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Default RPG News - US Copyright Office & Abandoneware Rights

November 24th, 2006, 23:44
Joystiq is running a story that claims new changes to law by the US Copyright Office grants legal use of Abandonware — although the article goes on to note "is still unlawful to distribute the old games, free or otherwise, rarely do any abandonware cases go to court":
Here's something abandonware enthusiasts can be thankful for: the Library of Congress yesterday approved six exemptions to US copyright. The one most pertinent to gamers is that, for archival purposes, copy protection on software no longer being sold or supported by its copyright holder can be cracked.

What does this mean? Well, those retro games — classic or otherwise — that you can't seem to find anywhere can now be preserved without fear of ramifications. Although it is still unlawful to distribute the old games, free or otherwise, rarely do any abandonware cases go to court. The ruling is more symbolic than anything, but a step in the right direction.
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November 24th, 2006, 23:44
"For archival purposes," the text states. Does it mean that it's lawful to keep a copy of a game in your HD but to play it is not ?
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November 25th, 2006, 00:21
This is rather directed towards libraries. We have a similar problem here in Germany.

Here in Germany it is - if I'm correct in what I have in my own memory - in principle allowed to break copy protection in oder to get software into a library - so in a way that it can be archived and later used again, without that copy protection. The emphasis is on "archiving".

Of course, companies won't like to see your own HD s a "library". And that it the point where the problem still is.

Another point unanswered is : How does a library enforce the crack of a copy protection of software that the library wants to archive ? Is it allowed for thge library to employ their own methods, software or even employees to do that ?

Is is possible for a library to ask a software firm to "delete" a copy protection especially for the library ? What if the company says "no, we can't do that" or even "no, we don't want to do that" masked by an "no, we can't do that" ? Who has actually the power, the library (and therefore the state, the country if the library is an institution of this state), or the software-producing company ?

And what with software companies that aren't there anymore ?
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November 25th, 2006, 01:17
court rulings like this tend to open a flood gate. I wouldn't be surprised to see it reversed by another court. In a recent case a court found against reverse engineering simply because they had to agree to the EULA in order to do it in the first place.

When it comes to protecting company rights and ownership of licensed properties American courts overwhelmingly side with the company. This ruling is a rarity indeed.
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November 25th, 2006, 14:07
HI

To me, as a teacher, the most interesting part in the article is this:

"Other rulings involved the rights of consumers to crack cell phone software locks for use on other carriers, the rights of educators to make compilations of DVD scenes, and the rights of blind people to use third-party software in order to read copy-protected electronic books. These rulings come as clarifications of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All new rules take effect on Monday and last for three years."

Especially, the part in which educators (teachers etc.) are allowed to make compilations of dvd-scenes (from dvd-movies, I guess?) to be used in the classroom - for educational purposes.

Also, afaik, it was the Librarry of Congress which made the decision. Afaik, this isn't a
court ??

Also, afaik, most classic games do not have copy protection software…
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November 25th, 2006, 20:40
Some do. Code-wheels, for example (Monkey Island), or the very first Micro Machines game had black symbols printed on matt black background, thus it couldn't be copied.
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November 29th, 2006, 23:55
And remember those moments when you had to look for the correct word from the manual!
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November 30th, 2006, 05:46
What about the original Pirates! on c64? It had an extremely tedious copy protection, you had to flick through pages and pages of the huge manual trying to find a date of where the silver train was in a particular year (they didn't even tell what page to look on. I did it so many times that I actually knew exactly where the silver train was at most dates eventually……

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November 30th, 2006, 06:06
I remember Pool of Radiance (the original first one) had a code wheel thing. That wasnt so bad, except I managed to misplace it a few times. And so I couldnt play the game! That sucked.

— this just in: I am probably not as retarded as previously assumed!
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November 30th, 2006, 13:12
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
And remember those moments when you had to look for the correct word from the manual!
I hated those, since I rarely kept them with the disks ….

— Mike
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