The Magic of the PD Companies
If you are an Amiga user you have most probably already
heard of names like 17 Bit Software, Quartz PD or Silver
Software. What have all these companies in common? The answer
is simple - they were all (and some still continue to be),
Public Domain companies.
firms had their greatest time in the early and middle 90's.
They checked mailboxes and BBS's for new software (games,
utilities, demos, etc.) and after getting the software it
was copied onto disks and sold to customers. Often, private
programmers would write directly to the PD companies and
ask whether they would be interested in publishing their
creations. Some PD companies paid money to the authors for
permission to distribute their productions.
see that the method above worked, but this business quite
often had its losers - the software authors themselves!
This is because there were many black sheep in the sector
of PD companies - they simply stole someone's work and sold
it! Because of the commercial quality of some games and
tools, many copies were sold and as a consequence, the software
authors (the people who actually wrote the stuff), received
no money for their efforts.
we have the CD-Rom and Internet - the most common enemies
of the Amiga PD companies. Today, very few people are willing
to pay money for disks whose contents are freely distributable
on the Net. For this reason, many of the formerly popular
PD companies like the legendary 17 Bit or Software Center
Bocholt are no longer active.
here in Germany there are still some Amiga PD dealers: For
example Silver Software & Design and Patrick Pawlowski
Software. Silver has a great coloured catalogue with Amiga
PD stuff on disks. Prices are quite fair and you even get
a price reduction if you order 11 disks or more. Pawlowski
is quite expensive and one disk costs 6,50 DM. Good Public
Domain games like Moria even cost 10,00 DM! In my opinion
this is far too expensive.
are finally some scans of old Public Domain adverts:
Text by Bernd Gmeineder, June 2000