English Amiga Board


Go Back   English Amiga Board > Main > Retrogaming General Discussion

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07 May 2003, 06:16   #1
staticgerbil
Registered User
staticgerbil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: a / b
Age: 35
Posts: 87
Abandonware

Is abandonware legal?

I have heard mixed opinions and just figured this would probably be a good spot for a right opinion

Cheers.
staticgerbil is offline  
AdSense AdSense  
Old 07 May 2003, 06:53   #2
Twistin'Ghost
Give up the ghost
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: U$A
Age: 26
Posts: 4,662
Technically, no. From what I gather, most abandonware sites put up titles just because they are no longer supported by the original publisher. Regardless of what a publisher decides to do with it, that doesn't change the copyright laws and suddenly pronounce anything not in print as public domain. Some sites go to great pains to explain that since you can't currently buy said game, then the public has the right to just take it. Which is just not true.

On the other hand, most publishers really don't give a damn about their old work (save Amiga publishers reinventing their successes on the GBA). I doubt if you'll see too many of those clunky, CGA/EGA uglyware from the PC's "golden" DOS era being ported to the handhelds anytime soon. A few publishers outright turn down offers to allow the old games to be freely distributed, which is their prerogative. But the concept and the way it is often portrayed in the Abandonware realm, no it's not (technically) legal.
Twistin'Ghost is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 08:53   #3
staticgerbil
Registered User
staticgerbil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: a / b
Age: 35
Posts: 87
What happens to a copyright if the company that owns it dies?

Does the software then become PD?
staticgerbil is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 09:45   #4
CodyJarrett
Global Moderator

CodyJarrett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: UK
Age: 40
Posts: 5,743
It's all quite complicated and differs between countries (although there is some international agreement), but copyright still exists after a company or person dies and for around 70 years too.


Check out this for national copyright legislations:

http://www.unesco.org/culture/copy/


Or this for a U.S. copyright FAQ:

http://web.mit.edu/copyright/faq.html
CodyJarrett is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 11:07   #5
Mr Creosote
Evil Mastermind
Mr Creosote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 527
Quote:
But the concept and the way it is often portrayed in the Abandonware realm, no it's not (technically) legal.
Show me any Abandonware site which says it is legal. Sorry, but what you claim is simply not true! It has been very common to claim Abandonware is legal until early '99, but nowadays, it's just a few "old*****" sites who still do.

Edit: the word w-a-r-e-z is somehow censored out automatically....
Mr Creosote is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 19:00   #6
Twistin'Ghost
Give up the ghost
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: U$A
Age: 26
Posts: 4,662
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Creosote
Show me any Abandonware site which says it is legal. Sorry, but what you claim is simply not true! It has been very common to claim Abandonware is legal until early '99, but nowadays, it's just a few "old*****" sites who still do.

Edit: the word w-a-r-e-z is somehow censored out automatically....
As your quote by me stated, I never said that abandonware sites claim it is legal. I used the words: Concept. Portrayed. There's a whole lot of ways this can be peddled, but obviously if these sites host the games, they have to give the impression that it is OK to do so.

But I don't even visit abandonware sites anymore. I only end up there when I am following Google links after a search, so it's incidental. Fans harbouring old CGA and EGA games has always been a joke, in my mind since I hated those games then and now.
Twistin'Ghost is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 19:26   #7
Mr Creosote
Evil Mastermind
Mr Creosote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 527
Quote:
obviously if these sites host the games, they have to give the impression that it is OK to do so
How much more can you simplify an issue? Let me show you some quotes from sites you don't visit:
Quote:
We don't claim ownership on the software titles offered here. All of them are classed as Abandonware though. That doesn't make it legal to download them in any way! Unless you own the original, you're commiting a crime by copying any of the files to your computer (unless it's clearly stated that this particular game/application is freeware). Just like we're commiting a crime by offering them.
Quote:
Despite the fact that publishers no longer derive revenues from these games since they have stopped selling them (and any revenues from retailers that still sell them were gained a long time ago, at the time of sales), it is illegal to distribute them.
Quote:
Is it legal?
Simple answer: no. According to current laws, copyright lasts 50 years after the author's death, or in the case of a company 75 years from its initial release. So unless you find copyrighted software made more than 75 years ago, it's not legal to copy.
I doubt more is needed. You'll find statements such as this on almost every Abandonware site. Not what you suggested:
Quote:
Some sites go to great pains to explain that since you can't currently buy said game, then the public has the right to just take it. Which is just not true.
I don't want to discuss this further, all I'm asking of you is to keep your prejudice away from things you (admittedly) have no idea about and which not interest you.
Mr Creosote is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 20:03   #8
Twistin'Ghost
Give up the ghost
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: U$A
Age: 26
Posts: 4,662
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Creosote
I don't want to discuss this further, all I'm asking of you is to keep your prejudice away from things you (admittedly) have no idea about and which not interest you.
Dude, why don't you take a chill pill already! In your elaborate quoting, why didn't you quote me saying I don't go to abandonware sites anymore? If I gave a crap, I could probably find examples of what I suggested, but I don't. And if the sites no longer claim that these files are free to download (as they used to), then I stand corrected. You don't have to have a coronary over it! Jesus!
Twistin'Ghost is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 22:04   #9
th4t1guy
Registered User
th4t1guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
Posts: 543
What!? :eek You mean you're suposed to PAY for software????

