Control Control Control

In an earlier article, I tried to answer a reader’s question regarding the ownership and copyright of drawing files. I would like to make an observation on a related issue – the issue of control of a drawing file.

On this issue, after reading the comments from various people on blogs I get the feeling that many subscribe to the Open Design Alliance philosophy. The philosophy of the ODA in their own words is this: “It is users who own their design data, and it is users who should control that data.”

I have no problem with the first part. The users own their design data. To the best of my knowledge no CAD software vendor has claimed ownership of a user’s drawing file. But I wonder what does the ODA mean by “users should control the data”. They already have control over their data. Control to me means determining which people have the right to view, modify, markup, etc. their drawing files. So are they talking about controling the file format itself? Or controlling which applications can read/write their data and which cannot? Or some other soft of control?

In my opinion, the ODA has not done a good job explaining what kind of control they feel the users should have. If you know what kind of control they are talking about please enlighten me.

  • Evan Yares

    Better than asking the ODA, why not ask Autodesk? In 2003 interview with Martyn Day, Carl Bass of Autodesk said this:

    “We believe fundamentally that users have a right to control their data.”

    That seems like a fairly straightforward statement.

  • Evan Yares

    Better than asking the ODA, why not ask Autodesk? In 2003 interview with Martyn Day, Carl Bass of Autodesk said this: “We believe fundamentally that users have a right to control their data.”That seems like a fairly straightforward statement.

  • Mick

    To me it seems pretty clear, to have control of your data means you can open, read/write or publish it with any ‘tool’ you choose, it’s your data! The software you create it with is just a tool – no more, no less – and you should have the choice to use whatever suits your requirements,purpose and budget to use your data as you see fit.

  • Mick

    To me it seems pretty clear, to have control of your data means you can open, read/write or publish it with any ‘tool’ you choose, it’s your data! The software you create it with is just a tool – no more, no less – and you should have the choice to use whatever suits your requirements,purpose and budget to use your data as you see fit.

  • R.Paul Waddington

    I would have to agree with both Mick and Evan but in doing so would like to extend the argument. Control is one thing ownership is quite another I believe it is time for all software developers to simply say the data file created by a users (eg. an AutoCAD .dwg file) is entirely the users property. Additionally this file should not contain any data that the developer wants to claim or use for any other purpose than to reproduce the documents the author created. No trademarks, watermarks or ‘trace back’ type information, etc. that can be harvested or used for other purposes! Why not?

  • R.Paul Waddington

    I would have to agree with both Mick and Evan but in doing so would like to extend the argument. Control is one thing ownership is quite another I believe it is time for all software developers to simply say the data file created by a users (eg. an AutoCAD .dwg file) is entirely the users property. Additionally this file should not contain any data that the developer wants to claim or use for any other purpose than to reproduce the documents the author created. No trademarks, watermarks or ‘trace back’ type information, etc. that can be harvested or used for other purposes! Why not?

  • Deelip Menezes

    Evan, Carl Bass made that statement with respect to the password in the DWG file. He was making the point that even Autodesk could not bypass the password set by the user. Hence the user had total control on his DWG file. I am interested to know that exactly the ODA means by control.

    Mick, I agree your view. Ironically, if you see the interview pointed by Evan, Carl Bass makes the same point when asked whether Autodesk believed that a non-Autodesk customer should purchase an AutoCAD license to open a DWG file. But he adds a twist.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Evan, Carl Bass made that statement with respect to the password in the DWG file. He was making the point that even Autodesk could not bypass the password set by the user. Hence the user had total control on his DWG file. I am interested to know that exactly the ODA means by control.Mick, I agree your view. Ironically, if you see the interview pointed by Evan, Carl Bass makes the same point when asked whether Autodesk believed that a non-Autodesk customer should purchase an AutoCAD license to open a DWG file. But he adds a twist.

  • Ray

    I can kind of see where everyone is coming from…The user who creates the data should be able to open it with which ever program he/she wants to use…Autodesk says that we created that format and you have to use our tools to open it…If you break it down, has anyone lived in an apartment??? Assuming that you would like to stay legal, look at this scenario…

    You lease an apartment (DWG) and you get a key (AutoCAD license)…Your key is only good when you still have the lease…When your lease is up, you no longer have access to that apartment…Now this apartment had windows (DWG True View), but you cannot re-arrange the furniture (edit the drawing)…

    Now, I actually think that the DWG format should be open, but only because of how wide spread it is…It would be easier to share data if it was open, but I can understand why Autodesk does not want it open…

  • Ray

    I can kind of see where everyone is coming from…The user who creates the data should be able to open it with which ever program he/she wants to use…Autodesk says that we created that format and you have to use our tools to open it…If you break it down, has anyone lived in an apartment??? Assuming that you would like to stay legal, look at this scenario…

    You lease an apartment (DWG) and you get a key (AutoCAD license)…Your key is only good when you still have the lease…When your lease is up, you no longer have access to that apartment…Now this apartment had windows (DWG True View), but you cannot re-arrange the furniture (edit the drawing)…

    Now, I actually think that the DWG format should be open, but only because of how wide spread it is…It would be easier to share data if it was open, but I can understand why Autodesk does not want it open…