Question about prototype releases legal stuff.

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by TrolleyDave, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. TrolleyDave
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    Former Staff TrolleyDave Philosolosophising

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    Does anybody know what the legal stuff behind these are? A few of the websites I visit offer up prototype releases quite openly, is it a similar situation to an actual rom? I know the guys who release them have usually paid quite a tidy sum for them (depending on the rarity etc) but do they also get permission to set them free in the wild so to speak. I know when it comes to unpublished games betas publishers rarely care (or are rarely still going) but what about prototypes for games that were released? It's the release of a GBA Turok proto that's got me curious. It's nothing like the released version being a cut down version of the N64 verson and still in 3D but doesn't the copyright still apply?
     
  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Copyright is an automatic right that any and all works obtain for free and without registration (compared to patents, trademarks and registered designs of which trademarks are the only thing that might apply here) making distribution without permission a breach of copyright. For instance you now have copyright on the post you just made and for about 75 years after your death (I forget the exact timings/rules) you or those in your will/their wills and the like can attempt to profit from it.

    On top of this there is likely a few other random laws that could apply (Nintendo seems to be going after the "inclusion of a logo" for various things in Europe (under trademark law, in the US this most likely falls under the Sega vs Accolade ruling) and there are the ever fun DMCA and equivalents around the world which probably have something to say about breaching copy protection however feeble it is.
    The other side of it is that mounting a defence is a costly thing so the threat alone is enough for most people. The same applies the other way though so as you say most people/companies do not care, especially if there is no perceived loss (monetary or brand damage), and most people are sensible enough to realise that this is one of those "genie out of the bottle" situations.

    Speaking of turok though that was a great gba game (co-op play naturally making it so), I might have to check it out.
     
  3. TrolleyDave
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    Former Staff TrolleyDave Philosolosophising

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    Cheers Fast mate, that's pretty much what I thought. I'll go and grab those protos while I can just in case they get pulled.
     

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