This is a legal question and a proper answer would require legal advice,
which I cannot give. But I hazard a guess that the original concern was
not raised by a lawyer, so I'll add a few points to the excellent
answers that you have already received.
What law is being broken? I don't see what law you might be breaking?
As other' have pointed out, you own your data. With MP3s, for example,
the legal issue is (I'm told) patent law and that only MP3 encoding
software infringes, not playing or merely owning an MP3.
Also, many other programs have the capability to read data created by
other programs, including commercial rivals. My copy of LibreOffice
reads Microsoft Word files. My copy of Microsoft Word reads Wordperfect
files. My old copy of Wordperfect read many formats. I have never
heard that any of these many, many examples have ever been threatened
with legal action for supporting data exchange. SPSS itself reads and
writes Excel files. Also, specifically reading SPSS SAV files is hardly
a unique trick. R, for example, can read them as can many other
programs. In fact, I haven't checked lately, but for years SPSS
distributed software libraries designed to be incorporated into other
software in order to read SPSS SAV files.
In fact, if it were illegal to read SPSS SAV files from non-SPSS
software, that would be very bad for SPSS because it would strongly
discourage many individuals from using SPSS. For example, I believe it
would be illegal for some government employees to use such a format.
This is not a hypothetical issue; I am old enough to have known faculty
members who lost important datasets because they were on punch cards.
Also, I have powerpoint presentations from the 90's that MS Office 2010
will not open. If SPSS were not going to be supported in the future, it
would be dumb of any of us to leave our data in such a format given that
there are alternatives (like tab-delimited ASCII or UTF8). So, having R,
PSPP, etc. able to read SAV files is actually very healthy for SPSS. I
don't know if I'll have SPSS in ten years, but I'm pretty sure I can
find a copy of PSPP or R.
Finally, there is a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt around
open-source software. Commercial software is rigidly mercenary and
sometimes viciously anti-user and many people seem to think that's right
and proper. The Free software movement was started specifically in
opposition to this anti-user mentality. And people are often biased;
for example, many still believe that "you get what you pay for" and
therefore cost-free software cannot be any good--that's always confused
me... Do you want some wage slave forging your code? Or someone who is
passionate about the project and whose sole recompense is likely the
warm glow of a job well done? By all means, adhere to the ridiculous
terms of commercial software (if you must use it) but please don't ever
think it's "normal" or "right" or that free=bad, and don't listen to
those who think this way.
Post by Elizabeth Williams
For some time I use PSPP because its features are enough for what I
need, so I sidelined SPSS, leaving your license expire.
However, I made an inquiry to technical support regarding the use of
SAV files in other software such as PSPP and have told me is
technically illegal. That saved using SPSS SAV files or exported by
another program, are for the use of SPSS.
Is that really so?
I've alarmed me much, and I pierced my format databases in PORor
This reminds me problems with "microsoft files" or any other private
Is it possible that in the future PSPP manages an own file type?
It could be the style of the OpenDocument or OpenRaster projects. I do
not think breaking the current compatibility with SPSS, but confidence
could leave users like me, keeping your data in free software.
It might even have its own features, such as save comments, graphics
Thank you very much for your great work.
Pspp-users mailing list
Alan D. Mead, Ph.D.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program
Department of Psychology
Lewis College of Human Sciences
Illinois Institute of Technology
3101 South Dearborn, 2nd floor
Chicago IL 60616
+815.588.3846 (Home Office)
Announcing the Journal of Computerized Adaptive Testing (JCAT), a
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