible business or individual stores their one and only copy of a document/file in the cloud). Both it and the DMCA need vast changes and updating to meet the needs of the 21st century.

    We're talking install files here. The very act of downloading them from vendor sites and storing them on your desktop is "copying" if you want to get exceptionally technical. Not even the government is crazy enough to be that technical..yet.
     
  17. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I think that it is legal, as long as you don't distribute it further... If it is legal to download it to your computer or to an external storage device, why would cloud be different?
     
  18. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    I dont know why it would be illegal as long as the way you obtained that software was legal. :D
     
  19. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    1. You have to look at each and every EULA in the installer(s) to see if it allows/prohibits redistribution and under what conditions.

    2. There's the aspect of defining whether your act of uploading it to a cloud service should/would be considered as redistribution.

    3. You need to consider that the judiciary perspective may differ from the technical definition.

    In short, it's messy. If you really need to find the legal status, check with a lawyer. In practice, most people wouldn't care. Most of us here can just put in our opinion but as laymen, we do not establish the rules despite whatever we think is right.
     
  20. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    It could be illegal because you are in effect making an entire copy of copyrighted material. That's what the copyright law is designed to prevent.

    From the copyright owner's perspective you are costing him money because if you need a back up cuz you lost your disk you have an illegally copied version ready to go. This of course is all academic because in reality this is practically-speaking not possible to enforce and most vendors allow re-downloading. But I'm not sure about some. Panda for instance--your license does not carry forward to a newer edition and I personally do not know if they keep older versions available for free redownload.
     
  21. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    I am not certain what you mean by "redistribution." Redistribution in the economic/business sense means reallocation as in redistribution of wealth.

    Under the first seller doctrine you are free to resell your copy of the software. Nothing can prevent you from doing that. But if your are talking about distribution as in being a distributor of a product it is highly unlikely that and copyright owner is going to allow you to go into competition with him by copying and "re-distributing" unlimited quantities of the software you purchased.

    Basically you are free to resell the single copy you bought. You are prohibited from making copies of the software you bought. As silly as that sounds :)

    Jeez aren't there any copyright lawyers or software writer/sellers out there to give us an educated answero_O :) I am a recovering lawyer but was not a copyright lawyer.
     
  22. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    By redistribution, I meant software distribution...the process of delivering software to the end user; the process in which the end user obtain the software. I'm not talking about the transferring of license (the one that you pay $ for).

    Have a look at these:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_license
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freely_redistributable_software

    When you download a copy of a program (esp. proprietary ones), generally speaking, you are granted the use of one or more copies of software but since the ownership of those copies remains with the software publisher, some (not all) EULAs may prohibit the redistribution, be it in whole or in part, modified or not, unless one receives authorization from the owner.

    E.g. Microsoft software like Windows installation discs (Digital River is a licensed distributor); or it's repair discs (look at the fact that users have to pay for downloading it from NeoSmart).

    The problem lies with the application of "redistribution".

    Would uploading to a cloud service be considered as "redistribution"? On 1 side, you can look at it as if you are "sharing" it with another party (the cloud service provider). Then again, is the intent ( keeping it there as a backup storage, meant only for your purpose) a valid reason to justify the action? What if you encrypt it? Is it good enough? What if you share the link to the file to the public? Are you violating the license?

    I honestly do not know. I'm just sharing my thoughts. As I've said above, if one is really concerned on the legality issues, it's always best to consult a lawyer. Even then, lawyers may disagree among themselves.
     
  23. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    I vote, yes... Legal.

    Sure, software companies may try to point to technical violations of the terms of their license agreements, to DMCA, or to possible copyright infringement (although honestly I believe the laws governing contracts and licensing are more applicable than copyright when it comes to executable binaries). Technically, I believe that software copyright applies more to source code, binaries are protected by licensing agreements.

    Anyway, I would suspect that any real court case would weigh the public policy interest more than the terms of rather one-sided licensing agreements (as they aren't really and truly negotiated at arms length, rather they are take it or leave it). Courts generally find that archival copying for personal use only is permissible (either under licenses, or copyright and fair use doctrine, for example, like the famous Sony Corp vs Universal Studios case that made video tape copying of TV shows for personal use legal).

    The key though, IMHO, is that you have to be absolutely sure that it's only for your own personal use. No distribution of any kind. No, whoops, didn't know my nephew and his friends had access to my cloud storage account... Or anything like that.
     
  24. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    i guess best is you keep keys encrypted and put them on mail most of vendors give keys on mail so its Legal to keep them there :)

    as software most of them can downloaded form vendor site or without key you can upload on cloud make no diffrence as you are not sharing product + key with anyone ;)
     
  25. ad18

    ad18 Registered Member

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    It looks kind of sketchy keeping these files in the cloud. I guess In have to look an each EULA. Might be better not to store them in the cloud.
     
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