The threat from the ISDA

PJLPJL
edited May 2001 in Emulators
What does everyone here think about ISDA closing down abandonware & emulation sites? Personally to an extent I can understand their position, but if old games aren't available anywhere else, then where else are they going to get them?
Post edited by PJL on

Comments

  • LCDLCD
    edited December 2000
    ISDA sux! I like old games and if I can?t buy them, why not to download? Nobody looses money because the games can not be purchased. Stop the Terror, stop the ISDA.
  • edited January 2001
    Emulation keeps the memory and spirit of old games alive. Alot of younger people would have never been able to experience the old classics if it wasn't for emulation sites. And not only that It's getting harder and harder to buy the original games anyway and emulation is the only way you'll get them.
  • edited January 2001
    I've gotta agree with the sentiments of the others - what is the point in denying us access to games that are 15 years old, and that do not have a hope in hell of being commercially viable again? Also, it robs us of that lovely feeling you get of nostalgia made reality after you download Oh Mummy! and fail your degree because of it! I am unable to play on an original machine, 'cos it broke ages ago, just like most electronic things do after 15 years! People should be glad that the spirit of Spectrum gaming is being kept alive by emulation, where it would be long since dead without.
  • edited January 2001
    You're failing to see this from the companies point of view: what actual gain is there in letting us distribute their programs? Answer, to be honest: not a lot. We can go on about goodwill from the Speccy community and stuff like that, but in terms of hard, cold cash, we don't offer much - remember that number of Speccy fans is *much* less than the number of teenage gamers out there.

    OTOH, what possible losses are there for the companies? Actual lack of game sales is currently zero, but if Rare decided to provide all the Ultimate games on CD for ten pounds, I'd certainly buy it. There's also the intellectual property question: if they do allow free distribution of the games, does that in any way prejudice their ability to use the characters etc in the future? I don't think so, but IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer). Therefore, when given <possible losses against large future earnings> vs <very small, if any, gain>, I can see why some companies might choose not to allow their programs to be distributed - if nothing else, it's certainly an option which isn't going to get anyone sacked.

    Also, "People should be glad that the spirit of Spectrum gaming is being kept alive by emulation": *what*? Just because you and I care about the Speccy, don't try and enforce your views on others: if they don't care about the Speccy, that's their choice. They're probably just as interested in something you don't think is important.

    [Note: please don't take this as offensive in any way, it's just that this issue is a lot more complicated than is often made out, and many people seem only to see one side of the argument. Also, let's just hope this post doesn't cause the server to crash, as it did the last two times I posted to this forum...]
  • edited January 2001
    The big problem though with getting them legit, is if like me you trawl through the charity shops looking through the cassette/junk boxes. They are getting MORE & MORE & MORE worn out! Most tapes i buy just don't load when you get them back.

    I
  • edited January 2001
    Disclaimer: IANAL (see above).

    So long as you actually own a physical copy of a program, I can't ever see anyone managing to form a (successful) legal case based on the argument that you didn't get your emulated copy of the program from the tape you own, but you got it from (say) World of Spectrum. You've paid for the program, so I don't think it should matter where you actually got it from - courts, at least in Britain, do tend to interpret the spirit, as opposed to the letter, of the law.
  • edited January 2001
    Is emulation piracy though if you don't actually own the game?
    To me I think game companies are being unfair to the ones who are interested in spectrum or any other format games.
    it's a bit like saying you owned a Ford Model T or an Anglia or even an escort and decided to give it away for free (OK so you must be mad and rich) and Ford coming along and saying no way. we built the car ,we have the rights of distribution of Ford cars so therefore we won't allow you to do this. At the end of the day if you owned that car its yours to do what you want with it.
    And its the same for emulated games. The people who put them on the net for us all to enjoy have got to own it some way or other or how else do they get the rom image in the first place. Therefore if they own it surely it is up to them what they do with it?
  • edited January 2001
    Well, i think on the whole it is just sheer bloody mindeness by some people who now own the copyright. They bought a company of someone who bought a company off someone etc.... and these games WILL NEVER make any more profit at all.
  • edited January 2001
    The comparison between software and automobiles is not correct.
    If you give your car away (which is perfectly legal), you no longer have it.
    On the other hand, if you download software from my archive, I STILL have my copy and we suddenly both have it.
    It would be different if I would give away my actual originals of the software, which is legal again (but don't count on that *g*)
    Since you are effectively copying something, the word 'copyright' suddenly makes sense, yes? icon_smile.gif
  • edited January 2001
    Fair comment about the car comparison. But when you look at whos trying to stop emulation it seems to be big name companies like capcom etc, while the back bedroom programmers of that time,your Matthew Smiths, don't mind their games being downloaded. It seems that the big names want to control what we play and pay for.....the word Monopoly springs to mind.
  • edited January 2001
    thx1138 wrote:

    "and these games WILL NEVER make any more profit at all."

    Do you know that? Apart from Zenobi, who tried something patently stupid a few years ago, and one post to comp.sys.sinclair over the weekend, no-one's actually tried selling Speccy software for a long while. As I've said before, if Rare started selling all the Ultimate games for ten pounds, I'd buy a copy.

