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'[PIC]: Delivering Software'
2002\01\07@021240 by dave vanhorn

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Ok, been burned once this way, now I would like to prevent it from
happening again.

I have a client, overseas, interested in some software.
I am going to send him some sample chips, and I am confident that this will
be ok, but assuming he likes the product, he is going to want source.

Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting ripped off again?
Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.

I am looking for any mechanisms you might have used in a similar situation,
or pointers.

Thanks

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2002\01\07@022307 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>Ok, been burned once this way, now I would like to prevent it from
>happening again.
>I have a client, overseas, interested in some software.
>I am going to send him some sample chips, and I am confident that this will
>be ok, but assuming he likes the product, he is going to want source.
>Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting ripped off
>again?
>Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.
>I am looking for any mechanisms you might have used in a similar situation,
>or pointers.

       Secret crapware. The only way I see I can protect my work. When I send a program or hardware overseas, I use a time bomb - If the software is used beyond the time agreed, I do something nasty like send an e-mail to all in his adress book telling "he hasn't paid me!" or format his HD, with no recover avaiable. Of course the client is warned - if you use this software past the time we agreed, nasty things will happen.


---8<---Corte aqui---8<----

Alexandre Souza
spam_OUTtaitoTakeThisOuTspamterra.com.br
http://planeta.terra.com.br/lazer/pinball/

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2002\01\07@024558 by dave vanhorn

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>
>         Secret crapware. The only way I see I can protect my work. When I
> send a program or hardware overseas, I use a time bomb - If the software
> is used beyond the time agreed, I do something nasty like send an e-mail
> to all in his adress book telling "he hasn't paid me!" or format his HD,
> with no recover avaiable. Of course the client is warned - if you use
> this software past the time we agreed, nasty things will happen.

Hmm.. I wouldn't dare try that.
It also dosen't apply well to my situation, as it's AVR code that I am
looking to protect.
My other option is to go live there for a year, which I'm not fond of.

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2002\01\07@034030 by Jon Baker

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> >         Secret crapware. The only way I see I can protect my work. When
I
> > send a program or hardware overseas, I use a time bomb - If the software

> Hmm.. I wouldn't dare try that.

Well, I don't know what AVR chips have to offer in regards to onboard
eeproms, but you could just hard code a counter into the chip.. so it can
only be powered on xxx many times before it ceases to function. So each time
it noots it reads the counter, subtracts 1 and writes it back again .. that
kind of thing.

Jon Baker

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2002\01\07@042056 by Amaury Jacquot

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On Mon, Jan 07, 2002 at 08:37:09AM -0000, Jon Baker wrote:
> > >         Secret crapware. The only way I see I can protect my work. When
> I
> > > send a program or hardware overseas, I use a time bomb - If the software
>
> > Hmm.. I wouldn't dare try that.
>
> Well, I don't know what AVR chips have to offer in regards to onboard
> eeproms, but you could just hard code a counter into the chip.. so it can
> only be powered on xxx many times before it ceases to function. So each time
> it noots it reads the counter, subtracts 1 and writes it back again .. that
> kind of thing.
>
> Jon Baker

also, reading the doc called doc0838.pdf, it appears that these chips
have code protection bits available, thus, disabling reading the code in
the device (see page 36 of the doc)

Sincerely

Amaury

>
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2002\01\07@050050 by Roman Black

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dave vanhorn wrote:
>
> Ok, been burned once this way, now I would like to prevent it from
> happening again.
>
> I have a client, overseas, interested in some software.
> I am going to send him some sample chips, and I am confident that this will
> be ok, but assuming he likes the product, he is going to want source.
>
> Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting ripped off again?
> Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.


Lawsuits never produce honest customers,
and rarely any amount of justice once the
lawyers get their feed. :o)

What exactly is the scenario where you see
your software getting ripped off? maybe if
you said more about your concerns it might be
easier to suggest some type of protection.
-Roman

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2002\01\07@053629 by SM Ling

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It is not clear is the product a hardware chip, or somekind of source-code.
I assume it is chip.  So what is the reason for providing the source code?
Wouldn't having a protection defeat the purpose of supplying the source
code?

Cheers, Ling SM

> I have a client, overseas, interested in some software.
> I am going to send him some sample chips, and I am confident that this
will
> be ok, but assuming he likes the product, he is going to want source.
>
> Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting ripped off
again?
> Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.
>
> I am looking for any mechanisms you might have used in a similar
situation,
> or pointers.

