Software Trainers Level Complaints Against Business Objects - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

Software Trainers Level Complaints Against Business Objects

Instructors claim the business intelligence firm is using its license for Crystal Reports to restrict the way users are taught about the software.

Independent business intelligence instructors are crying foul against Business Objects, claiming the software firm is using its license for Crystal Reports XI to impose restrictions on third-party training, and to charge fees for the use of screenshots in course materials. And a number of user groups say Business Objects has established guidelines that limit both the presenters and information those groups can use at their meetings.

Ken Hamady has taught businesses how to use Crystal Reports independently for ten years. He says that Business Objects sent out a request for proposal in February of 2005 asking that individuals who create manuals for their classes begin submitting them to Business Objects for approval. A Business Objects representative explained to Hamady that screenshots in a course book are violations of copyright, and that Business Objects would work only with publishers that signed a contract with the company, he says.

"[The contract] gives Business Objects $30 to $40 per copy sold, as well as the right to approve course materials," Hamady says.

Only a portion of the leading publishers of Crystal Reports course materials are getting permission from Business Objects to publish screenshots, Hamady says, which puts those paying the $35 per-copy fee at a disadvantage.

"It's becoming apparent that Business Objects is not going to fight the publishers who are ignoring the program," he says.

But Business Objects has a different take on the matter. "If someone wants a screenshot to use in a publication, we provide that through the PR team," says Robin Meyerhoff, a spokesperson for Business Objects. "If a person is writing a training book and is not a licensed training partner, the writer needs to work with the training group."

The training group gives permission to publishers who wish to print reference books on Business Objects products, and the vendor is willing to provide the necessary permission forms for publishers to sign, Meyerhoff says. "There is no charge for this. This process helps us protect our customers from getting inaccurate information," Meyerhoff says.

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