Emulation

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Emulation

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:10 am UTC

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=30844
Rule #2 is "No links to copyrighted materials" and "No asking for copyrighted materials to be posted or sent." Neither of those say "no discussion of emulation." I didn't post or ask for anything copyrighted, just how well the emulators work. So does "asking for copyrighted materials" really mean "asking about anything that typically involves distribution of copyrighted materials", or does the entire thread get locked just because Babamthegrunt (presumably) broke this rule in his reply, rather than just removing the link?
(I could even post a video showing how I legally dump my own ROMs from the cartridges, if it's that important...)

I can't see how a thread asking how well emulators work and how hard they are to set up breaks any rules. Are we not allowed to discuss guns because they're often used to kill?
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Re: Emulation

Postby Jack Saladin » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:16 am UTC

You specifically talked about N64, NES, and other console emulation. That is outright illegal. It's been a long standing precedent to just avoid all discussions of those type in the Gaming subforum, because all the conversation is going to involve is either linking to illegal material or instructing someone how to break the law. I think you'll find the same rule is pretty much universal across all the major gaming sites such as GameSpot and IGN and so on, so it shouldn't be all that surprising.

Lul@ playing the "there are totally legal uses for ROMs!" card right after asking how well Mario Kart runs.

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Re: Emulation

Postby Durandal » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:20 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:You specifically talked about N64, NES, and other console emulation. That is outright illegal.

I thought if you owned the game in cartridge form according to fair use you could download a ROM due to the expense of digitizing it.

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Re: Emulation

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:17 am UTC

Durandal wrote:
Jack Saladin wrote:You specifically talked about N64, NES, and other console emulation. That is outright illegal.

I thought if you owned the game in cartridge form according to fair use you could download a ROM due to the expense of digitizing it.

I don't believe that is the case, not by my understanding of software licensing in the USA.

o does "asking for copyrighted materials" really mean "asking about anything that typically involves distribution of copyrighted materials",


Yes. It's easier to blanket ban the whole thing than to delve in to the grey area of it. Obviously, throwing up ROMs to be downloaded is right out. Mentioning that you run an emulator on your whatever really is a non-issue - you're mentioning that you do it, but give no clues as to where you got the equipment to do so nor are you inviting a discussion on such.

Asking for help in getting your emulators to work is akin to asking which torrent sites everyone prefers. You are right in that you aren't directly asking for emulators. But I don't care. It's too close to directly asking for emulators. It's ground I'd rather not have covered here simply because I don't know of anyone on the staff with a good enough working knowledge of post-DMCA copyright laws in the US and how they apply to a webforum run on US servers.


Citing this document

Emulators -
Legal - Reverse engineered emulators (protected under "fair use" doctrine) | Making a copy of the software for development purposes (e.g., BIOS dump)
Illegal - Reverse engineered emulators that incorporate actual code from the original console BIOS
Grey Area - ? Using an emulator with legally owned software (in another media format)

ROMS -
Legal - Downloading & using public domain ROMs
Illegal - Downloading & using "active"* ROMs - *"Active" ROM refers to those from contemporary commercially available software games.
Grey Area - Making a backup copy of the game


The whole thing basically boiling down to - if you make your own ROMs out of legal cartridges you purchased in a store that was a distributor for whatever game company, I have no idea if you are legally allowed to play those on an emulator, even if you own the device the cartridge was meant to be used on. And I do not believe the US Courts have come to a decision on that currently, as the cases I can find* are conflicting and often the details aren't exactly the same as yours are.


*In the order they would apply, with the topmost overriding the lower ones, yet the lower ones still being able to be cited for precedence.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
MAI v. Peak
Sega v. MAPHIA
Atari v. JS&A Group





...for the record, I'd have locked the thread with no responses if I'd gotten there in time. bam's response did nothing to change my decision on what to do with the thread. Only reason it's really even still there is the hope that someone in the future will find the thread while searching to see if a thread on PSP emulation had already been created, and realize that this is not the place for that discussion. And yes, I've almost got the paperwork filed for getting Christmas canceled.
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Re: Emulation

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:52 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:You specifically talked about N64, NES, and other console emulation. That is outright illegal. [...]

Lul@ playing the "there are totally legal uses for ROMs!" card right after asking how well Mario Kart runs.
Careful with the assumptions. I can (and did) make my own copy of my own Mario Kart cartridge using my own equipment, and since Canada doesn't yet have any sort of DMCA, it's legal here.