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2002\01\07@060955 by Gerhard Fiedler

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To me, it sounds as if Dave had a client who wants to mass-produce a chip
with Dave's software, and thus may want the source. E.g. for their own
quality assurance.

I guess there isn't an easy way to deal with this. One possibility would be
not to give them the source, but directly to th chip manufacturer (if they
buy them already pre-programmed). In any case, some more info about the
exact concerns would help.

ge

At 18:41 1/07/2002 +0800, SM Ling wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\07@070906 by Aaron Blohowiak

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i took it to mean a company was interested and wanted a demo,

my suggestion is that you send them a demonstration of the unit in action,
not the unit itself.

Aaron

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2002\01\07@074018 by Graham

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A
>
>Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting ripped off again?
>Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.
>
>I am looking for any mechanisms you might have used in a similar situation,
>or pointers.

this is tough in a few words........I have been both David and Goliath and
handled this from both sides as well.


....conceptually.....

if this is asia then view any contract like this:

"what we sign today is only valid under the circumstances , perceived, and
surrounding the contract today, if the circumstances change , even tomorrow,
then I need to re communicate my thoughts on where we are going and amend
the contract if appropriate"

attempts to draft or enforce a typical, wordy , legalise, 300 page contract
, such as those favoured in the U.S. is the _most inappropriate_ way to go.
If you go in with the more normal perception of those, which is:

"we covered all the bases, thats a done deal for 5 years then, with
guaranteed dollars and we have a clause that says if they don't do it we can
sue their arse"

Then you are probably heading for trouble.

practically.........

For the source release issue you can try to arrive at a third party source
lodging agreement rather than a straight release.

Make the handling of this either a totally seperate agreement or a clearly
defined, less than one page and preferably only one paragraph, appendix of a
total agreement.

The circumstances governing it's release should be based on clearly
definable and _very_ simple financial circumstance on your part (ie you must
have been provably paid to date) and clear circumstances on their side (most
likely a clearly documented trail of lack of support) that apply AFTER a
defined product acceptance procedure (defined in the main document body) has
been met, or BEFORE if you fail to deliver in time. It then kicks in if
obligations are not met.

If you are taking partial payment based on sales or royalties, then you may
also try to use the same third party for a 'production audit'. You should
also research and raise the methodology of 'escrow' or 'lock box'.

In any event, on your part, take a worst case view that you will never get
paid a penny and will get ripped off, thus pricing your upfront/development
work on a basis that your worse case 'loss' is zero, ie all working hours
are paid for 'at cost' (with no profit otherwise you may/will not be
competitive in the first place)  regardless, until 'sign off'.

You will need to be very clear, and perhaps quite firm, on what constitutes
'sign off' in the main document.

I'm afraid the western view of contracts and what constitutes a rip-off are
so far from the  'other sides'  views that we could be here for a month
exploring that....so I won't go there, other than to say that if the
attitude going in is to close all possible doors, anticipate and legislate
in contract , for all possible circumstances, then you will be going 180
degrees in the wrong direction, creating a self fulfilling prophecy , and
will not be disappointed !!

ie. do that and you will be "ripped off" according to your perception.

Graham






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Radio Amateurs        http://www.rfham.com

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2002\01\07@085151 by M. Adam Davis

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The only thing you can do, technologically, is to plant an easter egg or
non-functional bit of code in there (preferrably one which is made so
that it won't work without it, of course, and appears to perform some
needed function).

At least then you can say to the governing body of whatever nation/state
you need to prove this in "I know hese chips have my code, I can twiddle
this pin this way, and get this useless response, something they would
not have added themselves."

Legally all you can do is get a good lawyer that knows how to deal with
overseas legal issues - very pricey, but you need to decide how much it
is all worth to you.

-Adam

dave vanhorn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\07@100006 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 7/1/02 6:44 PM, dave vanhorn at .....dvanhornKILLspamspam@spam@CEDAR.NET wrote:

Dave,

> Hmm.. I wouldn't dare try that.
> It also dosen't apply well to my situation, as it's AVR code that I am
> looking to protect.
> My other option is to go live there for a year, which I'm not fond of.

May I ask which country you are talking about?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\07@101729 by Dale Botkin

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Jon Baker <jonspamKILLspamHAYSEED.NET> said:

> Well, I don't know what AVR chips have to offer in regards to onboard
> eeproms, but you could just hard code a counter into the chip.. so it can
> only be powered on xxx many times before it ceases to function. So each time
> it noots it reads the counter, subtracts 1 and writes it back again .. that
> kind of thing.

