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Thread: Escrow agents? Regulated or just ethical business practice?

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    Full Member Inprogress's Avatar
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    Escrow agents? Regulated or just ethical business practice?

    I see a lot of software escrow businesses online and I was wondering, if I wanted to use one of them, what do I look for? Do they have to be registered with some institution or does the business entity be registered? Or, is it basically just a case of ethical business practice and having the contractual agreements in place?

    Happy trails

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Are you a software developer who is required to put the source code in escrow or are you the end user trying to protect against bankruptcy of a software developer?

    Either way I would imagine you will need the services of a specialized company because the code placed in escrow needs to be verified as usable along with its accompanying documentation. This would obviously need a specialist rather than just any old lawyer.

    Is 'happy trails' a regularly used salutation in Port Elizabeth by the way?

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    Full Member Inprogress's Avatar
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    I'm neither software developer or end user; I merely stumbled upon these software escrow companies and I am very intrigued by it. Is there any regulation regarding escrow in South Africa?

    Happy trails? Nope, its just my little saying I use on forums on the net. You will find me on a couple of motorcycle forums, adventure motorcycle forums. Hence the trails bit. And life, even business should be a mostly happy experience. So I suppose telling someone happy trails is my two words to say tata for now and all the best with your adventure.

    Happy trails

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Are you a software developer who is required to put the source code in escrow or are you the end user trying to protect against bankruptcy of a software developer?

    Either way I would imagine you will need the services of a specialized company because the code placed in escrow needs to be verified as usable along with its accompanying documentation. This would obviously need a specialist rather than just any old lawyer.

    Is 'happy trails' a regularly used salutation in Port Elizabeth by the way?

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Which escrows are you referring to, exactly?
    Get superfast South African Hosting at WebHostingZone

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    How do you ever ensure that someone will deliver the goods promised against a future event?

    Personally I don't have much faith in legislated protection. The credibility gained by having a regulator often doesn't match up to the consumer's exectation of the regulator's performance.

    Part of the problem is the regulator is limited in terms of reasons to decline an application whereas you as a consumer have far more discretion - essentially you can be far more picky. Also, with a regulator in play you become heavily reliant on the regulator to enforce compliance, which sounds good until you discover that the regulator is not as keen to enforce as you might hope, and you find the presence of a regulator actually limits your potential to pursue justice yourself.

    Don't attach much credibility to the presence of a regulator - existing track record means the most and that's what I'd look for in any escrowal agent.

    It's getting tougher to figure out genuine track records though nowadays You'd think the internet would help but it's also made it easier to forge credibility building endorsements.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Actually if I pick up on Inprogress's line of thought he may want to begin an escrow agency.

    Well I think there are ways to protect future events of software.

    I dont think you need to be a software coding expert to hold someone else's code. But it does add a lot of creditability and could probably make your service much better.

    Basically what you do is, every time there is an update to the program a new set of the source code must be supplied.

    To protect the coder, the escrow puts the source into one file (tar / zip / whatever) then encrypts it using 3 keys (maybe more to build in tolerance / backup etc) Gives one key to the client, one to the coder and keeps a key for themself. The source itself can be backed up anywhere, preferably client or escrow. I would sugest client becuase they can ensure up to dateness. (but he cannot read it with only his key, he needs at least one other), You can use online deployment methods to backup compile and deploy applications via web interfaces then make it all part of a SOP policy when updates are made.

    Basically no single part should be able to breach the code, it must take minimum of 2 of 3. Then the legal contracts in place will state what events need to take place for the escorw to react in a particular way.

    A bank is a good escrow, but they are not compulsory to contact to deploy a new version and sometimes the last up to date version is never properly done if the relationship goes sour / in event of death of the coder.
    Last edited by jinxster; 06-Mar-10 at 10:57 AM. Reason: I said gives 1 to the client, 1 to the coder and 1 to the coder. (not escrow)

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