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Old 25 April 2007, 20:37   #1
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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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Old 25 April 2007, 21:15   #2
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Guess you should blame the company close down site just because the got copyrighted stuff, no matter how old it is.
This action give the people behind those emu program some hard time, so to secure that noone can close their site they have to take this action...

and as you said we know where to find it (thx torrent/emule )
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Old 25 April 2007, 21:18   #3

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I think your just pissed as you want everything for free

in these days where you can be sued for lookig at some one funny, its safer to not promote piracy where theres a slightest possability of running into a copyright issue. This boards and caps images is a testiment to that.

there was very few things good on archemedies so dont worry to much about it .. its for your protection Or you could buy the emu like they say. You wouldnt ever download illegal amiga roms would you ? no, you'd buy the amiga forever pack ....

As for ScummVM. They are doing the right thing. Its how they get legal source code to make the interpreter as compatable as possible (game dependant) and in some cases gets you a free game
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Old 25 April 2007, 21:47   #4

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Man, we're one of the worst with the AmigaForever\Cloanto BS, but hey. I still can't believe people are paying for stuff they already own. Unfortunately the Amiga always had to put up with these type of companies from day one. Heck, some Amiga users even put up with it and justify it. "Screw me more! Harder!", the Amiga peanut gallery demands.

Heck even Commodore took Jay Miners' stuff, made cash out of it, trashed it, then hell with the users.

Other platforms are actually pretty lucky. That's why the C64, Spectrum, MAME is so vibrant. Look at ours. Start counting the sites Cloanto killed you'll be right to sleep 'cause they're more than sheep.

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Old 25 April 2007, 22:10   #5
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To this lot, "Abandonware" doesn't exist.
AFAIK "abandonware" doesn't exist in a legal sense either. It is true that some companies have gone bankrupt and left behind games for which noone seems to own the copyright - however, I don't believe this means the copyright is automatically dissolved. Copyright lasts for many years (75 in the US?) after the death of an author of a work.

Whether we agree with this or not, the fact is that the people you mention above are merely abiding by the law as is their right. As Matt said, you can't blame these guys for protecting themselves from legal action. I would also argue that - especially in the case of ScummVM - the attitude and stance of the team surely fosters a greater cooperation between developers and the community.
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Old 25 April 2007, 22:15   #6
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It's 'illegal' to play old games via emu.
You must buy mobile ports instead.
Free things come from communism.

This message is sponsored by bittorrent technology.

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Old 25 April 2007, 23:51   #7
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IMO authors/publishers can't complain if the game in question is not manufactured/available for purchase anymore. Either let us buy it, NOW, or stop complaining that we don't pay for the damn thing.
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Old 26 April 2007, 00:12   #8
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Methodgit? more like moaninggit.

In the face of legal action I'm sure you'd suddenly have a change of heart about "piracy" too. Or would you stick it to the man for all of us?
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Old 26 April 2007, 00:37   #9
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There's essentially no legal action that could be brought against someone for hosting a BIOS file. It doesn't fall under "circumvention of copy protection" legislation like the DMCA or EUCD, and it'd be impossible to prove damages, as you'd have to do to bring a copyright-imfringment case. The worst a company could do to you is make you take the file down.
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Old 26 April 2007, 03:08   #10
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Originally Posted by Ian
Methodgit? more like moaninggit.

In the face of legal action I'm sure you'd suddenly have a change of heart about "piracy" too. Or would you stick it to the man for all of us?

I miss the Ian-Marz battles

Ah memories
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Old 26 April 2007, 04:33   #11
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Originally Posted by Mad-Matt
.....in these days where you can be sued for lookig at some one funny.....

SO what happens when you look at somebody in a not so funny way
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Old 26 April 2007, 10:44   #12
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You get herpes from Zetr0!
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Old 26 April 2007, 10:51   #13
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Old 26 April 2007, 11:28   #14
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Originally Posted by MethodGit
To this lot, "Abandonware" doesn't exist.
It doesnt. It is a term thought up by Pirates to help them sleep easier at night.

The reason everything is so sensitive right now is the "Virtual Console" on the Wii and the other 3 next gen consoles.

Retro-gaming is at it's height at the moment and companies have decided to try and cash in once again. This puts pressure on the emulation community especially the developers who get a cease and disist letter in their inbox and shat their pants and swing violently to the right as they clean up their sites.
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Old 26 April 2007, 11:34   #15
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how did you know know that? ahhh.... the doctor told you from last time.... sorry dude....

indeed, there is no leagal definition of abandonware, there is however Public Domain , this comprises of everything from music to movies to even amiga games. Software (unless classified official secrets / munitions *such like cyphers) has only a 50year copywright (its +75 after death of authors/musicians) there are other exceptions.

1. If software is placed in whole or in part of the public domain by the original copywright holder. (this cannot be removed after they have placed it there)

2. If the copywright holder, being a corperate / business entity no longer exists (and copywright is non-transfered) works fall into the public domain.

there are many forms of copywright, dont get this confused with patent law as this is a f*cking minefiled! these can range (depending on patent applied) from 10 - 25 to even 50 or more years.

thats pretty much the jist of the UK law upon the subject. currently the music industry is trying to push (lobby / payfor) amendments through the european / uk copywright law to have the 75 year barrier moved to 100 years... ( i think they make enough f*cking money on shit anyway!)

I understand Methodgit's frustration at seeing money hungry company's claw away with rekless abandon it seems the sceen we all love!

I want to know WHO owns os 3.x and bellow.... I want to know WHO owns the KS Roms...

I want to know whoms pocket this money goes into....
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Old 26 April 2007, 12:27   #16
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Thanks for the information Zetr0. I think one of the problems is that there are not that many games where the company has gone bust and nobody has bought the rights; it seems in many cases the rights are acquired by other companies (probably as part of a bigger deal) but nobody seems to know who owns the rights (as you mention with KS and OS 3).

I've even read of a few cases where companies wanted to released software into the public domain, but they could not find the documentation proving they had the rights to it in the first place!
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Old 26 April 2007, 12:34   #17
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I think the way forward is what Ian Braben did with Elite, he just released it as public domain (along with Frontier if I remember correctly) and there was a site working on a game called Elite: The New Kind, or something like that. Ian Braben was the author and he did the right thing in giving it away, that's as near to abandonware as you will get. I think Jeff Minter who did Sheep in Space and Attack of the Mutant Camels did the same, don't flame me if I am wrong about Minter.

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Old 26 April 2007, 13:30   #18
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Abandonware is just a term invented, its nothing real about it .

I think they do what they have to do to not get closed etc.
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Old 26 April 2007, 13:38   #19
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yea, pretty much spot on.
My favorite example is how Nintendo had to change the names of the players for old games on virtual console. EA has the NFL license. It's a frikkin retro game released 20 years ago.

We all love the "kick start" licensing stuff as well... that's not even starting on what the art and music copyright might be on some games. A lot of the stuff was probably just 2-3 friends so no one bothered with limited licensing.

"If the copywright holder, being a corperate / business entity no longer exists (and copywright is non-transfered) works fall into the public domain."

I didn't about this one, wouldn't this be the case of a couple of amiga games? I know Sony owns/uses psygnosis stuff but I'm thinking battlesquadron ie companies used just for the publishing at that time (self publishing?)
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Old 26 April 2007, 13:53   #20
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Originally Posted by Zetr0
2. If the copywright holder, being a corperate / business entity no longer exists (and copywright is non-transfered) works fall into the public domain.
That is not true.
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