Code protection, counters and the like are fine if you're only providing
chips -- I think his problem is how to ensure the customer will continue to
pay if you provide source code.  I suspect it would be rare for a customer to
not want source code for a non-trivial project; it protects them from you not
being able to maintain or modify the code.

I don't have any ideas right off hand.  Wish I did.

Dale
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2002\01\07@103431 by Jafta

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Why not sell the source outright?  No more source, no more hassles.  If
required, you can still do maintenance on an on-going, pay-as-it-happens
basis, but you have something out of it if the customer wants do do his own
maintence.

Regards

Chris A

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2002\01\07@111715 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 8/1/02 2:16 AM, Dale Botkin at .....daleKILLspamspam.....BOTKIN.ORG wrote:

> Code protection, counters and the like are fine if you're only providing
> chips -- I think his problem is how to ensure the customer will continue to
> pay if you provide source code.  I suspect it would be rare for a customer to
> not want source code for a non-trivial project; it protects them from you not
> being able to maintain or modify the code.

Well Dave hasn't exactly said what he wants to protect and when he wants to
protect it - his first email does indicate that he is happy to submit the
samples, but then he is worried about how to submit the source and protect
it. Are you only expecting a royalty type arrangement or are you open to a
once off sale of the code, Dave?

I think Jon's idea of a value stored in EEPROM which is read and then
decremented each time the program is run has merit. I would be inclined to
do this for the samples and simply be up front with the client. - "Here you
go Bud, these are fully functional devices, but they will only function X
number of times until we reach an agreement - I am sure you understand, but
I have to eat..." :-) I am sure this would fly in most cultures - provided
it is put in a way that says "This is my standard Operating Procedures."
rather than "Hey, I don't trust you!".

I also like Adam's suggestion of an "Easter Egg", however to pursue
litigation - particularly in another country - might be more than the
product is worth (to Dave).

There has been assumptions made that the destination is Asia. If that is the
case, then I may have some input. I am a western (Australian) having lived
most of my adult life in Asia.

While some comments on this site are true about different attitudes in Asia,
it is also true that this can also be a good thing. Rather than getting
bogged down in a typical "US Style 300 page contract", it is often preferred
to simply pay an agreed price outright for the code. In fact, I do not know
of a successful royalty based arrangement having worked in Asia. In Asia -
particularly Chinese speaking countries - more weight is placed on "GuanXi"
or relationships and a good relationship is worth far more than any contract
ever written. I think the option of relocating to the particular country
seems a little extreme, however may provide an opportunity to build a
relationship with that customer and possibly others.

After all, an Asian (or any other) high volume manufacturer does not know if
he is going to sell 100 or 100 thousand units. He has a hunch though, and
based on that hunch he has been prepared to invest in injection moulds and
other tooling etc. - and software. A royalty would be considered an ongoing
cost - an extra component if you like - of the finished product. If he is
given an opportunity to purchase the code up front, then my opinion is that
this will be the preferred course. It will be considered as a development
cost, and then the ongoing cost per item can be considered zero after he has
ammortised his development costs.

But it all comes down to how complex the product is. There are many good
development houses in Asia that will design (not copy) a product from
scratch. It may be that this customer simply wants it NOW.

And don't forget, no matter how good your protection - physical (your
physical presence there), legal (300 page contracts) or electronic (Easter
Eggs etc.) - it all comes down to price. There are sources throughout Asia
(and I'm sure the rest of the world) where you simply send a chip, a bank
cheque and a return address to an anonymous postal box and the source is
returned to you promptly and efficiently - I have seen it done. :-)

Hope this helps.

Sean

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2002\01\07@115318 by David VanHorn

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Pardon the disjointed replies, my main system is down, and I'm running from
the laptop.

The client is in Korea, not a large company as far as I can tell.
I don't have room in the chip to do anything tricky, but the code is rather
convoluted by nature. I hope that disassembled source would take more work
than writing it from scratch.

The problem comes up when it's time to exchange source for bucks.

Their initial approach was to hire me to go to Korea for a year, which is
shockingly expensive. Apartments go for 125-400k$/year rental.  It would  be
rather disruptive for me to do this though.

Having been burned once in more or less the same sort of transaction (I sent
source, they promised to pay..) I may be worrying about nothing, but once I
show them source, I have no protection left.