th4t1guy is offline  
Old 07 May 2003, 22:31   #10
DPainter
Junior Member
DPainter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: California
Posts: 342
How come it's called Abandonware and not Abandonedware?
DPainter is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 00:18   #11
Drake1009
Registered User
Drake1009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2,284
It might be abandoned by anyone wanting to publish it but it's not abandoned by people who still want to make money off it. Even if they don't want it published.
Drake1009 is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 01:36   #12
Pyromania
Moderator

Pyromania's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,785
@ Mr Creosote

What sites can I go download this software that noone wants me too? Even though they have it on their website.
Pyromania is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 07:23   #13
staticgerbil
Registered User
staticgerbil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: a / b
Age: 35
Posts: 87
Quote:
We don't claim ownership on the software titles offered here. All of them are classed as Abandonware though. That doesn't make it legal to download them in any way! Unless you own the original
Saying this isn't completely correct either (as far as i am aware) as i went to an abandonware site to get a copy of Champions Of Krynn and it was cracked. I presume downloading a cracked copy of a game would be illegal weather you own a copy or not.

This was my intention though as i have the original game, box and front/back covers of the manual but no pages so i can't play it
staticgerbil is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 08:47   #14
Drake1009
Registered User
Drake1009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2,284
The whole cracking thing is a sort of gray area I think. On one hand you're altering the program which is against most EULAs at least today. But on the other hand you're merely getting your program to run without the hassles of the copy protection which can be quite annoying and sort of punishing to people who actually bought the game.
Drake1009 is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 11:48   #15
Mr Creosote
Evil Mastermind
Mr Creosote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 527
Quote:
How come it's called Abandonware and not Abandonedware?
"Abandoned Software" - both words are shortened, not just the first one. But why exactly this term? You'd have to ask the founder of Mobygames about that, he was one of the people who came up with the term

Quote:
Originally posted by Pyromania
What sites can I go download this software that noone wants me too? Even though they have it on their website.
There is a difference between (objective) legal status and (subjective) views of webmasters. None of these sites say you shouldn't download those games, they only say it's illegal and that the visitors should be aware of that. I don't see what the fuss is about anyway. This forum follows "Abandonware rules", too. There isn't a reminder that it's illegal, but that doesn't change facts. The concept shouldn't be alien to anyone here. Why the uproar about other people who are doing exactly the same thing?

Quote:
I presume downloading a cracked copy of a game would be illegal weather you own a copy or not.
As Drake said, it depends on the EULA of this specific game. With games of the age such as Champions of Krynn, there is normally no clause explicitely forbidding you to modify the game for your own private use. And let's not forget most old games gave you a guarantee for replacement of the media it came on even after many years. I don't see the companies honouring that.
Mr Creosote is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 11:54   #16
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
So what can you do legally when you buy a program that has a copy protected disk that dies? When the company actively sold the software they usually offered you a new disk if you sent the old original in and paid a small fee. Once they abandon the software, go out of buisiness, get sold 5 times, etc what can you legally do?

BTW most abondonwear sites survive because the copyright holder is defunct, doesnt know they have the ownership (or doesnt care). The big companies still in buisness will tell you to remove the offending files or face prosecution (and actively look for people with sites that allow downloads of their software). Thats about the only thing different from abandonware sites and just plain ***** sites.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 15:00   #17
Drake1009
Registered User
Drake1009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2,284
I'd like to have a couple of original PC disk games which a company told a site to remove from their pages. I'd be contacting them to get a new copy of my disk for replacement. I only own a couple of PC disk games and none of them work anymore. Is psygnosis still enforcing their lemmings copyright because I've got a knackered Lemmings 1 disk.

If they're willing to go out and tell people to stop distributing their software then that should mean that there's still some value in it for them and that they should still honour thier agreements to the original licensees.
Drake1009 is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 19:45   #18
Syko
Now got GSX750F :))
Syko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Halifax UK
Age: 53
Posts: 584
Hey Drake1009

Quote:
On one hand you're altering the program which is against most EULAs at least today
Anyone can put anything they like in a EULA, whether it's got any LEAGLE value is another.