Anyway I see the rules have been updated to clarify this, so the issue is resolved. Thank you. (I don't mind there being a rule against it, it's just when I end up breaking a rule I didn't know existed that bothers me.)
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Re: Emulation

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:54 am UTC

It's legal there, sure. Sadly, our legislation is getting insane kickbacks... have their heads up the ass of... are apparently getting astoundingly awesome blowjobs fr.. once fucked a goat and the video is being held hostage by.... has decided that is not the case here.

Keep in mind the servers and administration are located in the USA, meaning that when in doubt, what is and is not legal defaults to what is and is not legal in the USA.
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Re: Emulation

Postby Will » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:26 am UTC

It's only actually illegal to do that if some kind of copy protection has to be overridden in order to make the copy. Otherwise making copies is fair use (no matter what the manual tells you) as long as you don't distribute the copies to anyone else.
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Re: Emulation

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:58 pm UTC

Or so long as you don't change the format - in the case of a cartridge, you just make a straight dump to be later put back on a blank cartridge.

From the paper I cited, paragraphs 44-45 -
A similar case-specific response has emerged in the so-called "space-shifting" or "platform-shifting" phenomenon—e.g., copying a videogame so that it can be played on a different platform than that originally intended by the copyright owner. In fact, such copying, if not authorized, may be infringing. In principal, only the publisher can decide when and whether to publish a videogame on a different platform; no court has recognized the right of the user to make such a decision under the fair use provision. In this instance too, fair use applies only after considering all four statutory factors*. This includes the impact of the unauthorized platform-shifting on the copyright owner's potential markets, including the market for the same game on a new platform, should the copyright owner choose to pursue it.

As these examples demonstrate, there are several critical aspects of emulation that fall within the gray-area of the fair use doctrine and copyright law in general. Until these issues are resolved, game makers will continue to argue that ROMs constitute a different media format and hence, are counterfeit and illegal.


If you know of a US Court Ruling otherwise, I'd love to hear about it.** However, I cannot find one where the courts ruled either way on the concept of copying a legally owned game onto a different media format (ie - ripping a NES cartridge into a rom file).

*The four factors are
(1) The purpose and character of the use;
(2) The nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion copied; and
(4) The effect of the use on the market.

**I'm not being sarcastic. I really do want to hear about it.
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Re: Emulation

Postby Babam » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:56 am UTC

I just want to say, If I recall correctly, I linked him to a site about PSP modding. Not emulation. That site happened to have info on where to obtain emulators for the PSP. Those emulators are completely valid, and can be used to play homebrew games. I think my link was completely within the rules.
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Re: Emulation

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:02 pm UTC

Which is why the rules have since been modified to cover such eventualities...

I, in between getting Christmas revoked, Your Birthday Presents returned unopened, and kicking puppies wrote:D - Modifications of Your Console/Handheld/Cellphone/Goddamn Tuba to play DVDs - Let's just not talk about it. That'd be awful swell. Really, it would. For an absolute number of reasons - you say modification to do something not intended yet perfectly innocent (like play YouTube vids on a PSP) and I click on your link and see "How to make your PSP a warez dreamstation!" So.. yeah, let's just not talk about it. If you do it, great. Feel free to mention that you were watching stuff on your hacked PSP, I don't care. Just don't discuss the nuts and bolts of it.


And, of course... depending on how the emulator was created it may be in violation of US Copyright law, and while there are legal roms that can be run on emulators, I can't think of anyone offhand who uses their emulator exclusively for legal content. Just as I don't know anyone who uses the Pirate Bay to just look up legal torrents, though I know they exist there.

It's faster and easier on everyone to just ask that we all, as a group, not talk about it. It's easier on the mod staff as they (alright, I) don't have to read the posts, follow all the links, check out the home site of the link to make sure, research the emulators linked, research the modifications linked, double-check the copyright laws and how they pertain to the piece of software, and finally either OK or Remove the post.. and the user doesn't have to post in half-code for fear of violating the illegal part while trying to discuss the legal part.

Yes, that last one's a joke reason and writing it out I know it, but it's still true. If the rule said legal emulators were OK, illegal ones were not, it's possible someone would e-mail Real Grouchy asking is SuprBleemBox4.5 was legal or not.

And as hilarious as that would be, I'll go ahead and save that particular person from his retribution.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.


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