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Access to our data.

#1
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Arkansas

I already have a call in to our lawyer.

A specific software is the primary tool of our business. The software is specialized and there are a limited number of providers for such software. The software company (Company A) we use as been sold to another company (Company B). Company B's product that they are replacing Company A's product with is significantly more expensive and is missing some pretty significant features that A's software had.

The data (that is unquestionably our data) is within a Pervasive DB that we don't have direct access to. The data as well as the software is in the cloud. Company A/B is not allowing access to the database directly. This would require that we spend a huge amount of time and money to manually get the data via reports and other methods instead of a simple download and remap of the database to move to another provider.

The contract is mute on the issue of access to the database.

My question is does anyone know of any case law on this subject?
 


#2
One would wonder why the user would allow the owner of the software to send the users data to the cloud without fully understanding the terms involved in retrieving it, or even more importantly, what the software owner can do with that data.


Did you have full access to the data under your tos/Eula of a’s software?

Did you agree to relinquish your rights under a’s software? Just because company b bought company a it doesn’t mean they have the right to terminate your use of a’s software. Your rights to continue to use a’s software would be controlled by your original contract with a.
 
#3
Just to clarify, both the data and the program are in the cloud, more specifically on server operated by company A (now B). When the original agreement was made with Company A in 2001 the software and the data was stored on a server in our office. When they later (2014) provided an major revamp of the software they also offered it as both hosted and non-hosted versions. We chose hosted. The only new agreements were for data conversion costs, hosting costs and a change in the support costs. In fact, there was a $30K fee waived at the time of conversion because we already "owned" the software.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#4
Just to clarify, both the data and the program are in the cloud, more specifically on server operated by company A (now B). When the original agreement was made with Company A in 2001 the software and the data was stored on a server in our office. When they later (2014) provided an major revamp of the software they also offered it as both hosted and non-hosted versions. We chose hosted. The only new agreements were for data conversion costs, hosting costs and a change in the support costs. In fact, there was a $30K fee waived at the time of conversion because we already "owned" the software.
What do your agreements say about access?
 
#5
Did you have free and unimpeded access to the cloud stored data up until the purchase of a by b?


One doesn’t own software (under typical situations such as yours). One owns a license to use the software. Regardless, the bigger issue is whether any agreement you have with the software owner allows them to prevent you from downloading the bulk data used in utilizing their software. I don’t doubt they can structure the licenses to do so. It’s done on a much smaller scale with one of the tax prep services (don’t remember if it was turbo tax or one of the other online tax prep companies). They retain your data and when using their services in subsequent years they use the stored data in completing the current years return. They require users to purchase a higher level of their services to be able to use that stored data. Of course one could provide their own data, if they retained it personally, but basically, the use of the stored data is not a right of the individual and can rightfully be charged to access it by the service provider to use the data in their database.

I suspect you are learning a valuable lesson here: always retain backups of all data stored by others for you. Whether it be due to lack of future accesss or the cloud provider losing the data, your motto should always be: make a back up of any critical data.


So, to start with you need to pore over any germane tos, Eula, contracts, or agreements to determine if you have a right to download your bulk data stored by the software provider or if they store the data only for the use of utilizing their software.
 
#6
I have free access to our data now and will have it until December 31, 2018.

The issue is the method of access. I can pull up screens and get all the data. But for a conversion to another program it would be MUCH more efficient to have access to the database where the data could simply be remapped.

This isn't an issue of backing up data. I never had access to the databases to back them up. Company A & now B back up the data continuously on 4 different servers.

I know there was not mention of who owns the data in the first agreement and as I said there was no mention in the second agreement as it was cost only and seemed to be relying on the first agreement for the software itself.

To give you an idea of what we are talking about look at my screen name and multiply it by about 1500 distinct employee per year.
 
#7
This isn't an issue of backing up data. I never had access to the databases to back them up. Company A & now B back up the data continuously on 4 different servers.
You said it was your data. If so, not only would you have access to your own data at some point but you would have created the data in question so you would have access to the data at that point. If the compilation belongs to the owner of the software or whomever is facilitating your use of the software, the database may very well belong to them.


As I read your question, they are not prohibiting access to the data held but refusing to allow you to download the complete compilation of data you provided as well as data derived from using their software and your input (your data) from which additional data (their data) is created. Unless your agreement to use their software included the right to acquire their database or their data, I think you’re out of luck.
 
#8
Their software in no way transforms our data other than simple mathematical calculations. We are talking about payroll software here. The only unique thing is the way they put our data into the database.
 
#9
Their software in no way transforms our data other than simple mathematical calculations. We are talking about payroll software here. The only unique thing is the way they put our data into the database.
So the results of the simple mathematical calculations are their data, not yours.

The database is their creation. Unless granted to you in your license, it remains the property of the creator. They can charge you for it or even refuse to provide it to you. It’s theirs.
 

xylene

Senior Member
#11
1. No matter how many servers, you have no meaningful backup.

2.even though I consider it unethical, they do not need to make it easy to remap data to migrate.

Consider hiring someone who can write a scripting program to automate or semiautomate the file queuing and retrevial process. Bluntly, that going to give you better value than using litigation to coerce raw database downliad, which I guarantee would not be immediately suitable either (they'd make it that way as some kind of work to rule to burn you)