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Old 25 April 2007, 20:37   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: The Streets
Age: 34
Posts: 2,723
I feel the emulation scene is spoiled too much by "legal issues".

In some circles at least, it greatly affects the enjoyability (to most average people) of stuff like ScummVM, any Neo-Geo-CD emulator, and the whole Archimedes emulation scene, for instance.

1) The ScummVM team are so anal about copyright, that they won't allow even online replicas of original codewheels to be linked to from their forum or site ("Warez", they call it), never mind the slightest hint of protection cracking, unless - they say - there is valid proof that the game in question was legitimately cracked by the original company, say, in budget re-releases. One thing to note here is that in the early days, they pretty much disabled protection in all the games without a second thought. This was a very good thing. But since a particular version (I forget which), they've intentionally, seriously re-enabled codebook/codewheel/manual protection in many (versions of) games that had them in the first place (for, and here's the jackpot folks... "copyright reasons"). And as many cracked releases of old adventure titles implemented the crack into the old, original executable that's useless to SVM - not to mention their tendency to detect and support data files by specific MD5/CRC32 sums - you're buggered if you want to play, say, Gobliins 2 unless you happen to have the original manual with you. And they got all arsey recently about someone trying to help provide a link to a scan of the Future Wars manual to help with the copy-protection. I asked "Are sites like Replacement Docs now banned then? Who owns the copyright to the game anyway as Delphine went bust years ago?" The response, "the fact is whoever owns the copyright (yes, they'll assume immediately that someone else bought the IP straight away for no reason) hasn't explicitly said "okay, you can spread this game/manual around for free". To this lot, "Abandonware" doesn't exist.

2) When anyone develops and releases a Neo Geo CD emulator in general, many people are like "you shouldn't download the BIOS, it's illegal, you must dump one from your own Neo Geo CD unit, blah blah blah blah". First off, how easy is it exactly to get an original console nowadays, without perhaps spending fuckloads in the process? And why exactly would there still be reason for anybody to be pursued on legal grounds and hammered with lawsuits over a bios for a (relatively flop) machine that stopped being commercially viable nearly a whole decade ago? "Providing a BIOS for download will encourage piracy", indeed. *rolls eyes*

3) Most galling of all is the overly-serious "protection" of the entire Acorn Archimedes back catalogue. Back in around the late 90's and 2000 it wasn't so bad. Plenty of good sites where you could download Archie ports of familiar titles and also original games for free without any problem. But now things have changed for the worse. All the good sites have either gone under or been neutered so drastically as to be no fun at all to visit anymore. It appears there is not even a single place similar to this board that isn't so anal about protecting the IP by banning the spreading of old titles for free. And if the average joe ever thought trying to find the odd naughty/hidden Kickstart rom site was hard, just wait till they try to find a place that houses the RISC OS roms you require. It's almost impossible without spending absolutely ages looking through every nook and cranny and dark corner of the web, even more so if you're after a later version than 3.11 (or even an older version at times). "Ah, but there's a perfectly legal way to get your roms and other emulation files", the Archie nerds will say. "It's a package called Virtual Acorn. That'll be £79/£99/£119 please." Thank god at least one torrent site helped me with obtaining everything you ever need for decent Archie emulation then.

Anyone here also have tales of woe regarding (general) emulation communities and their OTT fear of being sued by even the most miniscule of faceless people? In a way, I feel over-zealous nerds help towards killing a scene, not keeping it alive.

I apologize if this thread is controversial in any way, but I thought at the same time it would be an interesting discussion somehow.
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