1. depaul

    OP depaul GBAtemp Advanced Fan
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    Hi. There are many many excellent video games that were once available and never got released again. Sometimes the company behind is no longer in business, sometimes licensing issues prohibit game from being published ... And besides, it's very hard to get your hands on an old physical copy.

    For example: games like Canon Spike (Dreamcast), Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast), Street Fighter Ex plus Alpha (PS1, PS2) , Chaos Legion (PS2), Spawn: in the demon's hand (Dreamcast)....

    If one wants to play and enjoy those old titles again, should companies and lawmakers revise their views on piracy to allow users to dump and share those games legally? Otherwise people have no other way to get them!

    Edit : Checked PSN even the popular Tekken 3 PS1 version isn't released digitally because of copyright issues regarding Gon character.
     
    Last edited by depaul, Jan 20, 2021
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  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    The concept you describe usually falls under the idea of abandonware. It is not a legally recognised concept, defence or anything like that as much as a rallying cry for some in the copyright reform world but that would be the term you want to search.

    Anyway no I don't think it would make a good further exception to law. Too many difficulties in figuring out owners and I am not sure it serves a particularly useful purpose. "can't play games" -- tough shit really.

    Of course while I don't care if someone pirates something at the best of times I super don't care in those scenarios.
     
  3. VartioArtel

    VartioArtel GBAtemp Regular
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    Supposedly Congress is calling this "Orphaned IP" or something like that for their big new plan for the "Copyright Act of 2021". Or was it Orphanware... something Orphan.
     
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  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    Orphaned works is already a notion within copyright, usually found as a result of bankruptcies, inheritance and other things like that making ownership ambiguous.
    Still not sure I would convert them over to public domain or something less restrictive.

    Anyway seems I am slipping as I had not paid attention to what was going on there. Apprehensive as anything now as there will probably be a push to extend things buried in there somewhere (generally every time something Mickey Mouse looks to be going out of copyright* then Disney and a few of their mates appear to line the pockets and breathe down the neck of politicos). Hopefully the copyright reform peeps are actually on form today (1998 was the last big one here, usually known as the Sonny Bono extension https://garson-law.com/free-mickey-mouse/ ).

    *the timer restarted the other year and recently we saw works from 1925 come into public domain ( https://gbatemp.net/threads/new-in-the-public-domain-for-2021.580143/#post-9316359 ). Steamboat Willie was 1928.
     
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  5. depaul

    OP depaul GBAtemp Advanced Fan
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    Thanks for information @FAST6191 and @VartioArtel.

    So it could be classified as abandonware or orphanware.

    But if by some means, someone can get a digital copy for free, who has the rights to sue him/her?

    If something is literally buried, why can't people have it for free, because there is no other legal way to buy it!

    I think soon or later legislators will be forced to make laws about legal use of such licenses, for preservation.
     
    Last edited by depaul, Jan 8, 2021
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  6. Lumstar

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    You can't exactly damage a company that went bust, whose property rights are tied up in bankruptcy proceedings or the like.
    The next best thing is to try to respect the talent. Support the artists and creators wherever they went.
     
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  7. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    Abandonware is not a legal classification. Some wish it was but it is neither that, nor a defence if you do get called up to stand before the beak and explain yourself.

    Orphaned works is a different matter. This is something more of a term of art but still not really a defence or anything as much as a classification -- there is no real duty of care to update any registers. You sell a CD with a ROM on it and turns out through 16 layers of buyouts that EA owns it (and possibly can prove it) they will be able to come after you even if plausibly nobody (even after hiring the rare copyright lawyer-forensic accountant-bankruptcy lawyer-inheritance lawyer combo to do a trace and it coming back short before you sold your ROM CD, and why not you advertising in every paper up and down the land your intentions to sell this CD) owned it at the time. If you did something as silly as the bracketed section you might get some leniency in some aspects but still not really a defence or something I would advise a would be client to do were I playing lawyer. Depending upon the game you might be able to run out the clock (selling would arguably be criminal so in the US they have 5 years from the last infringement - https://profiletree.com/copyright-statute-of-limitations/ , though that does mean if you still actively have it for sale on your website then...)

    "Sometimes the company behind is no longer in business"
    And when that happens there will usually be assets sold off to other interested parties, creditors and whatever else. The original maker (or if done under work for hire then that) being around* or not matters little in this. On rare occasions the company might shutter quietly and assets default to whatever they do when you shutter businesses of various flavour (shutter your business as a handyman to retire and if your debts are settled then your tools tend to go to you, not much different if you are a small 1 owner game studio with a few employees and don't care to auction things off or sell your IP for a pittance).

    *technically works done by an individual rather than a corporation care as author's life plus however many years is a thing there, though that probably does not apply to most games that were not done in the bedroom coding eras of the C64 and its ilk. Though going through some of the various unreleased titles from the GB/GBC we have been seeing lately then maybe some of those could fall into it.

