Abandonware now made legal...sorta.

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Bas
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Abandonware now made legal...sorta.

Post by Bas » Sat Nov 25, 2006 7:24 pm

Interesting news post from Yahoo/Classicgaming:

In a striking move, the US Copyright Office (together with the approval of the Library of Congress) has decided to legalize abandonware. As Yahoo reports:

He (Billington) granted two exemptions dealing with computer obsolescence. For computer software and video games that require machines no longer available, copy-protection controls may be circumvented for archival purposes. Locks on computer programs also may be broken if they require dongles — small computer attachments — that are damaged and can't be replaced.

Before you get to excited though, there is a catch - you have to be a library or archive. As the actual Copyright Office statement presents:

2. Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

Now what is actually considered abandonware? Is CD-i abandonware?

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Devin
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Post by Devin » Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:18 pm

What a can of worms they just opened!

Consider a NES ROM is it now legal? The official Nintendo hardware is no longer manufactured but it is readily available on the used market. Is this a 'commercial marketplace'? Also the hardware is still manufactured by third party developers, does that count? Only to add another layer of complication the Wii introduces official emulation so I'm sure Nintendo would not be happy with the legalisation of 'abandonware' ie NES ROMS!

Then the clause of a library or archive, presumably in existance to open these resources to the public. What's the internet? Possibly the greatest library/archive on Earth completely open to the public (except China) so does that make NES ROMS availble for download okay?

NO, of course not. What they plan is to regulate this through official/traditional libraries and archive/institutions. So I very much doubt that hosting CD-i ISO files in America would be considered legal. In my mind it's still a very gray area.

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Post by Devin » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:26 pm

The argument continues: USA Legalizes Abandonware

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