English Amiga Board


Go Back   English Amiga Board > Off Topic > OT - Gaming

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 14 November 2016, 18:49   #1
markpjd
Games-Coffer

markpjd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: London / England
Posts: 122
Are 'private game servers' legal?

Hi,

I got into a discussion earlier about private game servers being legal or not (mainly relating to MMO's). Personally, I would have thought that they are obviously illegal and infringe copyright. Anyway, according to 'this guy' whom apparently studied law - they are not.

The reason why he says they are legal is because the software on the server side is not the original server side software. That it is in fact 3rd party software written to "behave" like the game.

My argument was that even though the software has been re-written/emulated/reverse engineered - the game title, characters and such are normally trademarked.

Anyone else came across this kind of thing?
markpjd is offline  
AdSense AdSense  
Old 14 November 2016, 20:31   #2
Dunny
Registered User

Dunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Scunthorpe/United Kingdom
Posts: 830
Depends on how the assets are stored. You don't usually store character graphics and environment artwork on a server - when things get heavy you could be waiting for hours for (potentially) multi-GBs of data to come down the pipes and it increases costs (in terms of bandwidth) for the host.

So as long as the server software just mimics the responses that the official server does but does not infringe on any actual IP, they're good.

But that doesn't mean that you get the same experience - maps would have to be re-made for example, and often are. Take Elite Dangerous for example; it would be reasonably trivial to implement a universe server but nigh-on impossible to recreate the universe as it is now. But you could easily create a custom universe...
Dunny is offline  
Old 14 November 2016, 21:12   #3
Daedalus
Registered User

Daedalus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin, then Glasgow
Posts: 2,269
Indeed, it's basically an API, so while some companies will try to protect it (and some courts will uphold such actions), in general it's no more illegal than something like Wine on linux mimicking Windows' API, or AROS mimicking the Amiga's.
Daedalus is offline  
Old 14 November 2016, 22:16   #4
markpjd
Games-Coffer

markpjd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: London / England
Posts: 122
I think it maybe quite a minefield when it comes to the law.

For example, we all know that some games have been terminated due to 'being too similar to other games' and emulators that have been shut down. I remember reading something about the Giana Sisters game being 'too much like Mario'.

I guess it boils down to many different things. The EULA (the terms the company creates) and the actual law and what it can do. I guess a games company can send a notice to an individual/company, but how much actual clout they have legally might not be so clear cut.

I guess if it does end up in court, then it may come down to how the judge interprets the law and can differ from court to court.
markpjd is offline  
Old 15 November 2016, 11:12   #5
Daedalus
Registered User

Daedalus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin, then Glasgow
Posts: 2,269
To be fair, Giana Sisters is pretty much a rip off of Mario 1 But there's a difference between ripping off somebody's game and providing an alternative for a service, which by its nature needs to be compatible and thus offer the same API. But you're right, while such things are supposed to be legal in Europe anyway, an individual case will probably come down to how good the legal representation is on each side and how much attention the judge pays.
Daedalus is offline  
Old 15 November 2016, 12:50   #6
Dunny
Registered User

Dunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Scunthorpe/United Kingdom
Posts: 830
A good example was the recent Google vs Oracle case. Originally the courts ruled that Oracle couldn't protect an API with copyright, as the API specification was not the actual code. On appeal, it was found that an API can be copyrighted (wtf?) so Google had to go back to court and have their implementation of the Java APIs tested as fair use (which they won, though Oracle will now appeal).

So at least in the US, APIs can be copyrighted. So there's that.

But then there's even more trickiness with the DMCA - if the server accepts and returns encrypted messages between itself and the client then the client code will have to be reverse engineered to figure out how to do the encryption. If that encryption can be proven to have been implemented as a kind of IP (or copyright) protection, then the reverse engineering will be seen as circumvention and therefore highly illegal.

As for GGS, it didn't go to court - Nintendo issued a C&D with a threat of legal action, which would have been very costly for the defendents, and the big N had almost bottomless funding for litigation which would have kept the game off the shelves almost indefinitely. It was never proven legally that cloning games, even as closely as GGS did Mario, is unlawful. If it were, then many of the games we have now would never have made it to market.

And as mentioned above, do note that if something is illegal in the US it doesn't mean it's not legal in the EU or elsewhere.
Dunny is offline  
AdSense AdSense  
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sites like Back to the Roots, that have legal game downloads? Narf the Mouse support.Games 5 21 February 2013 16:10
Bugs Bunny - Private Eye (C64 game) s2325 Retrogaming General Discussion 9 01 October 2008 22:13
Looking for decent servers in the UK Sober project.WinUAE - Kaillera 1 24 April 2007 02:58
Legal Game Downloads (List) Frootloop Retrogaming General Discussion 26 31 October 2002 01:45
Sites like Back to the Roots, that have legal game downloads? support.Games 0 01 January 1970 02:00

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 10:10.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Page generated in 0.16756 seconds with 12 queries