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General Chat Thread, All inclusive gaming device... THE PC!! in General; I'm guessing this should go in Gaming, but I'm talking more about morality/legality here. The other night I was thinking ...
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    X-13's Avatar
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    All inclusive gaming device... THE PC!!

    I'm guessing this should go in Gaming, but I'm talking more about morality/legality here.

    The other night I was thinking about all the consoles, and by extension all the games, I've bought over the years and I quickly realised I have awesome games that I can't play due to space [No space for the console], broken components [Original NES/Megadrive has no cables] and general "I can't be bothered to set it up again for one game."

    Technically, I have 5 copies of Ocarina of Time. [N64, Gamecube + 3DS] [Gamecube and 3DS count as 2 each. As they're both OoT and Master Quest.]

    So I was thinking, would it be acceptable to get an emulator [I'm not asking for links] and play the games I own on my computer?

    This includes any current and/or future games I may buy.

    [This is part 2 of my multi-point plans for the Raspberry Pi. I neither have the space or the funds for a proper gaming PC.]

    Since I've purchased the original disk/cartridge, am I allowed to do this legally?

    This is coming from my want of a single console that doesn't upgrade in it's entirety, thus making older media obsolete, but one which upgrades components to enable full compatability. Maybe upgrading the core system every so often to set a higher base spec... [Yes, I know I just described a computer.]
    Last edited by X-13; 5th December 2011 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Raspberry Pi not Strawberry... Where the hell did that come from?

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    I'm 99.9% sure that if you own the original cartridge/disc for a game, then it's perfectly legal to play that game in an emulator, even if you download a ROM due to lacking the physical hardware to create your own ROM (so long as it's in the same format as your original, e.g. if you own OOT on N64 only, you can't download an ISO of the Wii version) - that is the reason many sites quite happily host emulators but not ROMS, as ROMS are more of a grey area in the way that many people will download them illegally [i.e. by not owning an original copy]

    Having said that, I'm not sure how the law is about downloading ISO's - I suspect it's much more strict as it's so incredibly easy to make an ISO [in comparison to a ROM] that if you're going to waste time downloading it, you probably don't own an original...

    Just to cover my own a**, do not take this as legal advice!

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Just to cover my own a**, do not take this as legal advice!
    Damn, there goes my excuse If I go ahead with it and get arrested.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    So I was thinking, would it be acceptable to get an emulator [I'm not asking for links] and play the games I own on my computer?
    Yes, you would be able to do so.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Nintendo are quite sure that this is not legal: | Nintendo - Corporate Information | Legal Information (Copyrights, Emulators, ROMs, etc.)
    Some salient points:
    Can I Download a Nintendo ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?

    There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction of the authentic. Therefore, whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.
    Isn't it Okay to Download Nintendo ROMs for Games that are No Longer Distributed in the Stores or Commercially Exploited? Aren't They Considered "Public Domain"?

    No, the current availability of a game in stores is irrelevant as to its copyright status. Copyrights do not enter the public domain just because they are no longer commercially exploited or widely available. Therefore, the copyrights of games are valid even if the games are not found on store shelves, and using, copying and/or distributing those games is a copyright infringement.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    It comes down to the old 'format shifting' aspect of copyright law. In the UK at the moment, it is illegal to format shift. This is in the middle of changing though, as the government is trying to move copyright laws forward a little.

    So, I'd say that technically, using a ROM would be illegal, as you've format shifted from the original media to a PC file.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Nintendo are quite sure that this is not legal
    They're also sure that American copyright law applies to Sweden.

    But, it's something to consider.

    I can see one problem with their arguement for making backup copies:

    relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game
    Surely, as I [censored] paid for it, it's legally mine. So, I'M the rightful owner. Which means I can go whatever I feel like with it.

    [See also: console modding and custom firmware]


    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It comes down to the old 'format shifting' aspect of copyright law. In the UK at the moment, it is illegal to format shift. This is in the middle of changing though, as the government is trying to move copyright laws forward a little.

    So, I'd say that technically, using a ROM would be illegal, as you've format shifted from the original media to a PC file.
    So I either have to hook up a console which I can't use due to missing pieces, or Frankenstien the connectors from, for example, my Megadrive to my PC so I can play it.


    Actually, that would be fun to try... Shame I don't want to risk my computer.
    Last edited by X-13; 5th December 2011 at 09:33 AM.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Hmmm... a little research shows that Nintendo at least do not allow ROMs (which is in stark contrast to what ROM sites say):

    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#roms
    Nintendo - Corparate Info[/url]]Can I Download a Nintendo ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?

    There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction of the authentic. Therefore, whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.
    I have to say though, while I understand them being totally against a Wii emulator for example (with it still being available for sale), I can't see what the big problem is with ROMs of games that you just can't buy any more - nobody is going to lose any money as all sales will be through the used market, so not a penny of it will ever get back to Nintendo or any of the other developers. They do cover this on the aforementioned page and talk about good will and copyright infringement but it just doesn't make sense to me: because of playing emulators, I actually went out and built up a collection of old games and consoles because I found playing an emulator wasn't quite the same as playing on the original hardware; it actually promoted sales and I'm sure I'm not the only one!

