Is it legal to download the BIOS of a console I legally own?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Zacchi4k, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Zacchi4k
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    Zacchi4k GBAtemp Regular

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    For example, I own a SCPH-70004, would it be legal to download an SCPH-70004 bios from the internet?
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I don't know Italian law well enough to argue specifics (I don't even know if precedent is a thing there) but the general consensus is nobody cares. There might be some arguments for torrents if you are then in turn sharing it back out but in general if you sat in front of a judge they would probably be trying to determine any losses and come up short, especially if you otherwise own the thing. There may be some other law that says the act of bypassing protection to dump it counts against you but that gets tricky.

    If you were selling it, selling an emulator with it embedded and other variations on that theme then something might be able to be said. Personal use of your own is something rather different.

    I don't know if someone has created a worthwhile open source/free replacement BIOS for the PS1 yet.
     
  3. Scarlet

    Scarlet Rydeen

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    Technically, you're downloading copyrighted material, so I don't think it is legal - regardless of whether you own the product. It's like asking if it's alright to download a ROM of a game you already own.
    Now if you rip the bios yourself and don't distribute it, I'm preeeeetty sure that's fine. The illegal part of it all is the distribution as far as I know.
     
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  4. Zacchi4k
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    Zacchi4k GBAtemp Regular

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    I know nobody cares and I actually don't too :ha:
    I was just wondering.

    There's an Italian website where you can download Italian 3DS and DS ROMs, and every time you download one, a message box pops up saying that "by proceeding you declare to own the original cartridge and that you acknowledge that downloading a ROM of a game you don't own is illegal".
    Is it like this in the rest of the world or is it just in Italy?
     
  5. Scarlet

    Scarlet Rydeen

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    That definitely isn't the case for the rest of the world. To be honest, I have doubts of that being the case in Italy too. It really wouldn't surprise me if they're saying things like that to maintain an image of legitimacy.
     
    Last edited by Scarlet, Nov 29, 2016
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  6. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    That "message" makes no sense to me from a pirate's perspective. Obviously if they owned the game they would be playing their own copy of it or attempting to rip it themselves and not bother with any other sources. I can't see how it protects the site either as they are still held responsible for illegally distributing.
     
  7. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    It could well just be something a website says. You will occasionally see it joked about around here and similar sites where old ROM sites had a disclaimer like "If you don't own it you agree to delete it within 48 hours" which has absolutely no basis in any legal system anywhere. I don't suggest following what Nintendo says ( https://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp ) and I also don't suggest relying on what a ROM site says here for the thing you tell any judge you might end up in front of.

    Italy is part of the EU and thus part of EU law and what goes there, and even without that a lot of places will try to harmonise such things. It is not universal though as we quite often saw different countries make different rulings for flash carts and mod chips throughout the DS era. Wherever I look for any law they might use as a basis for this sort of thing I tend to find most laws are from the 80s and onwards when VCRs came to pass and it all kicked off, though computers did exist in the 80s no law maker really envisioned* what they since became (if they knew computers they would be doing something useful with their lives and all that) so a lot of it has had hasty extras added when new and exciting things came to pass, choice link at this point https://torrentfreak.com/the-dawn-of-online-music-piracy-150620/ . In English there are phrases like format shifting (copying a record to tape to play in the car/walkman) and time shifting (recording a show to watch later), I have no idea what the equivalents in Italian would be.

    *two big things that the laws had at the time of writing being that records and vhs tapes have a limited lifetime, cds and dvds do not, also record -> tape is inherently a lossy process where cd -> wave is not.

    Most places will have some kind of part of the legal code that says you are allowed to make backups of software you own. Some ponder whether that means you personally have to rip the disc or whether you can download it but that could get complex. Equally it is usually the distribution that people get touchy about which is why torrents working the way they do (assuming you don't block uploads you are part and parcel of the distribution).
    This personal use backup thing will often hang a lot off it, things like you have to take reasonable steps to make sure the software is not in use in two places (I can't rip a CD and then give the original to a mate while I enjoy the backup/rips), if you sell the original then any backups get to be destroyed or go with it.
    If you have to bypass protection to do this then some laws, the US' DMCA for instance, might get in the way of that for the act of bypassing protections is in of itself a thing that troubles some.
     
  8. Zacchi4k
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    Zacchi4k GBAtemp Regular

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    (The SCPH-70004 is a slim PS2)