    "And besides, it's very hard to get your hands on an old physical copy."
    "because there is no other legal way to buy it!"
    Hard does not mean impossible or no legal way. Just means hard.
    Presumably it is why copyright was originally intended to be much much much less than that -- depending upon how far back you want to go (we could debate the statute of queen anne for example) then similar length to patents but more reasonably the 1960s (1964 being the year things would fall out of copyright today if the stuff had not been extended in the 70s.)
    https://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2021/
    Even if it was impossible the rights still remain with the copyright holder to exploit how they will -- if it is a desirable work then holding it off the market for a while might increase interest such that there is incentive to create a new official issuance. If "pirate away lads" was in effect that interest could be lessened. See something like the "Disney vault" if you are in the US, or indeed if sticking with games then retro collections have been popular... more or less since the generation after their initial release (you had all manner of arcade packs of things that might have run on the Atari, VIC20 a like hardware and such on the NES, plenty of NES remakes on the SNES, multicart was a thing throughout it all as indeed I have bundles for my C64, and I have a nice collection of pre 7 final fantasy games on the PS1 which also has any number of arcade packs, after that it was pretty much off to the races -- name me a post 16 bit system you can't buy an "arcade classics collection" on).
    This would still apply even in the case where the rights to produce games based on characters from another entity reverted to the original owner and they are blocking production of new works. That it could still happen in the future would be enough.

    Digital versions of works is an as yet unsettled question and varies about the place. The EU has right of resale for such things ( https://www.osborneclarke.com/insights/paris-court-rules-users-may-resell-games-purchased-steam/ ), the US is rather more nebulous though what few cases there have been seem to say there will need to be a law passed allowing resale (there was a company that sought to allow people to resell music that got smacked down). The obvious next "what if" from there is I have no idea what happens to your Steam library after you die as I don't think I have seen a case yet dealing with it, though I would bet heavily on it going to your estate and onwards like anything else (what its value might be for tax/limits purposes is a whole different game, especially if you can't legally sell it/realise money from it. Would probably also look for divorce cases as they might have something else here for value determinations).

    Choice videos in such scenarios

     
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  8. MockyLock

    MockyLock GBAtemp Fan
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    Last edited by MockyLock, Jan 8, 2021
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  9. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08
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    That's a myth and most likely false. Nobody has ever been able to find the supposed buried copies of ET or any other evidence to prove it true.
     
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  10. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat USB and Malwarebytes Bootable Developer
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    I'm still waiting for somebody to sell me a digital key for the PC game Blur.

    Otherwise, piracy is the only way I can play it on PC, as it was delisted from Steam without warning or reasoning long ago.
     
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  11. depaul

    OP depaul GBAtemp Advanced Fan
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    Thank you very much for comprehensive information about the subject @FAST6191

    Lol @ E.T game, I wouldn't touch that even if they give me money :P

    Well that's the idea. Unfortunately there are some valuable games that you can't obtain digitally. The only way is to search for old copies which might be very expensive like this one (an awesome game if you haven't played it):


    [​IMG]

    https://www.amazon.com/Street-Fighter-Alpha-Playstation-PlayStation1-PlayStation2/dp/B00005OUKR
     
  12. MockyLock

    MockyLock GBAtemp Fan
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    Did you read the link ?
     
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  13. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08
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    No, but I've heard of it. It had little to do with ET and more to do with the general video game crash (which itself ET had little to do with even though some claim ET caused the video game crash, while that would be funny, it seems unlikely)
    So the myth is still false :P It's just coincidence that there were some copies of ET, but it's not the 2 million or whatever myth that people believed.
     
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  14. hippy dave

    hippy dave BBMB
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    You should really read the link. They dug them up.
     
  15. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08
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    I did, and like I said, I've already heard of it. That was literally what my entire reply was about.
     
  16. hippy dave

    hippy dave BBMB
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    You denied it was buried and said it had never been found. I was pointing out that you needed to update your info for accuracy.
     
    Last edited by hippy dave, Jan 13, 2021
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  17. Cryoraptor

    Cryoraptor GBAtemp Regular
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    Here's a better question: Does it matter? You're still going to pirate them anyway. I personally don't care about piracy and have pirated games myself in the past, so pirate away. Most big video game companies don't deserve the money for their games anyway.
     
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  18. Kwyjor

    Kwyjor GBAtemp Maniac
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    Hasn't this discussion been had a million bajillion times already?

    Indeed, no one is going to come storming into your house because you decided to download Cannon Spike. (If you started making a big show of printing new copies and selling them online, that would be a different matter.)

    It is still in the interests of companies to discourage people from randomly downloading such things since if everyone downloaded and played Cannon Spike, they would have a more difficult time convincing people to pay for it again in the future if they decided to port it to a new platform. On the other hand, if people forgot about it entirely, then that would also make it more difficult to sell the game again.

    I certainly agree it makes no sense to buy a new game at launch if they're going to slash the price and release an enormous number of bugfixes six months later.

    It makes even more sense not to buy games when most of us probably have a ginormous backlog, even limiting it to legally-acquired material.
     
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  19. depaul

    OP depaul GBAtemp Advanced Fan
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    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.
    Indeed the game 'cannon spike' is a good example. If one pirates it it's no problem for anyone at all.

    But I'd argue it's not really piracy if the game isn't on sale anymore and can't be purchased online or in stores. It's not like downloading a last gen AAA game and crack it which directly harms business.

    It's not legal, but it's not really piracy. More like software preservation, in my point of view.
     
  20. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08
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    I said that had nothing to do with the legend, they discovered a few copies among tons of other games, which just proves the myth false.
     
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