Is sharing a link to a freeware game allowed?

Archerite

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I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this..if not I am sorry.

I am working on a homebrew game that is a remake of an old windows game. It is released as freeware since 2008 but all official sources do not have the download available anymore. I have found a source that I have confirmed is the virus free version of the game....a site owned by the US government I think ;)

Can I give instructions like:
- go on google and search "{the-name-of-the-game} game download"
- then a step by step of what to do.

Or can I just link to the page directly? I just don't want to break the rules, but also give more people the change to test my remake if they want to.
I could ask one of the admins directly but I do not want to bother them. Not sure if they will appreciate that.

Thanks for any help or insights
 

antiNT

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Is it legal ? If it is, then yeah you can share it. The no warez rule is here so that gbatemp avoids legal trouble. As long as the files are legal you're fine.
 

gamesquest1

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should be fine to link to as long as it was indeed released as freeware and the site you link to isn't a piracy site with links to pirated games

typically you won't get in trouble with admins if you did link to something they then decide is not good unless you do it explicitly with the intention of trying to share obviously copy written work or repeatedly do it after receiving a warning already, just make sure the freeware version released was the full game and not a stripped down demo version, if it was the latter you would need to only link to the freeware version
 

FAST6191

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We have covered several homebrew remakes of out and out commercial games over the years that included assets, hosted some downloads even.

Unless the owners have since revoked any freeware license (has happened for a few things over the years, though rarely done as once it is out there... most attempting it do better to give a remastered version, bonus levels, or source code with assets held back a la a lot of ID's stuff) then linking seems within reason. Not sure what government page does anything for games though so that is curious (the library of congress has a few things though so who knows). If this is batterycheck then is https://archive.org/details/BATTERYCHECK what you found? If so then not US government -- rich retired silicon valley type decided to make a library of tech, web, old books, games, and whatever else.

The issues tend to come more when someone thinks abandonware is a legal concept/defence and tries to link things then, or if it is freeware but bundling it with your code* makes things a bit more tricky.

*see what might go for a separate standalone zip within it in that case.

Could do a best of both worlds and link to the apparently legit site but note what hashes it has in case that is unavailable or someone wants to try something else.
 

Archerite

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That is the problem, I am not sure. The game was never sold for money and was part of a promotion for recycling batteries in the Netherlands from 1998. You turn in 15 empty batteries and you got the free CD-ROM. In a way, the batteries were the currency I guess.

But the original owners of the game have released the full game as freeware on their own site in 2008. Later the download was removed. By change I found a site that had it about three years ago, and that was owned by one of the original creators.I had asked them for permission and here is what they said:

We are delighted to hear you are such a great fan of BatteryCheck and are coming to us with your questions. BatteryCheck is an older game and the same accounts for the download link you have found. Beware that it might be possible it's removed in the future. I will answer your questions below:

- This is not the offical download page
- You may refer to this page, but as mentioned before, it might be possible it's removed in the future.
- The graphics and desing can not be used sepperatly for other purposes
- The licence of the game is Creative Commons, you can mention the game, refer to it, link to it, but it can't be used for commercial purposes.

The full story is in my blog from April 5 this year.

@FAST6191: This is indeed about BatteryCheck and that is the exact link on archive.org I was to scared of sharing on here. But if you share it then I trust you it will be oke to share it directly into my instructions. I have checked the files and SHA1 hashes of the ISO and the EXE on archive.org and they check out with my original's from the CD-ROM version. I am not from the US so not entirely familair with who owns what and thought I remembered reading it once. I could be entirely wrong about it though.

The way I interpeted the response of the creator is that I was not allowed to share the game files directly with my own version. I was allowed to share their download page but as they said, no promisses it will stay online forever. And that is exactly what happened a few months ago.

The second result from the google search is also the only other one besides archive.org I could find anywhere. Both sources have the same hashes, but good tip in providing them with my instructions to give users a change to verify themself.

If I consider what you all said...I think it will be "ok" to link to archive.org or instruct to go there via a google search. Thank you all for responding.
 

FAST6191

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Code:
We are delighted to hear you are such a great fan of BatteryCheck and are coming to us with your questions. BatteryCheck is an older game and the same accounts for the download link you have found. Beware that it might be possible it's removed in the future. I will answer your questions below:
- This is not the offical download page
- You may refer to this page, but as mentioned before, it might be possible it's removed in the future.
- The graphics and desing can not be used sepperatly for other purposes
- The licence of the game is Creative Commons, you can mention the game, refer to it, link to it, but it can't be used for commercial purposes.

I would have read that as
- Not the official page does not mean a lot other than there might be better places to get info.
- "feel free to link the world to this to download it, however we have no plans to keep it there forever so don't necessarily rely on it". This is probably more that some places don't like you to link things out to the world if it is going to hammer their bandwidth.
- You can't take the sprites, levels and whatnot and do your own original game/mod with them. Interoperability though (which is arguably where your port falls, especially given your approaches seen in previous blogs) is a different matter, however I don't know Dutch law for this one and I already had one gun battle with Brein and not looking to repeat it. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM:mi0016 would appear to have it as OK though (in most places it tends to be, even in the otherwise rather restrictive US -- it is one of the major reasons emulation is legal there despite what the courts and lawmakers that otherwise dance to the tune of the copyright holders would like).
- Creative commons has multiple types that all do somewhat different things and pose different restrictions, it is also generally advised code is not put under creative commons.
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ has them and they range from actually public domain (CC0) to attribution to free to distribute for fun and various things in between.
In this case one of the latter two would be where I think it falls, and going by that and earlier parts of the response possibly even "CC BY-NC-ND" which is no derivatives, non commercial and attribution required. Mentioning it in general is not something most things seek to restrict here so not sure what that is going for.

However at this point I imagine we are going between multiple languages and playing legal speak so this gets very tricky to draw firm conclusions.
 

Archerite

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@FAST6191 : While I am not fully understanding everything you explained, I am assuming sharing the link should be fine. And given that you know about my port and my approach of porting the game it can be considered "fair use" of the games assets in most cases. I will not hold you responsible for any legal stuff I get wrong here off course.

Thank you for all the answers.
 

V10lator

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@Archerite "The graphics and desing can not be used sepperatly for other purposes" - this isn't easy to understand. You might be right that you're not allowed to include them (but that would be weird, given it's CC) but it might also mean you are allowed to include them in your game but not use them in a completely different game or print them on posters. add the music to your own music mix and ditribute the resulting mp3 ("sepperatly for other purposes" - I read that as completely for this purpose is OK).
You might really want to get in contact with them again and clear this up, the users of your work will surely be happy for it... :)
 

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