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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Unanswered: Do I have the right to modify third-party application's stored procedures?

    Our current concern deals with stored procedures from a third-party application that were modified in order to correct future data inconsistency that was being generated. Since the stored procedures were not encrypted, I was able to modify them and correct the problem. At the same time, we developed a small in-house application to correct the current data inconsistency and we created new stored procedures in the same database. Now I'm concern about if I had the right to modify those stored procedures and additionally, created new ones inside this database? Am I restricted somehow to use our full version of MS SQL Server with a scenario like this?

  2. #2
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    It'd really depend on what sort of deal you have with the vendor of the third party app.

    A lot of the vendors that I have dealt with in the past have allowed the changing of stored procedures and the addition of new ones on a "at your own risk" type of deal (eg. future versions will be be guaranteed to work, the database is no longer covered by their support etc).

    I'd suggest having a talk to the vendor, don't tell them you have changed anything but ask them what their views on changing stored procedures etc are.

    HTH

  3. #3
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    If it clearly creates data inconsistency then I at least would have no second thaughts abut changing the sp's. I would sort of stick to the "what they don't know can't hurt'em"-plan if this was me...
    Frettmaestro
    "Real programmers don't document, if it was hard to write it should be hard to understand!"

  4. #4
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    I'll try to describe better our situation.

    Before I did the changes, the provider notified us that they were closing their doors. Thus, we didn't have any support for sometime. After a while, they came to us offering the source code which we rejected considering the fact that it was a very poor developed application. Afterwards, we decide to develop, with our own effort, an application to replace the existing. In short, there is a legal process running for last 4 years where they have alleged we have commited several violations to their rights which so far, we have disproved. Now, they are conducting their efforts toward the fact I modified 2 procs and also, created new ones. I know I didn't do wrong. But, how can I show the attorneys? Perhaps, I need leads to articles, statements or disclaims from, lets say, Microsoft that contain information about the pros and cons of leaving procs as text. How can a solution provider protect procs source code or even better, their know-how?


    Originally posted by rokslide
    It'd really depend on what sort of deal you have with the vendor of the third party app.

    A lot of the vendors that I have dealt with in the past have allowed the changing of stored procedures and the addition of new ones on a "at your own risk" type of deal (eg. future versions will be be guaranteed to work, the database is no longer covered by their support etc).

    I'd suggest having a talk to the vendor, don't tell them you have changed anything but ask them what their views on changing stored procedures etc are.

    HTH

  5. #5
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    This ha NOTHING to do with M$

    Did you sign a contract with them?

    Did you pay them anything?

    Did they build this code for you exclusively?

    If I contract out, any code I build belongs to the Client (usually)

    It's all a matter of what's on paper....

    Check this out:

    The part about self employeement...

    http://weblogs.sqlteam.com/markc/
    Brett
    8-)

    It's a Great Day for America everybody!

    dbforums Yak CorralRadio 'Rita
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    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

  6. #6
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    Wow, I didn't realize it was this serious. It is possible to encrypt sp's in sql-server and if this company has let you have direct access to the database then this would have been a good idea from their side. It is not common for software-vendors to expose their sourcecode and this company you are been in a dispute with should know this.

    An sp can be encrypted like this:

    CREATE PROCEDURE myProcName WITH ENCRYPTION
    AS
    ...

    This way you or any others will not be able to access the sorcecode of the procedure. You can try it yourself for verification:

    EXEC sp_helptext myProcName

    Now when it comes to your legal rights to change their sourcecode my belief is that you unfortunately have a weak case. Brett Kaiser is partially right I belive that it comes down to what you have on paper and not, but since you have used their software you automatically agree that their software is usable and if you hae paid for it aswell you aknowledge that they are the rightful owners. I would try to go down the lane of putting the blame on them for not fulfilling their duties as a software vendor, and because they didn't perform their duties you had to remedy the bugs yourself.

    Good luck man, I'm sorry to say that I'll think you'll need it
    Frettmaestro
    "Real programmers don't document, if it was hard to write it should be hard to understand!"

  7. #7
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    I apologize...I wasn't meaning to be offensive...

    But I guess I was...

    Sorry
    Last edited by Brett Kaiser; 01-27-04 at 15:43.
    Brett
    8-)

    It's a Great Day for America everybody!

    dbforums Yak CorralRadio 'Rita
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    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

  8. #8
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    What are you suggesting? That they don't have laws in Venezuela? I really hope I misunderstood this message of yours because I found it to be quite rude, but I will give you the benifit of the doubt...
    Frettmaestro
    "Real programmers don't document, if it was hard to write it should be hard to understand!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Seattle, WA; USA
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    Frettmaestro, I'm sure Brett didn't mean to be insulting. If you know the different parts of the US well, then, you know how those guys from Jersey can be. (Right Brett? )

    j_shaw, not being a lawyer anywhere, much less knowledgeable about Venezuelan law, everything I say here is totally my opinion and not to be taken as legal advice. But here goes: Regardless of whether the procedures were encrypted or not, I think you overstepped the bounds by changing them without first establishing ownership or at least permission. If the work was done for you custom, then there's a good chance your company owns them, but if it was a commercial product, there's a good chance that you only had license to use, not change. And as Brett pointed out, this all comes down to what the paperwork says.