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2002\01\07@121037 by David VanHorn

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Thats the idea, but it's the exchange of hostages that worries me.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jafta" <EraseMEjaftaspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTADEPT.CO.ZA>
To: <PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2002 10:32 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: Delivering Software


> Why not sell the source outright?  No more source, no more hassles.  If
> required, you can still do maintenance on an on-going, pay-as-it-happens
> basis, but you have something out of it if the customer wants do do his
own
{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\07@121639 by David VanHorn

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> The only thing you can do, technologically, is to plant an easter egg or
> non-functional bit of code in there (preferrably one which is made so
> that it won't work without it, of course, and appears to perform some
> needed function).

Hmm.. I see the value of a signature, but I have only a few bytes of
codespace left.
It's not likely to shrink, I spent about a month getting it this small.

> At least then you can say to the governing body of whatever nation/state
> you need to prove this in "I know hese chips have my code, I can twiddle
> this pin this way, and get this useless response, something they would
> not have added themselves."
>
> Legally all you can do is get a good lawyer that knows how to deal with
> overseas legal issues - very pricey, but you need to decide how much it
> is all worth to you.

That's what I'm afraid of. Lawyers can kill a deal better than anything I
know.

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2002\01\07@122243 by David VanHorn

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> It is not clear is the product a hardware chip, or somekind of
source-code.
> I assume it is chip.  So what is the reason for providing the source code?
> Wouldn't having a protection defeat the purpose of supplying the source
> code?
>
> Cheers, Ling SM


I will be sending a couple of samples to verify that it does what they want.
Once we have that covered, they will want to purchase the source.

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2002\01\07@123342 by Dal Wheeler

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O'course if you *go* there you might hire some local thugs in the event
something goes wrong later... :')  I've thought nasty thoughts along those
lines about a guy in Taipei that's hosed us over...  Might be cheaper than
litigation...  :)

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\07@125019 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 8/1/02 4:07 AM, David VanHorn at @spam@dvanhornKILLspamspamCEDAR.NET wrote:

> Thats the idea, but it's the exchange of hostages that worries me.

Dave,

I'm just throwing stuff at you, you can take it or leave it as you please.

I have been dealing with Asian companies for the last 20 years - buying
from, selling to, working for - you name it. In cases of buying and selling
the procedure is pretty much the same;

1. Screw around for ages trying to work out what is wanted
2. Purchase Order is placed
3. Proforma Invoice is raised
4. Corrections made - Goto 3.
5. Money is sent electronically (in all cases up to say US$20,000)
6. Money is received (and confirmed) into bank account
7. Goods are shipped.

For orders above the range of say $10~20 000 then a "Letter of Credit" is
usually raised.

If you were dealing with any other Asian country other than Korea, I would
advise you to operate *exactly* this way. However, for some strange reason,
*every* Korean supplier I have dealt with has got to step 4 and shipped
goods to me. They may have known me for years or just one week! And we are
talking some big dollar orders.

So in my experience, Korean companies tend to operate on more of an element
of trust than other Asian companies. So if they are an honest company and
you say "Send me the money first, and I'll send you the code", you may
offend them and risk losing the business and future work for them.

At the moment, I can think of the following options;

1. Get on a plane and make a bit of a trip out of it. Visit their operaion,
get some ideas, make some suggestions. Go to dinner (watch out for those
canine dishes), have a few drinks and then have a formal handover of the
software a day or two later. Have them have a bank cheque prepared (drawn on
a US Bank) and hand over a CD-ROM with the code. Have them have the tools
ready to burn a set of chips and confirm they are satisfied.

2. Another option would be to ask for a "Letter of Credit" for the software.
This is generally used for containers of goods, but I see no reason why it
could not be applied to a CD-ROM. They raise an L/C which you take to your
bank, you send the CD-ROM by FedEx to them, you submit documents to your
bank (including the FedEx Airwaybill) and you get paid.

3. A Bank guarantee. They simply raise a "Bank Guarantee" (preferably drawn
on a bank in your country) guaranteeing that they will pay you X by a given
date, provided that you supply X by a given date. The bank simply MUST pay
your demand for payment unless they can prove that you did not supply what
you said you would. - Very common in international business, and not as
expensive as an L/C, but fees vary.

4. Could Fedex (or the likes of) offer you a COD service? You send them a
CD-ROM, and the Fedex guy does not leave it unless he leaves with a cheque.
- I would only use this for small amounts of money - if the service is
available at all - I am not sure.

I would go with option 1 and tell them you are a vegetarian. :-)

Any help?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\07@131928 by David VanHorn

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> If you were dealing with any other Asian country other than Korea, I would
> advise you to operate *exactly* this way. However, for some strange
reason,
> *every* Korean supplier I have dealt with has got to step 4 and shipped
> goods to me. They may have known me for years or just one week! And we are
> talking some big dollar orders.

