[Disclaimer: This is strictly my personal opinion on this matter]
This is like the eternal conflict between Gollum and Smeagol, perhaps this pair exists in each individual and organization!
The time of proprietary file formats, with locked in data, is over.
To be honest I know little of what the original terms were, but of course licensing terms can made to be whatever the software vendor wants. But this does not seem right. Regardless of what the precedents were in similar situations.
What if a bunch of Amazon Mechanical Turks had done this task of reading from EndNote file format and converted to Zotero format? Assuming they had EndNote licenses of course. What if an Offshore service provider had used EndNote and coverts them for a fee to Zotero? One time translation and dependency on End Note can vanish in no time.
Vendor lock-in assumes many forms, the most insidious of which is the one where the customer’s data is locked into a proprietary file-formats.
All said, I do understand the challenges of monetizing IP that a company holds but still…
Also, can’t help but note the ironic ring to the name of the product ‘EndNote’!
Would be interesting to watch this. What is your take on this?