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How legal are my romz?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by turntablist, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. ddrmaxromance

    ddrmaxromance

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    Again, only an opinion...What if I were to go to a Ford Dealership right now and steal one of their cars that they are mass producing? :shot:
     
  2. Toasty

    Toasty

    BulbaSAUR! Member
    I actually know someone who got a C&D letter from their ISP for downloading ROMs. He was using Cox cable. The letter stated that he HAD to delete all the ROMs from his harddrive and never download them again - basically a slap on the wrist. I wouldn't worry too much.

    As for MY opinon; I think downloading ROMs is fine as long as the ROMs you're downloading are no longer being produced and the owner isn't profiting off them anymore anyway.
     
  3. LocalH

    LocalH

    roxoring your soxors Tech Member
    That still doesn't apply because with ROMs, you're duplicating the data exactly rather than stealing an existing copy. A better analogy - if one could scan a physical object with a device, and the device could then create an exact clone of that object, should it be illegal to do so, even if the source object is not yours? You're not depriving anyone of any physical property, you are only duplicating it.
     
  4. ddrmaxromance

    ddrmaxromance

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    Ah, so kinda like uploading a book? Anyone can obtain it but the owner of the book still owns it, but because of his actions, the author and publisher loses money. Kinda like that?
     
  5. Travelsonic

    Travelsonic

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    We are of course speaking in potentials here - IMO, the 1 download = 1 lost sale argument ignores that not everybody who pirates will then not buy what it was he/she pirates.


    But that is still a tangent - relevant as it is - to the discussion of the legality of roms. :D
     
  6. ddrmaxromance

    ddrmaxromance

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    Yeah, I tend to go on tangents like that. =P There are so many different ideas of the legality of ROMs!
     
  7. SegaLoco

    SegaLoco

    W)(at did you say? Banned
    Sony still does digital distribution of those games on PSP and PS3, see the PSN store. :colbert:

    Yeah, with some games this is minuscule compared to the value of the physical media. (Prototypes anyone? Only cart of Mario 64 beta in existence is only cart of Mario 64 beta in existence, regardless of whether it is dumped or not, that shit is worth $1000's)
     
  8. Vendettagainst

    Vendettagainst

    Apparently shooting kills things Member
    The big thing here is that you're still depriving someone of money. It isn't a question of morals, it's a question of what's legal, and it's not.

    (Nevermind I've downloaded near 30 GB of music in the last week, but, eh, at least one of the albums was a legal free download. :) )
     
  9. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    They do? Well, that's that mystery solved.

    But my basic argument stands; if the publisher/console manufacturer are no longer making money from that game, they usually don't mind free distribution of it. However, they still retain the rights to say, "No! You can't do that!"
     
  10. HighFrictionZone

    HighFrictionZone

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    According to copyright.gov, under section 117 of the Copyright Act, you ARE entitled to make an archival copy of "computer software", provided that:
    [*]The new copy is being make for archival purposes only
    [*]You are the legal owner of the copy
    [*]any copy made for archival purposes is either destroyed, or transferred with the original copy, once the original copy is sold, given away, or otherwise transferred.

    In other words, if you happen to have legitimately purchased SuperCoolSoft 2010, you are permitted to make an archival copy of the install disc. If you later transfer the original legitimate install disk, you have to either destroy the archival copy or transfer it to the new owner as well.
    Even if you legitimately own software, you can NOT simply download a copy - you have to make it yourself. Additionally, as part of the terms of sale of the given computer software, your right to make an archival copy could be limited.

    This right to archival copies does not extend to OTHER types of works (IE: things which are not computer software). So you are not permitted to make an archival copy of a book, picture, sound recording, etc (unless you happen to have been given such rights by the copyright holder or you ARE the copyright holder).