Interesting.  It was Irish guys who ripped me off previously.
I told the Koreans my concerns, and that I had recently been abused, they
understand my caution.
I've spent some time in Taiwan, so I hope I didn't offend.  It was along the
lines of "We have only just met, I have every reason to believe your company
is honorable, however..."
We're still talking anyway :)

> 1. Get on a plane and make a bit of a trip out of it. Visit their
operaion,
> get some ideas, make some suggestions. Go to dinner (watch out for those
> canine dishes), have a few drinks and then have a formal handover of the
> software a day or two later. Have them have a bank cheque prepared (drawn
on
> a US Bank) and hand over a CD-ROM with the code. Have them have the tools
> ready to burn a set of chips and confirm they are satisfied.

Sounds like the best option. I am trying to avoid travel at the moment, for
family reasons though.

> 2. Another option would be to ask for a "Letter of Credit" for the
software.
> This is generally used for containers of goods, but I see no reason why it
> could not be applied to a CD-ROM. They raise an L/C which you take to your
> bank, you send the CD-ROM by FedEx to them, you submit documents to your
> bank (including the FedEx Airwaybill) and you get paid.

This sounds like a reasonable option.

> 3. A Bank guarantee. They simply raise a "Bank Guarantee" (preferably
drawn
> on a bank in your country) guaranteeing that they will pay you X by a
given
> date, provided that you supply X by a given date. The bank simply MUST pay
> your demand for payment unless they can prove that you did not supply what
> you said you would. - Very common in international business, and not as
> expensive as an L/C, but fees vary.

Hmm. Hadn't heard of this one before.
My old company did a lot of international orders, but that was all handled
by the finance guys.


> 4. Could Fedex (or the likes of) offer you a COD service? You send them a
> CD-ROM, and the Fedex guy does not leave it unless he leaves with a
cheque.
> - I would only use this for small amounts of money - if the service is
> available at all - I am not sure.

Not likely, for these amounts.

> I would go with option 1 and tell them you are a vegetarian. :-)

Nah, I've toured snake alley in Taipei, I'll eat anything that's at least
80% dead.

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2002\01\07@140350 by Matt Pobursky

flavicon
face
Once they have the source code, all bets are off as far as ever
seeing any money ever again. So...

The only real way to protect yourself when selling the source
code (intellectual property) is by getting your money up front.
Figure out whatever the code is worth to you, in total, then
negotiate your price. You can even use an escrow service to hold
their money until the code is delivered, in case they don't trust
*you* ;-)

Any other way and you are asking to get ripped off again.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

On Mon, 7 Jan 2002 02:10:26 -0500, dave vanhorn wrote:
>Ok, been burned once this way, now I would like to prevent it
from
>happening again.
>
>I have a client, overseas, interested in some software.
>I am going to send him some sample chips, and I am confident
that this will
>be ok, but assuming he likes the product, he is going to want
source.
>
>Is there any real precaution I can take to keep from getting
ripped off again?
>Lawsuits are not workable, afaik.
>
>I am looking for any mechanisms you might have used in a similar
situation,
>or pointers.
>
>Thanks
>
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2002\01\07@144323 by Dale Botkin

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face
On Mon, 7 Jan 2002, David VanHorn wrote:

> > I would go with option 1 and tell them you are a vegetarian. :-)
>
> Nah, I've toured snake alley in Taipei, I'll eat anything that's at least
> 80% dead.

Besides, it's not kaegoki you have to worry about, really.  It's soju.
That stuff's dangerous in the right quantities...  ;-)  Spent a year in
the more or less northerly end of that place on the splotchy-green tourist
plan once.

Dale

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2002\01\07@144757 by Sean H. Breheny

face picon face
At 01:17 PM 1/7/02 -0500, David VanHorn wrote:
>Interesting.  It was Irish guys who ripped me off previously.

Irish guys?! I'm curious to hear more about this if you can tell us. Being
ethnically Irish myself (and having relatives over there and visiting
often) it caught my attention!

Sean



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2002\01\07@151310 by David VanHorn

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face
> Irish guys?! I'm curious to hear more about this if you can tell us. Being
> ethnically Irish myself (and having relatives over there and visiting
> often) it caught my attention!
>
> Sean

Not much to tell, I sent them source, they agreed to a price, then didn't
pay.
It's been months since their last promise to give me a definite date when I
would get paid.
The initial contact was through a South African firm, but the end users and
the ones I had the agreement with, were the Irish guys.

