Originally Posted by OddbOd
Copyright law is generally clear and unambiguous in so far as copyright does not need to be maintained in any way to remain technically valid, it remains in place for however long the appropriate statute specifies, the absolute minimum term for signatories to the Berne Convention is 25 years after the date of first publication (in most countries protection lasts between 50-70 years after publication/author's death). The situation gets more complex when the protected work has no commercial value, here in the case of Kickstart where the rights holder does not offer the ROMs for sale it would be (in my opinion) very difficult to pursue a claim for damages against somebody offering them for free on the Internet because the courts recognise actual losses only and not potential losses.
Unfortunately ISPs, web-/server-space providers and even domain registrars (famously Go Daddy) are paranoid about legal issues, so anybody hosting such files risks being kicked off the net at the whim of entities supposedly holding copyright/licenses.
While there are generally no further legal claims, this still has very real financial impact in many cases, such as already paid fees for terminated services not being refunded, etc. That's not to mention the general trouble and annoyance of it all.