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Perl Wipeout!!

by Omar (Initiate)
on May 26, 2001 at 12:53 UTC ( #83484=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Omar has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

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Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by virtualsue (Vicar) on May 26, 2001 at 14:52 UTC
    First - and I can't stress this enough - don't do anything to damage the website for any reason. You can get in SERIOUS trouble for doing that*. You made a decision to go into business with someone and it sounds as though you did this without adequate legal protection. Ergo, you took a big risk, so you'll just have to hope for the best. You could also consult a business lawyer, if your pocketbook stretches that far, but I'm not sure how much help one could provide at this stage (though it would likely be educational for you).

    It's funny that I read this node today. I just got a letter from the solicitors handling the liquidation of a company that I did some work for last year. They owe me a fair amount of money, but I knew that there was a risk involved when I agree to do the work, and I decided that I could afford to see how it would turn out. This is the key - be aware of the risks that you are taking, and choose your path accordingly. You should have something in writing before you do anything for anyone. Beware of anyone who goes on about "trust", for these types are often the most dishonest of all. A truly honest, trustworthy person will always agree to put his or her business deals in writing.

    *A simplistic analogy to this might be the following situation: A company hires a construction firm to build a building, which is done and the company moves into it. If the construction firm isn't paid they can't just come back and destroy the building. It belongs to the company which owns the property. Anyone who damages that property, no matter how "moral" or "just" their reasons might be, would be a criminal.
Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by arhuman (Vicar) on May 26, 2001 at 17:48 UTC
    A lot of people have already said it, but we can't underline it enough :


    It's just common sense :
    • It's illegal (even if you don't use it), and some people where treated as criminals for far less harmful behaviour...
    • Partnership is mostly a matter of trust, how do you want your partner to trust you ,if one day he discovers what you want to do.
    • As you already pointed out, it's not only dangerous but useless (beccause of copy). and IMHO (dangerous AND useless)=stupid

    That being said, I'm among those who believes that a lot of things get better
    when you're prepared for the worse.
    And if a lawyer is definitly the right person to talk to, in your situation, I'd just suggest :
    • Copyright everything possible (picture,code,layout...)
    • Discuss with your partner to put a legal framework on your partnership.
    • Try to get more involved in the business (and to be fair, let him get involved in the techical things...) It's anyway a good thing to get more and more business contacts...
    • If you really want to be paranoid, deploy some crucial parts of your backoffice on another box (put the database elsewhere, or put needed scripts on another box) where nobody else has access...

    "Only Bad Coders Code Badly In Perl" (OBC2BIP)
Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by perigeeV (Hermit) on May 26, 2001 at 14:42 UTC

    I highly doubt anyone here is going to tell you that.

    You need a lawyer, quick. I'm not going to say anything more because I am not a lawyer. Welcome to the wonderful world of business. Protect yourself up front next time. Good luck.

Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by alfie (Pilgrim) on May 26, 2001 at 14:50 UTC
    You could do such a script - but who tells you that your partner doesn't have his own private copies of the files, and/or tries the same? So if something happens it's up to a lawyer anyway, if nothing happens doing backups is always a good strategy.
    use signature; signature(" So long\nAlfie");
Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by Vynce (Friar) on May 26, 2001 at 16:43 UTC

    disclaimer: i am pointing out practical flaws with the idea. there are ethical problems i have not addressed; do not construe these as the only obstacles to your plan. even if you think you can work around the problems i present here, i do not recommend proceeding.


    i don't know the details of your situation, or how likely laws are to matter to you (not every nation is as hung up on lawyers as the US is, and you may or may not live here, for all i know), but i do want to point out a practicality issue. if he doesn't know how to delete your account or change root password, you won't need a script accessible from the outside; and if you are truly partners then you might be on a better legal footing if he tries to abscond with the hardware and you respond by withdrawing your software support.

    but if you were to set up an external-access script, what if some 3rd party came along after you forgot about it and deleted the site while you were making money? you cannot make such a thing secure enough to be worth the risk, in my opinion. don't even try.

Re (tilly) 1: Perl Wipeout!!
by tilly (Archbishop) on May 26, 2001 at 20:23 UTC
    First of all if UCITA is passed, what you want just might be legal. Needless to say, few of us think much of UCITA. But beyond that if you or your partner have brains you will have a backup strategy in place. While a good backup strategy would make what you want much harder, it would also protect you from all sorts of disasters that could happen. (Such as a computer crash.)

    Beyond that I would recommend making a copy of the whole site for your own use, and talking to a lawyer. Which is advice you have heard before...

Re: Perl Wipeout!!
by Omar (Initiate) on May 27, 2001 at 22:02 UTC
    Hey there guys,
    Thank you for your comments. The problem with alot of the responses I got on this board, and others on unrelated topics, is that Americans automatically assume people live in the US. If I were in the US, I would have had no problems. I don't though, and geting into partnerships online with someone from a different country (he is in the US) is interesting and fun, yet is full of snags.

    The partnership we formed is based on mutual trust. But I needed to safegaurd myself in case we start getting a great deal of traffic and he decideds to cut me off. Sure, I know there is that risk. That is why I thought of a backup plan.

    Please do not assume that my intentions were malicious. I would have gone to a hackers forum and asked some 15 year old to give me the code. I looked for a decent perl forum that would be perused by adults.

    I appreciate your comments, although some were crude, the rest were based on logic and rationale that cannot always be followed when you do not live in the US.

    I hope to frequen this site, for I am trying..TRYING to teach myself perl and will hopefully bump into you along the way.

    Thank You

      Mine was probably one of the crude responses! Please pardon my American skepticism. I was/am a businessman before I learned my first "Hello World." Part of my past duties have been the dissolution of business partnerships. A nastiness near that of divorce lawyers.

      My previous advice still holds. I kept my response very short and succinct because I am not a lawyer, and anything I tell you will be misleading. As you say, your laws can be very different from mine. Your situation demands more attention than I or anyone could provide within this forum.

      In my past experiences I see very few "handshake" partnerships last long at all. If the business/idea fails then there will be problems in distribution of assets. Even such intangibles as copyrights can cause no end of hate and fury. If the idea does succeed then you've got distrust and backstabbing to go along with your growing pains. In one case there were two partners that had literally been best friends since childhood. After being in business together for six months they were preying on each other like animals. PLEASE get yourself a lawyer. I don't care where you live. If your partner is American, then you need to assume he is going to act like one.

      I apologize if my response to you seemed less than cordial. I truly do wish you the best of luck.


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