    Also, Andy Gurr wrote:

    "But when you look at whos trying to stop emulation it seems to be big name companies like capcom etc"

    Possibly because they are actually losing money from emulation? OK, not from Speccy emulation (although see my comment above), but it's a lot easier for them just to say "No free distribution", rather than have to maintain a complicated list of what people can and can't download. Note that I'm not saying they're right to do this, but you have to try and see it from their point of view as well.
  • edited January 2001
    It seems to me as if Phillip is the only one who has kept his head on during this discussion. I sometimes wonder if the apparently mad ramblings of the clouded one-sided emulation fans don't actually hider the emulation scene. I also often see the same people arguing for all emulation along with decesed games emulation. If the pro-emulation lobby can't distinguish between the two then what hope have we of getting the software companies to think of them as different?

    -tony
  • edited January 2001
    At the end of the day though ISDA cannot be justified in wanting sites like this one closed down. The simple fact of the matter is that the Spectrum firmware and hardware has been allowed into the public domain by Amstrad, and many large companies of the time have given their consent for their copyrighted works to be freely distributed. The maintainer of the site goes to great lengths to ask permission to include software, and if the likes of Infogrames can't be arsed to even answer emails then they obviously don't care very much about their rights when it comes to the Spectrum.

    If companies don't want their work distributed, let the ISDA name those companies, along with all the houses they own and then they can be taken down. Infogrames probably have never even heard of Imagine Software, much less are aware that they have the copyright over them, and in my view the ISDA is a convenient cover for the fact that they can't be bothered to look over their records. They can't be an arbiter for all those companies who no longer exist, especially as most of the games made by them are owned by individuals now.

    One other thing, the bit about being able to sell their games later, or use characters within them. Surely this is got around by supplying a limited license, for example stating that one site and one site only may distribute a title, and downloaders must register with the copyright holder when they download. All other copying would remain illegal. Otherwise, are the houses seriously saying they'd rather a work of theirs was lost forever??
  • edited February 2001
    You can argue the pros and cons all day and night about emulation and abandonware and the ISDA but at the end of itall one thing WILL remain...
    THEY WILL NEVER STOP FILES BEING DISTRIBUTED ACCROSS THE NET.
    just go to any search engine and type in warez. see how many ilegal fully working full price games you can download. you can get practically any game for any format. from vectrex to ARCADE roms. there are literally 000s of sites willing to distribute free software. for every 1 that the isda shut down 3 new ones appear.
    they will never stop the pirates. and is the industry really suffering that bad? i think not. long live emulation.....
    the argument is redundent because the pirates will always win!
  • edited February 2001
    I think you've missed one situation: the one in which the pirates don't have to "win", because the companies have agreed to let their games be distributed, possibly for free and possibly for a fairly nominal cost. I think basically everyone (apart from those who think the world owes that a favour and they should be able to have what they want, with nobody else having any say in the matter) would agree that this is actually the best outcome.

    The way to create this situation is not by doing what many emulation sites do, namely putting up as much as they can get their hands on until they get shut down, then moving on to the next ISP and repeating, but by doing what WoS is doing, and actually trying to obtain permission to distribute the games. We may lose a few games this way, but 1) it keeps us on the right side of the law and 2) I believe that the goodwill we create by making this kind of effort will actually persuade more companies to allow us to distribute their programs - it certainly won't do any harm.
  • edited March 2001
    It could be about money in the long run!

    For every hour you spend playing an old game you havent payed for your not playing with a game that you purchased that they profited from!

    In the long run this could spell loss and I am sure the companies know it.

    When I originally owned a speccy I bought a game every week and now its once every six months (I do spend a lot of time playing old games on emulators).

    Though I could be arcing off at a tanjent but it kinda makes sense in my mind!

    Hope I explained it properly..
  • edited March 2001
    It could be about money in the long run!

    For every hour you spend playing an old game you havent payed for your not playing with a game that you purchased that they profited from!

    In the long run this could spell loss and I am sure the companies know it.

    When I originally owned a speccy I bought a game every week and now its once every six months (I do spend a lot of time playing old games on emulators).

    Though I could be arcing off at a tanjent but it kinda makes sense in my mind!

    Hope I explained it properly..
  • edited April 2001
    I've often wondered with this 'Downloading scene' whethre the actual ISP's should be liable t pay companies for downloaded copies of their software. After all most of us pay for our online access, so this could be deemed as paying for the software (i really don;t know the lgeal side of the issue).

    There should be something set up as with books, after 50 yrs of te authors death, the book virtually becomes public domain.

    Maybe something like this with videogames is the answer. Not as long a period as books have a far greater shelflife than v/games could ever wish toi have. I would say videogames habve a max shelflife of 10 yrs then they cease to become in anyway profitable.

    Just look at Street Fighter 2, the original game is no way played in any shape or form by any1 but the most dedicated addict and it is one of the most played games of all time.

    2 other examples, Tetris and Prince of Persia. Nobody in their right mind would pay for these games now as other perfectly good (and free) alternatives are available.

    I agree the emulation scene is a minefield for both sides of the argument. I really hope a happy medium can be found.
  • Videogames are (currently) copyrighted for a minimum of 75 years.

    The examples you mention aren't exactly good examples by the way:
    - The basis of the player engine of Street Fighter 2 is being used by a brandnew Beat 'em Up that was released last month (IIRC) on the PS2.
    - Prince of Persia saw a commercial re-release last year, where the game was rewritten in a 3D world. It wasn't a big hit, but nonetheless making profit.
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