CompuServe clause inflames shareware vendors

CompuServe has had shareware publishers up in arms this week after a legal agreement giving the online service intellectual rights over shareware content became apparent.

The agreement appears on the shareware upload screen and gives CompuServe "a ... perpetual and worldwide right to copy, distribute, display, perform, publish, translate, adapt, modify and otherwise use ... software, a file, information, communication or other content."

"[We] find these new terms totally unacceptable," said Colin Messitt, managing director of leading shareware publisher Oakley Data Services, which is considering removing its content from CompuServe. "People in the shareware industry are disgusted that CompuServe should attempt to acquire rights to people's copyrighted intellectual property in such a manner."

CompuServe UK management was unavailable for comment yesterday.