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2002\01\07@151714 by David VanHorn

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face
Unfortunately, I don't drink, so that stuff is lost on me.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dale Botkin" <KILLspamdaleKILLspamspamBOTKIN.ORG>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2002 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: Delivering Software


> On Mon, 7 Jan 2002, David VanHorn wrote:
>
> > > I would go with option 1 and tell them you are a vegetarian. :-)
> >
> > Nah, I've toured snake alley in Taipei, I'll eat anything that's at
least
{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\08@025426 by dr. Imre Bartfai

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face
Hi,

maybe another approach: add a Dallas Silicon Serial Number to an unused
pin and it will be queried upon every startup and compared with an
in-the-program stored (and possibly tweaked) constant. Program starts only
if they match. As SSN is unique there is only chance if one could change
your program appropriately. A checksum could make a 2nd level obstacle for
bad guys.

Regards,
Imre


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On Mon, 7 Jan 2002, M. Adam Davis wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\08@030831 by dave vanhorn

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face
At 08:46 AM 1/8/2002 +0100, dr. Imre Bartfai wrote:
>Hi,
>
>maybe another approach: add a Dallas Silicon Serial Number to an unused
>pin and it will be queried upon every startup and compared with an
>in-the-program stored (and possibly tweaked) constant. Program starts only
>if they match. As SSN is unique there is only chance if one could change
>your program appropriately. A checksum could make a 2nd level obstacle for
>bad guys.

Interesting, but A: I got 9 words free, and B: easily crackable, just find
the "if equal" and change to "if not equal".

My concern here is in securing the transfer of the source.
I'm not too worried about the devices, it takes real work to suck out the
brains of an AVR, and even then, you would have a kword of the most
intricate code I have written in a long time.

We should continue both sides of this though, since all of us face this
problem at one time or another.

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2002\01\08@074401 by Jon Baker

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> We should continue both sides of this though, since all of us face this
> problem at one time or another.

I think then, the only answer is to use a 3rd party as a go between - who
must be trusted by both sides. Or, if they really want what you've written,
they'll agree to your terms and pay you up front :)

Jon Baker

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2002\01\08@101954 by John

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face
Hello Dave, Sean & PIC.ers,

As an Irishman, resident  & for many years in business in South Africa,
I'd be intrigued to hear whatever `gossip' you're prepared to share...
<     off-list, if it makes you more comfortable    :)       >

       best regards,   John


>Date:    Mon, 7 Jan 2002 15:10:14 -0500
>From:    David VanHorn <spamBeGonedvanhornspamBeGonespamCEDAR.NET>
>Subject: Re: [PIC]: Delivering Software
>
>> Irish guys?! I'm curious to hear more about this if you can tell us.
Being
{Quote hidden}

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Cellphone no:   082 741 6275
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2002\01\08@103431 by John Walshe

flavicon
face
David,
   Obviously living and working in Ireland this caught my attention also. I
can guarantee you it is not normal practice here.
Is there any chance you might point these gangsters out to me (offlist if
you prefer). As we (both company and home enterprise) are much more likely
to come across them in business dealings and " forewarned is forearmed " as
the saying goes.

If you prefer not to divulge, I understand.

***************************************************************
RemoveMEJohn.WalshespamTakeThisOuTinpactmicro.com

INPACT MICROELECTRONICS (Irl) Ltd
21A Pouladuff Road,
Cork,
Ireland,

Tel: +353 21 4318296
Fax: +353 21 4318980

WWW.INPACTMICRO.COM
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2002\01\08@110344 by Lawrence Lile

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face
I have found a simple remedy for this problem, after getting burned for
$2000 a couple of years ago.  I ask for a retainer up front, which is equal
to my (private) estimate of what it will take to do the job. I tell them the
retainer is 80% of the job, and the remaining 20% is due on aceptance of
final deliverables.  They think they have a carrot and stick over me, and I
think I have the whole fee in my hands from the beginning plus a
contingency.   I work for an hourly rate, not a flat fee.  The money is in
my hands in the beginning, and I work my ass off to make sure the client
gets intermediate deliverables and so on so they remain comfortable.  If
they make changes in the scope of work, I tell them the fee will go up on an
hourly basis.  If they need support after the final delivery, it is on an
hourly basis.  A lot of consultants work this way, and big business is used
to it.

If they sqwawk about this and don't want to do it, they can go elsewhere.
So far, since I have been asking for this up front, nobody has squawked!
Hey, that's how my lawyer works, so why not me?