    EDIT: @sparkeh beat me to it!
    Last edited by LosOjos; 5th December 2011 at 09:37 AM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Surely, as I [censored] paid for it, it's legally mine. So, I'M the rightful owner. Which means I can go whatever I feel like with it.
    No, you have a licensed copy of it, it isn't legally yours - you're a licensee. You're legally allowed to do things as described in the EULA you agreed to when you started the software/opened the box/wherever they put it. (Note: I don't think the legality of EULA clauses have yet been tested in the UK).

    So I either have to hook up a console which I can't use due to missing pieces, or Frankenstien the connectors from, for example, my Megadrive to my PC so I can play it.
    The first option only I think, as doing the latter would be a license violation...

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I have to say though, while I understand them being totally against a Wii emulator for example (with it still being available for sale), I can't see what the big problem is with ROMs of games that you just can't buy any more - nobody is going to lose any money as all sales will be through the used market, so not a penny of it will ever get back to Nintendo or any of the other developers.
    They want the option of re-releasing the game on newer consoles, with slightly updated graphics.

    Me having 5 copies of Ocarina of Time is proof of it.

    If they allowed ROMs and ISOs of old games, they couldn't charge current gen prices for ~15 year old games. [OoT is 13 years old.]


    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    No, you have a licensed copy of it, it isn't legally yours - you're a licensee. You're legally allowed to do things as described in the EULA you agreed to when you started the software/opened the box/wherever they put it. (Note: I don't think the legality of EULA clauses have yet been tested in the UK).



    The first option only I think, as doing the latter would be a license violation...

    [Censored] licences. [Censored] them right in the ear with a rusty spoon.

  11. #11

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    So I either have to hook up a console which I can't use due to missing pieces, or Frankenstien the connectors from, for example, my Megadrive to my PC so I can play it.


    Actually, that would be fun to try... Shame I don't want to risk my computer.
    Or you just plug the RF lead in to a cheapo TV card

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    They want the option of re-releasing the game on newer consoles, with slightly updated graphics.

    Me having 5 copies of Ocarina of Time is proof of it.

    If they allowed ROMs and ISOs of old games, they couldn't charge current gen prices for ~15 year old games. [OoT is 13 years old.]
    True, but you having 5 copies of it is also proof that the availability of ROMs isn't damaging sales on the current gen consoles

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Or you just plug the RF lead in to a cheapo TV card
    Providing, of course, that I HAVE the RF lead.

    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    True, but you having 5 copies of it is also proof that the availability of ROMs isn't damaging sales on the current gen consoles
    Exactly. So why the [censored] is it illegal.

    I could have just downloaded OoT and used an Emu.

    Then again... The GC version I got with Wind Waker, and the 3DS version comes with the LoZ "limited edition" 3DS.

    I bought one, second hand, and the rest were free-ish.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Providing, of course, that I HAVE the RF lead.
    It's just a plain old £1 RF lead for most of the old consoles - Sega being the exception, they seemed to like to make awkward proprietary leads

    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Exactly. So why the [censored] is it illegal.
    That I don't know as I think it's ridiculous myself! @localzuk was probably closest with an actual law i.e. format shifting (as although Nintendo claim it's illegal, they don't state any specific laws which suggests it's a grey area that they obviously want to discourage)

    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    I bought one, second hand, and the rest were free-ish.
    Which again backs up the argument for allowing ROMs/emulators for consoles that are commercially unavailable - developers see NOTHING from used sales, and the freebies you got with newer LoZ's, while nice, will probably NOT have been the reason you bought a brand new games!


    On a similar note, this site has some great hardware modding tips for old consoles, including how to make improved AV cables for some (I've made one for a MD2 and added stereo sound in the process - much better than the RF lead!): mmmonkey Console Modifications

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I don't know what the exact state of play under UK law is - as said, it's very much a grey area - but I know under US law, the "rightful backup" clause means YOU have to create the copy of it. Even though the ROM you download may be functionally identical to one you create, it would still be illegal. It's daft, but then so is all of copyright law.

    Source: Raving with the DMCA: a quest for a legal DJ Hero soundtrack

    So legally, no. Even though it is a grey area I'm sure a paid up copyright lawyer could argue very persuasively that it was illegal, if it came to it. Morally? I'd be inclined to say go for it, particularly with that many copies of OoT. Older games that have seen no release on the Wii arcade or re-(re-re-)release on the 3/DS would also be fine on my moral chart, and just put aside some money for when the game is re-released to pay for it. A game that is available on the Wii/DS? That's not so clear-cut.

    This is why piracy does so well - it just downright offers a better service. Consume your content in the way you choose to.

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