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Company To Ease Copy Restrictions

August 14, 1986

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Lotus Development Corp. has announced it will ease restrictions on copying its popular computer programs and will sell some software directly to large customers.

The company said Wednesday the plan will make its software easier to use but will not allow customers to make an unlimited number of copies for a one- time license fee.

The unlimited privilege is known as site licensing. ″Our customers demand and deserve something completely different,″ said Michael E. Kolowich, marketing vice president. ″We are maintaining the pay-per-user requirement.″

Sources told The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald that Ashton-Tate of Torrance, Calif., a Lotus competitor, will announce a similar plan next week.

Lotus makes 1-2-3 and Symphony computer porgrams.

Kolowich said companies will be allowed to make copies if they guarantee in writing that they are enforcing policies against pirating.

″Yes, we’re going to have unprotected software for our biggest customers,″ said Stephen Crummey, vice president for sales and service.

He said this could help sales to the federal government because Lotus has not been able to bid on some Department of Defense work because of its copy protection.

Lotus also said it will limit the liability of customers with official anti-piracy policies in cases where the software is copied without permission.

Such companies would be charged the retail price of the number of programs copied, and punitive damages would not be sought.

″They’re responding to the marketplace,″ Ben Chin, a software industry analyst for the Gartner Group of Stamford, Conn., told the Herald of the the plan to ease copying restrictions.

″Lotus is going direct, and they’re now big enough to get away with it,″ Esther Dyson, publisher of Release 1.0, an industry newsletter, told the Globe of the plan to sell directly to large customers.

″We don’t think we’ll be offering the lowest price, but what large companies want today is training and support,″ Crummey said of direct sales.

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