    Just because someone doesn't encrypt their procedures doesn't mean you have the right to change them. It may be a stupid move on their part to leave them hanging out there so easy to read and altered, but it's not an excuse to say, "if you didn't want me to do it, you should have locked it". That's like saying if somebody leaves the door to their house unlocked, or a window open, then it's okay to enter and take anything you want. Wrong!

    And nobody should be under the misperception that using SQL Server's WITH ENCRYPTION is a guaranteed secure lock. I've heard that it has been cracked. It's still a good idea, but not foolproof.

    (P.S. Brett, thanks for the referral!)

  10. #10
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    Venezuela
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    The story is a little longer. My company hired this guys to develop a solution for us. But, we are unable to prove it because in one update they changed our personalized version with one that they had previously registered.

    Originally posted by Frettmaestro
    Wow, I didn't realize it was this serious. It is possible to encrypt sp's in sql-server and if this company has let you have direct access to the database then this would have been a good idea from their side. It is not common for software-vendors to expose their sourcecode and this company you are been in a dispute with should know this.

    An sp can be encrypted like this:

    CREATE PROCEDURE myProcName WITH ENCRYPTION
    AS
    ...

    This way you or any others will not be able to access the sorcecode of the procedure. You can try it yourself for verification:

    EXEC sp_helptext myProcName

    Now when it comes to your legal rights to change their sourcecode my belief is that you unfortunately have a weak case. Brett Kaiser is partially right I belive that it comes down to what you have on paper and not, but since you have used their software you automatically agree that their software is usable and if you hae paid for it aswell you aknowledge that they are the rightful owners. I would try to go down the lane of putting the blame on them for not fulfilling their duties as a software vendor, and because they didn't perform their duties you had to remedy the bugs yourself.

    Good luck man, I'm sorry to say that I'll think you'll need it

  11. #11
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    Jersey
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    Originally posted by AjarnMark
    Frettmaestro, I'm sure Brett didn't mean to be insulting. If you know the different parts of the US well, then, you know how those guys from Jersey can be. (Right Brett? )

    (P.S. Brett, thanks for the referral!)
    Just being the ignorant American....

    But to re-address in (hopefully) a different tone.....

    There were hardly ANY US laws for software and stuff till just recently...

    How and what the laws are for Venezuala....I have no idea....

    And wouldn't you want to counter-sue anyway for your time it took to do the data sanitation?

    Don't you have the expectation/right to expect their product to work?
    Brett
    8-)

    It's a Great Day for America everybody!

    dbforums Yak CorralRadio 'Rita
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    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

  12. #12
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    Provided Answers: 11
    My own cursory knowledge of law probably does not apply, but it does not sound like you made a profit by re-selling the application with your changes, so you should be safe from lawsuits by SCO. When you found that the application could invalidate your data, did you go to the software company and ask for a fix? If they refused, then you may be able to sue them (if you have in writing that the application promises to do so-and-such). Since they are bringing the suit, they have to prove that your changes have somehow damaged them.

    In general, I do not allow any schema (or data) updates to a third party application database, as this can invalidate the service contract. Extra lawsuits have never come into the picture (as far as I know).

  13. #13
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    A company I have been working for is currently in a legal dispute with a hosting provider. The case is not at all similar but this company did not have a signed agreement of any sort, and here in England that didn't matter because we supposedly accepted their terms and conditions automatically when they paid the first bill and made use of their services. The company I worked for will most likely get the case dismissed because the hosting company breached their own contract on several counts but my point is simply that even though no written contract has been signed you can still be legally obliged. This can offcourse be different in Venezuela, but I don't know that...

    When it comes to altering software I do belive that you will have to make a case on the fact that their software was incapable of doing what it was supposed to and because they offered no real help, you had to change it yourself to save your business. You can't go bankrupt because some moron developer don't know what he's doing...
    Frettmaestro
    "Real programmers don't document, if it was hard to write it should be hard to understand!"

  14. #14
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    Ok. Lets change the subject.

    We also had to create an application to fix the already corrupted data. We created new sprocs and placed them in the same database. Do I have the right to add new objects to the existing database?

    Originally posted by Frettmaestro
    A company I have been working for is currently in a legal dispute with a hosting provider. The case is not at all similar but this company did not have a signed agreement of any sort, and here in England that didn't matter because we supposedly accepted their terms and conditions automatically when they paid the first bill and made use of their services. The company I worked for will most likely get the case dismissed because the hosting company breached their own contract on several counts but my point is simply that even though no written contract has been signed you can still be legally obliged. This can offcourse be different in Venezuela, but I don't know that...

    When it comes to altering software I do belive that you will have to make a case on the fact that their software was incapable of doing what it was supposed to and because they offered no real help, you had to change it yourself to save your business. You can't go bankrupt because some moron developer don't know what he's doing...

  15. #15
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    All in favor say 'eye'! EYE!

    I don't think this will get you anywhere, we can say this and that but it all comes down to the laws of your country and your best bet is some venezuelan lawyers
    Frettmaestro
    "Real programmers don't document, if it was hard to write it should be hard to understand!"

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