Check out  http://www.nolo.com for some simple, straightforward contracts and
nondisclosure agreements.  I bought some E-books from them for a nominal fee
with several consultant contracts written in plain english on two sheets of
paper that I used as boilerplate for my standard contract and nondisclosure
agreements.

--Lawrence Lile

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\08@113017 by Drew Vassallo

picon face
>I have found a simple remedy for this problem, after getting burned for
>$2000 a couple of years ago.  I ask for a retainer up front, which is equal
>to my (private) estimate of what it will take to do the job. I tell them
>the
>retainer is 80% of the job, and the remaining 20% is due on aceptance of
>final deliverables.

This is a great method, one that has worked for several friends of mine in
areas ranging from magazine publishers to electronics consultants.  As
Lawrence said, it's common in business and "real" businesses should be
comfortable doing this sort of thing.  If it is indeed a "real" business,
then they shouldn't really fear handing over a few thousand bucks for a
small project because their corporate lawyers would probably have you paying
back the fee in full or otherwise in jail if you reneged on your agreement
anyway.

It's a lot tougher for the little guy to fight the corporation to get his
$2000 fee out of them, so it's more likely you'll get burned rather than the
company getting burned.

--Andrew

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2002\01\08@150925 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
Do you think that the receiving party has the ability to reverse engineer
chips ? If not, making your product annoyware until you see money would be
an option. There are several options on how to do this. Imho make sure
that the annoyance affects the purpose the chip is used for directly. This
should prevent the party from quietly burying it in their design. E.g. a
bar code decoder that starts to thresh random errors into the decoded
stream after a number of uses is better than disabling the chip imho
(together with flagging this - maybe you can make it say 'Barcode decoder
Stolen from D.van Horn - Call 001-xxx-xxx-xxx' on a serial link after a
while. That would sure make a great product price code on any terminal
;-).

Peter

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2002\01\08@152352 by dave vanhorn

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face
At 08:35 PM 1/8/2002 +0200, Peter L. Peres wrote:
>  E.g. a
>bar code decoder that starts to thresh random errors into the decoded
>stream after a number of uses is better than disabling the chip imho
>(together with flagging this - maybe you can make it say 'Barcode decoder
>Stolen from D.van Horn - Call 001-xxx-xxx-xxx' on a serial link after a
>while. That would sure make a great product price code on any terminal
>;-).

Nice idea, and I have done things like this in the past, but I only have 9
instructions left in the rom.
Not likely even Vasile could squash it into there.

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2002\01\08@155157 by uter van ooijen & floortje hanneman

picon face
For a somewhat restricted case this schedule can reduce the benefit of
cheating:

1- customer issues order
2- programmer makes code, delivers one code protected chip
3- customer verifies correct working
4- customer pays
5- programmer sends source code

There is no way that the customer gets his code without paying (although he
might refuse to pay after the programmer has done the hard work, but then
the customer will have just one lousy chip). The programmer can collect the
cash and then refuse to send the code - but what is his benefit? He has
already written the (accepted) code, so there is no benefit in not sending
the code - only the risk of losing his good name.

Wouter

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2002\01\08@155852 by WEBB,TIM (A-Sonoma,ex1)

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I've been waiting for someone to come up with this idea...
This is simple, use the code protection on the chip.  It is there to protect
the code.

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\08@162902 by Mitch Miller

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face
On Tue, 8 Jan 2002, WEBB,TIM (A-Sonoma,ex1) wrote:

> I've been waiting for someone to come up with this idea...
> This is simple, use the code protection on the chip.  It is there to protect
> the code.

Well, I think the original question was more how to make sure you get paid
after providing source code.  The single programmed device concept would
be used only to provide the customer with a working sample.

-- Mitch

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2002\01\08@165426 by dave vanhorn

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At 01:58 PM 1/8/2002 -0700, WEBB,TIM (A-Sonoma,ex1) wrote:
>I've been waiting for someone to come up with this idea...
>This is simple, use the code protection on the chip.  It is there to
>protect the code.


If it worked, in the real world, that would be one thing.
AFAIK, both the PIC and the AVR are crackable, with different levels of effort.
There are contract houses that do this, charging a flat fee.

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2002\01\08@170247 by uter van ooijen & floortje hanneman

picon face
> If it worked, in the real world, that would be one thing.
> AFAIK, both the PIC and the AVR are crackable, with different levels of
effort.
> There are contract houses that do this, charging a flat fee.

But is that fee larger or smaller than a typical programming job? And I
recall that some of these houses require 'a few' chips to do their work - so
providing just one might make the job difficult.

