It's now ok to preserve abandonware...for librarians

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

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lwc
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It's now ok to preserve abandonware...for librarians

Post by lwc » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:50 am

In the following 3 years http://www.copyright.gov/1201/ would make the DMCA (not in a major way but still) less strict:
The Librarian of Congress, on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, has announced the classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) during the next three years.

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.
I was told this just means librarians could copy abandonware from floppies to digital media. Still thought you might want to know. I do wonder if abandonware sites' owners could call their sites "archives" though. :)
Last edited by lwc on Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

clem
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Post by clem » Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:38 am

which basically says, you are allowed to bypass copyprotection and copy it from floppy to harddisk if you want to continue using the stuff you already bought?

doesn't say the copyright is obsolete, doesn't say you're allowed to distribute stuff, and definitely won't make "abandonware" sites any more legal

on an amusing sidenote, I'm writing this from a library terminal, me being a librarian :)

KevinW
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Post by KevinW » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:46 am

I'm asking myself if this would legitimate the bypass of the copy protection screens in e.g. Future Wars?

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john_doe
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Post by john_doe » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:02 pm

IANAL but this seems to mean that this only affects old systems, e.g. video game consoles and computers that are not longer available to the common user. So e.g. for an C64 emulator you could remove the disk copy protection if it can't be reproduced on the emulator due to hardware limitations etc.

cappuchok
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Post by cappuchok » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:55 pm

KevinW wrote:I'm asking myself if this would legitimate the bypass of the copy protection screens in e.g. Future Wars?
While I'm no expert nor a lawyer, I would interpret the text referenced here to mean that you can circumvent software checks of hardware-based copy protections (intentional erroneous disk sectors, hardware dongles and the like) if it is required to make a working backup of computer programs and games made for now-obsolete platforms.
As an example, if you were taking a backup of DragonFlight for Amiga, you would be allowed to work around the strange disk sector formats, but you would not be allowed to remove the code that asks the user for words from the manual. Hence you would also not be allowed to remove the protection screens in "Future Wars". To make such changes, I would not settle for anything less than written permission from the original developer and the current copyright holder.
However, the definition of "obsolete-ness" in the referenced text is very vague so I would not even begin to make any guesses as to what software could be considered "obsolete" or not.

jamyskis
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Post by jamyskis » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:21 pm

Of course, then there's jurisdictional questions as well. The DMCA only applies to the United States, and in many countries in the EU it is not illegal to bypass copy protection in the first place, only to distribute unauthorised copies of works.

With ScummVM being an international effort, this is a complicated subject.

lwc
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Post by lwc » Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:00 pm

I don't think ScummVM has a reason not to be legal. It's its usage that could be illegal. Just like the phone company is legal, but certain people may use their phones to threaten to kill other people or plan a bank robbery, etc.

As for the DMCA, it seems most abandonware sites are American, at least judging by the way they always say "this and that game was removed due to the DMCA"...

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Kaminari
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Post by Kaminari » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:14 pm

If I'm not mistaken, The Underdogs is an Indonesian archive and most abandonware sites are actually from Europe.

lwc
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Post by lwc » Sun Dec 10, 2006 5:51 pm

So why when it comes to denying certain games they're like zombies who keep mumbling only one word: "DMCA...DMCA..."?

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Kaminari
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Post by Kaminari » Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:49 pm

Basic instinct of survival, probably.

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