If I BUY a product, I can alter/customise that product in any way I see fit. I can literaly do any thing I want to it and there's not a dam thing the manufacturer can do about it, no matter who they are.

e.g. If I buy a new bike, and decide that day-glo puke is not what I want, I can take a can of paint and re-spray too m, and theirs f-all the bike maker can do about it. I can do the same thing with trainers or shoes or a jacket OR software.

The only thing I can't do is re-sell it as a new, original product, purporting to be from the original manufacturer, as that WOULD be ileagle. Although I'm perfectly entitled to re-sell it as seconed-hand goods, with no come-back at all.

So despight what Micro$cum wish you to thingk, altering software for your own use is leagle, and they can swivel Hard!

Syko is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 20:58   #19
Galahad/FLT
Going nowhere

Galahad/FLT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 44
Posts: 6,604
...

Theres some misinformation here, so I will try to clarify (and also show up the idiocy of laws in the US specifically).

1). It is LEGAL in the US to backup software that you own, so as to preserve it in case of damage. You are only allowed to keep a copy for yourself, not to give to others.

2). It is ILLEGAL IN ANY WAY to modify a computer program, as this is termed as HACKING. You are ABSOLUTELY by LAW not allowed to do this!

So one law says you can copy software, but sometimes the only way to do so is to modify the software concerned. A quandary, a double whammy, a load of crap basically! A really well thought out set of laws!

On the subject of Abandonware, lets get some things straight:

1). A disclaimer (i.e. a site saying "we dont condone you doing this, blah blah") is in itself bullshit! No court in the world will uphold a disclaimer. If its illegal to do something and you try to cover your back, you will be prosecuted. To coin a phrase, "a disclaimer isn't worth the paper it's printed on".... FACT!

2). Unless the author owns the game outright (many sold their titles in full to the publisher), and gives permission, that copyright is theirs for 70 years, and at any time, they can prosecute any site that holds images of their property. The same for software companies, as long as they haven't been made bankrupt, any ex head of a company can file to prosecute.

3). All games for as long as I can remember have always carried the statement. "Not to be copied, hired, lent, stored in another media or a retrieval system" That includes the internet, as its another medium from the original computer system, and its stored so it can be retrieved.

4). Ocean sold Chase H.Q. Ocean (infogrames) can prosecute you. Taito own the license of Chase H.Q. Taito can prosecute you. Teque London programmed the game for Ocean. If the music in the game was copyright Matt Furniss, HE can sue you.

At any time, any of the authors of the games can prosecute people.

Abandonware is a nice title, but the majority of the sites have no business distributing software they 'think' is no longer profitable. The GBA is the reason why the Bitmap Brothers won't allow any of their Amiga back catalogue to be distributed free. Why bother buying the pixel perfect rendition of the Amiga original (and the reviewers will certainly mention the Amiga), if you can download the Amiga emulator and the game?

I think one of the few LEGAL Abandonware sites is Cinemaware, Factor 5, and not much more.

Abadonware is a quaint little concept to give piracy a more acceptable name, because lets face it, in the majority of cases, you have to use illegally obtained software to use with emulators, which is all born from piracy.

Just for the record... I actually don't give a toss, which is obvious by my history
Galahad/FLT is offline  
Old 08 May 2003, 21:23   #20
Mr Creosote
Evil Mastermind
Mr Creosote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 527
Quote:
1). A disclaimer (i.e. a site saying "we dont condone you doing this, blah blah") is in itself bullshit! No court in the world will uphold a disclaimer. If its illegal to do something and you try to cover your back, you will be prosecuted. To coin a phrase, "a disclaimer isn't worth the paper it's printed on".... FACT!
Nicely put That is exactly why I've banned all sites using such ridiculous lies ("only for backup purposes", "delete after 24 hours",....) from my linkpages and search engines (which as some might know belong to the biggest in the "Abandonware scene" ).
I don't agree with the last sentence, though. I'm using disclaimers not to establish any 'legal statement', but to give information to the readers. Take the information "Abandonware is illegal" for example. I'm not saying this to feel safer, but to let people know. I've also written "if you don't want your software to be offered here, contact me and I'll remove it". I'm not saying that to avoid prosecution, but because I mean it (it has happened quite often already that developers nicely asked me for that without threatening legal action)! That is possibly where we differ: I do give a toss, and if someone shows me in any way he still cares for his software, I'll respect that.
Mr Creosote 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
fresh link to abandonware site s2325 request.Other 13 28 October 2012 13:36
Ancient Toys - Amiga Abandonware Frog Amiga websites reviews 3 24 November 2004 12:39
Site with amiga "abandonware warez" ??? keropi Amiga scene 0 02 November 2004 10:28
Abandonware abelthorne New to Emulation or Amiga scene 29 10 February 2004 02:04
Developers and programmers weigh in on "Abandonware" APFelon Retrogaming General Discussion 17 26 February 2002 16:54

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 03:24.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Page generated in 0.35984 seconds with 11 queries