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  • Maple_Leaf17 Maple_Leaf17 May 24, 2002 7:14 AM Flag

    Did MSFT leave Avid holding the bag?

    If Microsoft sells stolen code with the knowledge that the code is stolen to a buyer (AVID), then Microsoft is legally responsible for all damages, not the buyer of the stolen code. Before Microsoft sold the code to AVID, Microsoft legally attested to AVID that Microsoft had legal title to the entire code.

    Denver-art, the answer to your question is AVID is not holding the bag! Microsoft is holding the bag if Microsoft originally stole the code, and sold the stolen code to AVID. In fact, AVID as well as other parties can sue Microsoft for damages if Microsoft sold stolen code to AVID!

    The referenced article "does not suggest" in any way that AVID did anything illegal however it does suggest that Microsoft did something illegal.

    The guilty party is Microsoft not AVID if Microsoft sold stolen code to AVID!

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    • Denver-art, the answer to your question is AVID is not holding
      the bag! Microsoft is holding the bag if Microsoft originally
      stole the code, and sold the stolen code to AVID. In fact, AVID
      as well as other parties can sue Microsoft for damages if
      Microsoft sold stolen code to AVID!

      The referenced article "does not suggest" in any way that AVID
      did anything illegal however it does suggest that Microsoft did
      something illegal.

      The guilty party is Microsoft not AVID if Microsoft sold stolen
      code to AVID!
      --------------------
      Of course, but the question that I was getting at is; Now that Avid knows the code is not "clean", do they have to re-enginer the code base? Do they owe moneys on the product sales from the time they bought it? Or do they need to tackle MSFT for misrepresenting the S/W when they sold it?

      These are questions going forward because Avid has put a sizable investment in SoftImage to date.
      Art

      • 1 Reply to denver_art
      • @@@Of course, but the question that I was getting at is; Now that Avid knows the code is not "clean", do they have to re-enginer the code base? Do they owe moneys on the product sales from the time they bought it? Or do they need to tackle MSFT for misrepresenting the S/W when they sold it?

        @@@These are questions going forward because Avid has put a sizable investment in SoftImage to date.

        This has been circulating in discussion forums for the past few years. It's very old news. Ironically, Microsoft was innocent as it was all Softimage's doing. Microsoft got dragged into the mix and became responsible for the aftermath as a matter of circumstance from acquiring Softimage. I'm a Softimage user who was around during this incident. Here's what happened:

        In the early 1990's a number of successful movies utilizing Softimage software hit the screens - namely Jurassic Park, The Mask, and Death Becomes Her. It was then that Softimage gained reputation as the animators software of choice as it had many tools geared for animation. In an effort to boost it's offerings geared specifically towards 'character' work, Softimage licensed a tools from Syn'X to fill Creative Environment's (aka Softimage|3D) new "Character" module which was designed to mimick the ways traditional cel animators created their drawings for animated films. The Syn'X tools were "constraints" designed to handle secondary motions and mundane tasks animators are faced with like automating the process of preventing feet from penetrating a floor, or making one half of the body perform movements symmetrical to the other half but with a time offset. Big stuff back then....and strange enough, to this day nobody else has anything like those tools.

        Soon afterwards, Softimage found itself in legal trouble with several companies for various issues. Also, Softimage had dumped a lot of money into a project known as Digital Studio still under development at the time. As a result, most effort went towards fighting in the courts and depleted cash quite rapidly while bookkeeping went out the window - nobody knew exactly how much money was on hand or whom any deals were commissioned. The upcoming imminent loss to Discreet Logic over the ownership of Flame was the big blow at a cost of over $200 million (in Canada, loser always pays). Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Daniel Langlois sold out to MicroSoft in 1994.

        During this tumultuous period, Microsoft had to answer to many of Softimage's screwed up licensing deals. In most cases, Microsoft paid off the 3rd party and severed ties altogether. The Syn'X tools were included as part of Creative Environment v2.65 + v2.66 shipping just days after Microsoft acquired the company in June 1994. Both were highly unstable and loaded with bugs to the point of nearly sinking Softimage due to customer revolt. By early 1995, Creative Environment was repackaged as Softimage|3D v3.0 under the Microsoft banner and included many new features such as particles, mental ray rendering, and Softimage|Live (virtual theater). At the same time came the demise of the Character module. The Syn'X tools were removed and any remaining functionality relocated to the Motion and Actor modules.

        For those keeping track, the Syn'X tools were:

        - Symmetry constraint
        - Pivot Plane constraint
        - Offset constraint.
        - Time offset constraint

        None of these tools have been in service since Creative Environment v2.66, so Avid has nothing to worry about. There was a time that the Syn'X tools were still in the code in an unexposed state because they couldn't be removed without destabilizing the software, but that too has been since rectified with later releases of Softimage|3D.

 
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