Legal?

Discussion in 'Wii - Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection' started by Ledbylight, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Are these custom servers legal (Wiimmfi and another homebrew server can't remember the name)? Can someone tell me if they are or aren't and why? Thanks!
     


  2. RHOPKINS13

    RHOPKINS13 Geek

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    Custom servers hit a legal grey area. They wouldn't have been able to create those servers without reverse engineering games that clearly forbid reverse engineering as part of their licensing agreement.

    That being said, the actual code probably doesn't contain anything copyrighted by Nintendo, and arguably they're not losing any money from it (I guess you could argue that some people might be using these services to avoid buying a new console, but that's a bit of a stretch...)

    I guess the answer depends on whether or not they choose to go after those custom servers. If Nintendo really wanted to, they could probably get them shut down (just like they did freeShop, some popular fan-made Pokémon spin-offs, fan-made movies based off of Nintendo IPs...) But even if they do, they would just be going after the people hosting the servers, not people simply playing on them.

    If you're just asking because you want to make sure you don't get into trouble, go ahead and use them. I'd say you're 99.9% safe. If you're asking because you're a little-goody-two-shoes and have never driven a single mile over the speed limit, never downloaded a single song or recorded one off the radio, never pirated a single movie, game, or program, never jaywalked, you get the idea... well, you probably shouldn't use them. But you're missing out.
     
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  3. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Lol! So it's the people who make the servers who are in the muddy area?
     
  4. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    "Anything is legal when the cops aren't around"
    Looking at copyright laws in the states, they really don't cover this kind of situation. Now it could be argued that it could violate the DMCA, but it's still a stretch.
    So it's still mostly a grey area in the law.
    So an interesting note, reverse engineering does not violate any copyright laws. In fact it actually falls under "Fair Use." During a court case with Tengen, the judge actually decided that reverse engineering did not violate Nintendo's copyright and fell under Fair Use.
    So even though it violates their little EULA, it doesn't violate the law.
     
  5. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Love the dumb EULA :P Thanks!
     
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  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I am not so familiar with the mechanics of the wii server stuff. There is a DMCA exemption for server authentication ( https://library.osu.edu/blogs/copyright/2015/12/30/new-dmca-exemptions/) but most interpretations mean you can not redo a mmo ( http://www.wired.co.uk/article/dmca-game-preservation-exemptions-abandoned-games, though I am not happy with their definition of abandonware ) and it is aimed more at an always on/once every ? days/boots online authentication server being taken offline.
    If it is like the DS one though then there should be no real copyrightable data being dealt with -- handshakes, maybe a lobby, a broadcast service and a high score table.

    I don't think there are any wii games with LAN play (think mario kart double dash 8 player stuff, or most of the original xbox stuff, and I guess the DS with various measures of local play). Were there that and I am somehow still arguing in front of a judge I might say that there is LAN therefore online (which may use different code) could be an option, especially if the gameplay is similar, I don't know if I could argue splitscreen that easily.

    That was many years ago though, pre DMCA which was aimed at clearing up things, even if it ultimately made things a shit show. Also that case was more an authentication/bypass of protections issue and not this.


    Back to the matter then yeah they would probably have to prove loss. For a once free service they no longer provide, that costs them no bandwidth and even if it is full of trolls (some kind of it is a blight on our name ploy) anybody that uses it would have to first hack their system, then hack the game and ultimately be said to know it is not official.

    So yeah as was mentioned if you are a letter and spirit of the law in every situation type you have found the wrong website, good luck in life. If you are worried about a 6am raid then don't be, hell if I was the one that made it I would probably talk about it in a job interview for Nintendo of America or Europe (probably not Japan, though that was supposedly how Rare got in with them).
     
  7. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Look like I need to update my information on this one. The current DMCA is honestly all over the place and can be vaguely thrown at anything at this point. Even if it doesn't cover it, there's always some vague term in there that just happens to slightly cover it.
     
  8. Silverthorn

    Silverthorn Spiky!

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    Add to that the fact that a lot of EULAs tend to get disregarded completely once something actually goes to court, given how much bullshit companies tend to put in them.
     
  9. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Now I'm confused about the DMCA! Is this a law or something?
     
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Yes DMCA = Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    In the late 1990s it was becoming very apparent that the intellectual property system of the US was not handling the new rise in software, technology and such that well, and there were a few international conventions to implement as well (apparently the US actually respected such things at one point, who knew). So the US law makers got a bunch together and passed the named above to alter the US code on the matter, only it seems the bunch they got together were variously afraid of computers, never mind knowing anything about them, or with interests so vested they might as well have been twirling their moustaches while giggling maniacally. The US then gained restrictions over what people in its borders could do with their devices/items of copyrighted works and whatever that many viewed as rather harsh.

    Still the DMCA then more or less became the reference point for US intellectual property approaches, and as the US is a major importer and creator of software its effects did not stop at its borders. As part of the act rights holders and their agents could sent notices to people if they felt they were in violation, though the term you will likely want to look up is safe harbor provisions (some people tried to sue hosting providers, ISPs for transmission of the data and the like so they were said if you comply with the investigations as follows* and such you can not be sued). This then got shortened to DMCA notice and later became a verb and one gets their project/video/game DMCAed.

    *you don't have to necessarily roll over and give up your logs, see also why many companies would start a criminal investigation to stop it but used the increased scope for evidence gathering to fuel a civil case.

    Various new laws, rulings by courts and amazingly a process of internal review (the articles I linked earlier cover the more recent review) have increasingly lessened the grip of the DMCA over certain things over the years, though many of its core features have remained quite sharp.
     
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  11. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Intresting. Thanks for the answer.
     
  12. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Wait so is game dumping considered illegal or is this a weird "undecided thing"?
     
  13. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    As part of the DMCA then if you are in US you are not allowed to circumvent copy protection, similar laws may apply in other countries. Copying games may be considered circumventing copy protection in certain circumstances.
     
  14. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Would it fall under fair use? I could use it for educational purposes :P
     
  15. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Decrypting any protected content without authorization is a DMCA violation. Fair use only applies to using small excerpts of a copyrighted work, not the whole thing. :P A gameplay video is fair use, a backup isn't.
     
  16. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Lol, well I personally don't see too much of a problem with it. I purchased the game, I'm not pirating them.
     
  17. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Nope. Nobody in the US will care unless you're uploading them to other people. ;)
     
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  18. Ledbylight
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    Ledbylight Advanced Member

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    Lol yep
     
  19. Wiimm

    Wiimm Developer

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    First, I didn't any reverse engineering of any games. The server is based on watching the simple network protocol of MKWii. Second, in Europe it is legal to reverse engineer discontinued services. Third, Nintendo is not and was never owner of the Gamespy services or protocols. Forth, never agreed any license agreement with Nintendo. EULA's are not valid in Europe, because it must be signed before buying a game.

    So Wiimmfi is clearly white and legal.
     
  20. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Reverse engineering is legal in the US, too, as long as it's done in a "clean room" fashion. Compaq did this with the IBM PC BIOS by having one team document how it worked and another team reproduced it without ever having looked at the BIOS. I doubt anyone outside of Nintendo has ever seen the actual WFC server code. :)
     
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