    Does this apply to video games? On a technicality, I'd be willing to assert that it could apply to programmatic portion of the game, but not necessarily the media assets included with the game. Of course, if it tells you in the manual or in-game that you are not authorized to make back-up copies, you are not authorized to make archival copies. Which is probably the case with just about every game on the market.

    tl;dr: "ROM" files are, in most cases, illegal - having and/or distributing them constitutes copyright infringement and we could all be in serious trouble if somebody actually pursued the matter.

    If you wish to play copyright-protected console video games/roms on the PC, either the copyright holder needs to release a port or you need some way of directly accessing the data on the cartridge itself.

    Oh, and on a technicality, you CAN make a backup of a rom if it is necessary to preserve the working order of the machine which it runs on while you offline the machine for maintenance, provided that once the machine is restored to working order, the archived copy is destroyed. (see here)
    This probably only really applied to arcade machines, but nice to know regardless.
     
  11. Phos

    Phos

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    It says "Do not make illegal copies of this disk". What I find funny about that is that the copy wouldn't be illegal if it fell under than act.

    One thing though is that many ordinary programs often include some kind of media with them.
     
  12. Travelsonic

    Travelsonic

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    Actually, yes it does apply to other media types - the AHRA of 1992 covers audio recordings for example.

    We also have the Betamax case for tapes to fall back on as one of the notable cases that allows for backing up or time-shifting legally obtained content.

    But IANAL.
     
  13. LocalH

    LocalH

    roxoring your soxors Tech Member
    Yeah, but just because a corporation says it's not authorized doesn't mean it's illegal. Nintendo can say it's not authorized to play their games on the first Tuesday of each month just because, but it's still not illegal. N also states that game copiers are unilaterally illegal, but as one can also use them to develop homebrew software, that means that there is a quite substantial non-infringing use for them, and as per the Betamax decision, they are 100% legal for that reason alone.

    There is one technicality - the fact that cartridge games are on mask ROMs rather than volatile media. It can be argued that the distribution of such media is more robust than CDs and other computer software, and thus does not need backing up. I argue, however, that the existing law allowing backups does not discriminate against media types and thus, if you legally own a cartridge and wish to back it up, you have the legal right to do so, whether it's authorized or not. And thus, since it is impossible to determine whether a ROM was legally backed up or downloaded, as long as you own the cartridge, you're within your moral rights to download a copy of that same cartridge.
     
  14. Vangar

    Vangar

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    How many people have been sued over downloading ROMs (Carts, not ISOs) of games released before 2000?

    There's the answer, download and have fun.

    As for my legal status? I have almost every TOSEC and Darkwater.
     
  15. SegaLoco

    SegaLoco

    W)(at did you say? Banned
    See, now thats the way to do it. Grabbing fullsets is a fast process if you have a good enough internet connection, then you never have to go to a rom site again. Keeps you safe ;)
     
  16. Sik

    Sik

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    being an asshole =P
    Um, bumping, but I thought I could put some light onto this:
    • The 24hs rule is bullshit, period.
    • You must make the copy, you can't download it.
    • The exception only applies to magnetic media, not to optical media and much less to things like cartridges.
     
  17. The KKM

    The KKM

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    In other words, all those roms you have? Yeah, illegal. Even if you have the game, even if you dumped it yourself. Only things on magnetic media like vhs tapes, or audio cassettes, or I suppose old ZX Spectrum games are legal to copy.
     
  18. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    That is, if you don't try to sell them. + - Who would be dumb enough to do that though.   But I had no clue it was illegal to have roms even if you have the game in real life. o.O We just have to be sneaky then I guess.
     
  19. The KKM

    The KKM

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    It was because of a case in the 80ies(or 90ies). A company that made sort of a do-it-yourself rom dump kit, then nintendo or atari or someone I can't remember took them to court, where it was determined that as cartridges and diskettes and optical disks and the likes are more resistant than magnetic supports, there was no excuse for "safety copies".
     
  20. Except that diskettes are magnectic, and are *VERY* prone to errors.