Wouter

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2002\01\08@170255 by uter van ooijen & floortje hanneman

picon face
> Well, I think the original question was more how to make sure you get paid
> after providing source code.  The single programmed device concept would
> be used only to provide the customer with a working sample.

The point of what I proposed is that it removes the incentive to cheat. In
the absense of such an incentive one might hope that honesty prevails, even
if only for fear of bad reputation.

Wouter

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2002\01\09@115937 by Roman Black

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> There is no way that the customer gets his code without paying (although he
> might refuse to pay after the programmer has done the hard work,


David, the price is in the end determined by
the attractiveness to your customer. It is more
attractive for them to pay as they go along, with
a higher price. If you want all the money up front
it's less attractive and you will get less, not
to mention the chance of blowing the deal on trust
issues.

I think the trust issues are minimised if you
opt for part payment up front and remainder on
satisfaction. You share the risk and trust. I too
have had good experiences dealing with a Korean
firm. They seemed very logical and sensible, and
a logical sensible firm will appreciate the value
of keeping you happy. They need you now, they
may need you again.

Besides the trust issue, I feel "part now part
later" will give you some income guarantee and if
they are honest to the end you WILL get more than
going for an "all up front" deal. Your trust will
be paid back in extra dollars. :o)
-Roman

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2002\01\09@230404 by Robert Hoar

picon face
Try a software escrow service. They are in the
business of transfering software between parties.
Do a web search for 'escrow'.


=====
Robert 'Red' & Susan Alloy-Hoar
RedEraseMEspam.....SusanAndRed.com
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http://www.SusanAndRed.com

YAHOO PAGER: srhoar

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2002\01\10@050202 by John

flavicon
face
Hello Dave, Roman & PIC.ers,

I'll weigh in with my SARands 0.02 cents
(It'll buy you a hair cut here. That is.. one hair..cut..)

Have you considered initially selling the customer just the protected,
pre-programmed chips?
You can offer a deal whereby they pay a high price per part for the first
batch (qty. X), then a lower price for the next  batch of X, then lower,
etc., etc., until you have recovered your costs, plus the profit you had
in mind, of course.

At that point the customer receives your source code at no extra charge & is
free to carry on producing his own chips.

I'd be interested to see folk's response to the above, no- I haven't done it
yet or seen it done.
Just an idea..


       best regards,   John




>Date:    Thu, 10 Jan 2002 03:53:35 +1100
>From:    Roman Black <RemoveMEfastvidEraseMEspamEraseMEEZY.NET.AU>
>Subject: Re: [PIC]: Delivering Software
>
>> There is no way that the customer gets his code without paying (although
he
>> might refuse to pay after the programmer has done the hard work,
>
>
>David, the price is in the end determined by
>the attractiveness to your customer. It is more
>attractive for them to pay as they go along, with
>
..
snips



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Cellphone no:   082 741 6275
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2002\01\10@052338 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Have you considered initially selling the customer just the protected,
>pre-programmed chips?
>You can offer a deal whereby they pay a high price per part for the first
>batch (qty. X), then a lower price for the next  batch of X, then lower,
>etc., etc., until you have recovered your costs, plus the profit you had
>in mind, of course.

It is many years since I had dealings with international shipping, but I
seem to recall that there is some form of irrevocable bill of payment that
was used. You informed the customer when the items are ready for shipping,
they then supply irrevocable bill of payment, with payment due one month
hence, and then you ship the goods. I think the mechanism of the bill within
the banking system reserves the funds in the customers account to ensure the
funds are there, and cannot otherwise be drawn on, and then they are
transferred to your account on the payment date specified on the bill of
payment.

OTOH with "modern" electronic payment methods these may no longer be in use,
but it may ease the mind when shipping goods if they are still used.

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2002\01\10@080329 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 10/1/02 8:35 PM, John at RemoveMEjsandKILLspamspamPIXIE.CO.ZA wrote:

Something we all might have missed?

Hey Dave,

Do Atmel have a service similar to Microchip - where you give your HEX file
to the factory and they burn the code and print YOUR artwork on the chip -
all for about US$0.06?

Microchip's MOQ is 5000 pieces and they issue you with a unique part number.
You would then simply supply a letter of authorisation to your customer
allowing them to purchase X number of chips from their Atmel distributor.

ie; Don't give them the code at all. Let them pay X up front, then they can
buy as many chips as they want whilst they have a letter of authorisation
from you for each purchase order.

At the end of the day, they will still be getting the chips cheap (+ the
burning fee) and they can still request revisions from you.

Regards,

Sean

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