Hi Dark,
After my own copyright issues in early 2008 I read up on a lot of legal docs on U.S. and international copyright law. What I largely discovered is copyright law isn't a simple black and white issue. I both agree and disagree with the web master's positions about copyrights. The one area that U.S. and international copyright law seams to struggle with is fair use of copyrighted material and intelectual copyrights. Generally, in such cases the law defers you to the copyrighted holders end user license agreement for the product, service, or idea in question. However, under the fair use rights most countries recognize you have the right to use copyrighted material for educational purposes, to review a copyrighted work in writing or verbally, and in many cases use a copyrighted work in a non-commercial copacity. Though, that is a simplified version of the law. Grin. On one hand the law does protect companies from someone illegally redistributing their works without prier written permission. However, on the fair use provisions I may indeed have a right to some use of the product in question do to other factors. for example, Activisions most popular game, Packman, came out in 1982. That version was neither accessible nor is it supported any longer by activision. If I install Stella for windows and a Packman bin file am I actually breaking the law? In one sense no, because I legally do own the game, and want to be able to play it on my gaming machine. Under fair use I may have a legal right to the bin file. However, if I pass that bin file to someone I know who does not legally own the 1982 Packman game I could then be breaking the law, because that person has not purchased a license for that product even though Activision no longer sells the product. Thus making it difficult to get a legal license outside of buying a used Packman game off of Ebay etc. Basically what I am getting at is we are entering the land of what if. All to often the law itself doesn't give a clear enough answer to these intelectual copyright issues like, "what rights to I have to copy an idea or product if it isn't accessible and wish to do so?" Another one is, "do I have the right to share software that is no longer being sold, produced, supported, by the manufacturer?" Fact is there is no clear answer in the law I can see. The law generally says ask the manufacturer how they feel about this or that and that is that. Unfortunately a company may not exist, the original creater might be dead, or the company in question just might be totally anal about their copyrights restricting you unfairly from a copyright that they guard with their lives.






dark wrote:
Just in this debate, i thought this site and artical about the infocom text adventure games might be of use. I'd like to point out that 1, I agree hole heartedly with the web master, and 2, he's had the page up for about six years and no company has batted an eyelid.
I'd stil prefer to actually have the company formally state that the games are 
abandonware for obvious reasons, but given the small amount of audio games, and 
the work which has gone into their production I'd be very much inclined to this 
position if all else fails, ---- with the obvious proviso (as the webmaster 
here says about the old Infocom games), that the second code factory change 
their minds on the game status, any abandonware copies would hense forth be 
counted as illegal and any self-respecting gamer or games website would remove 
them from his/her computer or web space.

Please see http://if.illuminion.de/infocom.html


For the full position. Beware the Grue!
Dark.


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